Norwich - The nearly 75-year-old Labenski Funeral Home business has been sold to a multibillion-dollar Texas corporation that owns several other local death-care providers.
According to land records in City Hall, funeral director Peter C. Labenski of Uncasville sold the funeral-home properties at 107 Boswell Ave. and 92-94 Division St. to S&H Properties and Enterprises Inc. for a total of $700,000.
The deeds, which don't account for anything extra that might have been paid for the business itself, were dated Dec. 12.
Mark Kalinowski, a former Norwich police officer and funeral director who is now managing the business, confirmed that the buyer is associated with Texas-based Service Corp. International.
Service Corp. International accounts for about 13 percent of the death-care market nationwide, according to its annual report, and did more than $2 billion in business last year.
The company owns well over a dozen funeral homes in Connecticut, including Fulton-Theroux in New London, Old Lyme and Niantic; Swan funeral homes in Old Saybrook, Madison and Clinton; and Church & Allen in Norwich and Uncasville.
"It's still local people," Kalinowski said.
All of the funeral home's staff has been offered continued employment, he said, while Labenski himself is still serving as a consultant.
But one former employee, Bill Juzwic, disputed Kalinowski's account, saying he had been laid off. The only other employee was offered part-time work, as he had previously requested, since he will reach full retirement age in February and was choosing to cut back on his hours.
Juzwic said he already has found work with Gilman & Valade Funeral Home in Putnam.
Editor's note: This version corrects and earlier version.
Kalinowski said the merger with a large company will allow the Labenski Funeral Home to offer an extended range of memorial products, and an updated website will give friends and families a chance to leave video tributes, purchase flowers online and leave condolence messages.
A link to Facebook also will be established, he said.
Labenski Funeral Home has a history in Norwich dating to 1938, according to an online search.