Mary Steele, of Pineville, was recently recognized in Frankfort for becoming the state’s first female to be named president of the Funeral Directors Association of Kentucky (FDAK).
FDAK has a 135-year history in the state.
Being a pioneer is nothing new for Steele. She was also the first woman to receive both a funeral director and an embalmer’s license in Bell County.
Accordingly, she is the first woman in southeastern Kentucky to be both a certified funeral service practitioner and certified pre-need consultant in Bell County.
Plus, she has been recognized by the FDAK for being the first person in the history of the association to receive a recognition for earning over 1,000 hours of voluntary continuing education.
Steele’s funeral home was the first funeral home in Kentucky to be inducted into the NFDA Hall of Excellence.
Her funeral home has also been honored to earn more Pursuit of Excellence awards from the NFDA in Kentucky for a total of 17 Eagle Awards.
This is considered to be a remarkable feat, not frequently achieved.
Steele’s funeral home was the first funeral home in the nation to receive the Community Service Award for dedication to the families she served in 2010.
All along, Steele has labored, volunteered and remained committed to her own community in Pineville and Bell County. She served on the Chamber of Commerce Board for three terms, the Pineville Independent Board of Education, the Local School Board Liaison to the Kentucky Board of Education, the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival Board, the Kiwanis Club, and as a Girl Scout and Cub Scout Leader.
Steele has served on the FDAK board of directors since 2003 and on the executive board since 2009.
While serving on the board, she has traveled to various places across the United States to represent Kentucky funeral directors and embalmers.
Steele was also honored by the National Funeral Director’s Association (NFDA) with the highest award for a woman in funeral service, the Initiative Award. She was one of only two women in Kentucky to receive this very prestigious award.
Steele, among other boards, serves as a member of the International Order of the Golden Rule, a funeral service organization. Steele has served this board as both a member and chair of the communications committee for several years.
She also received a scholarship to attend the NFDA’s Professional Women’s Conference.