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.
Central Florida Market Leader
Michael is a Eustis native. A graduate of Eustis High School, he attended Lake Sumter State College and Graduated from Gupton- Jones College with degree in Mortuary Science.
Michael is the 3rd generation of his family to call Eustis home. While in high school he worked in his grandparent’s furniture store where he learned the importance of hard work and personal responsibility.
Michael has served grieving families as a funeral director for 25 years. He is currently the Director of Operations for Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services where he is responsible for the day to day operations of 5 funeral homes and 1 cemetery from The Villages to Ocala.
Michael was elected to the Eustis City Commission in 2008 where he served for 8 years as a Commissioner, Vice Mayor and Mayor. During his time on the commission he served on the Board of Directors of Lake County EMS and was Chair of the Operations Committee. Michael served 2 terms as president of the Lake County League of Cities and served 4 years on the Board of Directors for The Florida League of Cities.
Michael currently serves on the Alee Academy Advisory Board, The Ed Foundation for Lake County Schools, The Lake Sumter State College Foundation Board, The Lake Eustis Area Chamber Board of Directors and is President of The Lake County Chamber Alliance.
Licensed Funeral Director, Location Leader - Ocala and TimberRdge
Honoring a loved one's memory in a personalized and meaningful way - that's what Stephen Tweedle does best. "It's all about the life they lived," says Stephen. He grew up in Belleview, Florida and now, as manager of Belleview's only funeral home, Stephen is raising his children in the place they know and love. Away from the office, he enjoys family time, especially at any Disney theme park. He is also a great cook and enjoys his hobby of photography.
Stephen Tweedle can be reached by phone at 352.629.7171, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Licensed Funeral Director
As a sixth generation Floridian, growing up in the funeral and cemetery profession, Justin has a unique perspective on serving the families of North Central Florida. He says that "There's no such thing as a cookie-cutter life, so there should be no such thing as a cookie-cutter funeral ceremony." He and his wife, Charity, live in Ocala with their two sons, Jacob and Joshua, and their dogs, Callie and Zoey. Justin enjoys playing guitar, singing, hunting, fishing, and logging miles on his Harley-Davidson Fatboy.
Justin can be reached at email@example.com.
Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer
A native of Minnesota and avid runner, Mark is now enjoying the warm and sunny running weather of central Florida. He is an expert and historian in the sciences of embalming and restorative art. Mark is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and has been serving in the Funeral Profession for over twenty-five years. Mark says, "We should strive to improve our commitment to excellence in Funeral Service, every day."
Mark Carlson can be reached by phone @ 352.629.7171, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 352.629.7171, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at email@example.com
Licensed Funeral Director
John came to Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services from the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Seattle, Washington. He has been dedicated to serving families since 1980, where he began his career with his foster parents where he experienced all aspects of the mortuary, cemetery, and crematory, in addition to advance planning. He remains licensed in Washington State, in addition to having secured his license in the State of Florida.
John’s son Luke is the apple of his eyes. Luke is almost a twin to John. They enjoy gun training & safety, outdoors, computer games, out of town trips, great food, and naturally the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Huskies and the Seattle Mariners.
“Fergie” as he is known by some, has enjoyed furthering his university education at Pacific Lutheran University, Seattle Pacific University, Mt. Hood Community College, and Liberty University. He feels the political arena is fascinating, and although he does not aspire to run for office, President Ronald Reagan is one of his American heroes.
John knows it is his honor in life to assist people at the darkest times of their lives, celebrating the lives in our community.
John Ferguson can be reached by phone at 352.753.8353, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
James P. Grant
Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer
James “Jim” Grant earned his Funeral Service education in Miami, FL and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing from USF in Tampa, FL.
Jim has been in the funeral service business for 30 years and enjoys providing help and comfort to families in their time of need. Jim says “families, friends, associates, visitors, and clients all deserve sincere responsiveness to their needs. I find great reward in meeting and exceeding those needs and helping create an experience to be cherished.”
Jim also enjoys the outdoors, swimming in the Springs, and trying out new restaurants. He is currently serving as a Deacon at Union Baptist Church and supports Rotary, Kiwanis, and Elks clubs in various positions.
Jim can be reached by phone at 352.629.7171, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at email@example.com.
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 352-753-8353, toll free at 1-800-371-7307 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Tim graduated from York High School and then in 1973 joined the Marine Corps. He served on Embassy duty in 1976. His special missions included Dacca Bangladesh, Caracas Venezuela and Paris France. His military tour concluded in 1979.
Beginning in 1980, Tim began a career in the transportation industry that lasted more than 27 years. He moved to Belleview, Florida in 1998. He and wife, Trish, are members of Grace Baptist Church in Belleview.
In 2008, Tim began his career with Team Hiers-Baxley and serves an important role as Senior Associate, providing orientation and training to new team members within the Hiers-Baxley organization. He also became licensed as a Crematory Operator in 2014. Tim says, "the most gratifying part of my position as an Associate is making sure that family members are reassured that their loved one will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect in their time of loss."
Besides Tim's work with Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Marion County Veterans Helping Veterans, Inc. Program.
Tim can be reached by phone at 352.629.7171, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at email@example.com.
Licensed Funeral Director
"Funeral Service is not what I do, it's who I am," says Mike, referring to his life's-commitment to serving families since the age of fifteen. His career in funeral service started when his father, the local barber in a small Ohio town, got him a job at the local funeral home.
After graduating from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, Mike accepted a position as Funeral Director Intern with Hiers-Baxley eventually becoming a Licensed Funeral Director over 30 years ago. He has a focused intent on serving each and every family with excellence and compassion, and in a personal way.
Mike McDaniel can be reached by phone at 352.753.8353, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert T. “Bob” Roche CFSP
License Funeral Director/Embalmer/Certified Celebrant/Location Leader - Belleview Chapel
Bob has been in the funeral service for 44 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 and his wife, Andrea have been married over 40 years and have a son and daughter-in-law and 2 grandsons in MN, a daughter in VA and a son in heaven. Bob and Andrea recently became residents of Del Webb’s Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club, Summerfield, FL. Bob enjoys watercolor painting in his free time.
Bob can be reached by phone at 352.245.2424, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at email@example.com.
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 352.629.7171, toll free at 800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer
In 2014 she graduated from The American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service. Originally from Havre de Grace, Maryland she relocated to sunny Florida in 2015 and received her training from Hiers-Baxley. Erika cares about the families she serves and considers it an honor to be able to help them during such a difficult time. When not helping others she is a singer/actress and enjoys performing in local theatrical productions. Erika has 2 hairless cats and young son named August.
Care Center Manager
Matt VonOhlen has a heart for people and a passion to honor the life of those who have passed over. "I believe that every person deserves to have a ceremony that honor's the life he or she has lived and to make each ceremony a personalized picture of their life" says Matt.
As a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer, Matt's educational background includes an A.A. degree from the College of Central Florida as well as an A.S. degree from St Petersburg College Funeral Services.
Matt and wife, Bunny, enjoy spending their free time together cruising, travelling to places they have never visited before, country western concerts and Disney World! Matt also enjoys sports; his favorite football team is the New York Giants.
Matt VonOhlen can be reached at 352-629-7171, toll free at 1-800-371-7307 or by email at email@example.com.
Maria Del Rosario Torres
Advance Planning Advisor
A native of Colombia, Maria Del Rosario Torres has a passion for people. Her bilingual skills help her to reach out in a way that is unique. She appreciates greatly the opportunity to help families, especially those with language barriers. Serving as a Family Care Advisor for more than six years, Maria believes that her experience has taught her to be a strong support to families during the difficult time of loss. Additionally, her educational accomplishments include a Bachelors Degree in Speech Therapy from the University of Colombia as well as certification for Hotel Management.
Maria has been married to Felipe Torres for twenty plus years and together they have a beautiful family. Daughters Vianca, Vanessa and son Alex are their pride and joy. Maria loves to travel to her native country of Colombia whenever she gets the opportunity and she also enjoys volunteering time at the Blessed Trinity Church in Ocala.
Maria Torres can be reached by phone at 352-369-1020, toll free at 1-800-371-7307 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advance Planning Advisor
Born in New York and educated in Miami, FL, Marie's life experiences have allowed her the privilege of meeting people from all walks of life. Marie and her immediate family moved to the Marion County area in 1981. It was the family's love for horses and the laid-back, peaceful country-life that drew them to beautiful Ocala. Marie enjoys being a help to others. Her strong desire to "make a difference" is what led Marie to the work in the Funeral and Advance Planning industry. "Whether I am helping a family that has just lost a loved one, or assisting a family with pre-arranging in advance, my hope is that I made a difference in some way" says Marie.
Marie Votino can be reached by phone at 352.369.1020, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at email@example.com
John moved to Ocala from Palm Beach County where he served in the Substance Abuse Recovery profession for more than ten years. Besides being an avid historian, John is also a swimmer, runner and hand-ball player...not to mention the resident "Philly Phanatic!" When asked his perspective on funeral service, John states, "a quiet and caring touch is needed when meeting families who have just lost a loved one. Compassion and understanding of this is paramount and the motto "we serve families" is more than just a catchy phrase - it defines who we are."
John can be reached by phone at 352.873.4114, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Weagley moved to Florida in 1994 from Maryland, after retiring from Maryland Police Department, where he had been a Police Officer for 25 years. He joined the Hiers-Baxley team in 1995 as an Associate. In 2002, he became licensed as a Crematory Operator and has been managing that department ever since. Striving to maintain trust in the cremation industry is Gary’s goal.
Gary Weagley can be reached by telephone at 352.629.7171, Toll Free at 800.371.7307, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Lamond Williams is a native of Florida and was born in the Gainesville, FL, area and raised in the town of Belleview. Lamond currently holds the position of Lead Associate at Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services where he believes in maintaining trust, honor and respect of every family that he serves. Lamond enjoys travelling to different places he enjoys and enjoys investing time in helping his community grow. Lamond currently holds two positions at his local church, Vice President of the Young Adult Choir as well as a member of the Usher Board where he has served for a number of years.
Lamond can be reached by phone at 352.629.7171, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A sixth generation Florida native, Angelina grew up in Wildwood. She has had a passion for helping grieving families and friends since beginning to work within funeral service in 2011. Angelina has served three years as a full time American Red Cross volunteer. While involved with the American Red Cross, she held the positions of Volunteer Coordinator, shelter manager, family services caseworker, damage assessment, and was a proud member of the Disaster Action Team. She has had the oppurtunity to be a member of her childrens school's, School Advisory Council for four years. She also served three years on Lake Minneola High school's Drama Board. Angelina and her husband Jason live in Wildwood with their children Meyana, Katara and Drayton.
Community Outreach Manager
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.