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Our Team


Our staff is comprised of professionals with a broad depth of funeral and cremation experience.  We are dedicated to helping direct you through this stressful and difficult time. We will answer all your questions regarding your options for funeral and cremation services. Please feel free to contact any of our staff members at any time.

Melanie Horton

Melanie Horton

General Manager

Melanie is a licensed funeral director in Kansas and Missouri and is currently serving as General Manager of Overland Park Chapel. Her passion in serving others has lead her down the road to become a funeral director.  She has served as a funeral director for over 14 years and recently moved back to Overland Park from St. Charles, MO where she had the honor of serving families in the area. As a caregiver by nature, she finds great satisfaction in seeing others have more meaningful death experiences because of her efforts and finda guiding families through the grieving process a true ministry. She along with our caring staff here at Overland Park Chapel, take pride in serving families with compassion and care as they walk with them through the early stages of their grief. 

 

Melanie and her husband Jeremy have one daughter, Adelyn. They are currently members of St. Cletus Catholic Church in St. Charles, MO where their daughter is finishing up second grade but are looking for a church home in the Kansas City area. She is also a member of the St. Louis Police Wives Association and serves on the board of SHARE. During Melanie’s spare time, she enjoys going back to St. Charles to spend time with her family and friends. 


Desiree Paananen

Desiree Paananen

General Sales Manager


Desiree Paananen has been in the death care industry for over 4 years.  Her experience in this industry started in memorial design.  She believes that memorializing the life of a loved one can bring comfort to a family and hopefully help their healing begin. 

Desiree is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in Business Management at Cardinal Stritch University in Wisconsin.  She recently moved to the Kansas City area from Wisconsin as Sales Manager to join the team at Johnson County Memorial Gardens, Overland Park, Terrace Park Memorial Gardens and Longview.  She enjoys this role as it allows her to strengthen her experience in Customer Service and Sales Leadership roles.  Desiree is extremely passionate about helping families through difficult times



Kylie Newsom

Kylie Newsom

Funeral Director

Kylie graduated from Des Moines Area Community College in March of 2015 with her degree in Mortuary Science and began working at Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens in March immediately after that. Kylie is licensed as a Funeral Director/Embalmer in Kansas and a Funeral Director in Missouri. Kylie is originally from Iowa, but moved to the area to pursue her career. Kylie enjoys being outside, watching and playing sports, listening to music, and spending time with her family and friends.


Brinkley Grado

Brinkley Grado

Asst. funeral Director

Brinkley moved from her hometown of Wichita, KS in 2012 to Kansas City to pursue her career in the funeral industry. She is a Kansas licensed Asst. Funeral Director and is currently working on obtaining her Missouri Funeral Director license. Outside of work Brinkley enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis, hiking, and traveling.


Edwin Donelson

Edwin Donelson

Embalmer

Ed has been a licensed funeral director since 1996, and has worked exclusively in the care center since 2000. Ed and his wife Linda grew up in a small western Kansas
Community just this side of the Colorado, Kansas state line. They married in 1978, and have two adult sons, two teenage grandsons, three dogs , a cat and a rabbit.
Ed enjoys spending time with his wife and family, reading in his spare time and cooking. He understands and respects the trust families place in him to care for and prepare their loved ones, and is honor bound to that sacred trust.


Iris Menezes

Iris Menezes

Family Service Counselor

Iris Hudgens Menezes was born in Marion, Illinois. After her studies at Southern Illinois University she moved west to San Francisco, California. 

During her time in San Francisco Iris was employed by the Pacific Bell Telephone company as a 
Public relations spokesperson. Her responsibilities included traveling to the many small and 
Large cities in northern California conducting educational seminars regarding the programs with 
which Pacific Bell was involved. Of special interest were the seminars concerning the space and 
satellite communications technologies. 

After her marriage Iris moved from California to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she renewed her employment with the telephone company. Iris continued her position of public relations 
spokesperson until she and her husband moved to Kansas to start their own business.

Iris and her husband established a Manufacturer’s Representative Sales Organization, 
Headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas. Iris was responsible for the internal management of 
The company, which after a few years consisted of salespeople covering the states of KS,MO,
IA, NE and Southern Illinois. Iris was also responsible for coordinating the sales activities of her 
company and the sales management teams of over 20 manufactures whose products were
imported from various countries in Europe and Asia. 

As a result of market changes the Consumer Electronic business became less attractive and the
decision was made to sell the sales organization. 

After exiting the electronics field Iris was referred to the D.W. Newcomer’s Sons Company to 
apply for the position of pre-arrangement counselor. After her training period Iris determined 
that this was a position she would enjoy because she always liked to work with people. In this 
position she felt that she would be helping people who were going through a very stressful time
in their lives. The people relationship skills Iris has acquired over the past 22 years has served her 
and her company well. She received her “Twenty Year” service award in 2012. 

Iris is accustomed to “change” in her work life and she views the new Signature ownership as 
An opportunity for continued personal growth.


Patricia Schonacher

Patricia Schonacher

Family Service Counselor

Pat graduated from Loyola University of the South with a BA in Business Administration. She received the outstanding award for the female student in the School of Business in her Senior year. 

Pat married Bill Schonacher the year after her graduation. Once her children were born, she went back to school to work on her Master’s Degree in Education in Counseling.

Once she completed schooling, she has had a varied career. She has taught in high school, technical level, Johnson County Community College and has administrated a Federal Grant for the sheriff of Orleans Parish in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Pat joined the Family Service Counselors in February of 1990. She has enjoyed a long and fulfilling career assisting families in the Preneed Division as well as in the cemetery at Johnson County Memorial Gardens. While serving families, Pat has earned the highest award as Certified Service Professional on numerous occasions.

Pat has many interests. She loves her family, as well as the care of her home and flower garden. Pat belongs to three bridge groups and has many friends. Pat is a member of Cure’ of Ars Catholic Church and belongs to several groups within the Church.


Mark Snavely

Mark Snavely

Grounds Superintendent

Mark has been with Johnson County Memorial Gardens since August 2011. He is a Kansas City native and a graduate from NW Missouri State University with a degree in horticulture. He has worked in the grounds maintenance industry for 35 years. Hillcrest C.C., KCMO and Arbormasters Tree and Landscape, Shawnee Kansas, serves as book ends to his 20yr stay as the Grounds Maintenance Superintendent with Quivira Falls Community Association, Overland Park.


Raymond Cowley

Raymond Cowley

Grounds Maintenance

Raymond Cowley joined Johnson County Memorial Gardens in 2012 as part of the cemetery service qualified staff. Ray’s hard work and dedication to Johnson County has been noticed by the continued upkeep of the grounds. His primary position is lawn maintenance. 
Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, Ray graduated from Southwest High School. He has two children, ages 18 and 17 that continue to keep him busy. When Ray has downtime, he enjoys spending time with his extended family in the area, barbecuing, bird watching, river rafting, camping, detailing vehicles and tuned in to a Chiefs or Royals game. He also appreciates a great game of pool or bowling and relaxing with a fishing pole in hand. Ray volunteers some of his time working with RBI Baseball.


Andre Murray

Andre Murray

Grounds Maintenance

Andre Murray began working for Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens in April, 2013. 
He was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where he still resides and graduated from Southwest High School. He has three children, ages 18, 16 and 10. Andre has a passion for tennis, not only playing, but also teaching other adults and children to play as well. He spends many hours a week on a tennis court, when he is not spending time with his children. 
In years passed, he was a member of Hilltop Racquet Club, Tennis Team and has supported his step-mother, a survivor of breast cancer, by running in the Susan G. Komen race for the cure. Other than tennis, Andre enjoys playing pool, darts, bowling and the many museums that the city has to offer.


Kay Lopez

Kay Lopez

Funeral Ambassador

Kay has worked at the Overland Park Chapel since 1970 and when the Johnson County Funeral Chapel was built in 1996, she worked at both locations. Kay started her career as an administrator but became a funeral director soon after . She was appointed manager of the Overland Park Chapel in 1982 and also managed the Johnson County Funeral Chapel when it opened in 1996. Kay retired from these positions in 2002 and now works part time helping on church and chapel funerals and plays the keyboard for services when needed. She is the organist at Prairie Baptist Church where she has been on staff for 45 years.

Kay has lived in the Kansas City area since middle school and graduated from Shawnee-Mission North, she then attended Emporia State University where she met her husband, Lindo. They were married for 53 years and he passed away last year. Lindo and Kay have two children, Donna Sosna and her husband Dennis and Brian Lopez and his wife Debbie. They also have two grandchildren Jennifer and David. 

Kay loves working in the funeral industry and enjoys helping people in their time of need. It has been a very rewarding career for Kay and she plans to continue doing this for a long time!


Jack Clark

Jack Clark

Funeral Ambassador

Jack was born in Kingsville Missouri and has lived in Kansas City, Kansas since he was 4 years old. He graduated from Wyandotte High School and served in the U.S. Navy from 1956-1960 on the U.S.S. Hancock Air Craft Carrier. Jack married his wife Mary in 1960 and they have a son, a daughter and a grandson.
Jack was in sales until Mary and him bought their own business. They sold their business in 1989 and retired. Jack has worked in the funeral business 16 years starting at D.W. Newcomer Sons. Jack has met some wonderful people while working in this business and has a dedication and passion for the families that he works with. 
Mary & Jack go to Texas in the winter to get away from the snow and cold. They have a lot of friends in Texas, which has become their second family away from home.


Ann Corcoran

Ann Corcoran

Funeral Ambassador

Ann was born in Kansas City in 1942, the oldest of nine children. She is the matriarch of her huge, ever growing, family. She is a Registered Nurse and started her nursing career in 1962, being a hospital nurse, a staff RN and a Nursing Supervisor until 1980. She then worked as a Medical Disability Case Manager with Workers Compensation Insurance Company from 1980-2009 when she retired. When Ann has downtime, she will tell you that she enjoys sleeping, shopping, yoga and travel; all in that order.
In 2009, Ann joined the team, part time, at Johnson County Funeral Chapel & Memorial Gardens. She truly enjoys being part of the company and industry. Ann has an understanding that every situation is unique and special, she takes great pride in helping others in their time of need.


William O'Brien

William O'Brien

Funeral Ambassador

William is a sixth generation Kansas City native. He graduated from Westminster College majoring in Economics. Many of the last twenty years have been spent in other cities, but he is always promoting Kansas City in his travels. He has one son who has now graduated from college and initiated his career. William has many interests including books, history, travel, rugby and dogs. He looks forward to engaging in animal rescue in the future.


Robert Yannuzzi

Robert Yannuzzi

Funeral Ambassador

Bob is originally from New Jersey and worked most of his life in sales. He relocated his family to the Kansas City area 25 years ago when he sold his business and have made a happy home in Kansas with his wife of 45 years, Dorothy.

Bob's desire to help others through a difficult time is a rewarding part time job now that he is retired. Bob knows that he is working with a group of compassionate and dedicated co-workers, which has made him pleased to be a part of the team.


Russ Ewy

Russ Ewy

Ambassador



Miranda Walker

Miranda Walker

Apprentice Embalmer

Miranda Walker graduated from Kansas City Kansas Community College, with a degree in Mortuary Science in 2017. Miranda has been a licensed cosmetologist since August 2003. She worked as a Makeup Artist, until deciding to further her education in 2011.


Born and raised in Emporia, Kansas she relocated to Pleasant Hill, Missouri twelve years ago, with her husband and two children. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, and friends. Her hobbies include camping; kayaking, traveling and watching her children participate in sports. 



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