Meet The Grounds Staff

Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum has over 60 grounds staff members responsible for the maintenance of 450 acres of developed grounds and 300 acres of woodland. The grounds team is subdivided into eight different crews: customer service, horticulture, interment, markers, maintenance, mowing, string-trimming, and turf. Gerald D. Wantz, Executive Vice President, oversees the grounds operation with the help of three grounds managers, an assistant grounds manager and four supervisors.

Gerald D. Wantz    GeraldDWantz

Executive VP of Operations
Gerald D. Wantz, Vice President of Operations, joined the Spring Grove organization in October 2012.  Prior to joining the Spring Grove Family, Mr. Wantz held the position of President and CEO at The Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, OH.  Mr. Wantz began his long career in the cemetery industry in 1974 as a summer laborer at Hill Grove Cemetery in his hometown of Miamisburg, Ohio.

Mr. Wantz has attended Wright State University and Ohio State University.  He is Past President of the Greater Cleveland Association of Cemetery Superintendents and Officials and the Ohio Association of Cemetery Superintendents and Officials. He holds the International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association (ICCFA) industry designation of Certified Cemetery Executive (CCE).   

C. Thomas Pfeifer    Tom Pfeifer   

Senior Grounds Manager
Tom has been with Spring Grove since 1972 and has been a Grounds Manager since 1983. He manages the maintenance for all equipment as well as the mowing and string trimming divisions. Tom is a past president for the Greater Cincinnati Association of Cemetery Superintendents and Officials as well as the Ohio Association of Cemetery Superintendents and Officials. He is a member of the Cremation Association of North America and a longtime supporter of the International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association. Tom contributes to the ICCFA Magazine column, “Smitty & Fife.”
 

Mark Funke    Mark Funke  

Senior Grounds Manager
Mark began his career with Historic Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum in 1980.  Mark was promoted to a Grounds Manager in 1995 and currently manages the Spring Grove's Turf and Marker Division, Customer Service in addition to overseeing the Security Team.  He also manages the Grounds Operation at Spring Grove’s Oak Hill Cemetery in Glendale, OH.  Mark is instrumental in future Development endeavors at both cemeteries as well as Community Outreach programs.  He also shares green industry techniques used at the cemetery, with the community.  Mark teaches various arboretum programs at Spring Grove and the University of Cincinnati’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (O.L.L.I.), including the popular ‘Ten Steps to Terrific Turf’ seminar. Mark is currently the President of the Ohio Cemetery Association (OCA),  Past President of the Greater Cincinnati Association of Cemetery Superintendents and Officials and a member of PGMS (Professional Grounds Management Society).  He is also a member of the Ohio Turf Grass Association. 

Jack McAfee    Jack McAfee

Sexton
Jack began his career at Spring Grove on April 1, 1974 as the Supervisor of Mowing. After 20 years, Jack was promoted to the role of Sexton in 1994. As Sexton, Jack manages all interments and runs the day-to-day operations of the five-person interment team. Jack engineers the layout of all burials, monument installations, and lot surveys. He works closely with Spring Grove Family advisors and funeral directors. He is an active member of the local and state Association of Cemetery Superintendents & Officials. 

 

Chris Sullivan    Chris Sullivan

Assistant Grounds Manager
Hired in the fall of 1994, Chris started his career at Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum on the mowing crew. After only one month on the job, Chris moved to the horticulture crew. In 2002, Chris was transferred to Oak Hill Cemetery, part of The Spring Grove Family, where he became a certified backhoe operator and assisted with the horticulture needs of Oak Hill. In early 2005, Chris was promoted to Supervisor of Customer Service and Markers and in 2012 promoted to Assistant Grounds Manager.  Chris is designated a Master Technician by the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, and he maintains his cremation technician certification through the Cremation Association of North America. He is also a Certified Chemical Applicator through the Ohio Department of Agriculture. In 2002, Chris earned a BS degree from the University of Cincinnati.  Chris also serves as Spring Grove’s Safety Director charged with managing the Safety Program.

 

David Lingo    Dave Lingo

Facilities Specialist
Prior to joining the Spring Grove Family as the Facilities Specialist in May of 2007, Dave spent 23 years in residential construction and commercial contracting. His responsibilities include day to day repairs, cost effective maintenance, and restoration and preservation projects to the Memorial Mausoleum, Customer Service Center, Historic Office, Gatehouse, Norman Chapel, and Spring Grove’s Funeral Home. Dave is also the primary contact for outside contractors.  

 

Dave Gressley     Aaron Kash

Director of Horticulture
BS in Agriculture
Dave joined Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum as their Director of Horticulture in 2013 after serving as the Horticulturist for Lake View Cemetery for 6-1/2 yrs.  Prior to that tenure he was at The Holden Arboretum for 20-yrs as the manager for the Main Display Garden curating the lilac collection and the arboretum’s liaison with International Lilac Society.  He was also a Tree Care Specialist in the Genus collections located around the arboretum.  Dave graduated from The Ohio State University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture majored in Ornamental Horticulture.  Dave is a Certified Arborist under International Society of Arboriculture and a licensed pesticide applicator in the State of Ohio.

Brian Heinz     Brian Heinz

Horticulture Supervisor
Brian is a native Cincinnatian, who got his start in horticulture in the mid 1990's at West Hill Greenhouses growing annuals and perennials.  He attended the University of Cincinnati for horticulture.  He came to Spring Grove in 1999, primarily working with the horticulture department.  He became a supervisor in 2002.  Brian is currently a board member of the Ohio Invasive Plants Council, the American Public Gardens Association, the Professional Grounds Maintenance Society, Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, Boone County Arboretum Plant Collection Committee and a committee member of the Tri-State Green Industry Conference.  Brian is also a certified pesticide applicator for the state of Ohio.  Throughout the year, it is Brian's great pleasure to share his enthusiasm about plants by giving many talks and tours about the plants of Spring Grove to Garden Clubs, college students, and grade school students. 

Mark Kidd     Mark Kidd

String Trimming & Mowing Supervisor
Mark comes from a family of stone and marble masons and has ten years of experience in that trade. He was the third generation to work on Union Terminal. In 1996, Mark and his father were hired as outside contractors to work on the Winton Road wall that borders Spring Grove Cemetery. That same year, Mark was hired as a backhoe operator for the interment team at Spring Grove. He held this position until 2001 when he was promoted to Mower Supervisor, leading Spring Grove’s team of mowers for five years. In 2006, he accepted the Grounds Supervisor position at Oak Hill Cemetery in Springdale. Mark returned to Spring Grove in 2013 to assume the duties of String Trimming and Moving Supervisor. Mark is a member of the Greater Cincinnati Association of Cemetery Superintendents & Officials. 

Paul O'Brien    Paul OBrien

Grounds Supervisor at Oak Hill Cemetery
Paul began his career at Spring Grove on October 15, 2008. Prior to Spring Grove, Paul spent ten years in golf course maintenance where he worked, most recently, at Aston Oaks Golf Course. Prior to Aston Oaks, Paul worked for Valley Crest Companies, an organization that manages Audubon Certified golf courses. Paul has earned an Associate’s degree in Agronomy with a focus on golf course management from Horry Georgetown Technical College. In 2014, Paul accepted the Grounds Supervisor position at Oak Hill Cemetery in Springdale.

 

Dave Brandt

David Brandt   

String Trimming & Mowing Supervisor
David began his career with The Spring Grove Family in 1995 as a grounds technician at Oak Hill Cemetery. After four years of working at Oak Hill, David moved to Spring Grove’s Funeral Home where he worked as the facility maintenance technician. Throughout his seven years at the Funeral Home, David assisted funeral directors and oversaw visitations and services. In the fall of 2006, David was selected as the Supervisor of String Trimming. He held this position for one year and then moved into the role as the Supervisor of Mowing.  David is retired from the United States Air Force Reserve with 22 years of service, both in Active Duty as well as the Reserves. 

 

 

 

Obituaries

Katherine "Kay" Karas, 91
Born: Monday, October 12, 1925
Died: Thursday, December 08, 2016

Ann M. Cress, 66
Born: Thursday, February 09, 1950
Died: Sunday, December 04, 2016

C. Elizabeth "Betsy" McKinivan, MD, 74
Born: Sunday, February 15, 1942
Died: Saturday, December 03, 2016

Robert Prather, 76
Born: Saturday, June 08, 1940
Died: Friday, December 02, 2016

Robert C. Prather, Jr., 76
Born: Saturday, June 08, 1940
Died: Friday, December 02, 2016

Upcoming Events

Jan 17Grief to Peace / Spring Grove
Jan 24Grief to Peace / Tri County
Jan 28Winter Tree Identification
Feb 21Grief to Peace / Spring Grove
Feb 28Grief to Peace / Tri County
Mar 21Grief to Peace / Spring Grove
Mar 28Grief to Peace / Tri County
Apr 18Grief to Peace / Spring Grove
Apr 25Grief to Peace / Tri County
May 16Grief to Peace / Spring Grove