Our Team | Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel & Crematory | Knoxville TN funeral home and cremation
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Affordable Cremation & Funeral Services

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Our Team

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Our employees are like family 

In this difficult time, let our family help yours. Learn more about who we are and what we do in the bios below. Our staff is comprised of dedicated and licensed professionals with the experience to answer all your questions regarding our services. 

Please feel free to contact any of our staff members at any time.

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Ashley Howe

Ashley Howe

Manager & Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer

Ashley Howe is a licensed funeral director, embalmer, and crematory operator with Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel. She has served families in need in East Tennessee since 2017 and sits proudly on the Greater Knoxville Funeral Service Associates board. Ashley studied Mortuary Sciences at Piedmont Technical College in South Carolina, as well as Business Administration at Walters State Community College here in Tennessee. She lives in Powell with her husband Justin and their children Declan, Ebin, and Nellie, and her beloved animals. When she's not helping her families, Ashley is an outdoor enthusiast who can often be found hiking, camping, or otherwise exploring Tennessee’s natural beauty.


Kirk Bivens

Kirk Bivens

Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer

Kirk Bivens is a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer with Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel. He has a passion for serving families and providing meaningful and highly personalized services. Kirk studied Mortuary Sciences at Holmes Community College in Mississippi and is licensed in Tennessee and Mississippi. He lives in Maryville with his wife of over 30 years, Kathleen.  They have three children: Brooke, Brianna and Brett. He is a member of New Providence Presbyterian Church in Maryville. 


Jerry Griffey

Jerry Griffey

Partner & Licensed Funeral Director

Mr. Jerry Griffey, along with his wife Joan, assumed ownership of Gentry Griffey in May 1970. Jerry and Joan purchased the funeral business and continued the tradition of personal and caring service for grieving families. The staff with Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel and Crematory project that same dignity and respect for each and every family that is served. Gentry Griffey was selected as the only firm introduced into the National Selected Morticians that was already in the NFDA and the TFDA organizations. Jerry was president of the Greater Knoxville Funeral Directors Association for 3 years in a row.

To facilitate this, in June 2009, Jerry and Joan took new partners into the business. We carry on this tradition of service in the Knoxville community.

Sadly, Joan passed away in February 2015. After 45 years in business in the Fountain City Community, Jerry is now devoting more time to family, especially their children and grandchildren, to the community, and to their church family.


Dylan Karnes

Dylan Karnes

Funeral Assistant & Certified Crematory Operator

In October of 2018 Dylan came to Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel with a deep desire to serve. His passion for the care and needs of the deceased was a perfect fit to our firm. Dylan is currently working towards his Associates Degree in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science. He holds a Certified Crematory Operator Certificate from the National Funeral Directors Association and is a Notary Public.

Dylan is married to his wonderful wife, Ana. The two first met in an 8th grade math class and have been nearly inseparable since then. They do have plans to start a family in the future but in the meantime they continue to strengthen their relationship.

In his spare time Dylan attends church regularly and is an active member in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Dylan takes every effort to serve the families that come to our funeral home to the best of his ability.


Megan Fritts

Megan Fritts

Administrator



Donnie Darnell

Donnie Darnell

Pre-arrangement Specialist

Donnie Darnell is a native of Knoxville and has resided in East TN. his whole life. He has over 20 years of experience as a pre-arrangement specialist, trainer and manager in the funeral and cemetery industry within the Knoxville area. Donnie now brings that experience, knowledge and commitment to help the families we serve at Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel.

Donnie and his wife Kim raised four boys and are now raising a Granddaughter and Grandson. They feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives as well as their other 6 grandchildren.

Community involvement has always been important to Donnie and he has coached dozens of young men in baseball and young ladies in softball.

Donnie has raised his family, coached ball and holds strong to this Mantra, “There are two ways to do things, the right way and the wrong way…Why choose to do things the wrong way!” Let Donnie show you the right way to take of care of your pre-arrangement needs today at Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel.


Franklin Eppinette

Franklin Eppinette

Funeral Assistant & Licensed/Ordained Minister

Franklin Eppinette, our pre-need specialist, is a licensed and ordained minister. He has served as a pastor, an interim pastor, and a hospice chaplain. He is a graduate of Southeastern Bible College and has done graduate work at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Moody Graduate School.

Franklin can help you with your funeral plans and can officiate a funeral or graveside service as well. Franklin has lived in Knoxville since 2013. He and his wife have two married sons and one grandchild. He believes God has called him to help individuals prepare for one of the most meaningful events of their lives. 


Mark Murphy

Mark Murphy

Funeral Assistant and Certified Crematory Operator

Mark grew up in Rhode Island and moved to California after graduating high school. He worked as a shipping and receiving director for a large carpet manufacturer until he moved back home to help take care of his father with Alzheimer’s. After the passing of his father, he worked for a fabric textile manufacturer. In 1989 he moved to Florida and served as manager for a 7-11 and later was promoted to a loss prevention specialist.  Mark later graduated with a degree in criminal behavior and background investigations. In 2006 he moved to Tennessee and worked as a district manager and the loss prevention director at Weigel’s. He retired in 2019. Mark began working at Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel in 2021 as a funeral assistant and a certified crematory operator. Even with all his experience in the work field, Mark feels this has been the most rewarding job he has ever had. Being able to fulfill a person's last wish and help their family face a difficult time is very important to him. 


James 'Jim' Marshall

James "Jim" Marshall

Funeral Assistant

Jim Marshall is semi-retired from his 40+ year career as a manufacturer’s representative and account manager in the consumer electronics industry. He was born in the Chicago area and raised primarily in Southern Illinois along the Wabash River, in a little town called Mount Carmel. During his youth, his lifelong love of music allowed him to be in several bands that were successful regionally. He still plays today, in a 60’s -80’s cover band, MidLife Crisis, so you might see him out and about. He loves the Fountain City area, and it has been his home since 2003; he feels the people in the area are family to him.  He greatly appreciates the fact that his part-time job as a funeral assistant allows him to use his people skills to help families during difficult times.  In his spare time, you will find him with his dachshunds, his family, or at his beloved Fountain City United Methodist Church.


Gary Gibson

Gary Gibson

Funeral Assistant

Gary was born and raised in the Halls Community of Knoxville, TN. He graduated from Halls High School in 1972. He is now retired but spent over 20 years of his life as a long-haul truck driver. Gary was married 42 years to the love of his life, Patricia Gibson, who passed away in 2019.

Gary is a life-long member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church of Powell, TN. He has always felt a calling to serve in funeral service but never got a chance to until recently. He came to Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel in January of 2020. In his spare time, Gary enjoys attending car shows and spending time with his family and his beloved pets.


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