For Immediate Release: June 27, 2023
Brookfield, Wis. – Today, Homer E. Elwood Jr. and Ellen Wynn McBrayer, CFSP, CPC, were elected to serve as at-large representatives on the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) Board of Directors. They will begin two-year terms of service immediately following the 2023 NFDA International Convention & Expo.
On June 27, during the NFDA Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, state association representatives elected the new at-large representatives. State association representatives are the voting representatives from each state who cast a ballot on behalf of their state for the at-large representatives on the NFDA Board of Directors.
Elwood’s career in funeral service started at the age of 16 when he began working a local funeral home. This set him on a path that led him to attend the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. After graduation, he became a funeral director at Gray Funeral Home, a firm that he and his wife purchased one year ago.
As a first-generation funeral director, Elwood has dedicated himself to not only serving grieving families, but to his chosen profession. He is a dedicated volunteer leader with the South Carolina Funeral Directors Association (SCFDA). He served as secretary/treasurer and chair of SCFDA’s Piedmont Group and went on to serve in every office on SCFDA’s Board of Directors including the 2018-19 President of the association. He also is a past chair of the SCFDA Nominating Committee. On the national level, Elwood is serving as a member of NFDA’s Member Resources Work Group.
Elwood is also passionate about serving his community. He has served as secretary, vice president and president of the Laurens County Exchange Club; secretary, vice president and president of the Laurens County Fair Association; and as a board member for the Laurens County HealthCare Foundation.
In his campaign statement, Elwood wrote, “I can only say that my desire is strong to serve in a capacity in which I can give back to the industry that has given me so much.”
McBrayer is a third-generation funeral director at her family’s firm, Jones-Wynn Funeral Homes & Crematory, with locations in Villa Rica and Douglasville, Georgia. Her father died suddenly while she was attending Auburn University and that pivotal moment was what called her to become a funeral director.
Service to her profession and community are an integral parts of McBrayer’s life. She has served as co-chair and chair of the Georgia Funeral Directors Association (GFDA) Northwest District. She is also a current member of the Georgia Cemetery Association Board of Directors. She has also given back to her alma mater, Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service, by serving as a member of the Advisory Board and Open House Team. Nationally, McBrayer serves on the NFDA Spokesperson Team and Pursuit of Excellence Task Force.
McBrayer also dedicates time to giving back to her community. Among her many volunteer activities, she has served on the Board of Directors for both the Douglas and Carroll County Chambers of Commerce, is a member of the planning committee for the Douglas County Senior Citizens Picnic, serves on the board of the Villa Rica Golden City Lions Club, served as an ambassador family for the March of Dimes, served on the Thomas A. Dorsey Birthplace and Gospel Heritage Board, and is a member of both the Carroll County Development Authority and Villa Rica Downtown Development Authority.
In her candidate statement, McBrayer said, “It would be an honor to bring my skills, passion, and experiences to service on the Board of Directors. With a passion for what the NFDA stands for and compassion for all we serve, I know that my perseverance when faced with challenges and my leadership can be an attribute to our profession.”
More information about Elwood and McBrayer can be found on the NFDA website, www.nfda.org/elections.
NFDA extends its gratitude to the other at-large representative candidates who stepped forward as candidates in this competitive race:
• Anthony Guerra, Guerra & Gutierrez Mortuaries, Los Angeles, California
• James M. "Jimmy" Olson, CFSP, Olson Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
• Shawn R. Phillips, Carriage Services, Houston, Texas
• Bill Vallie, Sunset Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home, Odessa, Texas
NFDA Officer Elections
Officers on the NFDA Board of Directors will be elected by qualified NFDA members during an electronic election taking place July 25 through August 7. Officers serve a one-year term that begins after the 2023 NFDA International Convention & Expo. The individual elected to the office of president-elect will automatically become president following the 2024 NFDA Convention.
The following individuals are candidates for officer positions:
- Chris E. Christian, Christian-Sells Funeral Home, Rogersville, Tennessee
- Beatrice E. Lewanduski, Claude R. Boyd-Spencer Funeral Home, Babylon, New York
- Daniel J. Ford, Alderson-Ford Funeral Home, Cheshire, Connecticut
- Christopher P. Robinson, Robinson Funeral Home, Easley, South Carolina
Current NFDA President Jack Mitchell, CFSP, CCSP, will continue his service on the Board with a one-year term as immediate past president that commences at the end of the 2023 NFDA Convention. Also continuing their service on the Board of Directors are 2022-24 At-large Representatives Brad Walker, CFSP, CCO, and Bobby “Steve” Spann.
Qualified member voters who have an email address on file with NFDA will receive their voting instructions and credentials by email on July 25 (individuals who do not have an email on file will receive information via U.S. mail).
More information about the officer candidates can be found on the NFDA website, www.nfda.org/elections.
NFDA is the world's leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.
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