Dave Perotto, Horticulturalist & Funeral Director

By: Andrea Ruggieri
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Funeral Director and Vice President of Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home, Inc., Dave Perotto, “The younger, better looking brother…” I recall this quippy one-liner on the day I met Dave with his brother Mike and co-owner standing aside him. I can only attest to the “younger” part, the world can form their own judgment on the latter. Either way Dave Perotto has a sense of humor and really, there is much more to him than meets the eye.

Traveling back in time to his childhood with a little interesting history, Dave has always had a love of the great outdoors, nurtured very early on by his parents. Having a cottage on Lake Ontario provided the backdrop for bountiful memories, boating and water skiing as soon as he could walk! There were also camping trips to the Adirondacks where they enjoyed days of canoeing, fishing and hiking. These experiences provided the foundation for his love of the outdoors and its continued effect on his life today. Bowhunting, fishing, hiking and scuba diving are year-round activities for Dave. He and his wife Jackie travel to the beaches of the Caribbean often, as well as long weekend trips to the Adirondacks together. On the other hand, he and his brother Mike like to enjoy their pursuit of bowhunting whitetail deer on their land near Swain, NY.

 If you truly “know” Dave you can’t help but be in tune with his affinity for California wines. His sister Rose moved to Sonoma County, CA presenting he and his wife Jackie a place to visit, tour Napa Valley, and of course, stop at new wineries along the way. Thankfully, he and his sister have the same taste in wine sharing many fine Cabernets and in turn, creating many great memories (tho’ fuzzy at times…).

Dave’s journey to becoming a funeral director is an interesting tale. When he decided to go to Cornell University nearly three decades ago for a degree in ornamental horticulture, his original intent was to graduate and build a landscaping business. As often happens, the best laid plans changed, and he unexpectedly found himself growing roots in the family business. “I was not enamored by the seasonal nature of the landscaping industry here in Rochester, I wanted to stay busy all year long,” Dave said. He considered making the move to a year-round landscaping climate, but his connection to Rochester was strong, as were his ties to family and friends in the area. Despite his original dreams, he feels his decision to stay here was the right choice.

To truly appreciate Dave, you understand that he is a multi-faceted individual who feeds on knowledge. He is a funeral director with a plethora of sideline talents. First off, becoming a funeral director was not exactly a “walk in the park.” There are a range of skills that take time to master, not to mention being able to manage funeral arrangements and frankly, do this with the ultimate sensitivity to the families during the process.  Both Dave and his brother felt strongly about meeting with families directly in addition to running the business. They both enjoy putting themselves out front and meeting people. “We enjoy helping people.” Dave says.

So where does Dave’s knowledge of horticulture play into all this? Look around the funeral home, the range of flora and plant life is well-appointed and thought out in detail. The colors and greens are appealing, but ultimately serve to present a place that is comforting like your own home might be. The butterfly garden has a beauty all its own and is a lovely place of solace and reflection. When a loved one dies, you spend a short time at the funeral home, every element was designed for a feeling of comfort and respite for everyone who visits.

Dave has seen many trends in funeral care. Recently, it was obvious to he & Mike that there was a need to accommodate people who were not were not affiliated with a church or were not regular church-goers. Dave & Mike realized this need and they, along with the rest of the funeral directors on staff responded by becoming certified Celebrants. This allowed them to offer funeral services on-site, providing relief to many families.

While bringing comfort to many local families, Dave also shares his knowledge and serves people in the funeral care industry beyond the immediate community and throughout the state of New York. He served a three-year term from 2012 to 2015 as a board member for the New York State Funeral Directors Association and just last fall he was appointed as a New York state pre-plan trustee. In this role, he is a steward for funds deposited by residents statewide who have pre-paid for their funerals.

As Bartolomeo and Perotto approaches its 100th anniversary, it has been humbling for Dave, realizing how many people have been helped by his family throughout the years. “As I go through old files I see the names of many families we’ve served over the years repeatedly, and many of them generations of the same family.”

Funeral directors are often asked the same questions by many different people, but the one inquiry that stands out among the rest is: Why would anyone want to work in this field? Dave’s response is always the same. “I feel very rewarded in helping people as they recover from the loss of a loved one. It is incredibly gratifying.” For him, the experiences along the way have been life-changing. He knew this work was important, but didn’t realize the depth of it when he started. He says, “It continues to be very revealing along the way and keeps my perspective in check. When I see people get petty, I say, ‘Come on, are you really going to let this bother you?’ See the bigger picture!’”

So Dave knows a bit about landscape design, he’s a funeral director, and as his right-hand marketing assist, I’d say he’d easily qualify as a marketing director. Tech-savvy?, yes! Maybe a techno geek in a prior life? And the great thing of it all is that his natural skills complement his brother Mike’s. As business owners, they have the equation for success where they boldly and confidently look to what’s coming in the future and are intricately aware of present needs. It works, and maybe that was another factor that led him to be a part of the Bartolomeo & Perotto and Walker Brother legacy. He was needed as a means to complete the equation of running a successful business serving the community.

Interesting & Related Links:

Fall Planting:                  http://www.hortmag.com/weekly-tips/fall-planting-perennials-tips-for-success

Adirondacks Living:       http://visitadirondacks.com/what-to-do

Bowhunting:                  https://www.bowhunting.com/bowhunt-101/bowhunting-for-whitetail-deer/

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