Staff


Our staff makes us unique in the funeral industry. We serve a wide variety of roles, but all of us at Cedar Memorial share one common trait. We have an unwavering commitment to serve families needs with compassion and quality.


Administrative

Our administrative staff watches over the day-to-day operations of Cedar Memorial and provides support for all other staff members as they serve family's needs.

C. John Linge

C. John Linge
Chairman of the Board

John leads The Cedar Group, which consists of Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery Association, Cedar Memorial Funeral Home Company, Iowa Cremation and Companions for Life. John is the 3rd generation of Linge family to lead Iowa's most innovative death care service provider. His passion for innovative, meaningful death care service stems from his grandfather, Carl K. Linge and father, David E. Linge, founders of the cemetery and funeral home respectively. Learn more about John



Michelle Behnke

Michelle Behnke
Chief Executive Officer

Michelle joined Cedar Memorial in 2006 and has been instrumental in making the experience of the families we serve as stress-free as possible by stream-lining processes and developing best practices. Michelle’s strong understanding of corporate finance and performance management principles, coupled with her passion for creating an outstanding customer service experience assist her in guiding the associates of Cedar Memorial. Learn more about Michelle



RJ Fagle

RJ Fagle
Chief Operations Officer

RJ is originally from northeast Iowa and has been with Cedar Memorial since 1997. He oversees the operations for Cedar Memorial, Iowa Cremation and Companions for Life. R.J. works closely with the funeral directors, business services department, cemetery staff, family service counselors and aftercare specialists to ensure Cedar Memorial, Iowa Cremation and Companions for Life not only meets, but exceeds the expectations of the families we serve. Learn more about RJ



Susan Russell

Susan Russell
Chief Financial Officer

As the Chief Financial Officer, Susan leads the Business Services Department and the daily processing of all financial transactions. Before joining Cedar Memorial in January of 2014, she spent 14 years as an auditor and Accounting manager in the insurance industry, as well as Director of Finance for a local non-profit organization. Learn more about Susan


Funeral Directors

Our funeral directors act as your personal guide to help your family through every step of funeral planning.

Meet our Funeral Directors

Tom WillemsTom Willems
Manager of Funeral Services

Tom oversees the day-to-day funeral operations for Cedar Memorial and Iowa Cremation in Cedar Rapids. Tom graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science and is a licensed Funeral Director, serving families for over 25 years. His vast experience, unparalleled professionalism, and caring nature have helped countless people who have experienced a loss. Learn more about Tom


Counselors

Our counselors serve families before the time of need to help you choose and plan funeral services, cemetery and memorial markers.

Meet our Counselors

Brad KurtzBrad Kurtz
Manager of Sales and Marketing

Currently transitioning into his role, Brad leads the creation and implementation of marketing programs and materials that educate the benefits of preplanning and the unique services offered by Cedar Memorial. He also oversees and guides the Family Service Counselors, ensuring they are best equipped to provide assistance to the families that we are honored to serve. Learn more about Brad


Business Services

Our dedicated Business Services staff provides a wide range of services for Cedar Memorial Funeral Homes, Cemetery, Flower Shop, Family Center and Library, and Cremation Center.

Hillary Stacey
Assistant Controller


Cemetery Staff

You'd have to look far and wide to find cemetery grounds and facilities as meticulously maintained as Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery. Our Cemetery Staff take great pride in providing a peaceful, beautiful and a well maintained setting.

Greg Blood
Grounds Manager


Hospitality Staff

Our Hospitality Staff greet families and friends at visitations and receptions. They also assist the family by answering questions and assuring a comfortable environment.

Jan Eckhardt
Hospitality Lead



Funeral Assistants

Funeral Assistants support the Funeral Directors and families during visitations and memorial services by greeting family and friends, assisting with parking and transferring flowers.

Tom Willems
Manager of Funeral Services / Funeral Director

Floral Designers

The Floral Designers at Cedar Memorial Flower Shop can help you choose an appropriate flower arrangement or memorial gift to honor the memory of a friend or loved one.

Meet our Floral Designers

Nancy Meckel
Manager - The Flower Shop




Certified Celebrants

Our certified celebrants help create and present a funeral, memorial, or celebration of life that is unique and personalized.

Meet our Certified Celebrants

Julie Freese
Senior Certified Celebrant



 


AfterCare Specialist

Our AfterCare Specialist visits with family members after a death has occurred. If you need assistance dealing with your grief, you may contact him at any time.

Jim Parton
AfterCare Specialist - Certified Celebrant