Staff

Our dedicated staff members are here to provide support, compassion, and information to help you through your journey of grief and the celebration of your loved one’s life.

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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.

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Steve Novakovich Consultant

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.

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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.

Alaskan Memorial Park & Legacy Funeral Homes

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Shanda Walker Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer

Shanda grew up in Juneau Alaska before leaving her hometown for the California sunshine. She made her home in the Sacramento area where she went to American River College and studied Mortuary Science. After graduating Fall of 2012 and completing her 2-year apprentice she settled in with a family owned Funeral Home in North Sacramento. After two visits to her hometown of Juneau in 2021 Shanda and her husband Brian also from Juneau decided it was time to come home! So they packed up their bags, and fur babies Winston, Lolita, Jezzie and youngest son Ayden and hit the road. Shanda’s oldest son Amadeo decided to stay behind and join the Navy, go Navy! 

Chapel Of Chimes, Legacy Funeral Homes

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Richard O. Worland III Licensed 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.

Fairbanks Funeral Home & Crematory

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Jennica Worland Licensed 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.

Kehl's Legacy Funeral Home

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Chris Mockett Advanced Planner, Monument Consultant, Website Developer

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.

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Nelson Bruce Licensed Funeral Director

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.

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Jaymie Bates Licensed Funeral Director jaymie@legacyalaska.com

I am a lifelong Alaskan with a strong desire for helping those in need. There is no class taught in school for how to deal with death and what things you’re going to need to know when a loved one dies. That is where I come in, I am proud to guide you through this transition, and support you through the process. I have a special place in my heart for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and can communicate through ASL.

When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family.  My dog Bandit enjoys getting lots of snuggles any chance he can. In the summertime you can often find me near the lake I live by relaxing and enjoying the soundtrack of nature. In the winter months I am staying warm in my creative zone making candles and natural herbal oils and salves. I also enjoy the process of making alcohols such as wine and mead at home.

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Bonnie Lopez Funeral Planner / Office Administrator

Bonnie was born and raised in Anchorage. She attended East High School. She enjoys the long Alaskan summer days camping, hiking, fishing and picking berries. Bonnie is an Alaska Native 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.

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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.

Legacy Funeral Home, Wasilla Heritage Chapel

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Erik Dexter Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer

Erik Dexter is a second generation funeral director and embalmer who originally is from Bremerton, Washington.  He got his start in funeral service at the age of 19 in 1993 and gradually worked his way towards graduating from Mount Hood Community College in 2001 with his Associates Degree in funeral science.  Three years later he joined the Army as a Mortuary Affairs Specialist and over the next nine years he would deploy several times in support of his country; 2005 in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, July 2006 - February 2007 to Iraq in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; Iraq again from June to December 2008 in support of OIF; January 2010 to March 2010 in support of earthquake relief in Haiti and again to Iraq in September of 2010 to April 2011 in support of Operation New Dawn.  He arrived in Alaska in September of 2011 and was honorably discharged in December of 2013.  He would go on to meet his wife Kerry in 2014 and together they would get married in 2019.  They have two boys, William and James.  Erik also has a daughter, Catherine, from his previous marriage who works in funeral service in Dayton, Ohio.  Erik truly enjoys the opportunity to go hunting and fishing when his schedule allows; he's an avid Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks fan who has a bucket list dream of visiting all 30 major league ballparks and catching a game; 5 down, 25 to go!  

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Jacey Lewis Office Administrator

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Jason Lewis Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer, Preneed Counselor

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Dedra Cheney Funeral Director

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Donovan Ellibee Apprentice - Funeral Director

I was born in Georgia and have moved all over the United States as my father was in the military. After being stationed in Alaska I have lived in Alaska since 2006 and graduated from Matsu Central High School. After graduating I then served a two-year church mission in central Mexico. There I was immersed in the Spanish language and still practice every day. After returning home I married my wife Samantha who is from Mexico. We have two children together. Currently I am enrolled in Arapahoe community college working towards my degree in mortuary science. I joined Legacy Funeral Homes in December 2018.

Legacy Heritage Chapel At Angelus

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Steve Gray Licensed Funeral Director

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Mindy Gustin Licensed Funeral Director

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.

Witzleben Legacy Funeral Home

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Salena Tomaganuk Office Administrator salena@legacyalaska.com

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Darlene Matheis Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer darlene@legacyalaska.com

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. Darlene met her husband Elliot in Anchorage before moving together to Juneau in 2016. Juneau was an amazing experience, but it was time to return home to Anchorage in 2021.  Darlene and Elliot enjoys 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."

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Todd Nichols Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer

Todd is from St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from John A Gupton college of mortuary science in 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. After doing his apprenticeship in his hometown he moved to Alaska in September 2017 and soon began working at Legacy Funeral Homes. He is a baptized member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and enjoys hiking and exploring Alaska in his time off.

Chris Mockett

Advanced Planner, Monument Consultant, Website Developer
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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.

Salena Tomaganuk

Office Administrator
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Nelson Bruce

Licensed Funeral Director
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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.

Jaymie Bates

Licensed Funeral Director
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I am a lifelong Alaskan with a strong desire for helping those in need. There is no class taught in school for how to deal with death and what things you’re going to need to know when a loved one dies. That is where I come in, I am proud to guide you through this transition, and support you through the process. I have a special place in my heart for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and can communicate through ASL.

When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family.  My dog Bandit enjoys getting lots of snuggles any chance he can. In the summertime you can often find me near the lake I live by relaxing and enjoying the soundtrack of nature. In the winter months I am staying warm in my creative zone making candles and natural herbal oils and salves. I also enjoy the process of making alcohols such as wine and mead at home.

Bonnie Lopez

Funeral Planner / Office Administrator
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Bonnie was born and raised in Anchorage. She attended East High School. She enjoys the long Alaskan summer days camping, hiking, fishing and picking berries. Bonnie is an Alaska Native 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.

Erik Dexter

Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer
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Erik Dexter is a second generation funeral director and embalmer who originally is from Bremerton, Washington.  He got his start in funeral service at the age of 19 in 1993 and gradually worked his way towards graduating from Mount Hood Community College in 2001 with his Associates Degree in funeral science.  Three years later he joined the Army as a Mortuary Affairs Specialist and over the next nine years he would deploy several times in support of his country; 2005 in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, July 2006 - February 2007 to Iraq in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; Iraq again from June to December 2008 in support of OIF; January 2010 to March 2010 in support of earthquake relief in Haiti and again to Iraq in September of 2010 to April 2011 in support of Operation New Dawn.  He arrived in Alaska in September of 2011 and was honorably discharged in December of 2013.  He would go on to meet his wife Kerry in 2014 and together they would get married in 2019.  They have two boys, William and James.  Erik also has a daughter, Catherine, from his previous marriage who works in funeral service in Dayton, Ohio.  Erik truly enjoys the opportunity to go hunting and fishing when his schedule allows; he's an avid Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks fan who has a bucket list dream of visiting all 30 major league ballparks and catching a game; 5 down, 25 to go!  

Jacey Lewis

Office Administrator
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Shanda Walker

Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer
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Shanda grew up in Juneau Alaska before leaving her hometown for the California sunshine. She made her home in the Sacramento area where she went to American River College and studied Mortuary Science. After graduating Fall of 2012 and completing her 2-year apprentice she settled in with a family owned Funeral Home in North Sacramento. After two visits to her hometown of Juneau in 2021 Shanda and her husband Brian also from Juneau decided it was time to come home! So they packed up their bags, and fur babies Winston, Lolita, Jezzie and youngest son Ayden and hit the road. Shanda’s oldest son Amadeo decided to stay behind and join the Navy, go Navy! 

Darlene Matheis

Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer
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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. Darlene met her husband Elliot in Anchorage before moving together to Juneau in 2016. Juneau was an amazing experience, but it was time to return home to Anchorage in 2021.  Darlene and Elliot enjoys 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."

Todd Nichols

Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer
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Todd is from St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from John A Gupton college of mortuary science in 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. After doing his apprenticeship in his hometown he moved to Alaska in September 2017 and soon began working at Legacy Funeral Homes. He is a baptized member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and enjoys hiking and exploring Alaska in his time off.

Jared Dye

President- Owner
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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

Consultant
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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.

The Funeral Dogs

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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.

Jennica Worland

Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer
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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.

Steve Gray

Licensed Funeral Director
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Jason Lewis

Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer, Preneed Counselor
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Mindy Gustin

Licensed Funeral Director
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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.

Donna Young

Administrative Supervisor
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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.

Richard O. Worland III

Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer
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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.

Dedra Cheney

Funeral Director
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Donovan Ellibee

Apprentice - Funeral Director
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I was born in Georgia and have moved all over the United States as my father was in the military. After being stationed in Alaska I have lived in Alaska since 2006 and graduated from Matsu Central High School. After graduating I then served a two-year church mission in central Mexico. There I was immersed in the Spanish language and still practice every day. After returning home I married my wife Samantha who is from Mexico. We have two children together. Currently I am enrolled in Arapahoe community college working towards my degree in mortuary science. I joined Legacy Funeral Homes in December 2018.