Our staff's commitment to you

Our staff is committed to providing support, compassion, information, and direction as needed to all members of our community; including the families and friends we serve as they go through the process of loss and grief.

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Preston Childress Funeral Director/Embalmer, FDIC
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Debbie Stingley Reception/Administrative Assistant
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Terri Zerby Pre-need Family Counselor
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Chloe Pitzer Building and Grounds Manager
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Katie Harmon Reception/Administrative Assistant
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Shayna Nicely Funeral Apprentice/Practicum
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Morgan Story Funeral Director/Embalmer
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Josh Garza Video Production Manager, Funeral Ambassador
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Tim Russell Funeral Ambassador
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Vicky Purdy
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Mike Phenix Owner/Funeral Director/Embalmer
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Brian D. Friend Manager/Funeral Director/Embalmer
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Mike Phenix, Jr Business Account Manager
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Joe Lessert Support Staff/Vocalist

Resthaven-Sunset Memorial Parks

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Melody Davis Cemetery Office Manager

Smith-Gallo Funeral Home

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Ben Gallo Funeral Director / Manager
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Barbara Smith PR Coordinator
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Katelyn Magruder Funeral Director
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Melissa Gorrell Funeral Director
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Connie Johnson Secretary

Melody Davis

Cemetery Office Manager
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Preston Childress

Funeral Director/Embalmer, FDIC
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Preston Childress grew up in South East Kansas.  He is an Air Force veteran, having served in Cairo, Egypt, during Desert Storm.  He graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Funeral Service.  He spent the early part of his career in Tulsa, before moving to Amarillo, TX, to teach Funeral Service at Amarillo College. 

After returning to Tulsa, Preston taught business management classes and was a personal chef and caterer, before returning to the funeral service industry.

Preston has served on numerous committees and as a board member of several non-profit organizations.  Currently, he is a member of the American Legion Post 14.

Debbie Stingley

Reception/Administrative Assistant
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Debbie moved to Oklahoma in the early 80’s. Was employed in the Automotive industry for 30 years.

Debbie enjoys crafting with the cricut machine. Also, her four little dogs Max, Missy, Dakota, and Joe keeps her busy.

Debbie started with Trout Funeral Home in 2018.

Terri Zerby

Pre-need Family Counselor
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Terri relocated from Norman Oklahoma where she worked with special needs children. She is a wife and mother to four children and has a passion for serving those in her community. She will serve as our family service counselor focusing on pre-arrangements and cemetery inquiries. Terri is dedicated to serving our community's needs with integrity and compassion. She is eager to meet and help assist you with all your pre-arrangement needs.

Chloe Pitzer

Building and Grounds Manager
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Chloe has lived in Ponca City for 46 years, graduating from Ponca City Schools. She is a mother to three beautiful girls, and a grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren. Chloe has been in lawn care service for over twenty years.

She started with Trout in 2016 and keeps up with the lawns, buidlings, vehicles, and works as a funeral assistant as needed. Chloe enjoys being with her grandchildren, crafting, and sewing.

Katie Harmon

Reception/Administrative Assistant
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Katie was born and raised in Perry, graduating from both Perry High School and Oklahoma State University. She currently serves as an administrative assistant at Trout Funeral Home of Perry.

She lives on a farm with her husband, Lyle and two children.

Shayna Nicely

Funeral Apprentice/Practicum
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Shayna relocated from Arkansas City Kansas. She is a graduate of University of Central Oklahoma out of Edmond Oklahoma. She is a single mother of two boys. Her favorite past time is fishing and spending time with her boys. 

Morgan Story

Funeral Director/Embalmer
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Morgan grew up in Edmond and attended the University of Central Oklahoma. While working for her bachelor’s degree in Funeral Service, she was an active member of Alpha Gamma Delta, Sigma Phi Sigma, and the UCO rowing team. She has been working in the funeral industry since 2016 and started her career in the OKC Metro area. Being a natural caregiver, she felt that it was her calling to serve grieving families in their time of need. During her time off, Morgan enjoys going to the lake, golfing, and spending time with her two dogs, Murphf and Charlotte.

Josh Garza

Video Production Manager, Funeral Ambassador
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Joshua came to Ponca City in 2012. Prior to that, he attended Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City, OK where he graduated with a BA in Biblical Studies in 2010 and a MA in Ministry in 2012.

Joshua currently serves as the associate pastor of Second Baptist Church in Ponca City and assists Trout Funeral Home as a videographer and video editor. He and his wife are blessed with 4 daughters and a son.

Tim Russell

Funeral Ambassador
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Tim Russell has been a youth pastor at Central Baptist Church since 2012 and joined the Trout Funeral Home staff in 2019. He is blessed with a beautiful wife and three children with whom he loves spending his free time outdoors and on trips. It is truly his passion and joy to serve families both at his church and the Trout Funeral Home.

Vicky Purdy

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Vicky grew up in Kiowa, Kansas and earned a degree in Business from Emporia State University and a degree in Accounting from NOC.

She has lived in the Kay County area for 40 years, and retired after 24 years of service in county government as Administrative Assistant to the Kay County Highway District #3 county commissioners in Blackwell.

Vicky and her husband, Rex, live in rural Tonkawa where her husband farms.  Vicky enjoys cooking, sewing and painting Barn Quilts and likes to travel and watch movies and TV.

Vicky started with Trout Funeral Home in 2015 and serves as Staff Support.  She is a "people person" and enjoys serving families and their friends by helping out at funerals and driving a limousine. 

Ben Gallo

Funeral Director / Manager
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Ben Gallo is a graduate of Claremore High School. He came to work at Smith Funeral Home, doing his apprenticeship, in June 1992 while attending the University of Central Oklahoma. Ben earned his Oklahoma Embalmer's and Funeral Director's Licenses as well as his National Certification in 1996. In October 2005 he became a partner with Bobby and Barbara Smith, changing the name to Smith-Gallo Funeral Home. In 2007 he also earned his Oklahoma Insurance License, becoming qualified to assist his community in pre-arranged funeral services. Ben is active in his community and is a member of the Guthrie Kiwanis Club. He and his family are members of the First Christian Church. Ben is married to Ali Gallo, an ultrsound technician at Mercy Hospital, and they have one daughter, Haley Layne, born in 2007.  Ben and Ali enjoy spending their free time watching Haley play softball.

Barbara Smith

PR Coordinator
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Katelyn Magruder

Funeral Director
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Kate Magruder is a graduate of Seminole High School. She came to work at Smith-Gallo Funeral Home, doing her apprenticeship, in October 2013 while attending the University of Central Oklahoma. She graduated in 2015 with a Bachelors of Science in Funeral Services, and earned her Funeral Director’s and Embalmer Licenses. Kate was an active member of Sigma Phi Sigma (Funeral Service Fraternity) and served as President for two years. Kate currently resides in Edmond and attends St. Joseph's Old Cathedral in Oklahoma City. In her spare time she enjoys going to the lake with her family and friends in Eufaula.

Melissa Gorrell

Funeral Director
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Melissa Gorrell is a graduate of Checotah High School. She was a 2002 graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond with a Bachelors of Science degree in Funeral Services and a minor in Business Administration. While in college, she was an active member of the Delta Zeta Sorority and Sigma Phi Sigma (Funeral Service Fraternity). She came to Smith Funeral Home in June 2002 to do her practicum in funeral services. In September of 2002 she earned her Oklahoma Funeral Director's and Embalmer's Licenses. Melissa is active in her community and attends the Mulhall United Methodist Church. Melissa is married to Casey Gorrell, a farmer/rancher and rural mail carrier, and they reside in Mulhall, OK. They have 2 children, Cole born in 2013 and Molly born in 2015.  In their free time, they enjoy spending time with family and traveling when possible.

Connie Johnson

Secretary
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Connie Johnson is a Stillwell High School graduate. She has a degree in Nursing. She moved to Guthrie in 1992 with her family. Her sons, Cade and Cameron, are both Guthrie High School graduates. She and her husband, Todd, reside in Guthrie and are members of the First United Methodist Church. Connie began working in the funeral business in 2004 and says the best part of her job is helping our families in their time of need.  In their free time, Connie and Todd enjoy to road-trip and attend concerts.

Mike Phenix

Owner/Funeral Director/Embalmer
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Mike Phenix is the owner of Trout Funeral Home. He is a 1976 graduate of the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science, receiving his Oklahoma State Embalmers and Funeral Directors license in June of 1977.

Over the years, Mike has worked under some of the best funeral directors in Oklahoma. Some of his mentors include the late Fred L. Albert of Fatheree-Albert Funeral Home, the late Wayne Patterson of Patterson Funeral Home, Ben Primrose of Primrose Funeral Service, Bobby Smith of Smith Funeral Home, Ernest Trout and Steve Huston of Trout Funeral Home. Mike is the former owner of Fatheree-Albert Funeral Home in Erick, Oklahoma.

Mike and his wife, Jo, purchased Trout Funeral Home along with Resthaven-Sunset Memorial Parks in January of 2003 from Steve and Terry Huston.

Mike is a member of the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Tippers Club, and has previously served on the Marland Estate Commission, and the Poncan Theatre Board of Directors. He is a member of Northeast Baptist Church.

Brian D. Friend

Manager/Funeral Director/Embalmer
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Brian is originally from Prague, OK where he graduated and went to OSU/Okmulgee and received his AAS degree and went to work for Ditch Witch. He change careers and went back to school and completed his Bachelors Degree in Funeral Science from the University of Central Oklahoma. Brian was an active member of Sigma Phi Sigma (Funeral Service Fraternity) and served as President for one year. Brian currently is the Funeral Director in Charge of the Trout Funeral Home of Perry.

Brian is a medic for the City of Perry at the Perry Fire Dept., and Youth Pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church youth. He is married to his wife Buffy. They reside in Perry and have four children.

Mike Phenix, Jr

Business Account Manager
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Joe Lessert

Support Staff/Vocalist
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Joe was born and raised in Ponca City.  He has always been around the funeral industry as his father and grandfather (and great grandfather) owned and operated Gill-Lessert Funeral Home.  While growing up, Joe was always heavily involved with the fine arts, especially music.  After graduating from Po-Hi Joe attended Northern Oklahoma College.  While there he followed his interest in art and music and, upon earning his Associate degree, pursued his Bachelor's degree of fine arts at the University of Oklahoma.  Joe continues his music by singing as a vocalist at the First Presbyterian Church and for funeral services.  He continues his art by using his gifts of color and composition whenever they are called for, and he is always honored to serve families in their time of need.