Our Valued Staff

James A. Gustafson, Manager - N.J. Lic. No. 4205

James began his career in funeral service at the age of 12 after the sudden death of his father in 1986. At that time, James was an ambitious young man helping elderly neighbors with small yard work tasks. Rich McCriskin, who was of great support to his family, had heard of James' endeavors and asked if he would like to help in the same capacity around the funeral home. From there, his tasked and responsibilities grew to where he is today.

A 1991 graduate of South Plainfield High School, he continued his education at Kean University were he earned a Bachelors of Science Degree in Management Science and furthered his education at Mercer County Community College, where he earned an Associates of Science Degree and a Certificate of Proficiency in Funeral Services. After successful completion of his National Boards Exam, State of NJ Law Exam and a Practical Examination, James was awarded his Practitioner of Mortuary Science License from the State of New Jersey in July of 1996.
Born and raised in South Plainfield, James continues to reside in the borough with his wife Jessica and their two sons, Jack and Cole. He is currently a member of the South Plainfield Italian American Club, The South Plainfield B.P.O.E. Elks #2298, the Sons of American Legion Chaumont Post # 243, South Plainfield Knights of Columbus Council # 6203, South Plainfield Education foundation and is a current member of the South Plainfield Zoning Board of Adjustments, . He is a long time communicate of Sacred Heart Church and is an active member of the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association and the Middlesex and Somerset Counties Funeral Directors Association. He has served on various boards, committees and board positions over the past 13 years and is slated to serve as the President of the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association in September of 2012
 
In his youth, James was active with local sports, continued playing in high school and later played softball in several recreational leagues.
 
On January 1, 2007, a monumental accomplishment was granted when he and Richard McCriskin’s son, Rick, where given the opportunity to begin the succession of the McCriskin Home For Funerals to the next generation.

 
Today, he enjoys being a proud husband and father as well as devoted to both his family and professional career,carrying on the values and traditions instilled by many over the years.

Richard W. McCriskin II, Vice President- N.J. Lic. No. 4564

Rick grew up in the family business of funeral service. Throughout high school and college he was often around offering assistance while at the same time learning the family trade.

A 1996 graduate from S.P.H.S., Rick graduated from St. Peter’s College in Jersey City in the spring 2001 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics. The following fall he enrolled in the Funeral Service Education program at Mercer County Community College and in the Spring of 2003 he graduated earning both his A.A.S. degree and his Certificate of Proficiency in Funeral Service.

After successfully completing his National Board Exam in Funeral Service and the NJ State Board of Mortuary Science Examination, he became a Licensed Practitioner of Mortuary Science in the fall of 2003.
Back during his senior year in college, Rick suffered a tragedy with the loss of his mother Kathy, who passed away at the age of 48 after a lifelong battle with aneurysms. Although her passing was difficult to deal with, it was also a learning as well as an understanding experience for him. Her passing provided Rick with the knowledge and understanding of what it means to lose someone such as a parent but at the same time, also provided him with the profound truth of what it means to assist families in their time of need because he has been there himself.
 
Active locally, he is a member of the South Plainfield Business Association, an Auxiliary member of the South Plainfield VFW Post # 6763, B.P.O. Elks Lodge #2298, the South Plainfield Lions Club and sits on the committee of Our Lady of Czestochowa RC Church annual Feast of St. Anthony.
 
In addition Rick is a member of the National Funeral Directors Association; the N.J. State Funeral Director’s Association and the Middlesex & Somerset County Funeral Director’s Association.
 
Outside of work he enjoys skiing during the winter, fishing, playing softball and golf, spending time with family and friends, following the local youth sporting programs and is an avid fan of the NY Giants and NY Yankees.
 
As of January 1, 2007 Rick, along with James Gustafson - aka "Jimmy from McCriskin’s" reached a prestigious achievement when they were presented with the opportunity to begin the succession of the McCriskin Home For Funerals to the next generation.

Kerri-Anne Krapf, License: N.J. Lic. No. 5045

Kerri-Anne Krapf, License: N.J. Lic. No. 5045

Kerri started her career with McCriskin - Gustafson Home For Funerals in February 2012 as an apprentice.  

Under the guidance of Jimmy and Ricky, Kerri was enrolled in the Funeral Service Education Program at Mercer County Community College. In the Summer of 2013, she graduated from the program earning her A.A.S. degree and Certificate of Proficiency in Funeral Service.  After successfully completing her National Board Exam in Funeral Service, Mortuary Jurisprudence Examination and Practical Examination, she became a Licensed Practitioner of Mortuary Science in the Winter of 2014.

Kerri was offered a full time position with the funeral home which she was happy to accept.

Born in Brooklyn, Kerri and her family relocated to East Brunswick when she was in Middle School. A 2004 graduate of East Brunswick High School, Kerri currently resides in South Plainfield with her growing family.  She is eager to be involved in the community in which she has grown to care for.  

Her personal goal, as she continues her career with the funeral home is to fulfill the expectations the community has in the McCriskin-Gustafson Home for Funerals and foster relationships with families to instill confidence that their loved ones are memorialized with all the care and precision they deserve.

Lauren J. Lapola, Director - N.J. Lic. No. 4816

Lauren joined our staff in 2016 and has been making a positive impact with our families. Dedicated to her calling, Lauren volunteers herself to her community and has been asked to speak to local and statewide high schoolers on numerous topics relating to funeral service. But more impressive than her educational and philanthropic endeavors are the hundreds of families that she has so tenderly cared for since her licensure.

Daniel M. Erickson, Director - N.J. Lic No. 4798

Known to many as “Danny”, he was born and raised in Manville. Danny is a graduate of Manville High School, and at the age of 16, Danny began working in the funeral industry in a part time capacity.

Danny attended Raritan Valley Community College majoring in criminal justice. Then, Danny switched his college major to funeral service and transferred to Mercer County Community College, the only college in New Jersey to offer the Funeral Service program. Danny served a two-year internship and after receiving an Associate Degree in Business Management and Funeral Service, he fulfilled his requirements to take the New Jersey State Jurisprudence Exam, National Board Exam and practical examinations.

A few years ago, Danny lost his mother Kathy to cancer. He feels experiencing the death of his mother had made him a better person and a more compassionate funeral director as he has experienced firsthand what it is like to grieve and undergo the funeral process.

Danny married his best friend Rebecca (Borawski) and they now have a beautiful daughter together, McKenna Kathleen. They recently fulfilled their dream of buying a home to raise their family in.

Danny is a member of the South Plainfield B.P.O. Elks #2298, Middlesex & Somerset County Funeral Directors Association and the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association.

In his spare time, he is an avid collector of anything automobile related. He loves spending time outdoors, playing cards and can often be found playing with his dog Bentley.

Pam Mocharski, Office Administrator

Has lived in South Plainfield her entire life and graduated from S.P.H.S. in 1977. She is married with two sons. She, along with her husband John and their children are extremely active with the South Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department and various other organizations including the Boy Scouts.

Although she is not a licensed funeral director and unable to make funeral arrangements and run funerals, Pam is vital to the office. She manages the office by overseeing the directors' appointments, schedules, and services. In addition she prepares much of the paper work which is vital to assisting families. She is often found on the phone trying to answer questions that one may have.