Meet Our Staff | Garden of Memories Funeral Home and Cemetery | Metairie, LA

Meet Our Staff

Our staff provides excellent funeral planning services.

We have years of experience caring for families from all walks of life, cultures and faiths. Our unsurpassed staff and our family provide kind, caring, professional service. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession who are dedicated to excellence in service, adhere to the highest funeral industry standards, and have exceptional integrity. We consistently earn phenomenally high customer satisfaction survey results.

Our licensed, professional staff is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please call 504-833-3786 anytime. We will even come to you to make arrangements in the comfort of your home.

Prompt, compassionate service is always just a phone call away, where and when you need it.


John B. Appel  Jr., Esq.

John B. Appel Jr., Esq.

Managing Partner/Funeral Director

John has been helping families since 2005, having joined the industry thirty days before hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana.  He is married to Jean Newman and is the father of John III and Patrick, currently in college at University of Louisiana Lafayette, and step-father to Scot, a student at Jesuit High School.  He changed careers after the unexpected death of his father.  Going through that experience revealed to him the need for preplanning and the importance of educating families that their burial property and funerals can be handled before the loss of a loved one.


Marilyn Strecker

Marilyn Strecker

Funeral Director / Embalmer

Marilyn has been serving families for twenty years, since 1998.  The funeral industry wasn't her first choice for a career; however, it did seem to suit her calling to care for others.  Considering her job to be a type of ministry, she finds it quite rewarding to know she can make a difference to families during such a grievous and tumultuous time.  Having lost both of her sons (and only children) very much before their time, Marilyn is particularly empathetic to parents who have suffered a loss.  She hopes to continue her dedication to families for many years to come.


Carrie Kippers Bruno

Carrie Kippers Bruno

Funeral Director

Carrie has been serving families since 2008, joining the industry after losing her great-grandmother and having to assist with making her funeral arrangements.  She is married to Brad and is the mother of Cameron and Dagan, both students at John Curtis Christian School.  She is a lifelong resident of River Ridge, Louisiana.  Carrie's first role in the funeral and cemetery industry was as a Family Service Counselor at Garden of Memories, assisting families with making cemetery property selections, both pre-need and at-need.  The more experience she gained the more she knew she wanted to focus on helping families at their time of loss, so she became a Funeral Director.  Carrie enjoys serving her community by helping families have a meaningful funeral and celebration of life for their loved ones.  


Wayne Hoffmann

Wayne Hoffmann

Funeral Director/ Embalmer

Wayne is a lifelong native of the New Orleans area who has been serving families as a funeral director for twenty-seven years, since 1991.  He is a graduate of Redeemer High School and the Funeral Director and Embalmer's Program at Delgado College.  He has three children, Adele, Alexis and Wayne II.  Wayne has spent his entire career serving families and guiding them through difficult decisions.


Ryan Pierce

Ryan Pierce

Family Service Counselor

Ryan has been serving families since 2009.  He is married to Deanna and is father to Lexie, Kylie, currently attending Southeastern Louisiana University, and Christian and Jolie', students at Crescent City Christian School.  He loves to travel with his family.  He knows most people prepare for what may happen through medical and auto insurance, fire detectors, etc., but few prepare those that mean the most for what we know will happen one day.  His calling is to help people plan ahead, protect their families and have peace of mind. 


Matthew Hayes

Matthew Hayes

Family Service Counselor

Matthew has been serving families since 2013.  He is married to Laine and is the father of Benjamin and Charlotte.  He enjoys being able to serve families and help impact them in a positive way by informing them of ways to protect their family before their time of need.


Tanya Angelo

Tanya Angelo

Family Service Counselor

Tanya has been assisting families since 2002, is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a Purple Heart recipient.  She is the wife of Paul Angelo and proud mother of Alexandria, a member of the Slidell High School Marching Band, and Caleb, a member of the Navy JrROTC at Slidell High School.  Tanya believes her strength lies in helping families make the difficult decisions they cannot. 


Justin Bergeron

Justin Bergeron

Family Service Counselor

Justin has been serving families since 2015.  He is married to Robyn, his high school sweetheart, and is proud father to daughter Lily, a student at Visitation of Our Lady School and a budding ballerina, and son Wesley, a student at Ray St. Pierre Academy for Advanced Studies and an aspiring astronaut.  Justin earned a Psychology degree from Loyola New Orleans and spent years in Banking Management before joining Garden of Memories.  He believes his degree and banking background not only allow him to help families make the difficult decisions surrounding funeral and cemetery arrangements but also allow him to communicate and help solve the financial aspects involved.  His goal is to tailor his services to meet each family's individual needs while ensuring peace of mind. 


Gail Calderone

Gail Calderone

Family Service Counselor

Gail has been serving families since 2012.  While she has previously worked in the travel industry and furniture and design industry, nothing comes close to her current position here at the Garden of Memories.  Gail finds the most rewarding aspect of her job the ability to help her families with some of the most important decisions of their lives, to offer them direction and to guide them in what will be in their best interest.  She knows making decisions on the day you have lost a loved one can be very difficult and having someone there to assist you is crucial. 


Lisa Escalante-McGivern

Lisa Escalante-McGivern

Family Service Counselor

Lisa has been assisting families since 1996 and started her career here at the Garden of Memories.  She is the mother of Sam, who recently graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University, and Jessica, the mother of Lisa's grandson.  She entered this industry after having dealt with three deaths in her family.  She saw the good and bad in the experience and knew she could help families through that process.  Es su deseo a cuidar sus nuestros queridos.


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