History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
When we sit down with a family, we have just one goal: to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. Together, we explore the wide variety of services and products available, as well as a wealth of creative ideas and suggestions.
Together, we'll design a memorial or funeral service that suits their needs now, and in the future. Families who come to us know that years from now, they will have deep peace-of-mind because in coming to us, they've done their best to honor their loved one.
Legacy Funeral Homes has been helping Alaskans for over 45 years. Our foremost concern is to take care of the one you and your family have lost with compassion and respect. We never turn down a family regardless the circumstance.
Our Valued Staff
The Funeral Dogs
Jared received Hook from Steve when his father-in-law passed away. Max is Hook's litter mate. The dogs have been coming to work with Steve and Jared for some time. We believe animals can give comfort to those who are grieving. Hook can give hugs on command. In order to keep the legacy of our funeral dogs alive, a new female has been introduced into the family named Meeka. When she is old enough she will be bred with Hook. Perhaps someday you will be greeted with a Border Collie and a hug at each of our Funeral Homes.
Jared Dye, President- Owner
Jared began his career in Utah and received his degree in mortuary science from Arapahoe Community College. Jared moved with his three children to Alaska in 2006 when he purchased Legacy Funeral Homes. Jared has immersed himself in the Alaskan way of life, in hunting bear, caribou, deer and moose. He loves to spend time in the summer, camping and fishing with his family.
Jared enjoys spending time in the wilderness of Alaska and is fascinated with the Native culture and way of life. Jared’s vision of service and respect are the foundation for Legacy Funeral Homes.
Steve Novakovich, CEO- Owner
Steve has lived in Alaska since he was 8 years old. His great- grandfather started a series of funeral homes in Utah in the early 1900's. Steve and his wife Deanne have eight children and 3 grandchildren.
Steve has been a successful businessman in Alaska for over 35 years. Steve paraglides, snowmobiles, jetskies, crosscountry-skies, not to forget boating and fishing. He spends much of his free time working with boyscouts, taking them on amazing adventures in the Alaska wilderness, snowcaving and learning survival skills. Steve has felt it an honor to serve families and uplift those in need.
Patricia Largen, Admin-Fairbanks
PATTY LARGEN/ADMINISTRATIVE ASST.
Born in Skagway, Alaska. Moved to Seattle, Washington and graduated
from Shorecrest High School in 1976. Moved to Fairbanks, AK in 1977,
and have lived here for 34 years.
Have 3 grown children; Lisa, Angela & Erik and a cat named Felix.
Have worked for Northern Lights Memorial Park/Chapel of Chimes Funeral
Home for 17 years; and I am probably the “oldest” employee in both
age and employment years here in our locations:) Being able to serve
our families with a compassionate word, a listening ear or even just a
small hug has always meant a lot to me.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, and traveling
when I am able to do so. I am an avid walker, love to read and to
garden in the summer. I’ve been involved in local hockey
organizations over the years. I’m also a Deacon and very involved in
my church, First Presbyterian in Fairbanks.
Nelson Bruce, Pre-need, Insurance and Monument Consultant
Nelson Bruce was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a true Cajun. Nelson is a free spirit, who after graduating from High School left Louisiana and headed to Alaska in search of adventure. Nelson attended culinary school, and is accomplished and talented in the kitchen. He worked for the State of Alaska Prison System, where he managed the kitchen.Nelson loves the outdoors. In his free time you will find him hiking and camping, especially in Crow Creek Pass.
Nelson started in the Funeral Industry in 2006. His wife passed away after a long battle with cancer. While making her final arrangements, he was impressed with the Funeral Directors and knew he wanted to be involved with serving families. Nelson is an Advanced Planning Councilor for Legacy Funeral Homes. He is also the manager of our transfer care team. The rest of the staff affectionately refers to Nelson as “the glue”, as he has a knack for holding things together. Having lost someone so close to him, Nelson knows first hand the extreme value of the services that funeral homes offer. Nelson has 2 children, 2 grand children, and 2 kids of the four legged variety, a Dingo and a Siberian husky.
Keith Blanchard, Fairbanks Head Director
Keith moved to Alaska in early 2006, residing in Wasilla until his move to Fairbanks in May 2006. Keith is a fifth generation funeral director originally from Ohio. Keith attended the University of Toledo where he lettered as a Varsity Swimmer. He chose a career in Funeral Service following in his father’s footsteps and enrolled in Mortuary School in Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. This is where he met his future wife Amanda Gladd who was also enrolled at the college.
They both graduated in 1995 with their Bachelor’s Degrees in Mortuary Science. Upon graduation, Keith worked at their family owned funeral home for a number of years before moving to Augusta, GA. While living in Augusta, Keith managed 2 locally family owned funeral homes and loved the warmth and continuous summers. But something seemed missing in their lives so they got out a map and decided to make a permanent move to Alaska while their children were still relatively young. They sold everything and made their dream come true…..
Keith enjoys being outdoors and especially enjoys his time serving as an assistant coach for both Monroe Catholic Football and Baseball teams. Keith is very active in several civic and fraternal groups, including Knights of Columbus, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Rotary Club of Fairbanks, and the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. Keith and his family attend Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Their kids, Nick (13) and Caroline (10) attend Catholic Schools of Fairbanks where Amanda is employed at Monroe Foundation, Inc. as the Advancement Coordinator and Director of Development.
While currently licensed as a Funeral Director and Embalmer in the State of Alaska, Keith has also held Funeral Director Licenses in Ohio, Georgia, and South Carolina. He also holds an Alaska Insurance License that enables him to provide services to families that are looking to prearrange before someone has passed.
Brian Lervold, Head Director Juneau
Brian was born in Superior, Nebraska and raised outside of Scandia, Kansas. He attended Kansas University and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in both Alaska and Kansas.
Brian has lived in Alaska since 2008 and is a member of Juneau Moose Lodge #700.
Brian enjoys spending time with his family; his wife of 14 years and high school sweetheart, Amanda and his three sons, Zachary, Nathan and Daniel. He also enjoys hunting, spending time on the water and coaching Juneau Youth Football.
Jennifer Erwin, Director Palmer
Jennifer Erwin, the oldest of three children, was born in ElPaso, Texas to a father who was in the Army. She traveled all over, living inTexas, Germany, Washington, California, and Hawaii until her father retired and took the family back to El Paso in 1990.
After graduating from high school in 1992, Jennifer marriedJeff who joined the Air Force and once again took her off to travel the world. They moved to Alaska for the second time in January 1998. They love all that Alaska has to offer and made it their permanent home. They have four beautiful children, Miranda & her husband Josh, Brandon, Breanna & Joey, and a sweet granddaughter Karsyn.
Being a military dependent, Jennifer attended several different colleges, including Central Texas College, Wayland Baptist Universityand the University of Alaska Anchorage. She was a nursing student and had a passion for helping and taking care of people. It wasn’t until her psychology professor took her class to a local funeral home to learn about death and dying that Jennifer decided she wanted to work in the funeral industry. She is very compassionate and felt this was where she could best serve. Jennifer loves working with families and feels that it is a huge honor and privilege taking care of them during one of the most difficult times in their lives.
Jennifer lives in Palmer with her family and has three horses that she enjoys very much. She loves softball and you can find her on the softball fields in Anchorage and Wasilla playing and coaching the coed Undertakers softball team. She also plays on a women’s team. Summers are short so she plays as much as she can. She also enjoys fishing, camping and four wheeling.
Jennifer believes in giving back to the community and being involved. She is a member of the Palmer Lions Club, Palmer Chamber of Commerce, Palmer Moose Lodge and The American Legion Auxiliary Post 15.
Kristi Cheatham, Admin-Juneau
Kristi Cheatham is from Oklahoma, and moved to Juneau in 1996. Her family consists of her husband George, and her two sons Jared and Jeremiah. Kristi came to Alaska to help work in a church for about 6 months in Sitka and ended up moving to Juneau. Kristi schooled at Seminole State College in Seminole, Oklahoma where she did 2 years for Associates Degree in Business and Accounting.
“With this job, it makes me very aware of the difficult time a family is experiencing and how I can help them with their loss and pain. I feel that I am a very caring person, so with that character, I treat the families with the utmost respect as I would want my own family treated in a critical time of need.”
Kristi’s special interests are spending time with her family and friends, baking and crafts. She is involved in church activities and youth sports with her children.
David Halko, Director Kehls Forest Lawn Anchorage
David moved to Alaska in October of 2010. Originally from Okarche, Oklahoma,
David has lived in various locales across the nation, but now chooses to call
Alaska his home. He attended the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK,
where he studied for a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration, working for the
then Lt. Governor Mary Fallin immediately following the bombing of the Alfred
P. Murrah Federal Building. David moved to Atlanta, GA in 1998 to obtain a
different degree in International Business/Finance. However, after years of
working in the financial recruiting industry, he decided to change the direction his
life was heading towards by moving back home to attend Mortuary School at the
University of Central Oklahoma.
David is an avid outdoorsman; enjoying hunting, fishing, sightseeing and
travelling across this land we call The Last Frontier. He’s a lifelong supporter
of the NRA, a former Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team member,
and believes in our inalienable Bill of Rights as an American. David’s interests
include watching the University of Oklahoma football team destroy the will of
their opponents (BOOMER!), playing pub games such as darts and billiards, and
spending time with his family. He’s also a student of language, history, literature,
film and international cultures.
David’s personal belief is that there is no higher privilege than to be there for a
person in need, regardless of the time or the condition.
Kadie Dahl, Admin- Witzleben Anchorage
I was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming but grew up mostly in California. When I was 16 I moved to Palmer, Alaska. After I graduated high school I moved to Ketchikan, Alaska and worked at a fishing resort for two years and hoped for more.
In 2009 I met my husband and didn't want to go back. In 2010 we got married. I enjoy sewing, crafting, fishing, fourwheeling, and hiking. I love my job. I enjoy being able to be there for families in their time of need.
Richard Worland, Director
Richard Worland, Manager Funeral Director/Embalmer
Richard moved to Alaska in October 2003, from Indiana. He is a 1991 graduate of Mid America College of Funeral Service in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Richardworked in Funeral Service in Elkhart, Indiana for 11 years prior to pursuinghis sense of adventure in Alaska. Hewas the manager of funeral homes in Anchorage for eight years before rekindling his sense of adventureand moving to the interior. He is thefather of two daughters whom he enjoys showing off Alaska beauty and outdoor richness. Richard enjoys the outdoors especially duckhunting, fishing, and camping.
Margaret Reese, Funeral Director
After visiting Juneau and Southeast Alaska twice, Margaret moved to Juneau in July 1996 because she fell in love with its peaceful surroundings and ways of life. She has two grown sons; Brian and Bill as well as a daughter in law and 2 beautiful granddaughters, that live in Pittsburgh, PA . She has three cat children; Dax, Sheila and Mee Chyou.
Margaret received her schooling at Allegheny County Community College and Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science.
This job has been a dream for her since she was a very young girl. She went against the norm of girls not being in the profession and loves the interaction with people and helping those in need.
In her spare time, Margaret loves to travel and when at home, she enjoys crafts, knitting, reading and cooking.
Jennica Cunningham, Director
Jennica moved to Fairbanks, in November 2011 after living in Anchorage since March of 2008. She is a graduate of Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio in February 2003 with a B.S.B.A. in Accounting. Jennica then went on to Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science where she graduated with an A.A.S. Mortuary degree. After working for four years in Ohio as a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer, Jennica decided to pursue her sense of adventure and move to the last frontier. Jennica enjoys baking, skiing, quilting, and traveling abroad. She has traveled extensively across Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Jennica enjoys her job and being able to assist families at this very difficult time. She feels that this profession is an honor and a privilege.
Ryan Bandy, Director, Pre-Need Counselor
Daniel Dahl, Apprentice Funeral Director
Daniel was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and moved to Palmer, Alaska at the age of seven. Growing up, he was involved with the scouting program and received his Eagle Scout Award. After graduating high school he went on a church mission. Upon returning, he met Jennifer Erwin who offered him a job. Since that day, he has felt that this job is something that he needed to do so he could serve others.
In 2010, I married my wife, Katie. I enjoy all sports and the outdoors. I am currently attending American Academy McCallister Institute of Mortuary Science based out of New York. I will receive my Funeral Director's license this year and my Embalming license next year. I am here to serve families and hope to take the burden off their shoulders.
Christine Fike, Administrative Assistant
Donna Young, Controller
Jason Lewis, Head Director
Jason E. Lewis was born in Show Low, a small town in the mountains of Arizona. He is the oldest of six children. He was raised there and attended Show Low High School. Jason has a deep love of nature, and spent countless hours on the trout streams and in the woods near his home. He says that his childhood was as close to being like “Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn” as you can get in this day and age. Jason attended Western New Mexico University, in Silver City, New Mexico and earned a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art. Jason is a bronze sculptor and wildlife artist. His favorite subject to sculpt is elk. He would spend every free moment he could photographing and filming them for reference.
Jason began his career in Funeral Service in 1999, working at his uncle’s funeral homes (Owens Mortuaries) in Northern Arizona. He Earned his Associates in Applied Sciences Degree in Mortuary Science at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona. Jason is a National Board Certified Funeral Director and Embalmer. Jason, his beautiful wife Misty and their four children, (Jacey, Parker,Gunner and Hunter) moved to Alaska in 2010. They came north for the fishing and for the adventure. Jason has also found that Moose are his new favorite sculpting subject. He loves working for Legacy Funeral Homes, and is honored to serve the families of Alaska.
Deanne Novakovich, Web Master
Deanne moved to Alaska in 2001, when she married her husband Steve. She has worked as a business consultant, traveling most of the United States. She is convinced Alaska is the most beautiful state. She likes to jetski, snowmobile, and quilt. She spends much of her time doing volunteer work with her church.
Deanne likes to cook for crowds, and that is good as she and Steve have eight children and three grandchildren. They have three dogs in their home and all their children have dogs too. Their house is always full of laughter and barking. There is no such thing as a stranger in the Novakovich home.