After a year hiatus due to two signed non-competition agreements, Stephen Sontheimer and Billy Henry, formerly of Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp Funeral Home of Metairie, began work in the funeral industry again on April 2. The pair will now work at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home and Cemeteries, a Dignity Memorial® provider.
Sontheimer, whose family has served for four generations in the funeral business will work as a senior consultant of funeral services. Meanwhile, Henry will assume duties as an executive funeral director. Sontheimer and Henry will offer guidance and support to families, organize arrangements for funeral, cemetery and cremation services, and provide professional, expert advice to all patrons of the historic and well-recognized New Orleans funeral home and cemetery.
“We are so pleased to welcome these notable funeral professionals who bring a wealth of experience and have deep ties to the New Orleans community,” said Huey Campbell, New Orleans market director. “We are confident that the reputation and leadership Stephen Sontheimer and Billy Henry offer will strengthen our service and effectively lead us in our mission to best serve the needs of New Orleans families.”
Sontheimer’s family has been involved in funeral service in New Orleans continuously since 1916. He was the former chairman and chief executive officer of Security Industrial Funeral Home Corporation and for the past 22 years has been a funeral director-consultant associated with Bultman and Tharp-Sontheimer Funeral Homes. A native and lifelong resident of New Orleans, he attended Isidore Newman School, graduated from Culver Military Academy and was a member of the 1964 class of the Tulane University’s School of Business.
“Serving all faiths with compassion and excellent service is a personal priority,” said Sontheimer. “The opportunity to join Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home allows me to continue this mission and to work with the team in providing unparalleled service to our families at the most beautiful and well-located facility in New Orleans. As we assist families who choose our funeral home, we can also provide staff for services held at churches or synagogues and at all cemeteries.”
Sontheimer has a long-established connection with the business, cultural and religious communities. In the past, he was a chapter chairman and member of the Young Presidents Organization, the President of Regional Loan Corporation, Board President for the Jewish Family Service, an early board member at the Contemporary Arts Center and a founding member of Hospice New Orleans. Additionally, he served on the boards of the Tulane University Cancer Center, Cancer Consortium, Touro Infirmary, LCMC Health, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Jewish Welfare Federation, Touro Synagogue, Hebrew Rest Cemetery and the Anti-Defamation League. Sontheimer was previously a member of the Executive Committee of the Archbishop’s Community Appeal and received the Benemerenti Medal for service to the archdiocese.
Henry, the former general manager of Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp Funeral Home in Metairie, has been a long-time associate of Sontheimer’s. He brings 38 years of local experience to his new role to join Sontheimer, who is celebrating 56 years in the funeral business.
“I am honored to make this transition with my colleague of many years, Stephen Sontheimer, as we fulfill the mission of serving families who place their trust in us,” said Henry. “We are satisfied that Lake Lawn Metairie has prioritized their efforts in appointing management and funeral directors deeply-rooted within the New Orleans community.”
Henry has been a national board licensed funeral director and embalmer since 1973 and is an active community role model with a passion for serving the LGBTQ community of New Orleans. He is the past president and co-founder of Friday Night Before Mardi Gras, Inc., a non-profit fundraising organization providing support for LGBTQ communities. He previously served as president of Shelter Resources, also known as Belle Reve Transitional Homes, NO/AIDS Task Force and the Hospice Foundation of Greater New Orleans amongst others. He continues to serve as an adjunct professor in the Funeral Service Education Department at Delgado College.
Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home and the historic Metairie Cemetery have been serving the greater New Orleans community since 1872. With more than 250 years of collective experience, the funeral professionals at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home serve families of all faiths at all local churches or synagogues and cemeteries.