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.
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.
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.
Bill Tezak, Family Services Assistant
Bill Tezak, Family Services Assistant; is originally from Sandusky, Ohio. He resides in Monroe with his wife Juanita (Ellison), a Monroe native. Bill served his country in the U.S. Navy for three years before marrying in 1961. They have a son, Mike, three grandsons, and one great grandson.
Bill retired in 1993 after serving Purolator Courier, an overnight package delivery service, for 23 years. The last 21 years he had been in management. At that time the family resided in Albany, New York for 15 years.
Bill enjoys racing, fishing, his family, and especially his grandchildren. Bill attends the North Monroe Street Church of God where he serves as a head usher and custodian.
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 Merkle, Family Services Assistant
Larry W. Merkle, Family Services Assistant; is a 1965 graduate of Jefferson High School. He earned an Associates Degree at Monroe County Community College and a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University.
Larry was previously employed as Office Manager at Michigan Memorial Park and for the Monroe County Road Commission in the 1970's and early 1980's. He then spent more than twenty-eight years at Roselawn Memorial Park in LaSalle, retiring in August of 2008 as General Manager a position he had held for twenty-seven years.
Larry is a lifetime member of Trinity Lutheran Church where he has served as an Usher and formerly as an Elder.
He has been serving the residents of Monroe Charter Township as a firefighter since 1971 and as their Fire Chief since 1983. He has served as President of Monroe County Chiefs and Firefighters Association and is a State Certified Fire Instructor. Larry is co-director of the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team where he assists in debriefing. He is a member of the Monroe County Medical Control Board, an alternate member on the Monroe County 911 Board and served 5 years as the Assistant Clerk Secretary for the Monroe County Road Commission. Honorably, Larry served 6 years in the Michigan Army National Guard and is a member of the Corl Gaynier Am-Vets Post 1942.
Larry often works gathering and services and assists with the selection of permanent memorials.
He married the love of his life, Marilyn, on December 6, 1975. Together they have two sons Brian (Tammy) and Michael (Penny). Larry loves to read and enjoys spending time with his wife, children, three grandchildren, and of course his two grandpuppies.
Leon Merkle, Family Services Assistant
Randy Howe, 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, Famiily 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.
D.J. Brown, Family Services Assistant
DJ Brown, Family Services Assistant; He resides in LaSalle, Michigan with his wife Rebecca and their two dogs, Halligan and Phelhoney. DJ is an Eagle Scout, a graduate of Monroe High School, and Schoolcraft fire academy.
DJ previously supported his family, working for Roselawn Memorial Park for five years. He is also a volunteer fireman for LaSalle Township Fire Department since 2008.
DJ and his wife enjoy the outdoors; they spend a lot of time camping, hiking, kayaking, and scuba diving.
Rob Russeau, Family Services Assistant