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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.

John Frownfelter

John Frownfelter

General Manager

John Frownfelter started with D.W.Newcomer's Sons Overland Park Chapel in January of 1985 as a funeral director and embalmer. He worked at that location for 15 years and then became the General Manager of D.W. Newcomer's Sons Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens along with Oaklawn Memorial Gardens and Shawnee Mission Memory Gardens. He was over the daily operations of the funeral home and cemeteries for 5 years and then promoted to Director of Operations and held that position for the next 10 years until the company sold in 2014. John is excited to be back home to where his career started over 30 years ago in serving the families in the Johnson County Community. John grew up in Marquette Kansas and has lived in Overland Park for over 30 years. He is an active member of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, on the board of Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Vice President of CLAN Investment Group and volunteers for the Save House. 


Bennie Smith

Bennie Smith

Funeral Director

Born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, living in Johnson County the past 32 years serving families in Olathe and more recent Overland Park, Kansas.

 

Occupation background:

·         Funeral Director/Embalmer

·         Career began in Kansas City, Kansas

·         40 years in funeral service, 31 in Olathe, Kansas

·         Managed funeral homes 33 years

 

Civic:

Member of St. Pius X in Mission, Kansas

Member of Overland Park, Masonic Lodge

Member of Scottish Rite Bodies of Northeast Kansas

Member and 2018 Potentate Abdallah Shriners

Member and Past President of Olathe Noon Optimist

Former Member of Board of Zoning Appeals, City of Olathe

Former Member of the Planning Commission, City of Olathe

Charter Member, Past President and “Paul Harris Fellow” of Olathe Santa Fe Trail Rotary Club

Past Chairman of the Board of the Olathe Area Chamber of Commerce

·         Spirit Award” Recipient

·         Past Chairman of the Leadership Olathe Program


Richard E. “Rick” Brenneman

Richard E. “Rick” Brenneman

Funeral Director

Rick is a Kansas native. He graduated from Kansas City Kansas Community College with an Associates degree in Mortuary Arts in 1988. That same year, he returned to his hometown of Newton, KS to begin his career as a Funeral Director and Embalmer.  Later, he was hired as a funeral home manager living briefly in Casper, WY and Hutchinson, KS.

 

In 1999, the opportunity to purchase a funeral home in Liberal, KS unexpectedly presented itself. Rick is a visionary so the transition to ownership went very smoothly and the business grew to nearly double in size.  After 17 years of serving families in Liberal, Rick sold the funeral home and moved to the Kansas City area to be near family. Following the move, he worked for the State of Kansas for two years but found that he greatly missed the opportunity of helping families.  Rick feels that working in funeral service has been a calling instead of a job and he was led to return to his profession.  

 

Rick is a member of Blue Valley Baptist Church and attends at the Antioch campus.  He is a classic car enthusiast and loves showing his 1952 Buick in local car shows.  His greatest joy is spending time with family.  He has been married 30 years to wife, Mellissa, who is also a Funeral Director and Embalmer.  They have one son, Blake and a ‘Brazilian son’, Thiago.


Fay Beasley

Fay Beasley

Assistant Funeral Director

Fay Beasley is a Virginia native but has called Kansas City home for 30 years. She has a background in finance, real estate, mortgage banking and administration. She has worked in Ministry for the frail and elderly and the Funeral Ministry for ten years. She is passionate about the funeral ministry and caring for families during this difficult time and is honored to be a part of the funeral team at Johnson County Funeral Chapel.

Fay and her husband Marvin of 44 years have three daughters and six grandchildren. Both are very active members of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection where Fay currently serves as a Congregational Care Minister.  They also support many local and national charities. 


Edwin Donelson

Edwin Donelson

Licensed Embalmer and Funeral Director

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.


Miranda Walker

Miranda Walker

Licensed Embalmer and Funeral Director

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. 



Nell Owen

Nell Owen

Administrator

Nell was born and raised in Sydney, Australia and moved to Kansas City in 2002.  During her time here, Nell has sought a career path which allowed her to connect with people in a meaningful way and found herself at the Overland Park Chapel where she feels at home.  With her genuine love of people, Nell feels honored to serve her community and the people within, during their time of need.  

In her free time Nell volunteers at Wayside Waifs.  Nell also has a passion for music, along with reading and spending time with friends.


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.


Nancy Klamm

Nancy Klamm

Family Service Counselor

Born a native to Kansas, Nancy grew up in the Northland and moved to Durango, Colorado after a couple of years at Mizzou.  Nancy has a varied background ranging from owning restaurants to working in the traditional corporate arena.  Nancy has a Masters of Organizational Leadership obtained from Southern New Hampshire University. She spent 15 years in the New England area, raising her children in Maine. 

In 2013, Nancy returned to KC to help her aging parents. Throughout this process she became focused on end of life care and knowledgeable about challenges families face during their later years.   When a counselor position became available at Johnson County Memorial Chapel, it was a natural transition to begin working in this industry to help other families navigate this journey.  


Elaine Levine

Elaine Levine

Family Service Counselor

Elaine joined the Signature Group after working as a non-profit Executive Director for 21 years in businesses that either held space in cemeteries, or privately owned them. Needless to say that equates to many funerals. She prides herself on helping families to find the perfect placement at the end of life in a caring compassionate manner.

As a trained Stephen Minister she is dedicated to treating everyone she meets with kindness, and works to ease the pain of loss with a gentle smile, a warm hug or just by listening. She enjoys working with pre-need families where in a relaxed atmosphere we can plan and honor your wishes for the future.

Elaine is married to her husband, Terry they have two daughters and 5 grandchildren and a Himalayan cat named Coco-Blu. 


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

Russ is a native Kansan with roots in Wichita. He moved to Kansas City while the Royals were preparing to win their first World Series and joined Johnson County Funeral Chapel while the Royals were celebrating their second. Russ views his opportunity to serve families as a personal ministry. Russ’ background consists of 30 years in the marketing and public relations world. He “retired” to focus on real estate and mortgage interests. He loves to travel, and much of it on two wheels (bicycles and motorcycles). 


Gilbert Mendoza

Gilbert Mendoza

Funeral Ambassador

Gil was born in Long Beach, CA and was raised in El Paso, TX. He is a Navy veteran who moved to the Overland Park area in 1972. He retired from the WYCO District Court in 2019. He loves helping people and when he retired he found his opportunity to continue to do so at Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Overland Park Funeral Chapel.

Gil enjoys reading and being involved with Lenexa Baptist Church. 


Tom O'Rourke

Tom O'Rourke

Funeral Ambassador

Tom, a Cleveland, Ohio native, has been with Johnson County Memorial Chapel & Garden a little over 2 years, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from John Carroll University in University Hts., Ohio. After college, he was a teacher and Varsity Basketball coach, first at the elementary school, then the high school level, also assisting at the Varsity & Freshman levels for football and baseball.  His basketball teams won 213 games over 13 seasons, a winning percentage of 86.2%. In 1969, he joined the Allstate Insurance Co. as a Mgmt. Trainee. Moving up the ranks, he received several promotions involving relocations to Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and back to KC, now as the Regional Underwriting Mgr., handling 5 states.  In 1979, he entered the Residential Real Estate industry as an agent.  After 4 years, and being a multi-million dollar producer, he became the Sales Manager at Summerson-Burrows Realtors.  In 1989, he joined the J.D. Reece Co. Realtors as a Manager/Broker, ultimately reaching the position of Sr. Vice President, a position he held as the company merged with J.C. Nichols to form Reece/Nichols Realtors.  He was a state Director, served as President of the Johnson County Board of Realtors, as well as President of its Multiple Listing Service, and received the "Realtor of the Year" award in 1997.  He retired in 2010.  Tom and his wife Jan, who will be married 50 years next June, have 2 grown, married daughters, and 5 year old identical twin grandaughters. He loves golf, sports, and his church, Cure of Ars Catholic Church.


Mary Henshaw

Mary Henshaw

Funeral Ambassador

Mary joined our team as an Ambassador in February, 2017. She is grateful and honored for the opportunity to serve families in the community who are struggling with loss and grief as she aspires to continue making a difference in people's lives. 

Born in Dallas, Mary grew up in Prairie Village, KS and graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School. She attended Baylor University, later receiving her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, Management Information Systems from Avila University. Following this, she was employed as a Sr. Programmer Analyst for Payless Cashways, Inc., until 2001 when the company ceased operation. Caring for her husband through several years of terminal illness led her to return to school at Missouri State University where she earned a Master's Degree in Physician Assistant Studies - her true calling. She was a devoted health care provider in the greater Dallas/Ft. Worth area in pulmonology/critical care, sleep medicine, internal medicine and family practice. Upon retiring the end of 2014, she returned to Overland Park where she thoroughly enjoys her role as "Grandma". Mary raised four sons and a daughter who now live in Overland Park, Leavenworth, Atlanta and South Carolina. She has seven cherished grandchildren, ranging in age from infant to late teens. Also in the family are three step-children and eight step-grandchildren. Spending time with family is a top priority!

Leisure interests are singing, playing piano, traveling, reading, gardening, crocheting and interior design. A participating member of United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Mary's activities there include leading in traditional worship with the choir and hand bells.


Kenne Kuttler

Kenne Kuttler

Funeral Ambassador

Kenne Kuttler is a retired executive of The Kansas City Star who is now honored to help families celebrate the lives of their loved ones. 

Along with serving families as an Ambassador, Kenne is a Licensed Assistant Funeral Director, Certified Funeral Celebrant, and community liaison.

A Shawnee Mission North High School graduate, Kenne earned a Journalism degree from University of Kansas, and a master’s degree in Religion from Park University.   

Kenne enjoys playing with the Mission Bells bell choir at the Community of Christ Church where she is a minister.


Emma Thayer

Emma Thayer

Funeral Ambassador

Emma was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas.  She now resides with her husband of 35 years, Bill, in Lansing, Kansas.  Emma has three grown daughters and 3 grandsons.  Emma has worked in office administration, accounting, the health field as a pharmacy tech and helped start a grant funded after school program for elementary children.  She has been a stay at home wife, mom and Memaw for 9 years and enjoys working as an ambassador here at Johnson County Funeral Chapel.  Emma also works at her local quilt store in her spare time.   Emma enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, quilting, embroidery and volunteering with her local quilt guild.  


Samantha Knese

Samantha Knese

Funeral Ambassador

Samantha was born and raised in Overland Park, Kansas. Samantha resides in KCMO and is pursuing a law degree. She is in her second year at the University of Kansas School of Law. She enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and spending time with her family and friends. Samantha is honored to be a part of the team at Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Overland Park Funeral Chapel serving and caring for families in their time of need.


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