Memorial Scholarships

The Trust is host to many generous donors who have chosen to honor the legacy of an individual with the gift of a memorial scholarship.

Interested in funding a memorial scholarship? Email Stefanie Favia or call 847-236-0150.

Chester T. French Memorial Scholarship

Established in 2021 with an endowment from French Funerals – Cremations, this annual scholarship will provide the recipient with full two-year tuition plus an annual stipend to participate in the Selected Leadership Academy, a unique and rewarding educational opportunity offered exclusively to members of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. Applications for this scholarship are accepted each year between December and January 31. Visit the Leadership Academy Scholarship page to learn more and apply.

Chester T. French moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico from Tennessee in 1904 in hopes that the arid climate would help cure his brother’s tuberculosis. His brother succumbed to his disease, but Chester fell in love with the beautiful city and its people and dedicated himself to helping families in their times of need. He founded French Mortuary in 1907 in downtown Albuquerque. Throughout his life, Mr. French gave back to his community and profession, leaving a legacy of philanthropy and service for generations to come.

Today, French Funerals – Cremations is the largest and oldest locally owned and operated funeral home in the greater Albuquerque area, providing a full-service continuum of care for families in their time of need. Grandsons, Chester French Stewart and Bob Stewart, continue to serve families to this day.

Tom Antram, President & CEO of French Funerals – Cremations states, “It is our legacy and our calling to continue to serve families during one of the most difficult milestones in life, and to help them honor their loved ones with dignity, compassion, and a deep respect for their needs and unique pathways through grief. Creating this Memorial Scholarship to the Leadership Academy continues the legacy of Mr. French through giving back to grow others.”

Mark L. Justen Memorial Scholarship

Offered once in 2021 and again in 2022 as part of the Spring Cycle of the Second-Career Scholarship Program, the Mark L. Justen Memorial Scholarship is funded thanks to a donation by Robert Justen and Nancy Justen, Justen Funeral Home & Crematory, McHenry, IL. The Second-Career Scholarship Program is for individuals who aspire to work as a funeral director as a second career. Visit the Second-Career Scholarship page to learn more and to apply.

Mark L. Justen would frequently find ways to give back to community, and often in ways few would notice. Service to the community was a central pillar of Mr. Justen’s life, and that extended beyond the funeral home. Within the McHenry community, Mark was a member of the fire service for 49 consecutive years. Beginning as a founding member of the McHenry Area Rescue Squad, Mark was an EMT since 1972 and became a firefighter in the 1980s. In 2000, he became a fire trustee with the McHenry Township Fire Protection District, serving the community in his 49th year of continuous service. As he grew older, Mark expanded his service beyond just the immediate community.

During moments of crisis, national or personal, he found ways to reach out and care for those who needed him. In the 1980s, Mark joined in disaster mortuary affairs with his state association, the Illinois Funeral Directors Association. Mark served with the Illinois Disaster Response Team before its merger with the federal response unit into the Disaster-Mortuary Operational Response Team (D-MORT). While with D-MORT, Mark was activated to serve on the response teams for several major fatality incidents such as Hurricane Katrina; American Eagle Flight 4184 crash near Rensselaer, IN; the Bourbonnais train derailment, and his most notable deployment, the World Trade Center terrorist attack on 9/11/2001. Mark also assisted in setting up Memorial Park which stored the remains of the Victims of 9/11. There, amid the tragedy, he formed life-long friendships with other first responders. He brought his own unique brand of charisma to New York City, attending many retirement gatherings and even coordinating some funerals in the NY area for his dear friends.

Michael R. St. Pierre Memorial Scholarship

Established in 2021 thanks to a generous donation from Betty St. Pierre and Paul St. Pierre, St. Pierre Family Funeral and Cremation Services, Indianapolis, IN, this annual scholarship provides the recipient with a Second Career Scholarship, granted in the spring of each year. The Second-Career Scholarship Program is for individuals who aspire to work as a funeral director as a second career. Visit the Second-Career Scholarship page to learn more and to apply.

Michael R. St. Pierre was the only living president of five national associations in his profession. He served as president of the National Selected Morticians (now Selected Independent Funeral Homes) from 1991-1992, president of the National Funeral Directors Association from 2007-2008, was a life member of the Academy of Funeral Service Practitioners and served as a representative to the American Board of Funeral Service Education for nine years. St. Pierre was proud to be involved in the creation of the National Research and Information Center that was associated with the National Foundation of Funeral Service, which he served as chairman of the board of trustees from 1995-1996.

Ralph S. Turner Memorial Scholarship

Established in 2023 thanks to a generous donation from A.S. Turner and Sons, Decatur, GA, this scholarship will grant two $1,500 awards to students graduating from mortuary science school in the state of Georgia this year. To honor Mr. Turner’s memory, this scholarship is designed to award those who value a work ethic and effort, as demonstrated not necessarily by perfect grades but by the hard work it takes to succeed in funeral service. Applications are being accepted now through September 15. Click here to view eligibility requirements and to apply.

Ralph S. Turner, the third son of firm founder A.S. Turner, was born in 1920. He graduated from Decatur Boys High School, attended Emory University and graduated from the Cincinnati College of Embalming, and began working for the firm. When World War II came along, Ralph became a pilot with the U.S. Army Air Corps. He returned to the firm in December 1945, to manage the business with his two older brothers. The firm continued to grow under his leadership, until his death in 2008. Today, A.S. Turner and Sons remains as one of the largest family-owned funeral homes in Georgia.