PITTSTON — By the time Laura Mudlock graduated from Pittston Area in 1996, the track and field standout knew she wanted to be an athletic trainer, so the West Chester University class of 2000 received her degree in Sports Medicine: Athletic Training, but she had an underlying interest – mortuary science.
Mudlock, 40 of Pittston, always had an interest in anatomical sciences through high school and for her, being an athlete and liking the sciences, the logical degree would be in sports medicine. “When I was at West Chester, I began helping a friend who had a livery service, picking up bodies and taking them to funeral homes or the airport,” Mudlock said.
When she was on summer break from college in 1997, she decided to become a volunteer with the Pittston Ambulance Association. It was with her first ambulance partner when her second line of work would be sealed. “My first partner was Jimmy “Sox” Ruane who was a funeral director and we became instant friends and then family,” Mudlock said. “We had a mutual adoption of each other.”
Within days of their friendship, Sox asked Mudlock if she would like to assist him at the funeral home. “The very next day, I went out on a call with Sox,” said Mudlock.
Since 1997, Mudlock has been associated with the Ruane Funeral Home.
Eventually, Sox persuaded Mudlock to go to mortuary school where she enrolled at American Academy McAllister Institute in New York City. In 2012, she became a licensed funeral director in October 2012, but it was bittersweet. Sox, the man that was a big influence in her life, was a mentor, friend and family to Mudlock, died a few months earlier.
Mudlock took over the funeral home in 2013 as a director and eventually became a supervisor changing the name to Ruane & Mudlock Funeral Home, Inc.
Sox’s widow, Mother Mary as Mudlock affectionately calls her, still resides above the funeral home, is proud of Mudlock and her accomplishments. “Laura does a great job and I’m very proud of her,” Mary said.
Mudlock enjoys her current status of servicing the living with her sports medicine degree and servicing the dead with her funeral home supervisor’s position.
One interesting fact about the Ruane & Mudlock Funeral Home, a funeral director by the name of John Burns once owned it and practiced his trade at the 18 Kennedy St. location. Years earlier before owning the funeral home, Burns was a mortician while serving in World War II and was called to Luxemburg to embalm U.S. Gen. George S. Patton.
Mudlock is excited about the future of Ruane & Mudlock Funeral Home, but will never forget how she got to where she is and the influence Sox Ruane had on her. “I’d like to keep it going as a tribute to him and to Mother Mary as long as I can and as long as Mother Mary is around, it will be around,” Mudlock concluded.