Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.
Ever since we opened our gates we have approached life (and death) differently. While some just see the end of a loved one’s life as a time for grief and mourning, we prefer to think of it as a time for reflection, appreciation and even celebration. This is evident in everything we do, from the way we conduct our services to the amenities we choose to offer. We are not a burial ground. We are a close knit community dedicated to honoring, sharing and preserving the amazing and inspirational stories that are life.
years in business
In a nutshell? Experience, professionalism, compassion, and empathy.
We've learned a lot over many years. Like how to present options without overwhelming. And how to meet the needs of many caring parties. People come to us in difficult times, and we respond kindness, calmness and expertise. Our goal is to create a beautiful occasion and make you feel welcome, always. We spend our days planning with families. We stay up to date with industry developments. And we make hard times a little easier.
Learn the legacy.
Welcome to Highland Memorial Park, Ocala’s most historic perpetual care cemetery. We are the only gated memorial park in the county, offering a gorgeous setting where serenity, natural beauty, and diligent care come together as one. The architecture of our park was designed specifically to give your loved ones the respect and dignity they deserve. It was also carefully planned for the mourner to have a quiet place of peace and solace.
Who We Are
Meet our staff. Members of the local community make everything that happens possible. Together, we make this place amazing.
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.
Dennis has truly lived a life committed to service. With a career in the Funeral Profession spanning over 30 years, he has also served as Mayor-Commissioner for the City of Belleview, FL, former member of the Florida State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, former Speaker Pro Tem of the Florida House, former Executive Director of Florida's Christian Coalition and is currently serving as State Representative for the Florida House, representing District 24. He and wife Ginette have five children and seven grandchildren. He enjoys flats and deep sea fishing as well as making music with family in his spare time. Dennis Baxley can be reached by phone at the Florida House of Representatives District Office @ 352.732.1313.
As a sixth generation Floridian, growing up in the funeral and cemetery industry, 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 young sons, Jacob and Joshua and their Chocolate Labrador, Davie. Justin enjoys playing guitar, hunting, fishing, and logging miles on his Harley-Davidson Fatboy. Justin can be reached at email@example.com.
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.
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
A lifelong resident of Hampden, Maine until moving to Florida in 2008, Lori Cropley immensely enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren. A horse lover by nature, she has had many years experience working with and training beautiful four-legged wonders. Lori is a proud graduate of Hampden Academy-Maine with over 700 hours of training in Behavioral & Mental Health. Additionally, serving as a Foster-Adoptive parent for more than ten years has afforded many wonderful experiences as well as first-hand education. Affiliations include: Adoptive & Foster Families of Maine, Inc., Hampden Children’s Day and KidsPeace, New England.
Regarding her role as Family Care Advisor with Hiers-Baxley, Lori states that she believes each life should be honored in a very meaningful yet personal way. “Being a strong support to families through the difficult time of loss is exactly what I want to do,” says Lori. She adds: “Preplanning when thoughts are clear is my goal for each family, to help minimize their stress level and to provide peace of mind.”
Lori Cropley can be reached by phone at 352.873.4114, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
Earning his Funeral Service education from Miami-Dade Community College, Larry has a funeral-service career spanning more than four decades. He is a stickler for detail and for making sure that each step in the process of serving families is carried through with exacting excellence. Larry Davis can be reached by phone at 352.629.7171, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 352.873.4114, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Licensed Funeral Director, Location Leader - The Villages
Lisa High joined Team Hiers-Baxley in 2012. From restoration to organizing memorial services to management, in her career, Lisa has faithfully served her community in all aspects of funeral service. Her varied business background are a great help in reaching out to the many different people she meets. “To have an active part in transforming the most difficult experience for a person into one that begins with commemorating a life, and continues with resources to help them navigate through their healing journey, is truly fulfilling work for me. Each family is different and I strive to understand the things that are significant to each one.” Lisa enjoys cooking, knitting, traveling, reading, watching movies, sewing, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. She and husband Bruce Rys, have two adult daughters, Mary and Erin - both live in Lisa's home state of Tennessee. Lisa High can be reached by phone at 352-753-8353, toll free at 1-800-371-7307 or by email at email@example.com.
A graduate of the New England Institute of Applied Arts & Sciences in Boston, William has been a Funeral Director for over 30 years. It was July of 1990 when he decided to make the sunshine state his new home. When asked his personal sentiments regarding funeral service, William's response was this - "I see my position as more of a ministry than a profession." On a personal note, in April 2009 when his dearest friend needed a full-time caregiver, William temporarily retired to take care of him. Upon his friend's passing, William came to work for Hiers-Baxley. Outside of work, fellowshipping with believers is his passion. He attends Queen Of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala. "I have a heart for people and a heart for the Lord Jesus Christ," says William. William Johnson can be reached by phone at 352.629.7171, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via 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.
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
"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 email@example.com.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Leo University, Kathy was a school teacher for several years before moving into the field of Advance Planning. Kathy has been an Advance Planner and Cremation Specialist with Hiers-Baxley since 1998. She believes that pre-planning is one of the most loving gifts a person can give their family and enjoys helping families with that process. In Kathy's words, "it just makes sense to relieve the emotional and financial burden a death can create. It's the most generous gift someone can give his or her family." Time spent with family is Kathy's passion. Kathy and her husband, Sean live in Ocala. Their family time includes working out, traveling, watching college football and spending time with daughter, Ashlyne, a college freshman and cheering on son, Tyler, a senior in college on a full football scholarship! Kathy Riley can be reached by phone at 352.427.7868, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlie and his wife, Karen, moved from Los Angeles to Ocala in 1993. They have been married for 35 years, and between the two of them have seven children, sixteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Charlie has been helping families with both Funeral and Cemetery Advance Planning for over 11 years. He enjoys helping families design a plan for their final arrangements that saves money and, more importantly, brings peace-of-mind to the family. Charlie Steckel can be reached by phone at 352.369.1020, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at email@example.com
Armand Caiazzo is a native of Boca Raton, FL and now holds the position of Associate at Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services. Armand says “it’s a good feeling being able to help the families under such trying times. It gives you some perspective on life in general and how precious it truly is.” Armand worked in the printing industry for 20 years before coming to the Ocala area. Armand can be reached by phone at 352.629.7171, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Erika received her Associates Degree in Mortuary Science from The American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in 2014. Erika has always had an interest in funeral services, but after the passing of her grandmother her interest sparked further and she finally decided to become a funeral director. “I just want to help families during this difficult time and help them remember their loved one in the best way possible.”
Family is important to Erika and part of the reason for her move from Havre de Grace, Maryland to sunny Florida. Erika enjoys performing and singing, especially in theatre. Erika can be reached by phone at 352.753.8353, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at email@example.com.
Robert T. “Bob” Roche, CFSP- License Funeral Director/Embalmer/Certified Celebrant Bob has been in the funeral service for 42 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 42 years and have a son and daughter-in-law and 2 grandsons in MN, a daughter in VA and a son in heaven. And a mini Dachshund who allows them to take care of her. Bob enjoys watercolor painting in his free time. Bob can be reached by phone at 352.629.7171, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
James March Jr.
General Manager and Family Service Leader at Highland Memorial Park
Jim has a BS in Business Administration with a Management Option from California State University at Northridge, and has been serving families in our industry for 42 years! Being a third generation cemeterian, Jim has that special passion required. He and Terri, his wife of 38 years, have 3 children and 4 grandchildren.
Jim can be reached by phone at 352.369.1020, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at email@example.com.
Julia is a native of Florida, born and raised here in Ocala. She is currently studying to be a Funeral Director and is going to College of Central Florida and St. Petersburg College. Julia says she likes "to help families over come without forgetting and to keep everything pristine for a more memorable experience. She enjoys kayaking and spending time outdoors. Julia can be reached by phone at 352.629.7171, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org.
With more than 25 years of experience in communications, public relations & marketing, Barbara’s background includes leadership in the corporate, non-profit and small business arenas. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations at the University of Florida(UF) and serves as President-Elect of the Ocala Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA). Barbara enjoys working in Community Outreach because it allows her to utilize her skills to create partnerships with local resources that help our families in the healing process.
Barbara and her husband Andy met at UF and enjoy following & attending all Gator sports with their two daughters: Caley, a senior at UF and Delaney, a high school freshman.
Barbara Carbaugh can be reached by phone at 352.369.1020, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at Barbara.email@example.com
Paul and his wife Valerie have been married for 52 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 serves as 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
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 email@example.com.
Licensed Funeral Director, Location Leader - Ocala, Belleview 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
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.
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 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.
Family Care Advisor, Debbie West, is a native of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania and has been a Florida resident since 2004. Her extensive business career includes sales and marketing for the printing and paper industry, Coldwell Banker Realty and the Cadillac Division of General Motors. Debbie is an active member of the Appleton Museum and the Ocala Chamber of Commerce. Thanks to her lovely daughter, Kate and son-in-law Nate, she is a proud grandmother of a handsome little grandson, Carter. Debbie has found great satisfaction in assisting families in their time of bereavement. "There is no better feeling in the world than being there for someone else. It gives me purpose."...says Debbie. Debbie West can be reached by phone at 352.369.1020, toll free at 1.800.371.7307 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com