Kaye Evans-Gaines is a native of Cleveland. She was educated within the Cleveland Public School District. She attended Cuyahoga Community College and is currently matriculating through her undergraduate studies where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at Liberty University; the largest Christian University in the world.
She has held her credentials as Funeral Director from the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors since 1992. Widowed since 1991, she is the proud mother of two, Tyrone and Tasmine Evans. She is Grandmere to Shatya and Charleston.
She is fondly and affectionately known as the “Diva” of the funeral industry. Kaye is looked upon as the trend setter among her peers within the industry. The Gaines Funeral Home is family owned and operated, established since 1972. Kaye is the second generation, serving as the Chief Executive Officer.
Under her leadership, the dream and vision of her parents to have a second location was accomplished on the birthday of the late Mrs. Rosa Gaines in December of 2015. Only after surmounting tremendous obstacles that seemed to be endless; when asked how she made it through Kaye simply replied “God is Able”. She is a pillar of the community and works diligently to serve her families during the loss of their loved ones, while gently guiding them to the process of healing. The Ohio Funeral Directors Association will acknowledge with an award, Kaye's 25 years of service as a licensed Funeral Director, May 17, 2017. This is an amazing milestone in her career, that demonstrates her commitment to her community. This is truly the ministry she has been called too. Her memberships of good standing include the following:
African American Funeral Directors Association of Cleveland.
Embalmers Association of Cleveland.
National Funeral Directors Association.
Ohio Funeral Directors Association.
The Academy for Funeral Service Practitioner.
A Life member status of the National Council for Negro Women.
The National Association of Professional Women awarded her the standard of excellence and professionalism within her industry. She was the 2016 recipient of Jae the “Gospelkidd 1st Annual Scholarship Fund Award.”
Her latest membership was extended to her in 2015 when she was invited to the Board of Directors for the Women of Royalty Outreach Ministries. She had been observed in her role as a Servant-Leader in her community for the past 7 years.
It was her immense love for God that was apparent and paramount, she possessed the heart of a servant, loyal, committed, caring, compassionate, and her high level of integrity made her an excellent candidate. Her extraordinary service as a board member, secured her recent appointment to the post of Madame State Ambassador of Ohio. She was officially installed November 12, 2016.
Her passion to mentor young ladies along with her vision is to open a school where cost will not affect the attendance of any young lady desiring to enter. Etiquette, Self-esteem, reinforcing academic success through education, overall character building components and modeling are just a few of the areas her ladies are exposed too. She is currently in the process of launching “The Esther’s of Tomorrow” under the umbrella of the Women of Royalty Outreach Ministries.
She currently has 6 students enrolled. The miracle of watching them blossom into beautiful young ladies is happening right before her eyes. To God be the Glory!
Chief Financial Officer
Renee Kirby Gaines, is a graduate of Erie View Catholic High School. After High School Renee advanced her education and enrolled in beauty school at Beatrice School of Beauty and there she completed her education as a beautician.
After completing beauty school, in 1981, she gave birth to her oldest child, India.
In 1991, She married Mr. Carl E. Kirby Gaines Sr., and shortly after she gave birth to her 2nd child, Carl E. Kirby- Gaines Jr.
After the birth of her son Carl Jr., She joined the Gaines Funeral Home in 1995, serving as a member of our administrative staff.
In 2009, she became a widow after 18 Years of marriage to Carl Sr.
In 2015, after years of dedication and hard work, Renee began serving the Gaines Funeral Home as Chief Financial Officer.
Renee is the mother of India and Carl Jr, and proud grandmother of Tyshon, Jaida, and Jordyn.
Licensed Funeral Director, Certified Funeral Celebrant & Grief Consultant & Licensed Social Worker
Keli M. Bonner, born and raised in Detroit, MI is the second eldest of the third generation of the Gaines Family. Her love for God and dedication to living His purpose for her life is at the forefront of her life’s passage. As such, it has also been the guide for all of her educational and professional endeavors. Keli’s stellar academic career speaks for itself. As a native of Detroit, Michigan, Keli is a 1999 graduate of the prestigious University Liggett School (Grosse Pointe Woods, MI) and received a Bachelor Degree in Social Work from Wayne State University (Detroit, MI) in the year 2006. Her professional career began as a contract employee for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Excited to join her family in funeral ministry, every weekend, for three years, Keli would travel between Detroit and Cleveland to greet families and assist in many life celebrations. A promise to her grandmother fulfilled, Keli relocated to Cleveland, OH in 2007. In 2011, she became a Licensed Social Worker in the state of Ohio. After much commitment and dedication, Keli went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Social Work from The University of New England (Biddeford, ME). Prior to serving full time in funeral ministry, Keli served three years as a Community Support Specialist and seven years as a Clinical Supervisor at The Centers for Families and Children (Cleveland, OH).
In March 2018, Keli completed an apprenticeship with the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors and is now licensed as a funeral director in the State of Ohio. Keli has worked alongside her family for nineteen years, sharing many similar interests as her grandmother, Mrs. Rosa Gaines. Keli's outstanding speaking abilities and her genuine love for people has made Keli a valuable asset to the Gaines Family. Her role as a Certified Funeral Celebrant and Grief Specialist is designed to help families begin the journey of healing while moving through bereavement. These specialties enable her the capacity to bring about a place of assurance to the families we serve. She offers her amazing gift of insight to actualize their requests. This is truly her heart’s passion and her ministry. Keli is a proud member of the National Funeral Directors Association, Ohio Funeral Directors Association, The Academy for Funeral Service Practitioner and The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) .
Keli is the proud mother of Master Gabriel L. Bonner, her only son and a member of the Gaines Family Fourth Generation.
Among her hobbies, Keli enjoys sports. Watching her son play basketball is what she calls her “happy place”. “Sports mirror life in many facets. The lessons, hard work, dedication and discipline; what it means to be able to set goals for yourself, make a plan, execute the plan and achieve those goals are core values I wish to instill in my son”, Keli says. Also, very near and dear to her heart are the performing arts, in particular theatre. More recently, Keli has begun to also pursue a career in voice acting. Currently serving as the “Voice of Gaines Funeral Home”, Keli has pre-recorded and produced many obituaries. Setting one’s life story to music while telling their story is an amazing tribute and a keepsake the families can keep for years to come.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
Simply put, Keli says “Always lead with love. What’s from the heart reaches the heart. In love is where faith and hope reside.”
Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer
Carl E. Kirby-Gaines Jr.
Licensed Funeral Director & Chief Embalmer/Care Center
Carl Gaines Jr “CJ”, born in Cleveland, Ohio is the youngest of the third generation at the Gaines Funeral Home. Since the age of 9, he has had a passion for the funeral industry. Being the only son of Former Vice President Carl E. Kirby-Gaines Sr., and current Chief Finance Officer Renee Kirby, Carl Jr., spent a majority of his childhood at the funeral home doing whatever he could to learn the funeral industry from those who would take the time to teach him.
Carl Jr, attended grade school at Holy Name Elementary School in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood, after school, Carl would dash to the funeral home where he would do his homework at the top of the staircase overlooking the main funeral chapel where he could do his homework while watching the mourners enter the funeral home to celebrate the life of their loved ones. His passion for the funeral business would lead Carl Jr., to ask his father is purchase his first black suit so that he accompany him on funerals as well as train him to be Junior Greeter during evening visitations and weekend funerals. Friday evening CJ would be found working viewings downstairs until his Grandmother, Former Owner and Co-Founder Rosa Gaines would call down to the evening receptionist to have him sent upstairs to prepare for bed so he could report for work Saturday morning. The Gaines Funeral Home was a 24hr funeral home that kept someone in the funeral home 24 hours a day, CJ would often sneak downstairs to accompany the evening staff with nightly duties and found his way in the care center to observe the evening mortician performing his duties.
Saturday morning he would wake up and prepare for funerals, once he would be completed, he would stop at his grandmother’s room for her uniform inspection. He would then then stop to see his grandfather, Founder William A. Gaines for his uniform inspection, due to a stroke in the late 1990’s Mr. Gaines was unable to speak, but he would nod at CJ and stick his thumb up to CJ to let him know he was good to go before reporting for funeral duty.
After his time there, he furthered his education by enrolling at Bowling Green State University. His studies there come to completion and he moved back home to Cleveland where to enrolled at Cleveland State University where he completed his Pre-Mortuary Science Requirements. Soon after, his completion of his studies at Cleveland State, he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he enrolled at Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. Carl Jr is the only son of the former president Carl Kirby Gaines. Carl (CJ) has the honor of completing the work that his father started and will continue to follow in the footsteps that Carl Sr. has set.
Carl graduated in 2015 an Associates in Specialized Technology as well as Associates in Specialized Business in addition to being certified as a Crematory Operator by The Cremation Association of North America.
In 2016, Carl graduated from Point Park University with his Bachelors of Science in Funeral Services
In May of 2017, Carl fulfilled the requirements mandated by Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors for The Funeral Director/Embalmer Apprentice Program.
In March of 2018, Carl was granted his license to practice both Funeral Directing and Embalming.
Carl is a member of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church
Carl is also a member of:
Ohio Embalmers Association
Ohio Funeral Directors Association
National Funeral Directors Association
National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association
Ecclesiastes Lodge #120, Free and Accepted Masons, Prince Hall Affiliated
Bezaleel Consistory #15, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Jurisdiction
El Hasa Temple #28, A.E.A.O.N.M.S
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. - Cleveland Alumni Chapter
Nu Phi Zeta Fraternity Inc., National Vice President - 2020-2024
Knights of Columbus, Cleveland Council #733
Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan Council #1767 - 4th Degree of Knights of Columbus
Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan Council #1767 - 4th Degree of Knights of Columbus
Deacon Louis Hertzog Council #227, Knights of Peter Claver
Deacon Louis Hertzog Council #227, Knights of Peter Claver
V. P. Preparatory Affairs/Regulatory Compliance Officer
Mr. Tyrone Evans-Gaines, Tyrone being a native of Cleveland, is the oldest of 2 of Ms. I. Kaye Gaines.
Mr. Evans being the only son of the Funeral Director, I.K. Gaines, similar to his mother and role model, Mr. Evans's passion for the funeral industry and love for the families, Mr. Evans has the lifelong dream of one day becoming a licensed funeral director. He is also part of the third generation legacy.
In 2015, Tyrone Graduated from Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science with an Assciate's degree in Special Technology.
He has earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from Point Park University. He is currently fulfilling the requirements mandated by the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors in the Funeral Director's Apprentice Program.
Tyrone is the proud father of Shatya
Director of Operations
Bishop Gonelcha Askew has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since July, 1997. For over 21 years Bishop Askew has been a part of our Service, Ministerial and Music Staff.
Bishop Gonelcha Askew Sr. was born and reared in Cleveland, Ohio. Educated in the Cleveland Public School system and graduated from the Max S. Hayes Vocational High School with training in Electronic and Computer Repair. Bishop Askew was born and raised in the 2nd Metropolitan Baptist Church. It was there that he developed a love for church music. Sitting by the organ every Tuesday, and watching Almira Byrd play during choir rehearsal sparked a desire that remains even until this day. He began his ministry of music at the age of 11, in March of 1974 at the Sacred Trinity Baptist Church under the pastorate of his cousin, the late Rev. Otice Spears.
Bishop Askew’s ministry of the word and music has taken him to many cities throughout the United States, such as Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, Memphis, Louisville, Philadelphia, St. Petersburg, Atlanta, Orlando, Detroit, Brooklyn, Chicago, Fort Wayne, Atlantic City and many others. His ministry has crossed many denominations including, Baptist, Full Gospel Baptist, Church of God in Christ, A.M.E. Zion, A.M.E., Disciples of Christ, Pentecostal, and others. Bishop Askew is a friend and brother to many in the Body of Christ and is a source of inspiration, motivation, strength and empowerment.
Bishop also serves as a member of our clergy. In January of 2012, he was named Director of Operations for The Gaines Funeral Homes Inc. He is also the Minister of Music of 2nd Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Musician for the Voices of Worship @ Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 9:00 a.m. Bishop Askew is also the former National Minister of Music for the House of God Church, and is also a member of Shiloh Temple House of God under the pastorate of Apostle Steven L. Best.
Licensed Funeral Director
Tiffany was born and raised in Cleveland, OH. She trained to be a licensed funeral director under Sherry Ward and received her designation in May of 2019 and has been with the funeral home since 2016. A proud graduate of Bedford High School Class of 2000, receiving her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a Concentration in Human resources from Wright State University in 2004, and Master's degree in Labor Relations and Human Resources from Cleveland State University in 2007. Tiffany is also a long time member of Rome Missionary Baptist Church where Rev. Claudie Williams Jr. is the Pastor and is an active member of Delta Theta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Cosmetics & Restorative Art Specialist & Vitals Specialist
Shemika has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2013.
Funeral Director and Embalmer
Lindsey M. Cannon has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2017.
Lindsey is the Owner and Operator of Cannon LoPresti and Catavolos Funeral Home servicing the Westside of Cleveland.
Jr. Mortuary Concierge
King Hawkins serves as a Jr. Mortuary Concierge shadowing along side of some of the best Funeral Directors in the Industry. King is full of energy, always ready to learn and loves God with his entire heart.
Jr. Funeral Director
Gabriel L. Bonner is a Fourth Generation member of the the Gaines Family. He is the only son of Keli M. Bonner Gaines.
Grounds & Maintenance
Tony has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2009.
Tony is the caretaker of our Cleveland Location.
Carl E. Kirby-Gaines Sr. was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Gaines. On May 17, 1961 Carl was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Along with his two sisters, Kaye and Sherry. The second generation maintained operations of the funeral home in the year 1999 when Mrs. Rosa Gaines retired with over 30 years of funeral experience.
Carl's duty as President, was to oversee daily operations and to establish that the funeral home was in full operation 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.
People in the state of Ohio, that knew Carl, knew that he was a kindhearted person. Carl showed compassion to all that entrusted their loves ones to the funeral home.
Carl's memory will live on forever in our hearts, and our minds. Carl's legacy lives on in his wife, Renee of 18 years, and his two children India and Carl Jr.
Operations at the Gaines Funeral Home has not come to an end, the way we will honor Carl is to complete the work that he started all those years ago.
Dee has been a member of the Gaines Family since 2000.
Dorothy is a Retired Social Worker for The Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility,
Dorothy decided to pursue an interest in the funeral industry because of her caring of others personality , and her passion to assist families in their time of need.
Dorothy has been a valued asset of the Gaines Family since her arrival.
Rev. Gates is senior pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church since 2014. He has implemented various community related programs such as fresh vegetable pantries, hot meals, youth explosion, summer camps, after school programming, free breakfast & lunch programs for eligible residents, free dinner delivery to seniors due to COVID-19, and summer youth employment opportunities through the Youth Opportunity Unlimited (YOU) program. Rev. Gates is also the Executive Director of the Mt. Pleasant Ministerial Alliance which is a clergy group in Mt. Pleasant and Executive Assistant to the President of United Pastors In Mission, the largest non-denominational clergy group in the State of Ohio. Rev. Gates along with several other area pastors developed and implemented a program that was born from the tragic death of Alianna Defreeze entitled “Safe Streets Safe Schools.” This program uses volunteers where we monitor the safe arrival and departures of our children at 5 designated schools. Pastor Gates has a Masters In Divinity (MDIV) from Ashland Theological Seminary, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and is an inductee into the Martin Luther King Jr. College of Pastors and Laity at Morehouse College. Pastor Gates strongly believes that residents are key stakeholders of urban renewal. We must somehow get them to believe and understand their commitment is vital to the survival of the neighborhoods and engage in community development.
Ozell has been a member of the Gaines family since 2005.
Ozell comes to us from the City of Cleveland Water Department, Retiring with 31 Years of service.
Cares Team Specialist
Grounds & Maintenance-Maple