Leadership

VFDA Staff

Lobbyist
Angie Bezik

Angie Bezik originally founded Principle Advantage Government Relations Group, LLC, a Hampton Roads-based public relations and government relations firm, in 2009. Angie develops and implements successful strategies for legislation, budget items and project coordination with an array of clients at the state and local level, including clients within the alternative/renewable energy, health, technology, and transportation sectors, and local government and quasi-governmental authorities. Additionally, she works with businesses and organizations to develop strategic plans to enhance their profiles, missions and branding by making introductions to appropriate businesses, government officials and staff, community leaders and organizations.

Angie started her political and public relations career as the Legislative Director for a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. After seven years, she was recruited by a prominent Richmond-based lobbying firm to run its Hampton Roads office.

Through her career, Angie has established solid relationships with local, state, and federal representatives, departments and agencies, and business leaders. She currently serves on the Virginia Beach Board of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce; the Hampton Roads Association of Commercial Builders (HRACRE) Legislative Committee; and the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO); and the Roanoke River Basin Association (RRBA) Board of Directors. In 2013, she was chosen to serve on Governor Terence R. McAuliffe’s Technology Transition Team and currently serves as Chairman of the Public Awareness Committee of Champions for Children Hampton Roads, a 501(c) 3 whose mission is to eradicate child abuse and neglect in the Hampton Roads region.

Convention Director
Terrie Dean

Terrie Dean, Certified Business Etiquette, and International Protocol Consultant, has been active for over 40 years in marketing management and special event planning for the travel and tourism industry. She received certification at the Protocol School of Washington under the direction of Ms. Dorothea Johnson; a world recognized authority in business and social etiquette. She received International Protocol certification under the direction of Jonathan Moeller, Protocol Advisor to the President of the United States.   

Ms. Dean, a life-long native of the Shenandoah Valley, opened The Wishing Well over 14 years ago in Harrisonburg, VA and currently serves as the Owner and General Manager. The Wishing Well brings a unique business model to Central Virginia that encompasses; full-service travel, event planning, and floral design, all located under a single roof. The Wishing Well’s travel division is aligned with Virtuoso – the world’s largest luxury network of by-invitation-only travel agency members.    

Ms. Dean has also held positions as Marketing Director and Public Information Officer for the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport and Manager of Franchise Development for Carlson Companies, Inc., a $33 billion dollar privately held Fortune 500 Company. She also has held management positions with offices of American Express and served as the travel and events coordinator for GE Fanuc (a global joint venture of General Electric and Fanuc USA). While at GE Fanuc, Ms. Dean received the “Outstanding Customer Service Award” and became the first outside vendor ever to receive this recognition.   

Some of Ms. Dean’s more recognizable clients have included: Sissy Spacek, Jessica Lange, Sam Sheppard, Dave Matthews, John Grisham, and the legendary Mohammad Ali.      

Ms. Dean has functioned in the capacity of public relations liaison and served as an officer on numerous community service boards and committees. She has accepted public speaking engagements ranging from the topic of tourism to motivational topics, customer service and conducted classes for self-help.

President-Elect | 2021-2022
Bobby Gardner

From Floyd, VA

I have been a licensed Funeral Director for over 32 years, but it seems like I have been in the funeral business all my life. I literally grew up in the Funeral Home. I was 11 years old when my parents, Bobby L Gardner Sr and Mary Gray Gardner started Gardner Funeral Home. We lived
upstairs, and at that age I thought it was “cool” to dress up and go downstairs and act like a grown-up, helping the families we served. From that time on, I knew that funeral service is what I wanted to do (other than flying jets in the military).

As I have grown in the funeral profession, I realized it is not about “dress-up”, it is about service, care, and compassion for our families. They invite us into their lives at one of the most vulnerable times and they trust us to care for and honor the person they hold so very dear. I feel like we are put here on this earth to do a job and I am thankful and blessed that this is mine.

I have been married to my wife, Joy Adams Gardner for 32 years and we have two sons (Adam and Baily), a daughter-in-law (Kennedy), and a granddaughter (Dawsyn). My youngest son Baily, is now a 3rd Generation Funeral Director.

At Gardner Funeral Home, our motto is “Our family serving your family” and in the coming years, I want to see the Virginia Funeral Directors Association grow and prosper through serving others.

Director At-Large | 2020-2022
Jeff Wright

Jeff Wright is a third-generation funeral director, with his grandfather and two uncles as role models. He began his funeral career at an early age, carrying flowers as soon as he was big enough and he never looked back. Jeff grew up in Clifton Forge and graduated from Clifton Forge High School in 1977.

Currently a roving manager with Oakey’s, he started his funeral service career with an apprenticeship at Oakey’s. Jeff graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science, Atlanta, GA in August 1981. After graduation, he worked for funeral homes in Strasburg, Winchester and Buena Vista, VA returning to Oakey’s in 2007.

Jeff is a lifetime member of the Buena Vista Volunteer Fire Department, an active member of the Buena Vista Rotary Club where he served as president and currently serving as secretary/treasurer and a Paul Harris Fellow. Jeff is also a member of the Buena Vista Baptist Church, serving as an usher and greeter. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and fishing in the Outer Banks, NC.

Jeff and his wife, Cindy, reside in Buena Vista and have two children, Eric Wright and Allison Clark, Allison’s husband Jonathan and two precious grandsons, Abel and Axton.

Director At-Large | 2021-2023
Larry Joines

Larry was born and raised in Chilhowie, Virginia.  In 1976, he started working at Barnett’s Marion Funeral Home as a parttime job working after school.  After graduating from Chilhowie High School in 1978, he attended the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and graduated in September, 1979.  At that time, he went back to work at Barnett’s Marion Funeral Home, served his apprenticeship and became a funeral service licensee in 1980.  He remained there until 1985 when he moved to Abingdon, Virginia and started working for Farris Funeral Service as the manager.  Being a member of the Southwest Virginia Funeral Director’s Association, he served as the treasurer for several years and later served as President.  Later he became involved with the Virginia Funeral Director’s Association serving on the Board of Directors for many years along with serving on several committees.    In 2010, he moved to Bassett, Virginia where he began working at Bassett Funeral Service.  In 2011, he was promoted to manager of the funeral home and continues to work as the manager along with serving families.  Larry continued serving on the Virginia Funeral Director’s Association as a member of the Board of Directors and working his way through the chairs to become President of the Association 2016-2017.  After serving as President, he has continued to serve on the Board of Directors in various capacities.   

Secretary-Treasurer | 2020-2022
Les Powell, III

Leslie W. Powell III was born and raised in South Boston, VA. He attended local schools and graduated from Halifax County Sr. high School in 1974. He then attended Wake Forest University and graduated in 1978 with a BS Degree in Mathematics. In 1983, he attended Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and obtained his Associate Degree in Mortuary Science and then returned home to South Boston to practice as a 3rd generation funeral director with Powell Funeral Home.

Leslie is married to Paige Wilkins Powell and they have three children, Kelly Gravitt Payne, Leslie W. Powell IV, and Raleigh W. Powell and three grandchildren.

Leslie currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association and also Secretary/Treasurer of the Southside Virginia Funeral Directors Association. He was President of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association in 2002-2003. He also served on the Policy Board of the National Funeral Directors Association from 2011 until 2017. He also serves as Treasurer of Destination Downtown South Boston.

Leslie is a member of First Presbyterian Church in South Boston where he has served as a Deacon, Elder, and Sunday School Teacher.

Leslie is currently Cub Master for Cub Scout Pack 496. He has previously served as Scout Master for Troop 497, served as  Assistant District Commissioner for the Dan River District, Blue Ridge Mountains Council, and served as Committee Chairman for the Dan River District for two years.

Leslie served as President of the South Boston-Halifax County YMCA, was a former coach and board member of the South Boston Dixie Youth Baseball League, was a former coach and referee with the AYSO soccer association, and was a former President of the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce.

Leslie and Paige enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren. They also enjoy traveling to different parts of the country they have not seen, and also enjoy a few European adventures. Leslie also enjoys golf and hiking.

Immediate Past President
Marty White

Marty has been an active member of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association since 1995 and a Virginia Funeral Service Licensee since 1997.  He has served on numerous committees, The Board of Directors, Executive Board of Directors, and served as the President of the association from 2020-2021.  Marty is a native of Abingdon, Virginia where he started his Funeral Service career at Campbell Funeral Home (now Frost Funeral Home) in 1993.  He is a 1997 honor graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Servicein Atlanta, VA, where he obtained acceptance into the National Phi Sigma Eta Honors Mortician Fraternity.  He and his wife Sharon moved to Strasburg, VA in 2007 where Marty became the General Manager of Stover Funeral Home and Crematory. Marty and Sharon became the owners of Stover Funeral Home and Crematory in 2018.  

Blue Ridge District | 2021-2024
Jonathan Stillwell

As a lifelong resident of Virginia, Jonathan was born and raised in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Jonathan’s career in funeral service began stationed at the piano in the chapel of the Peery & St. Clair Funeral Home in Tazewell, VA, where following his high school graduation in 2014, he served his internship. Jonathan attained his Associates of Science in Funeral Service from the Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, Georgia in 2017.

He joined the staff of the John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home in Salem, VA, in January of 2018. Since that time, opportunities for self-growth and gainful self-knowledge led him to the Blue Ridge Funeral Directors Association where he is the current president of the association.

His “enjoyments” in life aside from serving his community, are growing his in-home recording studio, waking his neighbors up in the dead of night by playing a piece from Rachmaninoff, and perfecting his Banna Pudding recipe, lastly, he is always prepared to crack the latest joke or pun circulating on Tik-Tok. He resides in Salem with his fur-children, Beau and Sophie.

Northern District | 2020-2023
Gary Maxwell

Born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Queens. Gary lived over a funeral home when he was 10 and then went to school to pursue his career. Gary has worked at funeral homes in NY and Portsmouth, VA , before settling in Northern, VA. He worked in Manassas for 6 years, Fairfax for 15 years, and has been with the Cunningham Turch and Mountcastle Turch for the last 7 years.

He enjoys watching NY Rangers Hockey, NHRA Drag Racing, and NASCAR.  A Past President and current member of Fairfax Host Lions Club, Member of Knights of Columbus, John Paul 1 Council.

He enjoys spending time with family and going on vacation.

Southside District | 2021-2024
Paul Whitten

For over 3 decades, Paul Whitten has been honored to serve families in the greater Lynchburg area through the funeral home that bears his name. Paul is a 3rd generation funeral director and from a very young age knew he wanted to follow his grandfather and firm founder, W.C. “Red” Whitten. He is a 1988 graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral service, a certified cremation arranger, a member of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association and a past president of the Virginia Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers. Paul and his wife, Marnie, are members of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg. They enjoy traveling and RVing with their two sons.

Tidewater District | 2020-2023
Greg Faulkner, Sr.

Gregg Faulkner, Sr. is co-owner and president of Faulkner Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, with the Foster-Faulkner Chapel in Mathews, Bristow-Faulkner Chapel in Saluda, and Marks-Bristow Chapel in Tappahannock. Gregg is also co-owner and vice-president of Tri-County Vault Company, which serves funeral homes on the Peninsula, Middle Peninsula, and Northern Neck with high quality Eagle Vault products and services. In July of 2021, Gregg and his brother Billy also opened River Country Pet Loss & Cremation Center in an effort to provide pet families in their area the same dignity, care, and excellent service they strive to provide at their other businesses. Gregg is an ordained Minister and loves the opportunity to fill in when needed at several local churches. His hobbies are boating and fishing in the beautiful Piankatank River and Chesapeake Bay, and doing yardwork at his home. He and his wife Valerie, live in Cobbs Creek, Virginia.

Communications/Graphics
Josh Arbogast

Josh Arbogast has over 14 years of Graphic Design and marketing experience. He has a vast array of skills and has put those skills to work in many industries ranging from the fitness, power monitoring, medical, mortgage and banking industries. He says, “joining the VFDA is an amazing opportunity to help bring a refresh to the association, and help to drive the association to bigger and better things.” The new VFDA logo was a creation design of his, and we look forward to him helping us going forward. 

Josh is a life-long native of the Shenandoah Valley, grew up in Bridgewater, VA, and lives in Harrisonburg, VA. When not working, Josh likes to spend time with Trex, his Bernese mountain dog. He enjoys cycling and being outdoors exploring new places and sights. He also likes to build and restore furniture. “Designing, building, and being creative is something that drives me, and are just a few things that I am passionate about.”

“I look forward to helping the association in any way possible and am always here and open to having a conversation with anyone at any time.”

President | 2021-2022
Jay McIntyre

Jay was born and raised in Harrisonburg Virginia.  He started his career in the funeral business in 2002 working for Kyger and Trobaugh Funeral Homes.  In 2003, he graduated from Turner Ashby High School and later in 2007 graduated from Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta.  During his year in Atlanta, Jay worked for Parrott Funeral Home in Fairburn, GA.  Upon returning home from school, Jay worked for Kyger Funeral Homes until December of 2011 when he first came to work for Reynolds Hamrick Funeral Homes.  Later, he joined the staff of McMullen Funeral Home where he remained until July of 2020.  In August of 2020 Jay rejoined the staff of Reynolds Hamrick Funeral Homes.

Outside of work, Jay enjoys following James Madison University Athletics and is a diehard Atlanta Braves fan.  He is also very active in the Shenandoah Valley Funeral Directors Association where he currently serves as President. He also serves as one of the community members of the Singers Glen Volunteer Rescue Squad Board of Directors.  Jay is also a member of the Academy of Funeral Service Practitioners, which is the highest level of achievement for Funeral Directors.  He received that designation in 2013.  He is also a Master Mason at Eureka Lodge #195 in Bridgewater.

He and his wife Amber live in the Singers Glen area of Rockingham County with their two dogs, Maddux and Chipper

“Being asked to go through the chairs of the VFDA was a tremendous honor.  As president, while we as an association have faced great adversity, I truly believe that the hard work put forth by the Executive Board and Board of Directors will strengthen this association for years to come.”

Vice President | 2021-2022
Matt Perry

Matt has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2014. He is a licensed funeral director and embalmer with Frost Funeral Home in Abingdon, Va., where he has been employed since 2007.   Born and raised in Big Stone Gap, Va., he is a native of Wise County, Va. Matt is a 2005 graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, Ga., where he was inducted as a member of Pi Sigma Eta National Morticians Honor Fraternity. He is a past president of the Southwest Virginia Funeral Directors Association. He and his wife, Amanda live in Abingdon, Va. with their rescue dog, LuLu.

Director At-Large | 2021-2023
Paul Hazelgrove

Market Director, Richmond / Virginia Beach Market, SCI

President, SCI Virginia Funeral Services, LLC

Paul started his apprenticeship at Woody Funeral Home in May of 1986.  Over the years Paul served as Intern, Funeral Director, Primary Arranger, Location Manager, General Manager and Area Manager.  Paul was promoted to Market Leadership in October of 2003.  Paul now oversees 11 Funeral Homes and 12 Cemeteries serving approximately 6,900 families annually.

Director At-Large | 2020-2022
Wayne Lovelace

Wayne is a lifelong resident of the Roanoke Valley. He graduated from Andrew Lewis High School and has a Mortuary Science degree from John Tyler Community College. Before joining Lotz in April 2007, Wayne was previously employed with the John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home in Salem for 18 years and as a Communications Officer with the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office. He served as Location Manager at the Lotz Downtown Location and took over as Managing Partner of the Lotz Vinton location in April 2012. Wayne has served as President of the Blue Ridge Funeral Directors Association and has served several terms on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association. He is also a member of the Salem Kiwanis Club and the Vinton Breakfast Lions Club. He has been married to his wife, Brenda, since 1974 and has three grown children. He spends most of his spare time with his six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Sergeant-at-Arms | 2021-2022
Trey Finch

Trey represents the fifth generation of the Finch family to enter funeral service. Trey currently is the President and Treasurer of the firm and manager of the Altavista office. He attended the University of Charleston and received a B.S. Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Marketing and Management from Ferrum College in 2010. While attending college, Trey was a member of the baseball teams at both the University of Charleston and Ferrum College. Trey received his Associate Degree in Funeral Service from John Tyler Community College in 2012 and was licensed as a Funeral Service Licensee in April of 2013. He is a member the Southside District Funeral Directors Association, Virginia Funeral Directors Association, and National Funeral Directors Association.

Trey has received Certified Crematory Operator certification and recently received national recognition as he earned the prestigious Certified Funeral Service Practitioner award, the highest professional designation you can achieve in funeral service, by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice.

He is a member of Lane Memorial United Methodist Church. Trey and his wife, Brooke reside in Altavista with their daughters, Austen Rylie Finch and Avery Camryn Finch, and canine companion Laney.

Chaplain | 2021-2022
Bradley Howdyshell

Bradley was born in Staunton, VA and grew up in Augusta County, where he worked as an Emergency 911 Operator and served as an EMT with Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad prior to becoming a Funeral Director. A 1994 graduate of Ft. Defiance High School, he later attended both Blue Ridge and John Tyler Community Colleges and earned a degree in Mortuary Science in 2002.

His career in funeral services began in 2000 with Reynolds Funeral Service in Waynesboro and Stuarts Draft. During this time, the company merged with the Keystone Group which facilitated growth and management opportunities. Bradley served as Manager of Turner-Robertshaw Funeral Home in Front Royal and Hamrick Funeral Home in Staunton. In 2005 he had the opportunity to join the staff of Henry Funeral Home in Staunton where he served until purchasing Thacker Brothers Funeral Home in Scottsville in 2009 and opening a second location at Lake Monticello in 2010.

Bradley enjoys music and singing, history, architecture, and gardening. He has served on the Boards of Directors for a number of organizations such as the Frontier Culture Museum, Staunton and Fluvanna Rotary Clubs, Staunton Performing Arts Center, Shenandoah Valley Funeral Directors Association, and the Virginia Funeral Directors Association.

He and his wife, Yvonne live in Augusta County, where she works as Principal of Beverley Manor Middle School. They have one son, Jaylen, a senior at Buffalo Gap High School.

Central District | 2020-2023
Krystina Diman

Krystina is native of Baltimore, Maryland and after joining the U.S. Army she relocated to Fort Lee, Virginia where she served as a Mortuary Affairs Specialist. In 2007, she deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While oversees, Krystina discovered her desire to comfort the families that had experienced the loss of a loved one. This calling in addition to having suffered the loss of her sister early in life, she decided to dedicate her career to guiding families through the challenging times associated with bereavement.

Following her military service Krystina matriculated her degree in mortuary science from John Tyler Community College and has spent the past 15 years serving families in central Virginia.   During this time Krystina has earned many coveted certifications to include the prestigious title of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner. Krystina is a member of the National, Virginia, and Central District Funeral Directors Associations and currently serves on the LifeNet and Leadership Advisory Committees.  She is also currently the committee chairperson for membership and outreach for the Virginia Funeral Directors Association.

Krystina and her husband, Joseph, have two young sons and in her off time enjoys camping and going to the beach. She enjoys crafting, gardening, baking and enjoying life’s adventures with her family.  Krystina is passionate about education and community involvement in addition to honoring veterans for their service to this country and educating families about childhood grief.

Shenandoah District | 2021-2024
Daniel Chapman

Daniel L. Chapman started his career in funeral service 24 years ago when he joined Johnson Funeral Service in Bridgewater, VA as an apprentice. After graduating from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in February 2002, he rejoined the Johnson family in March of 2003. Daniel currently serves as the manager of the Johnson’s Grottoes location.

Daniel has served as President of the Shenandoah Valley Funeral Directors Association and currently holds the office as Treasurer. Daniel also serves the Virginia Funeral Directors Association as a member of the Board of Directors and as the Chairman of the Professional Development Committee.

In his free time, Daniel enjoys boating and fishing the Chesapeake Bay, predator hunting, competing in competition BBQ events, and collecting mid-century modern furniture.

Southwest District | 2021-2024
Sam Hess

I graduated from John Tyler Community College in 2003 and served part of my apprenticeship at Bliley Funeral Homes, Richmond, VA. I am the co-owner of Combs – Hess Funeral Service in Lebanon, VA., a credentialed Church of God minister, and a member of the Abingdon, VA Masonic Lodge. I am also very proud to be a former underground coal miner.

I have been married to Vickie Hess for over 20 years and we have one daughter, Macie Hess.

Lobbyist
Angie Bezik

Angie Bezik originally founded Principle Advantage Government Relations Group, LLC, a Hampton Roads-based public relations and government relations firm, in 2009. Angie develops and implements successful strategies for legislation, budget items and project coordination with an array of clients at the state and local level, including clients within the alternative/renewable energy, health, technology, and transportation sectors, and local government and quasi-governmental authorities. Additionally, she works with businesses and organizations to develop strategic plans to enhance their profiles, missions and branding by making introductions to appropriate businesses, government officials and staff, community leaders and organizations.

Angie started her political and public relations career as the Legislative Director for a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. After seven years, she was recruited by a prominent Richmond-based lobbying firm to run its Hampton Roads office.

Through her career, Angie has established solid relationships with local, state, and federal representatives, departments and agencies, and business leaders. She currently serves on the Virginia Beach Board of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce; the Hampton Roads Association of Commercial Builders (HRACRE) Legislative Committee; and the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO); and the Roanoke River Basin Association (RRBA) Board of Directors. In 2013, she was chosen to serve on Governor Terence R. McAuliffe’s Technology Transition Team and currently serves as Chairman of the Public Awareness Committee of Champions for Children Hampton Roads, a 501(c) 3 whose mission is to eradicate child abuse and neglect in the Hampton Roads region.

Convention Director
Terrie Dean

Terrie Dean, Certified Business Etiquette, and International Protocol Consultant, has been active for over 40 years in marketing management and special event planning for the travel and tourism industry. She received certification at the Protocol School of Washington under the direction of Ms. Dorothea Johnson; a world recognized authority in business and social etiquette. She received International Protocol certification under the direction of Jonathan Moeller, Protocol Advisor to the President of the United States.   

Ms. Dean, a life-long native of the Shenandoah Valley, opened The Wishing Well over 14 years ago in Harrisonburg, VA and currently serves as the Owner and General Manager. The Wishing Well brings a unique business model to Central Virginia that encompasses; full-service travel, event planning, and floral design, all located under a single roof. The Wishing Well’s travel division is aligned with Virtuoso – the world’s largest luxury network of by-invitation-only travel agency members.    

Ms. Dean has also held positions as Marketing Director and Public Information Officer for the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport and Manager of Franchise Development for Carlson Companies, Inc., a $33 billion dollar privately held Fortune 500 Company. She also has held management positions with offices of American Express and served as the travel and events coordinator for GE Fanuc (a global joint venture of General Electric and Fanuc USA). While at GE Fanuc, Ms. Dean received the “Outstanding Customer Service Award” and became the first outside vendor ever to receive this recognition.   

Some of Ms. Dean’s more recognizable clients have included: Sissy Spacek, Jessica Lange, Sam Sheppard, Dave Matthews, John Grisham, and the legendary Mohammad Ali.      

Ms. Dean has functioned in the capacity of public relations liaison and served as an officer on numerous community service boards and committees. She has accepted public speaking engagements ranging from the topic of tourism to motivational topics, customer service and conducted classes for self-help.

Communications/Graphics
Josh Arbogast

Josh Arbogast has over 14 years of Graphic Design and marketing experience. He has a vast array of skills and has put those skills to work in many industries ranging from the fitness, power monitoring, medical, mortgage and banking industries. He says, “joining the VFDA is an amazing opportunity to help bring a refresh to the association, and help to drive the association to bigger and better things.” The new VFDA logo was a creation design of his, and we look forward to him helping us going forward. 

Josh is a life-long native of the Shenandoah Valley, grew up in Bridgewater, VA, and lives in Harrisonburg, VA. When not working, Josh likes to spend time with Trex, his Bernese mountain dog. He enjoys cycling and being outdoors exploring new places and sights. He also likes to build and restore furniture. “Designing, building, and being creative is something that drives me, and are just a few things that I am passionate about.”

“I look forward to helping the association in any way possible and am always here and open to having a conversation with anyone at any time.”

President | 2021-2022
Jay McIntyre

Jay was born and raised in Harrisonburg Virginia.  He started his career in the funeral business in 2002 working for Kyger and Trobaugh Funeral Homes.  In 2003, he graduated from Turner Ashby High School and later in 2007 graduated from Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta.  During his year in Atlanta, Jay worked for Parrott Funeral Home in Fairburn, GA.  Upon returning home from school, Jay worked for Kyger Funeral Homes until December of 2011 when he first came to work for Reynolds Hamrick Funeral Homes.  Later, he joined the staff of McMullen Funeral Home where he remained until July of 2020.  In August of 2020 Jay rejoined the staff of Reynolds Hamrick Funeral Homes.

Outside of work, Jay enjoys following James Madison University Athletics and is a diehard Atlanta Braves fan.  He is also very active in the Shenandoah Valley Funeral Directors Association where he currently serves as President. He also serves as one of the community members of the Singers Glen Volunteer Rescue Squad Board of Directors.  Jay is also a member of the Academy of Funeral Service Practitioners, which is the highest level of achievement for Funeral Directors.  He received that designation in 2013.  He is also a Master Mason at Eureka Lodge #195 in Bridgewater.

He and his wife Amber live in the Singers Glen area of Rockingham County with their two dogs, Maddux and Chipper

“Being asked to go through the chairs of the VFDA was a tremendous honor.  As president, while we as an association have faced great adversity, I truly believe that the hard work put forth by the Executive Board and Board of Directors will strengthen this association for years to come.”

President-Elect | 2021-2022
Bobby Gardner

From Floyd, VA

I have been a licensed Funeral Director for over 32 years, but it seems like I have been in the funeral business all my life. I literally grew up in the Funeral Home. I was 11 years old when my parents, Bobby L Gardner Sr and Mary Gray Gardner started Gardner Funeral Home. We lived
upstairs, and at that age I thought it was “cool” to dress up and go downstairs and act like a grown-up, helping the families we served. From that time on, I knew that funeral service is what I wanted to do (other than flying jets in the military).

As I have grown in the funeral profession, I realized it is not about “dress-up”, it is about service, care, and compassion for our families. They invite us into their lives at one of the most vulnerable times and they trust us to care for and honor the person they hold so very dear. I feel like we are put here on this earth to do a job and I am thankful and blessed that this is mine.

I have been married to my wife, Joy Adams Gardner for 32 years and we have two sons (Adam and Baily), a daughter-in-law (Kennedy), and a granddaughter (Dawsyn). My youngest son Baily, is now a 3rd Generation Funeral Director.

At Gardner Funeral Home, our motto is “Our family serving your family” and in the coming years, I want to see the Virginia Funeral Directors Association grow and prosper through serving others.

Vice President | 2021-2022
Matt Perry

Matt has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2014. He is a licensed funeral director and embalmer with Frost Funeral Home in Abingdon, Va., where he has been employed since 2007.   Born and raised in Big Stone Gap, Va., he is a native of Wise County, Va. Matt is a 2005 graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, Ga., where he was inducted as a member of Pi Sigma Eta National Morticians Honor Fraternity. He is a past president of the Southwest Virginia Funeral Directors Association. He and his wife, Amanda live in Abingdon, Va. with their rescue dog, LuLu.

Immediate Past President
Marty White

Marty has been an active member of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association since 1995 and a Virginia Funeral Service Licensee since 1997.  He has served on numerous committees, The Board of Directors, Executive Board of Directors, and served as the President of the association from 2020-2021.  Marty is a native of Abingdon, Virginia where he started his Funeral Service career at Campbell Funeral Home (now Frost Funeral Home) in 1993.  He is a 1997 honor graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Servicein Atlanta, VA, where he obtained acceptance into the National Phi Sigma Eta Honors Mortician Fraternity.  He and his wife Sharon moved to Strasburg, VA in 2007 where Marty became the General Manager of Stover Funeral Home and Crematory. Marty and Sharon became the owners of Stover Funeral Home and Crematory in 2018.  

Director At-Large | 2020-2022
Jeff Wright

Jeff Wright is a third-generation funeral director, with his grandfather and two uncles as role models. He began his funeral career at an early age, carrying flowers as soon as he was big enough and he never looked back. Jeff grew up in Clifton Forge and graduated from Clifton Forge High School in 1977.

Currently a roving manager with Oakey’s, he started his funeral service career with an apprenticeship at Oakey’s. Jeff graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science, Atlanta, GA in August 1981. After graduation, he worked for funeral homes in Strasburg, Winchester and Buena Vista, VA returning to Oakey’s in 2007.

Jeff is a lifetime member of the Buena Vista Volunteer Fire Department, an active member of the Buena Vista Rotary Club where he served as president and currently serving as secretary/treasurer and a Paul Harris Fellow. Jeff is also a member of the Buena Vista Baptist Church, serving as an usher and greeter. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and fishing in the Outer Banks, NC.

Jeff and his wife, Cindy, reside in Buena Vista and have two children, Eric Wright and Allison Clark, Allison’s husband Jonathan and two precious grandsons, Abel and Axton.

Director At-Large | 2021-2023
Larry Joines

Larry was born and raised in Chilhowie, Virginia.  In 1976, he started working at Barnett’s Marion Funeral Home as a parttime job working after school.  After graduating from Chilhowie High School in 1978, he attended the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and graduated in September, 1979.  At that time, he went back to work at Barnett’s Marion Funeral Home, served his apprenticeship and became a funeral service licensee in 1980.  He remained there until 1985 when he moved to Abingdon, Virginia and started working for Farris Funeral Service as the manager.  Being a member of the Southwest Virginia Funeral Director’s Association, he served as the treasurer for several years and later served as President.  Later he became involved with the Virginia Funeral Director’s Association serving on the Board of Directors for many years along with serving on several committees.    In 2010, he moved to Bassett, Virginia where he began working at Bassett Funeral Service.  In 2011, he was promoted to manager of the funeral home and continues to work as the manager along with serving families.  Larry continued serving on the Virginia Funeral Director’s Association as a member of the Board of Directors and working his way through the chairs to become President of the Association 2016-2017.  After serving as President, he has continued to serve on the Board of Directors in various capacities.   

Director At-Large | 2020-2022
Wayne Lovelace

Wayne is a lifelong resident of the Roanoke Valley. He graduated from Andrew Lewis High School and has a Mortuary Science degree from John Tyler Community College. Before joining Lotz in April 2007, Wayne was previously employed with the John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home in Salem for 18 years and as a Communications Officer with the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office. He served as Location Manager at the Lotz Downtown Location and took over as Managing Partner of the Lotz Vinton location in April 2012. Wayne has served as President of the Blue Ridge Funeral Directors Association and has served several terms on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association. He is also a member of the Salem Kiwanis Club and the Vinton Breakfast Lions Club. He has been married to his wife, Brenda, since 1974 and has three grown children. He spends most of his spare time with his six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Director At-Large | 2021-2023
Paul Hazelgrove

Market Director, Richmond / Virginia Beach Market, SCI

President, SCI Virginia Funeral Services, LLC

Paul started his apprenticeship at Woody Funeral Home in May of 1986.  Over the years Paul served as Intern, Funeral Director, Primary Arranger, Location Manager, General Manager and Area Manager.  Paul was promoted to Market Leadership in October of 2003.  Paul now oversees 11 Funeral Homes and 12 Cemeteries serving approximately 6,900 families annually.

Sergeant-at-Arms | 2021-2022
Trey Finch

Trey represents the fifth generation of the Finch family to enter funeral service. Trey currently is the President and Treasurer of the firm and manager of the Altavista office. He attended the University of Charleston and received a B.S. Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Marketing and Management from Ferrum College in 2010. While attending college, Trey was a member of the baseball teams at both the University of Charleston and Ferrum College. Trey received his Associate Degree in Funeral Service from John Tyler Community College in 2012 and was licensed as a Funeral Service Licensee in April of 2013. He is a member the Southside District Funeral Directors Association, Virginia Funeral Directors Association, and National Funeral Directors Association.

Trey has received Certified Crematory Operator certification and recently received national recognition as he earned the prestigious Certified Funeral Service Practitioner award, the highest professional designation you can achieve in funeral service, by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice.

He is a member of Lane Memorial United Methodist Church. Trey and his wife, Brooke reside in Altavista with their daughters, Austen Rylie Finch and Avery Camryn Finch, and canine companion Laney.

Secretary-Treasurer | 2020-2022
Les Powell, III

Leslie W. Powell III was born and raised in South Boston, VA. He attended local schools and graduated from Halifax County Sr. high School in 1974. He then attended Wake Forest University and graduated in 1978 with a BS Degree in Mathematics. In 1983, he attended Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and obtained his Associate Degree in Mortuary Science and then returned home to South Boston to practice as a 3rd generation funeral director with Powell Funeral Home.

Leslie is married to Paige Wilkins Powell and they have three children, Kelly Gravitt Payne, Leslie W. Powell IV, and Raleigh W. Powell and three grandchildren.

Leslie currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association and also Secretary/Treasurer of the Southside Virginia Funeral Directors Association. He was President of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association in 2002-2003. He also served on the Policy Board of the National Funeral Directors Association from 2011 until 2017. He also serves as Treasurer of Destination Downtown South Boston.

Leslie is a member of First Presbyterian Church in South Boston where he has served as a Deacon, Elder, and Sunday School Teacher.

Leslie is currently Cub Master for Cub Scout Pack 496. He has previously served as Scout Master for Troop 497, served as  Assistant District Commissioner for the Dan River District, Blue Ridge Mountains Council, and served as Committee Chairman for the Dan River District for two years.

Leslie served as President of the South Boston-Halifax County YMCA, was a former coach and board member of the South Boston Dixie Youth Baseball League, was a former coach and referee with the AYSO soccer association, and was a former President of the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce.

Leslie and Paige enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren. They also enjoy traveling to different parts of the country they have not seen, and also enjoy a few European adventures. Leslie also enjoys golf and hiking.

Chaplain | 2021-2022
Bradley Howdyshell

Bradley was born in Staunton, VA and grew up in Augusta County, where he worked as an Emergency 911 Operator and served as an EMT with Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad prior to becoming a Funeral Director. A 1994 graduate of Ft. Defiance High School, he later attended both Blue Ridge and John Tyler Community Colleges and earned a degree in Mortuary Science in 2002.

His career in funeral services began in 2000 with Reynolds Funeral Service in Waynesboro and Stuarts Draft. During this time, the company merged with the Keystone Group which facilitated growth and management opportunities. Bradley served as Manager of Turner-Robertshaw Funeral Home in Front Royal and Hamrick Funeral Home in Staunton. In 2005 he had the opportunity to join the staff of Henry Funeral Home in Staunton where he served until purchasing Thacker Brothers Funeral Home in Scottsville in 2009 and opening a second location at Lake Monticello in 2010.

Bradley enjoys music and singing, history, architecture, and gardening. He has served on the Boards of Directors for a number of organizations such as the Frontier Culture Museum, Staunton and Fluvanna Rotary Clubs, Staunton Performing Arts Center, Shenandoah Valley Funeral Directors Association, and the Virginia Funeral Directors Association.

He and his wife, Yvonne live in Augusta County, where she works as Principal of Beverley Manor Middle School. They have one son, Jaylen, a senior at Buffalo Gap High School.

Blue Ridge District | 2021-2024
Jonathan Stillwell

As a lifelong resident of Virginia, Jonathan was born and raised in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Jonathan’s career in funeral service began stationed at the piano in the chapel of the Peery & St. Clair Funeral Home in Tazewell, VA, where following his high school graduation in 2014, he served his internship. Jonathan attained his Associates of Science in Funeral Service from the Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, Georgia in 2017.

He joined the staff of the John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home in Salem, VA, in January of 2018. Since that time, opportunities for self-growth and gainful self-knowledge led him to the Blue Ridge Funeral Directors Association where he is the current president of the association.

His “enjoyments” in life aside from serving his community, are growing his in-home recording studio, waking his neighbors up in the dead of night by playing a piece from Rachmaninoff, and perfecting his Banna Pudding recipe, lastly, he is always prepared to crack the latest joke or pun circulating on Tik-Tok. He resides in Salem with his fur-children, Beau and Sophie.

Central District | 2020-2023
Krystina Diman

Krystina is native of Baltimore, Maryland and after joining the U.S. Army she relocated to Fort Lee, Virginia where she served as a Mortuary Affairs Specialist. In 2007, she deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While oversees, Krystina discovered her desire to comfort the families that had experienced the loss of a loved one. This calling in addition to having suffered the loss of her sister early in life, she decided to dedicate her career to guiding families through the challenging times associated with bereavement.

Following her military service Krystina matriculated her degree in mortuary science from John Tyler Community College and has spent the past 15 years serving families in central Virginia.   During this time Krystina has earned many coveted certifications to include the prestigious title of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner. Krystina is a member of the National, Virginia, and Central District Funeral Directors Associations and currently serves on the LifeNet and Leadership Advisory Committees.  She is also currently the committee chairperson for membership and outreach for the Virginia Funeral Directors Association.

Krystina and her husband, Joseph, have two young sons and in her off time enjoys camping and going to the beach. She enjoys crafting, gardening, baking and enjoying life’s adventures with her family.  Krystina is passionate about education and community involvement in addition to honoring veterans for their service to this country and educating families about childhood grief.

Northern District | 2020-2023
Gary Maxwell

Born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Queens. Gary lived over a funeral home when he was 10 and then went to school to pursue his career. Gary has worked at funeral homes in NY and Portsmouth, VA , before settling in Northern, VA. He worked in Manassas for 6 years, Fairfax for 15 years, and has been with the Cunningham Turch and Mountcastle Turch for the last 7 years.

He enjoys watching NY Rangers Hockey, NHRA Drag Racing, and NASCAR.  A Past President and current member of Fairfax Host Lions Club, Member of Knights of Columbus, John Paul 1 Council.

He enjoys spending time with family and going on vacation.

Shenandoah District | 2021-2024
Daniel Chapman

Daniel L. Chapman started his career in funeral service 24 years ago when he joined Johnson Funeral Service in Bridgewater, VA as an apprentice. After graduating from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in February 2002, he rejoined the Johnson family in March of 2003. Daniel currently serves as the manager of the Johnson’s Grottoes location.

Daniel has served as President of the Shenandoah Valley Funeral Directors Association and currently holds the office as Treasurer. Daniel also serves the Virginia Funeral Directors Association as a member of the Board of Directors and as the Chairman of the Professional Development Committee.

In his free time, Daniel enjoys boating and fishing the Chesapeake Bay, predator hunting, competing in competition BBQ events, and collecting mid-century modern furniture.

Southside District | 2021-2024
Paul Whitten

For over 3 decades, Paul Whitten has been honored to serve families in the greater Lynchburg area through the funeral home that bears his name. Paul is a 3rd generation funeral director and from a very young age knew he wanted to follow his grandfather and firm founder, W.C. “Red” Whitten. He is a 1988 graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral service, a certified cremation arranger, a member of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association and a past president of the Virginia Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers. Paul and his wife, Marnie, are members of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg. They enjoy traveling and RVing with their two sons.

Southwest District | 2021-2024
Sam Hess

I graduated from John Tyler Community College in 2003 and served part of my apprenticeship at Bliley Funeral Homes, Richmond, VA. I am the co-owner of Combs – Hess Funeral Service in Lebanon, VA., a credentialed Church of God minister, and a member of the Abingdon, VA Masonic Lodge. I am also very proud to be a former underground coal miner.

I have been married to Vickie Hess for over 20 years and we have one daughter, Macie Hess.

Tidewater District | 2020-2023
Greg Faulkner, Sr.

Gregg Faulkner, Sr. is co-owner and president of Faulkner Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, with the Foster-Faulkner Chapel in Mathews, Bristow-Faulkner Chapel in Saluda, and Marks-Bristow Chapel in Tappahannock. Gregg is also co-owner and vice-president of Tri-County Vault Company, which serves funeral homes on the Peninsula, Middle Peninsula, and Northern Neck with high quality Eagle Vault products and services. In July of 2021, Gregg and his brother Billy also opened River Country Pet Loss & Cremation Center in an effort to provide pet families in their area the same dignity, care, and excellent service they strive to provide at their other businesses. Gregg is an ordained Minister and loves the opportunity to fill in when needed at several local churches. His hobbies are boating and fishing in the beautiful Piankatank River and Chesapeake Bay, and doing yardwork at his home. He and his wife Valerie, live in Cobbs Creek, Virginia.

Keister Whitt

Bylaws & Ethics Committee

Terrie Dean

Convention Committee

Jeff Wright

Credentials Committee

Duffy Ferguson

Disaster Response Committee

Larry Corey

Endorsements Committee

Les Powell

Finance Committee

Matthew Perry

Leadership Advisory Committee

Bryan Small

Legislative Committee

Krystina Diman

Member Services/Outreach Committee

Daniel Chapman

Professional Development Committee

Larry Joines

Sponsorship Committee

Bradley Howdyshell

Service of Remembrance