This panel discussion features Albuquerque funeral directors taking audience questions on a range of issues related to death, dying and funeral planning. Panelists include Apollo Miller, French Funerals & Cremations; Gloria Salazar, Salazar Funeral Homes & Crematory; and Jody Herrington, Daniels Family Funeral Services. The moderator was Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death with A Good Goodbye and Before I Die New Mexico Festival coordinator.
Among the topics discussed:
- The elements that make up the cost of funerals and cremations.
- Creativity in funeral services and the most memorable events the panelists helped create.
- How to obtain Veteran benefits for interment in a national cemetery.
- Making preneed arrangements for funerals.
- What many people misunderstand about the funeral business.
The conversation was recorded at the Before I Die New Mexico Festival Symposium, held Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the University of New Mexico Continuing Education Center. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNM was a co-sponsor of the event.
Meet the Panelists
Apollo Miller was born in Winston-Salem, NC and grew up in the Southeast area of the United States, the youngest of four siblings. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Professional Biology & Chemistry and Gupton-Jones College with an A.S. in Mortuary Science.
After working for one of the largest firms in Metropolitan Atlanta, he moved to Albuquerque, NM in 2011 to become part of the FRENCH Family of Companies. He is the manager of the Lomas location. In his time here, he has enjoyed embracing the myriad of cultures by serving each family according to their own customs, traditions and beliefs. His goal is to perfect and practice “The Golden Rule” of treating people the way he wants to be treated while helping as many grieving families as possible.
Jody Herrington: As a true Army Brat, Jody joined the staff of Daniels Family Funeral Service from a number of places. She most recently called Santa Fe home and prior to that Boise, Idaho, where she was proud to carry on the Cloverdale Funeral Home tradition of excellence as a licensed mortician. Jody’s time in Boise taught her the true meaning of Community and Unity.
Jody comes from a long line of military veterans that can be traced back to the Civil War and despite not having served alongside other family members, is very proud of her family’s military heritage.
While serving as a funeral director in Washington DC, Jody was privileged to be the liaison to Arlington National Cemetery for her then funeral home, Joseph Gawler’s Sons. This position allowed her to serve families whose loved ones were to be laid to rest within the hallowed grounds of our nation’s most famous cemetery. Jody was also proud to work with the Military District of Washington in preparation of state funerals.
Gloria Salazar was an engineer with an MBA before becoming a funeral director. Gloria joined her husband Louis Salazar, a fourth generation funeral director, in the family business. They co-own two funeral homes and a crematory. Salazar Mortuary was founded in 1918. In 2004, they started Reflections Funerals and Life Celebrations. Today they continue to service families at both businesses in Albuquerque.
About the Before I Die New Mexico Festival
The Before I Die NM Festival fosters reflection about how we address death and dying. By providing space and opportunities to openly discuss end-of-life issues, we can improve the number of those who plan ahead and take actions to address our mortality. These actions can reduce stress and conflict, save money, and help grieving individuals better navigate the mourning process.
The six-day Festival offered activities to get us thinking about, talking about and doing something about our 100% mortality rate. Events took place October 30 to November 4, 2018, at multiple locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Belen.
Thank you to the sponsors and partners who made the Before I Die New Mexico Festival possible:
- A Good Goodbye Death educator Gail Rubin puts the “fun” in funeral planning.
- EternityGardens.com Giving families looking for a final resting place for cremated remains guidance on the range of options available for people and pets.
- National Guardian Life Insurance Company For more than 100 years, one of America’s most successful and highly rated independent mutual life insurance companies.
- FRENCH Funerals and Cremations Albuquerque’s largest and oldest family-owned funeral service company.
- Morris Hall New Mexico’s premiere estate planning attorneys.
- EstatePros Your expert resource for property organization, distribution and administration.
- Legacy Concierge Helping prevent identity theft, secure digital access to online accounts, and provide a host of other important services to the families of the deceased.
- Passages International A leading provider of environmentally friendly funeral options for burial and cremated remains.
- Zia Trust The Advisors’ Trust Company®.
Partners were La Puerta Natural Burial Ground, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of New Mexico, Guild Cinema, Berardinelli Family Funeral Service, Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico, Compassion & Choices NM Action Team, Daniels Family Funeral Services, Catholic Cemetery Association, and LifeIZShort.com.