It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Mike Stephens, retired NGL Preneed Regional Vice President, on May 15, 2020. Mike retired in February 2019 after 35 years in the funeral industry and more than 10 years with NGL.
Mike was a valuable member of our Preneed sales team. During his tenure at NGL we benefited from his vision, leadership and knowledge. He was a kind, humble person who was gifted at turning a customer relationship into a meaningful longtime friendship.
“Mike Stephens was truly a legend in a profession that he helped create. He was one of the smartest people when it came to business, cared deeply for others, and he was a connoisseur of spaghetti, meatballs and red sauce. The industry and I lost a great friend and he will be dearly missed,” shared John Baker, NGL Vice President Strategic Partner Development.
Mike grew up in Cincinnati working for his family’s Italian bread bakery. While there, he learned every aspect of running a small business until it was sold in the late 1970s. Mike then moved to Los Angeles and began his career in sales, first working as a door-to-door copier salesman where he honed his sales skills.
Litton Industries’ copier division noticed his success and recruited him to head national accounts in Southern California. In 1984, Mike joined The Forethought Group, a new start-up company where he spent the next seven years in various sales management roles.
In the early 1990s, Mike had the opportunity to join a start-up funeral home acquisition company. Mike focused early on acquiring funeral homes and then served as head of Preneed sales. He then returned to The Forethought Group in business development and trust sales roles until 2007 when he joined NGL and became a Regional Vice President and key member of our sales team.
“Mike was a client (Prime Succession), associate (Forethought and NGL), mentor and great friend. He loved golf, sports cars (Godzilla) and his Cincinnati Reds. We will miss him, his infectious personality and sense of humor more than words will describe,” shared Casey Wolfe, NGL Regional Vice President.