About Us

Our Staff

We are united as a team in our Core Purpose: Healing Hearts, Inspiring Trust, and Comforting the Soul. We work here because of our deep desire to give each family an experience that uniquely helps them tell the story of their loved one.

Our Departments


  • Neil P. O'Connor

    Neil P. O'Connor, President & CEO

    Neil O’Connor was born into a large Irish Catholic family in 1967 as the youngest of seven children. His parents, Jane and Joseph O’Connor had met through their families, both of which owned funeral homes. Jane's father, John Cox, owned a funeral home in Oakland, California, while Joseph's father, Joseph A. O'Connor, owned a funeral home in Los Angeles, California. John Cox and Joseph A. O'Connor were close friends, so close in fact that Joseph O’Connor was the best man at Johnny Cox’s wedding...

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  • Joseph G. Fitzgerald

    Joseph G. Fitzgerald, CFO

    Joseph Fitzgerald grew up in Joliet, Illinois, then moved to California in 1984 after graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Communications from Depauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. While at Depauw, Joe was a two-sport athlete, playing football and baseball. He started his business career in sales with the Gallo Wine Company in Los Angeles and in the commercial real estate business as a broker. In 1992, Joe joined O'Connor Mortuary after spending seven years in the commercial real estate business...

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  • Charles A. Ricciardi

    Charles A. Ricciardi, COO

    Charles A. Riccairdi was born and raised in Pacific Beach, a (used to be) small town near San Diego, California. He graduated from Mission Bay High School in 1983, where he played on the school baseball team. In addition to playing sports, Charles grew up as an avid woodworker, building cedar chests, tables, dressers, and a 14-foot boat among other projects, several of which won awards at the Del Mar Fair. His father instilled in him a strong work ethic, which was apparent in the series of jobs...

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  • Jeff E. Turner, CAO

    Jeff Turner was born in Garden Grove, California and raised in Westminster, California, with the exception of two years, 1964 to 1966, when his family lived in the village of Ollei in the Palau Islands. He graduated from Westminster High School in 1976, where he played the trombone in the jazz band, orchestra, symphonic band, and marching band, and was the drum major his senior year...

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General Manager

  • Joanna Ramirez

    Dedicated | Leader | Adventurous

    Joanna started working in our Care Center in 2006. She now manages the Care Center and staff as well as serves in the role of General Manager. An absolutely critical part of our day-to-day, Joanna is a focused leader who always finds a way to say, “yes, we can do that.” Her attitude makes her approachable, trustworthy, and dependable...

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Funeral Arrangers

  • Mark Adams

    Grandfather | Basketball Coach | Pastor’s Heart

    Mark joined our staff in 2009 as a Funeral Arranger. A former pastor and hospice chaplain, Mark loves caring for people and gets great fulfillment in serving as a guide and friend to families in need. He feels most passionate when he is actively “caring for and caring about” the families he serves....

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  • Carrie Bayer

    Animal Lover | Mortician | Big Heart

    Carrie joined us all the way back in 2004 as an apprentice embalmer making her way through mortuary science school. Since then she has worked in just about every capacity here at O’Connor and now serves as a Funeral Arranger caring for and helping families. She is truly an accomplished, respected, and compassionate member of our team....

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  • Jon Grant

    Committed | Compassionate | Forward-Thinking

    In 2010 Jon joined our staff to assist and guide families through the services held for their loved one. He transitioned into the role of Funeral Arranger in 2014 and has shown himself to be a wonderful listener and a compassionate guide. Additionally, Jon tends to all of our maintenance, building improvements, and plans the majority of our company outings. He is an integral part of our team and a wonderful spirit to have around....

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  • Lauren Hiroshima

    Sweet Spirit | Compassionate | Leader

    We had the good fortune of hiring Lauren in 2013 as a Service Assistant and quickly realized what a wonderful funeral arranger she would be. The youngest of our arranger team, Lauren’s compassion, drive for excellence and personable nature make her a perfect fit for her role...

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  • Joseph Lavoie

    Humor | Servant’s Heart | Positive

    Joe left his job at Ascension Cemetery to join our staff as a Funeral Arranger in 2002. Joe strives to truly become a shepherd and trusted friend to every family he serves. In his years here, Joe has become one of our finest employees, a joy to be around, and an arranger whose detailed focus is always on what is best for the family...

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  • Elsa Samaniego

    Meticulous | Strives for Excellence | Deep-thinker

    Elsa began her career at O’Connor in our Care Center as an apprentice embalmer in 2007. Recognizing her drive, work ethic, and spirit of service for the families we serve, we challenged Elsa to move into Funeral Arranging and she took on the challenge. She has a knack for detail, thoroughness and a deep desire to give every family a service that is specially tailored to them....

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Service Staff

  • Erin Fodor Service Director

    Empathetic | Equestrian | Heart of Service

    Erin first came to O’Connor Mortuary at the age of 12 when her father died tragically in an accident. She felt drawn back by her compassion for others who have lost loved ones and joined our staff in 2013 as a Service Assistant. Erin’s heart for others is just one of the wonderful things that makes her so naturally gifted at the work she does. She is passionate, in her own words, about “simply being there for the families we serve” and “feeling that I am a part of something that makes a difference in people's lives.”...

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  • Mitch Gibson Service Director

    Musician | Mindful | Warm Hearted

    Mitch has been a Service Director at O’Connor Mortuary since 2010. He finds purpose in helping families through what he believes is often the biggest and most emotional event in their lives. Mitch strives to deliver flawless and thoughtful service to everyone he serves and is truly someone we are proud to have on our team...

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  • Michael Thomas Service Director

    Thoughtful | Personable | Intuitive

    Michael signed on in 2012 as a part-time Service Assistant and was surprised to discover a genuine passion for the funeral profession. He is now a full-time Service Director who genuinely loves people and finds great fulfillment in giving the family a flawless ceremony. His attentiveness helps him meet the needs of the family often in advance and makes him a valuable part of our team...

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  • Sharon Bartleson Service Assistant

    Wife & Mother | Music Lover | Compassionate

    Sharon started as a volunteer with TIP (Trauma Intervention Program) in 2009, providing on-call help to families in crisis. She attended a training session facilitated by O’Connor to TIP volunteers and in 2012 joined us part-time as a Service Director. She loves being of service to people who are truly in need. Her training in TIP and her heart for others are an ideal combination of strength, confidence and gentleness...

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  • Anne Collins

    Encourager | Wisdom | Mentor

    Anne has been our accountant extraordinaire since 1996. With a penchant for numbers and a mind that is wise, disciplined and precise, Anne is someone that everyone in the company relies on and can trust. She is an essential part of our operation, ensuring accuracy, fairness and transparency....

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  • Elinor Perry

    Singer | Thinker | Storyteller

    Elinor was hired in 2008 as an Accounting Assistant. She is truly one of our behind-the-scenes players who makes a huge difference in our daily operations. With a passion for numbers, accuracy and detail Elinor is perfectly suited to her unique role here. Originally from New Bedford, MA Elinor has a gift for storytelling and always leaves you with a smile or a new thought...

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  • Amy DeMontmorency

    Mom | Driven | Excellence

    Amy came to O’Connor in 2010 after working at several other mortuaries and has at last found where she belongs. Her incredible drive, clarity of mind and ability to multi-task make her the ideal manager of our Administrative Department. Amy oversees the filing of all Death Certificates and other important documentation with a precision and efficiency that makes all of our lives easier...

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  • Kari Leslie

    Laughter | Focused | Heart-Felt

    Kari worked for O’Connor from 2000 – 2004 and returned in 2011 to her role in our Clerical Administration department. With a background in the medical field Kari is both comfortable and passionate about getting the information on the death certificates accurate and precise. When Kari is on the phone with our families there is no doubt that her concern is their comfort and peace...

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  • Rosemary Shadwick

    Comprehensive | Efficient | Dependable

    In 2007 Rosemary joined the team in the unique & supporting role of Director’s Assistant. Her position requires a detailed, editorial focus as she oversees all obituaries and all of our printing. She ensures that our memorial folders and prayer cards are typo-free and customized to illustrate the story of your loved one. She loves how pictures truly tell a story and takes delight in restoring old photos to their original vibrancy...

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After Care

  • Lori Bristol

    Humorous | Dog Lover | Connection

    Lori began her career with O’Connor in 2009 as a Service Assistant after serving in the Memorial Ministry at Saddleback Church for three years. She now serves as our Director of Care Coordination, her main focus is connecting with the families we are privileged to serve. Meeting with families after their services, Lori will review the death certificates, provide grief resources and that extra caring touch. Lori is also our Marker Design Specialist who meets with families to design the perfect tribute to their loved one...

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  • Patricia Kolstad

    Mom | Courageous | Compassionate

    Pat started working at O’Connor in 1993 doing administrative work before being given with the monumental task of pioneering our community outreach program. Over her 20 years at O’Connor Mortuary Pat has touched and connected with thousands of the professionals and volunteers in our community and shared valuable resources and educational programs with them. Her desire to learn and care for others continues today in her semi-retirement as she continues to meet with families we have served to learn about their experience and offer them her wealth of resources...

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Care Center

  • Shasta Thompson

    Contagious Smile | Music Enthusiast | Considerate

    Shasta began working in our Care Center in 2010 as an apprentice and now is one of our go-to Specialists. A Certified Crematory Operator, Licensed Embalmer and member of our Service staff, Shasta does a bit of it all and always with the sweetest smile. Her passion lies in the caring and presentation of those who have died, she finds it rewarding when a family leaves our mortuary feeling calm and relieved after seeing their loved one...

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  • Stacy Ortiz

    Family Oriented | Concert-Goer | Nature-Lover

    After 3 years of working at other mortuaries Stacy applied to be a Care Center Specialist here at O’Connor in 2013. Stacy’s experience and natural talent both in the Care Center and in serving our families makes her a wonderful asset to our team. She loves the work she does because she is driven by the desire “to give our families that last opportunity to say good-bye to their loved one”. Stacy’s values perfectly reflect our company beliefs; that we are here to heal hearts, inspire trust, and comfort the soul. She accomplishes that in our Care Center every day and makes a difference for the families who see their loved one looking at rest...

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Community Development

  • Becky Lomaka

    Creative | Pioneer | Joyful

    Becky signed on as the Director of Community Development in 2013 with a determined passion to bring education, encouragement, and validation to the professional and volunteer communities we interact with. Becky believes that “Education is our most powerful tool in our efforts to help the community learn more about how to cope with death and the journey of grief after loss.” Through our quarterly workshops, seminars and in-service programs Becky is making a difference in our community and changing grief-care for the better...

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  • Molly Keating

    Passionate | Enthusiastic | Book Lover

    Molly joined the O’Connor team in 2009 as a weekend receptionist without plans of a mortuary career. Over the years as her job evolved she discovered a passion for grieving people and was able to fuse that with her love of writing. Now, the head of our blog team and all Social Media, Molly is driven to provide helpful resources to the online and real-world communities...

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