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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Dan Hankins Funeral Director, Preneed Counselor, Insurance Agent, Chaplain and Celebrant danhankins@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

Danny "Dan" Hankins is a preneed counselor and insurance agent at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home, passionately assisting those who wish to preplan their final wishes as part of their estate planning.  He is also available as a chaplain/celebrant for grieving families at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.

Dan has served others in ministry, pastoring churches and as a missionary, as well as funeral director and preneed counselor for many years.   He is a native of Southwest Missouri, growing up in Forsyth, Missouri, graduating from Riverview Christian High School.  Dan has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northland International University in Pastoral Theology.  He is married to his wife, Ruth, who is an ESL teacher; they have three grown sons.  

 

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Lorraine Neal Funeral Director and Preneed Counselor info@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

Lorraine Neal is a very experienced funeral director and preneed counselor 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 as a funeral director.  From the state of Arkansas where she was a director in the family funeral home, Lorraine has two children, one of whom has followed her in working in the funeral profession.    

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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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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, working towards licensure as a funeral director.  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 info@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

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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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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Nina Carver Funeral Assistant and Crematory Operator info@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

Nina Carver is a funeral assistant and crematory operator at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  She is currently attending mortuary school and has plans to graduate in 2022 with an Associates of Applied Science in Funeral Service.  

Prior to joining the funeral home team, Nina worked as an in-home cargiver to those persons with special needs.  In her free time, she enjoys hosting charity livestreams, cooking, drawing, and painting.  

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Brandon Friend Funeral Assistant info@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

Brandon Friend is a Marshfield, Missouri, native who is a funeral assistant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  He is working towards his licensure in funeral directing, fulfilling his long-standing desire to work in the funeral home industry. 

 

Brandon brings a wealth of expertise as a successful business owner himself to the Walnut Lawn Funeral Home team, including providing wonderful, patient and compassionate customer service for those who have lost loved ones.   

 

Brandon is married with children.  In his spare time, he enjoys drawing, working on his family's farm, gunsmithing, and wood working.  

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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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Ashton Dickison Administrative and Funeral Assistant info@walnutlawnfuneralhome.com

Ashton Dickison is as an administrative and funeral assistant team member at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home. She is often one of our first team members to greet families at the funeral home or on the phone.  Ashton also works as a hostess during visitations and as a removal tech.   Ashton has a Bachelors degree in General Studies, an Associates of Arts and an Associates of Interdepartmental Studies. She plans to become a funeral director in the future. In her free time she enjoys reading, playing video games and spending time with her husband and daughter.  

 

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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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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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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 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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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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Kourtney Turner Funeral Assistant

Kourtney Turner is a part-time funeral assistant and removal tech at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  She is a very thoughtful and kind ambassador, often one of our first team members to meet with families at their homes/nursing home while taking their loved one into our professional care, providing a loving service to the family in difficult times.  

 

Kourtney grew up on the family farm in Mtn. Grove, Missouri, and graduated from Norwood High School in Norwood, Missouri.  She likes to spend time with her family and friends, especially in the outdoors, with summer being her favorite season.

 

 

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Brenda Attwood Administrative Assistant

Brenda Attwood 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.  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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Jared Whitney Funeral Assistant Removal Tech

Jared Whitney is a part-time funeral assistant removal tech at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  He works full-time as a heavy equipment operator in his regular day job, and works part-time compassionately supporting grieving families in his role as an assistant removal tech, in partnership with another Walnut Lawn team member and his fiance, Nina Carver, when taking loved ones into the care of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  Jared attended school at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, MO.  He enjoys playing video games and spending time with his dog.  Some might remember Jared when he once raced cars on the local dirt track.   

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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/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.

Dan Hankins

Funeral Director, Preneed Counselor, Insurance Agent, Chaplain and Celebrant
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Danny "Dan" Hankins is a preneed counselor and insurance agent at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home, passionately assisting those who wish to preplan their final wishes as part of their estate planning.  He is also available as a chaplain/celebrant for grieving families at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.

Dan has served others in ministry, pastoring churches and as a missionary, as well as funeral director and preneed counselor for many years.   He is a native of Southwest Missouri, growing up in Forsyth, Missouri, graduating from Riverview Christian High School.  Dan has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northland International University in Pastoral Theology.  He is married to his wife, Ruth, who is an ESL teacher; they have three grown sons.  

 

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Lorraine Neal

Funeral Director and Preneed Counselor
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Lorraine Neal is a very experienced funeral director and preneed counselor 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 as a funeral director.  From the state of Arkansas where she was a director in the family funeral home, Lorraine has two children, one of whom has followed her in working in the funeral profession.    

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.

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, working towards licensure as a funeral director.  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. 

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. 

Nina Carver

Funeral Assistant and Crematory Operator
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Nina Carver is a funeral assistant and crematory operator at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  She is currently attending mortuary school and has plans to graduate in 2022 with an Associates of Applied Science in Funeral Service.  

Prior to joining the funeral home team, Nina worked as an in-home cargiver to those persons with special needs.  In her free time, she enjoys hosting charity livestreams, cooking, drawing, and painting.  

Brandon Friend

Funeral Assistant
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Brandon Friend is a Marshfield, Missouri, native who is a funeral assistant with Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  He is working towards his licensure in funeral directing, fulfilling his long-standing desire to work in the funeral home industry. 

 

Brandon brings a wealth of expertise as a successful business owner himself to the Walnut Lawn Funeral Home team, including providing wonderful, patient and compassionate customer service for those who have lost loved ones.   

 

Brandon is married with children.  In his spare time, he enjoys drawing, working on his family's farm, gunsmithing, and wood working.  

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.

Ashton Dickison

Administrative and Funeral Assistant
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Ashton Dickison is as an administrative and funeral assistant team member at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home. She is often one of our first team members to greet families at the funeral home or on the phone.  Ashton also works as a hostess during visitations and as a removal tech.   Ashton has a Bachelors degree in General Studies, an Associates of Arts and an Associates of Interdepartmental Studies. She plans to become a funeral director in the future. In her free time she enjoys reading, playing video games and spending time with her husband and daughter.  

 

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.  

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.

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 6 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.

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. 

 

 

Kourtney Turner

Funeral Assistant
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Kourtney Turner is a part-time funeral assistant and removal tech at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  She is a very thoughtful and kind ambassador, often one of our first team members to meet with families at their homes/nursing home while taking their loved one into our professional care, providing a loving service to the family in difficult times.  

 

Kourtney grew up on the family farm in Mtn. Grove, Missouri, and graduated from Norwood High School in Norwood, Missouri.  She likes to spend time with her family and friends, especially in the outdoors, with summer being her favorite season.

 

 

Brenda Attwood

Administrative Assistant
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Brenda Attwood 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.  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.  

Jared Whitney

Funeral Assistant Removal Tech
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Jared Whitney is a part-time funeral assistant removal tech at Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  He works full-time as a heavy equipment operator in his regular day job, and works part-time compassionately supporting grieving families in his role as an assistant removal tech, in partnership with another Walnut Lawn team member and his fiance, Nina Carver, when taking loved ones into the care of Walnut Lawn Funeral Home.  Jared attended school at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, MO.  He enjoys playing video games and spending time with his dog.  Some might remember Jared when he once raced cars on the local dirt track.   

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.