Family ties led N. Patrick Range Sr. to become a mortician. His father, Oscar L. Range Sr., founded the first Range Funeral Home in Liberty City in 1953.
After the elder Range’s death of a heart attack seven years later, young Range, just out of high school, decided to join the business and help direct its expansion alongside his mother, the late M. Athalie Range.
On Aug 3, Range, owner of Range Funeral Homes of Greater Miami, will be honored with the Robert H. Miller Professional of the Year award by the National Funeral Directors and Mortician’s Association during its 2010 convention in Fort Lauderdale.
“He’s had a significant role in supporting colleagues and in serving the community in a comparable manner,” said Henry Postell, president of the Florida Mortician Association. “Professionalism is there regardless of the families’ financial situation.”
A funeral director for the past 50 years, Range is the third Floridian nominated for the award, named after Miller, the first NFDMA executive director.
A member of the Epsilon Nu Delta Mortuary Fraternity, Range also serves on the advisory board of the Miami-Dade College Department of Funeral Service Education. In 2006, he was recognized by his peers with the “Mortician of the Year” award given by the First Regional District of Florida and the State of Florida’s Mortician Association.
“You do what you need to do to help others in the profession,” said Range. “Being involved [helps to maintain the] level of professionalism.”
Postell said Range has also distinguished himself by his fund-raising work for mortuary science scholarships and career-related organizations, such as 100 Black Women in Funeral Service.
In addition to its Liberty City location, the Range Funeral Home also has funeral homes in the Coconut Grove and Homestead communities and handles more than 300 funerals a year.
Range said his mother’s civic involvement played a fundamental role in their approach to customer service. As Miami’s first black city commissioner and first woman to head a
Florida state agency, the Department of Community Affairs, M. Athalie Range was relentless in fighting inequities, advocating the improvement of black schools and neighborhoods.
She died in 2006 at the age of 91.
Besides counseling and ceremony arrangements, Range and his team offer an after-care program, which assists grieving families beyond the mourning process.
“What distinguishes a funeral home is going beyond the service itself,” he said. “We see our clientele as an extended family.”
Range said the best reward is the gratitude expressed by the families he serves.
“Nothing brings more satisfaction than being able to help others in time of need.”
Photo: N. Patrick Range Sr.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: The National Funeral Directors and Mortician’s Association 2010 Convention awards ceremony and dinner.
WHERE: Marriott Harbor Beach, 3030 Holiday Dr., Fort Lauderdale.
WHEN: Tuesday, Aug. 3. 7-10 p.m.
COST: $55 per person. Hotel parking is $20-25.
CONTACT: For more information, please call Jeanette Kelley, 305-726-5330.