Staff

Our dedicated staff are here to provide support, compassion, and information to help you through your journey of grief and the celebration of your loved one’s life.

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Jacob Wittrock Owner & Funeral Director

Jacob’s work in the funeral profession began at age 16, at a small-town funeral home in northwest Iowa, where he washed cars, cleaned, and did lawn care. One day, the owner (his mentor, Dan Ciha) took him to buy a suit, dress shirt and tie, so Jacob could help with visitations and services, putting him on the path to becoming a funeral director and funeral home owner. He can’t believe that was 30 years ago! 

Jacob says, “From the moment of the first call, I am 100% focused on helping a family face the worst day of their life. As one of the owners, I love developing new ways to serve families, finding the careful balance between technology and the importance of personal service in our work. I also get to share my vision with an amazing team of professionals.” 

He believes it’s crucial to gain an appreciation of what a family has been through in the days, months, or even years before the death occurred, to help them visualize what goodbye looks like for them while embracing their family traditions.   

Jacob has lived in Iowa his entire life (except for mortuary college), and now with funeral homes in both urban and rural areas, he enjoys meeting those they care for and care about. Jacob serves the funeral profession as a district governor for the Iowa Funeral Directors Association. “It is a true privilege to represent funeral directors, working in collaboration with colleagues from around the state,” he says.  

Jacob values doing his part to help with issues in the community, and his involvement with the Rotary Club of Linn County is one avenue for this. He also joined the board of directors of Central Furniture Rescue, an organization that helps families transition from homelessness to home stability. 

Jacob is married, and lives in southeast Cedar Rapids, centrally located between the three Stewart Baxter locations. There you’ll find him tending to his houseplants, feeding the birds, and relaxing on the deck with his two dogs.

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Scott Greenman Owner & Community Care Director

After losing his older brother as a teenager, Scott switched paths, from landscape architecture to funeral service. He became co-owner of Stewart Baxter in 2008, allowing him to use compassionate understanding with people while celebrating their loved one’s life. 

A proud graduate of Bowling Green State University and the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, Scott serves as Community Care Director, guiding families with preplanning, bereavement resources, and grief care programs. 

“My first experience with grief was when I was eight years old, when I lost my grandmother,” Scott recalls. “My first time being in a funeral home was exciting, but scary. I was very inquisitive about how and why everything worked the way it did.” Using his personal experiences, and those he observes, helps Scott better understand how the grief process is different for each person. 

“Living here is amazing, because you get to live a small community life in a larger one. It’s great having access to nature and all the amenities one needs, plus the ability to travel to larger cities within a few hours,” Scott says. 

Scott is a Rotarian, and a certified lay missioner through the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, previously serving churches in eastern Iowa. He loves to be on water, or working in his large floral and water garden, cooking, refinishing old furniture or repurposing things, and enjoys almost all genres of music. Along with spending time with family and friends, Scott likes to play with his dogs, Flynn and Frenchie.

 

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Emily Johnson Funeral Director

As a Funeral Director, Emily works with families while caring for their deceased loved ones, to provide a meaningful farewell. She guides them through options, discussing the best ways to share their loved one’s story in personalized and significant ways.

 After experiencing the death of two friends at ages 15 and 19, Emily was inspired to provide and advocate for a meaningful and positive goodbye to families who lose a loved one, and to do what she could to prevent any difficult experiences. 

“When I came to this conclusion, I was working on my business degree at the University of Iowa. I enjoy anatomy and physiology, attention to detail, I don’t shy away from ‘taboo’ matters,” Emily says, “and I’m a good time manager. This all came together perfectly with the Funeral Director occupation. Plus, as everyone teases, job security, right?” 

Emily’s philosophy of funeral care includes saying “yes” and offering creative options for experiences that might be different from the “norm” -- allowing the family to distinguish what is most comforting and personal for them. 

During time off work, Emily is a member of Cedar Rapids Curling (yes, the one with the sweeping and the yelling), and the Volvo Club of America, participates in the Cedar Rapids HOPEwalk, an annual memorial walk for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. 

As a funeral director, Emily is in a unique position to help families who have lost someone to suicide, and she’s hosted a local conference for Clergy and Behavioral Health Providers on the importance of providing families who have lost someone to suicide with the respect, resources, and care they deserve.

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Melissa Owens Adminstrative Assistant

Melissa does a little bit of everything at the funeral home, from accounts payable to housekeeping, setting up for services, preparing and printing programs. 

While attending Kirkwood for an Associate Degree in Accounting, Melissa worked part time for the funeral home’s previous owners and stayed on when they sold the funeral home to Jacob and Scott (Stewart Baxter). 

When she was young, Melissa lived just two doors down from the funeral home and has vivid memories of a friend’s death at age 7 in a car accident. Two years later, Melissa’s great aunt died, and feels these memories are most helpful to her when there are young children at a service. 

Melissa lives with her elderly parents, ages 98 & 94, and a younger brother, with extended family in Cedar Rapids and outside Iowa. Her life beyond work revolves around family and church.

 

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Laura DeJong Administrative Assistant & Graphic Artist

Laura’s grandparents owned a family funeral business in Keokuk, Iowa, and were later joined by Laura’s parents. Laura grew up at the funeral home, working there in some capacity since childhood. 

“My cousin passed away from cancer when he was fifteen. I was used to being in the funeral home, but never from that side of the process. What made a lasting impression was the pain my family was in, and how important it was for them to say goodbye, as well as honor my cousin,” Laura recalls. 

Always interested in art, Laura used her creative skills to edit photos for obituaries, and to create custom memorial service folders and videos for services. Today, art and graphic design are her full-time occupations at Stewart Baxter, in addition to assisting with administrative details.   

“Individuals who come through our doors are obviously grieving, and I want to help take some of the burden off their shoulders any way I am able,” Laura says. “I listen to learn more about their loved one, to help create a service that not only represents the legacy of the person who has passed, but also helps the survivors as they begin the grieving process.” 

Laura and her partner, Jeremy, recently purchased their first home in Cedar Rapids. She loves the smaller neighborhoods and the small-town feel of the city. A fan of live music, she appreciates how local arts are supported by various festivals, individuals, and organizations. Laura likes to keep multiple projects going, including gardening and painting.

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Pauline Hoth Family Services Assistant

Pauline's motherly hugs and warm personality will likely be your first impression when you visit the funeral home for a memorial.  Her lifetime of customer service experience is evident in everything she does.  Many will recall her smiling face from her 15 years at Armstrong's Department Store and more recently her work at Norwood/Souvenir Company.  She is a member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, where she is active with the Chancel Choir,  and formerly served on the Executive Board.

Pauline's grandchildren mean the world to her and she enjoys being involved in their activities.  She likes taking care of her yard and flowers, knitting, reading, and keeping in touch with her friends.  Several times a year she travels to see family in West Virginia and Arizona.  

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Curt Moermond Family Services Assistant

Curt was ordained a clergyman in 1969 and pursued that calling until 2015. During the latter years, he did this part time, which allowed him to work at Stewart Baxter. 

Curt explains, “I greet people as they drive up, help them find an appropriate place to park, and, if time, open the door to the funeral home for them. I am not shy. I speak easily with strangers.   I’m sensitive to grief and understanding of the behavior of individuals at stressful times.” Curt stays with the casket or urn during the procession to the cemetery, until it has been placed in the vault and the vault lowered into the grave. 

When his sister was killed in a car accident in 1986, Curt encountered a funeral director who seemed to sense where each person was on the grief journey, and what each of them needed.  His care for the family impressed Curt, and he’s still grateful for this compassion. 

Cedar Rapids is large enough and close enough to Iowa City to offer Curt cultural experiences, and his children and grandchildren fill his life with joy. He likes to read, bake, and explore new restaurants with friends. He’s a member of the Episcopal Church and enjoys worshipping with friends at St. Jude’s Catholic Church and Bethel AME Church.

 

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Terese Pisarik Family Services Assistant

When Terese’s father died, she felt a special calling to help others who grieve. As a Family Services Assistant at the funeral home, and with her background in education and counseling, she can do grief counseling when the need arises. She also helps prepare visitations and funerals, greets the guests, and attends to details during and after the service. 

Terese explains, “I feel that every time I go into a funeral home or service, I am in hallowed ground. I come from a big family, so I can relate to a variety of different people. I try to find a connection to others as I meet them. I have been to many funerals and services. None are the same.” 

She’s one of 12 children, and away from work, Terese cherishes time with her nieces and nephews.

 

 

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Patty Lynch Family Services Assistant

Patty’s prior career was in the field of educational administration, with 37 years as an elementary teacher and a Director of Early Education Department. She become involved in the funeral profession as an opportunity to give back to her new community. 

As a Family Services Assistant at Stewart Baxter, Patty is usually positioned at the front door of the funeral home, to provide a warm, friendly greeting to those who enter. She handles various details during and after each service as well. 

Patty recalls, “As an only child, I remember going to the funeral home when I was 9 years old, for my grandmother when she passed away. It was a very unsettling experience. I feel this helps me understand what the children might be going through during the visitation.” 

Though she is relatively new to the community after spending 45 years in California, Patty loves the Mount Vernon area, and is amazed at the friendly townspeople. She has a part-time job at Kirkwood Community College, is a substitute teaches for Mount Vernon Community School District, and a Lector and choir member at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

Jacob Wittrock

Owner & Funeral Director
photo

Jacob’s work in the funeral profession began at age 16, at a small-town funeral home in northwest Iowa, where he washed cars, cleaned, and did lawn care. One day, the owner (his mentor, Dan Ciha) took him to buy a suit, dress shirt and tie, so Jacob could help with visitations and services, putting him on the path to becoming a funeral director and funeral home owner. He can’t believe that was 30 years ago! 

Jacob says, “From the moment of the first call, I am 100% focused on helping a family face the worst day of their life. As one of the owners, I love developing new ways to serve families, finding the careful balance between technology and the importance of personal service in our work. I also get to share my vision with an amazing team of professionals.” 

He believes it’s crucial to gain an appreciation of what a family has been through in the days, months, or even years before the death occurred, to help them visualize what goodbye looks like for them while embracing their family traditions.   

Jacob has lived in Iowa his entire life (except for mortuary college), and now with funeral homes in both urban and rural areas, he enjoys meeting those they care for and care about. Jacob serves the funeral profession as a district governor for the Iowa Funeral Directors Association. “It is a true privilege to represent funeral directors, working in collaboration with colleagues from around the state,” he says.  

Jacob values doing his part to help with issues in the community, and his involvement with the Rotary Club of Linn County is one avenue for this. He also joined the board of directors of Central Furniture Rescue, an organization that helps families transition from homelessness to home stability. 

Jacob is married, and lives in southeast Cedar Rapids, centrally located between the three Stewart Baxter locations. There you’ll find him tending to his houseplants, feeding the birds, and relaxing on the deck with his two dogs.

Scott Greenman

Owner & Community Care Director
photo

After losing his older brother as a teenager, Scott switched paths, from landscape architecture to funeral service. He became co-owner of Stewart Baxter in 2008, allowing him to use compassionate understanding with people while celebrating their loved one’s life. 

A proud graduate of Bowling Green State University and the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, Scott serves as Community Care Director, guiding families with preplanning, bereavement resources, and grief care programs. 

“My first experience with grief was when I was eight years old, when I lost my grandmother,” Scott recalls. “My first time being in a funeral home was exciting, but scary. I was very inquisitive about how and why everything worked the way it did.” Using his personal experiences, and those he observes, helps Scott better understand how the grief process is different for each person. 

“Living here is amazing, because you get to live a small community life in a larger one. It’s great having access to nature and all the amenities one needs, plus the ability to travel to larger cities within a few hours,” Scott says. 

Scott is a Rotarian, and a certified lay missioner through the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, previously serving churches in eastern Iowa. He loves to be on water, or working in his large floral and water garden, cooking, refinishing old furniture or repurposing things, and enjoys almost all genres of music. Along with spending time with family and friends, Scott likes to play with his dogs, Flynn and Frenchie.

 

Emily Johnson

Funeral Director
photo

As a Funeral Director, Emily works with families while caring for their deceased loved ones, to provide a meaningful farewell. She guides them through options, discussing the best ways to share their loved one’s story in personalized and significant ways.

 After experiencing the death of two friends at ages 15 and 19, Emily was inspired to provide and advocate for a meaningful and positive goodbye to families who lose a loved one, and to do what she could to prevent any difficult experiences. 

“When I came to this conclusion, I was working on my business degree at the University of Iowa. I enjoy anatomy and physiology, attention to detail, I don’t shy away from ‘taboo’ matters,” Emily says, “and I’m a good time manager. This all came together perfectly with the Funeral Director occupation. Plus, as everyone teases, job security, right?” 

Emily’s philosophy of funeral care includes saying “yes” and offering creative options for experiences that might be different from the “norm” -- allowing the family to distinguish what is most comforting and personal for them. 

During time off work, Emily is a member of Cedar Rapids Curling (yes, the one with the sweeping and the yelling), and the Volvo Club of America, participates in the Cedar Rapids HOPEwalk, an annual memorial walk for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. 

As a funeral director, Emily is in a unique position to help families who have lost someone to suicide, and she’s hosted a local conference for Clergy and Behavioral Health Providers on the importance of providing families who have lost someone to suicide with the respect, resources, and care they deserve.

Melissa Owens

Adminstrative Assistant
photo

Melissa does a little bit of everything at the funeral home, from accounts payable to housekeeping, setting up for services, preparing and printing programs. 

While attending Kirkwood for an Associate Degree in Accounting, Melissa worked part time for the funeral home’s previous owners and stayed on when they sold the funeral home to Jacob and Scott (Stewart Baxter). 

When she was young, Melissa lived just two doors down from the funeral home and has vivid memories of a friend’s death at age 7 in a car accident. Two years later, Melissa’s great aunt died, and feels these memories are most helpful to her when there are young children at a service. 

Melissa lives with her elderly parents, ages 98 & 94, and a younger brother, with extended family in Cedar Rapids and outside Iowa. Her life beyond work revolves around family and church.

 

Laura DeJong

Administrative Assistant & Graphic Artist
photo

Laura’s grandparents owned a family funeral business in Keokuk, Iowa, and were later joined by Laura’s parents. Laura grew up at the funeral home, working there in some capacity since childhood. 

“My cousin passed away from cancer when he was fifteen. I was used to being in the funeral home, but never from that side of the process. What made a lasting impression was the pain my family was in, and how important it was for them to say goodbye, as well as honor my cousin,” Laura recalls. 

Always interested in art, Laura used her creative skills to edit photos for obituaries, and to create custom memorial service folders and videos for services. Today, art and graphic design are her full-time occupations at Stewart Baxter, in addition to assisting with administrative details.   

“Individuals who come through our doors are obviously grieving, and I want to help take some of the burden off their shoulders any way I am able,” Laura says. “I listen to learn more about their loved one, to help create a service that not only represents the legacy of the person who has passed, but also helps the survivors as they begin the grieving process.” 

Laura and her partner, Jeremy, recently purchased their first home in Cedar Rapids. She loves the smaller neighborhoods and the small-town feel of the city. A fan of live music, she appreciates how local arts are supported by various festivals, individuals, and organizations. Laura likes to keep multiple projects going, including gardening and painting.

Pauline Hoth

Family Services Assistant
photo

Pauline's motherly hugs and warm personality will likely be your first impression when you visit the funeral home for a memorial.  Her lifetime of customer service experience is evident in everything she does.  Many will recall her smiling face from her 15 years at Armstrong's Department Store and more recently her work at Norwood/Souvenir Company.  She is a member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, where she is active with the Chancel Choir,  and formerly served on the Executive Board.

Pauline's grandchildren mean the world to her and she enjoys being involved in their activities.  She likes taking care of her yard and flowers, knitting, reading, and keeping in touch with her friends.  Several times a year she travels to see family in West Virginia and Arizona.  

Curt Moermond

Family Services Assistant
photo

Curt was ordained a clergyman in 1969 and pursued that calling until 2015. During the latter years, he did this part time, which allowed him to work at Stewart Baxter. 

Curt explains, “I greet people as they drive up, help them find an appropriate place to park, and, if time, open the door to the funeral home for them. I am not shy. I speak easily with strangers.   I’m sensitive to grief and understanding of the behavior of individuals at stressful times.” Curt stays with the casket or urn during the procession to the cemetery, until it has been placed in the vault and the vault lowered into the grave. 

When his sister was killed in a car accident in 1986, Curt encountered a funeral director who seemed to sense where each person was on the grief journey, and what each of them needed.  His care for the family impressed Curt, and he’s still grateful for this compassion. 

Cedar Rapids is large enough and close enough to Iowa City to offer Curt cultural experiences, and his children and grandchildren fill his life with joy. He likes to read, bake, and explore new restaurants with friends. He’s a member of the Episcopal Church and enjoys worshipping with friends at St. Jude’s Catholic Church and Bethel AME Church.

 

Terese Pisarik

Family Services Assistant
photo

When Terese’s father died, she felt a special calling to help others who grieve. As a Family Services Assistant at the funeral home, and with her background in education and counseling, she can do grief counseling when the need arises. She also helps prepare visitations and funerals, greets the guests, and attends to details during and after the service. 

Terese explains, “I feel that every time I go into a funeral home or service, I am in hallowed ground. I come from a big family, so I can relate to a variety of different people. I try to find a connection to others as I meet them. I have been to many funerals and services. None are the same.” 

She’s one of 12 children, and away from work, Terese cherishes time with her nieces and nephews.

 

 

Patty Lynch

Family Services Assistant
photo

Patty’s prior career was in the field of educational administration, with 37 years as an elementary teacher and a Director of Early Education Department. She become involved in the funeral profession as an opportunity to give back to her new community. 

As a Family Services Assistant at Stewart Baxter, Patty is usually positioned at the front door of the funeral home, to provide a warm, friendly greeting to those who enter. She handles various details during and after each service as well. 

Patty recalls, “As an only child, I remember going to the funeral home when I was 9 years old, for my grandmother when she passed away. It was a very unsettling experience. I feel this helps me understand what the children might be going through during the visitation.” 

Though she is relatively new to the community after spending 45 years in California, Patty loves the Mount Vernon area, and is amazed at the friendly townspeople. She has a part-time job at Kirkwood Community College, is a substitute teaches for Mount Vernon Community School District, and a Lector and choir member at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.