A Brief History of Montefiore Cemetery Company
The cemetery was founded in 1910 and was initially named Mt. Lebanon. Shortly thereafter, the name was changed to Montefiore Cemetery, in honor of Sir Moses Montefiore, the famous British Zionist and philanthropist of the 19th century. The Montefiore Cemetery founders, Oscar Sprissler, M.D., George F. Murray, and Frank H. Danenhour, Esq., purchased a fifty acre farm to start the cemetery in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. In subsequent years, the partnership changed and Joseph Goldstein became the managing partner.
Prosperity of the cemetery has been fostered by the many synagogues and organizations which purchased sections for their members. Today, the cemetery consists of approximately seventy acres in Abington Township and Rockledge Borough.
By the late 1920’s Joseph Goldstein’s son, Samuel Goldstein and his wife Sadie owned the cemetery. Although they never had children of their own, they cared for Sadie’s younger sister, Bertha, throughout most of her childhood.
Bertha married Harry Shay, M.D. When both Samuel and Sadie Goldstein passed away in 1956, Bertha Shay became president of Montefiore. Her son Robert M. Shay, helped her with the management of the cemetery. Longtime employees Esther Chait and Charles Isadore are still fondly remembered by visitors from that era. Upon Bertha’s death in 1988, Robert Shay assumed full responsibility for the cemetery.
Since Robert Shay’s untimely death in 1992, Montefiore has been owned by a trust under the provisions of his will, with the Shay family continuing to be the controlling force in managing the cemetery.
The Shay family is dedicated to continuing Montefiore Cemetery as a family business with old-fashioned values of caring for the entire Montefiore Family — families we serve and employees alike.