History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.


The Hartenstein family is proud to be celebrating 130 years and five generations in funeral service. Beginning over a century ago in New Freedom with the vision of cabinetmaker George Lewis Hartenstein, and continuing today with a rich heritage and a reputation for exceptional service, Hartenstein Funeral & Cremation Care, Inc. is committed to companioning grieving families and children and investing in and preserving our hometown communities.

Hartenstein Family Heritage

Cabinetmaker George Lewis Hartenstein (1854 – 1934), born in Philadelphia to German emigrants Johann Georg and Barbara (Stahle) Hartenstein, began his career with the former Wanamaker’s Department Store in Center City Philadelphia.

In the 1870’s, George moved to Railroad, York County, Pennsylvania where he met and married Lydia Helb and worked for his father-in-law, Frederick Helb, establishing the Helb Furniture Factory in the small town.  Missing his calling to build fine furniture by hand, George returned to Philadelphia with his wife, and young daughter Rebecca, to continue his career at Wanamaker’s.  When Rebecca died unexpectedly at age three, George and Lydia chose to return to southern York County, settling in New Freedom.

In 1885, George purchased David Hershey’s furniture and undertaking business from his widow, which was then located at what is now the southwest corner of Constitution Avenue and Main Street in New Freedom. Shortly thereafter, George purchased a building at the northwest corner of Front and Franklin Streets and called it the “Old Reliable Furniture and Carpet House.”  It was there where he built quality furniture and coffins by hand, and established his funeral trade by adding a funeral parlor to the storefront.

In 1907, George sold the company to his son, Paul N. Hartenstein (1885 – 1937), who welcomed into the business another partner, his brother-in-law Curvin H. Nonemaker. After Curvin’s death in 1932, and subsequent to Paul’s death in 1937, a new partnership named “Hartenstein & Company” was formed between Paul’s widow, Bessie V. (Young) Hartenstein (1887 – 1965), and their son, J. Jacob “Jake” Hartenstein (1915 – 1974).

Wanting to concentrate solely on funeral service, Bessie sold her interest in the furniture store in the early 1950’s to her son-in-law, Edward V. McCullough, who continued to partner in retail furniture sales with Jake.  In addition to co-managing the furniture store, Jake built and opened in February 1952, a new funeral home at the corner of Second and Franklin Streets in New Freedom and called it “Hartenstein Mortuary.”

The fourth generation joined the family business in 1964 when James J. “Jim” Hartenstein       (born 1941), eldest son of Jake and Julia Ellen (Grimm) Hartenstein, became a licensed funeral director, and later, a co-owner.  Bessie continued to assume the roles of family matriarch and businesswoman until her death, and when Jake died suddenly nine years later, the furniture division and real estate known as “Hartenstein & Company” was sold. 

Under Jim’s leadership, the funeral home evolved into “J.J. Hartenstein Mortuary” and was later incorporated in 1981.  An opportunity to expand the business came in 1986 when the Kenneth W. Orsburn Funeral Home in nearby Stewartstown was acquired. Jim’s son, James J. Hartenstein III (1966-2010) then joined the family business as a licensed funeral director and his daughter, Jennifer Hartenstein McGraw (born 1969) came on board in 1993 to assist with managing the administrative side of the business. 

In the summer of 2017, Jim and Jennifer opened the door to a new relationship and passed ownership of their family business to Mr. Dennis Ralph who, in association with Rollings Funeral Service, owned and operated by Greg and Debbie Rollings, has made his career in funeral service and is committed to continuing the legacy of exceptional care that the business has been privileged to provide. While the funeral home has taken on a new name, Hartenstein Funeral & Cremation Care, Inc., the same level of personalized service you have come to know and trust will continue for many years to come. Most important, the members of our professional caregiving team with whom you have become acquainted remain on staff and are here to serve you, just as they always have been.

Our Valued Staff

  • Kristine Bostian

    Kristine Bostian Supervisor-New Freedom, General Manager & Licensed Funeral Director

    "Kristine, We would like to thank you for all of your help in completing our mother's funeral arrangements. You were patient with us. You worked with us and never once did you rush us. You made sure everything was as we wanted it to be. You took care of the flowers, music and all. Knowing things were taken care of helped lift a burden off our shoulders. Your kindness, concern and sympathy card is greatly appreciated. We can't thank you enough for all you have done."

    "Kristine was new to us, but by the end of the funeral, she was like family to all of us. The whole staff is always compassionate and goes out of their way to help. Kristine fits in very well with the Hartenstein standard of excellence."

    "Thank you for helping us through the process from beginning to end - we were not prepared for Dad's death. We thank you for the time you spent with our family explaining each step, helping us make decisions and feel in control of a very hard situation. We appreciate all the support from your staff."

  • Rob  Predicce

    Rob Predicce Licensed Funeral Director

    "Rob was absolutely wonderful from beginning to end. I would recommend Hartenstein's in a heartbeat."

    "Dear Rob, Thank you so much for making a very difficult time easier. Your care and compassion was greatly appreciated."

  • Zachary  Parker

    Zachary Parker Licensed Funeral Director & Care Team Lead

    "All I can say is our community is so very blessed to have you. Everyone was professional, courteous and caring. Thanks so much for all you did for our family. God Bless!"

  • Lindsay  Temchack

    Lindsay Temchack Licensed Funeral Director

  • Brian  Duda

    Brian Duda Supervisor- Stewartstown & Licensed Funeral Director

    "Brian, I can't begin to tell you how beautiful a service Hartenstein's put together for my mother, I really mean it. All of you were extremely comforting, considerate and professional. I must mention, the back road ride to the cemetery was the "icing on the cake," one I know my mother truly loved. All in all your team made a very sad day one of absolute beauty."

  • Llewella M Nicklow

    Llewella M Nicklow Office Manager

  • Todd  Ferree

    Todd Ferree Maintenance Supervisor

  • Nick  Smolko

    Nick Smolko Funeral Assistant & Care Team Member

    "Our family greatly appreciates your kindness, concern and professionalism. We know this is your business, but we feel that you went above and beyond what we expected. We are grateful for your help and will highly recommend you to anyone in the area."

  • Rich  Nachajski

    Rich Nachajski Funeral Assistant & Care Team Member

  • Diana  Rohrbaugh

    Diana Rohrbaugh Housekeeping

  • Morgan  Lambert

    Morgan Lambert Care Team Member

  • Charlie  Kernan

    Charlie Kernan Funeral Assistant & Care Team Member

  • Terry  Kernan

    Terry Kernan Funeral Assistant

  • Bob  Hunsicker

    Bob Hunsicker Funeral Assistant & Care Team Member

  • Jim  Hartenstein

    Jim Hartenstein Fourth-Generation Funeral Service Professional

    "If anything about such a situation can be positive, our experience with your staff was not only positive, but exceptional. Everyone with whom we interacted was professional, courteous, and attentive; without being overbearing or intrusive. Everyone with whom we spoke did everything possible to ease the burden of grief that we experienced during the process of saying goodbye. Please take a moment to commend your staff for their professionalism and kindness; and convey our heartfelt thanks."

    "To all who helped with Dad's arrangements, our very grateful appreciation for all that was done so professionally, but more important, so thoughtfully. We expected no less and received so much more."

  • Jennifer Hartenstein McGraw

    Jennifer Hartenstein McGraw Fifth-Generation Funeral Service Professional

    "I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for all your help with placing my Thumbies order. The necklaces are absolutely beautiful, and will be cherished always. Thank you for once again making our interactions with Hartenstein's easy and pleasant."

    "Please thank your team for making our son's Celebration of Life service a seamless event. They had everything prepared that we could have possibly needed. Any requests that we asked for were promptly delivered. Those folks worked hard that day and for that, we are eternally grateful. We couldn't think straight and they made sure we didn't need to. Person after person has come to me and told me what a beautiful service it was, and you and your team were a huge part of making that happen."