NON-LICENSED STAFF

Although they are not licensed funeral directors, these team members are vitally important to the operation of our firm.  These individuals make it possible for us to professionally coordinate funerals with the quality of service our community has come to expect from us.


Sandy Ucci
Family Services Director

Sandy was born in Lansing, Michigan. After graduation in 1978 she moved to Monroe. She has two adult children, Nicole and Nicholas. Sandy also has five grandchildren, and is expecting her first great grandchild. 

Sandy was a homemaker for many years before taking employment with Howard Ternes Company for four years. She became a pharmacy technician in 1997 and worked at CVS until 2000. From 2002 until 2005 Sandy volunteered at the Bennett Funeral Homes Monroe and Erie as a Directors Assistant.   She has been with Merkle Funeral Service since we opened in July of 2007.

A cancer survivor, Sandy is a dedicated volunteer and participant in the Relay for Life. She loves to read and to spend time with her family and grandchildren. Sandy is a loving, caring person and enjoys the opportunity to serve others at the funeral home. 

In Memorium
Bill Tezak

Family Services Assistant Emeritus

William Michael Tezak Jr. was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on August 25, 1942.   He was one of two children born from the union of the late William Michael and Harriet (Risner) Tezak Sr.   Bill attended Sandusky High School.   He enlisted in the United States Navy leaving school early in 1960 to join his crew on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier.  Bill married the love of his life the former, Juanita Ellison on July 22, 1961 in Monroe.   He continued his honorable service to our country until his discharge in 1963.  

Bill was a loving and devoted husband and father.   He supported his family for twenty-two years as a Manager for Purolator Courier Service.   He also served four years as a part-time police officer in Pemberville, Ohio.   Bill was very active in Boy Scouts serving as a Scoutmaster for many years with Troop 344.

After retirement, Bill and Juanita returned to the Monroe area.   Bill would work as a custodian for Monroe Public Schools for seven years.   The couple were active members of North Monroe Street Church of God where, Juanita served as secretary and Bill was the Head Usher for many years and the custodian for three years.   In 2007, Bill joined the team at Merkle Funeral Service as a Family Services Assistant.   His work and dedication was instrumental as he helped the fledgling company establish its ministry.

Bill was a private person.   He loved to praise his Lord, and was very fond of music often singing or playing the guitar, mandolin, or keyboard.   He was also very proud of his family.   He enjoyed hunting and fishing.   For many years Bill shared his love of auto racing with his son and grandsons often watching super modified sprint car racing at the dirt Fremont race track.   Those who knew Bill best understood his love of sweets and considered him a food connoisseur.

Bill, age 76, of Monroe passed away at home on Friday, November 9, 2018 with his beloved family by his side.   He had been under the care of ProMedica Monroe Hospice.

To cherish his memory he leaves a beloved wife of fifty-seven years:  Juanita of Monroe; a son:  William Michael (April) Tezak III of Monroe; a sister:  Betty Jo (Richard) Davis of Daytona Beach, Florida; three grandsons:  William Michael (Carrie) Tezak IV of Toledo, Christopher James (Kimberly) Tezak of Bowling Green, and John Curtis (Amber) Kamprath of Monroe; four great grandchildren:  Logan James Tezak, Cassandra Rose Tezak, Jessica Lily Tezak, and Amaya Kay Tezak; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Doug Billock
Family Services Assistant


​Joni Sue Brow
Family Services Director

Joni S. Brow, Family Services Director; as a great asset to the Merkle Funeral Services team, Joni focuses her attention to the concerns of our guests during family gatherings and Celebration of Life ceremonies.  
Joni graduated from Saint Mary Academy.  As a single parent, Joni worked hard as an office janitor and babysitter to support and raise her 2 children, Jessica and David in Carleton. She served locally for 6 years as Campfire leader and 4 years as a 4-H Club leader.  Most of her spare time now is concentrated on her 2 grandchildren, Mackenzie and Thomas.     
Joni’s ministry involved serving at St. Vincent de Paul as a food distributor.  She continues as a devout supporter of the Salvation Army’s big red kettle and of the Veterans of America.  She is consistent to hang yellow and red/white/blue ribbons in honor of our many men and women who bravely serve our country.  
Joni loves NASCAR driver Carl Edwards (99) and is an enthusiastic Tiger fan. She loves to garden, go to garage sales, participate in arts/crafts and decorate for the changing seasons.

Larry W. Merkle
Family Services Assistant

Larry William Merkle was born on May 14, 1947 in Monroe, Michigan the oldest son of three born to Donald Merkle and Dorothy (Noble) Merkle Guczwa.   He was confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church and attended the Lutheran day school.   He would move on to Jefferson High School and graduate with the Class of 1965.   Larry’s father would pass away in 1967 at the age of 37 and although times were tough Larry found a way to work his way through college.   Larry attended Monroe County Community College graduating in the school’s first class.   He continued his studies earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University. 

Larry was employed as the Office Manager for Michigan Memorial Park Cemetery in Flat Rock and then for the Monroe County Road Commission in the mid 1970's and early 1980's.  He would take a position with Roselawn Memorial Park in LaSalle, retiring in August of 2007 as General Manager a position he had held for twenty-seven years.

Larry has given a lifetime to his community.   He was a member of the Michigan National Guard from 1970-1976.   He found his life’s calling when he joined the Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Department in December of 1971.   He quickly earned the respect of his fellow firefighters and was promoted to Lieutenant, Captain, and then Assistant Chief.    In 1983, he was selected as the Fire Chief serving in this capacity for thirty-six years from April 26, 1983 until his retirement in April 26, 2019.  

Under his tutelage the Monroe Township Fire Department became highly respected in the community.   During his tenure as chief, Larry, was able to replace all of the fire department apparatus and purchase countless pieces of equipment to make firefighting safer and provide more service to Monroe Township.    He was also able to work with elected officials to build a training facility on LaPlaisance Road, a satellite fire station on West Dunbar Road, and finally a state of the art headquarters, which was dedicated in his honor and named after him, on South Dixie Highway.  

Larry has served in many capacities in the Fire and EMS community.   A State Certified Fire Instructor, he is a Past President of Monroe County Chiefs and Firefighters Associations.   Larry is co-director of the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team where he assists in debriefing.  He served on the Monroe County Medical Control Board, Monroe County 911 Board, and served 5 years as the Assistant Clerk Secretary for the Monroe County Road Commission.   He is also a member of the Corl Gaynier Am-Vets Post 1942.  

Larry is often seen lending a hand at Merkle Funeral Service assisting on gatherings, services, and with permanent memorials.   He continues to be an active, lifetime member of Trinity Lutheran Church where he serves as an Usher and formerly as an Elder. 

His life has been made even more full by marrying the love of his life the former, Marilyn Voss on December 6, 1975.  They make their home with their cock-a-poo:  Finnegan.   The couple were blessed with two sons, both of whom have served in EMS and Funeral Service, Brian (Tammy) and Michael (Penny).  Larry and Marilyn enjoy travel, especially loving time spent in Northern Michigan.   He enjoys reading, spending time with his wife; children; four grandchildren:  Olivia, Merin, Ethan, and William; and three grandpuppies:  Lola, Layla, and Zeus. 

Leon Merkle
Family Services Assistant

Kim Haynes
Family Services Assistant

Kimberly Haynes, Family Services Assistant; is a great asset to the Merkle Funeral Service team, joining in January of 2013. She focuses her attention to the needs of the families that we are serving. Kimberly is a lifelong resident of Monroe. She graduated in the class of 1992 from Monroe High School.  She has three wonderful children: Kaitlyn, Dawson, and Lauryn. 
Kimberly enjoys the values of family, she spends all of her free time with her children, enjoying long walks, and bicycle rides through the neighborhood. When she is able, she is always up for a show at the movie theatre. 

Bernie Regnier
Family Services Assistant

Bernie was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He is the youngest of eight children and graduated from Benedictine High School. He went to work at Detroit Diesel in 1964 and retired as a material handling supervisor 36 years later.
He married his high school sweetheart, Mary Jo O’Connell in 1965. They moved to the Monroe area and built a home in 1977 in Ida, raising four children who now all have families and have blessed them with eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, enjoying some great babysitting times!
After his retirement and making a few fun excursions in his motor home, he returned to the working world in his nephew’s tree service for a couple years, getting lots of exercise. He then spent three years at Consumers Power doing security work. Bernie joined the staff at Merkle Funeral Service in May of 2013.
As a cancer survivor, he enjoys volunteering to raise funds for the Cancer Society. He loves family get-together’s, golfing, hunting, and some wood working projects on the side. Also, he avidly follows his Tiger and Red Wing Teams.
Bernie is an active member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Bedford, serving as an usher and helping with funeral luncheons. He is also a proud member of the Knights of Columbus. 

Rob Russeau
Family Services Assistant