Our Support Team Members

Tammy L. Merkle
President of Merkle Enterprises, Inc. 

Manager of Covenant Cremation

Certified Crematory operator

Tammy has lived in Monroe for most of her life, and is a 1989 graduate of Monroe High School. She earned her Associate of Applied Science Degree in Dental Hygiene from Owens Community College in 1998. Following her graduation from hygiene school, Tammy, was employed by Kuras Dental Health Associates of Monroe for more than twenty years.   She began a new page in the Spring of 2019 when she took employment with Nuture Family Dental in Brighton and then a part-time position with Frenchtown Smiles in Monroe in August of 2019.  Tammy formerly was a certified American Heart CPR instructor.  

Tammy joined Merkle Funeral Service as the Chief Operating Officer in the Summer of 2019.  She helped the company to navigate through the struggles of COVID during 2020.   

Tammy has held the position of President of Merkle Enterprises, Inc. since the company's inception in 2006.   In this capacity she oversees Merkle Custom Memorials, a custom permanent memorial and monument company and Floral Expressions, the on site floral shop.

Tammy is now soley committed to the operation of Merkle Enterprises, Inc. and has expanded the companies offerings to include a new state of the art crematory, Covenant Cremation, located on the site of Merkle Funeral Service, Erie.   She obtained her Certified Crematory Operator License on February 15, 2021.   Tammy state, "I am excited to be able to provide premier cremation services to the Monroe Community and beyond."   By partnering with Merkle Funeral Service, families can be comforted in the fact that their loved one never leaves Merkle's care.   Covenant Cremation provides service to all four of the Merkle Funeral Service locations. She continues to hold a limited life insurance license and a cosmetology license through the State of Michigan.   

Tammy is a devoted mother to her three children:  Olivia, Merin, and Ethan and to her three cock-a-poo, fur babies:  Lola a certified therapy dog, Layla, and a puppy, Lucy.   She is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church.   In her free time she loves to spend time with her family and enjoys relaxing in Northern Michigan.

Laurie A. Staelgraeve

Chief Operating Officer

Human Resources Director

Laurie joined Merkle Funeral Service in August of 2018 as an Administrative Assistant.   In December of 2019 she was promoted to Office Administrator and assists with Human Resources.   

Laurie has been a resident of Monroe most of he life.   After graduating from Jefferson High School, she met her husband, Todd, and together they have raised two children, Amanda and Jacob, who have since blessed them with two grandsons, Jace Phillip and Wyatt Michael.

Laurie worked for seventeen years in the grocery business, employed at Danny's Fine Foods here in Monroe.   While working for the small-town business, she went back to school at Monroe County Community College, and then accepted a position with Kuras Dental Heath Associates.  She worked for Dr. Jeffrey Young until the business was sold in July of 2018.   Although her intention was to continue working in the dental field, she soon found a draw to the funeral ministry, having a new appreciation for helping others through grief.   She is proud to be a part of the Merkle Team.

In her free time, Laurie, enjoys spending time with family and friends.   She loves being outside working in her yard, lounging in her pool, as well as traveling back and forth to their family cabin near Gladwin.

Jane Woodbury
Lead Floral Designer

Jane Woodbury joined the team at Merkle’s in June of 2013 as the lead Floral Designer. She has been a part of the Monroe community for a lifetime. She graduated from Monroe High school in the spring of 1980. Jane is married to retired Monroe City Firefighter and Firefighter instructor Ralph Woodbury Jr. Together they have three children, Rebecca, William and Hannah (Schmitz), and Alexandra. They have five “grand” dogs: Rosco, Tucker, Charlie, Lily, and Mojo; and a cat Lucy.


Jane has more than 40 years of experience within the Floral Industry starting as Christmas help at the North Monroe Greenhouse in 1977. She worked for Old Town Floral Designs before purchasing the business in March of 2002. In 2007 She moved the business inside Merkle Funeral Service, changing the name to Floral Expressions.

Jane is a current member of the Michigan State Floral Association and a former member, president, vice president of Business Network International, Chapter 1 Monroe, Michigan, and the current secretary for Military families of Monroe County. She is a former member and grief counselor with the Toledo Hospital CARE Group for bereaved parents. In her free time she enjoys gardening, swimming, and spending time with family and friends.

                        

Kelly C. Roy

Administrative Assistant

Insurance Specialist

Memorial Division Manager

Kelly Roy is a graduate of Dundee High School.  After high school, she studied business at Monroe County Community College.  Later, she would focus her studies on Business Management and Marketing at Siena Heights University. 

Kelly and her husband, James, met in 2006 and in 2013, they were married in St. Claire Shores.  Together, they have 5 children:  Colton, Rylee, Kaylee, Peyton and Harrison.  All of whom attend Bedford Alliance Church.

In Kelly’s spare time, she likes to volunteer with the local youth organizations.  She is the Director of Cheer for the Dundee Junior Vikings, a member of Dundee Kiwanis and together with her children, they are members of the Dundee Kids for K.I.D.S. (Kindness in Dundee and Surrounding Areas) Program. 

The Indianapolis Colts are Kelly’s absolute favorite.  Some of her other favorites are cheering on her kids at their sporting events, camping, watching football, and gardening.

In 2019, Kelly joined the Merkle team in Dundee as an Administrative Assistant.  She has since taken on additional roles as the Insurance Specialist.   In 2022, Kelly became the Manager of Merkle Custom Memorials, and meets with families to assist in designing custom granite and bronze memorials.    

Colleen R. Pryor

Advanced Planning Specialist

Colleen was born in Ohio but was raised in Temperance, Michigan.  She attended school at Bedford Public Schools, graduating with the Class of 1972. 

Also, in 1972, Colleen would marry her husband Jerry, whom she had known her entire life.  They together, would raise 2 boys:  Brian (Alex) and Bradley (Kellie), who have since blessed them with 5 awesome grandchildren.  

In 1995, Colleen obtained her insurance license.  Two years later, she began working as an insurance agent at various funeral homes, including: Ottawa Hills Memorial Park, Bennett Funeral Homes in Monroe and Toledo, and Toledo Memorial Park.   She joined Merkle Funeral Service upon its inception although leaving for a few years to explore other options, she most recently rejoined the Merkle Team in August of 2019 as an Advanced Funeral Specialist.   She continues to assist families with advanced planning and permanent memorialization.  

Colleen is an active member of the Bedford Alliance Church and in her free time, she enjoys antiquing and fishing with Jerry.  She also loves flowers and birds.

NICHOLAS KNEZEVICH

Advanced Planning Specialist

Nick, is the son of Marlyse Annette Moyers and the late Nick Todd Knezevich.   A 2001 graduate of St. Mary Catholic Central High School.   He attended Siena Heights University earning a Bachelor of Arts in History degree in 2006.  

He married his wife, the former, Sara Niese, in 2017 and Nick is proud to be a part of the lives of his four stepchildren:  Robbie Gossard Jr., Jersi Gossard, Journey Gossard, and Jennabelle Gossard.   The couple also make their home in Temperance with their canine friend:  Hope.  

From 2012-2015, Nick, worked as an Electrical Installer for Corrquest.   He then worked as a Production Supervisor on the Toledo Assembly Line for Jeep from 2016-2018.   He and Sara worked together to develop their own home-based internet business, Trubought, from 2020-2022.

In March of 2022, Nick, joined the team at Merkle Funeral Service after obtaining his State of Michigan Limited Life Insurance License.   He has received additional on the job training with our pre-need partner, PRECOA, and has become an Advanced Planning Specialist.   Nick finds great satisfaction in his new role and is excited to work with families documenting their funeral arrangement wishes.    

Away from work the Knezevich household is extremely busy watching the kids as they play baseball, football, golf, softball, wrestling, basketball, and karate.   Nick himself enjoys golfing with the kids and friends, watching NASCAR and football, or having dinner with Sara.

Although his busy lifestyle doesn’t leave much time for community activities yet, he has enjoyed calling bingo the past few weeks at the Dundee Area Senior Citizens Center and looks forward to what the future holds.

SHEMEKA WHITE

Resident Trainee

Shemeka White joined the team at Merkle Funeral Service in March of 2022 as a State of Michigan Resident Trainee.   She was born in Detroit, Michigan and is the daughter of Brenda Boswell and David White Jr.   Shemeka “Meka” graduated from Robichaud High School in Dearborn with the Class of 2010.   Following high school, Meka, began working at Providence Hospital and CSL Plasma as a phlebotomist.  

In 2015, she welcomed the birth of her daughter, Lauren Glass into the world.   In 2019, Meka, began taking college courses at Oakland Community College, and currently carries a 3.6 G.P.A.   Once obtaining her Associates in Arts Degree she will enroll at Wayne State University to obtain her Bachelor Degree in Mortuary Science.   

Renee Mullendore

Outreach Coordinator

Renee was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, where her father served in the United States Air Force.  The family would later return to Monroe, Michigan, where Renee would graduate from Jefferson High School.  

In 1982, Renee married her husband, Randy.  They have 2 adult children: Raven (Todd) Ausmus and Rocky (Abby) Mullendore, 6 grandchildren, a German Shephard, and a Collie. 

Also, in 1982, Renee began working as an Administrative Assistant at Tenneco Automotive.  She worked there for 17 years.  In 2006, Renee attended Monroe County Community College and earned her Associates in Applied Science and Culinary degree.  This allowed her to follow her passion for cooking and baking.  For 10 years, she ran her own business called, Classic Catering with Raven.  Renee began working for Merkle in 2010, as an Outreach Coordinator.  She left in 2016 to watch her granddaughter and recently returned in her same role in April 2020.  

Renee is very conscious about leading a healthy lifestyle, by eating healthy and exercising.  Her time with her family is very important to her.  When she has free time, she likes to spend it reading, gardening, camping, and traveling.  She has also been a member of the Rotary Club of Monroe since 2012.

​In Memoriam

Lola
Certified Therapy Dog

Lola Merkle a cherished member of the Merkle Family and valuable member of the Merkle Funeral Service Team passed away on Friday; October 1, 2021.   She had been in declining health for some time and under the compassionate care of Suburban Animal Clinic for many years.      

Lola a cock-a-poo was born in Monroe, Michigan on June 9, 2008.   It was love at first sight, and from the moment she came home with the Merkle Family it was realized that she was quite special.   Lola, would soon become the smallest member of the Merkle Funeral Service Team, but her responsibilities would be some of the largest.

Lola completed Basic Obedience Training at Dundee K9 on October 23, 2009.   Her passion and love for people was evident and she displayed a keen instinct and ability to know when a person is grieving and needs to be comforted.   Sometimes just her close presence brought comfort to those who were grieving, but she also knew when she needed to be much closer to help, and usually found her way into that person's lap or next to them on a couch or chair.   Because of this natural gift, Lola went on to complete the Canine Good Manners Class on November 15, 2012, and then completed Therapy Dogs International testing and obtained certification.

For many years she was active in the community with her handler, Renee Mullendore, visiting local nursing homes, Mercy Memorial Hospital, and even Monroe County third grade classrooms to distribute dictionaries as a Rotary International project.   Lola was often requested by families to visit their gatherings to lend comfort to guests.   Her disposition was smooth, very tolerant, and loving.     She often joined the Ladies at their luncheons and the men having coffee.   Lola was featured in the Monroe News and numerous other publications across the country by the Associated Press for the work she was doing.  

When asked if she wanted to go to “work”, Lola, patiently went and stood by the door, waiting for her opportunity to shine.   She loved to go on car rides and visit Northern Michigan where she enjoyed boat rides.  

Although, The Merkle home will never be the same the joy and love she shared will forever be cherished.    She is survived by the people she loved the most; her siblings, the Merkle children:  Olivia, Merin, and Ethan; her four-legged sisters:  Layla and Lucy and her human parents:  Tammy and Brian S. Merkle.


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