Obituaries

Leonard Griffith
B: 1937-12-18
D: 2017-04-18
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Griffith, Leonard
Abraham Nguyen
B: 1956-04-06
D: 2017-04-14
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Nguyen, Abraham
Catherine Kosma
B: 1950-04-27
D: 2017-04-12
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Kosma, Catherine
Shirley Anderson
B: 1931-12-10
D: 2017-04-12
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Anderson, Shirley
Wilbert Hawkins
B: 1941-07-01
D: 2017-04-08
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Hawkins, Wilbert
Connie Stephens
B: 1947-08-05
D: 2017-04-07
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Stephens, Connie
Donna Carpenter
B: 1969-07-22
D: 2017-04-06
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Carpenter, Donna
Mary Ann Werner
B: 1931-12-27
D: 2017-04-06
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Werner, Mary Ann
Raymond Doyle
B: 1927-11-06
D: 2017-04-05
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Doyle, Raymond
Donna Hudelson
B: 1947-07-01
D: 2017-04-03
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Hudelson, Donna
Anthony Vitelli
B: 1944-01-31
D: 2017-04-02
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Vitelli, Anthony
Aurora Cuenca
B: 1951-02-19
D: 2017-04-01
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Cuenca, Aurora
Dorothy Kehlenbeck
B: 1925-07-26
D: 2017-03-31
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Kehlenbeck, Dorothy
Barbara McQueen
B: 1955-04-09
D: 2017-03-30
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McQueen, Barbara
Janet Nesbitt
B: 1951-02-17
D: 2017-03-30
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Nesbitt, Janet
Shirley Sutton
B: 1929-03-03
D: 2017-03-24
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Sutton, Shirley
Lillian Jones
B: 1929-04-19
D: 2017-03-24
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Jones, Lillian
Juanita Withrow
B: 1929-01-27
D: 2017-03-23
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Withrow, Juanita
Scott Macdonald
B: 1954-06-05
D: 2017-03-22
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Macdonald, Scott
Matthew Tomasetti
B: 1977-01-21
D: 2017-03-21
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Tomasetti, Matthew
Ana Martinez
B: 2017-03-21
D: 2017-03-21
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Martinez, Ana

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5401 Indian River Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
Phone: 757-366-9260
Fax: 757-366-9262
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Each of the staff members at Family Choice Burials & Cremations is committed to providing your family with the finest in personal care.  We are proud of the fact that we aren't stuffy - we're just regular folks, who want to serve your family.

When a loved one dies, all you need to do is make one phone call. From that moment on, we’ll take on the responsibilities of the physical care of your loved one, and the emotional care of those left behind.

Please take a few minutes to get to know our staff. We’re sure you’ll find each of us to be all that you would hope for in a trusted funeral professional.
 


Michael S. Strickland, Lead Director
Email: mikes@familychoicefunerals.com
Office Phone: 757-366-9260
Fax: 757-366-9262
Mobile Phone: 757-353-0520

Michael grew up in the Pembroke section of Virginia Beach and graduated from Princess Anne High School in 1998.  He received his Degree from Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science in Atlanta, GA in 2002 and has worked in funeral service in the Hampton Roads area his entire career.

Since Mike has assumed leadership, we have grown to serve more families than any other single location in Southside Hampton Roads.  

Mike loves Family Choice's relaxed, friendly approach.  He appreciates that Family Choice serves families with a wide range of backgrounds, and that our prices are affordable for all.  He also likes that we offer financing options to families, giving them more flexibility.

He and his wife, Meredith (a nurse at CHKD), have a son, Dexter, and live in Virginia Beach.

Michael Gardner, Funeral Service Intern
Email: michaelg@familychoicefunerals.com
Office Phone: 757-366-9260
Fax: 757-366-9262
Mobile Phone: 757-708-3597

Michael is a native of Monmouth, ME. He started working at Fortin Funeral Home during High School. After graduation in May of 2001 he enlisted in the US Navy and served this country for 10 years. After his end of service in 2011, Michael started school at American Academy McAllister Institute of Mortuary Service in New York.

Michael and his family are returning to Virginia Beach from a 4.5 year tour in Kansas City were Michael’s wife LaShaee was stationed at NOSC Kansas City. In Kansas City Michael worked for 3.5 years in the funeral industry. LaShaee is now stationed at VR-56 out of NAS Oceana. Michael and LaShaee have 4 wonderful children, 2 boys, Brady & Owen and 2 girls Layla & LaNiah. They are all very excited to now be part of the family at Family Choice Funerals and Cremations.

Trina Jacinto, Funeral Service Intern
Email: trinaj@familychoicefunerals.com
Office Phone: 757-366-9260
Fax: 757-366-9262
Mobile Phone: 757-434-8917

Trina was born and raised in Virginia Beach. She enlisted in the US Army as a watercraft operator in 2001. After a tour in Kuwait and numerous watercraft missions, she honorably discharged after six years.   Upon completion of her enlistment, she obtained an Associates degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of Virginia. She also has an extensive background in private security and auto mechanics. Trina joined our staff in August of 2015 and has developed a passion for helping our families. She currently resides in the Ocean View area of Norfolk.

Steve Zittle, Executive Vice-President/Chief Operating Officer
Email: stevez@familychoicefunerals.com
Office Phone: 757-366-9260
Fax: 757-366-9262
Mobile Phone: 757-353-1416

Steve is a native of Reisterstown, MD and began his career in funeral service in 1991.  He holds an Associate's Degree in Mortuary Science from Catonsville Community College in Baltimore, MD and a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Ashford University in Clinton, IA.  

Steve enjoys the fact that, in funeral service, no two days are alike.  He also appreciates the position of being able to help families through such difficult times, where their ability to help themselves is limited.  Steve and his wife, Kristi, have thirteen children and three grandsons.

Steve Johnson, Funeral Director
Email: stevej@familychoicefunerals.com
Office Phone: 757-366-9260
Fax: 757-366-9262
Mobile Phone: 757-353-8524

Steve “Stick” Johnson was born in the coal and railroad area of Western Maryland (Cumberland) in 1953. Being an average kid raised in a small town gave him a desire to travel and to experience life beyond the hills and valleys.  As a child, he witnessed a disastrous fire and determined to be a firefighter one day. As a teen, he experienced the death of close family members and planned to become a funeral director if the Fire Service dream did not materialize. Growing up in a “rough and tumble” neighborhood sent him to the YMCA where he learned Karate, Judo and boxing out of self-preservation.

At 17, he joined the U.S. Air Force to gain a life experience and with his martial arts background became a Security Specialist assigned to protection of weapons systems.  He was selected as a member of the Air Force Elite Guard, a handpicked unit of Security Specialist who provided personal security for General Officers and visiting dignitaries that included the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State and the White House Chief of Staff. Ironically, he was not old enough at the time (20) to own a firearm. While the Air Force offered travel and experience, the longing for a life’s career as a firefighter or a funeral director and as a family man sent him back home to college. Throughout his life, he has earned three Associates Degrees.

Steve met his future wife Beverly Kiddy in an advanced cardiac care class. She was one of his instructors and a local operating room nurse. Steve considers this the greatest achievement in his life. They would later relocate to Chesapeake, Virginia after Steve gained employment as a firefighter. Steve and Bev raised their two boys in Chesapeake.  James (Jimmy) would become an I.T. consultant for the Federal Government and Jeremiah a Firefighter/Paramedic/Master Diver with the Newport News Fire Department.  Steve retired from the Chesapeake Fire Department as a Captain after 29 years of service that included duties as a Ladder Company and Engine Company Officer, Station Commander and finally as the department’s spokesperson and Community Relations Officer.  Stick earned the Fire Chief’s Commendation and the Distinguished Service Medals and Officer of the Year award. During his fire service career, Steve acquired his nickname of “Stick” (a tradition and a rite of passage that he still uses today).  You will have to ask him personally the meaning of the nickname.

Although a bit “long in the tooth,” Steve went back to college to pursue his second desire to become a funeral director. Graduating two years later Summa cum Laude and through a friendship with Steve Zittle, he became a member of Family Choice Funerals and Cremations staff.  Steve enjoys his work at Family Choice where the atmosphere allows him to be the simple and uncomplicated person he is. His prior years of service rendering aid has prepared him to be compassionate and concerned for the welfare of folks he serves.  Stick and Bev are members of Peoples Baptist Church where he serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. Currently he and Beverly are enjoying their grandchildren and are on a mission to “rediscover America” by traveling.

Richard Kershner, Administrative Support/Funeral Attendant
Office Phone: 757-366-9260
Fax: 757-366-9262

Richard joined the staff in March of 2013 after selling his auto-detailing business.  He assists the funeral directors by helping to get death certificates signed and filed, keeping the funeral home vans cleaned and maintained, and a host of other duties.  His attention to detail and work ethic are a real asset to our operation.


Steve Foster, Funeral Attendant
Office Phone: 757-366-9260
Fax: 757-366-9262

Steve was born in Newport RI but has resided in the Hampton Roads area since 1966.  A retired Navy veteran of 20 years he served his country honorably from 1980 to 2000.

Married to the love of his life, Pamela since 1979, they have 5 adult children and 6 wonderful grandchildren.  Steve is a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Norfolk, VA where he serves as a deacon.  During leisure time, Steve always enjoys playing a round of golf.  Steve joined the Family Choice team in March 2017.

Chivas Zaporteza, Funeral Attendant
Office Phone: 757-366-9260
Fax: 757-366-9262

Dwayne Ross, Funeral Attendant
Office Phone: 757-366-9260
Fax: 757-366-9262

Dwayne is a native of Brooklyn, NY.  He is currently working towards a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and is excited about the directions afforded to him with his education.  He enjoys singing, dancing, writing music, and working out.

Tim Zittle, Funeral Attendant
Office Phone: 757-366-9260
Fax: 757-366-9262

Tim is Associate Pastor of Kempsville Baptist Church and enjoys ministering to families in his spare time at the funeral home.  He coaches youth baseball in the community and lives in Chesapeake with his wife, Jen, three sons, Braden, Joshua, and Micah, and daughter, Anna Joy.