Our Team

John M. Grimes
John M. Grimes

A Texas Funeral Service Icon, John M. Grimes along with his devoted wife Susie, served thousands of Texas families during the darkest times of their lives. Many in Texas Funeral Service believe John to be a member of the most significant generation of funeral directors the Great State of Texas has ever produced. Those who worked with him, learned from him, and were served by him will certainly agree.

He was born on June 5, 1936, in San Antonio, Texas, and is the son of the late W. T. Grimes (a former Texas Ranger) and Nell Barfield Grimes. John was raised and attended schools in Alice, Texas.

With two $50.00 checks (a loan from his aunt) in his pocket, he moved to Dallas to attend Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science. He immediately began seeking employment and found a job at Weiland Merritt Funeral Home in Dallas, where he lived and worked while attending school. He also had a second job as a "grease monkey" at a local car wash. John graduated from mortuary school in 1956 and was a member of the honorary fraternity, Pi Sigma Eta. He served his apprenticeship at Cage-Marshall Funeral Home in Aransas Pass, where he learned the business from the ground up - digging graves, making set ups, running ambulance, working services, working in the prep room, working in the yard, washing cars, etc.

After serving his apprenticeship in Aransas Pass, John moved and was employed in the funeral service for ten years in Corpus Christi.

John married the former Susie Barr of Sinton, Texas, their marriage taking place on October 21, 1967. In 1967, they moved to San Antonio and was part owner and manager of Southside Funeral Home. His life in San Antonio at Southside Funeral Home was a learning experience in itself. During the ten years at Southside, John had the military contract, and this was during the Viet Nam era. John saw firsthand the pain suffered by families whose loved ones gave “their last full measure of devotion” to their Country.

John and Susie moved to Kerrville in April of 1977 and purchased Plummer Funeral Home in Kerrville and Bandera.

John and Susie have two grown children, Rebecca Lynne Cates of Henderson, Nevada, whose husband Roger also passed away in 2022, and Johnny Grimes and wife Stacey of Kerrville, Texas. He has four grandsons, Hunter Grimes, Walker Grimes, Austin Cates, and Carson Cates. He is also survived by sister-in-law and spouse, Pat and Archie Dworaczyk of Rocksprings and several nieces and nephews.

When John and Susie arrived in Kerrville, they became active members of Trinity Baptist Church, where John served as Sunday School Director of Adult 1 Department, Property Committee chairman, and Finance Committee chairman. They have been faithful members of Trinity for many years. John was also a member of the Gideons.

John was a member and past president of the South Central Texas Funeral Directors Association and also held each office and went through the officer's chairs of Texas Funeral Directors Association. He served as President of TFDA in 1979-1980, being installed at the 93rd annual convention. In 2003, John was named and honored by TFDA at their annual convention as "Funeral Director of the Year." Also, in 2007, he received from TFDA his 50-year pin as a licensed funeral director/embalmer. John was also a member of the Hill Country Funeral Directors Association.

Throughout the years, John served as an officer and member of various community organizations. He belonged to the Kerrville Rotary Club, was a longtime board member of Kerrville Parks and Recreation Board, past board member of the Hill Country Advisory Council of Schreiner College, past member and chairman of United Way Fund Drive, and was Co-chairman of the Business and Professional Division of the Hill Country College Fund for Schreiner College in 1980.

Additionally, John was past president of the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he served as board member and officer for many years. He was honored by the Kerrville CVB in 2017 and was the first recipient of the Sudie Burditt Wall of Fame. He is past president of the Kerrville Chamber of Commerce and was honored as "Small Business Man of the Year" in 1984.

John belonged to the Kerrville Chapter No. 305 Royal Arch Mason, Kerrville Chapter No. 240, Royal and Select Masters of Texas, San Antonio Scottish Rite Consistory, 32nd Degree Mason. He was a life member of the Kerrville Masonic Lodge No. 697, receiving his 60 year pin, and Kerrville Order of Eastern Star Chapter No. 24.

He was an avid supporter of the youth of the Hill Country including the Hill Country District Junior Livestock Show, where he had been a buyer for 45 years.

His life revolved around responding to the needs of others. He sacrificed many family functions to help a family in their time of need. He was called to this special ministry and his purpose was to make the darkest days and the most difficult journey for a family a little easier. John was the first one to arrive at the funeral home each day and the last to leave at night. Dedicated to his community, he was always ready to serve. John was a person with a loving nature, touched everyone with his gregarious personality and quick wit. He had an uncanny knack for one-liners. John considered his work to have been a blessing, made his life priceless for all the people he met, lives he touched, smiles and hugs he has given.

If you knew John, you knew you are going to get a hug and feel loved. Susie also said that John was a man of his word, a man of exceptional honor, dignity, and faith. His legacy will live on in the lives of countless people he served, who became part of his extended family.

John M. Grimes set an example of unparalleled dedication, excellence and caring. May God grant him rest after a full life of serving others.

Susie Barr Grimes
Susie Barr Grimes

Susie Barr Grimes was born in Sinton, Texas, on April 23, 1946, to the late Edgar A. And Molly Sanders Barr. She married John Grimes on October 21, 1967, in Sinton. To this marriage two children were born, Rebecca Lynne (Becky) and John Arnold (Johnny).

John and Susie have worked side-by-side for 35 years. They are both members of Trinity Baptist Church in Kerrville. Susie has been a board member of many organizations, including the Hill Country Youth Soccer Association (being registrar for many years), Kerrville Little League Association, and board member and past president of Friends of Hospice.

She also was a coach for children’s soccer and baseball teams. She is also a member of the Order of Eastern Star in Kerrville. The great passion of her life, however, is her family. She loves being a Mother and cherishes her role as a grandmother (MumMum) to her four grandsons, Hunter, Walker, Austin and Carson. Pastimes she loves includes reading, gardening, swimming, hunting, and playing tennis.

Johnny A. Grimes
Johnny A. Grimes
Licensed Funeral Director and Owner

Johnny is the son of John and Susie Grimes and was born in San Antonio, Texas. He was raised in Kerrville and graduated from Tivy High School. Johnny attended Hillsboro Junior College for two years and Sam Houston State University on a rodeo scholarship. Then he went to Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service in Houston and in 1998 he graduated from mortuary school.

He married Stacey Brent from LaPorte, Texas, in 1997, and they have two sons: Hunter, who was born on November 1, 1999 and Walker Thomas, who was born January 20, 2003. Johnny and Stacey are members of Trinity Baptist Church (where they were married). Johnny is a member of the Kerrville Masonic Lodge No. 697 in Kerrville and Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association. In his spare time, Johnny enjoys calf roping and team roping, golfing, hunting and spending time with his family.

Lynn Isham
Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer

Lynn has been a resident of Kerrville since 1979, the year in which he received his funeral director’s license and in 1980 his embalmer’s license. He is a graduate of Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science, graduating with honors. Lynn and his wife Sharon (whom he married in 1978) are members of the First Baptist Church in Kerrville. They have two children, a daughter Ashley and a son Wade.

In addition to his professional affiliations, Lynn is a member of the Kerrville Masonic Lodge, No. 697, AF & AM; member of the Kerrville Chapter No. 305 R.A.M. and served as recorder secretary; member of Kerrville Council No. 240 R. & S.M., served as recorder secretary; member of Alzafar Shrine Temple, and was the first group to go through the hot sands on Temple grounds; and member of the Hill Country Shrine Club and is past president.

John Onstott
John Onstott
Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer

John began his 47 year funeral service career in 1973 in his hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas. Licensed as a Funeral Director and Embalmer in 1976, John was associated with mostly large, corporately owned funeral homes. By 1980, his rise in management began, serving in a management capacity in Texas’ largest funeral homes in Dallas, was a Managing Partner of the largest funeral home in Santa Fe, NM, before returning to Austin as Sr. VP of a funeral home, fleet service and professional Care Center for five locations, and finally to Houston where he served as President of one of the nations most prestigious funeral homes.

John was licensed in New Mexico and Oklahoma in addition to Texas.

John is a Past Worshipful Master of his Masonic Lodge, President of his Scottish Rite Class, member of the York Rite, Eastern Star and Director General of the Bedouin Shrine Temple, where he crossed over the Hot Sands. He is a past president of the Rotary Club of Santa Fe, NM; twice chairman of the Santa Fe Immunization Coalition; Chair of the National Christmas Tree Ornament Project, former board member of the Texas Immunization Partnership; Baylor College of Medicine Partnership; Trustee of the Houston Grand Opera; Governing Director of the Houston Symphony; Member of the Huffington Center on Aging Advisory Board, Board member of Legacy of Giving, Austin, TX; former Membership Chair of the Austin, TX Rotary Club and former member of the Rotary Club of Houston and Kerrville Rotary Clubs; Eagle Scout, God & Country Award recipient and Order of the Arrow Brotherhood of Honor Campers.

In 2006, John was ordained an Episcopal Priest in Santa Fe where he served a local parish and after obtaining Holy Orders in the Anglican Communion, has served, with the exception of three years, as the Rector of St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church in Kerrville since 2010, moving here in 2018 to be a full time priest. Since being in Kerrville, John was glad to meet Johnny Grimes through the Rotary Club of Kerrville and has been very pleased to assist the families that choose Grimes Funeral Chapels since October of 2018. He is grateful to Mr. Grimes for this opportunity to serve others.

Meeting John it is obvious that his hobby is eating…especially Texas BBQ. There is no distance too far for John to drive and get the best Texas has to offer.

Kyrsten Wood
Kyrsten Wood
Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer

Kyrsten Wood was raised on a farm in Columbus, Nebraska and graduated high school from Scotus Central Catholic in 2013. She then attended Central Community College in Columbus for two years.

Kyrsten then went to mortuary school at the University of Minnesota graduating in 2017. After graduating from mortuary school she moved to Austin, Texas to pursue her career. Kyrsten moved to the Texas Hill Country recently and is excited to join Grimes Funeral Chapels and serve the families in the area. In her free time, Kyrsten enjoys listening to live music, baking, and traveling to spend time with family and friends.

Paulette Walzer
Paulette Walzer
Licensed Funeral Director

Paulette was born and raised in Kerrville, TX and is a 1991 graduate of Tivy High School. She knew very early in life that she wanted to go to Mortuary School which led her to move to Houston, TX to attend Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Services. She completed the Associate of Applied Science Degree Program in November 2003. She completed her Apprenticeship at Johnson Funeral Home in Houston, TX and worked there for several years as a Licensed Funeral Director and was a member of the Houston Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association.

In her spare time, Paulette enjoys spending time with her 11 year old cocker spaniel (Piper), experimenting in the kitchen with different recipes and spending time with her family.

Joey Lopez
Funeral Assistant & Crematory Operator

Joe M. “Joey” Lopez Jr. was born September 13, 1971 in San Antonio, Texas. He was raised with his four sisters in Kerrville. He attended and graduated from Tivy High School in 1990. Joey moved to San Antonio for a couple of years where he attended Norwest Vista College and worked in the hotel hospitality industry.

He returned to the Hill Country and put in 22 years in the restaurant industry before finding a home working with the Grimes family. He is the father of 6 children. His current hobbies are coaching and assistant coaching baseball for his youngest son since he was in T-Ball. He loves science-fiction movies and many more outdoor activities.

Gillian Thomas
Gillian Thomas

Gillian has been the secretary at Grimes Funeral Chapels since April 2002. She was born on November 28, 1979 in St. Paul, Minnesota to David and Marian Thomas. Her parents and five siblings moved to Kerrville in 1982.

The family relocated to Seattle, Washington in 1991 where she graduated from Ingraham High School and North Seattle College. She moved back to Kerrville in March 2002 while visiting her two sisters during a brief road trip. She has a son, Cam Fetters, born August 4, 2004. Gillian’s hobbies include reading, watching movies, traveling and spending time with her family.

Penni Coggins
Penni Coggins
Accounting Manager

Penni has lived in Kerrville most of her life and has spent many hours volunteering in the community. She has worked for Grimes since December 2017 as the Accounting Manager.

She and her husband enjoy spending most of their free time golfing and socializing with friends.

Joan Crider
Joan Crider
Front Desk Receptionist

Joan is a native and lifelong resident of the Texas Hill Country. She is the daughter of Wilton and Bobbie Nell Crider and was raised on the family ranch in Medina.

Her face may look familiar to some of you. Joan worked at Schreiner’s Department Store for 27 years; right up to the closing in 2007. After that, she worked at other retail stores in the area until joining Grimes Funeral Chapels in July 2019 as the front desk receptionist.

As a 15 year member of the Kerrville Memorial American Legion Auxiliary Unit 208, she helps support our veterans, active military, their families and our community. She has held various positions at the local, district and state levels. The Auxiliary’s motto of “Service Not Self” is how she tries to live her life. By working for us here at Grimes, she feels that she helps serve our community in their time of need.