Member Spotlight - Heritage Mortuary, Inc.

Larnique Mickens is the executive director of Heritage Mortuary, Inc. in Las Vegas, Nevada. She shared her experiences with running a successful funeral home that recently won Best of Las Vegas by Vegas Review Journal in 2021.

Question: Funeral Service was not your first career. Can you share a bit about what you did before becoming a funeral director and how you got into funeral service?

I am a retired Air Force Veteran of 24 years of service. After retiring from Ramstein, Airbase in Germany, I returned to my home in Las Vegas, where my husband, Tyrone was lead for Heritage Mortuary Inc. I would sit in on his arrangements as his note taker. As I sat there, the family would ask my opinion on colors of flowers, urns and even caskets for their services. I would kindly let them know that I was just a note taker and that they should take the opinion of the licensed staff. They would insist that I give my opinion in spite of what I said. A few months passed and my husband’s health was an issue and he stated that I should take the funeral director’s test and become the executive funeral director for Heritage Mortuary. He, along with many others, ended up convincing me that I have a genuine knack and care for people in the industry. With those words of inspiration and the consideration for the health of my husband, I became Funeral Director Number 949 (FD949) for the state of Nevada.

Question: Tell us a little bit about how your funeral home was founded and how it operates today.

Heritage Mortuary was started because we too have experienced the loss of loved ones, just as the families we serve today. Through our experiences, we saw an opportunity to fill a gap within the funeral profession and meet families’ needs more effectively. Heritage Mortuary knows firsthand the importance of honoring the life of loved ones as well as the healing process. It is our desire to aid at the start of the healing process and see it through to the end. As a result, we want to ensure that quality and affordable celebration of life services are available for everyone, equally.

Question: Why do you believe funeral service is important?

Funeral service is important because it emphasizes the necessary parts of the grieving processes and recognizes the reality that the passing of a loved one occurred to provide closure. Funeral service plays a huge role in the mourning process as it allows the outward expression of the grieving process to be displayed while family and friends connect, sharing memories of the loved one’s gifts they contributed to others throughout their life.

Question: What is the most rewarding part of working in the funeral service profession?

The most rewarding part is when you connect family and friends together, celebrate their loved one’s life and learn all the wonderful things their loved ones shared with others.

Question: What do you believe distinguishes your funeral home from other funeral homes?

Heritage Mortuary is a veteran-owned small business where families are supported and guided by an experienced funeral director 24/7, 365 days a year. It is our objective to facilitate customized celebration of life services for family and friends to connect and say their final goodbyes. Here are four benefits they receive:

1. One-on-one caring consolation and planning experience with all options provided and explained from transport to aftercare and continued follow-up.

2. They will have flexibility that allows them to schedule their loved one’s celebration services at the time and date of their preference or arrange to speak to their director at a time their comfortable with.

3. They will receive decreased costs. This is commensurate to corporation firm standard costs because we understand that everyone deserves to have a quality celebration at an affordable cost to honor their loved one.

4. They will receive authenticity. Heritage is a local firm. When families receive our service, they feel how genuine we are about serving them with excellence because it’s truly our passion and pleasure.

Question: What does your funeral home do to create a strong community presence? Do you believe that this is important?

Heritage Mortuary is present for numerous community events that increase our awareness within the Las Vegas Valley. We aim to show our community that we are not only present to care for them during difficult times, like the passing of a loved one, we are present at other times in their lives too. We are there to educate them during community affairs, church, and school seminars as well as to assist with after-school projects and to provide clothing, food, and toy drives.

Question: In what ways do you use technology to further the services you offer?

We have automated our entire arrangement process to include collecting payment. This is a great tool that assists our director and arrangers for next-of -kins that are out of state and/or unavailable to come into the office. It allows for a direct connection to our staff and the family from day one of intake/pick up of their loved one, even if a physical office visit is not possible.

Question: What growing trends have you noticed in the funeral service profession? In what ways have you tried to keep up with these changes?

For more than the past five years, cremation has become the leading disposition choice for families. For families that choose cremation instead of a more traditional viewing and funeral service, we encourage the celebration of their loved one. We offer a celebration service for every disposition option. It is our goal to ensure that every loved one’s life is celebrated regardless of the way in which they are laid to rest.

Question: What do you value most about OGR? Why did you become a member?

I value the camaraderie and the many tools and resources available to help us stay informed on current issues. I also enjoy the opportunities presented that will assist in personal and business development.

Question: You recently accepted a board position. What do you hope to contribute to OGR during your time serving in a leadership position?

I hope to be a positive ambassador for OGR, increase awareness within the funeral service profession, assist with recruitment and grow the OGR membership.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of The Independent® magazine. Click here to read the entire interview and Spring 2023 issue.

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