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Our Experienced Staff
Each of the staff members at John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home and Crematory is committed to providing your family with the finest in personal end-of-life care. In fact, for years, it’s been comforting for area families to know that we are available to help at any time of the day or night.
When a loved one dies, all you need to do is make one phone call. From that moment on, we’ll take on the responsibilities of the physical care of your loved one, and the emotional care of those left behind.
Please take a few minutes to get to know our funeral home staff. We’re sure you’ll find each of us to be all that you would hope for in a trusted funeral professional.
In Loving Memory ~ Smyth Meador
February 15, 1926 ~ June 12, 2009
|Cathie Meador Thomas, President |
I became a member of the John M. Oakey & Son family after the death of my Father, Smyth Meador in 2009. I have had many special times with my father at the funeral home over the years. Like my father, am so proud and honored to be a part of the John M. Oakey & Son family. I see on a daily basis the love and compassion that our staff shares with our families. Having lost both of my parents, I know first hand the importance of having that special attention during the most difficult of times.
I was born and raised in Salem , Va. I graduated from Andrew Lewis High School and received bachelors degree in Social Work from Radford University . I am blessed with a wonderful family, my husband Jeff and two children, Meaghan and Mitchell. We raised our family in Charlottesville , Va. Since my fathers passing, I have learned quite a bit about living the life of a farmer on my parents cattle farm in Moneta. Aside from spending time with my family and friends, I enjoy camping, hiking, reading, golf and water skiing.
It is wonderful to be back in Salem . I have many fond memories and it is so nice to “be back home”.
|Jon Wilson, Manager/VP |
Jon joined our funeral home in 2005. He is a native of White Sulphur Springs, WV. He began his career in funeral service in 1984. He attended Concord College and completed an associates degree in small business and graduated from Mid-America College of Funeral Service with a degree in Mortuary Management. He is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in both Virginia and West Virginia. Jon has two children Kaitlin Tam an ER Nurse and Caleb Wilson serving in United States Marine Corp. In his spare time he, enjoys spending time with his family. He also enjoys fly fishing, hunting, camping, and woodworking, is an active member of the Roanoke Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter 308 and is a member of Salem Host Lions Club. He is also a member of Taylor Lodge #23 and Clifton Forge Lodge #66.
|Dave Vanderpool, Director/Assistant Manager|
Dave has served families at John M. Oakey & Son since 2002. He was born in Waynesboro, VA and moved to Salem with his parents when he was just 2 weeks old. He graduated from Salem High School in 1990, earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Religion from Southern Wesleyan University in 1994, and received an ordination certificate from The Wesleyan Church in 1996. Dave served as a full-time assistant pastor for eight years. During his ministry, however, Dave pondered over his passion for funeral service that began even as a teenager. It was in 2002 that Dave began directing his compassion toward funeral service and joined the John M. Oakey & Son staff as a resident trainee. He studied mortuary science at John Tyler Community College, was awarded an Associate in Applied Science Degree with a major in Funeral Services in 2005, and received his funeral director's license in February of 2006. Dave thoroughly enjoys all aspects of funeral service and considers his involvement in it not as an occupation but as a calling. He and his wife, Kim, together have 3 beautiful children, Jillian, Dawson, and Iliana. He is a member of the Salem Kiwanis Club, the National Funeral Directors’ Association, and former President of the Blue Ridge Funeral Directors' Association. Dave enjoys photography, camping, hiking, reading, and writing in his spare time.
|Russ Teffner, Director |
Russ is a native of Warren, Ohio and has been involved in funeral service since he was a young teenager. He attended Kent State University and graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, where he served as President of his graduating class. He is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in both Virginia and North Carolina. Prior to locating to the Salem area to join the John M. Oakey & Son family, he served as District Director of the North Carolina Funeral Directors Association and was active in the Hendersonville Kiwanis Club. Russ and his wife Debbie are proud parents of two fine young men, Travis and Brandon. In his spare time, Russ enjoys golf, NASCAR racing, collecting Presidential Memorabilia and spending time with family and friends. Russ is also a member of Taylor Lodge #23. He is proud to be a member of our community and in providing the superior funeral service that John M. Oakey & Son has been renown for.
|Sarah Clark, Director|
Sarah joined the John M. Oakey & Son family in April of 2015. Sarah spent most of her life in North Georgia. She completed her education at Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, Georgia. While in school, she met her life partner, Michael Canestrari, who was a long-time resident of the Roanoke-Salem area. Once obtaining her Associate of Science Degree in Funeral Service, she and Michael made the decision to share their lives together in Roanoke County. Sarah is currently serving her apprenticeship in order to become a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in the state of Virginia. She is also a Certified Cremation Operator. She is devoted to serving the families that place their trust in John M. Oakey & Son and caring for their loved one. Outside of the funeral home, Sarah plays with the Star City Roller Girls and loves skating outdoors on the Roanoke Valley Greenways with her teammates. Sarah has a great love for travelling, watching old films, reading books, organic farming, and being with her family.
|Steve Solomon, Funeral Assistant |
Currently residing in Roanoke Steve comes to us from Atlanta,Georgia, Steve brings over 36 years of Funeral Service experience to our firm. Steve is an avid collector of commercial aviation artifacts and is a longtime member of the World Airline Historical Society. He also likes to tinker with vintage appliance restorations. Steve is an active member of Beth Israel Synagogue in Roanoke and is a member of the congregation's Chevra Kadisha.
|Lynn Deel, Office Manager |
Lynn has worked at the funeral home as the business office bookkeeper since 2004. She is a lifelong Roanoke Valley resident, graduating from Cave Spring High School in 1984 and Roanoke College in 1988. She brings with her over 19 years of customer service experience and a devotion to making sure that our customers receive the best of care and the extra help they need with financial details during a difficult time. In her spare time, she is an avid computer tinkerer and animal/pet rescue advocate. She enjoys hiking, reading, home improvement and spending time with her family.
|Randy Gleason, Aftercare |
Randy has been a lifelong resident of Salem . He attended Salem schools and graduated from Fork Union Military Academy in 1970, and earned a BA degree in English from the Virginia Military Institute in 1974. Randy served in the U. S. Army Reserves for many years. Randy began working at John M. Oakey & Son in February 2010 after a long career in the cemetery business. During his career in the cemetery business, Randy served as President of the Virginia Cemetery Association, President of the Southern Cemetery and Funeral Association and is a Past Chairman of the Cemetery Board in Richmond , VA. Randy will be working with families in the Aftercare program. Randy is married to Martha McDearmon and he has three children. He is a member of the Salem Baptist Church and the Salem Kiwanis Club. He enjoys hiking, fishing, reading and spending time with his family.
|June Robinette, Receptionist |
June Robinette has worked part time for John M. Oakey and Son for over fourteen years. She is a member of West Salem Baptist Church and works for the City of Salem Schools as a bus driver with over twenty four years service. June enjoys spending time with her family and her twelve grandchildren. She brings a high degree of caring and comfort to the families she serves here at the funeral home.
|Andy Kingery, Director|
Andy Kingery is a Roanoke County native. He graduated from Cave Spring High School and earned his Bachelor of Science in Funeral Service Education from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1995. Andy is active in the Melrose Masonic Lodge No. 139 and a member of the Kazim Shrine Fire Brigade. He has been married to his wife, Rhonda since 2000 and have two children, Jonathan and Jordan. Andy has worked as a part time funeral director and embalmer at the funeral home since 2003.
|Margaret Thompson, Receptionist |
Margaret was born in Bedford County , Virginia . She graduated from Huddleston High School and attended National Business College . She worked at the V.A. Regional Office, was church secretary, and was a secretary while the family resided in South Carolina . She has worked as a hostess at John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home since 1998. Margaret has two daughters, two sons, eight grandsons, two step-grandsons, one step-granddaughter, and is also a great-grandmother. She is a member of Central United Methodist Church and president of the United Methodist Women. She is interested in mission’s projects and volunteers with the Salem Clothes Closet, Meals on Wheels, Discovery Shop. She also loves to dance. Her family and church are very important to her. She is the widow of Raymond Thompson.
|Jim Pruitt, Host |
Jim came to work at the funeral home in January 2003 and hopes to be working here after retirement. He enjoys talking to family and friends during visitations. In his words, “You get an idea of what the person was like…and people who come from another state are amazed at our city and funeral home. Here, we show compassion and concern, and people like that…at a time of loss, they need that.” Jim has been employed by the City of Salem Police Department for 16 years. He was born May 28, 1966 in Jacksonville , N.C. , home to a military base, the sixth of ten children. In 1984, he graduated from Glenvar High School . He has 3 daughters: Nina, a rising senior at Glenvar; Debra, who went to Heaven and Ashley, a rising freshman at Glenvar. He enjoys collecting antique farm equipment, anything John Deer and coffee mugs.
|Linda Johnson, Hostess|
Linda has worked part-time at the funeral home since 2003. She feels that being a part of the John M. Oakey & Son family has given her the opportunity to serve the people of the community in a caring and compassionate manner. Linda was born in Tazewell County and has been a resident of the Roanoke Valley since 1972. She has served on the staff of several area churches. Linda and her husband, Butch, live in Salem and are blessed with two daughters and three grandsons.
|Marie Holliday, Hostess|
Marie Holliday was born in Albemarle County , Virginia and moved to the Roanoke area when she was 2 years old. She graduated locally and went on to college in Missouri and married her late husband, John Holliday, in 1961. John was a police officer for the City of Salem and passed away in 1995. Marie has five children and nine grandchildren, whom she enjoys traveling to visit with. She has been a full-time working as the manager of the Felco Federal Credit Union for three years and assistant to the manager for 15 years Fed-Star Federal Credit Union. After losing her husband in 1995, she was impressed by both the professionalism and compassion shown by the staff of John M. Oakey Funeral Home during her family’s time of loss. In 1997, Marie began working for the funeral home and in her words, “I have been fortunate enough to find a second family, the men and women I work with who not only care about each other, but are so dedicated to the people they serve.” Marie enjoys plays, reading, hiking and volunteer work.
|Don Britts, Funeral Assistant |
Don was a salesman with both Dick Price Ford and Hudson Ford Lincoln & Mercury of Radford for over 35 years. Following his retirement, he went to work for both Walmart and Mullins Funeral Home of Radford part-time. He then joined the staff of John M. Oakey & Son in 2007. Don has been married to his wife, Mary Ellen, for 45 years. Together, they have two children and two grandchildren. Don is also a veteran, having served in the United States Marine Corps. He is also a member of Cave Spring Baptist Church .
|Rev. Roy Kanode, Chaplain/Funeral Assistant |
|Rev. Steve Parker, Chaplain/Funeral Assistant |
|Ron Vanderpool, Funeral Assistant |
|Kaitlin Litz, Office Assistant |
Kaitlin Litz joined our staff in 2010.
|Jim Woods , Funeral Assistant |
|David Gibson, Funeral Assistant|
|Karen Adams, Hostess|
Karen is a native of Chenango County, upstate NY, but spent most of her adult years near Erie, PA before moving to Salem in 2012 to become Director of Music at College Lutheran Church. Karen has a BS is Sportsmedicine/Wellness and minor in Nutrition from Mercyhurst College (now University) in Erie and a Master of Theological Studies from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH. She has over 30 years of experience in music ministry and 20 in pastoral ministry, including bereavement care. She now volunteers with Good Samaritan Hospice and is very much involved in Salem Area Ecumenical Ministries. She lives in Roanoke and is the mother of 3 and grandmother of 3 who live from Pittsburgh to Missouri to Denver. Her hobbies include reading, walking, gardening, making and eating good food, sports, and enjoying good local wine and beer while her interests include nature, health, community involvement, and being of service to those with any need.
|Candy Long, Hostess|
|Euna Spence, Hostess|
Euna has been with John M Oakey & Son since February, 2016. She is married to Sherwood Spence, a retired pastor. They owned/ operated Spence's Christian Book Store in Roanoke for over twenty-seven years and Spence's Wedding Chapel in Roanoke and Salem.
Euna retired from Lewis Gale Medical Center in Salem, in the ER as registrar.
Euna and her husband live in Salem and have two sons, a daughter-in-law, two granddaughters, one grandson and another grandson who is in heaven. They also have a great grandson.
Euna's passion is to help people who are hurting and being a part of John M Oakey & Son gives her the opportunity to serve in that capacity.
|Sally Gear, Hostess|
|Rev. John Furman, Funeral Assistant|
Rev. John Furman,
John was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Greenville SC. He has Masters Degrees from Saint Louis University and Reformed
Theological Seminary. He also received his doctorate from Reformed Seminary. He taught in prep school and college Bible departments for 10 years before his 30 years in the pastorate. John is married to Martha who is a counselor and they have been living here in Salem since 1994. They have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. Martha and John started and run a camp called Braveheart for children who have lost a loved one such as a parent or sibling.
|Rev. Tim Gearheart, Funeral Assistant|
Tim was born in Radford, Virginia and has spent most of his life in the Roanoke Valley. He has a B.A. in Religion with a concentration in Christian Education from Bethany College and has completed the Five Year Course of Study at Duke Divinity School in Durham N.C. He has been a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 2004 after a 22 year career in banking and finance. Tim is currently the pastor at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Martinsville Virginia. He has also served as chaplain of a homeless shelter and was a counselor for a residential drug and alcohol recovery program. Tim is married to Rebecca who is an office coordinator for mental health services provider in Salem. Tim and Rebecca make their home in Roanoke. They have four children and three grandchildren. Tim enjoys family, reading, and sports, and is a passionate fan of the Boston Red Sox and the Virginia Tech Hokies.