ConnectingDirectors.com Reader Named American Funeral Director of the Year

December 1, 2011
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WALL, N.J. – American Funeral Director magazine recently announced that Kenneth R. Howe won its 2011 Funeral Director of the Year award.

Howe has been a funeral director for more than 25 years and is chief executive officer of Holman Howe Funeral Homes in Missouri. Howe was a sure fit for this year’s Funeral Director of the Year award because of his tenacity, his dedication to his family and profession, his involvement within his community and his desire to educate and inspire future funeral professionals.

“I am very honored to receive this prestigious award,” Howe said. “While the ultimate compliment is the reward I receive when a family selects our services, it is a wonderful addition to be recognized by my peers in funeral service. Any award of this nature is a team recognition, and on behalf of our team I say ‘thank you.'”

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“We are honored to present Mr. Howe with our Funeral Director of the Year award,” said Tanya Kenevich, editor of Kates-Boylston Publications, the company that publishes American Funeral Director, which is a nationwide magazine that has been helping funeral professionals succeed and serve since 1877. “His passion for his profession and the families he serves is very impressive; Mr. Howe truly encompasses what this award is all about.”

Judging criteria for this award included:

  • Number of years in position
  • Active involvement in the community
  • Role model for funeral service
  • Approach to funeral service and working with families
  • Business acumen in sales/marketing/customer service

In addition to Howe winning the 2011 Funeral Director of the Year award, American Funeral Director announced three runners-up:

  • Thomas F. Fitzgerald, owner of the Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory in Rockford, Ill. Fitzgerald, a third-generation funeral director, runs his funeral home with his wife, Maureen, and his son Patrick. Fitzgerald’s career as a funeral director has spanned five decades, and he has won many industry awards during his time as owner of Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory.

  • John W. Ford, owner of Alderson Funeral Homes in Westbury, Conn. Ford, who has been in funeral service for 41 years, is very involved within his community and is a certified disaster coordinator for Connecticut, as well as a member of the Region 1 Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team.

  • J.P. Ducro IV, owner of Ducro Funeral Services in Ashtabula, Ohio. Ducro became a funeral director in 1994, and over the years he has taken on full responsibility for Ducro Funeral Services, especially since the death of his father (known as Pete) in May. Ducro is often seen at community events and has created a name for himself and his business; Ducro Funeral Services operates two funeral homes, a cemetery, separate human and pet crematories, a limousine service and a flower shop.

Batesville Casket Co., based in Batesville, Ind., sponsored the award, and it had words of praise for all the finalists and the winner. “Funeral service is filled with extraordinary people who have committed their lives to serving others and are making a real difference in their communities,” said Kim Dennis, president of Batesville. “Rarely do they seek the spotlight, so it is our honor to recognize these individuals for their outstanding service.”

A series of articles on the runners-up was published in the November issue of American Funeral Director, and the winner was announced in the December issue. To subscribe to the magazine, visit http://www.katesboylston.com.

American Funeral Director is published by Kates-Boylston Publications, which is also the publisher of American Cemetery magazine and Funeral Service Insider. The company has been helping funeral professionals succeed and serve since 1877. Learn more at http://www.katesboylston.com.

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