Purple Flowers


Blair Overton

Blair A. Overton has been a licensed funeral director since 1992.  Raised in Traer, Iowa, Blair was a 1986 graduate of North Tama High School and continued his education at the University of Iowa, where he graduated with a degree in economics in 1990.

Blair received his education in mortuary sciences at the New England Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Upon graduation in 1991, he received the Fredrick J. Walker Award for highest academic average and the Founders Award for the most promise of outstanding contribution to funeral service.  While in Boston, Blair worked full time for the J. S. Waterman & Sons Funeral Home.


Returning to Iowa, Blair has served families for almost thirty years. He has owned and operated funeral homes in small towns and the greater Des Moines metroplex, as well as a cremation society and two cemeteries. Blair takes pride in helping families arrange for a fitting celebration of life.


Blair, his wife, Whitney, and sons, Alexander, Tyler, and Ryan, make their home in Johnston, Iowa.

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Sara Bering

Sara was born in Des Moines and lived in Colorado for 15 years before returning to Iowa to be close to family. It was through her father’s death that brought her to Merle Hay Funeral Home. Sara found that she was able to demonstrate her compassion for those she serves while also tending to the daily happenings of a funeral home. Sara & Blair partnered in January 2020 to form Iowa Funeral Planning and look forward to continuing to offer quality services to all families. 

Jack Stepanek
Sales Manager

Jack joined Iowa Funeral Planning at the beginning of 2020. He is managing sales and marketing for all locations and supporting the family service program to help families to understand all the options that we offer. Jack has over 30 years of experience in the operational and marketing support of funeral home and cemetery operations. He began his career in High School digging graves and cemetery maintenance. He has worked in Sr. Management in the preneed insurance business for over 20 years including the two largest providers in the US and Canada. Jack has been COO of a large funeral home and cemetery operations on the east coast and the Midwest. As we welcome him to our team with his knowledge and experience, we will offer the best solutions for our families to educated and serve the community.


Mike Kirk
Funeral Director

Mike was born and raised in southern Madison County, Iowa on a farm. He graduated from East Union Community Schools, South Western Community College, and from the Mortuary Science Program at DMACC in 2007. He and his wife Karen lived in Marshalltown, Iowa for 35 years. Karen passed away in 2015, then Mike moved to Ankeny, Iowa. He is blessed with three daughters, Kellee, Ragan, Kinzee and seven grandbabies, Caleb, Jose, Isiah, Lily, Eli, Ella, and Dani and one great-grandbaby, Camille. He has been a Hospice volunteer for 35 years and loves to renovate and remodel and cook in his spare time.


For Mike, being a funeral director is not a job, it’s a ministry and one he loves.

Seth Williams
Funeral Director

Seth grew up outside of Gladbrook, Iowa, and graduated from Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School in 2000. He was a biology major and religion minor at Simpson College. Following graduation in 2004, he attended and graduated from the DMACC Mortuary Science Program and has been a licensed funeral director and preneed sales agent since 2007, working for Iowa Funeral Planning locations since 2010.

Seth’s family consists of his wife Kristin, and children Sydney and Turner. They reside in Bondurant. He enjoys spending time with them outdoors and encouraging his kids in their activities at school and church. Seth is an avid Iowa State Cyclones and Chicago Cubs fan.

Seth currently serves on the Iowa Board of Mortuary Science and the DMACC Mortuary Science Program Advisory Committee, helping ensure Iowa has quality funeral directors who do their best to serve their communities.


Jason Henderson
Funeral Director

Jason Henderson has been a licensed funeral director since 2007. He was raised in Waukee, Iowa, and graduated from Waukee High School. He attended the mortuary science program at DMACC and graduated in 2006.

Jason lives in West Des Moines with his son, Noah, and is an avid supporter of Liverpool Football Club. In his free time, Jason enjoys playing soccer and attending concerts.

Tracie Hicks
Business Manager

Tracie Hicks has been employed with Iowa Funeral Planning since 1988 and is involved with the day-to-day operations of the funeral homes and cemeteries. She graduated from Dexfield (Redfield) High School in 1983 and then attended the University of Northern Iowa, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration in 1987. Tracie resides in Redfield with her husband Matt. They have one daughter.


Sylvia Visser
Family Services

Sylvia is a Des Moines native and the newest addition to the Family Service team. She compassionately assists families and individuals with their after-death wishes. Sylvia grew up by Woodland Cemetery and has always had a fascination with its encapsulation of the history of people. She was prompted to work in funeral services after losing her father to cancer and wants to help others in his honor. Sylvia did her schooling at Western Washington University in Washington state and has worn many hats including; waitress, barista, bartender, administrative assistant at Senior Services for South Sound, and music instructor. In her free time, Sylvia enjoys live music, traveling, salsa dancing, and reading at local coffee shops. 

Alex Overton
Family Services

Alexander C. Overton, son of Blair & Whitney, was raised in Johnston, Iowa.   He graduated from Johnston High School and then swam at the University of South Carolina for two years.  He finished his college career at the University of Iowa, graduating from the Tippie College of Business in 2021. 


Alex has joined the firm as a Family Service Advisor and enjoys interacting and helping families.   Alex enjoys golfing, hanging out with friends, and online gaming with friends from South Carolina, The University of Iowa, and high school.

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Rachel Almlie

Rachel has been the voice of Merle Hay Funeral Home for more than 11 years.

Music is a passion she shares with family and friends, often attending band gigs in the Des Moines area. Rachel and her husband Wayne enjoy their century-old home in the Drake neighborhood.

Beth Higgins

Beth is the receptionist for Brooks Funeral Care and the Cremation Society of Iowa. She is a longtime resident of Des Moines, with a small detour in South and North Carolina. Beth graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree and she also took accounting classes from Des Moines Area Community College. Beth is a Member of P.E.O. Her free time is spent with family and friends, and she enjoys gardening, crocheting, reading, and the great outdoors.

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Diane Vickroy

Diane Vickroy is Administration at Merle Hay Funeral Home.  She comes to us with over 30 years of experience in the medical field. Diane is inspired daily by her husband and their son, Bryant, and great-nephew Bowen.


In her free time, Diane likes to read, cook, bake, and aqua sizing. Diane’s faith, family, and friends are very important to her.

Kari Lily
Pre-Planning Advisor

Kari joined Iowa Funeral Planning in the middle of 2021.  She is a pre-planning advisor for our dual locations of The Cremation Society of Iowa and Brooks Funeral Care with nearly five years of experience.  Kari has an enthusiasm for helping families pre-plan their funerals while they are happy, healthy, and able.  Kari feels this should be a natural part of life because it provides you with time to make end-of-life decisions in a calm and rational atmosphere.   She enjoys networking with senior coordinators and educating in a group atmosphere to ensure everyone feels comfortable to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved ones.  Kari and her husband are empty nesters and enjoy dancing, time with family and remodeling their century old home in the Ingersoll Park district.


Carissa Barker
Funeral Director Intern 

Carissa is from Remsen, IA and she graduated from Le Mars High School in 2017. From there, she studied at the University of Iowa where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minor in Social Work in 2020. She then attended DMACC where she received an Associate of Applied Science Degree and a Mortuary Science Degree in 2021.  Carissa enjoys cooking, working out, painting & trying new breweries.