History & Staff

At Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, we have provided customizable memorial services for many years. Personalized service options allow you to honor your loved ones in a way that is both meaningful and healing. We hope to provide support and caring while delivering memorial services that celebrate life and help families find the peace they deserve.
If you’re seeking an honorable celebration of life in Ocala and the surrounding areas, we invite you to learn more about where we came from and the dedicated people behind our work.

A History of Caring

Serving North Central Florida since 1885

Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services team-members live where you live. Our children go to school with yours. We shop where you shop. Maybe we even attend the same church. Our community is your community. You know us... and we know you.

Our commitment to serving and actively connecting with our communities means that decisions are made locally, based upon local needs, customs, and traditions. It means that we are able to focus on a truly personal and meaningful approach, rather than a cookie-cutter way of doing things.

Always Changing to Meet Your Needs

As a Funeral Home, Perpetual Care Cemetery, and Crematory company, we are always changing and adding ways in which to remember. Video Tributes, Lasting Memories photo bronze memorials, and Funeral Web-Casting in our Ocala location, are just a few of the newest concepts available to create a unique and meaningful tribute to your loved-one.

Our Staff’s Dedication to Respectful Care

A funeral, or memorial service, should provide family members and loved ones with the chance to reflect, remember, and celebrate a life well-lived. At Hiers-Baxley, our goal is to create exceptional services and experiences that fulfill the wishes of your loved one. Our experienced Funeral Directors provide guidance on the crucial first steps toward healing.

Michael Vassallo
Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer
Location Leader – TimberRidge Chapel

Mike has been in the funeral service for over 39 years. He received his AS Degree from Simmons Institute of Funeral Service in Syracuse, New York. He completed his residency in Syracuse and was licensed as a Funeral Director. Mike spent many years working in the transplant field. In 2000, after accepting a position in Gainesville, Florida working in human tissue recovery and transplant, Mike moved his family to Ocala. At the encouragement of local funeral directors in Ocala, Mike obtained his Florida Funeral Directors license in 2014.

Mike and his wife Lisa have been married for 38 years. They have a daughter, Sarah and son, Michael “MJ” Jr. and two grandchildren, Nicholas Michael, and Madison Grace. They are also kept busy by there chocolate Labrador retriever, Dexter.  

Mike and his family live in Ocala. Mike and Lisa are classic muscle car fans and currently own a 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner. 

Andrew Clark
Licensed Funeral Director

Andrew D. Clark was born in Gainesville, FL, and spent his early years in Chiefland prior to his family's move to Ocala. A member of the Hiers-Baxley team since 2004, Andrew earned his Funeral Service education at St. Petersburg College. 

On November 21, 2011, Governor. Rick Scott announced the appointment of Andrew to the Board of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services. He succeeds Tracy L. Huggins and is appointed for a term beginning Dec. 2 and ending Sept. 30, 2015. 

In his spare time, Andrew keeps busy at home with his two amazing sons and stays active in the community. He also enjoys fishing with his Dad, playing basketball at the YMCA, where Andrew serves as a Board Member, and playing acoustic guitar as a part of the worship team at Crosspoint Church.

Andrew Clark can be reached by phone at 352.231.8441, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at andrew.clark@hiers-baxley.net

Larry Maziarz
Licensed Funeral Director

A native of Massachusetts and married to his wife Sally of 46 years, father and grandfather, Larry is a graduate of Western New England College, Springfield, MA and the New England Institute of Anatomy and Embalming, Boston, MA. A Vietnam War Navy veteran, Larry has been serving families in funeral service since 1973. He has owned and operated his own funeral home and has managed funeral homes for several firms.

He is a member of St. Timothy Roman Catholic Church, Lady Lake, FL and the National Rifle Association. “I am proud to be an American but even more so a funeral director. It is my vocation in life. It sets my moral compass to perform my state in life conscientiously, to do what is right and just, to be compassionate and to know that if I am to serve a family in a crisis of loss, it must be with humility. It is the only way to truly hear you.”

Larry can be reached by phone at 352-201-3994, toll free at 1-800-371-7307 and by email at larry.maziarz@hiers-baxley.net

Robert T. “Bob” Roche CFSP
License Funeral Director/Embalmer/Certified Celebrant/Location Leader - Belleview Chapel

Bob has been in the funeral service for over 46 years. He received his AS Degree in Peirce College, Philadelphia. Attended American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Services in New York City. Bob became a Certified Funeral Celebrant from Insight Books Institute, in August of 2011. As a third generation funeral director, Bob has seen a great deal of changes in the services we provide to our families. More and more we are asked to provide personalized services. The days of the cookie cutter funeral are gone. It is important that we strive to make every service about the family’s loved one. We need to tell their story.

Bob is a resident of Del Webb’s Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club, Summerfield, and a member of C.E.R.T., a member of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Belleview and a member of the Church Choir as well as Editor of the Social Services newsletter.  Bob is also a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus Council 8012 and Editor of the monthly newsletter. Bob and his wife, Andrea had been married over 45 years when she passed from Leukemia on May 15, 2020. He has a son and 2 grandsons in MN, a daughter in VA and a son in heaven. Bob enjoys watercolor painting and walking his dog, Scrapple in his free time.

He can be reached by phone at 352.201.3389, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at robert.roche@hiers-baxley.net.

Paul Taylor
Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer, Cremationist, OSHA Coordinator

Paul and his wife Valerie have been married for 54 years. They have one daughter, Cindy, who is married to Randy. Together the couple has blessed Paul and Val with twin grandsons (Matthew and Andrew Woodall); both have served in the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also have 2 great grandchildren who are Emmalynn and James Woodall. 

Paul's hobbies include woodworking, gardening, teaching and community activities. Paul is the former Deputy Commander of both the Florida (FEMORS) and Federal Disaster Mortuary Teams (DMORT IV), a team of experts in the fields of victim identification and mortuary disaster services. Paul has responded to large scale disasters in the United States and abroad. 

Most recently he was deployed to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, in 2012 the I-75 crash in Alachua county, and in 2016, The Pulse shooting in Orlando . Paul is currently serving as the Secretary/Treasurer (Past President) of the North Central Florida Funeral Service Association, and is the Mortuary Liaison for Marion County Emergency Support Function (ESF 8). 

Paul Taylor can be reached by phone at 352.231.8441, toll free at 800.371.7307 or via email at paul.taylor@hiers-baxley.net

Leena Williams
Community Outreach Assistant

I was born and raised in Ocala and graduated from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary English Education. I now have a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instructional Design. I taught public High School in Marion County for ten years prior to coming to work for Hiers-Baxley.

During my teaching career I received the Marion County Golden Apple, was recognized as a Claes Nobel Top Ten Educator in the Nation, and received a commendation from Governor Rick Scott and Proclamation from the Marion County Commission for Community Service. I came to Hiers-Baxley in October and am excited to continue this company's great work serving our community.

Damon A. Walker

With thankful hearts, we remember one of our own, who passed from this life on March 31, 2014. Damon touched countless grieving families in a Funeral Directing career spanning nearly half a century. He is loved, missed, and remembered.