Bruce E. Leesman, Owner/President
Bruce grew up in Atlanta, Ill., and graduated from Olympia High School in 1993. He enrolled in Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, Ill., in September of 1994 and graduated in September of 1995.
Bruce joined the staff at Dashner-Strauss Funeral Homes in 1995 as an apprentice funeral director and embalmer. After completing his apprenticeship, Bruce was hired full time and served in that capacity until 2001 when he was promoted to manager of the funeral homes. Bruce purchased the business from Kermit and Suzanne Mueller in 2004.
Bruce is a member of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association, the Egyptian Funeral Directors Association, Columbia Masonic Lodge # 474 A. F & A.M. were he served as Worshipful Master in 2011, former trustee for the Dupo Fire Protection District serving from 2007-2012 and was inducted into the Dupo Walk of Honor in 2012 as an outstanding community leader.
Greg A. Leesman, Owner/Vice President
Greg grew up in Atlanta, IL., and graduated from Olympia High School in 1997. He received an Associate Degree in Mortuary Science from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago, IL. in 2000.
Greg joined Dashner-Strauss Funeral Homes to work along with his brother, Bruce in 2001. Greg is a member of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association and Egyptian Funeral Directors Association.
He married his wife, Kelli in 2007, they reside in Columbia, IL. above the funeral home. Kelli grew up in Chester, IL., and graduated from Chester High School in 1991.
Kelli works for Together Credit Union as a fraud specialist in St. Louis, MO.
Their son Nick joined the United States Army in June of 2020. He is stationed at Ft. Benning, GA.
When they aren't working they enjoy spending time with their family and friends. They both are big dog lovers and their two goldendoodles, Lexi & Ruby are very special to them. They also enjoy spending as much time as they can at the Lake of the Ozarks. Both, Greg & Kelli are huge St. Louis Cardinals and Fighting Illini fans.
Alicia Gutierrez, Director of Operations
Alicia grew up in Monroe County and currently resides in Columbia, Illinois with her beautiful German Shepherd, Beau. She attends Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and is pursuing her Master’s degree in Marketing Communications.
Alicia joined us in January of 2020 as the Director of Operations to adequately plan and monitor the daily operations. She is responsible for the growth and profitability and is an essential asset to our business.
When Alicia isn’t working, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, and attending Blues or Cardinals games.
Jim Jarvis, Pre-Need Professional/After Care Specialist
Jim is a lifelong resident of the Dupo/East Carondelet area and a 1984 graduate of Dupo High School. He attended William Jewell College on a football scholarship. After working for over 25 years in the regular business sector, he joined the Funeral/Cemetery industry in 2014.
Jim is a licensed insurance agent and also has his cemetery license through the State of Illinois. He has also been a nationally certified High School coach since 1991 through ACEP. He continues to be a volunteer for the Community Outreach Program at Touchette Regional Hospital.
When he isn't working he enjoys traveling and spending time with his family including watching their Hockey, Cheerleading and Soccer events.
Devin P. McCluskie, Funeral Director/Embalmer
Devin P. McCluskie was born and raised in Herrin. After graduating Herrin High School he attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where he received his degree in Mortuary Science and Funeral Service. After an internship and apprenticeship at Spengel-Boulanger Funeral Home in Highland, he went to New Mexico where he studied different cultures in funeral service while working at Grants Mortuary. Later he returned home and began a long career with Hughes Funeral Homes in Williamson and Johnson Counties. He joined the staff of Leesman Funeral Homes as a location manager in October of 2019 in order to professionally and uniquely serve the families of Williamson county and southern Illinois.
Devin is a member of Lone Oak Baptist Church in Herrin and the Illinois Funeral Directors Association and Herrin’s Prairie Lodge #693 AF&AM. He is also civically active as a little league coach and member of the Police/Fire Commissioners Board in Herrin.
He is married to his wife of 21 years, Wendy McCluskie, who teaches seventh grade math and helps coach Jr. High Volleyball in Johnston City. Together they have 3 children- Gavin, a senior who hopes to major in Aerospace Engineering, Lauren, a freshman who is active in student government and plays on the JV Volleyball team and Luke, a seventh grader who enjoys x-box gaming, mountain biking and competitive swimming. He is the son of Mike and Sandy McCluskie of Herrin.
In his spare time he enjoys travelling and spending time with his family hiking the beautiful trails of southern Illinois with their dog- Annika.
Cara Strotheide, Apprentice Funeral Director/Embalmer
Cara grew up in Breese, Illinois, and was a 2008 graduate of Mater Dei Catholic High
School. Following high school she attended Kaskaskia College and obtained her
Emergency Medical Technician Certificate and became a licensed EMT-Basic within the
State of Illinois. Since 2012 she has been a volunteer EMT-Basic with Sugar Creek
Ambulance Service in Trenton, Illinois.
In 2019, she decided to follow her lifelong passion of working in the funeral industry.
She was part of the first ever online mortuary program offered by Worsham College of
Mortuary Science, located in Wheeling, Illinois. She graduated in January of 2021 and
began working with Leesman Funeral Homes in March of 2021.
She and her boyfriend, Chris, enjoy spending their downtime with family and friends. They
especially enjoy watching his kids sporting events which include soccer, baseball, track
and cross country.
Erica Lenardt, Apprentice Funeral Director/Embalmer
Erica grew up in Macomb, Illinois and currently resides in Dupo, Illinois with her cats, Stevie and Maple, rabbits; Scout and Magnolia, and leopard gecko, Cleo.
She graduated Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a bachelors in Mortuary Science and Funeral Service and a minor in Forensic Science.
Erica is a member of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association, a long time 4-H member, and an alumni of Sigma Phi Sigma. She joined the Leesman team as an apprentice in May of 2021.
In her free time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with friends.
Megan Simmons, Apprentice Funeral Director/Embalmer
Megan is a lifelong resident of Madison County, Illinois.
She graduated with honors from Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Services in December of 2020. Megan began working as an apprentice for Leesman Funeral Home in May of 2021. She is also a member of Commonwealth’s National Honor Society and the Illinois Funeral Directors Association.
She married her husband, Sawyer, in October of 2020. Together they have two children Rylee and Ronin. Their daughter, Rylee, enjoys figure skating and dance. Their son, Ronin, enjoys driving his sister crazy.
When Megan is not at work, she adores spending time with her family, their dog Luna and their chickens.
Michael Lawlor, Funeral Director
Mike is a lifelong resident of Columbia, as is his wife Sandy, and their two daughters. He was the owner/operator of Lawlor Funeral Home in Columbia for 39 years. He is a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. He has served the community as City Treasurer, member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and Columbia Unit School District 4 Board member. He enjoys sports of all kinds, as well a good BBQ now and then.
Steve Zimmermann, Funeral Director
Steve has been in funeral service since 1972. He is licensed in the State of Illinois as a funeral director and embalmer. He is married to Christie, they have two daughters and a grandson. Steve is a member and past president of the Optimist Club of Belleville, and has been a lifelong member of St. Peter's Cathedral Catholic Church. He enjoys gardening and traveling.
Gary L. Edwards, September 8, 1957 - January 12, 2019
Gary was a member of the First Congregational Church in Dupo, joining in 1982. He held the positions of President, Trustee and he held the position of Treasurer for 14 years. Gary also belonged to the DuKare Food Pantry since its inception in 1987 where he held the positions of President, Clerk and Treasurer. Gary worked in the Funeral Service Industry since 1993.
Gary grew up in Poplar Bluff, Missouri and moved to Dupo, Illinois in 1970. He graduated from Dupo High School in 1975.
Gary passed away suddenly on January 12, 2019. He impacted everyone's lives more than he ever knew with his upbeat personality and willingness to always help. Gary's dedication to his church, DuKare, his family, co-workers and colleagues in the Funeral Profession and he will never be forgotten.
To honor and celebrate the life of our co-worker, teammate and friend, Gary's bio will continue to remain on our website.