Funeral Service Foundation Welcomes Six New Trustees and Elects its 2016-2017 Executive Committee

January 17, 2017
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Brookfield, Wis. – The Funeral Service Foundation’s Board of Trustees welcomed its six new trustees and elected its 2016-2017 executive committee at the annual fall meeting held during the NFDA International Convention & Expo last month in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“Our board has a three-generation legacy of transformative leadership, which underscores our mission to fund projects and programs that support all of funeral service in building meaningful relationships in the community,” said Foundation Executive Director Danelle O’Neill. “Our newest trustees hold deep respect for our profession, and bring with them an impressive scope and breadth of experience. Each is a solid addition to our board, and we are grateful for their commitments to serve.”

The newly elected members are Robert Biggins, CFSP, owner, Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home, Rockland, Massachusetts; Joan Billman, CFSP, owner and director, Fleming & Billman Funeral Directors, Ashtabula, Ohio; Jim Breaux senior vice president, Live Oak Bank, Wilmington, North Carolina; Justin Baxley, president, Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, Ocala, Florida; Jim Busch, president, Busch Funeral & Crematory Services, Cleveland, Ohio; and Kim Medici Shelquist, senior vice president-planning and development, Homesteaders Life Company, West De Moines, Iowa.

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The Board of Trustees also elected Bill Wappner, president, Wappner Funeral Directors and Crematory, Mansfield, Ohio, as the 2016-2017 Foundation chair; NFDA Immediate Past President Bob Arrington, owner, Arrington Funeral Group, Jackson, Tennessee, as chair-elect; and Steven Gackenbach, group president of memorialization at Matthews International, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as secretary/treasurer. Gerard “Jerry” Schoen III, management/community outreach director, Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, New Orleans, Louisiana, will serve as immediate past president.

Representatives from across the funeral service spectrum serve as trustees on the Foundation’s board and volunteer their time and talents to advance the Foundation’s mission to support funeral service in building meaningful relationships with the families and the communities it serves. In accordance with its bylaws, the board consists of 60 percent NFDA-member funeral directors.

Ralph Buckner, CFSP, CPC, owner, Ralph Buckner Funeral Home & Crematory, Cleveland, Tennessee; Diana Duksa Kurz, owner, Duksa Family Funeral Homes, Newington, Connecticut; and Steve Shaffer, chief operating officer, Homesteaders Life Company, West Des Moines, Iowa, transitioned off the board, each after serving two three-year terms. They join the esteemed ranks of three generations of Funeral Service Foundation Trustees Emeriti.

About the Funeral Service Foundation – FuneralServiceFoundation.org

Since 1945, the Funeral Service Foundation has served as the profession’s philanthropic voice. As the charitable arm of the National Funeral Directors Association since 1997, the Foundation receives operational support from NFDA and donors across the profession to help advance its mission to support funeral service in building meaningful relationships with the families and the communities it serves.

Newly elected Foundation Trustees (l-r), Jim Breaux, Justin Baxley, Kim Medici Shelquist, Joan Billman and Bob Biggins.
Newly elected Foundation Trustees (l-r), Jim Breaux, Justin Baxley, Kim Medici Shelquist, Joan Billman and Bob Biggins.

2016-2016 Executive Committee (l-r): Secretary Treasurer Stephen Gackenbach, Chair Bill Wappner, Foundation Executive Director Danelle O’Neill, Chair-elect Bob Arrington and Immediate Past President Gerard “Jerry” Schoen III.
2016-2016 Executive Committee (l-r): Secretary Treasurer Stephen Gackenbach, Chair Bill Wappner, Foundation Executive Director Danelle O’Neill, Chair-elect Bob Arrington and Immediate Past President Gerard “Jerry” Schoen III.

2016 Trustees Emeriti (l-r): Steve Shaffer, Diana Duksa Kurz and Ralph Buckner.
2016 Trustees Emeriti (l-r): Steve Shaffer, Diana Duksa Kurz and Ralph Buckner.

2016-2017 Funeral Service Foundation Board of Trustees (front row, l-r): NFDA CEO Christine Pepper, Chair-elect Bob Arrington, Chair Bill Wappner, Foundation Executive Director Danelle O’Neill, Secretary Treasurer Stephen Gackenbach, Immediate Past President Gerard “Jerry” Schoen III and Chris Trainor. Back row (l-r): Dave McComb, David Mullen, Jim Breaux, Randy Schoedinger, Justin Baxley, Kim Medici Shelquist, Joan Billman, Victor March, Stephanie Kann, Sheri Richardson Stahl, Robert Biggins, Anthony Guerra and Jay Dodds.
2016-2017 Funeral Service Foundation Board of Trustees (front row, l-r): NFDA CEO Christine Pepper, Chair-elect Bob Arrington, Chair Bill Wappner, Foundation Executive Director Danelle O’Neill, Secretary Treasurer Stephen Gackenbach, Immediate Past President Gerard “Jerry” Schoen III and Chris Trainor. Back row (l-r): Dave McComb, David Mullen, Jim Breaux, Randy Schoedinger, Justin Baxley, Kim Medici Shelquist, Joan Billman, Victor March, Stephanie Kann, Sheri Richardson Stahl, Robert Biggins, Anthony Guerra and Jay Dodds.

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