Meet the Man of the Year 2013
by Ed Wendell
Aug 21, 2013 | 2247 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Over the past few years, I have had the good fortune of being involved in the selection process of individuals, groups, organizations and businesses that deserve to be honored at the annual celebration of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. This event is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the best of the best that our community has to offer.

This year’s event will take place on Friday, September 20, at Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant. Tickets are $65 per person, which includes a four-course meal, dessert and free beer and wine. If you’ve ever been to one of these events then you already know that Joe Abbracciamento does not skimp on the portions – the food just keeps coming and coming and no one leaves hungry. And if you’ve ever eaten there before, you know that the food is delicious. Visit the WRBA’s website ( for details on how to purchase tickets or call (718) 296-3735.

This year, we are very happy to be honoring a good friend to Woodhaven as our Man of the Year 2013. Mr. Paul Rudolph, Jr. is the proprietor of Walker Funeral Home. He is active in the community and associated with several organizations. He has worked with the Kiwanis and he also serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation.

Rudolph is a familiar face at our Holiday Tree lighting ceremony each year, and it has become a tradition that he leads the neighborhood children in a performance of – what else? – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Walker Funeral Home was established in 1899, making it one of a small handful of businesses in our community that have reached the century mark. Originally, it sat on Jamaica Avenue between 86th and 87th streets, currently the office of Attorney James Rooney (the office with the clock in the window). Next time you pass by, take a good look and you can easily picture it as a funeral home.

The Walker family opened a second location in 1942, with more space and ample parking. The Jamaica Avenue location stayed active into the 60s and the “new” location remains open to this day, two blocks south of Jamaica Avenue on 80th Street.

Founder Nathanial Walker had three sons who ran the business for a few decades, but none of their children wanted to carry on. And so, Paul’s parents (Paul Sr. and Jesse) entered the picture in 1983, taking on the business and bringing it into the 21st Century. And it is their good, caring nature which has served them and our community well.

Walker Funeral Home’s services are affordable and you can also arrange direct cremations. They are also adept at handling funeral services from many different cultures and religions – Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. You can call Rudolph at (718) 296-4343 or email him with questions at

When we announced that he would be honored, one of our commenters on Facebook wrote, “We had my dad's services held there and they went above and beyond. What genuine caring people.”

In Rudolph’s line of work, you are quite often dealing with people at a most difficult time in their lives and it’s a testament to Paul and his family that this is a sentiment echoed by many residents of Woodhaven, past and present.

It has been my experience with Paul Rudolph, Jr. that he is always looking to lend a hand to the community, and we are very honored that he will be Woodhaven’s Man of the Year in 2013.

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