Funeral Industry News Funeral Industry Press Releases

NFDA Announces Meet the Mentors Program Attendees

February 3, 2014

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

NFDA Announces Meet the Mentors Program Attendees

Last week, the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) announced the names of the 50 funeral professionals who will have an opportunity to learn from three leading funeral directors and network with like-minded peers during the Association’s Meet the Mentors Program on March 17 and 18 at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta, Ga. Meet the Mentors is being held in cooperation with the Funeral Service Foundation.

NFDA-member licensed funeral directors and embalmers under the age of 40 had an opportunity to enter a drawing for a chance to participate in this exclusive program. The names of the 50 participants were announced the week of January 27 through video drawings posted on the NFDA website and social media sites. The attendees are:

·         Jason R. Abner, Heritage Funeral Home, Indian Trail, N.C.

·         Andrea Armintrout, Lane Family Funeral Homes, Austintown, Ohio

·         Shaylene Barrus, Big Sky Cremations & Twitchell Funeral Service, East Helena, Mont.

·         Matthew R. Bailey, B.C. Bailey Funeral Home, Wallingford, Conn.

·         Katy P. Beard, Green Funeral Home, Danbury, Conn.

·         Carl F. Brendel, The Good Funeral Home, Altoona, Penn.

·         M. Kelly Byrd, Gordon Funeral Service, Monroe, N.C.

·         Anthony J. Cantalupo, Bruswick Memorial Home, East Brunswick, N.J.

·         Kevin Comber, Bradley Funeral Home, Marlton, N.J.

·         Jeffrey Conforti, Piasecki-Althaus Funeral Home, Kenosha, Wis.

·         Jeffrey L. Cox, Waasatch Lawn Mortuary, Salt Lake City, Utah

·         Brad Crowther, Dahl Funeral Chapel, Bozeman, Mont.

·         John Daviston, McKoon Funeral Home & Crematory, Newnan, Ga.

·         Gerado “Jerry” Delgadillo, Guerra Gutierrez Mortuary, Los Angeles, Calif.

·         Thomas J. DeMarco, M. David Demarco Funeral Home, Monroe Twp., N.J.

·         Peter Dilwith, Mililani Memorial Park & Mortuary, Wahiawa, Hawaii

·         Brent Dotson, Dotson Funeral Home, Maryville, Tenn.

·         David A. Durston, Zaagman Memorial Chapel, Grand Rapids, Mich.

·         Joseph Aaron Ellison, Ellison-Cleckler Funeral Home, Clanton, Ala.

·         Brian Folsom, Folsom Funeral Home, Dedham, Mass.

·         Madison M. Fox, Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory, Washington, Ill.

·         Emily Gordon, Spadaccino & Leo P. Gallagher & Son Community Funeral Home, Monroe, Conn.

·         Cyrise Hall, Brampton Funeral Home & Cemetery, Brampton, Ontario, Canada

·         Paul Hutchison, Mattson Funeral Home, Forest Lake, Minn.

·         Jill Bradley Ingram, Bradley Funeral Home, Marlton, N.J.

·         Jeffrey D. Jones, Townsend Brothers Funeral Home, Dublin, Ga.

·         Clay Jorgensen, Memorial Mortuaries, Murray, Utah

·         Chad Keefe, Keefe Funeral Home, Cambridge, Mass.

·         Tim Keefe, Keefe Funeral Home, Cambridge, Mass.

·         Christopher Keyes, Adams Funeral Home, Decatur, Mich.

·         * Nathan Miller, Thomas McAfee Funeral Homes, Easley, S.C.

·         Joshua J. Myer, Chaput-Buoy Funeral Home, Concordia, Kan.

·         Randolph R. “Randy” Nash Jr., Spring Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery, Nashville, Tenn.

·         Fiona Anne Nicholson, Gutterman Warheit Memorial Chapel, Boca Raton, Fla.

·         Ludmilla De Oliveira, Ferdinand Funeral Homes & Crematory, Miami, Fla.

·         Corey Parker, Hall Davis and Son Funeral Service, Baton Rouge, La.

·         Ashley Price, William Rowe Price Funeral Home, Meyersdale, Penn.

·         Amber Beattie Randall, Crestview Memorial Funeral Home, Adamsville, Ala.

·         Jerri Reed, Calahan Funeral Home, Chicago, Ill.

·         Whitney Rhodus, Brandon G. Thompson Funeral Home, Hammond, La.

·         Krystal Riddell, George Darte Funeral Chapel, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

·         Christopher Ross, Moore-Cortner Funeral Home, Winchester, Tenn.

·         Samantha Rossi, Muzyka & Son Funeral Home, Chicago, Ill.

·         Katharine H. Samford, Williams Funeral Home, Lawrenceville, Va.

·         Abby Shurtz, Smith Family Mortuaries, Derby, Kan.

·         Mitch Steinhoff, Eidsness Funeral Home, Brookings, S.D.

·         David Twiford Jr., Twiford Fuenral Home, Manteo, N.C.

·         Brent Warner, Carter-Trent Funeral Home, Kingsport, Tenn.

·         Crystal Weaver, Heritage Funeral Home, Spokane, Wash.

·         Joseph L. Wood, Shook Farmer Funeral Home, Roseland, N.J.

About the NFDA Meet the Mentors Program

The 50 selected attendees will have an opportunity to meet and learn from three of the country’s leading funeral directors: Carey Bliley of Bliley Funeral Homes in Richmond, Va.; F. Daniel “Dan” Moloney Jr. of Moloney Family Funeral Homes in Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.; and Dana Jones Wynn of Jones-Wynn Funeral Home and Crematory in Villa Rica, Ga.

During Meet the Mentors, each mentor will give a presentation during which they share lessons they have learned while building successful and fulfilling careers in funeral service. Following a panel discussion featuring Bliley, Moloney and Wynn, participants will have an opportunity to personally engage with each mentor in small group discussions.

There is no cost to participate in the Meet the Mentors program itself; the 50 individuals selected to attend only pay for their transportation to the program. The cost of the registration fee, access to the three mentors, one night of lodging, a reception and dinner the night before the program, and continental breakfast and lunch the day of the program – a $699 value – has been generously covered through a grant from the Funeral Service Foundation.

Complete details about the NFDA Meet the Mentors program, including the videos announcing the winners, can be found on the NFDA website,

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving 19,700 individual members who represent more than 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and 39 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

*Mark A. LaPlante of Lyndahl Funeral Home in Green Bay, Wis., is unable to attend Meet the Mentors. Nathan Miller of Thomas McAfee Funeral Homes in Easley, S.C., was selected as an alternate.