Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.
We invite you to discover who has made us the communities indisputable choice for creating healing experiences. This section contains the heritage, vision, and the people behind our reputation of quality, sincerity, and trust.
Learn the legacy.
Johnson County Chapel & Memorial Gardens was established years ago, and respect for the family has always been our focus. We take pride in being able to guide people through some of their most difficult days. We take pride in maintaining a setting that allows people to find solace. Celebrating life is our mission. That’s never changed. And with pride, it never will.
Johnson County Funeral Chapel & Memorial Gardens
Johnson County Memorial Gardens was established by the Newcomer Family in 1951 at the corner of College Blvd. & Metcalf Avenue. In 1995 D.W. Newcomer and Sons opened a state of the art funeral home and mausoleum on the cemetery grounds at 112th and Metcalf Avenue. The funeral home was aptly named Johnson County Funeral Chapel. Today the funeral chapel and memorial gardens are a community business, serving and supporting greater Johnson County and Kansas City. Through our core values of Respect for the Family, Respect for the Individual, and Respect for the Profession we have returned the business to its grass roots while also evolving to the ever changing needs of today's consumer. We serve families with quality, compassionate care, all the while creating memorial events that help begin the healing process of grief.
As the most unique chapel and mausoleum combination in the region Johnson County, is able to provide life celebration services and permanent memorialization all under one continuous roof. The indoor Mausoleum, adorn with granite crypt fronts, bronze lettering and glass front, back lit niches is an escape from the traditional marble detached mausoleum. Fully climate controlled and staffed during visiting hours 7 days a week it also boasts natural light and beautiful water features. The grounds of the 45 acre memorial park are meticulously maintained by our in house grounds team and offers garden mausoleum, private estates, traditional burial and preset lawn crypts. We invite you to come see why the Healing Begins Here.
Who We Are
Meet our staff. Members of the local community make everything that happens possible.
Together, we make this place amazing.
Mathew P. Forastiere
Vice President, Operations - Kansas & MissouriRead Bio
Mathew is a fourth generation funeral director and embalmer. He began his career as a young boy working alongside his father and uncle at Forastiere Family Funeral Homes in Springfield, MA. Following the acquisition of his family’s business in the late 90’s Mathew went on to hold leadership positions in local & regional funeral operations management, combination funeral home & cemetery management, and executive leadership. In March of 2014 Mathew joined The Signature Memorial Group, an independent owner and operator of funeral homes and cemeteries in Kansas, Missouri, Texas and New Mexico. As the VP of Operations for Kansas & Missouri Mathew leads a team of dedicated funeral and cemetery professionals at Johnson County Funeral Chapel & Memorial Gardens, Overland Park Funeral Chapel, Terrace Park Funeral Home & Cemetery and Longview Funeral Home & Cemetery.
Mathew holds professional license in Massachusetts, Texas, and Kansas.
As a funeral and cemetery service professional Mathew believes in honoring the unique life of those who have died while focusing on creating moments and opportunities for loved ones to begin the healing process of grief. Mathew is committed to supporting the communities his businesses serve through volunteer participation, financial sponsorship and philanthropic donation. Mathew is a member of numerous national and local organizations. He is Vice President of the Kansas Cemetery Association and a sitting Board Member of the ICCFA. Mat is a volunteer coach in the Sporting Blue Valley Soccer Club and Blue Valley Rec Little League. Mathew and his wife Jana reside in Overland Park, KS where they are raising their two young children.
General Manager - Johnson County Chapel & Memorial GardensRead Bio
John Frownfelter started with D.W.Newcomer's Sons Overland Park Chapel in January of 1985 as a funeral director and embalmer. He worked at that location for 15 years and then became the General Manager of D.W. Newcomer's Sons Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens along with Oaklawn Memorial Gardens and Shawnee Mission Memory Gardens. He was over the daily operations of the funeral home and cemeteries for 5 years and then promoted to Director of Operations and held that position for the next 10 years until the company sold in 2014. John is excited to be back home to where his career started over 30 years ago in serving the families in the Johnson County Community. John grew up in Marquette Kansas and has lived in Overland Park for over 30 years. He is an active member of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, on the board of Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Vice President of CLAN Investment Group and volunteers for the Save House.
Funeral Home Manager - Overland Park ChapelRead Bio
Johnnie Lomonte is a Kansas City native growing up & graduating from Raytown High. Johnnie started working in the funeral industry in 2007 working at Mt. Washington forever funeral home & cemetery. He worked at that location for a short time and soon after starting working at Johnson County Funeral Chapel. Wanting to have a Missouri license also, Johnnie started working at Stine & McClure Funeral Home, he enjoyed his time there until the funeral home was closed & sold in 2014. He is excited coming back to Johnson County Funeral Chapel, as he, his wife and daughter live right here in Johnson County.
Johnnie is an active board member of SASS (Suicide Awareness Survivor Support) MoKan. When not at work he enjoys working around the house & taking his daughter to the local park.
Care Center SupervisorRead Bio
Adam Knarr graduated from Mortuary College in 2013 after 17 years in the restaurant business. He attended the University of Kansas and began a career in restaurants in the early 1990's. After his mortuary apprenticeship he began working at Johnson County Funeral Chapel in January of 2015. Adam became interested in funeral service and funeral practices after traveling the world with his parents as a child. A certified Sommelier and member of the Slow Food movement Adam remains very interested in food and wine. Adam enjoys wine, food, reading and live music.
Funeral DirectorRead Bio
Kylie graduated from Des Moines Area Community College in March of 2015 with her degree in Mortuary Science and began working at Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens in March immediately after that. Kylie is licensed as a Funeral Director/Embalmer in Kansas and a Funeral Director in Missouri. Kylie is originally from Iowa, but moved to the area to pursue her career. Kylie enjoys being outside, watching and playing sports, listening to music, and spending time with her family and friends.
Office Manager - Memorial Events of Johnson County
Ed has been a licensed funeral director since 1996, and has worked exclusively in the care center since 2000. Ed and his wife Linda grew up in a small western Kansas
Community just this side of the Colorado, Kansas state line. They married in 1978, and have two adult sons, two teenage grandsons, three dogs , a cat and a rabbit.
Ed enjoys spending time with his wife and family, reading in his spare time and cooking. He understands and respects the trust families place in him to care for and prepare their loved ones, and is honor bound to that sacred trust.
My name is Ray McBee. I grew up on a farm in north central Missouri. I am married to my first grade sweetheart and have two lovely daughters. I graduated from Braymer C-4 High School in 1973. I went to the University of Missouri Where I received a BS degree in Agriculture in 1976. I worked in construction and lawn care until returning to the farm in 1981.
Around 1995, I decided that farming, while a wonderful way of life, was a not meeting the financial needs of my family. My wife’s family was in the Funeral business in our hometown of Braymer which is how I came to be in the Business. Sometimes life leads you in directions that you did not expect. I enrolled in the Mortuary Science Program at Kansas City Kansas Community College and received an Associates Degree.
I worked at Pitts Funeral Home in Braymer for two years until it came up for sale. I was offered an opportunity to work in the preparation center at Mt. Moriah and Freeman Funeral Home in Kansas City. I worked there for almost eleven years. I started work in Stewart Enterprise’s Central Care Center in November of 2011. I am very pleased to say that I now work for The Signature Group.
I am a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in The State of Missouri and a licensed embalmer in the State of Kansas. I prefer embalming. I am the type that needs to work with my hands and I like being the man behind the scene. I am also a Certified Crematory Operator through The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association.
Mark has been with Johnson County Memorial Gardens since August 2011. He is a Kansas City native and a graduate from NW Missouri State University with a degree in horticulture. He has worked in the grounds maintenance industry for 35 years. Hillcrest C.C., KCMO and Arbormasters Tree and Landscape, Shawnee Kansas, serves as book ends to his 20yr stay as the Grounds Maintenance Superintendent with Quivira Falls Community Association, Overland Park.
Grounds MaintenanceRead Bio
Andre Murray began working for Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens in April, 2013.
He was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where he still resides and graduated from Southwest High School. He has three children, ages 18, 16 and 10. Andre has a passion for tennis, not only playing, but also teaching other adults and children to play as well. He spends many hours a week on a tennis court, when he is not spending time with his children.
In years passed, he was a member of Hilltop Racquet Club, Tennis Team and has supported his step-mother, a survivor of breast cancer, by running in the Susan G. Komen race for the cure. Other than tennis, Andre enjoys playing pool, darts, bowling and the many museums that the city has to offer.
Grounds MaintenanceRead Bio
Raymond Cowley joined Johnson County Memorial Gardens in 2012 as part of the cemetery service qualified staff. Ray’s hard work and dedication to Johnson County has been noticed by the continued upkeep of the grounds. His primary position is lawn maintenance.
Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, Ray graduated from Southwest High School. He has two children, ages 18 and 17 that continue to keep him busy. When Ray has downtime, he enjoys spending time with his extended family in the area, barbequing, bird watching, river rafting, camping, detailing vehicles and tuned in to a Chiefs or Royals game. He also appreciates a great game of pool or bowling and relaxing with a fishing pole in hand. Ray volunteers some of his time working with RBI Baseball.
Family Service SpecialistRead Bio
Pat graduated from Loyola University of the South with a BA in Business Administration. She received the outstanding award for the female student in the School of Business in her Senior year.
Pat married Bill Schonacher the year after her graduation. Once her children were born, she went back to school to work on her Master’s Degree in Education in Counseling.
Once she completed schooling, she has had a varied career. She has taught in high school, technical level, Johnson County Community College and has administrated a Federal Grant for the sheriff of Orleans Parish in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Pat joined the Family Service Counselors in February of 1990. She has enjoyed a long and fulfilling career assisting families in the Preneed Division as well as in the cemetery at Johnson County Memorial Gardens. While serving families, Pat has earned the highest award as Certified Service Professional on numerous occasions.
Pat has many interests. She loves her family, as well as the care of her home and flower garden. Pat belongs to three bridge groups and has many friends. Pat is a member of Cure’ of Ars Catholic Church and belongs to several groups within the Church.
Family Service SpecialistRead Bio
Iris Hudgens Menezes was born in Marion, Illinois. After her studies at Southern Illinois University she moved west to San Francisco, California.
During her time in San Francisco Iris was employed by the Pacific Bell Telephone company as a
Public relations spokesperson. Her responsibilities included traveling to the many small and
Large cities in northern California conducting educational seminars regarding the programs with
which Pacific Bell was involved. Of special interest were the seminars concerning the space and
satellite communications technologies.
After her marriage Iris moved from California to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she renewed her employment with the telephone company. Iris continued her position of public relations
spokesperson until she and her husband moved to Kansas to start their own business.
Iris and her husband established a Manufacturer’s Representative Sales Organization,
Headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas. Iris was responsible for the internal management of
The company, which after a few years consisted of salespeople covering the states of KS,MO,
IA, NE and Southern Illinois. Iris was also responsible for coordinating the sales activities of her
company and the sales management teams of over 20 manufactures whose products were
imported from various countries in Europe and Asia.
As a result of market changes the Consumer Electronic business became less attractive and the
decision was made to sell the sales organization.
After exiting the electronics field Iris was referred to the D.W. Newcomer’s Sons Company to
apply for the position of pre-arrangement counselor. After her training period Iris determined
that this was a position she would enjoy because she always liked to work with people. In this
position she felt that she would be helping people who were going through a very stressful time
in their lives. The people relationship skills Iris has acquired over the past 22 years has served her
and her company well. She received her “Twenty Year” service award in 2012.
Iris is accustomed to “change” in her work life and she views the new Signature ownership as
An opportunity for continued personal growth.
Former Manager, Overland Park Chapel ~ Funeral Ambassador ~ OrganistRead Bio
Kay has worked at the Overland Park Chapel since 1970 and when the Johnson County Funeral Chapel was built in 1996, she worked at both locations. Kay started her career as an administrator but became a funeral director soon after . She was appointed manager of the Overland Park Chapel in 1982 and also managed the Johnson County Funeral Chapel when it opened in 1996. Kay retired from these positions in 2002 and now works part time helping on church and chapel funerals and plays the keyboard for services when needed. She is the organist at Prairie Baptist Church where she has been on staff for 45 years.
Kay has lived in the Kansas City area since middle school and graduated from Shawnee-Mission North, she then attended Emporia State University where she met her husband, Lindo. They were married for 53 years and he passed away last year. Lindo and Kay have two children, Donna Sosna and her husband Dennis and Brian Lopez and his wife Debbie. They also have two grandchildren Jennifer and David.
Kay loves working in the funeral industry and enjoys helping people in their time of need. It has been a very rewarding career for Kay and she plans to continue doing this for a long time!
Funeral AmbassadorRead Bio
Jack was born in Kingsville Missouri and has lived in Kansas City, Kansas since he was 4 years old. He graduated from Wyandotte High School and served in the U.S. Navy from 1956-1960 on the U.S.S. Hancock Air Craft Carrier. Jack married his wife Mary in 1960 and they have a son, a daughter and a grandson.
Jack was in sales until Mary and him bought their own business. They sold their business in 1989 and retired. Jack has worked in the funeral business 16 years starting at D.W. Newcomer Sons. Jack has met some wonderful people while working in this business and has a dedication and passion for the families that he works with.
Mary & Jack go to Texas in the winter to get away from the snow and cold. They have a lot of friends in Texas, which has become their second family away from home.
Funeral AmbassadorRead Bio
Ann was born in Kansas City in 1942, the oldest of nine children. She is the matriarch of her huge, ever growing, family. She is a Registered Nurse and started her nursing career in 1962, being a hospital nurse, a staff RN and a Nursing Supervisor until 1980. She then worked as a Medical Disability Case Manager with Workers Compensation Insurance Company from 1980-2009 when she retired. When Ann has downtime, she will tell you that she enjoys sleeping, shopping, yoga and travel; all in that order.
In 2009, Ann joined the team, part time, at Johnson County Funeral Chapel & Memorial Gardens. She truly enjoys being part of the company and industry. Ann has an understanding that every situation is unique and special, she takes great pride in helping others in their time of need.
Funeral AmbassadorRead Bio
Born in St. Louis, Mo., Richard attended schools until his junior year in high school when his family moved to Sweet Springs, Mo. where he graduated. After serving in the US NAVY SEABEES during the Korean War he was married to his wife Edith in Sweet Springs.
Richard moved his family to Kansas City where he was employed until retirement from Neapco, Inc. Richard and Edith have two sons and two granddaughters.
Richard's employment with the chapel started a new opportunity to meet new friends and coworkers in a field of work which has been very rewarding. Meeting different people from all walks of life has been a very knowledgeable experience for him. Richard is grateful for the opportunity to continue serving people in their time of need.
Funeral AmbassadorRead Bio
William is a sixth generation Kansas City native. He graduated from Westminster College majoring in Economics. Many of the last twenty years have been spent in other cities, but he is always promoting Kansas City in his travels. He has one son who has now graduated from college and initiated his career. William has many interests including books, history, travel, rugby and dogs. He looks forward to engaging in animal rescue in the future.
Funeral AmbassadorRead Bio
Bob is originally from New Jersey and worked most of his life in sales. He relocated his family to the Kansas City area 25 years ago when he sold his business and have made a happy home in Kansas with his wife of 45 years, Dorothy.
Bob's desire to help others through a difficult time is a rewarding part time job now that he is retired. Bob knows that he is working with a group of compassionate and dedicated co-workers, which has made him pleased to be a part of the team.
Funeral Ambassador and Assistant Funeral DirectorRead Bio
Bill is a retired United Methodist Minister, having served churches in Missouri and Kansas for 45 years. He retired from Valley View United Methodist Church in Overland Park after eight years there. Bill joined the team at Johnson County Funeral Chapel after retirement and has been able to continue to give back to the community in his role.
Bill graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School and went on to graduate from Baker University. Following college, he graduated from Saint Paul School of Theology in 1968 with a M. Div. and in 1976 with a M.R.E.
Bill has been married to his wife, Marsha for 46 years and they have two sons, Ben with the Fort Myers Miracle, a farm club of the Minnesota Twins Baseball Organization, in Fort Myer, FL and Adam, a businessman in Overland Park, KS, with his wife Lisa and granddaughter, Milla Katherine and grandson Beckett Michael.
Assistant Funeral Director/AmbassadorRead Bio
Thomas enjoys his part time work as a Funeral Ambassador at Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens. He began his career at KCTV Chanel 5 in Kansas City before relocating to Los Angeles, where he worked for CBS. He then became an independent radio, television and live event producer. Thomas sits on the board of directors of Urban Growth KC, and KC Modern, an affiliate group of the Historic Kansas City Foundation. He works on fundraising events including for the Johnson County Museum. He is often called upon to act as docent during tours and fundraising galas at some of greater Kansas City's historical buildings and estate properties.
Brinkley Ann Zavala
Administrative Assistant/Asst. Funeral DirectorRead Bio
Brinkley moved from her hometown of Wichita, KS in 2012 to Kansas City to pursue her career in the funeral industry. She is a Kansas licensed Asst. Funeral Director and is currently working on obtaining her Missouri Funeral Director license. Outside of work Brinkley enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis, hiking, and traveling.
Assistant Funeral Director/AdministratorRead Bio
Kenne Kuttler is a retired executive of The Kansas City Star who is now honored to help families celebrate the lives of their loved ones.
A Shawnee Mission North High School graduate, Kenne earned a Journalism degree from University of Kansas, and a Master’s Degree in Religion from Park University.
Kenne enjoys playing with the Mission Bells bell choir at the Community of Christ Church where she is a minister. She loves being an Ambassador because she gets to help implement the unique vision of each family as they honor their loved ones.
Assistant Funeral Director/AmbassadorRead Bio
Fay Beasley is a Virginia native but has called Kansas City home for 26 years. She has a background in finance, real estate, mortgage banking and administration. She has worked in Ministry for the frail and elderly and the Funeral Ministry for the last five years. She is passionate about the funeral ministry and caring for families during this difficult time and is honored to be a part of the funeral team at Johnson County Funeral Chapel.
Fay and her husband Marvin of 41 years have three daughters and six grandchildren. Both are very active members of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection where Fay currently serves as a Congregational Care Minister. They also support many local and national charities.