History & Staff

Personalized service options allow you to honor your loved ones in a way that is both meaningful and healing. We hope to provide support and caring while delivering memorial services that celebrate life and help families find the peace they deserve.
If you’re seeking an honorable celebration of life, we invite you to learn more about where we came from, our vision, and the dedicated people behind our work.

A History of Caring

In 1993, Charles M. Finegan opened New Mexico Mortuary Service. This was a commercial embalming establishment that specialized in trade work by catering to other funeral homes. After approximately six years of successfully assisting other funeral homes, Charles recognized a need in his community of Albuquerque for more economical funeral choices to be given to families. Riverside Cremations and Burials was opened, and began providing this service. In December of 1997, Charles opened Riverside Funeral Home in Belen, so named due to the vicinity to the Rio Grande. Soon he branched out even further and opened Riverside Funeral Home of Albuquerque, a full-service funeral home that could better provide for area families. In June of 2005 the business in Belen was sold to an out of state funeral director. After funeral costs in Valencia County began rising at an alarming rate, Charles decided to once again serve the residents south of Albuquerque with affordable options by opening Riverside Funeral Home in Los Lunas. In April of 2017 doors opened at Riverside Funeral Home of Santa Fe in order to fulfill the needs of families in Northern New Mexico. Riverside Funeral Home was open with the hope of being the least expensive funeral home in the state of New Mexico, which is where he came up with our company slogan of “Affordable Dignity.”

Our Staff’s Dedication to Respectful Care

A funeral, or memorial service, should provide family members and loved ones with the chance to reflect, remember, and celebrate a life well-lived. Our goal is to create exceptional services and experiences that fulfill the wishes of your loved one. Our experienced Funeral Directors provide guidance on the crucial first steps toward healing.

Gabriel Casaus
General Manager

Gabriel is a native New Mexican, growing up in Bernalillo, NM. At an early age Gabriel learned to serve his community from his parents, Judy and Tino Casaus. In his freshman year in high school, Gabriel was called to the funeral profession. After graduating from Hope Christian High School, he went to San Antonio College, in San Antonio, TX. He graduated from their Mortuary Program with an Associate’s Degree in Mortuary Science.  After graduating he moved back to New Mexico to begin his career and serve his community in their most difficult time. 

Gabriel has been a licensed Funeral Director in the state of New Mexico for over 21 years. He has taken care of families all over the state of New Mexico. Gabriel is also a licensed Funeral Director in Arizona and has been licensed in the state of Texas. Gabriel is a graduate of the International Cemetery and Cremation Association University and is a certified funeral celebrant and certified crematory operator. 

Gabriel is a member of the New Mexico Funeral Service Association and past President, a position he held for two and a half years and a member of the National Funeral Directors Association. He was also President of the Sandoval County 4-H amigos, which was a non-profit organization that helped raise money to support Sandoval County 4-H. He has been a member of The Knights of Columbus, past President of the Roswell Kiwanis Club and past board member of the South Park Cemetery board, in Roswell, NM. 

In Gabriel spare time he enjoys working on his family ranch near Cuba, NM, and spending time with his family and daughter Jonauh. 

Gabriel has been honored to care for many families and continues to have a heart of service and caring for his community. 

Leandra Varela
Funeral Service Intern – Santa Fe

Leandra grew up an only child in the small town of Pecos in Northern New Mexico. She has two amazing parents who have supported her every dream. After high school she attended both New Mexico Highlands University and Santa Fe community college, respectively and plans to finish her associate degree in the next year and continue to mortuary school in the future. Today, Leandra is in the process of obtaining her Funeral Service Intern General License. The funeral industry is so special to her. She relishes the opportunity to make a difference in the hardest time of someone’s life. Leandra is honored to be a part of that.

Amanda Stewart
Funeral Service Intern – Albuquerque

Amanda moved to Albuquerque in early 2017 with her husband Christopher (her Rock) and her three boys, Elijah, Tyler, and Landon Stewart. Amanda has been in the funeral profession since January of 2005, shortly after her father’s passing. Her father’s passing was very hard for Amanda so she joined this profession so that she could help other’s during the most difficult times of their lives. Amanda is very passionate about what she does, and she tries to make an influence with the families she serves daily. In her leisure time, Amanda enjoys spending time with her family, playing the guitar, and cuddling with her fur baby, Emoji. Amanda’s family understands how important her profession is to her and they support her 100 percent. Nothing makes her happier than to hear a family say that she made this process as smooth as possible for them.

Stephanie Eker
Funeral Service Intern – Albuquerque

Growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona, Stephanie often spent time with her aunt, who was a Funeral Director. After graduating from High School, she went to Arizona State University and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Organizational Communication with an emphasis in Marketing. While attending college she worked part-time serving families at a local family owned and operated funeral home where her passion and experience grew. Stephanie decided, however, to follow her mother’s career path and entered the sales field, working in Pharmaceutical Sales for many years before making the decision to stay at home and raise her son, Nick and daughter, Courtney. After her children finished school, she chose to go back to her passion in Funeral Service and has been practicing as Licensed Funeral Intern for nearly 11 years. She genuinely enjoys helping families through one of the most difficult times of their lives by celebrating the life of their loved one.

In Stephanie’s spare time she enjoys tennis, reading, and spending time with her family, friends, and two dogs.

Daniel Garcia
Funeral Service Intern – Albuquerque

Daniel came to New Mexico from Colorado and has made it his home for the past 15 years. His passion to serve his community began when he started his law enforcement career in his early twenties. He gave this career 12 years of his life. Daniel’s strong family ties to New Mexico helped make it his home. Daniel takes extreme pride that his family, The Garcia’s, were one of the first settlers in the Land of Enchantment. A change in career came when Covid-19 devastated his family and he felt the need to help and support others. Daniel made this change with the massive amount of support he received from his family. He is very proud to be serving his community in a unique way and being of service to all families that come to him in their time of need.
Daniel and his wife Marie share five beautiful children. The eldest being a member of the US Navy and is currently serving his country in Japan. His hobbies include home improvement projects, traveling, spending time with his family, and golfing.

Lupe Willits
Funeral Service Intern – Albuquerque

Lupe has called Albuquerque, NM her home since 2005. Born in Los Angeles, CA to Mexican parents Heriberto and Rosa Colchado, she was raised to value what we have and appreciate the opportunities that are given. Lupe graduated from Franklin High School in Stockton, CA and moved to Albuquerque, NM to pursue a degree in Business and Marketing from the Southwest University of Visual Arts. She spent 15 years in the movie theatre industry which gave her the opportunity to take part in several community events. Lupe joined the funeral home profession at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. She takes great pride in being able to help serve families during these challenging times. Lupe has raised two beautiful children, Abigail and Oliver. She spends her free time with her family and her two cats Misty and Tiger. She also enjoys road trips, documentaries and home improvement shows. Lupe looks forward to continuing to serve families in need at Riverside Funeral Home.

Lacey Baca
Funeral Service Intern – Albuquerque

Lacey grew up in the village of Los Lunas, where she graduated from Valencia High School. Promptly after graduation, Lacey began her education in Forensic Science at the University of New Mexico. It was at the university that Lacey's fascination and dedication to the medical field began, and her majors changed. In 2013, Lacey began working as a Patient Care Technician at University of New Mexico Hospital. Lacey served the hospital proudly for six years, where she cared for families in the Trauma Intensive Care, Pediatric Intensive Care, and Neuroscience Intensive Care. Lacey's empathetic personality made her successful at this career, but she wanted to do more. Lacey began her next chapter working at New Mexico Donor Services. She served New Mexico's organ and tissue donors and recipients proudly and passionately. In the careers Lacey chose, she witnessed so many losses and had the incessant desire to help families with their grieving. She sought out a career in the Funeral Home industry to be able to dedicate her life to this purpose.

Lacey spends her days off usually eating good food and watching baseball with her incredible and supportive family. She loves hosting special events, baking sweet treats, and reading suspenseful novels.

Lacey's warm personality makes her a perfect fit for our family here at Riverside.

Anna Ivey
Funeral Service Intern – Albuquerque

Anna began her career in the funeral profession in November of 2009 in Las Cruces, NM as an Administrative Assistant and have been serving families for 11 years. In February of 2016, she moved to Albuquerque from Las Cruces, NM to join Riverside Funeral Home. Anna began her career as a receptionist and soon after, obtained her Funeral Service Intern License for Funeral Arranging and Directing.

Anna is rewarded daily with meeting families, helping them in the most difficult times and situations, and planning final arrangements for their loved ones in Albuquerque and surrounding areas. She has a passion for helping people who have lost a loved one because she experienced it at a young age herself. Anna has an Associate Degree in Business Office Technology with Accounting concentration from Dona Ana Branch Community College and licensed with New Mexico Board of Funeral Services.

In her spare time, Anna tries to enjoy every moment with her kids, grand babies, her mom, her sister, and her girl boxer dogs. Together they enjoy, hiking, cooking together, traveling to New Mexico and Colorado, snowboarding, spending time at Elephant Butte Lake, fishing, or just hanging out.

Anna looks forward to continuing serving families in Albuquerque and all of New Mexico and will always strive for excellence at Riverside Funeral Home.