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Rhea Brandenburg Funeral director Gettysburg

Rhea Brandenburg

My first 6 years of life were spent living in Taneytown, MD. We moved to Hanover, PA for several years before moving again to Thurmont during my teen years. I attended Catoctin High School, class of 2001. In 2006, I started part time employment with Grove-Bowersox Funeral Home, in Waynesboro, PA. After working there for a few months, I realized that yes, this was the career for me. I attended Penn State (Mont Alto Campus) and was then accepted into the Mortuary Science Program at CCBC (Baltimore), where I graduated with a degree in Mortuary Science in 2011. In 2008, I went to work for Rest Haven Funeral Chapel & Cemetery in Hagerstown, where I worked for over 11 years. During my tenure there, I simultaneously worked as a trade embalmer for four other funeral homes located in both Frederick and Washington Counties.


I am a licensed mortician, funeral director, and cemeterian in both Maryland and Pennsylvania. Previous to my interest in the funeral industry, I attended Von Lee School of Aesthetics (Baltimore), where I received a Make-Up Artist License in 2005. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the cosmetic techniques would aid me in my funeral service career involving cases requiring restorative art measures.

Working in Hagerstown is where I met Jim Stein, my business partner, who happened to share my goal to make death more meaningful and hands-on for families. Together we worked diligently to find the perfect location for our business venture. We both enjoy history and decided that because the Civil War helped to shape the trade of embalming into the modern day funeral business, Gettysburg was a great location for the funeral home. This is when we discovered the Grace Lutheran Church and Cemetery was for sale and we started the very lengthy task of purchasing it in late 2019. We officially settled in November 2021 and opened for business June 2022.

I'm a resident of Waynesboro, where I live with my husband, Thomas, and our 5 cats. I'm a member of the National Funeral Director Association (NFDA), NRA, National Home Funeral Alliance, and the Civil War Roundtable of Gettysburg. I am also a photograph volunteer for the Find-A-Grave website. I enjoy walking around antique malls, visiting cemeteries, bird watching and learning new things.

Jim Stein funeral director gettysburg

James H. Stein, Jr.

I was born and raised in Binghamton, New York. After trying to find myself for a couple of years upon high school graduation, I enlisted in the United States Navy in January of 1980. As a surgical technologist, I spent time at places like Great Lakes, Illinois; Camp Lejune, North Carolina; Twenty-nine Palms, California; Little Creek, Virginia; and Bethesda, Maryland. A deployment took me to Manilla, Philippines; Rota, Spain; Toulon, France; Izmir, Turkey, and Somalia, Africa. During my last duty station assignment in Bethesda, I decided to fulfill the dream I had as a child at the age of 6 on the way home from a visitation for my great-grandfather. I told my parents that I wanted to be a funeral director when I grew up. I attended Catonsville Community College in Baltimore, where I obtained an Associate of Science Degree in Mortuary Science. During this time, still on active duty with the Navy, I worked as an apprentice, then funeral director, at Collins Funeral Home in Silver Spring, Maryland. After retiring from the Navy in 1998, I decided it was time to move away from the funeral profession. Having held many different types of employment, including that of a DJ at a radio station in Frederick, I made the decision that I wanted to return to the funeral business. First starting as a cemetery sales counselor for Resthaven Memorial Gardens in Frederick, then becoming a funeral director again with Resthaven Funeral Services, in Frederick. It was here that I met my business partner, Rhea, and finding that we both had a lot in common when it comes to the funeral industry. Our goals of providing people with a positive and personal experience when facing a tough time in their lives, the passing of a loved one, led us to where we are today. We both have a love of funeral history and traditions and felt that joining together and opening a business in Gettysburg, would enable us to bring the funeral process “full-circle” taking it back to earlier times in history. Our passion for providing families with a more personal experience during this time with green/natural burials has become a driving force in achieving our goals and plans. Forming Brandenburg & Stein Funeral Parlor, Inc, in 2020, will provide us the opportunity to fulfill our dreams by not only providing traditional funeral and cremation options, but to educate and provide the community with their options for green/natural burials.  


I am a licensed funeral director and cemetery counselor in Pennsylvania and Maryland, a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, Certified Crematory Operator, and a Certified Celebrant. 


I have been married to my wife, Sheri for 20 years and between us we have 6 children. Living in Gettysburg, PA, provides us with the opportunity to enjoy country living, fresh air, and relaxation. My free time consists of cooking, everything from grilling to smoking, where I love to create and provide my family with many different tastes from around the world. I love to create my own marinades, rubs, and sauces, enabling me to step outside my traditional comfort zone. I enjoy playing fantasy sports like football, baseball, and basketball. My greatest enjoyment though is taking trips to places we have never been. We love to go to bed and breakfasts all around country, enjoying the different foods of the area and learning about the history that created this country along the way. We have been on many cruises, something we both really enjoy, and last year we went to Hawaii for a vacation where I surprised Sheri, by re-proposing and redoing our wedding vows in a traditional Hawaiian Wedding Ceremony.   


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