May 25, 2006

The Division of Professional Licensure and the Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers ("Board") recently disciplined three licensees.

  • John L. Czelusniak of Niantic, Connecticut: The Board entered a consent agreement with Czelusniak placing his license on probation for one year, effective February 27, 2006. Czelusniak admits that he allowed his apprentice to practice beyond the scope of her apprentice license in permitting her to make funeral arrangements with a family.
  • Debra J. Desrochers of Chicopee: The Board entered into a consent agreement with Desrochers, suspending her license to practice as an apprentice embalmer for three months, effective December 19, 2005. Desrochers admitted that she practiced beyond the scope of her apprentice license by making a substantial amount of funeral arrangements without the direct supervision of a licensed funeral director in June of 2001 and October of 2004. Desrochers served ten days of her suspension and then the remainder of the suspension will be stayed. Her license to practice as an apprentice embalmer will be on probation for six months. In addition to the continuing education hours required for licensure, Desrochers must also complete six hours of Board approved continuing education in the area of mortuary law within six months. Desrochers is entitled to act as an assistant to a funeral director, but cannot conduct funeral processions or make funeral arrangements without the direct supervision of the licensed funeral director or embalmer to which she is registered. The Board agreed to permit Desrochers to take the spring 2006 funeral director and embalmer examination in Massachusetts if she meets all other requirements for licensure. If she does obtain a license within the six-month probation period for her apprentice license, her funeral directors license will also be in probation for the remainder of the period.
  • Willis S. Lyford of Wilmington: Lyford entered a consent agreement with the Board, agreeing to surrender his license to practice as a funeral director in Massachusetts, effective October 27, 2005.
    Complaints lodged against Lyford claim that he did not adequately prepare a body for viewing nor did he inform the family of the body's condition before the viewing. He also failed to hire and employ a full time, licensed Funeral Director to assist him at Nichol's Funeral Home after the Board mandated him to. Lyford also failed to take the appropriate steps for the disposal of medical waste from his funeral home.
    Lyford cannot submit an application for the renewal of his license as a funeral director for at least five years. He also is not permitted to accept any voluntary or paid position as an embalmer or funeral director or engage in any practice consistent with an embalmer or funeral director.

The Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors licenses approximately 2,608 funeral directors and embalmers throughout the Commonwealth. In Fiscal Year 2005, the Board received 290 complaints and resolved 246 complaints from this and previous fiscal year. The Board entered into two consent agreements, revoking one license, accepting one voluntary surrender, issued 11 stayed suspensions, and placed two licenses on probation. The Board issued 127 fines totaling $13,700.00 and refunded $5,670 to consumers.

Consumers are urged to visit the Division of Professional Licensure's website at and select the "check a license" option to determine whether a professional they are considering doing business with is licensed and in good standing.

The Division of Professional Licensure ("DPL") is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The agency is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for approximately 330,000 licensees across 43 trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 29 boards of registration.