Through a partnership with Funeral Service Foundation, National Guardian Life Insurance Co. announced its commitment of $100,000 to establish two named scholarships in memory of Harry Pontone and Mark Hornibrook during the National Funeral Directors Association International Conference & Expo.
“Harry and Mark have had a tremendous impact on the funeral service industry, and we are honored to remember and celebrate their legacies through these scholarships,” said Knut Olson, NGL president and CEO. “At NGL, we are focused on helping people and we are passionate about serving those around us. These scholarships further define our commitment to the industry and to the dedicated professionals who serve families every day. We are proud to honor Harry and Mark by expanding the Funeral Service Foundation’s scholarship program for funeral service professionals.”
Harry Pontone Memorial Scholarship Fund
Harry Pontone got his start in the funeral industry when he joined South Brooklyn Casket Co., which was founded by his father Thomas Pontone in 1931. Throughout the years, the company expanded and combined to eventually become the second largest casket company with Harry as the president and CEO. Taking a personal interest in every client, he focused on finding ways to further help them. That desire led him to earn his funeral director’s license to better understand the challenges and needs of funeral directors. He instilled his passion to serve others in his sons, with Scott Pontone following in his footsteps as he is now president of Trust 100 and owner of several funeral homes.
“The scholarship from NGL is a wonderful tribute to my father, Harry Pontone, and his love for funeral service. Thank you to NGL for your generosity in providing this scholarship to help new professionals enter this amazing community of caregivers. It warms my heart to know it will carry out his legacy,” Scott Pontone said.
Mark Hornibrook Memorial Scholarship Fund
Mark Hornibrook was a compassionate and intelligent business leader who created industry-defining products and founded companies, including Precoa, one of the fastest growing preneed companies in America. As one of the original architects of preneed, his vision was to create a company that would offer a proactive approach to advanced planning and provide meaningful connection for thousands of families. The scholarship is available for individuals who are committed to advancing the profession and fostering a workplace that puts people first.
“My father valued education and loved this profession. He was dedicated to improving the way funerals are preplanned in America and to fostering a workplace that puts people first,” said Tyler Hornibrook, vice president, marketing at Precoa. “We’re grateful to National Guardian Life Insurance Company for its generous commitment to establish an academic scholarship in Mark’s memory. It’s such a meaningful way to carry on his legacy, and as we continue to attract caring and talented people to this profession, we’ll help build a future Mark would be proud of.”
“Mark was about craftsmanship, he was an architect and he embodied kindness,” said Cameron Black, NGL vice president of sales and business development. “As people are continuing to grow in this profession, that’s what we want to be carried on — that’s what this scholarship is made for. It’s made to bring leadership and passion into a profession that impacts so many different people in so many different ways. It’s truly an honor for NGL to recognize Mark and have his legacy live on forever.”
“I am personally grateful and privileged to be part of an amazing organization that is honoring two longtime pillars in the funeral service industry,” said Jennifer Kaset, NGL regional vice president, sales. “These scholarships will continue to carry out the legacies of Mark Hornibook and Harry Pontone and extend their passion for the funeral profession. They impacted immeasurable lives and through these named scholarships they will continue to enhance lives and better the funeral profession.”