Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.
Ever since we opened our doors we have approached life (and death) differently. While some just see the end of a loved one’s life as a time for grief and mourning, we prefer to think of it as a time for reflection, appreciation and even celebration. This is evident in everything we do, from the way we conduct our services to the amenities we choose to offer. We are not just a funeral home. We are a close knit community dedicated to honoring, sharing and preserving the amazing and inspirational stories that are life.
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In a nutshell? Experience, professionalism, compassion, and empathy.
We've learned a lot over many years. Like how to present options without overwhelming. And how to meet the needs of many caring parties. People come to us in difficult times, and we respond kindness, calmness and expertise. Our goal is to create a beautiful occasion and make you feel welcome, always. We spend our days planning with families. We stay up to date with industry developments. And we make hard times a little easier.
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Learn the legacy.
Van Orsdel Funeral & Cremation Services was established in 1924, and serving families has always been our focus. We take pride in being able to guide people through some of their most difficult days. We take pride in maintaining a setting that allows people to find solace. Celebrating life is our mission. That’s never changed. And with pride, it never will.
Who We Are
Meet our staff. Members of the local community make everything that happens possible.
Together, we make this place amazing.
Donald Van Orsdel
Donald Van Orsdel is a native of Coral Gables, Florida. He is married to Maria Solis Van Orsdel, and has three daughters: Crystal Van Orsdel-Marchant, Katrina Van Orsdel, and Ivana Van Orsdel. Don graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School in 1969. Soon after, he graduated from Miami-Dade College of Funeral Service in 1971 as a licensed funeral director. Don continued his education and received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Miami. Furthermore, Don is also a long time member of Christ Journey Church in Coral Gables, and has been in the Rotary Club of Miami since 1978. He represents his firm as a member of the Selected Independent Funeral Homes since 1937. Don is fully committed to the South Florida Community.
Maria E. Van Orsdel
Maria was born in Havana, Cuba. At a very young age she came to the United States with her family and grew up in Miami, Florida. Here, Maria attended St. Peter and Paul Elementary School and La Salle High School. Following her high school education, her devotion to music led her to achieving her Bachelors of Music from Florida International University. Soon after, Maria went back to school to receive her degree in Education and taught at various public schools. Still, when Maria married Donald Van Orsdel she went back to school once more to obtain her degree in Funeral Science. Today she works at Van Orsdel Family Funeral Chapels along with her husband and has three daughters Crystal, Katrina, and Ivana. She currently holds a position of Chairman on the Advisory Board of Miami-Dade College (W.L. Philbrick School of Mortuary Science).
Crystal Van Orsdel Marchant
Assistant Vice President
Crystal was born in Miami, Florida. She was raised in South Florida and attended Westminster Christian School. Crystal obtained her Bachelor’s degree in International Business from Florida International University graduating Summa Cume Laude from the Honors College. She is also a graduate of St. Petersburg College of Funeral Service, and is a licensed Funeral Director. Crystal is the fourth generation of the Van Orsdel Family and plans to continue in the family business. She is an active member of her church and plays in the church band along with her husband. Crystal is married to Pablo Marchant and they have two children, Zachary and Isabella.
Ivana Van Orsdel
Ivana was born in Miami, Florida and attended Westminster Christian High School. She graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management. Her interests include cooking, baking and exercise. She is assists families in various manners with a caring heart.
Liz was born in Miami, FL and attended Coral Reef Senior High School. She graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor's degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management in 2014 and from the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Sciences in 2018. Liz enjoys traveling, reading, and playing the piano. She has been with Van Orsdel since 2012 and looks forward to serving the South Florida community with the Van Orsdel Family for many years to come.
Care Center Manager
Leroy is originally from New York, where he was led to the funeral profession through music. Leroy played organ and piano for various churches in the New York City and eventually began providing musical services to a funeral home where the Funeral Director introduced him to the funeral service profession.
He is a graduate of American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service and obtained his New York Funeral Director/Embalmer license in 1997. He worked as a Funeral Director/Embalmer in New York until relocating to South Florida to continue his career in funeral service in 2004. Leroy joined Van Orsdel Funeral & Cremation Services in 2021. Leroy enjoys travel, fishing, swimming and cycling.
Alexandra was born and raised in Miami, FL and attended Our Lady of Lourdes Academy for High School. In September 2016, Alexandra joined the Fall Class of students attending Miami Dade College studying to become a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer. While she was attending college for two years she realized that Funeral Service was not just an interest, it was a passion and her new career focus. In May of 2018, Alexandra graduated from Miami Dade College with an Associate’s Degree in Mortuary Science. She is very grateful to be working with such dedicated people who all share the same vision and goal, which is to provide impeccable care, respect and diligence to each and every family that chooses Van Orsdel Family Funeral Chapels.
Kendall Asst. Manager, Funeral Director
Cynthia was born in New Jersey, raised in North Carolina, and survived a brief stint in South Carolina prior to making Miami her home in 2009. She graduated from Miami Dade College’s Mortuary Sciences Program in 2015, and became a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in 2016. Cynthia enjoys travel, art, and cuisine in her free time. She intends to continue her education throughout her life, and has made a goal to one day obtain a Doctorate Degree. Cynthia looks forward to many years in the funeral business with Van Orsdel, and concentrates her efforts on personalization, and environmentally friendly cremation and funeral services.
Coral Gables Manager, Funeral Director
David was born in Doctors Hospital. He was raised in South Florida and attended a private school in the area. He graduated from Miami-Dade College School of Funeral Service Education. He has been employed with our firm since 1984 and lives in Coral Gables. David's daughter Victoria is a graduate of Florida State University. He considers Funeral Directing his calling and is honored to be able to serve our community.
Customer Service Manager/Pre-Planning Counselor
Henry grew up in Miami attending Miami Edison High. He graduated from Miami Dade Community College in 1968 and went on to receive his Bachelors Degree from Trinity University. Henry has been married to Patricia for 40 years, he has two married daughters, and four grandsons. Henry and his wife have been active in their church, Southwest Community Church, for 39 years. He began his career in the funeral industry in 1995 working for a large national corporation, and has been with Van Orsdel since 2004. “I like the personal attention a family owned business offers its families and I plan on finishing my working career here with the Van Orsdel Family.”
Midtown Miami Manager, Funeral Director
Frank was born in Havana, Cuba and came to the US in 1961. He is married to his wife Cristina and has two sons Danny and Brian, and two grandchildren Natalie and Matthew. Frank went to school at Miami Jackson High and joined the Army in 1969. He started in the funeral industry in 1978 as a counselor, and later joined Van Orsdel Family Funeral Chapels as a funeral director in 1988. He attended Miami-Dade College of Mortuary Sciences and is a licensed funeral director. In addition to his professional associations, Frank is a proud member of the Elks and the Masons.
Francisco is the Crematory Operator at Van Orsdel Family Funeral Chapels & Crematory. Francisco was born in Managua, Nicaragua. He moved to Miami in 1982 and it has been his home ever since. Francisco has a large family who he enjoys spending time with every chance he gets. He also has a passion for building model planes and helicopters in his free time. Francisco joined the Van Orsdel Family in 2012 as an attendant, where he realized his calling was to serve families and honor the lives of those who have passed on. He soon pursued his licensure in Crematory Operations and has been our Operator ever since. He truly loves his job and looks forward to serving the South Florida Community with Van Orsdel for years to come.
Valentina Pereda began her career at Van Orsdel Funeral & Cremation Services in 2018. She was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Valentina earned a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and is a licensed Life Insurance producer. As a Pre-Planning Counselor, she assists in securing decisions in Pre-Planning funeral arrangements for families and individuals before the time of need by making the process as simple and comfortable as possible. She truly believes that preparation is key to navigating the loss of a loved one. Pre-Planning funeral services creates a road map for survivors, and provides assurance in the knowledge that final arrangements are in order. She often says that “securing your arrangements can serve as the final gift we can give to our loved ones.''
Valentina is also actively involved with Funeral Planning seminars and health fairs seeking to raise awareness of the importance of Pre-Planning. She is active in the community volunteering for Girls Scouts, Pinecrest Elementary PTA and Area Stage Company. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis, going to the theater and spending quality time with her family.
In Loving Memory
December 3, 1936 - December 16, 2021
J.L. Plummer, JR. father of two daughters Dawn Marie Ratiner and Joni Lorrine Livingston. Grandfather of 3 soon 4, Jake, Jesse, and Nate. 30 Year member of the City of Miami Commission and many of those years as vice mayor, now "Commissioner Emeritus." Started the "International Trade Board," leader of the "Sister City" program, former chairman of the downtown development authority, Sport Authority, and Bayfront Park Trust. Former board member of the following, Mercy Hospital Outpatient, South Florida Employment and Training Consortium, Harry Anna Cripple Children Hospital, Governor Tax Reform Authority, 27 year member of Florida League, Florida Highway Advisory Council. Past President of the Dade then Florida League of cities representing 412 cities throughout Florida. Past exalted ruler of the Miami Elks #948. Member of the Independent Funeral Directors of Florida, Member of Knights of Columbus 3rd and 4th degree. 40 year member of Kiwanis, Syrian Lebanon American Club, A.H.E.P.A, Honorary Member of the Boys and Girls Club of Miami, Shake a Leg Handicap, Sailing Miami Outboard Club, Aurdua Training, Unlimited Racing Commission, and Reading for the Blind.
Craig S. Rogowski
Craig is a native Conch, born in Key West, Florida. He has been married to his wife Sandy for 34 years, he has two daughters, Tarah Rogowski Martos and Erica Rogowski-Esteva, and one grandson Harrison. Craig has over 20 years of experience in Funeral Directing and Embalming. He is an active member of Epiphany Catholic Church and serves as a Eucharistic Minister. A member of the Knights of Columbus and a past Grand Knight. Past President of the UM Hospital Auxillary Board. He is a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, Florida Funeral Directors Association, Pinecrest Business Association, Palmetto Bay Business Association and Cutler Bay Business Association. He has been a resident of Pinecrest for over 25 years.
Akeem' M. Skinner
Funeral Director & Embalmer Intern
Akeem’ is originally from Fort Lauderdale, where he began working in the funeral industry during his 11th grade year of high school. Akeem’ is a life-long alumni of the Boys & Girls Club of Broward County where he got his foundation in community service. He is a United States Navy Veteran as well as a Master Mason and Brother of McBride Lodge #390 (Prince Hall Affiliated) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
He is a graduate of Miami Dade College School of Funeral Service. He worked for various funeral firms before joining Van Orsdel Funeral & Cremation Services in 2020. Akeem enjoys traveling, fishing, reading and cooking.
Kendall Manager, Funeral Director
Maria T. Rodriguez Torre, "Marite" was born and raised in Coral Gables, Florida. She attended St. Theresa Catholic School and Our Lady of Lourdes Academy; and later graduated from Miami-Dade Community College from Funeral Services and Florida International University from Business Administration. Marite is also a member of Church of the Little Flower in Coral Gables . She has been serving in the funeral industry since 1983 and has been at Van Orsdel Family Funeral Chapels since 2006. This is the first Selected Independent Funeral Home she has worked with and plans to stay with us until she retires.
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