Cypress Lawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park Announces New President

Cypress Lawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park announces that Mr. Bob Gordon, Jr. will assume the position of President at the historically significant funeral home and cemetery.

Bob Gordon, Jr., is more than well qualified to step into the role as President of Cypress Lawn. A California native and 1988 Business Administration and Marketing/Finance graduate from San Diego State University, Gordon has been in the funeral service and cemetery industry since 1980. He was born into a funeral and cemetery family and began his career in funeral service at the age of 16 on the grounds crew of his grandfather’s firm, Oakdale Mortuary & Memorial Park in Glendora, California. He eventually would work in every position at the cemetery and funeral home, rising to the level of Vice President and remaining there until he left the family business after 14 years of service. He became the Director of Sales for the San Diego-based El Camino Group for two large funeral home/cemetery combinations that served a large portion of the local Hispanic and Filipino communities. From there, he moved to Service Corporation International (SCI), where through a series of promotions, he was made the Market Sales Director for Orange and San Diego Counties. His leadership encompassed twelve locations, including six large funeral home/cemetery combinations and six stand-alone locations that together produced $85 million annually in arrangements. Out of the 31 markets that SCI serves, he has consistently been ranked as one of the top three market managers. He is also a licensed funeral director and cemetery broker.

Outgoing President and CEO Ken Varner will transition to a new role at Cypress Lawn as a consultant and Chairman of the Board of Cypress Funeral Services, Inc. so he can spend more time with his family. Varner leaves a 21-year legacy of innovation and continuous growth for Gordon to assume. During Varner’s tenure, Cypress Lawn has built a strong endowment fund to care for the cemetery well into the future, increased its financial strength to better serve the community, and expanded the cemetery to meet the needs of the public. The staff of Cypress Lawn has grown from 50 employees to over 200 employees under Varner’s leadership.

Some of the most recent innovations at Cypress Lawn include the construction of a new cemetery to benefit the community for the next 125 years, plus a new funeral home, cremation facility, and reception center – the first of its kind serving San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. Cypress Lawn has also acquired the Crosby N. Gray Funeral Home in Burlingame, Sneider Sullivan & O’Connell Funeral Home in San Mateo, and the Miller-Dutra Coastside Chapel in Half Moon Bay. Recently Cypress Lawn has completely digitized over 150 years of records and, in the process, created individual family websites for its property owners. With the new “Cemetery 360” tool, families have the ability to visit their loved one’s grave from anywhere across the globe, as well as their family websites, and digital archives. The family websites and digital archives provides families the ability to safely and securely store their family history, family tree, medical records, photos, videos and more – all with the goal of providing a continuing source of comfort to the families of Cypress Lawn.

When Varner announced his intention to depart as President to the Board of Directors at Cypress Lawn, a search committee was formed. “When the Board asked me to help identify potential candidates, I was looking for several characteristics,” Varner explains. “They included several years of experience, not just in the profession, but in managing an operation of our size. I also wanted to find someone who understood how to serve the diverse communities in the Bay Area and someone who has shown great success in managing funeral home/cemetery operations. Bob Gordon, Jr.’s track record matched and exceeded my expectations. His personal motto is ‘Ensure Others Succeed,’ and I know the team will thrive under his leadership.”

“I have known Ken Varner for over 25 years,” Bob Gordon, Jr. says. “He has established a firm foundation for the organization for centuries to come, and I am honored by the Board’s decision to make me President of Cypress Lawn. I know with the help of the amazing team Ken has built, and the help of Bay Area residents, we are going to continue to propel this California treasure into the future.”

Cypress Lawn Chairman of the Board J.B. McIntosh adds, “Ken Varner has done a truly outstanding job for the past two decades. We appreciate his foresight and his tireless endeavors to improve Cypress Lawn. We are excited Bob Gordon, Jr. has joined us and know that Bob and Ken will work together closely to ensure the team and the Bay Area families served by Cypress Lawn experience a smooth transition process.”