Being one of only a few women to be a licensed funeral home director in the state of New Mexico has earned Libby Rymarz-Misener state recognition.
Rymarz-Misener will be among five people to receive the Trailblazer Award from the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women during the organization’s Estrella Awards: Celebrating the Shining Stars of New Mexico ceremony on Sept. 20 in Albuquerque.
The Trailblazer Award honors women who are successful in non-traditional careers in which women make up less than 25 percent of those employed. Rymarz-Misener is one of 16 women among 160 funeral home directors licensed in New Mexico.
“It is an honor to have been nominated, and it is a tremendous honor to be recognized,” the Belen resident said.
Rymarz-Misener is employed by Direct Funeral Services, the second largest full-service funeral home in the state. “The business has built up during the past 12 years by word of month,” she said of the business owned by New Mexico native Ed Hatton. “We help folks during a difficult time to resolve many different issues.”
Because of the overwhelming support and requests from Valencia County residents, Rymarz-Misener said Direct Funeral Services will be opening an office in Belen in the near future.
Since the Carnuel native was a little girl, she knew she wanted to work in the medical profession. While in high school, she began working at funeral homes as a receptionist and continued to work at Albuquerque funeral homes while attending the University of New Mexico and TV-I as she pursued a bachelor’s degree in science in biology-chemistry, criminal justice and emergency medical technician. She earned her degree in mortuary science at Mesa Community College in Phoenix, Ariz.
“Libby has always been interested in biology,” said her mother, Sue Rymarz, who nominated her for the award. “When she was a child, we would butcher our animals, and she was interested in seeing the different organs, like the eye.
“(She has) a disciplined, goal-oriented, competitive nature, yet is a gracious loser who would work 10 times harder to excel, all important attributes for career preparations.”
Rymarz-Misener feels she’s in just the right career.
“I always knew I wanted to have a career in the medical profession,” Rymarz-Misener said. “During high school, I discovered the importance of this profession and found my calling.”
Rymarz said her daughter has a passion for her career.
“It is a ministry as well as a profession. I do this work for the benefit of the Lord,” said Rymarz-Misener. “I am working with families while they are grieving the loss of a loved one. They deserve being treated with honor and respect. The funeral is an important time for a family; it is their time of closure and a time of memory. It is important that people participate in the process.”
The newlywed of two years to Randy Misener of Belen is also devoted to her family and extended church family at the First Baptist Church of Belen.