Our knowledgeable staff are passionate about providing families guidance and support during the funeral planning process and well after the funeral. Together, we can honor your loved one’s life while beginning your grief journey.

 

 

Hall-Wynne Funeral Service

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Michael J. O’Connor President
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Justin R. Boone Durham Manager / Funeral Director
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Eugene S. Bobbitt, Sr. Finance Manager/Service Associate
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Nancy Kennedy Durham Office Manager / Funeral Director
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Katie C. O’Connor Durham Funeral Director
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Charlie McNeil Funeral Service Associate / Crematory
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Mark Archambault Funeral Service Associate / Crematory
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Susan Peters Durham Funeral Apprentice
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Kay Lockamy LaBarre Funeral Service Associate
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Debbie Strickland Funeral Service Associate
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Ralph Wilson Funeral Service Associate
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George Stevens Funeral Service Associate
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Chuck McLean Funeral Service Associate
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Bill Gregory Funeral Service Associate
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Richard Ward Funeral Service Associate
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Mark T. Higgins Durham Funeral Director
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Michael C. Poole Durham Funeral Director

Gentry-Newell & Vaughan Funeral Home

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Cassandra “Casey” Champion Oxford Funeral Director
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JoAnn Vaughan Funeral Service Associate
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Frances Wheeler Funeral Service Associate
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Ed Webb Funeral Service Associate
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Larry Currin Funeral Service Associate
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Percy Powell Funeral Service Associate
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Phillip Hawkins Funeral Service Associate
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Cliff Brummitt Funeral Service Associate
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Carolyn Moss Funeral Service Associate
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The Late John E. Newell Oxford Funeral Director

Michael J. O’Connor

President
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Michael O'Connor joined Hall-Wynne in 1999 soon after graduating from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. Funeral service is not only a second career for Mike, but a vocation as well. Mike was a 1977 graduate of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where he was born and raised. He was employed for 16 years with Rockwell International Corporation working on the U.S. Space Shuttle and B-1B Bomber programs in Los Angeles, CA. He was introduced to funeral service in high school while working for his uncle, who owned two funeral homes in the Pittsburgh area.

When corporate life at Rockwell became routine and unremarkable, it was an easy decision for him to enter funeral service. Mike became a stockholder in Hall-Wynne Funeral Service in 2005 and on October 3, 2019 he became principal owner and president.

Mike enjoys working out at the gym 3-4 days a week. An avid reader who enjoys travel when schedule permits, he’s a devoted Pittsburgh Steeler fan and a loyal Duke Blue Devils basketball fan. Mike has two wonderful children. His son, Brian, proudly served his country in the U.S. Air Force and is a graduate of Clemson University. His daughter, Katie, joined the company in April 2018 and received her Funeral Director’s license in June 2020. Mike is a long-time member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Durham.


“Establishing trust and exceeding expectations are key ingredients in making a family feel well-cared for throughout the funeral process. Funeral service is unique in the sense every Hall-Wynne employee has the capability to form a long-lasting friendship with family members who may have walked through the door days earlier as a complete stranger.”

Justin R. Boone

Durham Manager / Funeral Director
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Justin Boone joined the staff of Hall-Wynne in Durham in August of 2009. A native of Rutherford County, he is a graduate of Fayetteville Technical Community College’s funeral service program. Justin is a member of Grey Stone Church, through which he has generously volunteered his time on mission trips to Haiti and Zambia, and where he serves as an ordained Deacon. He is a member of the Exchange Club of Greater Durham. Justin values time spent with his wife, Dr. Allison Boone, a large-animal pathology veterinarian, enjoys the outdoors and playing the piano.

“I’ve always wanted to work with people, and can’t imagine doing anything I’d love more than exactly what I do now.”

Eugene S. Bobbitt, Sr.

Finance Manager/Service Associate
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Gene Bobbitt is a well-known Durham native who spent 33 years as Director of Advertising for the Herald-Sun newspaper. He served as President of Friendly North State Sertoma Club, Chairman of the Durham Amateur Golf Tournament, the Board of Directors for Durham Sales & Marketing, President of the Herald-Sun Credit Union, and President/Board of Directors of the Mid-Atlantic Newspaper Advertising & Marketing Executives Association, a six-state newspaper management organization, and received an Honorary Life Membership for his long term service and accomplishments to the organization.

He joined the Hall-Wynne staff in 2003 as the company’s in-house accountant and funeral service associate. Gene became operating manager of the crematory upon its construction in 2009. He also serves on the company’s board of directors.

Gene also owns and operates a tax and accounting business, holds a private pilot’s license, but mostly enjoys time with his four children and six grand-children. He is also a car and motorcycle enthusiast and can often be found in his Corvette convertible or on his Harley-Davidson cycle.

“Funeral service has allowed me to help so many friends and acquaintances through a difficult time. I especially enjoy helping people I have never even met deal with the loss of a loved one. The gratification and appreciation I receive from families exceeds anything I’ve ever experienced.”

Nancy Kennedy

Durham Office Manager / Funeral Director
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Nancy Buttry Kennedy is a Durham native. She graduated from Southern High School and completed her funeral directing education at Fayetteville Tech. She has been with Hall-Wynne since 1995, receiving her funeral directing license in 2002. Nancy is married to James Kennedy and lives in Hillsborough with her children, Michael and Abby. 

“I consider myself lucky because I’ve discovered not only who I am but where I’m supposed to be. My life’s been led by the overwhelming desire to help others, something I did not fully understand until I began working at Hall-Wynne. That satisfaction continues to reinforce I’m in the right place.”

Katie C. O’Connor

Durham Funeral Director
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Katie O’Connor was born in Pittsburgh, PA and moved to Durham, NC at a young age. She is a graduate of Durham School of the Arts and East Carolina University. Katie worked in sales at Lenovo for two and a half years after graduating college. She graduated from Fayetteville Technical Community College in December 2019, where she pursued her Funeral Directors’ degree. Lover of all things hot pink and leopard print, Katie enjoys shopping, working out and spending time with friends and family.

“Since the young age of 4, I’ve grown up in the funeral service industry and have witnessed firsthand many aspects of this business that have helped mold me into the person I am today.  I chose funeral service because compassion and care are so important during the time of loss and I want to continue to give that attention to the families that we serve. This position helps me be a compassionate, understanding and poised individual not only at work but in my day-to-day life.”

Charlie McNeil

Funeral Service Associate / Crematory
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My name is Charlie McNeill, and I’ve been a Funeral Service Associate at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service for 17 years. In my free time, I enjoy being outside with my wife Laura and our daughter Lily; I love to watch or play football, golf, frisbee golf or go to college football or basketball games (Go Heels). In addition, I am on a mission to find the best hamburger and fried chicken in town and enjoy cooking competitive BBQ. When I am not working at Hall Wynne, I am the Operations Pastor at New Horizon Church in Durham. God has placed a tremendous burden on my heart to help people, and Hall Wynne allows me to do that with people in their darkest hours. After all these years, the compassion and care that the Hall Wynne staff puts into every service still inspires me.

 

Mark Archambault

Funeral Service Associate / Crematory
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My name is Mark Archambault and I’ve been a Funeral Service Associate at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service for a year and a half. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Bridget, our two daughters and our quadruplet grandchildren. After working over 30 years in customer service, I came to work at Hall-Wynne because I wanted to be able to serve individuals and families during a time of loss and grief. I chose Hall-Wynne specifically, because of the way they served my family during the loss of my parents.

 

Susan Peters

Durham Funeral Apprentice
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Susan Peters is originally from Woodstock, New York but has been a North Carolina resident for most of her life. Susan attended North Carolina State University and received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Recently, she decided to follow a lifelong calling and return to Mortuary School. Susan graduated with honors in May 2020 from Fayetteville Technical Community College with an Associates Degree in Funeral Services. Susan plans to become a licensed Funeral Director after completing her apprenticeship hours.

Susan currently resides in Fuquay-Varina with her significant other James, and her stepdaughter Ashlyn.

Susan is also an artist that creates in several types of media. She enjoys spending time with her family and her pets, including two horses. Susan also enjoys gardening and traveling when time allows.

“I feel fulfilled being able to assist families in one of the most stressful times of their lives. I feel it is an honor to be able to care for their loved ones as if they are a member of my own family. I am very lucky to have a career that allows me to not only help others, but also create a deep sense of fulfillment in my everyday life.”

Kay Lockamy LaBarre

Funeral Service Associate
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My name is Kay Lockamy LaBarre. I was born and raised in Durham and I am a lifelong member of Grey Stone Baptist Church.  In my free time I enjoy concerts, Duke basketball, shopping and cookouts with my family. I have been a funeral service associate with Hall-Wynne since 2013.

Working at Hall-Wynne has given me the opportunity to serve families that are hurting and going through a difficult time. People are my passion and I’m thankful God has provided this opportunity to serve in our community.

Debbie Strickland

Funeral Service Associate
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My name is Debbie Strickland and I’ve been a Funeral Service Associate at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service for 6 years. I’m a retired nurse of over 40 years and have been married to my husband for 44 years. In my free time, I enjoy going to the beach, reading, and spending time with my family; especially my two grandsons. Working at Hall-Wynne has given me a sense of purpose to help families during a time of loss. I enjoy working alongside great people who I consider family that also make this job that more enjoyable.

Ralph Wilson

Funeral Service Associate
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My name is Ralph Wilson and I've been a Funeral Service Associate at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service for a year and a half. In my free time I enjoy volunteering as a docent at the Bennett Place Historic Site, as well as working at a concession stand in Cameron Indoor Stadium during Duke basketball games! During baseball season I'll be serving as an usher at Durham Bulls games! Working at Hall-Wynne has been an amazing experience. Our staff is filled with compassionate and supportive professionals who have a gift for helping families and friends navigate their way through one of life's most difficult events. Working with my wonderful colleagues has been a truly uplifting experience and having opportunities to assist families when they need our services is very fulfilling.

George Stevens

Funeral Service Associate
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My name is George Stevens and I’ve been a Funeral Service Associate at Hall-Wynne for eighteen years. I enjoy church, family, playing golf and riding my motorcycle.  Working at Hall-Wynne is the perfect part-time job, and you could not ask for a better group of people and friends! It is a privilege to assist families in their time of need in a professional and caring way.

Chuck McLean

Funeral Service Associate
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My name is Chuck Mclean, and I’ve been a Funeral Service Associate at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service for 3 three years. I’m a lifelong resident of Durham. I worked previously for UPS out of the Durham center and retired after 30 years of service. I have 3 children: Madison, Sydney, and Cooper. I’ve been involved in many community organizations over the years and enjoy giving back to the Durham community when possible. What I love about working at Hall- Wynne is the commitment to take care of each family they serve just as if it was their own family. My hobbies now have become mostly coaching my son’s athletic teams, keeping up with 2 very active daughters and cooking a little BBQ when I can.

Bill Gregory

Funeral Service Associate
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My name is Bill Gregory and I have been a Funeral Service Associate at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service for 24 years. In my free time, I enjoy playing the piano, spending time with family/friends, and spoiling my fur-babies. It gives me such a good feeling to be able to help and assist families in any way I can during their time of grief. I am very proud to be a part of the Hall-Wayne Family.  We have an outstanding professional and caring staff, and I always look forward to working with them. They are the best of the best.

Richard Ward

Funeral Service Associate
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My name is Richard Ward (U.S. Navy, Retired) and I’ve been a Funeral Service Associate at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service for over 8 years.  In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, camping, visiting national parks, going on cruises, live theatre, serving as a volunteer with the Durham Symphony and enjoying great coffee and the music at Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse.  Working at Hall-Wynne has allowed me to care for families during their time of grief and stress and hopefully ease some of this burden from them.

Cassandra “Casey” Champion

Oxford Funeral Director
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A longtime Granville Co. resident, Casey Champion is a graduate of Longwood College and also holds a master’s degree in public health. She is a volunteer fire fighter and EMT with Berea Fire Dept. and was a state medical examiner in Granville & Franklin Counties til 2020. Casey completed her studies in funeral service at Fayetteville Technical Community College and became licensed in 2021.  She is a strong advocate in serving her community and giving her all to the families she serves. She loves all animals, but especially horses.  Casey has a son and is a “Bonus” mom to 2 special young adults in her life.

“There is no more difficult a time than at the death of a family member. The privilege to care for the deceased, and to show kindness, respect and gentleness to  families and friends is priceless.”

JoAnn Vaughan

Funeral Service Associate
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JoAnn is a long-standing face of Gentry-Newell & Vaughan, who is one of the kindest and most generous souls you will meet. Her late husband, Stuart Vaughan, is the Vaughan at Gentry – Newell & Vaughan. JoAnn has served our agency for over 50 years and continues to serve with kind words and a soft smile.  She is a lifetime resident of Granville County and an active member of Enon Baptist Church. She is a graduate of John Nichols High School and Fuller Business School of Oxford. JoAnn loves to travel North Carolina and shop at all the little places in between.

Frances Wheeler

Funeral Service Associate
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Frances is a Funeral Service Associate since 2021. She is a go getter with great new ideas and strong Christian values.  She is married to her husband; William and they have two beautiful daughters, and she loves her fur babies. She loves to work out, eat right and live life to the fullest. When not working, Frances and her husband love to travel, attend church and be with family and friends. She is an avid reader. 

Frances says that everyday is a learning experience and it is her honor to help families when they truly need you.

Ed Webb

Funeral Service Associate
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Ed Webb is a Funeral Service Associate and the right-hand man of Gentry-Newell & Vaughan.  He has been with our agency since 1998 and loves serving the community.  He values each and every person. He is a graduate of Mary Potter School, class of 1969 and is married to Shirley and they have raised two children and two grandchildren. Ed is a lifetime resident of Oxford, NC and never meets a stranger. He is an avid bike rider and loves to watch and play sports.

Larry Currin

Funeral Service Associate
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Larry is a Funeral Service Associate at Gentry-Newell & Vaughan since 2016. Larry loves to hunt turkeys and deer and is a lifelong member of Hester Baptist Church; where he serves as a Deacon and Sunday school teacher. When Larry isn’t hunting, he spends time with his beautiful wife of 44 years, Patty Currin and his two sons, Jess and Wyatt.   He retired from ST. Wooten after 43 years of grading and paving. Larry loves to serve people and wanted to stay active in a local old established agency that serves his community.

Percy Powell

Funeral Service Associate
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Percy has been a Funeral Service Associate with GNV since 2013. Percy is a lifetime resident of Granville County. He is a member of Sharon Baptist Church and an active Sunday School teacher. He loves to work in the yard and garden at his home.  His biggest joy in life comes from family.  He enjoys being a husband, a father, a grandfather, a son, a brother and an uncle; each part played fulfills him and he believes that “working at the funeral home has taught me to treasure these relationships every day.”

“I see working at GNV as a calling. Not everyone can do this type of work and those of us who can, tend to view our work as a ministry. Our job is to deliver as much dignity and honor as we can to the deceased and to the families that we serve.”

Phillip Hawkins

Funeral Service Associate
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Phillip has been a Funeral Service Associate with GNV since 2015. Phillip loves to play golf, spending time with my niece and nephew and my church family.   He enjoys working in his yard.

Working at GNV you are going to be dealing with families going through a very difficult time. You must show them comfort and compassion.   I enjoy helping them through the emotions. It is also very important to enjoy working with your coworkers and I consider my coworkers, my friends.”

Cliff Brummitt

Funeral Service Associate
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Carolyn Moss

Funeral Service Associate
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Mark T. Higgins

Durham Funeral Director
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Mark Higgins is President Emeritus of Hall-Wynne, having been its principal owner until 2019 and now serving in a part-time capacity. He is a graduate of Hope College in Holland, Michigan and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. Mark spent 10 years as a consultant and marketing director of the international association, Selected Independent Funeral Homes prior to relocating to Durham in 1992.

A frequent presenter on end of life issues, Mark regularly conducts programs in the community, including Duke Divinity School, area churches, hospice groups and Duke Hospital’s CPE program. He is a member of Durham Rotary Club, on the board of Durham Nativity School, and was President (2015-16) of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. Mark is a devotee of art history, enjoys exercise, travel, playing the hammered dulcimer, and tutoring at Durham Nativity School.

Michael C. Poole

Durham Funeral Director
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Mike Poole is a Durham native who was raised in East Durham. A graduate of Southern High School, Mike took a job out of school with Hall-Wynne, being groomed under the legendary Jesse Barnes. He returned to Hall-Wynne after training at Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He served on Durham’s city council, is a member of Durham Lions Club, Masonic Lodge #352 A.F. & A.M., Southgate Chapter 177, O.E.S., the American Society of Embalmers, and is a member of Durham Memorial Baptist Church. He is married to Marilyn Poole, and is the proud father of two daughters and two grandsons. Mike is an accomplished vocalist of Southern Gospel music and appears frequently in performances throughout the community.

“I’ve always thought of my career in funeral service as a ministry. I have been honored to have served thousands of families in my years of service at Hall-Wynne.”

The Late John E. Newell

Oxford Funeral Director
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John E. Newell is a native of Warren County and a former owner of Gentry-Newell & Vaughan. An affiliate with the company his entire career, John graduated from San Francisco College of Mortuary Science. He is the father of four children, 13 grandchildren and a great grandchild. When not working, John raises cattle on his farm, and collects antique cars and model trains.

“My greatest satisfaction has been assisting countless people in the 50 years of my career, earning their trust and being present in whatever ways I can. The families of Granville County have been loyal to us, and I cannot imagine a better place to practice my vocation and care for such wonderful people.”