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11 Funeral Directors with Incredible Pastimes

Jan 07, 2015

At the beginning of 2013, ASD launched our “Favorite Pastime Series” which featured photos of directors and their favorite hobby or activity outside of the funeral home. Over the past two years, we have enjoyed learning about our clients and featuring their talents on our blog and Facebook page. To mark the beginning of a new year, and the end of 2014, we’ve taken a look back at our Favorite Pastime Series this year to create this list of 11 Funeral Directors with Incredible Pastimes.

(Note: Click on any photo to learn more about the director and their pastime)

1. Dick Teeter, Hudson Car Collector

4th Generation Funeral Director, Dick Teeter, of Teeters Funeral Chapel in Hawley, PA has a deep love and appreciation for Hudson vehicles which were made between 1909 until 1957. Dick drove a Hudson in college and then, in 1991, he got the “Hudson bug” again and purchased his 49’ Hudson Sedan with 42,000 miles on it. He has driven it 25,000 miles since then. Dick has also attended Hudson Club events from coast to coast.

2. Courtney VanFossen, Asphalt Racer

Mortuary Science Graduate, Courtney VanFossen, is a 6-time winner in Women’s Asphalt racing. Racing is a shared passion between Courtney and her husband who were married on a Friday so that they could make it to a race the next day. Their children’s birthdates were planned out to prevent them from falling during the racing season.

3. Richard Traunero, Pilot, Humanitarian and Animal Lover

Richard Traunero, Director of Traunero Funeral Home and Crematory in Tiffin, OH is a private pilot who uses his favorite pastime to help others. He volunteers for Pilots N Paws which helps animals in danger of euthanization by transporting them to foster or forever homes in other locations. Rich also works with Angel Flight and Lifeline Pilots, human compassionate groups that help patients and families travel to treatment or diagnosis locations free of charge. Richard will be featured in an upcoming Funeral Pro Chat podcast interview.

4. Jim Scanlin, Professional Banjo Player

Jim Scanlin, Director of Scalin Funeral Home in Chalfont, PA has been playing the banjo for more than three decades. For the past 31 years, Jim has performed Irish ballads with his friend and musical partner, Jerry O’Leary. The duo, known as Scalin and O’Leary, have three albums to their credit. Scanlin & O’Leary cover mainly Irish music together, but they also enjoy performing Dixieland Jazz and American Folk ballads of the 1960s.

5. Alan Parnell, Coon Hunter

Funeral Director, Alan Parnell of Floyd Mortuary & Floyd Funeral Services, has been hunting most of his life since he was 13 and especially enjoys Racoon hunting. Alan’s dogs are specially trained to accompany him on nocturnal hunts. The dogs can locate and track the scent of a raccoon. They will chase the animal up a tree and stand guard until the hunter arrives. Alan says the most enjoyable aspect is going out with other hunters to see whose dog has the best hunting skills.

6. Jeremy Hoes, Rodeo Cowboy

Funeral Director and 3rd Generation rodeo cowboy, Jeremy Hoes of Accu Care Mortuary Service in Fort Worth, TX, loves riding his horse, Cpt. Augustus “Gus” McRae. Jeremy has been involved with horses and cattle his entire life. He started riding bulls at the age of 13. He enjoys every aspect of working with horses, especially after a long shift at work. Jeremy believes that horses are very therapeutic animals that are very much in tune with their owner’s emotions.

7. Bill and Pat Peoples, River Travelers

Bill and Pat Peoples of Cawley and Peoples Funeral Home in Marietta, OH enjoy spending time on the Ohio river in their 50’ houseboat, “Seventh Heaven.” Over the years, the couple has traveled the entire length of the Ohio River, from Pittsburgh, PA to the Mississippi River.

8. Mark Devoe, “Bleacher Creature”

Funeral Director, Mark Devoe of Devoe Funeral Services in Washington, NJ loves cheering on his favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees, from the bleachers. Mark has been sitting with the “Bleacher Creatures” since the 2010 season when he discovered it was the best place at the Yankees ballpark to find diehard fans. According to Mark, a “Bleacher Creature” is “not just any hardcore baseball fan, but a Section 203 Bleacher Hardcore fan.”

9. James McKinney, Hot Air Balloon Pilot

Funeral Director, James McKinney of Calvert & Ferry Funeral Home in Virden, IL has been a private hot air balloon pilot for more than 14 years. James’ wife, Judith, is also licensed as a private hot air balloon pilot. When James was a truck driver, the couple traveled around the country with their dog, Puddles. So when the time came for the couple to purchase their own balloon, they wanted to pay tribute to their companion. Their hot balloon design was created in memory of their beloved beagle. According to James, children in town often refer to it as “the doggy balloon.”

10. Gary Raish, Accomplished Organist

Gary Raish, Director of William H. Clark Funeral Home in Stroudsburg, PA has been playing the organ and piano for more than 25 years. Gary plays regularly at Cherry Lane United Methodist Church and several other local churches as well. In addition to church services, Gary also accompanies local community theater musical productions and community chorus concerts.

11. Todd Wilson, Santa Claus

Funeral Director, Todd Wilson of Wilson Family Funeral Home in Minneapolis, KS has been playing Santa Claus in his hometown for 28 years. The hobby began when Todd was 13. His brother, almost 14 years younger, was a toddler and wanted Todd to play Santa for him. Todd loves delighting children and takes great pride in creating an authentic Santa Claus look for them.

Click here to read last year’s “Favorite Pastime” spotlights.

ASD’s “Favorite Pastime” Series:

We would love to share more photos of funeral directors enjoying their favorite pastime. Send us a photo of you engaged in your favorite hobby or activity for us to share and show others what you love to do when you’re not doing outstanding work at your funeral home! Please email all photos or inquiries to

About The Author

Jess Farren (Fowler)

Jess Farren (Fowler) is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD’s company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at

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