Our Staff

Our staff is comprised of dedicated and licensed professionals with the experience to answer all your questions regarding our services. Please feel free to contact any of our staff members at any time.

Merle Soltis

Merle Soltis

Funeral Home Manager

Merle moved to Durant in 1991 from Denison, TX, and he has worked at the funeral home since January 1996.  Merle attended Dallas Institute of Funeral Service and graduated in 1982.  He has licenses to operate in both Texas and Oklahoma.  Merle is a member of First Baptist Church in Durant, where he serves as a Deacon.  He is a member and past president of the Durant Kiwanis Club and past Board Member of the Bryan County Pregnancy Center.  His interests include travelling and enjoying a good meal.  Merle has been married to his wife, Cindy, since 1984, and they have one daughter, Claire, and one son, Carter, whom they enjoy spending time with and helping them with activities for school, sports, and dance.


Kaleigh Eastwood

Kaleigh Eastwood

Licensed Apprentice Funeral Director and Embalmer


Kaleigh Eastwood moved to Durant, Oklahoma in August 2018 from Aberdeen, Ohio. She is a graduate of Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has been in the death profession previously for 2 years. She will complete her apprenticeship this year in 2019. Kaleigh made the move to Oklahoma to be close with her family. Kaleigh was on a volunteer fire department and life squad; she is a licenses EMT. She loves to volunteer her time with children, and mental health awareness. She enjoys the outdoors, she like to camp, boat, fish and swim in her downtime.

Kaleigh believes funeral service is very important and should be personalized to each family. Kaleigh also stated “I felt this profession is a calling, and is what God planned for me. I am honored to care for each of the families we serve.”


Curtis Vaughn

Curtis Vaughn

Funeral Home Manager, Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer

Curtis Vaughn was raised in Durant, Oklahoma.  After graduating from Durant High School, he attended Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science. Curtis married Diane Morgan, and together they had five daughters: Abbi, Kimberly, Kasondra, Melissa and Kendra.  He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren: Jon, Morgan, Rylan, Logan, Sawyer, Kaylee, Jacob, Noah and Sadye.  He also loves to ride motorcycles, going camping, tinkering on old cars and bikes, working out in the yard and spending time with Diane.  His favorite times are family "get togethers" whether it is for a birthday, holiday or just because.  His family is his greatest joy and hobby because no matter what happens in life, they are always there and will be together.  What greater life could a man ask for that has his family that he loves and that loves him! 

Curtis is also active in the community by serving with the Lions Club delivering Meals on Wheels, Kiwanis, member of the Masonic Lodge in Durant and Scottish Rite in McAlester; also, he is involved with the Durant Chamber of Commerce.  Curtis is a member of the Mead Baptist Church.


Jeremy Burris

Jeremy Burris

Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer

Jeremy Burris, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is a 1992 graduate of Olney High School in Coalgate, OK, a 2003 graduate of Bethel University in McKenzie, TN, and a 2005 graduate of The Dallas Institute of Funeral Service.

Jeremy and his wife, Joy, live in Coalgate, OK with their two sons, Jett and Jase. He enjoys coaching his sons' baseball and football teams, fishing, grilling out, playing golf, playing the drums, watching the OU Sooners and the Texas Rangers.

The Burris family attend the First Baptist Church in Coalgate, where Jeremy serves as a Deacon and teaches the youth class on Wednesday nights.

Jeremy has served as a District Chairman, Governor, Secretary and Treasure, and Vice-President for the Oklahoma Funeral Directors Association.

Jeremy looks forward to serving the families of Bryan County and the surrounding communities.


Maureen Ribera

Maureen Ribera

Administrative Assistant

Maureen Ribera grew up in Boswell, Oklahoma and graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and married Mark.  They have five boys and nine grandchildren.  She enjoys shopping for bargains, sharing photographs and spoiling her grandchildren.


Funeral Home Assistance

Ethel Houston

Ethel Houston

Receptionist

Ethel Houston has lived in Bryan County for all of her life, and she has worked at the funeral home since 1999.  She attends Faith Baptist Church in Bokchito, and she enjoys singing at the church and helping wherever needed.  Her interests include cooking, reading, and travelling when she can.  Ethel has been married to her husband, Jerry, since 1969, and they have one daughter, Theresa, and two sons, David and Bradley.  She enjoys spending time with them, whenever she can.


Juanita Thomas

Juanita Thomas

Receptionist

Juanita was born and raised in Colbert, Oklahoma. She is retired from the Bryan County for over 12 years. She was married to Newman Thomas for 63 years where they raised three children in Durant. Her children are, Phyllis, Luanne, and Joe. She also has 5 grandkids and 8 great-grandkids. Juanita Thomas is a member of Grace Baptist Church. She enjoy's sewing and cooking. In her spare time she volunteers at the church by served as the assistant treasurer and Family Feeding Family.


Dennis Sterbenz

Dennis Sterbenz

Funeral Assistant

Dennis is originally from Independence, MO.  His wife is Lou Ann Sterbenz, and they have three children, Stacy, Tommy, & Brian, and six grandchildren.  He attended Van Horn High School in Independence, MO.  He is currently a member of First Baptist Church in Durant, OK, where he is a deacon.  He is involved as a church ministry chairman for the Bryan County Gideons, as well as serving Meals on Wheels.  He enjoys crafts, fishing, and serving in his church and as a Gideon.


Benny Arnott

Benny Arnott

Funeral Assistant

Benny Arnott is married to Debbie Lackey for 49 years, they have lived in Durant, Oklahoma for all their lives. He is a graduate of Cobb High School. Benny worked at many automobile dealerships industry serving as Managers for the Body Shop and Maintenance Repair. Benny has 3 children, Amber along with twins Jason and Jeremey, also 9 grandchildren. Benny enjoys driving many places and doing yard work. He loves spending time with his grandkids and watching them play their many sports.


Jesse West

Jesse West

Funeral Assistant

Jesse is originally from Tioga, LA.  He has been married to Carroll West for 27 years, and they have two daughters, Britney Bogue & Erica Watts, one son, Austin West, one granddaughter, and 3 grandsons.  He attended school in Boyd High School in Boyd, TX, and he attended Temple Baptist Bible College in Ft. Worth, TX.  He is also the pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Durant, OK, as well as a volunteer chaplain at MCSO in Durant, OK.  He serves as pastor of Outreach Ministries in Durant and the outlying areas, working out of Westside Baptist Church.  His hobbies include fishing, camping, and hunting.


Ted Henderson

Ted Henderson

Pre-Arrangement Counselor



Dan McLemore

Dan McLemore

Funeral Assistant

~ IN MEMORIAM ~

August 21, 1948 - April 12, 2015

Dan McLemore graduated from Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He married Lucy and had one daughter named Candace Leach, whom married Garry. He also has one granddaughter Amber McLemore. Dan is a member of the Fairview Baptist Church and is a Pastor of Native American Mission of Durant. He enjoys reading, eating and sleeping.


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