Our Valued Staff 2020-03-19T22:49:54-04:00

Our Valued Staff

Matthew J. Fiorillo, CFSP : President/Owner

Matthew J. Fiorillo, CFSP

President/Owner

Matthew J. Fiorillo, the owner of Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services, is a licensed funeral director in New York State and Connecticut. He has earned the Certified Funeral Service Practitioner from the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice, Inc. This is noted by the CFSP acronym. Matt has committed to a program of lifelong learning to serve you and families in your community with the level of excellence expected of a CFSP. He is a lifetime member of the White Plains Historical Society, a member of the Knollwood Country Club, and was formally a board member with Hospice and Palliative Care of Westchester. In his spare time, he participates with the Westchester Amateur Astronomers. He is a graduate of Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL, and is originally from West Nyack, NY. He is a long-time resident of Westchester County, where he currently resides.

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Mark Press : Funeral Director

Mark Press

Funeral Director

Mark Press is a New York licensed funeral director and embalmer for Ballard Durand Funeral & Cremation Services. Mark graduated from American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Services in New York, N.Y. and has been in the profession since 2014. Mark is originally from Orange County, N.Y. and after obtaining his license he moved to Florida to be closer to his family. After 2 years he decided to move back home and now resides in Rockland County. Mark has always enjoyed helping others and considers serving each and every family in their greatest time of need a tremendous honor and privilege.

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Melissa Gudiño : Funeral Director

Melissa Gudiño

Funeral Director

Melissa Gudiño is a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer at Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services. Melissa Graduated and received her degree in mortuary science at Cypress College in 2013. After graduating she took some time to travel and have new experiences and moved from Southern California, where she was born and raised, to New Orleans. She moved back to California and completed her apprenticeship for licensure in 2017 and currently holds an embalming license and Funeral Directors license in the state of California. She is a resident of the Bronx and now a licensed Funeral Director in the state of New York.

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Joseph Schuka : Funeral Director

Joseph Schuka

Funeral Director

Joseph Schuka is a licensed funeral director and embalmer for Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services. He has worked in funeral service for the past 15 years, and has been a licensed funeral director for 12 years. Formerly a native of Peekskill, NY, where he was well-established in the community and his church. Joe currently manages our Dutchess County location at Libby Funeral & Cremation Services in Beacon, NY. He is an active communicant of St. Joachim-St. John Parish in Beacon, NY; where he thoroughly enjoys assisting when needed as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, and whatever else is needed by the parish Priests and Deacons.

Joe is a Fourth Degree Member and Past-Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Msgr. Ansbro Council 462 of Peekskill and is also a Past-President and currently Vice-President of the Peekskill Lions Club. Joe is a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, with membership in the Peekskill Lodge 744, and again sincerely appreciates the friendly welcome from the local Beacon Lodge 1493, to partake in their civic and fraternal affairs.

As you can notice Joe has a deep love for community and giving back of himself, recently Joe has become the newest member of the Exchange Club of Southern Dutchess. Also very dear to his heart are the Veterans, he has a great sense of Patriotism which was instilled in him at an early age by his paternal grandmother. He can be seen assisting the local VFW with veteran affairs.

Joe truly enjoys his life’s calling as funeral director; assisting families at that most difficult time in their lives, easing the moments, and providing a lasting tribute for generations to remember that loved one forever.

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Rocco Botta : Apprentice Funeral Director

Rocco Botta

Apprentice Funeral Director

Rocco is life-long Orange County resident, currently resides in Highland, NY. He began work at Ballard-Durand in March of 2020. He has worked in funeral service for three-years. Rocco developed a passion for funeral service at the age of 17 and began work at his local funeral home in Cornwall-on-Hudson, Orange County, NY. After graduating from high school, he enrolled into the mortuary science program at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY where he has one-more semester left.

Rocco discovered Ballard-Durand through a school project and enjoyed the experience so much he was interested in joining the team. Caring for families in times of crisis and pain is what inspired Rocco to enter funeral service and is what fuels his passion today. Aside from his love for the profession, his second passion is music which in his spare time he enjoys perfecting his guitar skills.

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Roy Watkins : Funeral Assistant

Roy Watkins

Funeral Assistant

Roy Watkins was born and raised in London, England, where he received a degree in Electronic Engineering. He has lived in the Westchester/Putnam area since moving to the United States in 1972. He started working on a part time basis with the funeral industry in 1977 leading to a full time position with Ballard-Durand in 2006. Families appreciate Roy’s courtesy and professionalism during calling hours and services.

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Elizabeth Friend-Ennis : Celebrant

Elizabeth Friend-Ennis

Celebrant

Rev. Elizabeth Friend-Ennis was ordained through One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in 2016. She has several years of experience in hospice and chaplaincy, and serves as a Dean for 1st year students at One Spirit.

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Victoria Assumma : Grief and Bereavement Counselor

Victoria Assumma

Grief and Bereavement Counselor

Ms. Assumma is a highly skilled clinical social worker. Her experience in bereavement and grief counseling started in 1980’s as a coordinator facilitating groups and providing individual and family therapy to address transition and loss. She has over 20 years’ experience in Hospice and Palliative care and holds certificates in Grief; Trauma, Children & Loss, Affirmative Psychology, and Mindfulness, and is a certified Anxiety Treatment Professional and Oncology Social Worker. Her private practice focuses on Life Transitions and Challenges. She promotes understanding, acceptance, and healing in the midst of pain and loss and believes in the strength, and resilience of the individual to cope and honor loved ones.

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Lulu 2014-2021 : Comfort Companion

Lulu 2014-2021

Comfort Companion

In 2015, Lulu the golden doodle became Westchester's first therapy dog to serve families in a funeral home. Like those used in hospitals and nursing homes, Lulu acted as a source of comfort and love in times of emotional distress. Families who requested her presence could soothe their grief by stroking her soft fur or merely enjoying her supportive companionship. A fixture at the funeral home, Lulu was well-known and well-loved by everyone in the Westchester community. Her sweet, outgoing nature touched the lives of all she came into contact with and contributed a calming presence to the atmosphere of the funeral home. Though her passing in March of 2021 was unexpected, Lulu leaves behind a lasting legacy of caring for and supporting others during their time of grief. Her memory has set the standard for all future therapy dogs at Ballard-Durand. Lulu's presence will be greatly missed by both Ballard-Durand staff and the Westchester community, but the memory of her dedicated life of service will continue to live on.

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