Kiwanettes of Oceanside honor Towers Funeral Home


The Kiwanettes of Oceanside will host an awards dinner at Lambrou’s Catering Hall, in Island Park, on April 11, and will present its Public Service Award to Towers Funeral Home.

Currently, the staff at the Oceanside funeral home consists of funeral directors, Oceanside resident Bill Kallinikos, his daughter Krissie, son-in-law George, Amy Dagger, Frank Criscuolo, and resident Mary Mery who will be a licensed funeral director this coming July. In addition, the support staff of funeral assistants and greeters further enhance the services provided to the community. Led by Chris Pappas and Tim Kirkwood, they ensure the comfort and needs of families during visitation sessions and scheduled funeral services are properly addressed. Kallinikos likens their business to a ministry, emphasizing their role during crises

“We’ve been through very difficult times,” Kallinikos said. “Three specific ones that I could mention, was TWA flight (Trans World Airlines) 800 when we had to be involved with that.”

Trans World Airlines Flight 800 (TWA800) was a Boeing 747-100 that exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near East Moriches on July 17, 1996.

“There were some community members involved with that, but as a community, we had to volunteer our services,” Kallinikos continued. “The second was, of course, hurricane Sandy, where we had our physical business as a staging point for the National Guard and for everybody to respond to the needs of the community. The third one, of course, was Covid. On any given day, we had to help people who would never see their loved ones again, because of the situation and also expose ourselves to the element and having to buckle down and do it and serve. There, on any given day we had 60 to 70 bodies within the building. It was a harrowing experience.”

The white-columned building of Towers Funeral Home stands as a testament to decades of service and unwavering support for families in their most trying times. Towers Funeral Home, founded in 1933 by Earl Towers, has been a cornerstone of the community, offering solace, comfort, and a guiding hand during moments of grief.

Earl grew up in the small Canadian town of St. Thomas where his father was a funeral director. He bought the white-columned building in 1933, at the corner of Long Beach and Foxhurst Roads, and started the second generation of Towers Funeral Home in Oceanside.

The Towers family’s commitment to service was passed down through generations, with Robert “Bob” Towers assuming leadership. Robert, the son of Earl and Florence Towers, became the third-generation owner of Towers Funeral Home. He completed his military obligation in the 1960s, which included a tour of duty in Vietnam.

He later enrolled in the mortuary science program in New York City. For over half a century, he served Oceanside and neighboring communities, building a stellar reputation for services performed by Towers Funeral Home.

Robert’s tenure, which spanned over fifty years, saw Towers Funeral Home become synonymous with professionalism and empathy, setting the standard for funeral services in the region.

In 1993, the torch was passed to Kallinikos, whose destiny was intertwined with the funeral service industry from a young age. Kallinikos completed his mortuary science studies and was hired by Robert Towers to fulfill his mandatory residency assignment. Bill, having family in funeral service, knew from age 10 that he would one day become a funeral director.

“From a little boy 10 years old, I was exposed to the funeral service and I was always amazed at what was able to be produced for people to have final farewells and have their closures and I always said I wanted to do that,” he said.

Robert Towers retired in 2009 and entrusted selling the business of Towers Funeral Home to Kallinikos. During the transitional period, Kallinikos daughter Krissie, and his son-in-law George Frangiadakis, married to Bill’s eldest daughter Karolyn, joined the staff of Towers Funeral Home. They are both now veteran funeral directors, managing and overseeing the day-to-day operation, and proudly serving the families of Oceanside and neighboring communities while maintaining the high standards set by the Towers family.

“It was also a continuation of what Bob was doing for the community,” Kallinikos said. “He was always there for the community. It was a continuation of the Towers tradition. Hopefully we assisted in adding a little more to it, because we had myself, my daughter, my son-in-law, whereas, it was just Bob at one time but it was an extension of what he was doing over the years.”

Beyond their primary services, Towers Funeral Home actively engages with the community, sponsoring youth and adult programs, supporting charitable organizations, and standing in solidarity with local emergency services during times of crisis.

“We try to sponsor many teams, little leagues and rollerblading and whatever we can to help the community in that respect,” Kallinikos said. “You name it, we’ll do it. People come to us; we will help them out as much as we can. We always try to reach out within the community during high holy times and during Christmas. We have a memorial tree and we invite people to come in and help decorate the tree and get good memories to let them deal with their grief and their loss. People come from year to year and they continue to come. There’s a lot behind the scenes. There really is.”