Our Staff

Kaye Gaines

Kaye Gaines

Kaye is a native Clevelander.  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!

Sherry D. Ward

Sherry D. Ward

Licensed Funeral Director

Sherry D. Ward, a North Carolina native and a product of both Cleveland County school system in North Carolina and Cleveland Public School district, joined William A. Gaines Funeral Home in the year 1982. Sherry brings with her a background in political science and holds a Funeral Directors and Insurance License in the state of Ohio. 

Sherry has worked with such organizations as V.O.I.C.E.S., a community activist group, and as past president for the Lady D. Drill Team, just to name a few. She is a member of The National Funeral Directors Association, the Buckeye State Embalmers and Funeral Directors Association, and the Cleveland Embalmers Association.

Lindsey M. Cannon

Lindsey M. Cannon

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. 

Renee Kirby Gaines

Renee Kirby Gaines

Chief Financial Officer

Renee Kirby Gaines,  is a graduate of Erie View Catholic High School. She is the widow of Mr. Carl Kirby Gaines. 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 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 and Jaida.

Carl Gaines Jr.

Carl Gaines Jr.

Funeral Director and Embalmer Apprentice

Carl Gaines Jr, 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. He has acquired the title of the Chief Creative Officer, who's sole purpose is to design tributes from the funeral home to the family.

Carl Jr, has studied at The Bowling Green State University. Now, currently he is studying 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.

In 2013 he enrolled in Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, in 2015 he graduated with 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. 

He has received his Bachelor's of Science in Funeral Services from Point Park University.

In May of 2017,  Carl will have fulfilled the requirements mandated by Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors for  the The Funeral Director's Apprentice Program.

Carl is a member a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc, as well as a member of Ecclesiastes Lodge #120 ( F.&AM-PHA) Bezaleel Consistory #15 (AASR), and El Hasa Temple #28 (AEAONMS)

Tyrone Evans-Gaines

Tyrone Evans-Gaines

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

Keli M. Bonner Gaines, MSW, LSW

Keli M. Bonner Gaines, MSW, LSW

Certified Funeral Celebrant & Grief Consultant

Keli M. Bonner Gaines comes to us with a Masters degree in Social Work. She is the second eldest of the third generation with 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 Family Grief Counseling Specialist is designed to help our families begin the journey of healing while moving through bereavement. This is her heart’s passion and her ministry.

Her credentials as a Certified Funeral Celebrant and Life Tribute Professional 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.

Keli has worked alongside her family for over twelve years and more recently, joined as a full time member of the Gaines staff in January 2018. Prior to serving in the funeral ministry, she served ten years as a Clinical Supervisor in Health and Wellness for The Centers for Families and Children (Cleveland, OH). 

Keli’s stellar academic career speaks for itself.  As a native of Detroit, Michigan She received a Bachelor Degree in Social Work from Wayne State University (Detroit, MI) in the year 2006. After much commitment and dedication, Keli went on to receive her Master’s Degree in 2014 from The University of New England (Biddeford, ME).

In March 2018, Keli completed an apprenticeship with the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors and is currently preparing to take the State Board Exam to become licensed as a funeral director in the State of Ohio.

Keli is the proud mother of our Junior Greeter, Master Gabriel L. Bonner, her only son and a member of the Gaines Family Fourth Generation.

Tiffany Jones

Tiffany Jones


Tiffany was born and raised in Cleveland, OH. She is currently serving her apprenticeship to be a licensed funeral director under her Master Funeral Director, Sherry Ward. She also works full time at Progressive Insurance as an HR Consultant. A proud graduate of Bedford High School, receiving her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human resources from Wright State University, and Master's degree in Labor Relations and Human Resources from Cleveland State University.  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.

Cathy Thomas Ben Bella

Administrative Liason to the CEO

Pastor Christopher K. Washburn

Pastor Christopher K. Washburn

Chaplain/Vital Statistics Specialist

Pastor Christopher K. Washburn has been with The Gaines Funeral Home since 1976 where he now serves as The Chaplain and a Vital Statistics Specialist. 

Being the Godson of the 1st Generation Mr. & Mrs. Gaines, Rev. Washburn's love and dedication has shown as he continues to serve as Chaplain for over 10+ years

Raised in Cleveland went to Cleveland Public Schools He answered the call into the ministry at the age of 16 and was licensed to preach in June of 1993 by Pastor Bennie E. Goggans of the 2nd St Luke Missionary Baptist Church.  In 1998 He was ordained by Pastor John F. Twymon of the Blessed Hope Missionary Baptist Church and became Senior Pastor of The New Damascus Missionary Baptist Church. He currently serves as the pastor of the Abundantly Living Church.   "Ministry is my life for I was created to serve."  

He is affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, Baptist Pastor's Council of Cleveland and Vicinity, Mt Pleasant Ministerial Alliance, and the Cleveland African American Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association.

He is in continual education to better serve the church, the community, and this great city called Cleveland.

Bishop Gonelcha Askew

Bishop Gonelcha Askew

Director of Operations

Bishop Gonelcha Askew has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since July, 1997. For over 18 years Bishop Askew has been a part  of our Service 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.

Aside from the music, 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 Interim Pastor and Minister of Music of 2nd Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Musician for the Voices of Worship @ Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 8:00 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.

Telephone: 1-216-641-4802

Email: elderq@gainesfuneralhome.com

Shemika Ward

Shemika Ward

Vital Statistics Specialist

Shemika has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2013.

Camara R. Thomas

Vital Statistics Liaison

Camara has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2017.

He is a graduate of Kent State University with a degree a political science. 

He is a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. 

Telephone: 1-216-641-4802

Email: kumar@gainesfuneralhome.com

Joy Gaines - Lanier

Joy Gaines - Lanier

Beautician/Cremation Specialist/Secretary

Joy Gaines - Lanier has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2009. Joy is a graduate of South High School. She then furthered her education at DeVry in Health Informational Technology. 

In 2014, Joy took on the role as the Gaines Funeral Home beautician, in addition she is also one of our Cremation specialists & daytime and evening secretary. Joy, along with her husband Martin, have the pleasure of raising four wonderful sons.

Valerie J. Thomas

Valerie J. Thomas

Office Staff

Valerie J. Thomas, has been with Gaines Funeral Home since 2014. After graduating in 2006 from John F. Kennedy High School, she furthered her education at Cuyahoga Community College, where she received an associates in marketing. Valerie is a member of our office staff, concentrating primarily with community development. 

Valerie's organizational skills, as well as her marketing skills have been a great asset to the Gaines Funeral Home.   Valerie is currently working on a group home to help battered women

Gabriel L. Bonner Gaines

Gabriel L. Bonner Gaines

Jr. Greeter

Gabriel L. Bonner Gaines, has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2009. Gabe is the First Gaines Funeral Home Jr. Greeter. Sharing his mother's genuine love for people, Gabriel enjoys welcoming everyone who walks through the doors of the Gaines Funeral Home.   He is the son of Keli M. Bonner and a member of the Fourth Generation of the Gaines Family.

Lateefa T. Russel


Ms. Lateefa T. Russel is a graduate of Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. Lateefa has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2004.

Lateefa has held numerous embalming positions throughout Ohio. She also serves as a trade embalmer from Bridgeforth and Associates LLC.

Carl E. Kirby - Gaines Sr.

Carl E. Kirby - Gaines Sr.

Former President

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.

James Bridgeforth

James Bridgeforth

Mortician's Assistant

James has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2009.

James comes to Gaines with over 20 years of knowledge.

James has been a sole asset of the Gaines Staff since his arrival. 

Antonio Campbell

Antonio Campbell


Antonio has been a member of Gaines Funeral Home Since 2011

Antonio is a proud member at Greater Peace Missionary Baptist Church where he serve as minister of music under the pastorate of Rev. Ezra Tillman

He is the Gaines Funeral Home's musician.

Dee Chapman

Dee Chapman


Dee has been a member of the Gaines Family since 2000.

Dee has been the proud wife of her loving husband Larry for 8 years

Dee is a Social Worker for The Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility,

Dee 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.

Dee has been a valued asset of the Gaines Family since her arrival.

Dee is a member of Allen Chapel M.B.C 

Pastor Robert Dix

Pastor Robert Dix

Clergy/Hearse Driver

Rev. Robert Dix has been with the Gaines family since the late 90's

On May 30, 2007, Minister Robert M. Dix, Jr. was called to Pastor the United Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio.

A native of Cleveland, Pastor Dix, was baptized at The Open Door Missionary Baptist Church in 1978 by the late Reverend Horace Rickerson. He received his License to Preach the Gospel in 2000 under his pastor, Reverend Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Jr. While at Open Door, he served in various ministries and capacities that included: Associate Minister; President of the Ushers� Ministry; Co-leader of the Service Ministry Team; the Drama Ministry; the Building and Expansion Committee; the By-Laws and Constitution Committee; Minister of the Young Adult Ministry; Worship Leader of the Nursing Home Ministry; the Social Action Ministry; New Membership Class Instructor; and Sunday School and Bible Study Instructor. On June 29, 2007, under the leadership of Pastor Franklin, Open Door ordained Pastor Dix.

In addition to his service at Open Door, Pastor Dix has had multiple opportunities to serve various ministries locally and nationally as a guest speaker and also serves as a Chapel Minister and Attendant at The Gaines Funeral Home in Cleveland, Ohio since 2003. From October 2004 to August 2006, he served as the Interim Minister of the Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of The Baptist Minister�s Conference of Cleveland, Ohio and Vicinity; United Pastors in Mission of Cleveland, Ohio; and The Baptist Pastors Council of Cleveland and Vicinity.

Graduating from Warrensville Heights High School in Warrensville Heights, Ohio in 1989, Pastor Dix enlisted in to the United States Army and received an Honorable Discharge in 1998. He continued his education by attending Cuyahoga County Community College in Highland Hills, Ohio, majoring in Business Administration. In 2002 he received his undergraduate degree in Theology with a concentration in Black Church Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio, and aspires to complete his Master of the Arts degree in Practical Theology.

Pastor Dix was employed as a Sales Manager at Arch Wireless, Inc. from 1996 to 2002. In 2003 Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division Honorable Judge Janet E. Burney appointed Pastor Dix to position of Bailiff. Since 2005, he has held a position of Mediator in the Intake Department of the same court where he continues to serve families and the community.

A devoted family man, Pastor Dix is the eldest son of Dorothy and Robert Dix, Sr. He is married to Sabrina (Harris) Dix. Lady Dix is the Director of The Women�s Ministry at United. Together they have two sons, Robert, III and Daryl; and three daughters Emani,Tameka and LaTasha. 

Ozell Dobbins

Ozell Dobbins


Ozell has been a member of the Gaines family since 2008.

Ozell comes to us from the City of Cleveland Water Department, Retiring with 31 Years of service. 

Robert Gildersleeve

Robert Gildersleeve

Chief of Motor Security

Mr. Gildersleeve has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2005.

Mr. Gildersleeve serves on the Deacon Board at New Galilee B.C. under pastorate of Rev. W.C. Jones

Mr. Gildersleeve holds the title of Funeral Escort and Limo Driver

Hubert Jordan

Hubert Jordan

Mr. Jordan has been with The Gaines Funeral Home for many years.

Hubert came to Gaines after retiring from Ford Motor Company with over 20+ years of dedicated service.

Along with his brother Clifford, Hubert has been an asset to the funeral home since his arrival. 

Jesse Peters

Jesse Peters

Funeral Concierge

Jesse has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2008.

He is a member of the 2rd Shift staff. He is also the assistant of The Memorial Tribute Specialist.

Jesse is a member of St. Teresa Holiness Science Church, under pastorate of Rev. Theresa Hatcher.

Elder Jonathan Scott Pressley

Elder Jonathan Scott Pressley


Elder Pressley has been with the Gaines Family for many years.

Elder Pressley is one of Gaines's loyal employees.

Elder Pressley is the assistant Pastor of Love Center Interdenominational Church under the leadership of Bishop Paul Carrington. 

Charles Sharp


Charles has been with the Gaines Family since 2008.

Charles comes to us with many years of funeral knowledge, formally working for the Rogers Funeral Home.

Anthony Stewart

Groundskeeper/Custodial Staff

Tony has been with the Gaines Funeral Home since 2009.

He is a member of The Word Church, under pastorate of Rev. R.A. Vernon.

Tony is the caretaker of the Funeral Home.

Deborah Washington


Deborah Washington has been a member of the Gaines family since 2007.

Deborah retired from the Cleveland Police Department in 2010.

Deborah held the title of Lieutenant for the Cleveland Police department, Officer in charge of The Financial Crimes Unit.

Deborah is an active member of Zion Chapel M.B.C under pastorate of Rev. George O. Stewart. 

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