New York State Funeral Directors Association

Joanne D. Thorpe, 68, passed away on December 3, 2016. Joanne is the mother of Tiffany J. Morley of Thomas E. Burger Funeral Home, Inc., in Rochester.

Joseph J. Smith, a longtime resident of Mahopac, NY passed away on Tuesday December 6, 2016 at the age of 83. Joseph is the father of NYSFDA Member Joseph Smith. Mr. Smith was born in Archbald, PA on October 10, 1933, the son of Joseph L. and Mary McGee Smith. He retired as Director of Financial Reporting from IBM Corp. after a long and distinguished career with the company. He also served as a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Joe was a parishioner of St. John The Evangelist Church in Mahopac and was a former Eucharistic Minister there, along with his wife, Jean.

Ferdinand "Fred" Johnstone passed away on November 27, 2016. Fred was the owner of Johnstone Funeral Chapels, Inc. in New York, NY. 

Robert Richard "Dick" Walker, 78, died on November 5, 2016. Dick was the former owner of R. W. Walker Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Plattsburgh and was a licensed funeral director for more than 50 years. Dick dedicated himself fully to the profession. He was a past Regional Governor and Board member of NYSFDA, was the past President of the North Star Funeral Directors Association, and was a member of the Order of The Golden Rule.

Joseph M. Velotti Sr., 76, died on November 5, 2016. Joseph was the father of Joseph M. Velotti Jr. of Roslyn Heights Funeral Home in Roslyn Heights.

Theresa C. Flooks, 90, passed away on November 3, 2016. Theresa was the mother of NYS Tribute Foundation past chairman, William F. Flooks, Jr., of Beecher Funeral Home in Pleasantville. 

Jeffrey Smith, Jr., 84, died on November 2, 2016. He joined the family businesses of H. P. Smith & Son more than sixty years ago and has been actively employed there since, with the exception of two years active duty (1952-1954) in the US Army, during the Korean Conflict. He and his brother became active in the management of the business in 1956. He was a member of Steuben County, New York State and National Funeral Directors Association.

Dwain Caunitz, 52, passed away on October 18, 2016 after a short battle with cancer. He was the husband of Vesta Zaichenko-Caunitz of PrePlan.

James A. Barnhart, 72, died unexpectedly on October 9, 2016 in Asheville, NC while spending time with his family. Jim graduated from Simmons School of Mortuary Science in 1964 and began working for C.H. Landers Funeral Chapel in Sidney that same year. In 1972, Jim purchased the funeral home from Charles Landers and together with his wife, Carol, owned and operated the funeral chapel until his retirement in 2015. Jim held numerous positions in the Leatherstocking Funeral Directors Association and served on the Budget and Finance Committee of NYSFDA.

David L. Monroe, 85, passed away on October 7, 2016. At a very early age, Dave knew that he wanted to be a funeral director. While in high school, Dave began working for Leonard Hall Funeral Home in Delhi. Later, Dave began working for the Bookhout Funeral Home and eventually bought the funeral home. He owned and operated the Bookhout Funeral Home for many years until his retirement in 1997.

Deaconess Eva W. Lane, passed away on October 9, 2016. She was the mother of Milton Lane of Paul Lane Funeral Home, Inc., in Jamaica.

Roy A. Solace, 78,passed away on September 19, 2016. Roy was the former owner of Perry Funeral Home in Lynbrook, NY.

Donald E. Kalec, Sr., 85, of Elmira, NY died peacefully on August 17, 2016. He graduated from Simmons School of Embalming in 1951 and received his funeral director license in 1952. In 1956 he and wife the late Regina Horka Kalec purchased the CL Davis Funeral Home and established the Kalec Funeral Home Inc. Don's son, Donald E. Kalec, Jr. is a current member of NYSFDA and the owner of the Kalec Funeral Home Inc.

Irene Rose Kwiecinski, 92, passed away on August 12, 2016. Irene was the mother of Diane Roberts, wife of NYSFDA past president Brian A. Roberts of Roberts & Enea Family Funeral Home in Dolgeville. Her arrangements were under the guidance of her son and son-in-law Edward J. Kwiecinski and Brian A. Roberts, funeral directors.

Teresa "Terry Ann" Ann Scarano, 59, Passed away May 27, 2016 in the Bronx, after a courageous two year battle with cancer. Terry Ann worked for Service Corporation International of New York where she dedicated and devoted her professional life of 30 years as a Licensed Funeral Director & Market Manager.

Alice "Sally" Sigrid Bidleman, 90, passed away on April 24, 2016. Sally and her husband, Porter E. Bidleman, LFD, owned the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont for over 25 years. Sally was also the mother of PrePlan administrator, Beth Burlingame.

Mario J. Colucci, 89 of Niagara Falls, NY passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 10, 2016 at Mt. St. Mary’s Hospital. Mario was a lifelong resident of Niagara Falls, NY and attended local schools. He received his high school diploma in 1947 from Trott Vocational in Niagara Falls, NY and graduated from the McAllister School of Mortuary Science in New York City in 1949. In 1958, Mario established the M.J. Colucci Funeral Chapel located on 19th Street in Niagara Falls and served the community for 56 years. In 2004, he was very proud when his son expanded to open their new funeral chapel located in the Town of Niagara. Mario was a member of the Erie-Niagara Funeral Directors Association, New York State Funeral Directors Association, and the National Funeral Directors Association.

Gerald W. Chestney, 80, of Pine Plains, passed away on April 3, 2016. Jerry came to work as a funeral director for Peck & Peck Funeral Homes in Copake and Pine Plains in 1958. He eventually became the owner of the funeral homes in 1985. In 1985, Jerry was also honored with the opportunity to purchase Dapson Funeral Home in Rhinebeck. Jerry was a member of the Dutchess, Putnam, Ulster Funeral Directors Association and NYSFDA.

Michael J. Torsone, 62, of Poughkeepsie died March 18, 2016. Michael graduated from the Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science, class of 1973. Upon graduating from Simmons, he became a Licensed Funeral Director-Manager with the family owned business, Michael Torsone Memorial Funeral Home for 36 years.

Lottie K. Weldon passed away on Thursday, February 11, 2016. Lottie was the co-founder and president of George H. Weldon Funeral Home, Inc., of New York City, and mother of NYSFDA Government Affairs Committee member and MetFDA Board member, George Weldon, Jr.

Herman J. Sandles, 83, of Islip, passed away January 18, 2016. Herman was founder and owner of the Sandles Funeral Home in Islip Terrace, NY for over 50 years.

Mamma Rosa Ferrari (Panetta), 91, passed away on January 23, 2016. She was the grandmother of John Ferrari, owner of Ferrari Funeral Home, LLC, in Schenectady.

Robert D. Gray Jr., passed away on January 26, 2016. The career path Bob chose was well suited to his patience, gentlemanly nature, and his true sense of compassion. He graduated from Simmons School of Embalming in 1968 and served on the Military Honor Guard in the Reserves while he worked as a funeral director in Skaneateles. He established the Robert D. Gray Funeral Home in 1975 and the Gray House Bed & Breakfast in 1990. He was a member and past president of the Onondaga-Oswego Funeral Directors Association.