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/Embalmer

Bobby Dean and Ruth Wood are the founders 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 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 in Hartville; 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.  Their daughter, Ruth Ann, officially purchased Walnut Lawn Funeral Home in 2018 to allow her parents to enjoy retirement, continuing to carry on the servanthood mission of "our family serving your family" with exceptional customer service during "tender moments" while working in the funeral home with the honor of serving grieving families on a daily basis.    

 

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 have been well-respected servants in the funeral industry for over 60 years 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, Insurance Agent, Notary rahumiston@gmail.com

Ruth Ann Wood-Humiston, daughter of Bobby and Ruth Wood, is a second generation funeral director/pre-need counselor/insurance agent 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 30 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 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 attends Sac River Cowboy Church. Her family enjoys all types of sports especially watching a good basketball game and the Kansas City Chiefs, raising and showing horses, fishing, and traveling. She also enjoys cooking a great homemade meal, singing and playing the piano, gardening, and theater.  

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Mike Ward General Manager, Funeral Director, Preneed Counselor, Notary info@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

Mike Ward has been compassionately serving families in Southwest Missouri as a funeral director and pre-need counselor since 1977. With his extensive experience in the funeral industry, he works alongside the owner, Ruth Ann, on a daily basis as the general manager, helping Walnut Lawn Funeral Home grow to one of the most respected single location funeral homes in Springfield and surrounding area during his tenure.  

 

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 Operations Manager, Funeral Director, Preneed Counselor, Notary info@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

Sheila Barcomb is a licensed funeral director and pre-need counselor with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home. She also manages day-to-day operations at the funeral home.  

 

Sheila 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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Gabe Humiston Licensed Insurance Producer, Licensed Preneed Agent, Apprentice Funeral Director, Third Generation Family Member gabehumiston@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

Gabriel "Gabe" Humiston is a licensed preneed agent, licensed insurance producer/agent, licensed apprentice funeral director, 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.        

 

Book an Appointment

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Jessica Turner Apprentice Funeral Director/Preneed Counselor/Assistant Manager for Training info@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

Jessica Turner is valuable kind and compassionate member of the Walnut Lawn Funeral Home team, serving families as an apprentice funeral director and preneed counselor.  She is also an experienced ambassador for the funeral home with being one of the first members of our team to meet with families while bringing their loved ones into our care, and trains other funeral home personnel as the assistant manager in this capacity.    

 

Jessica grew up in the Springfield area and has been in the funeral business for over 20 plus years.  Jessica is currently completing her degree in mortuary funeral science. 

 

Jessica has one son Evan, who often accompanies her on long trips to escort those to be laid to rest at their designated cemetery.  In her spare time she enjoys going to her son's sporting events and time with family.

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Karson Thomas Outreach Specialist/Community Events Coordinator/Administrative Assistant info@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

Karson Thomas holds multiple titles on the team at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home namely Outreach Specialist, Community Events Coordinator, and Administrative Assistant.  She is often the first person to kindly greet grieving family members either in person at the funeral home or on the phone.  Karson is attending Missouri State University where she is studying Agricultural Communications with a minor in Agriculture Business.  She graduated from Republic High School where she was active on the FFA leadership team and in the dance program.  Karson is also a Dance Teacher at Tiffany’s Performing Arts Studio in Republic, MO. In her free time, she raises show pigs and spends time with her family. 

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Jeanie Kendrick Funeral Attendant and Administrative Assistant

Jeanie Kendrick joined Walnut Lawn Funeral Home in 2013 as a funeral attendant and hostess, and administrative assistant. 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 often the person greeting families when they come into the funeral home for arrangements or services.  

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

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John and Cathy Veach Licensed Funeral Directors/Embalmer and Insurance Agent/Preneed Counselor info@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

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. 

 

John and Cathy 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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Greg Brewer Funeral Attendant

Greg Brewer joined Walnut Lawn Funeral Home in July 2018 as a part-time funeral assistant. He often serves as a host during visitations, an assistant at funerals, or personally escorts those who have passed on long-distance trips.  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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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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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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Felicia Livingston Funeral Assistant

Felicia Livingston is a part-time funeral assistant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  She is attending mortuary school through Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science with a graduation date of Fall 2022, working towards licensure to be licensed funeral director and embalmer.  She currently works for Cox Health as an insurance representative and also does volunteer work with Cox. Felicia is married and has four cats that she treats like her children.  In her spare time, Felicia likes to play video games and make costumes to wear for conventions and charity events.

Bobby Dean & Ruth Wood

Founders and Funeral Directors/Embalmer
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Bobby Dean and Ruth Wood are the founders 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 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 in Hartville; 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.  Their daughter, Ruth Ann, officially purchased Walnut Lawn Funeral Home in 2018 to allow her parents to enjoy retirement, continuing to carry on the servanthood mission of "our family serving your family" with exceptional customer service during "tender moments" while working in the funeral home with the honor of serving grieving families on a daily basis.    

 

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 have been well-respected servants in the funeral industry for over 60 years 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, Insurance Agent, Notary
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Ruth Ann Wood-Humiston, daughter of Bobby and Ruth Wood, is a second generation funeral director/pre-need counselor/insurance agent 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 30 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 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 attends Sac River Cowboy Church. Her family enjoys all types of sports especially watching a good basketball game and the Kansas City Chiefs, raising and showing horses, fishing, and traveling. She also enjoys cooking a great homemade meal, singing and playing the piano, gardening, and theater.  

Mike Ward

General Manager, Funeral Director, Preneed Counselor, Notary
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Mike Ward has been compassionately serving families in Southwest Missouri as a funeral director and pre-need counselor since 1977. With his extensive experience in the funeral industry, he works alongside the owner, Ruth Ann, on a daily basis as the general manager, helping Walnut Lawn Funeral Home grow to one of the most respected single location funeral homes in Springfield and surrounding area during his tenure.  

 

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

Operations Manager, Funeral Director, Preneed Counselor, Notary
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Sheila Barcomb is a licensed funeral director and pre-need counselor with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home. She also manages day-to-day operations at the funeral home.  

 

Sheila 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.

Gabe Humiston

Licensed Insurance Producer, Licensed Preneed Agent, Apprentice Funeral Director, Third Generation Family Member
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Gabriel "Gabe" Humiston is a licensed preneed agent, licensed insurance producer/agent, licensed apprentice funeral director, 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.        

 

Book an Appointment

Jessica Turner

Apprentice Funeral Director/Preneed Counselor/Assistant Manager for Training
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Jessica Turner is valuable kind and compassionate member of the Walnut Lawn Funeral Home team, serving families as an apprentice funeral director and preneed counselor.  She is also an experienced ambassador for the funeral home with being one of the first members of our team to meet with families while bringing their loved ones into our care, and trains other funeral home personnel as the assistant manager in this capacity.    

 

Jessica grew up in the Springfield area and has been in the funeral business for over 20 plus years.  Jessica is currently completing her degree in mortuary funeral science. 

 

Jessica has one son Evan, who often accompanies her on long trips to escort those to be laid to rest at their designated cemetery.  In her spare time she enjoys going to her son's sporting events and time with family.

Karson Thomas

Outreach Specialist/Community Events Coordinator/Administrative Assistant
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Karson Thomas holds multiple titles on the team at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home namely Outreach Specialist, Community Events Coordinator, and Administrative Assistant.  She is often the first person to kindly greet grieving family members either in person at the funeral home or on the phone.  Karson is attending Missouri State University where she is studying Agricultural Communications with a minor in Agriculture Business.  She graduated from Republic High School where she was active on the FFA leadership team and in the dance program.  Karson is also a Dance Teacher at Tiffany’s Performing Arts Studio in Republic, MO. In her free time, she raises show pigs and spends time with her family. 

Jeanie Kendrick

Funeral Attendant and Administrative Assistant
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Jeanie Kendrick joined Walnut Lawn Funeral Home in 2013 as a funeral attendant and hostess, and administrative assistant. 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 often the person greeting families when they come into the funeral home for arrangements or services.  

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

John and Cathy Veach

Licensed Funeral Directors/Embalmer and Insurance Agent/Preneed Counselor
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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. 

 

John and Cathy 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.

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 often serves as a host during visitations, an assistant at funerals, or personally escorts those who have passed on long-distance trips.  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.

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.

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. 

 

 

Felicia Livingston

Funeral Assistant
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Felicia Livingston is a part-time funeral assistant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  She is attending mortuary school through Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science with a graduation date of Fall 2022, working towards licensure to be licensed funeral director and embalmer.  She currently works for Cox Health as an insurance representative and also does volunteer work with Cox. Felicia is married and has four cats that she treats like her children.  In her spare time, Felicia likes to play video games and make costumes to wear for conventions and charity events.