The ‘First’ Hispanic Funeral Home In Washington State- Name: A El Cielo/ To Heaven Funeral Home
Kent, Wa. (March. 1, 2010)- Born in Yakima Washington to migrate farm workers, Cindy Figueroa grew up learning how work hard in order to survive. And through all the trials and tribulations of growing up with parents who didn’t speak English and were illegal in this country, she still managed to put herself through college and received a top notch education. Little did she know she would one day become owner of the first Hispanic Funeral Home in Washington State.
Cindy was always very determined to succeed at the American dream, knowing that her parents crawled through sewer tunnels to give her more opportunities than those available in Mexico. She graduated from Highland High School in 1996, being the first Hispanic to achieve honors no other had accomplished there. Among them she was the first Hispanic to become President of her high school, she was also captain of the volleyball team, drill team, track team, javelin record holder and received honors for her academic accomplishments. And so, after high school Cindy knew she wanted to attend college, even though her mother insisted she just get a job at the local wear house sorting apples. This was not a part of Cindy’s plan.
After receiving several academic scholarships and with the help of grants and her desire to pursue collegiate athletics, Cindy ended up at Central Washington University with the hope of one day completing her college career with a degree in psychology. After one year exploring the field and one year on the CWU track team, Cindy decided to study business and communications and ended up on the Rugby team as a starter.
It was during her third year in college that she suffered a major loss with the death of her first daughter. This was her first experience with death in 24 years of life and with that came all the planning for a funeral. She had a great experience with the funeral home who performed the services and in this case it was also the grandparents of her deceased daughter.
Her struggle didn’t end there; she found out she had cancer. It wasn’t until surviving cancer and finishing school that she decided she wanted to be an industry that helped people when they most needed it.
After college she went into financial advising with a financial services company earning her license as an insurance agent. It was at that point that she started talking to families about death, but never actually got into the specifics. One day she received a call from the funeral home who did the services for her daughter, wanting to know if she would come work part time in the finance office, she was more than happy to be a part of that and agreed.
The first 6 months at the Seattle based funeral home were doing financials for the company. After that point she had seen and experienced enough at the funeral home to spark her interest in becoming a Funeral Director.
After a year and a half with the funeral home, she pursued an internship with First Call Plus of Washington as a Removal Technician/Funeral Director Intern. Her experience with FCP was very educational and motivating. She was able to do removals, funeral arrangements and shipping arrangements with more than 45 families many of which were Hispanic. It was very rewarding and leads up to today.
As of March 1, 2010 A El Cielo Funeral Home is officially open for business. This is the first Hispanic Funeral Home in the State of Washington. Although the funeral home serves all races, it is predominately focused on reaching out to the Hispanic population, as this group of people have been overlooked in the funeral industry.
A El Cielo, means “to heaven” in English this reference in the name means Funeral Home To Heaven. A El Cielo prides itself in having some of the best pricing in the entire state and is specializing in shipping deceased to other countries for a fraction of what most funeral homes charge. Another major difference from A El Cielo and other more traditional funeral homes is that it serves ALL of Washington State. Although based in Kent, A El Cielo contracts with the largest mortuary in the country to assure that when necessary there is always someone available to take the deceased into A El Cielo’s Care.
The dream for Cindy has just begun and with the support of her friends, family, associates and the community, her future is full of happiness and success. She looks forward to leaving a long lasting legacy for her family, where it all began, here in Washington State.