Rudez Granite & Bronze has been a family owned business for three generations. We were established on the principals of hard work, dedication and customer service. It began with a vision of assisting families through one of life’s most difficult times. It continues today by offering professional guidance, unlimited choices and, most importantly, the industry’s most thorough service.
The Rudez family traces its roots in the cemetery business to 1928, when Ivan “John” Rudez became the caretaker of St. Clare Cemetery in Clairton, PA. Ivan was an extremely hard worker who accepted the position at St. Clare in addition to his job as a steel worker at the Carnegie Mill in Clairton. Never satisfied and always wanting better for his family, Ivan even started a small filling station in front of his house which happened to be located directly across the street from the cemetery grounds. Although the hours were often long and hard, Ivan was able to handle all of the responsibilities due in large part to a very loving and helpful family.
One of Ivan’s biggest helpers in the cemetery was his son, John “Juggy” Rudez. Juggy was always in the cemetery with his father. Ivan knew that he could count on his son if duty called at the mill or his attention was needed at the filling station. From digging of graves by hand and grass mowing, to monument straightening or general maintenance, the work was always completed on time and the cemetery was considered by the entire community to be in pristine condition.
In 1953, the Rudez family, as well as the cemetery, suffered a great loss when Ivan passed away at the age of 59. Once again, his son Juggy would be counted on to serve his family and community as he had for so many years by his father’s side. St. Clare Cemetery offered Juggy the position of caretaker at the cemetery even though he was already employed as a brick layer. In honor of his father, Juggy moved away from his trade and gratefully accepted the position at St. Clare. Ironically, Juggy would continue with the upkeep of the cemetery for the next 25 years, just as his father had done for the previous 25 years. At the age of 35, Juggy was persuaded by family and friends to establish a monument business that would allow him to be of further service to his community.
In 1958, Juggy Rudez took a bank loan that was supposed to be used for home improvements and established Rudez Monuments. With seven monuments and a humble storefront in Clairton, PA, Rudez Monuments was born. For the next 20 years Juggy was responsible for the daily operations of the cemetery as well as the monument business. His loyalty and dedication were evident as it was not uncommon for him to work throughout the night under the lights of his truck. It wasn’t until 1978 that he decided to resign from the cemetery due to the continuous growth of the monument business.
With his full attention on the monument business for the first time, Juggy was able to better serve his families by adding a larger display and truly consulting with them on how to personalize each memorial. Customers had the ability to select products which would best suit their individual needs and, at the same time, be reflective of a life that had been lost. This scratched the surface of something that the industry had not yet seen and allowed people the comfort of knowing that they were working with a memorialist who truly cared.
Hard work, attention to detail and customer satisfaction are just a few of the reasons that the monument business continued to grow with each passing year. As Juggy began to spend more time in the field and as the monument industry evolved, his wife Rosemary became a vital part of the daily operations. The husband and wife combination built a reputation of offering quality products along with personalized service and unparalleled value. Juggy and Rose continued to run the business for the next 17 years.
In 1995, the demands of the business began to surpass the ability of Juggy and Rose to continue at the highest level of service that they had become accustomed. They came to believe that their customers would be better served with fresh ideas and a younger leader. After much consideration, Juggy decided to retire from the business to which he gave his name. It was comforting to know that his daughter Connie would continue in the tradition rich business with the same care and compassion that he and Rose had offered for the past 37 years.
As the monument industry continued to change and customer needs steadily evolved, Connie worked hard to organize and update her parent’s years of work. She was successful in bridging the gap from the traditional monument company to a more modern place of business. This included the addition of imported granites, expansion of the product line, and continued personalization of memorials. Connie served the community with dedication, care and understanding until she decided that it was time for yet another change in order to prepare for the future.
In 2000, Juggy’s grandson Tony was ready to take over the family business and carry the Rudez name to new heights. Having worked with his grandfather as a young boy, Tony understood the importance of tradition, a family name and the pride that his grandfather had shown in his work. With this third generation having been entrenched for the past seventeen years, the Rudez family is proud of our ability to keep ahead of the ever-changing industry without the sacrifice of hard work, dedication and customer service that is the basis of our strong foundation.
In May of 2006 the Rudez family moved to its current location on Route 51 in Jefferson Hills, PA. Although only 1 mile from our roots, the modern new facility and spacious indoor showroom bring a warmth and comfort that can be felt from the moment you walk through the doors. As evidenced in our history, the Rudez family is committed to customer service and we look forward to serving our customers for many generations to come.
Like many of the customers that we serve, we too are faced with the reality of death as our family and our history has changed. On April 17, 2010, Rosemary passed away after a brief illness and, as is often the case with lifelong companions, Juggy departed this life only ten months later on February 2, 2011. We continue our mission with heavy hearts but the understanding that these two individuals left an indelible mark on our family, our business and the communities that we serve.