Despite the major problems this caused in the area, Jim Sullivan, the owner of the funeral home, said the crash didn’t actually cause much damage, compared to a fire that started following the crash.
Sullivan said although there was no major structural damage to the building, time may be running out for his business, which has been in his family for nearly 100 years.
The business was started by his grandfather in 1924, and has been passed down, with Jim Sullivan eventually taking over the business. But now, his three grown kids have found careers elsewhere.
“I’m lucky. My kids each have good jobs. They’re happy,” he said. So now, at the age of 72, he’s thinking of selling the two-story funeral home, seen as a valuable plot of land. Sullivan said he thinks, given neighborhood construction, the site will be turned into condos.
“I never though I would be here this long. I came for one day in 1970 I guess it was,” Sullivan said. “My mother asked me to give my father a hand. I came for one day and I’ve been here ever since. I had just got out of the Army and needed a job and that’s how they reeled me in.”
Sullivan said it’s less about the crash and more about the progression of time and rising land values in San Francisco. “I’m getting ready to retire. I am semi-retired, but I’m going to retire fully, maybe in a year, so we’ll see what happens.
Sullivan’s Funeral Home has seen funeral trolleys roll out caskets and families to Colma, and was one of the first funeral homes to care for those who died during the AIDS crisis.
“The funeral home here was one of the first to have to deal with families where their loved ones were dying of AIDS, so I think that perhaps was very challenging for Mr. Sullivan and his family,” said funeral director Fred Shevchenko. “But they got through it and here we are, still on our 90th year.”
Sullivan said they had five broken windows, three broken doors and some problems with the building’s roof following the crash and fire.