New York State Funeral Directors Association

Albert Orsi passed away on December 29, 2014. Al was a licensed funeral director who was employed by Matthews International.

Tracey L. Spencer DelVecchio, 44, of Galway, NY, passed away on December 22, 2014. Tracey was the sister-in-law of NYSFDA Super Region B Director, Mark T. Phillips, of William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing and Cunniff Funeral Homes in Saratoga Springs.

William Mannix passed away on December 19, 2014. William was Mark Mannix's brother and Todd Mannix's father -- both of Cooperative Funeral Fund.

Andrew L. Fier passed away on December 18, 2014. Andrew was the past president of the Jewish Funeral Directors of America.

Michael D. Whelan, passed away on December 18, 2014, after a two year battle with pancreatic cancer. Michael was a licensed NYS funeral director for over 42 years and former owner and president of Whelan Bros. Funeral Home in Syracuse.

Warren J. Fitzgerald Sr., 78, formerly of Fitzgerald Funeral Home in Cohoes, passed away on September 28, 2014. Warren attended Simmons Mortuary School, where he received a scholarship given on a competitive basis from NYSFDA.

Frank D. “Dom” Cieri, passed away on December 16, 2014. Dom was the father of former NYSFDA Super Region C Director, and Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association past president, Frank J. Cieri, CFSP, licensed manager of Sisto Funeral Home, Inc., in The Bronx.

Deacon William J. Robinson, passed away on December 7, 2014. He was the father of Kenneth R. Brewster, CFSP of Crowe’s Funeral Home, Inc., in Jamaica, NY.

Robert J. Rogers, 74, of Syracuse, passed on November 28, 2014. Robert was the father-in-law of PrePlan Trustee, Delvena Rogers, of Owens-Pavlot & Rogers Funeral Service, Inc., in Clinton.

Rose D. Iocovozzi Seppi, 87, of Herkimer, passed away on November 27, 2014. Before her retirement, Rose was the president of V.J. Iocovozzi Funeral Home, Inc., in Frankfort; Petykiewicz, Iocovozzi & Burns Funeral Home in Herkimer; and Forget-Me-Not Pet Memorialization and Cremation Service in Herkimer. Rose was the mother of NYSFDA member Vincent De Paul Iocovozzi of V.J. Iocovozzi Funeral Home, Inc.

Jeanne Grazia, 70, of Islip, was killed by a drunk driver in a head-on collision when she was on her way home from work at the McCourt & Trudden Funeral Home, Inc., in Farmingdale on November 23, 2014.John J. Strong, Jr., Funeral Director and owner of Strong and Burns Funeral Home passed away at 77, on November 13, 2014 in Rome, NY. John graduated from Cornell University and Simmons School of Mortuary. He joined his mother in the Strong Funeral Home in 1958, then became owner in 1982.

Mary Anne Semski passed away on November 11, 2014, after a brief illness. She studied undertaking under her father, John J. Buszka and mother Sophia Buszka, founders of the John J. Buszka Funeral Home in Cheektowaga, which she took over in 1948. Mrs. Semski, who had the distinction of being one of New York State’s last licensed female Undertakers, received honorary membership from the Erie-Niagara Funeral Directors Association in 2013 and was a member of the NYSFDA, and NFDA. Until the time of her death, Mary was active and still attending continuing education classes.

Anna Marie Odorfer of Massapequa Park passed away on October 30, 2014. Anna was the mother of Anthony Speciale from Matthews Funeral Home Products.

Gordon A.Werner, 63, of Westhampton Beach, passed away suddenly on October 23, 2014. Gordon was the former owner of Lindenhurst Funeral Home and Follett & Werner Funeral Home.

Margaret V. Cecere, wife of NSFDA Board member Mike Cecere, Jr. and mother of Mike J. Cecere, died October 4, 2014.

Warren J. Fitzgerald Sr., 78, of Cohoes, died peacefully on September 28, 2014 at his residence. In 1963, Warren established the Fitzgerald Funeral Home in Cohoes and operated the funeral home with dignity and dedication, serving his community proudly.

David E. Donaldson, 73, of Zephyrhills, FL, and a native of Massena, passed away on September 10, 2014. After graduating from Simmons Institute, David became a funeral director with the family business, Donaldson Funeral Home in Massena, where he remained until moving to Florida. He also worked at funeral homes in Florida. David served as a St. Lawrence County Coroner for many years and was an E.M.T. Instructor in New York State.

Grant Murray Kennedy, 54, of Canandaigua, passed away on September 11, 2014. He was a licensed Funeral Director and owned and operated Kennedy & Son Funeral Home, Inc. from 1986 to 2008, in Canandaigua and Bloomfield. Grant was a member of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, Region II (DMORT) and responded to the Katrina disaster in New Orleans and the flight 800 aviation accident in New York.

Margaret Alice Parmele Caven, died peacefully at her home in Rochester on August 23, 2014, she was 98. Margaret and her husband John D. Caven, III, owned and operated her family's funeral home (Parmele Funeral Home) that her father started in 1907. Margaret will forever be remembered for her dedication to the funeral profession. When families called the funeral home, Margaret was the one who answered the phone and no matter the situation could ease anxiety with her calming, articulate manner. She afforded many funeral directors in Dutchess County the opportunity to perfect their trade while she observed in the background, a true class act. She knew that grieving families came first and she was always committed that. Margaret was and always will be considered the Matriarch of funeral service in Dutchess County and many funeral directors have her to thank for their success.

Myrle E. Knapp, of Elmira, went home to be with her Lord on August 24, 2014 surrounded by her family. "Yai Yai" as she was known, was the mother of John Knapp of Olthof Funeral Home, Inc., in Elmira.

Regina M. Kalec, 83, of Elmira, passed away on August 23, 2014. Regina was co-owner of the Kalec Funeral Home since 1956 and was the mother of NYSFDA member Donald Kalec, Jr.

Merrell A. Lane, 67, of Wheatfield, passed away on August 16, 2014. Merrell was a member and former district governor of NYSFDA, a member and former president of the Erie Niagara Funeral Directors Association, and a member of the Niagara County Funeral Directors Association. He was the second-generation owner of the Lane Funeral Home. He retired in 2010.

Mary P. (Walsh) Jendrzejczak, 89, of Amsterdam, passed away on July 26, 2014. In 1949, Mary's husband Vincent C. Jendrzejczak established the Jendrzejczak Funeral Home in Amsterdam. Vincent was a funeral director for almost 65 years until his death in June 2014. Mary assisted him at the funeral home, utilizing her skills of patience, gentleness, generosity and compassion to assist bereaved families.

Frank H. Simpson, 93, formerly of Kingston, passed away on May 28, 2014 in Florida. Frank was a graduate of Collier School of Embalming in New York City, and in 1952 founded the Frank. H. Simpson Funeral Home.

John A. (Jack) Fraser, 81, passed away on June 30, 2014. Jack was the father of NYS Tribute Foundation Board member, Rev. John Fraser of Holy Rosary Church (Archdiocese of New York) in Hawthorne, NY.

Maryann Hogan, 47, passed away on June 3, 2014. Despite her challenges she had a true zest for life and lived hers to the fullest. MaryAnn was the daughter of NYSFDA and NFDA past president John J. "Jack" Hogan, Jr., CFSP, and sister of current NYSFDA Board member and MetFDA past president Robert "Bob" Hogan.

Vincent C. Jendrzejczak, 89, of Amsterdam, passed away on June 1, 2014. In 1949, he established the Jendrzejczak Funeral Home in Amsterdam and was a funeral director for almost 65 years. He was a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, New York State Funeral Directors Association, Fulton-Montgomery Funeral Directors Association and the Adirondack Funeral Directors Association.

Sheng C. “George” Sung, 77, of North Syracuse, passed away on May 5, 2014. Sheng was the father of Tzewei Sung of New Comer Funeral Home.

Donald G. Colvin, 87, passed away on April 25, 2014. Donald was the former owner of the Colvin Funeral Home in Savannah and the Colvin-Robertson Funeral Home in Wolcott.

Frank Mathias Heller, 77, passed away on April 18, 2014. Frank, a graduate of Simmons Institute of Funeral Service, owned and operated the Heller Funeral Home in Schenevus since 1967. In 1995 he bought the E.J. Skinner Co. Funeral Chapel in Worcester, where he has enjoyed working side by side with his daughter, Kathleen and son-in-law, John Pietrobono.

Margaret "Marge" A. Larkin, 102, passed away on April 7, 2014. Marge was the mother of Mary McPhillips of Applebee-McPhillips Funeral Home, Inc., in Middletown, NY.

Vincent L. Rossi, 86, passed away on March 29, 2014 at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington, VT. Mr. Rossi was the father of funeral director, Vincent J. Rossi, of Betz, Rossi & Bellinger Family Funeral Home in Amsterdam.

Gregory J. Bruhn passed away on February 28, 2014. Gregory was a funeral director with O.B. Davis Funeral Homes in Miller Place.

Richard R. “Dick” Pensa of Las Vegas, formerly of Williston Park and Baldwin, passed away on February 24, 2014. Dick was a licensed funeral director and proprietor of Weigand-Pensa Funeral Home for many years.

Rev. Deacon Richard M. Dunlop, 62, passed away on February 24, 2014. Richard graduated from Simmons School of Mortuary Science. He served his residency at the Wagner Funeral Home in Ithaca, and worked his entire career as a licensed funeral director at the Ernest H. Parsons Funeral Home in Binghamton, until illness forced his retirement seven years ago. He was also the owner of Broome Monument Co. for 21 years.

Kevin M. Lynch, 64, of Clifton Park passed away in February 2014. Kevin was a Lt. Col. in the New York Guard, at the time of his death, Deputy Commander of the Tenth Brigade and served as a Police Officer with the Albany Police Department, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office and as a Captain of Police with the Conrail Police Department in Philadelphia, PA and Selkirk. He was a member of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team and was a Licensed Funeral Director for over 45 years.

David I. DeFriest, 97, passed away on February 6, 2014. Dave was the founder of the DeFriest Funeral Home in 1940 which later grew to include locations in Mattituck and Shelter Island. He served his profession well and was a Past President of MFDA, 1977-78.

Jean F. McCullough, 87, passed away on Friday, January 31, 2014. Jean was the mother of NYSFDA Deputy Executive Director, Randy L. McCullough.

Wesley C. "Bud" Hall passed away on January 29, 2014. Bud was the owner and funeral director of Hall Funeral Home in LaFayette, which was established by his father. He was also the owner and funeral director for many years of Briggs-Hall Memorial Home in Homer. Bud was also active in the Central New York Funeral Directors Association.