Drabing Promoted, Llewellyn Named Board Chairman

Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks and Mortuaries announced the promotion of Darin Drabing to president and CEO. Drabing had been serving as the association’s executive vice president and chief operating officer since January 31, 2007. He succeeds outgoing president & CEO John F. Llewellyn who was named chairman of Forest Lawn’s board of directors.

Prior to being named executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2007, Drabing had served as senior vice president of operations since 1999. Before that, he had served for a decade as vice president of Forest Lawn’s Cypress location, after having joined Forest Lawn in 1984 as an apprentice embalmer.

Drabing also serves as vice president for the International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association (ICCFA), which is composed of more than 7,500 cemeteries, funeral homes, crematories, memorial designers and related businesses worldwide. He is also a director of the Cemetery and Mortuary Association of California (CMAC), which represents cemeteries throughout California. He holds a degree in mortuary science from Vincennes University in Indiana, a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of La Verne, and an executive MBA from Claremont Graduate University.

The third generation to lead the organization, Llewellyn joined Forest Lawn in 1972 and was promoted to chief executive officer in 1988. A highly respected and active leader in the cemetery and funeral industries, he is a past president of ICCFA and the CMAC.  He has also served as a director of numerous organizations, including the California Chamber of Commerce, Claremont Graduate University, YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, and many others. He has chaired the Braille Institute of America, Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, Los Angeles Area Council- Boy Scouts of America, and Employers Group. He is a graduate of the University of Redlands with a major in Economics, and earned an MBA from the University of Southern California.

As one of the foremost authorities in the cemetery and funeral industries, Llewellyn is also the author of two critically acclaimed books, “A Cemetery Should be Forever” and “Saying Goodbye Your Way”. Llewellyn succeeds Thomas V. McKernan as board chairman. McKernan will continue on Forest Lawn’s board of directors as vice chairman.