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History & Staff
At Mission Mortuary & Memorial Park, we provide personalized service options that allow you to honor your loved ones in a way that is both meaningful and healing. We hope to provide support and caring while delivering memorial services that celebrate life and help families find the peace they deserve.
If you’re seeking an honorable celebration of life in Monterey and the surrounding areas, we invite you to learn more about where we came from, our vision, and the dedicated people behind our work.
A History of Caring
Mission Mortuary opened its doors in 1946 at a location on Munras Ave. in Monterey and moved to our current location on Camino El Estero in 1952. Being centrally located on the Monterey Peninsula and adjascent to the San Carlos and Monterey City Cemeteries, Mission Mortuary has been the premier funeral home choice for Monterey and the entire peninsula. While times certainly have changed, so has Mission Mortuary in keeping up with the changing needs of our families. We offer a large, remodeled, facility with a chapel that seats 180, our signature reception room that many have said "rivals any fine dining restaurant", and our 'Memories Cafe' which is our hospitality room offered to our families. Whether a handful of friends and family or large crowd, we can accommodate all.
We offer families choosing cremation peace of mind by having the option to have cremations done right across the street at Monterey City Crematory.
Mission Memorial Park opened in 1934 as Mission Memorial Cemetery and for many years was run by the city of Monterey. In 1988 Monterey Peninsula Mortuary opened on the grounds of our beautiful Seaside location. In 2007 we closed our Chapel of Seaside at our Noche Buena location and merged the two to become Mission Mortuary & Memorial Park.
The community and our families have embraced our funeral home and cemetery combination as it offers peace of mind knowing all is done in one comfortable environment with one caring staff. At Mission Mortuary & Memorial Park we offer burial and cremation services and many cemetery options for burial or cremation. We are proud of the reputation we have earned and continue to be Seaside and Marina's most recommended funeral and cemetery service.
Our Staff’s Dedication to Respectful Care
A funeral, or memorial service, should provide family members and loved ones with the chance to reflect, remember, and celebrate a life well-lived. At Mission Mortuary, our goal is to create exceptional services and experiences that fulfill the wishes of your loved one. Our experienced Funeral Directors provide guidance on the crucial first steps toward healing.
Mission Market Leader
Paul is a native of El Dorado County the Sierra Nevada Gold Country and he began his journey in the funeral industry when he was just a sophomore in high school. After graduating high school Paul served his apprenticeship in Southern California, he went on to earn his Mortuary Science Degree from Mt. Hood College in the state of Oregon in 1994. Following college Paul was employed as a Funeral Director in Folsom, California where he spent the next ten years learning the operations of both the funeral service and cemetery service. He went on to start his own funeral home in South Lake Tahoe and then spent thirteen years managing a funeral home and cemetery in Amador County. He is a licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer, Crematory Manager, Cemetery Manager, Cemetery Broker and a licensed pre-planning insurance agent.
Paul actively served his community as a volunteer California State Firefighter and EMT for many years, he actively served his church as an usher, taught biblical based financial classes, he was an active member of the Pastor Search Committee and was part of many community outreach ministry programs.
Paul believes regardless of one’s role in the funeral industry, that is whether you’re running a weed eater, washing a vehicle, managing a funeral home or anything in between that we all play a role in a family’s experience both negative experiences and positive experiences. “We have an amazing and unique opportunity to join others during an incredibly difficult season in their lives, if done with compassion, dignity and respect we can make an incredible difference”.
Paul and his wife Nicole are the proud parents of three, Lance, Dalany and Wesley whom are now raising their children in Paul’s hometown. In 2018 Paul and his wife relocated to the Monterey Peninsula to join the Mission Group team. Paul and Nicole are enjoying the beach life, exploring the coast and experiencing new friendships and cultures.
Funeral Operations Lead Admin
Linda Stillabower was born in East Los Angeles, she spent her childhood and much of her adult life in Long Beach and Paramount, California. Linda moved to Monterey Bay in 1993 with her children, she worked for the County of Monterey at the Natividad Medical Center for thirteen years before joining the funeral service industry at Healey Mortuary in Salinas where she spent thirteen years. In July of 2019 she joined the team of Mission Mortuary as the Administrator. Today, Linda is Mission Mortuary’s Lead Admin, the glue holding all the pieces together. Linda enjoys being part of a team that facilitates one’s final wishes, her desire is to continue serving and providing care for those choosing to use the services of Mission Mortuary until her retirement.
Linda recently moved to the Peninsula when joining the Mission team, she loves the culture, the beauty and benefits of living in the heart of the bay. Linda enjoys time with her family, especially time spent with her grandchildren. She says “these are her best years”.
Funeral Arranger and Cremation Specialist
Michael was born in Tulare, CA. As a child he was raised around the Mortuary Industry. He later moved out of the country, finishing his education and training, and then returned back to the U.S. Mike has worked in New York and Arizona before moving back to California. He met his wife Michelle and had 3 kids. Michelle and Mike have lived in Santa Cruz for 15 years; he has spent 7 years in micro systems and 8 in the Mortuary Industry. Michael is certified as a Funeral Counselor and Crematory Operator, and works after hours dedicated to serving and care for those that just suffered a loss of a loved one.
Lupe Vasquez grew up in Monterey County, she fell in love with funeral service when she moved for a short time to Tehama County to work for a local funeral home. Lupe missed home and soon moved back to be closer to family and friends. Upon her return she joined the team of Mission Mortuary as an assistant Administrator and soon after accepted the role of a Funeral Arranger. Lupe is working towards earning her associates degree and becoming a licensed Funeral Director. Lupe enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and relaxing to a good movie.
Wesley Tucker was born and raised in Seaside, he joined the Mission Team as a Family Service Advisor for Mission Memorial Park. Recently Wesley became a proud father and accepted a new role with the Mission Team as a Funeral Arranger. Wesley has a passion to educate and prepare his community for both the unexpected and natural times of loss.
In his spare time, you will find Wesley training our youth in sports, he attends his local church, loves being outdoors and enjoys spending time with his Rottweilers and family. Wesley earned his degree from Cal State Los Angeles and is currently studying to become a Licensed Funeral Director.
Cemetery Operations Lead Admin
Nicole Nelson was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2001 when Nicole was just twenty-four, in an effort to provide a better life for herself and her four-year-old daughter, Dalany, she packed-up her car and journeyed across the United States to Lake Tahoe California. Nicole worked at the Tahoe Clinic of Plastic Surgery as an OR Circulator before meeting her husband Paul in 2006. Nicole and Paul made their home in Jackson, California for many years where Nicole worked as a licensed cosmetologist off Main Street in historic down town Jackson. Nicole was an active member of the Ladies Auxiliary for Jackson Fire Department, an active member of her local church, and she worked part time in the bakery for Safeway Store.
Nicole recently joined the Mission team as a Funeral Attendant and today is the acting Administrator for Mission Memorial Park. She feels blessed to be part of the Mission team and values the opportunity to serve others during such challenging seasons. When Nicole is not working she can be found enjoying the beautiful outdoors, lounging on the beach and spending time with her family and grandbabies.
Family Service Advisor
Grace Perez Manio, is a Family Service Advisor for the Mission team. Grace hails from the Philippines and was a twenty-year resident of Oahu, Hawaii. Grace recently moved with her husband Ramses a US Army National Guardsman along with her two family cats Lucky & Belly to Seaside in order to be closer to her husband’s family. Grace’s family whom she visits often lives in Los Angeles.
Her vocation in helping families specially during times of difficulty and loss began when she was a Religious Programs Petty Officer Second Class in the United States Navy in Hawaii. She started her career in the cemetery industry in Hawaii with Service Corporation International. Grace studied at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines majoring in Business Administration. She is the proud mother to her children, Mia and Carlo and a loving grandmother to Isa, Ari, Gabbi and Angel
Family Service Advisor
Kathy Berry has lived her entire adult life in California, she is a California Life and Health Insurance Agent and Cemetery Sales licensee. Kathy helps provide our families with the peace of mind that comes from planning arrangements in advance. Kathy will carefully walk you through each step of the planning process so that when the time of need arises your family is not left with making emotional financial decisions.
Kathy has two adult children and a beautiful granddaughter, during her down time she enjoys being outdoors, hiking, taking in the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and reading.
Jimmy Welch, a Monterey Peninsula native, attended local schools and churches throughout his life. The son of a preacher, Jimmy has always had a passion for funeral services. As a child, he watched his father prepare sermons, meals, and travel for grieving families later becoming a familiar face in the funeral business himself by continuing on his fathers’ legacy. Jimmy is active in the local community in various churches, civic organizations and committees throughout the peninsula. Jimmy is passionate about helping our local families in their time of need, treating each of your loved ones as one of his own. His satisfaction comes from knowing he provided outstanding customer service to his community.
Twenty-six-year-old Maria Hernandez is the youngest of five, she and her siblings were raised by their devoted and very hardworking single mother. Maria graduated from California State University of Monterey Bay in 2017 with a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Pre-Law.
When Maria was just seven years old she experienced an event that impacted the rest of her life and as a result instilled in her a passion for funeral service. In 2001 Maria was forced to confront the journey of grief for the first time in her young life, her beloved father had passed away. “The moment I had to see my father in his casket was something I will never forget”. Maria will be forever grateful to the embalmer that cared for her father, she will never forget the care and manor in which he was presented. For Maria she knew immediately she wanted to become an embalmer, she understood at that moment she wanted a career in the funeral industry serving others.
Maria also has a passion for gardening, “I love the whole process from planting a seed and getting to experience a beautiful flower as it blooms”. Other hobbies include walks, running, hiking and simply relaxing and reading a good book.
Mission Mortuary is honored to have Maria join our team, her passion for our industry as a result of a very personal life changing experience will add incredible value for both our staff and those we serve.
Lead Cemetery Grounds Crew
Sergio is from Colotlan, Jalisco, Mexico. Sergio understood from an early age that America would offer him the best opportunities.
At eighteen years of age he moved to the U.S. and shortly thereafter proudly gained his citizenship. Sergio takes great pride in caring for Mission Memorial Park. He explains that he is completely at peace in the cemetery environment and describes that helping others during such difficult times is very humbling. “I am extremely grateful for the career I’ve been afforded”.
America is very dear to Sergio. He and his lovely wife have called Watsonville home for many years now. Together he and his wife have three children and one adorable grandson. Sergio describes himself as a very personable individual. He enjoys getting to know others and learning the many walks of life we have all travelled.
As dear as America is to Sergio, he looks forward to travelling back home as often as he can to visit those most important to him, his parents and siblings.
Cemetery Grounds Crew
Tim Fritsche is one of the newest members of the Mission team. Tim is originally from Texas, he attended the University of Texas in Austin studying in engineering. He received his Associates Degree in Computer Networking from Hallmark College in San Antonio. Tim, his lovely wife Andrea and their three lazy cats reside in Seaside. Prior to joining the Mission team Tim spent decades developing his skills as a Journeyman Carpenter in the construction industry and eventually built his own business.
When Tim isn’t maintaining the grounds at Mission Memorial Park or caring for chores around his home you might find him fishing or playing a round of golf. Tim also volunteers much of his time at Paws of Grace, a local animal refuge.