By Thomas A. Parmalee

Kirk M. Mabile, 53, a longtime funeral director at Mothe Funeral Home, serving the Westbank of New Orleans, has been named June’s Unsung Hero of Funeral Service, a recognition program sponsored by Ring Ring Marketing and

As this month’s winner, Mabile will receive a $100 gift card courtesy of Welton Hong, the founder and CEO of Ring Ring Marketing.

Mabile, who grew up in a small town south of New Orleans called Pierre Part, wanted to be a funeral director as far back as he can remember, even though his family members were not in the business.

“I’ve always been interested in becoming an embalmer and funeral director from a young age – the fourth grade to be exact,” he said. “I recently spoke to my fourth-grade teacher, and she asked if I’m a mortician because in her class that’s all I spoke about.”

In high school, he recalls taking books out from the library to learn more about the funeral business. “I would spend my off days from high school shadowing an embalmer in the New Orleans area making sure that’s what I really wanted to do,” he said. “My parents wanted to make sure as well because they told me, ‘That’s a career choice you don’t hear people wanting to get into.’”

But Mabile’s mind was made up.

After graduating from Assumption High School in Napoleonville, Louisiana, he enrolled in mortuary college at Delgado Community College. He landed his first job at a funeral home immediately after starting mortuary school.

“I was a security guard when a night visitation was taking place,” he said. “I also transported the deceased from distant areas and did all of the janitorial work that needed to be done. I graduated from mortuary school in 1990 and became a licensed embalmer/funeral director in 1991.”

After becoming licensed, he went to work at Tharp Sontheimer Tharp Funeral Home, which did pick-ups and embalming for the entire city of New Orleans.

“I worked an eight-hour shift on Fridays and sixteen-hour shifts on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said. “I assumed that position for three years.”

In 1994, he joined Westside Funeral Home as the assistant manager/funeral director, covering two other funeral homes as a funeral director. He stayed on for 13 years before being hired by a prominent family-owned funeral home, Mothe Funeral Home, serving the Westbank of New Orleans.

“I have been at Mothe Funeral Home for 21 years; I am well known by the families I served when I was at Westside Funeral Home, and I’m very well known within the Vietnamese community,” he said. “I come highly recommended by the Vietnamese community and serve Vietnamese families from three church parishes within the Westbank area.  I will continue to service families on the Westbank of New Orleans as well as in the Metro New Orleans area until my time comes. When I’m not at the funeral home, I enjoy staying at home, gardening and working in my yard.”

Mabile loves his job.

“I’m always being told that when a family meets with me for funeral arrangements, the families may walk in crying and upset because they lost a loved one, but when we finish arrangements, they exit laughing and feeling comfort,” he said. “All the families I serve will tell me, as well as employees, that they were scared and nervous when they walked in to make arrangements, and when the family left, they felt a feeling of comfort.”

Mabile also loves working with his funeral home teammates.

“During Hurricane Katrina, I lost everything I owned: my house, my clothes, everything,” he said. “The outpouring of compassion from my co-workers was a pure understanding of love.” He added, “Mr. Boyd Mothe Jr., owner of Mothe Funeral Home, allowed me to move into the apartment above the funeral home until my life and my house were rebuilt. I will never forget the outpouring of gratitude and love shown to me during that time of need.”

Likewise, when the COVID-19 crisis erupted in 2020, everyone at the funeral home came together, Mabile marveled.

“We came in the office at 7 a.m., started embalming, taking calls and directing funerals, which according to the CDC, we couldn’t have more than 10 attendees at any funeral … that was counting the funeral director and the clergy, so we could only allow eight attendees. It was a stressful time in our lives.  We were often too busy to take lunches, so Mr. Mothe would send pizzas, sandwiches, etc. to feed us all.  We would work until 10 or 11 p.m., go home, shower, take a nap and begin work again the next day at 7 a.m.”

He feels he became an even better funeral director after receiving the worst news of his life on Aug. 31, 2021, after Hurricane Ida, when his father died after suffering an aortic aneurysm while on a ladder. He fell and broke his back.

“I received the call at 5:30 p.m. while at work that he had passed,” he said. “With no electricity because of the storm, I went home and packed my things and headed to Pierre Part to face the worst time of my life. I felt confused, even though I’ve been in the business for 34 years. I was being asked all kinds of questions, and I had no answers.”

Being the client on the other side of the desk took a toll, Mabile said. “Before his death, I would tell families that I can’t say I know how you feel because I haven’t lost a parent, sibling, etc.,” he said. “Since his passing, I became a better funeral director knowing how the families feel and knowing their needs and wants. The questions families ask, the answers they seek, I now know why they ask.”

Boyd Mothe Jr., president of Mothe Funeral Home, nominated Mabile to be an Unsung Hero of Funeral Service, noting that he always puts families first. “His work ethic is outstanding,” he said. “He genuinely cares for the families he serves and the staff that he leads. Kirk loves funeral service and the relationships he develops within the community.”

Mabile thanked Ring Ring Marketing and for being recognized as an unsung hero. “I’m very honored to be the recipient of this wonderful award,” he said.

Each Unsung Hero recognized by Ring Ring Marketing and will receive a $100 gift card, courtesy Hong, the founder of Ring Ring Marketing. There will be a maximum of one winner per month, selected on a rolling basis.

Nominate someone to be recognized as an Unsung Hero of Funeral Service.

Hong said he was impressed by all that Mabile has accomplished.

“We all need to be inspired, and Mr. Mabile is inspiring,” Hong said. “His selfless dedication to his community and the families he serves shines through in everything he does.” He added, “He also truly appreciates the people he works with and is the type of star employee anyone would want on their team. It is our privilege to send him a $100 gift card as a thank you for shining a spotlight on all that is good about funeral service.”

Thomas Parmalee, founder of, also congratulated Mabile on the honor. “I often talk to innovators, change agents and founders of companies, who are doing exciting and interesting things … but at the end of the day, it is the people meeting with families and making sure they’re taken care of that are the lifeblood of this profession,” he said. “I am so happy to be able to team up with Welton and the team at Ring Ring Marketing to help call attention to the hard work of people like Mr. Mabile.”

Learn more about the recognition program.

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Comments (2)

  • He is the best! He worked with my mother at Mothe’s for many years. When she passed away in 2018 I specifically asked for him. I knew she would be in great hands. They had a special bond. They called each other “Precious “. He told me it was a hard task to take care if her. But i had no doubt she was in the greatest hands. Thank you Kirk!

    Holly Melancon | June 19, 2024 at 2:45 am
  • I met Kirk in junior high school. Finding out that this was his desired future profession seemed odd to many of us. It’s truly a calling. Kirk’s family and his friends such as myself are so very proud of him. God bless him as he continues to share his gifts to comfort the bereaved.

    Karla Lajaunie | June 19, 2024 at 3:35 am

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