CLIFTON FORGE — R. Thomas “Tommy” Slusser Jr., manager of Nicely Funeral Home in Clifton Forge, has been elected president of the Virginia Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers for the year 2021.
The Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, which is part of the Virginia Department of Health Professions, is responsible for the licensure, regulation and discipline of the commonwealth’s Funeral Service Licensees (Funeral Directors), Funeral Establishments (Funeral Homes), Crematories, and registers all of the state’s surface transportation and removal services.
“It is a prestigious honor to serve on this board,” Slusser said.
It is the mission of the Department of Health Professions and Virginia’s 13 Health Regulatory Boards, which includes the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, to ensure safe and competent patient care by licensing and regulating more than 400,000 health care professionals across 62 professions.
This work is accomplished by enforcing standards of practice and providing information to licensed practitioners and the public
The nine-member Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers is composed of seven Funeral Service Licensees and two citizen members.
The board holds four regularly scheduled meetings each year with other meetings and hearings as needed.
Other board members include: Kenneth Scott Hickey, M.D., Maidens, vice president; Jason Graves, Chesapeake, secretary/treasurer; Muhammad Hanif, Midlothian, citizen member; Louis R. Jones, Virginia Beach; Mia F. Mimms, Richmond; Blair Nelsen, Richmond; Joseph Frank Walton, Virginia Beach; and Joseph Michael Williams, Mechanicsville.
“I’ve learned a lot about funeral service in general, but also I’ve learned a lot about how code becomes law and a regulation becomes a regulation,” Slusser said. “It’s been interesting.”
Slusser was appointed to the board by Governor Terry McAuliffe in 2014 and reappointed by Governor Ralph Northam in 2018. Currently, he is the only board member located west of Richmond.
The board is assisted by a five-person staff.
“We have a great staff in Richmond,” Slusser said.
As of October, there were 413 funeral establishments and 1,530 funeral service licensees in the commonwealth.
Slusser received a B.S. in biology from Radford University in 1979 and is a 1987 graduate of the John Tyler Community College Mortuary Science program in Chester.
He is a third generation owner of the Clifton Forge funeral home.
Slusser and his wife, Kelly, the office manager at Nicely Funeral Home, have been married for over 30 years. They have two children, Rob, a December graduate of Radford University who is a geospatial analyst for Pillar Oma Corp. in Wytheville, and a daughter, Syvie, a junior at Radford University.
In his spare time, Slusser enjoys farming.