Staff

Our dedicated staff are here to provide support, compassion, and information to help you through your journey of grief and the celebration of your loved one’s life.

 

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Bobby Dean & Ruth Wood Founders and Funeral Directors

Bobby Dean and Ruth Wood are the founders and owners of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home, Ltd. - DeGraffenreid-Wood-Crematory. In 2014, Bobby Wood celebrated his 50th anniversary in the funeral profession as a licensed funeral director and embalmer. He is the oldest practicing licensed mortician in the Springfield area. Bobby began working in the funeral business as a young teenager for the local funeral home owner in Hartville, MO. This experience led to his life-long calling of ministering to families in the funeral profession. He attended Missouri State University in Springfield, MO, and while attending college and driving ambulance for a local ambulance company, he met his wife, Ruth, who was attending St. John's School of Nursing. Ruth is a registered nurse graduate of St. John's School of Nursing and a licensed funeral director who has worked diligently beside Bobby to manage the funeral home business affairs and care for grieving families. In 2011, Ruth received her 50 Year nursing certificate. The newlyweds moved to Dallas, Texas, for Bobby to attend and graduate from the Dallas Gupton-Jones Institute of Mortuary Science. The couple returned to Missouri to eventually open their own funeral home in Hartville, MO, Wood Funeral Home. They raised their three children in the family funeral home; all three of their children, Herb, Ruth Ann, and Malinda, are also licensed funeral directors who have careers in air conditioning/refrigeration maintenance and education, respectively.

Bobby and Ruth are members of the Battlefield First Baptist Church, Battlefield, MO. Bobby and Ruth have been active in their community through different organizations including Bobby as a Abou Ben Adhem Shriner, Rotarian, and member of the Masonic Lodge. Both have been active with Lion's Club and Eastern Star. Bobby is a past president of Missouri Funeral Trust.

Even though the funeral profession has been Bobby and Ruth's life work, they enjoy spending time with their family, cheering on their four grandsons in their various sporting and horse events, fishing, and raising and showing horses with a few world champions to their credit that they have bred and raised.

Both Bobby and Ruth are well-respected servants in the funeral industry where families have entrusted them to take care of generations of loved ones with "Tender Moments- Tender Care" with their "Family Serving Your Family."

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Dr. Ruth Ann Wood-Humiston Second Generation Owner, Funeral Director, Pre-need Counselor, Certified Crematory Operator, and Insurance Agent

Ruth Ann Wood-Humiston, daughter of Bobby and Ruth Wood, is a second generation funeral director/pre-need counselor and owner of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home. She brings a wealth of experience in her background as an educator, business owner, and as a licensed funeral director of over 25 years to her position as second generation owner of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home. She is a Certified Crematory Operator through the National Funeral Directors Association.

Ruth Ann has a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in special education from the University of Missouri-Columbia; Specialist and Master’s degrees in educational administration from Missouri State University; and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Drury University with a double major in psychology and elementary education, and a minor in music. Ruth Ann began working alongside her parents in the family-owned funeral home at a very young age. Along with her experience in the funeral profession, Ruth Ann also has extensive experience as a teacher,college professor, school administrator, and as a business owner, founding and currently owning Little Angels Learning Academy, an accredited and award-winning early childhood program in southwest Springfield, Missouri.

Ruth Ann makes her home in the Springfield area with her two sons. She is a member of Ridgecrest Baptist Church. Her family enjoys all types of sports, raising and showing horses, fishing, and traveling. She also enjoys singing and playing the piano, gardening, and theater.

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Mike Ward Funeral Director, Pre-Need Counselor

Mike Ward has been compassionately serving families in Southwest Missouri as a funeral director and pre-need counselor since 1977. Born in Pensacola, Florida, Mike grew up in St. Louis, where he graduated high school. He is a 1973 graduate of Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with minors in business and English. Mike was married to the late Debbie"Pettit" Ward, and they have three sons, Clinton, Jason, and Joshua,and three precious grandchildren: Dylan,Nora, and Finley. He enjoys camping, raise gardening, and attending fall festivals.

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Sheila Barcomb Funeral Director, Pre-Need Counselor

Sheila Barcomb is a licensed funeral director and pre-need counselor with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.
She has worked several years in SW MO in the funeral business.  Sheila has a BS in Communication from Drury University, Springfield, MO.  Sheila also worked several years as a legal assistant/paralegal.  Her community involvement includes serving as Commissioner for Planning and Zoning for the City of Nixa, Missouri; and has been a volunteer and served on the planning committee for Day at the Range, SCIL Outdoor Adventure Fair for individuals with disabilities.

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John and Cathy Veach Licensed Funeral Directors/Embalmer

John and Cathy Veach joined Walnut Lawn Funeral Home part-time in July of 2018 to assist with visitations, funerals, and other needs to help our funeral home better serve our families. They retired and moved to Springfield, MO, to enjoy being closer to family, after owning and operating Bibb-Veach Funeral Homes in Bowling Green, MO, beginning in January of 1987. John attended Central Missouri State University and graduated from Forest Park Mortuary College in St. Louis, Missouri. He has been a licensed embalmer and funeral director for over thirty years. Cathy attended MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. She has been a licensed funeral director since 1976. John and Cathy are involved in serving their community through their church and various civic organizations. They are members of the National Funeral Directors Association and the Missouri Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association. They have two sons, Jason and wife Regan, and Josh and wife Rashele. They are the grandparents of Carter Veach and Anna Veach, the children of Jason and Regan.

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Jessica Turner Apprentice Funeral Director

Jessica Turner grew up in the Springfield area and has been in the funeral business for over 20 plus years.  She is currently completing her degree in mortuary funeral science.  Jessica has one son Evan.  In her spare time she enjoys going to her son's sporting events and time with family.

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Lorraine Neal Funeral Director, Pre-need Counselor, Insurance Agent

Lorraine Neal is a very experienced funeral director, preneed counselor, and insurance agent with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  She has a wealth of experience in serving those who are grieving, gently guiding them on the pathway to healing, and helping to create unique Celebrations of Life to memoralize loved ones.  Lorraine is a wonderful and thorough preneed counselor, assisting those who want to take care of their preneed plans as part of their estate planning.  She has two children, one of whom has followed her in working in the funeral profession.    

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Brenda Attwood Administrative Assistant - After Care Specialist

Brenda Attwood is our funeral home assistant and after care specialist.  She has been a long-term administrative assistant for Ruth Ann in her two businesses, not only Walnut Lawn Funeral Home but also Little Angels Learning Academy.  Brenda has a very caring and patient heart and is often times one of the first of our team to welcome guests at the funeral home or Little Angels.  She has a bachelor's degree in theology.  Originally from Hartville, MO, where she grew up in the same graduating class as Ruth Ann, Brenda resides in Springfield with her husband, Larry, and she has two children - twins.   Interestingly, Brenda's mother also worked for Ruth Ann's parents in their funeral home in Hartville, MO, many years ago.  Brenda is very active in her church and community.  

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Gabe Humiston Funeral Assistant - Third Generation Family Member

Gabriel "Gabe" Humiston is a funeral assistant and third generation family member with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  He is currently attending Missouri State University and Ozarks Technical Community College, majoring in Ag Business.  Having been raised around the funeral business all of his life with his Nana and Papa Bobby and Ruth Wood as the founders of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home, as well as his mother Ruth Ann, second generation owner of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home, Gabe brings valuable skills and expertise in many supportive ways to better serve those who have passed away and their grieving families.  In his spare time, Gabe is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys training and showing horses, with a World Championship to his name, fishing and competing in fishing tournaments, and hunting.  He attends Sac River Cowboy Church in Springfield, MO.        

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Claudia Rose Houseman Funeral Assistant

Claudia Rose Houseman is a 2020 graduate from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelors Degree in Mortuary Science and Funeral Services.  She joined the Walnut Lawn Funeral Home team in the winter/spring term of 2020 as a student embalmer and funeral director intern.  Claudia is currently completing her licensure requirements to be a fully licensed embalmer and funeral director in both Missouri and her home state of Illinois.  In her free time, she enjoys butterfly taxidermy, and vinyl music collecting. 

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Jeanie Kendrick Funeral Attendant

Jeanie Kendrick joined Walnut Lawn Funeral Home in 2013 as a funeral attendant and hostess. She is a retired elementary school teacher, teaching in the Republic School District for 37 years. She is also a real estate agent alongside her daughter with Laney Homes.

Jeanie is married to Steve. They are active members at Ridgecrest Baptist Church. She has 4 children, 6 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. Jeanie diligently assists our families with a friendly confidence. Our families are so appreciative of her caring service.

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Ken and Linda Elliott Funeral Attendants

Ken and Linda Elliott are funeral assistants at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home. They are wonderful caring hosts for friends and family members of those we serve through their work assisting with funerals and visitations.

Ken and Linda are active members of Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri.Ken sings bass with the Hosea Bilyeu family. Linda is a retired LPN.

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Greg Brewer Funeral Attendant

Greg Brewer joined Walnut Lawn Funeral Home in July 2018 as a part-time funeral assistant. He has many years of assisting in a funeral home setting dating back to 1968. Greg is active in his church. He loves helping people through their trying time and works to give them the best service.

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Stephen M. Whisler Funeral Attendant

Stephen M. Whisler joined Walnut Lawn Funeral Home as a funeral attendant to help support families during their times of loss.  He brings a wealth of experience to his duties as a funeral attendant as an ordained minister and deacon, serving as the Minister of Senior Adults for Second Baptist Church in Springfield, MO, Director of Estate Planning for Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, and Development Officer for Missouri Baptist Children's Home, Springfield, MO.  Additionally, Stephen has an extensive background in community involvement as a volunteer for Cox Hospital, Ozarks Trails Council with the Boy Scouts of America, and city councilman.  He also has a background in music, and enjoys singing with a local group on a weekly basis.  Stephen is married and enjoys spending time with his family. 

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Larry D. Griffin Funeral Attendant

Larry D. Griffin is a funeral assistant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  Prior to joining the professional team at Walnut Lawn and moving to the Springfield area with his wife to be closer to family, Larry was a funeral assistant at a funeral home in Joplin, MO.  He is a retired minister.  His wealth of knowledge and experience are immeasurable as his purpose is to minister to families  in time of grief. 

 

 

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Robert Willis Funeral Attendant

Robert Willis is a funeral attendant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.   For many years, he has worked alongside the funeral home team as a ride captain of the Patriot Guard Riders; the Patriot Guard Riders help to honor veterans and first responders for their service.  Robert is a veteran of the United States Army where he was a communications expert and paratrooper.  He is active in the community with various organizations including MDA and his church.   Robert is also a member of the masonic lodge.  He is a native of Canton, MO, and graduated with a bachelor's degree from Culver-Stockton, and a master's degree in business from Missouri State University.  

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Heather Haynes Funeral Attendant

Heather Haynes is a funeral attendant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  She grew up in Indiana and moved to Springfield in 1994.  She is a proud single mother of a son who is currently attending college in Dallas, Texas.  Heather has been in the medical field for 20 years with national certification in phlebotomy.  She enjoys cross-fit, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.  Heather has lots of compassion for people and enjoys being there in the time of need.  

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Alex Dillard Funeral Attendant

Alex Dillard is a funeral attendant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home team, working part-time.  He moved to the Springfield area to attend college several years ago and decided to make his home here.  Alex works full-time with children and adolescents at Great Circle.  Alex has a very caring heart, very patient, and a wonderful listener as he cares for grieving families in his role at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  

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Allen Herrell Funeral Attendant

Allen Herrell serves as a funeral attendant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  He is a successful local business owner, as well has been called to support families who are grieving and assist with their loved ones who have passed away.  Allen is married to Kim, and they are raising three sons.  He is involved with his boys' activities and church. 

Bobby Dean & Ruth Wood

Founders and Funeral Directors
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Bobby Dean and Ruth Wood are the founders and owners of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home, Ltd. - DeGraffenreid-Wood-Crematory. In 2014, Bobby Wood celebrated his 50th anniversary in the funeral profession as a licensed funeral director and embalmer. He is the oldest practicing licensed mortician in the Springfield area. Bobby began working in the funeral business as a young teenager for the local funeral home owner in Hartville, MO. This experience led to his life-long calling of ministering to families in the funeral profession. He attended Missouri State University in Springfield, MO, and while attending college and driving ambulance for a local ambulance company, he met his wife, Ruth, who was attending St. John's School of Nursing. Ruth is a registered nurse graduate of St. John's School of Nursing and a licensed funeral director who has worked diligently beside Bobby to manage the funeral home business affairs and care for grieving families. In 2011, Ruth received her 50 Year nursing certificate. The newlyweds moved to Dallas, Texas, for Bobby to attend and graduate from the Dallas Gupton-Jones Institute of Mortuary Science. The couple returned to Missouri to eventually open their own funeral home in Hartville, MO, Wood Funeral Home. They raised their three children in the family funeral home; all three of their children, Herb, Ruth Ann, and Malinda, are also licensed funeral directors who have careers in air conditioning/refrigeration maintenance and education, respectively.

Bobby and Ruth are members of the Battlefield First Baptist Church, Battlefield, MO. Bobby and Ruth have been active in their community through different organizations including Bobby as a Abou Ben Adhem Shriner, Rotarian, and member of the Masonic Lodge. Both have been active with Lion's Club and Eastern Star. Bobby is a past president of Missouri Funeral Trust.

Even though the funeral profession has been Bobby and Ruth's life work, they enjoy spending time with their family, cheering on their four grandsons in their various sporting and horse events, fishing, and raising and showing horses with a few world champions to their credit that they have bred and raised.

Both Bobby and Ruth are well-respected servants in the funeral industry where families have entrusted them to take care of generations of loved ones with "Tender Moments- Tender Care" with their "Family Serving Your Family."

Dr. Ruth Ann Wood-Humiston

Second Generation Owner, Funeral Director, Pre-need Counselor, Certified Crematory Operator, and Insurance Agent
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Ruth Ann Wood-Humiston, daughter of Bobby and Ruth Wood, is a second generation funeral director/pre-need counselor and owner of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home. She brings a wealth of experience in her background as an educator, business owner, and as a licensed funeral director of over 25 years to her position as second generation owner of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home. She is a Certified Crematory Operator through the National Funeral Directors Association.

Ruth Ann has a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in special education from the University of Missouri-Columbia; Specialist and Master’s degrees in educational administration from Missouri State University; and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Drury University with a double major in psychology and elementary education, and a minor in music. Ruth Ann began working alongside her parents in the family-owned funeral home at a very young age. Along with her experience in the funeral profession, Ruth Ann also has extensive experience as a teacher,college professor, school administrator, and as a business owner, founding and currently owning Little Angels Learning Academy, an accredited and award-winning early childhood program in southwest Springfield, Missouri.

Ruth Ann makes her home in the Springfield area with her two sons. She is a member of Ridgecrest Baptist Church. Her family enjoys all types of sports, raising and showing horses, fishing, and traveling. She also enjoys singing and playing the piano, gardening, and theater.

Mike Ward

Funeral Director, Pre-Need Counselor
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Mike Ward has been compassionately serving families in Southwest Missouri as a funeral director and pre-need counselor since 1977. Born in Pensacola, Florida, Mike grew up in St. Louis, where he graduated high school. He is a 1973 graduate of Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with minors in business and English. Mike was married to the late Debbie"Pettit" Ward, and they have three sons, Clinton, Jason, and Joshua,and three precious grandchildren: Dylan,Nora, and Finley. He enjoys camping, raise gardening, and attending fall festivals.

Sheila Barcomb

Funeral Director, Pre-Need Counselor
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Sheila Barcomb is a licensed funeral director and pre-need counselor with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.
She has worked several years in SW MO in the funeral business.  Sheila has a BS in Communication from Drury University, Springfield, MO.  Sheila also worked several years as a legal assistant/paralegal.  Her community involvement includes serving as Commissioner for Planning and Zoning for the City of Nixa, Missouri; and has been a volunteer and served on the planning committee for Day at the Range, SCIL Outdoor Adventure Fair for individuals with disabilities.

John and Cathy Veach

Licensed Funeral Directors/Embalmer
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John and Cathy Veach joined Walnut Lawn Funeral Home part-time in July of 2018 to assist with visitations, funerals, and other needs to help our funeral home better serve our families. They retired and moved to Springfield, MO, to enjoy being closer to family, after owning and operating Bibb-Veach Funeral Homes in Bowling Green, MO, beginning in January of 1987. John attended Central Missouri State University and graduated from Forest Park Mortuary College in St. Louis, Missouri. He has been a licensed embalmer and funeral director for over thirty years. Cathy attended MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. She has been a licensed funeral director since 1976. John and Cathy are involved in serving their community through their church and various civic organizations. They are members of the National Funeral Directors Association and the Missouri Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association. They have two sons, Jason and wife Regan, and Josh and wife Rashele. They are the grandparents of Carter Veach and Anna Veach, the children of Jason and Regan.

Jessica Turner

Apprentice Funeral Director
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Jessica Turner grew up in the Springfield area and has been in the funeral business for over 20 plus years.  She is currently completing her degree in mortuary funeral science.  Jessica has one son Evan.  In her spare time she enjoys going to her son's sporting events and time with family.

Lorraine Neal

Funeral Director, Pre-need Counselor, Insurance Agent
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Lorraine Neal is a very experienced funeral director, preneed counselor, and insurance agent with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  She has a wealth of experience in serving those who are grieving, gently guiding them on the pathway to healing, and helping to create unique Celebrations of Life to memoralize loved ones.  Lorraine is a wonderful and thorough preneed counselor, assisting those who want to take care of their preneed plans as part of their estate planning.  She has two children, one of whom has followed her in working in the funeral profession.    

Brenda Attwood

Administrative Assistant - After Care Specialist
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Brenda Attwood is our funeral home assistant and after care specialist.  She has been a long-term administrative assistant for Ruth Ann in her two businesses, not only Walnut Lawn Funeral Home but also Little Angels Learning Academy.  Brenda has a very caring and patient heart and is often times one of the first of our team to welcome guests at the funeral home or Little Angels.  She has a bachelor's degree in theology.  Originally from Hartville, MO, where she grew up in the same graduating class as Ruth Ann, Brenda resides in Springfield with her husband, Larry, and she has two children - twins.   Interestingly, Brenda's mother also worked for Ruth Ann's parents in their funeral home in Hartville, MO, many years ago.  Brenda is very active in her church and community.  

Gabe Humiston

Funeral Assistant - Third Generation Family Member
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Gabriel "Gabe" Humiston is a funeral assistant and third generation family member with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  He is currently attending Missouri State University and Ozarks Technical Community College, majoring in Ag Business.  Having been raised around the funeral business all of his life with his Nana and Papa Bobby and Ruth Wood as the founders of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home, as well as his mother Ruth Ann, second generation owner of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home, Gabe brings valuable skills and expertise in many supportive ways to better serve those who have passed away and their grieving families.  In his spare time, Gabe is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys training and showing horses, with a World Championship to his name, fishing and competing in fishing tournaments, and hunting.  He attends Sac River Cowboy Church in Springfield, MO.        

Claudia Rose Houseman

Funeral Assistant
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Claudia Rose Houseman is a 2020 graduate from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelors Degree in Mortuary Science and Funeral Services.  She joined the Walnut Lawn Funeral Home team in the winter/spring term of 2020 as a student embalmer and funeral director intern.  Claudia is currently completing her licensure requirements to be a fully licensed embalmer and funeral director in both Missouri and her home state of Illinois.  In her free time, she enjoys butterfly taxidermy, and vinyl music collecting. 

Jeanie Kendrick

Funeral Attendant
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Jeanie Kendrick joined Walnut Lawn Funeral Home in 2013 as a funeral attendant and hostess. She is a retired elementary school teacher, teaching in the Republic School District for 37 years. She is also a real estate agent alongside her daughter with Laney Homes.

Jeanie is married to Steve. They are active members at Ridgecrest Baptist Church. She has 4 children, 6 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. Jeanie diligently assists our families with a friendly confidence. Our families are so appreciative of her caring service.

Ken and Linda Elliott

Funeral Attendants
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Ken and Linda Elliott are funeral assistants at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home. They are wonderful caring hosts for friends and family members of those we serve through their work assisting with funerals and visitations.

Ken and Linda are active members of Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri.Ken sings bass with the Hosea Bilyeu family. Linda is a retired LPN.

Greg Brewer

Funeral Attendant
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Greg Brewer joined Walnut Lawn Funeral Home in July 2018 as a part-time funeral assistant. He has many years of assisting in a funeral home setting dating back to 1968. Greg is active in his church. He loves helping people through their trying time and works to give them the best service.

Stephen M. Whisler

Funeral Attendant
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Stephen M. Whisler joined Walnut Lawn Funeral Home as a funeral attendant to help support families during their times of loss.  He brings a wealth of experience to his duties as a funeral attendant as an ordained minister and deacon, serving as the Minister of Senior Adults for Second Baptist Church in Springfield, MO, Director of Estate Planning for Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, and Development Officer for Missouri Baptist Children's Home, Springfield, MO.  Additionally, Stephen has an extensive background in community involvement as a volunteer for Cox Hospital, Ozarks Trails Council with the Boy Scouts of America, and city councilman.  He also has a background in music, and enjoys singing with a local group on a weekly basis.  Stephen is married and enjoys spending time with his family. 

Larry D. Griffin

Funeral Attendant
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Larry D. Griffin is a funeral assistant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  Prior to joining the professional team at Walnut Lawn and moving to the Springfield area with his wife to be closer to family, Larry was a funeral assistant at a funeral home in Joplin, MO.  He is a retired minister.  His wealth of knowledge and experience are immeasurable as his purpose is to minister to families  in time of grief. 

 

 

Robert Willis

Funeral Attendant
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Robert Willis is a funeral attendant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.   For many years, he has worked alongside the funeral home team as a ride captain of the Patriot Guard Riders; the Patriot Guard Riders help to honor veterans and first responders for their service.  Robert is a veteran of the United States Army where he was a communications expert and paratrooper.  He is active in the community with various organizations including MDA and his church.   Robert is also a member of the masonic lodge.  He is a native of Canton, MO, and graduated with a bachelor's degree from Culver-Stockton, and a master's degree in business from Missouri State University.  

Heather Haynes

Funeral Attendant
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Heather Haynes is a funeral attendant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  She grew up in Indiana and moved to Springfield in 1994.  She is a proud single mother of a son who is currently attending college in Dallas, Texas.  Heather has been in the medical field for 20 years with national certification in phlebotomy.  She enjoys cross-fit, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.  Heather has lots of compassion for people and enjoys being there in the time of need.  

Alex Dillard

Funeral Attendant
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Alex Dillard is a funeral attendant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home team, working part-time.  He moved to the Springfield area to attend college several years ago and decided to make his home here.  Alex works full-time with children and adolescents at Great Circle.  Alex has a very caring heart, very patient, and a wonderful listener as he cares for grieving families in his role at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  

Allen Herrell

Funeral Attendant
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Allen Herrell serves as a funeral attendant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  He is a successful local business owner, as well has been called to support families who are grieving and assist with their loved ones who have passed away.  Allen is married to Kim, and they are raising three sons.  He is involved with his boys' activities and church.