Meet the Funeral Home Professionals Who Serve You
From left: Ronald Kays, Mark Kays, Michael Uselton, Edward Ponger
Ronald Kays, LFD / Founder
Ron, a graduate of Indiana College of Mortuary Science, has been a funeral director since 1961. He moved to Sarasota County in the late 1950s with his wife, Loretta. A few years later, they settled in Charlotte County where they stayed until retirement.
Ron and Loretta were involved with many organizations throughout our community. He is the past president to many of our organizations, past regional director to the Florida Funeral Director’s Association (FFDA), and a member of the Elks. He is a proud father and grandfather and will be celebrating 50 years of marriage. Ron’s hobbies are woodworking, fishing, hunting, carving, and relaxing.
Edward Ponger, LFD / Founder
One of the founders of Kays-Ponger Funeral Homes, Ed graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1957. He moved to Charlotte County in 1959, where he and Joyce, his wife of 52 years, still reside. Ed is a member of the Punta Gorda Masonic Lodge and past president to several organizations throughout Charlotte County.
His hobbies include golfing, bowling, fishing, and his love for animals.
Michael Uselton, CCFE / Owner / Managing Member
Michael has been a Florida Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer since 1983. He was raised in Punta Gorda and remains actively involved in community activities. In addition, he is a certified Cemetery & Funeral Home Executive by the International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association where he serves as Vice-President. He is past president of Florida Cemetery, Funeral, and Cremation Association and serves as the Chairman of Governmental Affairs. He serves on the Board of Trustees for Tidewell Hospice and is a member of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance. Michael graduated from the University of South Florida and Miami-Dade Community College of Mortuary Science.
Michael is married to Victoria, three children, Nicole, Tayler, and Brett and one granddaughter, Victoria Austin.
Steven Annecone, LFD / Founding Director
Steven was a founding partner of Lemon Bay Funeral Homes and Cremation Services in Englewood and Venice. He has been with us, serving the Englewood and Venice communities, for over 30 years.
Scott E. Daughenbaugh, LFD / Manager
Scott received his associate’s degree in Funeral Service Management and has over 20 years experience in funeral service. In 1987, he joined the Lemon Bay staff.
Scott is extraordinarily committed to the community. He is involved with the Knights of Columbus, Elks Lodge of Englewood, Project Graduation Committee, Board of Directors for the Lemon Bay Boosters Club, Englewood YMCA, and Lemon Bay High School Prom Promise Pledge. Leisure time is spent with his family and playing golf. He also serves the Englewood Little League as a baseball coach and the Englewood YMCA as a basketball coach.
Mark Kays, LFD / General Manager
Mark received his funeral service degree at Miami-Dade Community College. He has experience as a manager of various locations for over 25 years.
As an active member of the community, Mark is a charter member the Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 and is a member of the Punta Gorda Kiwanis Club. He is an advisory board member for Charlotte County TideWell Hospice and Palliative Care.
Ernest “Skip” Cowan, LFD / Manager
Skip has over 30 years of experience in funeral service. A native of Venice, he graduated from Venice High School in 1976 and started on his career path in funeral service. He graduated from Kentucky School of Mortuary Science in Louisville in 1979 and became a licensed funeral director and embalmer in 1980.
Skip is married to Liz and they have two children, Christopher and Nicole, and two grandchildren, Caleb and Cayden. His hobbies include scuba diving, fishing, and spending time with his family. He is a member of the Sarasota Masonic Lodge and North Port Kiwanis. Three grandchildren, Caleb, Cayden and Brooklyn.
Debra K. Fewell, LFD
Debra has been a licensed funeral director in Charlotte County since 1996 and joined the staff of Kays-Ponger & Uselton Funeral Homes and Cremation Services in 1999. She has an AS degree in mortuary science and a BS in executive business management.
Debra is active within our community with organizations such as the Punta Gorda Historical Society and the Arts & Humanities Council of Charlotte County. She is a charter member of the Peace River Center for Writers in Punta Gorda and is an organizer of the local Y.R.I. “happening” You Wrote It, You Read It! Debra is a member of St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. She has two children, Berry Scott, Jr. who is married to Caran and they have a beautiful daughter, Melanie Christine Scott. Her daughter, Sierra Scott is a Junior at Hood College in Frederick, MD. Debra married Murray Fewell, May 12, 2012 and together they enjoy hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors.
Steven F. Jones, LFD
Steven is a graduate of Gupton-Jones Mortuary College and has over 30 years experience in funeral service. He has been on staff with the funeral homes for 20 years.
Scott Kinne, LFD
Scott grew up in Maine, graduating from George’s Valley High School in Thomaston, and later receiving his degree in mortuary science from the New England Institute in Boston in 1976. He settled in the coastal town of Damariscotta in 1978, where he began his 32-year career working at the Strong Funeral Home (est. 1933), purchasing the firm December 31, 1979. After nearly 30 years as owner and director, Scott, his wife, Paula, and their youngest son, Christian, came to Osprey, where they settled in their new home to “retire.” After a brief time, he realized he missed working with families in one of their greatest times of need. He left retirement behind and was honored to join the Lemon Bay Funeral Home in Venice.
Scott and Paula have three other children: Alan, a mechanical engineer in Maine, his wife, Kelly, and their son, Carter; Emily, pursuing her master’s degree in Michigan; and Walker, pursuing a career as a professional golfer.
Michael Luggar, LFD
Michael has 34 years of experience in funeral service and owned a funeral home in Palm Beach County. He attended Miami-Dade Community College, joining the Kays-Ponger & Uselton staff 9 years ago. Although he is a Buffalo native, he moved from New York in 1974 and has lived in Florida ever since.
In addition, he is an avid Buffalo Bill’s fan and enjoys riding his motorcycle. In Michael's spare time he also enjoys listening to 50's and 60's music. Michael attends St. Nathaniel’s Episcopal in North Port. He has two boys and four grandchildren.
Donald A. Linder, Jr., Superintendent
Donald has over 30 years experience in the banking industry. He was a yard foreman's assistant and a foreman for a marine construction company. He also worked as maintenance supervisor at a mobile home park and recreational vehicle parks in Florida. He has been with the staff of Gulf Pines Memorial Park since 2005.
Donald is a graduate of Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio where he studied business and finance. Later, he graduated from Ohio University Savings and Loan Academy in Athens, Ohio with a degree in banking and finance.
Donald enjoys woodcarving and chainsaw carving. He also teaches woodcarving. The 1928 Ford Model A Street Rod is Donald's Favorite hot rod! He is a Vietnam veteran.
Stacy L. Jones, Community Relations Coordinator
Stacy has made a name for herself in our great little town. After graduating from Charlotte High School, she quickly acquired the skills that brought her to market controller at Clear Channel Communications, where she resided for 15 years. During that time she married Billy Jones and had a beautiful daughter, Kendra.
Because of her expert communications and organization skills, she was the top choice for community relations coordinator at Kays-Ponger & Uselton Funeral Homes and Cremation Services. She works tirelessly on being an advocate for assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, veteran organizations, and animal organizations, as well as chairing local community events. Stacy is the current recording secretary for OCEAN, a member of the Arts & Humanities Art in Public Places, advisory council for the Douglas T. Jacobson Residents Fund, member of the veteran’s appreciation committee, Charlotte County Home Health member, Member of Englewood Women’s Group of Englewood Community Hospital, Business and Professional Women’s member, and past board member for the American Cancer Society.
Stacy is an avid outdoorswomen and also enjoys cooking for all to enjoy!
Dee Roberts, Director of Pet Loss Services
Dee grew up in Ohio. After graduating from high school, she joined the National Guard. She attended the University of Cincinnati and Ohio State University. She is a Para Medic and taught the Para Medic course in Ohio. She has always loved animals and still stays involved with the rescue of homeless animals. Dee is currently training her dog, Tyrone in Search & Rescue with a specialty in Cadaver Dog Training. She also is the administrator of the Cell Dog Program at the Charlotte County Jail. Dee is an instructor in First Aid & CPR for both humans and animals. She also works as a Celebrant for Kay Ponger Uselton Lemon Bay Funeral Homes. Dee has lived in Englewood for the past 33 years. She is married and has two children Devon and Mike.
Paul L. Henley, Pet Passings
Paul Henley graduated from Weymouth High School in 1967 and joined the Naval Seabee’s (Construction Battalion of the U.S. Navy), touring in Viet Nam for 15 months. Returning stateside, Paul attended Massasoit Community College and earned his AD in business administration. He also attended USCC to earn his captain’s license, Commercial 75 ton, taking up his grandfather’s career of commercial fishing. Paul was captain/owner of his own vessel for 15 years.
Paul has an ample resume: in the security business as director of security for 10 years, an employee of Ernest & Julio Gallo Wine Company, and at a friend’s funeral home for 10 years. Paul is a Member of the Florida Sheriffs Association and a licensed Florida security officer. He is also an active member of the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks # 2232, for the past 35 years, in Weymouth Ma. In 2000, Paul moved to Florida and joined the Kays-Ponger & Uselton Family..
Paul was married in 2008 to a wonderful lady, and they live in the lovely community of Arcadia. Paul and his wife have five grandchildren.
Gloria Markiewicz, Family Service Counselor
Gloria Markiewicz has been working as a family service counselor for the Kays-Ponger & Uselton Funeral Homes family since leaving Massachusetts after her husband’s retirement. Gloria is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and Bridgewater State College. Her degree in education comes in handy while conducting informative seminars or sting with families to help simplify their options.
In her free time, Gloria enjoys reading, walking on the beach with her husband of 32 years, and traveling often to Boston to visit her 2 children.
Rob Smith, Pre-Need Counselor
Rob Smith has been with the Kays-Ponger and Uselton family since May 2009 serving as family service counselor. Originally from Milwaukee, Rob’s sales training began in college eventually leading to a 15-year career in radio advertising. In addition to sales, he is also an ordained minister and has served as Youth Pastor and Associate Pastor for almost 30 years.
Rob has been married for 24 years to his beautiful wife Norma and together they have 2 adult children, Josiah and Ashley.
David W. Obermier, Pre-Need Counselor
Born in Eastern Iowa with a farm background. Enlisted in the Army in 1974 and was with 101st Airborne. Came back to Iowa and worked 14 years at Amana Refrigeration Company. Then sold life insurance & securities for ten years then started selling manufactured & modular homes. Moved to S.W. Florida in 2007 with my wife, Reine. After three months in Florida I started with Kays-Ponger & Uselton Funeral Homes. I enjoy working with our dedicated staff at the funeral homes and assisting people with their pre-arrangements. I am very informative with a touch of light humor, but also with the seriousness of the subject.
I enjoy church, time on the beach with my wife, reading and motorcycle riding when I take the time to ride.
Chris Lawrence, Grounds Maintenance
Chris is a resident of North Port and has been with Gulf Pines Memorial Park for three years. During that time he has worked diligently to help keep the cemetery grounds looking beautiful.
When he’s not at work, Chris enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.
Nancy J. Habdo, Office Manager
Nancy was born and raised in the Ohio Valley area and moved to Florida 38 years ago. She has 42 years of office experience in the communications, construction, real estate, and funeral businesses. She joined the Kays-Ponger & Uselton Funeral Homes and Cremation Services family in 1999, assisting families with their pre-arrangements and now as office manager. She has one daughter, Stephanie, living in North Carolina, and one cat, Cuddles.
In her free time, Nancy enjoys spending time with her family and friends, bowling, listening to music, trips to Las Vegas, and is an avid Clay Aiken fan.
Diane Kays, Office Manager
Diane joined the Kays-Ponger & Uselton Funeral Homes and Cremation Services staff in 2004. She has 25 years of office experience in various trade works. Within the Punta Gorda community, Diane is an active member of the Elks. In her spare time, she enjoys fishing, bowling, sewing, and crafting.
Sue Frook, Office Manager
Sue has been a Gulf Pines staff member for over 30 years. She is very active in her church. In her leisure time, Sue enjoys reading and shell collecting. Spending time with her family is very important. She has two sons, one daughter, and six grandchildren.
Corrine E. Levesque, Administrative Assistant
Corrine has worked for the Lemon Bay Funeral Homes and Cremation Services for eight years. She was born in Montpelier, Vermont, and enjoys the outdoors and spending time with the family.
Holly Coleman, Administrative Assistant
Holly, originally from Kentucky, has lived in Texas and New York, but has happily been a Floridian for six years now. She has been with Gulf Pines Memorial Park since March of 2010, serving as administrative assistant in the sales department.
She lives in Venice with her husband and son. She enjoys knitting, baking and looking for shark’s teeth on the beach.