Our Staff

Our staff is comprised of dedicated and licensed professionals with the experience to answer all your questions regarding our services. Please feel free to contact any of our staff members with questions you might have related to funeral service and end of life ceremonies.

Kurt Edenbach

Funeral Director, Owner

Kurt grew up in Middletown schools and has been working around the funeral home since he was teenager. He demonstrates his dedication by the way he cares for families day in and day out as well as the support he provides to many of the organizations in and around Newport. With the help of his staff and the people of Aquidneck Island he helped bring The Moving Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial to Newport in September 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the war. He previously served on the Board of Directors for the Robert Potter League for Animals and the Newport County YMCA. Kurt enjoys outdoor adventures with his wife Meaghan O’Neill Edenbach and their two children, Nick and Oona. 

 Kurt is a member of the RI Funeral Directors Association and an active member of Selected Independent Funeral Homes.  He is a graduate of Portsmouth Abbey School and Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. He completed his professional training at Gupton Jones College in Atlanta. Kurt then joined his father and uncle at the funeral home as a licensed funeral director in the spring of 1997.  Over the last 20 years he has taken on many of the day to day responsibilities of the funeral home and holds a state Insurance License to assist with providing preplanning options for the community. 

Email: kurt@memorialfuneralhome.com

Robert Edenbach

Retired Funeral Director/Owner

Most people know him as Bob. He is an Aquidneck Island native and has lived in almost every town in the county. He joined the family business in September of 1968 and graduated from the New England Institute in 1970 acquiring both Massachusetts and Rhode Island Funeral Director/Embalmers licenses. Bob was known for his compassionate approach with families. He loved to hear stories families would share with him and shared a few of his own.  

Now mostly retired, Bob now lives in Portsmouth with his wife Corinne and their golden retriever, Revere. He has two sons, Robert Jr. and Christopher and thirteen grandchildren with another on the way. Bob was a past President and life member of Newport Rotary Club. He is also an active member and past Commanding Officer of the Artillery Company of Newport which participates in revolutionary war re-enactments and maintains a museum in Newport. Bob also enjoys skiing, boating, hunting and motorcycle riding.   

He is a 1964 graduate of Fairfield University with a BA in Sociology. He proudly served in the US Navy as a Lieutenant on the Destroyer, USS Forrest Royal from 1966-1968, and in the Naval Reserves from 1969-1974, serving on the USS Purdy and the USS Dash.  

Edward Gurka

Funeral Director

Eddie has been a license funeral director with the Memorial Funeral Homes since 1988 

He grew up in the Slatersville area of North Smithfield. He was raised in a restaurant family, and attended Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts before beginning his career in funeral services at Curtis J. Holt Sons Funeral Home in Woonsocket in 1984. 

Ed organizes the “Cooking for You” program for surviving family members, which he delivers with other members of the Memorial staff as well as remembrance events throughout the year. He lives in Middletown with his partner Scott and their perfect dog, Ivan. 

Email: ed@memorialfuneralhome.com

Sean Hackett

Funeral Director

Sean is a homegrown Newporter which gives him a deep understanding of the people on the islandSean served our U.S. military in the Air Force.  

In his time away from the funeral home Sean loves to golf, play poker and walk on the beach. Sean lives in Middletown with his wife, Leishatheir daughter Kaitlin and their cat, BeniSean has two grandchildren who he adores! He hopes to join the ranks of the devoted dog lovers on our staff in the not too distant future. 

Sean has come to funeral service as a second career and found that he loves serving families during their time of need. Sean’s down to earth manner makes him very approachable. Sean graduated from FINE Mortuary College in July 2008 with an associate degree in Mortuary Science and received his funeral director’s license in January of 2009. 

Email: sean@memorialfuneralhome.com

Ben Landry

Funeral Director

Ben has a nononsense approach when assisting familiesHe makes certain each detailed request made by families in honored. Ben graduated from FINE Mortuary College in July 2016 with an Associate Degree in Mortuary Science and received his funeral director’s license in March of 2017.

 Email: ben@memorialfuneralhome.com

Courtney Sullivan

Funeral Director

Courtney is a native Newporter, she brings her kind-hearted nature and attention to detail to every family she serves. You may recognize her from around town as she has been a friendly face and manager at the Newport Blues Café since the early 2000s, as well as helping at The Hungry Monkey. Courtney has a background in hospitality and event planning and comes from a family of police and medical professionals. After giving nursing school a thought, she decided a career in funeral service would be the most rewarding. She enjoys helping and guiding the families in our community, in hopes they experience a sense of relief.  

Courtney is a proud mother to her boys, Jamison and Jack, as well as her rescue pups, Charlie and Max, and Harper, her ex-racehorse rescue. Outside of work, family, and fur babies her interests include wellness and fitness, traveling and horseback riding. Courtney enjoys the volunteer work she does for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and Save One Soul Animal Rescue League.  

 Courtney started her work in funeral service as an embalming apprentice in March of 2016. She graduated Cum Laude from FINE Mortuary College in August of 2018 with an Associate’s in Funeral Science. She joined the team at Memorial Funeral Homes as a licensed Funeral Director in March of 2019.  

Email: courtney@memorialfuneralhome.com

Rachel Durbeck

Rachel Durbeck

Apprentice Funeral Director

Rachel is a 2019 graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor’s degree in Biology.  Immediately upon graduation, Rachel joined our staff and enrolled at FINE Mortuary College, pursuing an associate degree in Mortuary Science to become a licensed funeral director and embalmer.  Rachel hopes to provide families with compassionate guidance while handling the logistics and grief that follow death.  Raised in Massachusetts, she has found her home in comfy Rhode Island.  In her free time, you can find her by the beach with her collie, Dewey.  

Email: rachel@memorialfuneralhome.com

Leo Dube

Funeral Director, Director of Advance Planning

Leo hails from Swansea, MassachusettsLeo attended Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River and began his career working in funeral service there in 1984. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart and they have two adult children. In his sparetime he enjoys playing golf and traveling the world. Leo is huge Jazz music fan and loves playing his tenor saxophone 

Leo is a licensed funeral director and is our preplanning specialist. He has over thirty years of experience in the field. Focusing on advance planning has given him a keen understanding of the needs a family has in this difficult time. If you would like to learn about what options you have, Leo can help you find the peace of mind of knowing your wishes have been accurately documented. 

email: leo@memorialfuneralhome.com

Lisa Alves

Office Manager

Lisa Marie Alves (no relation to the Presleys) is a lifelong Aquidneck Islander and she is the heart and soul of our Funeral Home. At the age of fifteen she began working as a telephone operator for the company’s answering service. Three generations of women from her family have run the answering service for the firm, her mother, her sister and Lisa and now her daughter. Lisa went to cosmetology school and took a part time job working for her stepfather, Bob at the funeral home. Post graduation she worked part time as a hairdresser and at the answering service. After working part time in the office for the funeral home she was hookedIn the beginning of 1989, to date she is both the first and only Office Manager the company has ever known. Lisa has honored the funeral home with more than 3 decades of service. Her favorite part of the job is the feedback received from the families we serve. 

Outside the funeral home Lisa is happily married to her high school sweetheart, Mike. They have two children Victoria and Michael, as well as their four dogs Easton, Stanley Cup, Mason and Axel. Lisa is a Boston Bruins fan!  

Email: lisa@memorialfuneralhome.com

Rev. Lark d’Helen, FT

Celebrant Coordinator, Thanatologist and Community Education Advisor

The Rev. Dr. Lark d’Helen has been a happy transplant from the state of Minnesota for over 25 yearsLark lives in Middletown with her spouse Joyce and their Shih tzuIn her downtime she can be found walking on the beach with her dog Boomerang or relaxing in her beautiful yard with friends. 

 Lark began as a minister, worked as a chaplain and advisor in hospitals and nursing homes. She has been guiding the grief support and outreach programs of Community Connections and Memorial Funeral Homes for the last 7 years. Lark has spent 10 years as adjunct faculty at University of Rhode Island in the College of Nursing’s Interdisciplinary Thanatology program. She has the highest level of certification in the field of death, dying and bereavement, a Fellow in Thanatology from Association for Death Education and Counselling. 

Email: lark@memorialfuneralhome.com

Susan Winsor, LICSW

LICSW, Grief Counselor

Susan has lived in Newport since middle school. She graduated from Salve Regina and Boston University. Susan has worked with a variety of populations: homeless women and children, persons struggling with substance abuse, victims and survivors of domestic violence, persons with medical and behavioral health issues, and end of life care. As a Clinical social worker at Newport hospital she spent much of her time assisting patients and their families with difficult decisions regarding diagnoses and end of life care.  Susan was able to provide both her parents with end of life care at home with hospice. More recently Susan has been helping our bereaved clients adjust to life after the death of a loved one. 

Susan has grandchildren locally and adores spending time with them. 

susan@memorialfuneralhome.com

Kim Shute

Community Relations Manager

As the Community Relations Manager Kim supports both our Community Connections Program and the Funeral Homes. She has a B.A. in theatre/dance and a M.F.A. in Performance Arts. Kim has done course work in Individual and Group Crisis Intervention with first responders, clinician and clergy for Hurricane Sandy and 9/11. She has done bookkeeping for local contractors, taught ESL for a literacy program, run her own gardening business, taught speech communications and acting, and helped manage and promote a twenty- million-dollar housing project in Massachusetts.

She was involved for ten years at Channing Church where she researched, wrote and offered many services as well as helped with marketing and community outreach. Kim has experienced bereavement first hand after her husband of 19 years died suddenly of Leukemia at the age of 48. Since her husband’s death Kim has felt a calling to work with the public around issues related to loss and death from pre-planning to bereavement programming and everything in between.

Email: kim@memorialfuneralhome.com

John Reynolds

Monument Company Associate & Funeral Assistant

John is a retired Middletown Firefighter. John is an amazing cook and talented handy man. He enjoys going on vacations his wife Sharon plans for them. He is also a member of the Freemasons. 

Over the last 6 years he has taken the responsibility to oversee the Newport Monument Company and all granite, bronze and engraving work. John has vast knowledge of all of the local cemeteries and is a great resource for permanent memorialization. 

John Nelson

John Nelson

Operations Coordinator and Newport Monument Company Associate

John is a native of West Hartford, CT and grew up in East Greenwich RI. He graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School in June 1984 and Babson College with a degree in Management in May, 1988. Before joining Memorial Funeral Home, John spent many years in banking as a Vice President-Operations Manager with Citizens Bank in Warwick. He brought his approachable demeanor to hospitality and served as an Operations Manager with Marriott International, where he still helps part time. 

John joined the Memorial Funeral Home team in February 2018 has lived on Aquidneck Island for 16 years. He enjoys living in Newport with his two dogs, spending time near the ocean, swimming, and has provided a happy home to many dogs over the years.

email: jnelson@memorialfuneralhome.com