About Us | Legacy Funeral Homes

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. 

Our History

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

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

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

Steve Novakovich, CEO- Owner

Steve has lived in Alaska since he was 8 years old. His great- grandfather gounded a group of funeral homes in Utah in the early 1900's. Steve and his wife Deanne have eight children and 4 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 is honored to serve families and uplift those in need.

Kristi Cheatham

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.

Nelson Bruce

Nelson Bruce, Licensed Funeral Director, Pre-need Counselor & 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.

Chris Mockett

Chris Mockett, Advanced Planner, Pre-Need - Final Expense Specialist

Chris grew up in central Florida loving the water and sun. He went to Highschool in Gwinnett county, north east of Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating high school Chris served our county for 4 years in the US Army as a Combat Engineer. His first duty station was Ft. Wainwright, AK. and then Ft. Benning, GA. After serving in the Army honorably, Chris attended The Gemological Institute of America where he received his Graduate Gemologist diploma. He served in several different roles and capacities over his 20 years in retail management especially in the Gem and Jewelry Industry, as president of 2 GIA Alumni chapters, earned his Certified Gemologist Appraiser with the AGS, working as an appraiser, buyer, designer, wholesaler, ect. He has a great passion for gems and minerals and enjoys rock hounding with his daughters and colleagues.
Chris loves Alaska, he enjoys fishing, hiking, camping, skeet shooting, and playing any type of racket sports. He especially finds joy in spending time with his wife, taking long walks and drives. Chris has 6 daughters and enjoys teaching them to do “the manly things.” In addition to all those manly things, Chris does all “the girly things” he’s girls love to do...all types of arts and crafts. Chris has grown to appreciate things like, poetry, art history, painting, knitting, quilting, lace, teatime, spinning, decorating, baking…especially baking.
Before moving back up to Alaska in 2012, Chris’s family had an organic hobby farm, so naturally he loves gardening and the sunny summers here in Alaska with all its green lushness and floral splendor. He enjoys going to the Alaska State Fair with his girls to see all the animals, arts and crafts, and exhibitors, especially the Native Alaskan Artisans with all their native forms of handy crafts, in particular their scrimshaw jewelry and carvings.
Chris most recently joined Legacy Funeral Homes Inc. from Allstate insurance company. Being an insurance professional, his role will be to serve you as your Advanced Planner and Final Expense Specialist. This will be an excellent fit for Chris as he is empathetic to the families he serves, having experienced the loss of his only son. Coupled with his love for ministerial work and community service you will find him to be compassionate and understanding to your thoughts and needs. You will also discover he truly does care about you, taking great pride in being attentive to you and your unique personal situation. It is Chris’s sincere desire to treat you in a professional manner, as a trusted advisor. You will find he has such a personal touch; he has a way making sure you feel like family, not just a client.

Jennica Worland

Jennica Worland, Funeral Director/Embalmer

Jennica moved to Fairbanks in 2011, after living in Anchorage since 2008. She is a graduate of Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio with a B.S.B.A. in Accounting. Jennica went on to Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science where she graduated in 2004. 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, traveling abroad, camping, and fishing. She has traveled extensively across Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Jennica enjoys her job and being able to assist families during their time of need. She feels that this profession is an honor and a privilege.

Richard O. Worland III

Richard O. Worland III, Funeral Director/Embalmer

Rick moved to Alaska in October 2003, from Indiana. He is a 1991 graduate of Mid America College of Funeral Service in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Rick worked in Funeral Service in Elkhart, Indiana for 11 years prior to pursuing his sense of adventure in Alaska. He was the manager of funeral homes in Anchorage for eight years before moving to the interior. He is the father of two daughters whom he enjoys showing off Alaska's beauty and outdoor richness. Rick enjoys the outdoors, especially duck hunting, fishing, and camping.

Donna Young

Donna Young, Administrative Supervisor

Donna was born and raised in El Paso, TX. She has lived all over the United States. She loves traveling, reading, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.
She is honored to help our families during difficult times. She started working at our Legacy Funeral Homes, Kehl's Chapel in 2011.

Steve Gray

Steve Gray, Manager

Darlene Matheis

Darlene Matheis, Funeral Director & Embalmer

Darlene was born and raised in Southcentral Alaska. She is an Alaskan Native, member of the Native Village of White Mountain. She began her career in Juneau at Alaskan Memorial Park in 2013. Later, she served the Mat-Su Valley as a funeral director for three years. She graduated from the University of Alaska with an associate of arts (2015) as well as Des Moines Area Community College with a degree in applied science in Funeral Service (2019). Darlene met her husband Elliot in Anchorage before moving together to Juneau in 2016. Darlene and Elliot enjoy spending time outdoors as well as shaping their house into a home.

"I find it comforting to know that I can help a family at the time of their most need. I feel fortunate to have found my calling in funeral service. I am passionate about the work I get to do and strive to honor each family that I serve with the utmost respect and care."

Bonnie Jones

Bonnie Jones, Administrative Assistant

Bonnie was born and raised in Anchorage. She attended East High School. She is the mother of 5 beautiful children, and 2 grandchildren. She enjoys the long Alaskan summer days camping, hiking, fishing and picking berries. She enjoys cheering on her children at their sporting events, which include softball, volleyball and cheerleading.
Bonnie is an Alaska Native and Shareholder of CIRI, Eklutna Inc. and a Tribal Member of The Native Village of Eklutna. She worked as a floral designer prior to joining the Legacy Family. After making funeral arrangements for her own family members over the past ten years, she was inspired to start a career in the funeral industry. She genuinely enjoys working with the funeral directors and is fully dedicated to helping serve our families.

Mindy Gustin

Mindy Gustin, Preneed Counselor/Administrator

Melinda “Mindy” Gustin was born and raised in Anchorage. A third generation Alaskan, she graduated from Dimond High School. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University. The daughter of Steve Novakovich, one of the owners of Legacy Funeral Homes, she is honored to work with her Dad serving the people of Alaska in their time of need. She is also a Pre-Need Counselor who assists people to pre plan their final arrangements.

Outside of work Mindy is a single mom of a 5 year old boy. Their favorite activities include visiting all of the parks around Anchorage and cooking together.

Deanne Novakovich

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.

Ken Cheney

Ken Cheney, Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer

Jason Lewis

Jason Lewis, Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer, Preneed Counselor

Kelsey Shepherd

Kelsey Shepherd, Administrative Assistant

Kelsey grew up in South King County and later attended the University of Washington where she obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology with a minor in American Indian Studies in 2014. After graduation, she packed up and moved north to Alaska. Once there, she landed a job with a local Native association working as a tutor for high school students. Kelsey then spent the summer of 2016 traveling both in the Lower 48 and throughout Alaska with her future husband, Jerry, before joining the Legacy Team that fall.
Kelsey loves traveling and taking road trips with Jerry and their two-year-old dog Mabel, who has been to 20 states and 4 Canadian territories. Kelsey enjoys working on interior design projects, reading, and exploring the Alaskan wilderness.

Jerry Shepherd

Jerry Shepherd, Memorial Park Manager

Born and raised in Utah, Jerry moved to Alaska in the early 1990s. He worked in construction for the first several years and then opened his own foundry with a custom line of memorial markers. During this time, he was also an operator at a Fairbanks cemetery. After closing up shop at his foundry in 2014, he pursued his love for flying and worked on renovation projects. Jerry met his future wife, Kelsey, the following year and they married in 2019. Jerry joined the Legacy Team in 2020 and is looking forward to his first summer assisting families in the Memorial Park.
Jerry loves flying small aircrafts, woodworking, fishing, hunting, landscaping, and spending time with his wife and their goldendoodle, Mabel.

Todd Nichols

Todd Nichols, Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer

Dedra Cheney

Dedra Cheney, Apprentice Funeral Director

James Jones

James Jones, Funeral Director/Embalmer

James is a first-generation Funeral Director/Embalmer who started in the funeral industry in 1998 shortly after graduating Amarillo High School in Texas. In 1999, James received his Associates Degree in Mortuary Science from the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service. James is a member of the National Pi Sigma Eta Fraternity. James is a licensed funeral director/embalmer in Texas and Alaska. James worked at funeral homes in Amarillo, Dallas, and Austin, TX before moving to Alaska in 2006 and making it his home. James worked as the Forensic Operations Supervisor for the Alaska State Medical Examiner Office for three years learning different aspects of caring for the deceased and tools to help families during the grieving process. James missed working directly with families, so he chose to return to work at the funeral homes. When asked why he became a funeral director his response was a long one. “I lost my grandparents at a very young age and I remember how I looked up to the funeral directors who did the services. How they handled themselves with dignity and honor. How they helped talk with me about losing my grandparents. My mother was sick most of my teenage years and we thought she was going to pass for many years. She kept saying she was going to live until I graduated high school. Well she made it. Then she said she was going to live until I graduated college. I knew then that I wanted to take care of her for the rest of her life, and after. I went to mortuary college to learn how to take care of her when the time came for her to pass. I am honored to say that I took care of my mother with the same dignity, respect and honor that I use to take care of your loved ones when their time comes.”
James married a “local” Denaina Athabascan, Army veteran named Melissa Jones in 2013. They have 3 children and 2 dogs. He enjoys music, watching sports and movies, camping and spending time with his children. When he is not spending time with his family, he is working to help your family.

Tiffany Andrus

Tiffany Andrus, Office Administrator