Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.
Ever since we opened our gates we have approached life (and death) differently. While some just see the end of a loved one’s life as a time for grief and mourning, we prefer to think of it as a time for reflection, appreciation and even celebration. This is evident in everything we do, from the way we conduct our services to the amenities we choose to offer. We are not a burial ground. We are a close knit community dedicated to honoring, sharing and preserving the amazing and inspirational stories that are life.
In a nutshell? Experience, professionalism, compassion, and empathy.
Howard K. Hill Funeral Services is proud to introduce Aria, the future of the funeral industry. The Aria brand is defined by the unparalleled quality of service we deliver to our customers and our community. Our brand of service provides the utmost attention to customers at every level of contact, from community involvement to all interactions with our employees.
Aria’s most unique service is the Aria Urban Prosperity Fund. This community development fund provides financial education to help empower and restore urban neighborhoods by investing in our people. Financial literacy training shifts the mindset in the community from one of poverty to one of prosperity. The UPF is funded by Howard K. Hill Funeral Services as well as by generous support from the community.
The Aria brand defines every element of the funeral process. We strive to orchestrate a truly memorable service, unique to the individual. Aria and UPF include a wide variety of assistance, from financial literacy training, to at-need services such as house cleaning, legal advice, travel arrangements, and multi-generational grief services. If we are unable to fulfill a particular need in-house, we have a list of trusted professionals who can help.
The exceptional and caring services provided by Aria and UPF encourage consumers to feel more comfortable with our staff and the funeral planning process. With Aria, we believe everyone who enters our doors deserves to be treated with the utmost compassion, respect and dignity, regardless of social status, financial standing, religion, ethnicity, color or creed.
Who We Are
Meet our staff. Members of the local community make everything that happens possible.
Together, we make this place amazing.
Howard K Hill
HOWARD K. HILL is a native of Windsor, CT. He received his Mortuary Science degree from the American Academy McAllister Institute of New York in 1991. He is a Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer in the states of Connecticut and New York. Howard exemplifies his commitment to excellence thru thriving to be the best he can be. He has earned the two top designations in the funeral industry. The first is a Certified Pre-Arrangement Counselor (CPC). This designation has given him the expertise to educate his community of the importance of pre-planning for funerals which may include life insurance and Title 19 spend down procedures. The second designation is Certified Funeral Services Practitioner (CFSP). This distinction represents funeral directors who exceed the highest standard of care. He has served the Greater New Haven and Hartford Counties for over a decade. He founded the Howard K. Hill Funeral Services located at 1287 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT on July 19, 2004 and on May 1st 2012; he acquired Clark Bell & Bell Funeral Home at 319 Barbour St. Hartford, CT.
Mr. Hill’s business is exemplified by his slogan “We’re Honored to Serve You”. His dedication and commitment to the community has been recognized by many churches, civic, and professional organizations. Since 2011, Howard K. Hill Funeral Services has been recognized by The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) “Pursuit of Excellence” program. This program recognizes Funeral Homes that are committed to providing outstanding services to the families and communities they serve and are dedicated to achieving the highest professional and ethical standards. The Pursuit of Excellence program encourages funeral homes to further the educational and professional development of their staff, create innovative ideas to better serve families within the community and consistently strive for excellence. He has coined this pursuit into his own brand called “Aria” The Highest Level of Service.
Raising the standard of the funeral industry is his mission and the underlying message to his staff. While testimonials of services rendered were acknowledged, Howard realized there was much more that needed to be done to assist families beyond the funeral service. In 2012, Howard launched another division of the business called, “Zola”. Zola, an African proverb meaning To Love, is a series of grief counseling sessions, facilitated in groups by a team of licensed psychologists. The mission and purpose of Zola is to ensure that families grieve in a healthy manner.
Mr. Hill is convinced that one of the best gifts he can offer to those in need is to provide a blueprint for change. Because of his concern for the community, he has begun speaking to audiences about philanthropy, which is the love of mankind. “The Prosperity Foundation” formerly known as “The Urban Prosperity Fund” which he founded in 2009, is an opportunity to organize philanthropy and educate Black Communities about the power of endowment.
Mr. Hill is involved with a number of professions, i.e.: Real Estate, catering services, and business consulting. He believes in the power of circulating money within his community and therefore serves as a liaison to other small businesses and encourages networking. Mr. Hill believes in supporting higher education and addressing health disparities that plague the community that he serves.
Howard is currently serving in the following capacities: Advisory Board Member-National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA); Vice-President -Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA); Board Member for the following Non-profit organizations: Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (TCF); Hannah Gray Home- New Haven, CT; Amistad Middle School; Hartford Communities That Care, The Community Action Agency of New Haven, and the Economic Committee for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Howard’s community initiatives include, Barbour Street Renaissance Movement, Hartford, CT, Project Longevity, and Beloved Community. His affiliations include National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association (NFD&MA) National Association of Realtors (NAR), Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce,
Greater New Haven Business & Professional Association, and Oriental Lodge No. 6, F&AM, PH.
Howard has been married to his wife Nancy for over 15 years. He has three children, DeShaun Davis, Matthew and Kendra Hill and currently resides in Hamden, CT.
Nancy Hill, MSW, is the wife of Howard K. Hill. Born and raised in Hamden, Nancy received her formal education from Central Connecticut State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. She completed her Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Connecticut – School of Social Work. Mrs. Hill currently works fulltime as a New Haven Public School Social Worker and is pursuing her Sixth year Degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University. Mrs. Hill brings over 20 years of experience in working with children and families to the Howard K. Hill Funeral Services. She is currently a member of the Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc as well as the New Haven Chapter of the Links, Inc. Nancy is the proud mother of two children, Matthew and Kendra whom she and Howard enjoy spending time with.
Funeral DirectorRead Bio
Gerald Brown, CFSP, has been a licensed funeral director in the state of Connecticut for 43 years (and counting). He graduated from Durham High School in 1967 and later attended the American Academy McAlister Institute in 1968. Gerry became licensed as a Funeral Director/Embalmer in 1970 and has counted it his privilege to work with families during their time of bereavement. Gerry believes in giving his time to the community. He shows his commitment through volunteer work with the State of Connecticut’s Board of Examiners of Embalmers and Funeral Directors licensing board. He also voluntarily serves as the president of the Durham Connecticut Cemetery Company, and as a fundraiser for the civic organization, the Durham Benchwarmers.
Jonathan E. Jones
Funeral DirectorRead Bio
Jonathan is a graduate of Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, CT and a 2000 Graduate of Briarwood College where he studied Mortuary Science. He went on to study at New England Technical Institute to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. He has been in the funeral service since the age of 16 years and continues to be dedicated to serving his community. In addition to Funeral Service, he learned the trade of headstone design and installation. Jonathan is the proud father of two sons, Jonathan E. Jones, Jr. and Jordan E. Jones.
Funeral DirectorRead Bio
Born in Hartford, CT, LaDawn graduated from Simsbury High School and received her Associate’s Degree from Capital Community College majoring in Business Administration in 1996. She also received her AAS in Mortuary Science from Briarwood College in Southington, CT in 2006 and in 2007 received her Life Insurance License. LaDawn is currently working on getting her certification in becoming a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner.
She shares her growth, desire and accomplishments for the business with many community friends, family and especially her two beautiful children, Lataisha and Corey.
Orsella R. Cooper-Hughes
Administrative ManagerRead Bio
Orsella Renea Cooper-Hughes is a native of New Haven, CT. She is an ordained Itinerant Deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). While serving as an Associate Minister at Bethel AMEC-New Haven, CT from 2004-2008, Rev. Hughes initiated Bethel’s first Youth Church Ministry and the Women’s Ministry, S.W.I.T.C.H. (Sisters Working in Total Christian Harmony). During this time, she also served as the Southern CT Coordinator for the New England Conference AME/Women In Ministry. From 2008-2012, she served as an Associate Member at Bethel AME Church, Bridgeport, CT where she worked with the Women’s Ministry, Board of Christian Education, and Youth Ministry. Rev. Hughes was offered the opportunity to return to Bethel AMEC – New Haven, CT to initiate a “Community 8AM Worship Service” which ran from September 2012 – June 2013. Currently, she is the Christian Education Director at Bethel and also serves on the New England Conference Board of Christian Education.
In 2008, Orsella left “Corporate America” in pursuit of a desire to have a more fulfilling position in her career where she could give back to her community. She was hired by Howard K. Hill Funeral Services as the Executive Manager. Her exact words in her interview was that she wanted a career where she could still be a business woman while affectively making change in her community. In addition to overseeing the day to day operations of the business and managing the many projects the funeral home is connected to in the community, her greatest accomplishments have been sitting on the board for the Urban Prosperity Fund, now called, the Prosperity Foundation and serving as the Coordinator for the grief counseling division, called, “Zola”. Orsella believes that if grief is accepted and confronted in a healthy manner, then one family at a time, the community can begin to change for the better which would result in healthier communities.
Rev. Hughes is the blogger of “Daily Inspirations with Rev. O” found on most social media networks. She has been called upon by many national organizations to be a motivational speaker, facilitate workshops for teen girls, young adult women, and for many of the Adult Women organizations. With a passion for the advancement of young teen girls, the organizations she takes pride in working with and facilitating motivational workshops are, the Young People’s Division of the Women’s Missionary Society of the AME Church and The Perfect Blend Young Women’s Mentoring Program, New Haven, CT.
Community Outreach CoordinatorRead Bio
Ms. Reid is a life-long resident of the Greater New Haven County area and currently resides in Hamden with her daughter. She has over twenty years experience within the Telecommunications industry with extensive knowledge and experience in the field of Customer Service. Carol is an active member of her church Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Hamden, CT where she serves as head usher and donates her time, talent and energy as a member of her church’s Bereavement Committee. For over twenty years she has assisted many families in making final arrangements for their loved ones. Ms. Reid now brings her faith, love of family, and extensive experience to you as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Howard K. Hill Funeral Home and as a staff member, “We’re Honored to Serve You.”
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