Frederick Kellogg Gifford III, funeral director and sales representative, The Dodge Company, South Berwick, Maine, died February 28, 2017, at age 57. Gifford graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Southern Maine and a mortuary science degree from FINE Mortuary College. He became a licensed funeral director and took over his father’s business with The Dodge Company. He is survived by wife Yuhong; stepchildren Libo, Zachary and Taryn; father Frederick; and stepmother Susan.
Gregory D. Bridgeforth, funeral director and embalmer, Gaines Funeral Home, Maple Heights, Ohio, died February 27, 2017, at age 65. He is survived by daughter Tracy, three grandchildren and siblings Phillip, Carlesa, Geraldine and James.
Joel Levingston, owner and funeral director, Levingston Funeral Home, Groves, Texas, died February 26, 2017, at age 85. Levingston was a graduate of Landig Mortuary College in Houston. He held both Texas funeral director and Texas embalmer licenses. Levingston served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as head of a Graves Registration Lab. He established Levingston Funeral Home upon his return in 1955. Today, his children, Kathy and Jay, run the business. Levingston was named by the Groves Jaycees as businessperson of the year twice, funeral director of the year by the Texas Funeral Directors Association and many other awards. He served on the boards of First Bank and Trust, Doctor’s Hospital and Groves Senior Citizen Center. He was a member and past president of Groves Rotary Club and member and past president of Groves Chamber of Commerce and Groves Masonic Lodge 1315. Levingston also served as Groves civil defense director for many years following the loss of his first funeral home to a tornado that struck in 1957. At one time, he served as emergency management director over the entire Gulf Coast. He served as commissioner for Drainage District 7 for eight years, during which time the levee protecting the area was built. He also served 20 years on Drainage District 3. Levingston was appointed to the state and national D-Mort teams; he was activated during the 9/11 attacks and served in New York City. He is survived by wife Portia, daughter Kathy, son Jay and four grandchildren.
Osborne Hyde Owens, funeral director, Rogers and Breece Funeral Home, Fayetteville, North Carolina, died February 24, 2017, at age 80. Owens served in the U.S. Army at the end of the Korean War. He attended William & Mary College-Norfolk and graduated from Cincinnati College of Embalming in 1962. He worked in several funeral homes – Lady’s in Kannapolis, Wilkerson in Concord, Hankins and Whittington in Charlotte – and owned a funeral home in Salisbury and Swan Quarter. Due to health issues, he sold the funeral homes and worked with Rogers and Breece in Fayetteville for about 15 years. Owens was a member of Benson American Legion Post 109, extremely active with the Concord Post and a member of Forty & Eight. He was a VFW Life Member and served as commander. Owens was a 32nd Degree Mason of the Oasis of Charlotte and active member of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows. He is survived by wife Rebecca, daughter Carrie and two grandchildren.
Larry M. Jenkins, funeral director and sales manager, Lakeview Memorial Garden, Avon Park, Florida, died February 23, 2017, at age 61. Jenkins served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps just prior to relocating to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to join his father in operating the family-owned Highland Park Cemetery. In 2000, he transferred his family to Florida with Service Corporation International and later served as president of the Florida Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association. In 2009, Jenkins joined Northstar Memorial Group, where he later became sales manager at Lakeview Memorial Gardens. He is survived by wife Leslie, daughter Ashley and son Nicholas.
John R. Jarred, owner and operator, J&S Funeral Director Services, Indianapolis, Indiana, died February 23, 2017, at age 57. Jarred graduated from the mortuary science program at Vincennes University in 1979. He is survived by mother Judith, brother Jeff and sisters Julie and Valerie.
Douglas J. “Doug” Luczak, owner and funeral director, Gephart Funeral Home, Bay City, Michigan, died February 22, 2017, at age 54. Luczak graduated in 1986 from Wayne State University Department of Mortuary Science. He was a licensed funeral director and co-owner of Gephart Funeral Home along with his father, Gerald A. Luczak, and brother David. Luczak was an active member of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association and past president of District 7. He was also a member of Bay City Moose Lodge 169, Knights of Columbus Council 414, Bay City Lions Club, Secord Lake Eagles Club Aerie 4121 and St. Helen Snowpackers Snowmobile Club. Luczak also sponsored numerous community events and baseball teams. He is survived by wife Cynthia, children Matthew and Megan, and mother Thelma.
Parker Thomas “Tom” Irwin, retired funeral director, Broadway Mortuary, Wichita, Kansas, died February 21, 2017, at age 80. Irwin earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Emporia State Teachers College. After teaching for one year, he made the choice to become a mortician like his parents and attended mortuary school in Dallas. Irwin joined the staff of Broadway Mortuary, from which he retired 43 years later. He is survived by wife Janice, son Scott, daughter Amy and two grandsons.
David Jonathan Miles, owner and funeral director, Miles Funeral Service, Winfield, Kansas, died February 20, 2017, at age 69. During his teenage years, Miles worked in all aspects of the family businesses – funeral home, furniture store and hardware store – and also served with Miles Ambulance Service. He attended Wichita State University and graduated from Southwestern College in 1970 with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biology. Miles worked for Vulcan Chemical Research Lab in Wichita for three years, then attended and graduated from Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma, with a degree in funeral service. He was employed as a funeral director and embalmer for Grace Memorial Chapel in Ponca City for three years. In 1978, he returned to Winfield, where he built his first funeral home, operating as Miles Memorial Chapel. In 1992, Miles built a replacement funeral home in Winfield, operating as Miles Funeral Service. He had been affiliated with the Lions Club, Winfield Rotary, Winfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Cowley County Historical Society, and was a member of both NFDA and the Kansas Funeral Directors Association. Miles also served a term on the board of Unified School District 465 in Winfield. He is survived by wife Lori; children Rachel, Jason, Julie, Candice, Dustin, Kiersten and Travis; and four grandchildren.
Ovila “Bud” DesRochers, retired funeral director, Largo, Florida, died February 19, 2017, at age 83. DesRochers graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 1952. He worked as an associate for M.J. Suerth Funeral Home in Chicago for 12 years before moving to Wilmington. In 1963, following the death of O.L. Addleman, DesRochers purchased Addleman Funeral Home and continued to run the business as DesRochers Funeral Home and Ambulance Service until 1979. During his years in Wilmington, he was involved in many civic organizations, including Rotary, Lions Club and Masonic Lodge. He served on the Wilmington School Board and was active with the Boy Scouts and Wilmington Little League. After selling the funeral and ambulance business in August 1979, DesRochers retired and he and his wife moved to Largo, Florida, where they have resided for the past 38 years. He is survived by wife Lola; children Dee, Michael, Debra, James, Pam, Lynette, Terry, Doug and Bobbi; 19 grandchildren; and 22 great-grandchildren.