Funeral Homes Raise Concerns About Director of New Low Cost Service

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

When a loved one passes away many people are left in shock and as they start to plan a funeral, there's another kind--sticker shock.

A new low cost funeral home has opened in Grand Junction promising to cut costs in half but some other funeral homes have concerns about the director's background.

11 News Reporter Jessica Zartler checked into allegations that the director has a checkered criminal past.

Kevin LaQuey of Mesa Funeral Service sat down with 11 News and admitted he's been arrested a dozen times.

But he says even though he's struggled in the past, he's made a fresh start and wants to help families.

"You grow up mowing the lawn at the funeral homes, washing the cars and the limo's, it just becomes part of your life," LaQuey told 11 News on Thursday.

He's a third generation funeral director.

"You do it because you want to help people and care for people."

He was a military embalmer for two years and in the reserves for 13,
got his masters in funeral services and he's a former director of a mortuary science school in New Orleans.

"My credentials speak for themselves."

But it's other things from his past that are speaking to some in the funeral industry in Grand Junction.

An FBI background check shows several arrests from 1987 to 2003 including convictions for bribery, kidnapping, domestic violence, obstructing police and forgery.

A check of Mesa County court records shows traffic violations for driving without a license and DUI.

LaQuey says he underwent treatment at the VA hospital and he's been back on the right track for five years.

"It was a part of my life when I was young. I went through a phase and it's not part of my life anymore--I've changed."

He believes other funeral services are drudging up his past to put him out of business.

He's had just one violation in the funeral business according to the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department. It reported LaQuey ran a funeral home in the state and someone he worked with signed a contract they were not authorized to sign.

LaQuey is worried that spending time defending his past is taking away from what he's really trying to do with his new business and decades of experience.

"Grand Junction needs a low cost funeral home. We're gonna give people hope and relief."

If the focus on his past hurts the future of his business, LaQuey worries about families who have a hard time paying for funerals.

And even though he's had some challenges, that's what he spent his life doing, helping families deal with death.

The funeral homes that brought this to our attention did not want to go on camera for this story.

Colorado is the only state in the U.S. where funeral director's do not have to have a license. Howvere, LaQuey does have an active license from New Mexico.


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