Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.
Ever since we opened our gates we have approached life (and death) differently. While some just see the end of a loved one’s life as a time for grief and mourning, we prefer to think of it as a time for reflection, appreciation and even celebration. This is evident in everything we do, from the way we conduct our services to the amenities we choose to offer. We are not a burial ground. We are a close knit community dedicated to honoring, sharing and preserving the amazing and inspirational stories that are life.
In a nutshell? Experience, professionalism, compassion, and empathy.
We've learned a lot over many years. Like how to present options without overwhelming. And how to meet the needs of many caring parties. People come to us in difficult times, and we respond kindness, calmness and expertise. Our goal is to create a beautiful occasion and make you feel welcome, always. We spend our days planning with families. We stay up to date with industry developments. And we make hard times a little easier.
Learn the legacy.
Sandia Memory Gardens was established years ago, and serving families has always been our focus. We take pride in being able to guide people through some of their most difficult days. We take pride in maintaining a setting that allows people to find solace. Celebrating life is our mission. That’s never changed. And with pride, it never will.
Who We Are
Meet our staff. Members of the local community make everything that happens possible.
Together, we make this place amazing.
Mark A. Shalz, CFSP
Vice President, New Mexico OperationsRead Bio
Growing-up in and around the funeral profession has given Mark a unique perspective on providing a high level of comfort to grieving families. As a second generation funeral director and embalmer, he has developed a passion for creating experiences that are personal, meaningful, and intentional.
Prior to joining Daniels, Mark spent over 30 years serving in a variety of professional roles from funeral arranger to regional vice president of operations. Most recently he was a training and development consultant specializing in teaching clients how to deliver the highest level of customer satisfaction. His most notable honor occurred in 2004 when he was asked to assist with the burial of President Ronald Reagan.
Mark attended Missouri Western State University and received his mortuary of science degree from Kansas City Kansas Community College. He is certified by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Board and the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice.
In his free time, Mark enjoys all things outdoors and spending time with his 2 sons Benjamin and Adam.
Director of Operations - AlbuquerqueRead Bio
Brian moved to Albuquerque in February of 2014 to join Daniels Family Funeral Services. Brian is the manager of our Wyoming Chapel, and Sandia Memory Gardens. Brian started his funeral service career in Idaho in 1986.
Brian is a graduate of Cloud Community College, Concordia, Kansas, and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois with a degree in Mortuary Science. Brian has over 25 years’ experience, and has had the opportunity to manage funeral homes, and assist families in Kansas City, Boise, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington.
Brian is a member of the Rotary Club of Albuquerque Del Norte, and the Albuquerque Country Club.
In his free time, Brian enjoys playing golf, hiking, skiing, and spending time with family and friends.
Rev. Napoleon Darnell Smith
Funeral Director / Community Liaison
Funeral Director / Community LiaisonRead Bio
Brad graduated in 1982 with a B.A. in History from Houghton College. He started his career in funeral service as a student funeral director by working for Kraft Funeral Service in New Albany, IN while attending Mid-America College of Funeral Service in Jeffersonville, IN. Upon completion of his internship, Brad was licensed in 1984 in the state of Indiana where he served until moving to a funeral home in Albuquerque, NM in 1988. Brad, a resident of Rio Rancho, began at Vista Verde Mortuary, now known as Daniels Family Funeral Services – Sara Road Chapel in the fall of 2000.
In his free time, Bradley enjoys being outdoors. He is an avid cyclist and enjoys hiking and camping as well. He and his wife Anne also savor the moments they have with their children and grandchildren.
Location ManagerRead Bio
Joan or "Joanie" was raised outside of Hatch, NM, "the Chile Capital of the World, "on a farm that has been in her family for several generations. Don't let the title of "Princess," (albeit 1989 Green Chile Princess) mislead you. She is very hardworking and is well known for the loving, compassionate connections she establishes with the families and communities she serves. A diehard UNM Lobo Fan since childhood, she earned a B.S. in Business Administration and began an accounting career with a private hospital. She earned an A.S. in Mortuary Sciences from Amarillo (TX) College. Joan has a deep respect and admiration for those that have served in the US Military, Law Enforcement, Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services. "Anyone that chooses to protect our communities, country and freedom has my deepest respect. I also know that it is an entire family that serves alongside a service member." She is, also our Annual 9/11 Memorial Services Coordinator for the cities of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. Her attention to detail, patriotism, calming demeanor, sense of humor and public speaking skills have been nationally recognized. She is known for bringing people and resources together to create a blanket of comfort that helps us all. Her three favorite community service activities are volunteering with the Children's Cancer Fund of NM of which she has been a part of for over 25 years, MADD, and Breast Cancer Awareness. Joan and her husband, Frank, spoil their two dogs like no one else can. In their spare time, the Stasis enjoy spending time with their family and friends, traveling, cooking, and attending sporting events.
Norbert R. Baldonado
Location ManagerRead Bio
Norbert was born in Algodones, NM a little town north of Albuquerque and was raised in Alameda. His wife Patricia (aka Patsy) and he were married 38 years ago. They have a son who is also in the profession, a wonderful daughter-in-law and five grandchildren. Combined they have 16 siblings and numerous nieces and nephews. Norbert is a member of the Knights of Columbus and an active member of The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church.
He has been in the Funeral Profession for 42 years and is licensed in the state of New Mexico since 1972, serving families from the North Valley, and the Northern parts of the state from Bernalillo to Cuba, NM. Patricia and Norbert work together at the Alameda Location and are very proud to be part of the Daniels Family Funeral Services, “Our family serving yours”.
Norbert "Ray" Baldonado
Location ManagerRead Bio
Ray was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM, he graduated from Del Norte High School in 1995, he is married to his lovely wife Kimberley and together they have five children, and one grandson. His parents are Norbert and Patricia “Patsy” Baldonado who are also natives of Albuquerque and are in the Funeral Profession.
Ray has been in the funeral industry since he was 14 years old working alongside his parents and has been licensed with the New Mexico Board of Thantopatrice since 1996 and have always taken great pride in serving our community. He recently transferred from Alameda Mortuary to become the manager of Garcia Mortuary. These were his mother’s stumping grounds when she was growing up. It gives him great joy when he runs into friends or neighbors who know his parents. Ray is a member of the Knights of Columbus and of the Hispano Chamber of Commerce. He enjoys getting involved in community events and also an avid outdoorsman.
Location ManagerRead Bio
David has been in funeral service for the past 30 years. After graduating from high school, he attended Southwest Texas Jr. College and most recently, New Mexico Tech. He graduated from the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service in Dallas, Texas in 1984. In 1983 he purchased Steadman Funeral Home in Socorro, NM and he and his family moved from Texas to Socorro in 1984. He owned and operated Steadman-Hall Funeral Home and served the Socorro and Catron Co. community for 27 years, selling to the Daniels Family in April 2010. He joined the Daniels Family in Nov. 2011 as manager of the Socorro location. He is a member of the Socorro Rotary Club, past president of the New Mexico Funeral Service Association, past board member of Socorro General Hospital, and a member of the San Miguel Church 400th Anniversary Planning Committee. David and his wife Jeanene have been married for 37 years and raised their three children, Carey, Casey and Stephen in Socorro and are blessed with three precious grandchildren.
Cemetery SuperintendentRead Bio
Michael has worked for Daniels Family Funeral Services since 2014. He has a wife Krisi and two kids Jaida and Mia. Michael is also a U.S. Army Veteran and a Master Mason in the Masonic Lodge.
Family Service Sales Manager
Personal Care Center SupervisorRead Bio
Lisa began her career in funeral service with Daniels in 2009 as a Family Service Counselor. After serving her internship in preparation and embalming, she received her license in 2013. It is working in funeral service with Daniels that she has found her passion. She is committed to maintaining high standards for the profession and the families served.
Lisa graduated high school in 1987 from St. Pius X in Albuquerque. She went on to receive a B.S. in Elementary Education from UNM and completed the accelerated B.S.N. program at UNM in 2008.
Lisa’s other passion are her two sons. Anthony is a sophomore at La Cueva and plays trumpet in the La Cueva marching band. Brandon is in sixth grade at Desert Ridge Middle School. Brandon plays the saxophone in the band, soccer as well as basketball.
Company Trainer / ConsultantRead Bio
Elias "Al"Alvidrez, Has been involved in the Funeral Profession for
40 plus years. Al has served as a consultant to the Daniels company for
ten years and has also been the corporate trainer for the company. An Honors
graduate of the California College of Mortuary Science in Los Angeles and a graduate
of the National Foundation School of Funeral Service Management. Al has
served in numerous capacities throughout his career. His experience has
enabled him to serve the profession in many areas from the state to national
level. Al is a past Rotary Club president and also served as Chamber of Commerce
president in the communities where his family owned their funeral home. Al has
devoted his career to maintaining high standards for the profession and always
encourages those entering the profession to do the same.
Director of Human ResourcesRead Bio
Suzette attended New Mexico State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
In her free time, Suzette enjoys spending time with family and friends, running half-marathons and watching a great game of football.
Director of AdministrationRead Bio
Having worked for over 25 years in Administrative Management, Tonya has experience in problem solving, developing efficient strategy and has a strong team-work ethic. She plays a critical part in helping Daniels Family Funeral Services run efficiently and works closely with Daniels employees to keep up with the changes and challenges of the day.
Tonya says “The greatest reward of being a part of the Daniels Family is the joy that each co-worker experiences when helping and serving our families. Everyone’s care and compassion is overwhelming. I am so proud to be a part of such a great team!”
Tonya and her family moved from the Chicago land area in 1999. New Mexico is now their home and they have no plans of leaving; although she does admit to missing Chicago pizza now and then, she doesn’t miss the snow!