Funeral Industry News

Texas Funeral Director Wins the “Funeral Director of the Year”

December 13, 2016

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Texas Funeral Director Wins the “Funeral Director of the Year”

American Funeral Director Recognizes Velma Sue De Leon with Prestigious Award

WALL, N.J. – American Funeral Director magazine recently announced that Velma Sue De Leon has won its 2016 Funeral Director of the Year award.

De Leon and her husband Leon are founders and owners of Memorial Funeral Home, which has locations in San Juan and Edinburg, Texas. She was selected because of her efforts on behalf of the communities she serves, as well as her innovative approach to running and growing her business. She is profiled in the December issue of the magazine and was on hand to receive her award at the Eleventh Annual Funeral Service Business Plan Conference, which was held in New Orleans in early December.

De Leon, 59, has been a licensed funeral director since 1991. She now operates two funeral homes, an event center, a flower shop, a cremation facility and a pet funeral home and crematory.

De Leon was selected from among nominations from funeral directors from throughout the country, said Allison Sullivan, publisher of Kates-Boylston Publications, the company that publishes American Funeral Director, a nationwide magazine that has been helping funeral professionals succeed and serve since 1877.

“Mrs. De Leon’s commitment to the communities she serves embodies what the funeral profession is all about,” Sullivan said. “The De Leon’s support for education and the people of Rio Grande Valley is impressive.”

Judging criteria for the award included: business successes, challenges overcome, client relations and community involvement.

In addition to De Leon winning the 2016 award, American Funeral Director announced three runners-up:

• Steve Pierce, president of Muelbach Funeral Home in Kansas City, Missouri, and Skradski Funeral Home in Kansas City, Kansas, who combines the compassion of a traditional funeral director with forward-thinking management to bring his business into the 21st Century.

• Victor March, president of CEO of Marcorp Ltd., which operates March Funeral Homes in Baltimore. March and his family are founders of Roberta’s House, a nonprofit organization that helps children and families in her city cope with the devastating aftermath of death.

• Louie “Tom” Luzod, funeral director at Holy Angels Funeral Center/Sorensen Chapel in Hayward, California, who works to ensure his facility is a resource and a source of comfort for the community it serves.

A series of articles about the runners-up was published in the November issue of American Funeral Director. The winner was announced with a cover story in the December issue.

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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