The Conejo Mountain Family
Steven Mora, Managing Partner
Steven Mora is the Managing Partner for Conejo Mountain. He is a native of Denver Colorado and enjoys the outdoors and Jazz Music and is a California Licensed Funeral Director, Crematory and Cemetery Manager for the operation at Conejo Mountain.. Steve is an active member with the Camarillo Chamber and Oxnard Chamber of Commerce His family are members of the Camarillo Christian Church. Steven enjoys traveling abroad. "Helping families is the most important commitment that we can give at the most difficult time in their lives." Steven invites all communities to please come by for a personal complimentary tour of Conejo Mountains beautiful Memorial Park and Funeral Home and Crematory located on the grounds for that personal touch of Elegance.
Alexander Crider, Marketing Director
Alex joined Conejo Mountain in December, 2007, bringing with him two decades of Cemetery, Funeral, and Advanced Planning experience. During the course of his career Alex has held a number of positions including Advance Planning Counselor, AP Department Manager, AP Director, Family Service Counselor, Family Service Manager, and Sales Manager. Professionally, Alex holds a Cemetery Broker Licence and an Insurance Licence for the state of California.
Alex lives in Camarillo with his wife, Diane, and daughter Victoria, where they attend Calvary Nexus. He enjoys all kinds of travel from vacationing in Maui and Scotland, to cruises and old fashioned road trips by car or motorcycle. He also participates in several exhilarating activities such as surfing, sailing, sky diving, bungee jumping, and riding his Harley. His most cherished activity, however, is time spent with family. “I thank God every day for His blessings.”
“You prepared for what might happen- medical insurance, auto insurance, fire detectors, spare tire, etc… Now, for those who mean the most, be prepared for what will happen someday. Call us at 805-482-1959 right now to learn your options. Don't wait untill tomorrow. Discover for yourself if preplanning is right for you and your family."
Elaine Doberne, Administration Manager
Elaine, in dual roles as office manager and office administrator, has been working at this most beautiful park since 1991. In l969, she graduated from UC Irvine, and in 1990 earned her CPA certificate.
In her leisure time she stays busy crocheting, or knitting, baking, reading, shopping or just chatting with friends and family. She loves children and cats. She and her husband, Philip, have four children but no cats due to allergies.
"Every day is a blessing, and every day brings new experiences."
James Garcia, Grounds Superintendent
Born and raised in Camarillo with his two brothers, James is a 1994 graduate of Camarillo High School. His father, Joe, was hired in 1976 by founder Mary H. Smith and soon became a grounds foreman. James was born that same year and literally grew up on the cemetery property, surrounded by deer, rabbits, dove and quail.
As a youth, he enjoyed hiking, camping, and hunting, and fishing from the creek that flows under the white bridge on Howard Road as you approach the park. As a teenager, he began working for his father part-time while attending school. Now, following in his father's footsteps, he is the Grounds Superintendent at Conejo Mountain Memorial Park.
James loves spending time with his wife Stacie and their two girls, Jamie and Ashlee. They enjoy camping, fishing, barbecuing, riding their Harley, and just hanging out.
Steve J. Gibson, Funeral Arranger
Steve brings over 10 years experience in funeral service and is proud to be a member of the Conejo Mountain staff. He finds great rewards in helping families plan a celebration of their loved one’s life or any type of funeral or memorial service the family may desire.
Steve, a California native, was born in Pomona and has lived in various areas of the Golden State his entire life. After completing his education in Southern California, Steve moved to Santa Barbara, taking a position in dental sales, which led to becoming a dental laboratory ceramist for 20 years. He purchased his first home in Camarillo in 1978, and along with his wife, lived in the area for 21 years, while raising a son and a daughter. Steve’s daughter Brooke lives in Camarillo with her husband Alex, and his son John lives in Oxnard.
Steve has been involved with "Every 15 Minutes" (a program for teenagers and families to decrease underage drunk driving fatalities) in local high schools for the past three years.
In his spare time, Steve enjoys sailing, riding motorcycles, and playing guitar.
He also enjoys creating unique glass products made from recycled bottles. Steve currently resides in Agoura Hills.
Holly Grago, Funeral Arranger
Holly Grago, Funeral Arranger
Holly first joined the Funeral Industry in April 2007 as an Administrative Assistant. She joined the team at Conejo Mountain December of 2011 as a Funeral Arranger.
Before entering her current profession, Holly worked as a preschool teacher for six years. Holly is happily married to her long time high school sweetheart. In 2008 they welcomed their oldest daughter into their lives. Holly’s family grew when their second daughter was born in January 2013.
Holly and her husband are born and raised natives of the Conejo Valley. They take great pride in teaching their daughters all about the great-outdoors. When Holly is not at work she can be found playing outdoors with her family, and teaching her girls about the importance of growing their own fruits and vegetables. When down time comes about, Holly enjoys working on her family tree and creating a book to hand down to her girls.
Ellie Mosher, Family Service Counselor
Ellie has been happily married for 27 years and currently lives in Moorpark. Her family includes two sons and a daughter. Before entering her current profession, she worked in the dental field for many years, conducting international training and sales seminars for various universities before starting her own dental company.
Ellie began working in the cemetery and funeral industry 16 years ago in San Diego. She joined the team at Conejo Mountain Memorial Park in 2007. She is a member of the Moorpark Chamber of Commerce and also volunteers for various community organizations.
Ellie feels that the best part of her job is helping families and making a difference in their lives.
Marlies Fiske, Family Service Counselor
Marlies Fiske lives in Camarillo where she attends Calvary Chapel Camarillo and is involved in ministry.
Coming from a Paralegal, Publishing and sales background, Marlies joined Conejo Mountain in September, 2007. She thoroughly enjoys helping people with their pre-arrangements and comforting them at the time of emotional need.
Marlies was born in Hamburg, Germany, then moved to Canada and finally California. She travelled extensively throughout Europe and the United States and went on a few cruises. She enjoys spending time with her son, daughter and grandson and is an avid reader, writer, loves music and plays, and going out with friends and family.
Patrick Boetticher, Family Service Counselor
Patrick Boetticher was raised here in Camarillo. He attended school locally and obtained a degree in Liberal Arts in 2003. He earned his Eagle Scout rank at an early age and continues to be active in the local Boy Scout program as Varsity Coach. Patrick has a wide variety of interests from motorcycles and other automobiles to construction and audio-visual design.
He is happily married and lives in Camarillo with his wife Debra, their one year old son Jake, and two dogs.
Denny Clayton, Family Service Counselor
Denny and his wife live in Ventura. They have two sons and a wonderful granddaughter. Outside of his career, he enjoys almost everything the great outdoors can offer.
Denny has been a Family Service Counselor at Conejo Mountain for many years and has had the privilege of serving many families in our community. He feels every family deserves compassion and care as well as personalized service to fit their particular needs. He believes Conejo Mountain's pristine, tranquil setting can provide a healing and inspirational experience for all families who visit.
Kevin Boyle, Family Service Counselor
Originally from Long Island, New York, Kevin has lived in the Conejo Valley since 1981.
Kevin joined the Conejo Mountain team in 2012, bringing with him nearly a decade of experience. The beauty of the surrounding foothills and the expansive vistas of Conejo Mountain are a favorite feature of his. Moreover, he appreciates the privilege of helping families who are planning for the future as well as families who have suffered a loss.
Kevin is active in the community and has coached several teams in a variety of sports including roller hockey, lacrosse, and soccer.
Kevin also enjoys the outdoors, listening to all types of music, and dancing. Above all, Kevin enjoys the time he spends with his family.
Alan Ducker, Advanced Planning Counselor
Alan has been married for 42 years and has three grandchildren. He is the longest-tenured counselor with 11 years of service, coming from a restaurant management career of 45 years.
Living in Ventura for 28 years, Alan is deeply involved in his community and a variety of charitable organizations.
"Even after all these years I still marvel at the beautiful surroundings that I am privileged to work in every day."
David Arimura, Advanced Planning Counselor
Born in Camarillo to Sumitoshi and Emiko Arimura, David and his brother Chris have lived in Camarillo their entire lives. He graduated from Camarillo High School in 1981 and worked in his families' growing flower business, which was established in 1955. In September 1984, he started a new division of the company to market, package and ship flowers to most cities in the U.S. and Canada.
David and his wife have three daughters who keep them active. He is also a part of a mountain biking group established in 1995. He is a regular member of Crossroads Community Church and loves football and classic American Muscle Cars.
Javier Gomez, Advance Planning Counselor
Yvonne Gomez, Advance Planning Counselor
Amelia Pierce, Advance Planning Counselor
Ailien Dang, Advance Planning Counselor
Sherri Cassell, Administrative Assistant
Sherri Cassell was born and raised in Ventura County. She joined the Conejo Mountain family in August of 2010. Her husband Jeff is also a member of the Conejo Mountain family, assisting as an ambassador. They have one daughter, Nikki, and live in Camarillo.
In her spare time, Sherri is an award-winning landscape artist who works in pastels, oils, and acrylics. When she is not working, Sherri can be found outdoors with her easel, painting one of the many beautiful scenes of the central coast. She and Jeff are active members of Camarillo Community Church.
She feels privileged to be a part of the team that helps families in need at Conejo Mountain Funeral Home and Memorial Park.
Carol Natera-Norey, Administrative Assistant
After attending a service over 15 years ago at Conejo Mountain and seeing the beauty of the memorial park, Carol phoned the next day to inquire if they needed her administrative skills. Prior to coming to Conejo Mountain, she held positions in the real estate and title industries.
Carol believes the work that we do truly makes a positive difference in the lives of the families that we are privileged to serve.
Carol, a native of Ventura County, has lived here most of her life. She and her husband currently reside in Camarillo.
Deborah Ramirez, Administrative Assistant
Deborah, or Debbie as she is affectionately known, came to Conejo Mountain in 2004, and remembers the old days of working out of the "trailer," a supposedly temporary portable building of challenging size that remained on the property for 22 years. She enjoys working in the beautiful surroundings of the valley, and having the Santa Monica Mountains as her backdrop.
Debbie has been married to her husband Steve for 28 years, and they have two grown sons whom she home-schooled throughout their educational years. She is an avid Dodgers fan, enjoys the outdoors and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Jeff Cassell, Ambassador
Jeff Cassell holds the position of Ambassador, and also assists as a member of the transfer team at Conejo Mountain Funeral Home. Jeff’s varied background in small business management, oil field-related roust-a-bout and sales, as well as teaching, bring a diversity of experience to Conejo Mountain.
Jeff currently leads the teaching team at Camarillo Community Church's Discipleship Institute and will be graduating soon with a Master's degree in Theology from Channel Islands Bible College, where he has served as a part-time seminary professor for the last four years. His theology background as well as his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology makes an ideal set of credentials for serving families in need.
He and his wife Sherri, who is the receptionist at Conejo Mountain, have been married 27 years and enjoy art galleries, hiking, reading, and bicycling. Their grown daughter Nikki works locally in the beauty industry.
Joe Ortiz, Funeral Ambassador
Joe Ortiz comes to Conejo Mountain from the Oxnard educational system where he served as an administrator for the Oxnard Elementary School District, Joe works as an Ambassador assisting families with their funeral services. He is a lifelong resident of Camarillo and is very active in local sports activities, as well as serving on the bereavement team for St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church. Joe brings compassion to helping the families he serves at Conejo Mountain with pride and care.
Donald Lawson, Ambassador
Don Lawson, Ambassador
Don brings to the staff of Conejo Mountain 45 years of pastoral ministry experience in Michigan, Illinois, and California. Since retirement from formal pastoral ministry, he has continued in this ministry for the past ten years, almost five of them with our staff.
Concurrently, he and his wife Joy have served in volunteer capacity with Ventura County's ACTION
ministry (Area Christians Taking Initiative on Needs). They attend South Coast Fellowship Church in Ventura.
Don has always enjoyed athletic activities having played basketball, baseball, and football in high school and college. In later years he has limited such activity to golf. However, his greatest joy is being available to minister to people in need, however that may unfold.
Don and Joy have lived in Camarillo since 1991. Don is the father of 4 children, 5 grand-daughters, and 2 great-grandsons. He is affectionately known among close friends as "Rev. Bubba".
Conejo Mountain is very proud to have Pastor Donald Lawson on the staff and to serve families at a most difficult time.
Sandra Byrd, Receptionist
Sandy and her Husband are long time residents of Camarillo moving to Camarillo in 1979 with thier two Daughetrs. Sandy brings with her a backround in Retail Saleswher she held several Management positions. Sandy feels that it is a privilage to work at Camarillo's greatest treasure's Conejo Mountain Funeral Home. All of Sandy's spare time is taken up by her Grandaughters Grandmas to do list and spending time with her thyree beautiful Pomeranian dogs she enjoys and loves so much.
Jason Mossembekker, Funeral Ambassador
Jason serves as an Ambassador for Conejo Mountain and prides himself on giving exceptioanl customer service to the families he serves. Jason is a California State University Channel Islands graduate with a bachelor's degree in biology. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland and has lived in Camarillo most of his life. Jason believes in helping those in need and plans to continue that by working in a hospital. Formally a nationally ranked tennis player, Jason still enjoys the game i his spare time.
Glenn Mossembekker, Funeral Ambassador
Conejo Staff, Conejo Mountain Maintenance Deparment
Left to Right Alex Reyes, Servando Moreno, Arturo Rios, Grounds Foreman Ricardo Moreno,
Marco Rodriguez, Paul Gomez , Superintendant James Garcia.
The Grounds personel take such pride in keeping Conejo Mountain a Beautiful place to visit loved ones in a peaceful setting unlike any other. A special personal touch and pride is given to each and every loved one that is in our care. Special training goes into each employee from Mowing the grass, Trimming the graves as well as attention to detail with flower gardens and the Newly designed Reflection Cremation Gardens as well as our Reflections Mausoleum.
A place as unique as our history...
The land upon which Conejo Mountain Funeral Home, Memorial Park and Crematory rests is richly steeped in history and folklore.
Originally known as Rancho Guadalasca, the area was initially part of a 30,594- acre Mexican land grant given in 1836 by Governor Mariano Chico to Ysabel Yorba, a founding landowner, as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
A large portion of this land, including the rock quarry situated above the memorial park, was owned by Mary Howard Smith, a lively, feisty, hardworking pioneer and farmer.
It was Mary’s wish, that upon her death, she be buried on her property. Her request was denied by local county government. Upon hearing of the refusal, she is reported to have replied, “Don’t tell me this can’t be done!”
Mary and the County of Ventura eventually came to an agreement: The County would honor her request provided she dedicates a portion of her land as a cemetery.
Thus, Conejo Mountain Memorial Park was founded in 1964 by Mary H. Smith. It consists of 119 acres nestled against the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy and overlooks the rich agricultural fields of the Oxnard plain.
In 1976, Mary hired Joe Garcia to work for her both on the farm and for the cemetery. He later became Grounds Foreman, a tradition his son James carries on to this day.
Chapel of the Islands
The historic Chapel of the Islands, built in 1942, was originally known as Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church and was located in Port Hueneme, California. In 1962, as part of a 33-acre urban renewal project, the church was lost by its parish and had to be either relocated or destroyed. It was purchased at auction from the Harbor Redevelopment Agency for $2,500 by Mary Smith and co-owner, James A. Reardon, founder of James A. Reardon Mortuary and son of the county’s first coroner.
On December 8, 1965, house movers transported the church in three sections: first the main building, followed by the bell tower and entryway over 15 miles of road to the memorial park site. Originally, the chapel was to be placed in the center of the cemetery; however, due to inclement weather during transportation, the chapel was placed at the entrance to the park. Charmingly featured with stained glass and antique wood details, it is frequently used for interdenominational services, and even weddings.
Conejo Mountain Becomes More Than a Cemetery...
In October of 1977, the first cremation chamber was constructed.
In May of 1981, Conejo Mountain Memorial Park received a Funeral Establishment License and began serving client families as a funeral home, thus becoming the only full-service funeral home, memorial park and crematory in Ventura County.
The increase in the number of families served required the placement of a temporary portable building in which to house the administrative staff. The “temporary” building remained in place until the spring of 2007.
The Conejo Mountain Funeral Home
After many arduous years of planning and permitting, Conejo Mountain broke ground on the construction of a new funeral home on November 30, 2005. The groundbreaking ceremony marked the construction of the largest and most state-of-the-art funeral home in Ventura County.
On Memorial Day weekend 2007, the new facility was dedicated to the community of Camarillo and Ventura County.
The building incorporated a new crematory with a private family witness room and a large reception room that continues to be used daily by client families and community organizations. The Conejo Mountain Community Room has become one of the most requested features of the facility.
Conejo Mountain offers many options for chapel venues. In addition to the Chapel of the Islands, there is the Chapel of the Hills. Located in the main building with a seating capacity for over 200 guests, it also features a sliding wall, transforming it into a smaller chapel seating 20-30 with a stunning bay window view of the valley. The French-doored, sun-washed Santa Rosa Chapel seats up to 40 and the Pacifica Mausoleum Chapel with its glass enclosure, has a seating capacity of 30- 40, with sublime views of the mountains and farmland.
We stay on the pulse of technology with state-of-the-art audio/visual capabilities that allow our families to share those special memories via a custom-personalized DVD presentation. DVD screens are located in the Chapel of the Hills, Santa Rosa Chapel, and the Conejo Mountain Community Room as well as in main lobby.
Today, Conejo Mountain Funeral Home, Memorial Park and Crematory will assist more than 400 client families; preside over 400 interments and oversee 200 cremations annually. All of this would not be possible without our dedicated staff of highly trained, professional associates and management team working toward a common goal.
A place like no other...
And then, there are the views.
Everywhere one turns is breathtaking beauty. Dependent upon the season, corn and pumpkin fields grace the south end of the park; to the west, a sweeping green meadow where deer can sometimes be seen grazing; the eastern view features purple-bloomed Jacaranda trees and leaning ancient oaks and to the north, the spectacular cragginess of the mountain range awash with color at sunset. All these elements come together perfectly to inspire a bucolic peace and serenity, away from noise, hectic bustle and traffic, to make Conejo Mountain a very special place.