JudieLynn Nassar McAvinney was elected president and CEO of White Haven Memorial Parks Inc. at a regular board of directors meeting Dec. 13.
The announcements was made by board chair, Harriett F. Neville.
“We have been planning for this day for several years,” said Neville, when announcing the election. “In 2014, our previous president, Andrea Vittum, told us she would like to retire in a few years and even suggested her replacement, who was then serving on White Haven’s board of directors. We agreed wholeheartedly with her choice and have been working on a gradual transfer of duties ever since.”
Neville said McAvinney was selected for her extensive experience in the management of not-for-profit organizations. Her experience includes six years working for the city of Rochester as deputy commissioner for the Department of Recreation and Youth Service, where her responsibilities included oversite of the city’s municipal cemeteries as well as the position of assistant to the mayor; a tenure with the America Red Cross as regional chief programs officer for the Finger Lakes and Western New York region; and 13 years with the YMCA of Greater Rochester as executive director of two family branches.
“White Haven Memorial Park is such a special place in our community where its unique park-like setting is the perfect place for memorializing our loved ones and celebrating life,” said McAvinney. “I am humbled by this appointment and am honored to continue Andrea’s legacy while working with an amazing and dedicated staff.
The former president and CEO, Andrea Vittum, has held the position since November 1993 and has been an employee of the company since 1985. In her many years there, Vittum has overseen the development of 10 ground burial sections, two of which contain unique monuments honoring our nation’s veterans; built five community mausoleums for above-ground burial; renovated and expanded the cemetery’s crematory; opened recreation trails for public use; and established a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation to raise funds to help preserve the cemetery for future generations. In addition, she implemented the cemetery’s merger with Canandaigua Lakeview Cemetery in 2008 and purchased land adjacent to the cemetery in 2016, adding a total of 10 acres of burial property overlooking Canandaigua Lake.
In the process of developing the two cemeteries, Vittum added various innovative products and services, including two Nature Trails for Cremation Burial, the Bluebird Meadow for Green Burial, The All Seasons Chapel with Gathering Room for catered meals, the Reflection Room at the White Haven Crematory for final goodbyes and popularized the use of rock memorials in uniquely natural settings. Vittum said the innovative products and services have proved to be very popular with local families and the company is in sound financial condition as it enters the next phase of its history.
Vittum will continue as senior adviser to the president, but she and her husband, White Haven Secretary Allan J. Vittum, will spend most of their time at their new home in Florida.
“I look forward to having less responsibility, but I also appreciate the opportunity to stay involved, both as a board member and as an employee,” said Vittum. “JudieLynn and I share many values and interests and have a similar vision for the future of White Haven. I am excited to see what she will do and look forward to assisting her in any way that I can.”