About Us

History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

Hamlin & Hilbish Funeral Directors in Eustis has been under the same local management since 1974 when Verdual Hamlin & Arthur and Carol Gill Hilbish purchased the former Zeller Kennedy & Hamlin Funeral Home. We strive to provide compassionate, empathetic service and value to the families we are honored to serve. 

Our friendly and caring staff members help each family create a service that is unique and truly honors their loved one. We know the importance of small details and assist each family with their needs and their preferences. Be it an elaborate service or a simple event, we take care to see that your loved one is honored according to your wishes. 

You can choose from a selection of memorialization options including, Video Tributes, Floral Services, Dove Releases, Military Honors, Special Musicians, among others. Whatever your preference, we will ensure that the arrangements and service are executed to your satisfaction. Above all, we strive to ensure that each service is a memorable event that honors and celebrates the life of the departed soul. 

While we conduct services in any religious institution, and/or Cemetery, we invite you to choose our funeral home. The tasteful decor and rich woodwork of our chapel creates an ambiance that is warm and comforting and among the finest in the Lake County area. We also have our own cemetery and offer a number of entombment and cremation options. Our facilities are designed to cater to your specific needs and provide a peaceful and well-maintained final resting place for your loved one.

Who We Are

In a nutshell? Experience, professionalism, compassion, and empathy.

John Roemmelt

John Roemmelt

General Manager
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I've been in funeral service since 1989, working in New York City for several years. Born in Brooklyn, NY, I grew up in Montgomery, NY, two hours northwest of New York City. I graduated from Valley Central High School and managed Woolworth stores for 3 years.

In 1989, I moved to Middle Village, Queens, NY to start my career in funeral service. I attended the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in Manhattan and graduated in 1991. While attending school I worked in several funeral homes to start my training.

In 1997, my wife, Laura Anne and I relocated to central Florida. We have two beautiful daughters, Rachel Anne and Megan Riley. Laura Anne is the Director of the Wellness Department at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City and is very active in our community.

Our family attends St. Clare Catholic Church in Deltona and I attend daily Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Mount Dora. I am also a Fourth Degree Knight, K of C.

I currently hold the position of General Manager of Steverson, Hamlin & Hilbish Funerals and Cremations in Tavares, Hamlin & Hilbish Funeral Directors in Eustis and Lakeside Memory Gardens in Eustis.

David Kenneth Crane

David Kenneth Crane

Assistant Sales Manager
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Born and raised in Mobile, AL. Kenneth is married to Rebecca Crane. He was home-schooled from kindergarten through 12th grade. Kenneth graduated from Bishop State Community College with an Associate's Degree in Business Management and Supervision Technology.

Kenneth has been in the funeral Industry since 2016 and when asked why he is in the business Kenneth states "I have always enjoyed helping people. Whether it is helping them set up a new type of technology, or helping them set up their final arrangements, helping someone understand something that would usually be difficult and making it easier provides me great joy."

When asked what the best advice was, he had ever received Kenneth said "Every single person you come into contact with has their own story. They are meeting us during one of the worst times of their lives so it is our duty to help them out in any way we can to make this difficult time easier."

When Kenneth is not working his favorite things to do are: watching movies, playing games with my family, riding a bike, and spending time with his wife.

Art  Hilbish

Art Hilbish

Chapel Manager-Eustis Chapel
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I moved to Leesburg in 1958. My parents were in the bowling business and built Leesburg Bowling Lanes. In 1960 we moved to Eustis where they built Eustis Bowling Lanes.

I graduated from Eustis High School, as did my wife, Carol Gill Hilbish. I have an Associate of Science Degree from Miami Dade State College.

In 1964 I began working at, what was then, Zeller, Kennedy, and Hamlin Funeral Home. While in college I worked and lived at Gerhardt Funeral Home in Miami and at the funeral home here in Eustis when I was home. Since 1972 I have either owned or managed Hamlin & Hilbish Funeral Directors. In 1975 Mr. Verdual W. Hamlin Jr, Carol and I built what is now Steverson, Hamlin and Hilbish Funerals and Cremations in Tavares. Carol has been the Office Manager here since 1978.

We have two wonderful daughters, Tracey Hilbish Lichtinger and Lory Hilbish Baxley, we are fortunate, they both live locally.

I am proud to have been on the founding board of what is now Cornerstone Hospice. I am a Past President of the Eustis Chamber of Commerce. I have received three “Service Above Self” awards from the Rotary Club of Eustis. Carol and I have received many forms of recognition for our work on behalf of Toys for Tots. I have served on many Citizens Advisory Committees and School Advisory Committees at Eustis Elementary School, Eustis Middle School, and Eustis High School.

We are members of the First Baptist Church of Umatilla.

Matthew Pierson

Matthew Pierson

Chapel Manager-Tavares Chapel
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I was born in Greensburg, PA and moved to Orlando, FL at the age of 16. I graduated from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando. After high school, I moved to Gainesville, FL where I attended the University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College.

In 1994, I moved to Nashville, TN to begin my career in funeral service. I worked for several different funeral homes while I was going to school to get my degree in Funeral Service. I graduated from John A. Gupton College in Nashville in 1996.

After graduating from college, I returned to Florida to start my career as a Funeral Director. I have worked for the same group of funeral homes here in Lake County since returning from college. While working full time as a funeral director, I went back to college taking night courses and received my B.A. degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern College in Lake Wales, FL in 1998. I currently hold the position of Location manager at Steverson Hamlin & Hilbish Funerals and Cremations in Tavares.

In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, camping, and spending time with my two dogs, Jameson and Zyda.

I also volunteer with the Special Olympics, playing as a partner on the Lake County Special Olympics softball team.

Carol G. Hilbish

Carol G. Hilbish

Office Manager-Eustis Chapel
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I have worked as Office manager at Hamlin & Hilbish Funeral Directors since 1978 and am honored to serve in this position.

I moved to Eustis in 1960 with my parents. I graduated from Eustis High School and Lake Sumter Community College. I also attended Georgia Southern University.

My husband, Art, and I raised our two daughters, Tracey Hilbish Lichtinger and Lory Hilbish Baxley, here in Eustis. They both graduated from Eustis High School and the University of Central Florida. They raised their children in Eustis as well. Three generations (so far) in this wonderful city!

I am a member of the First Baptist Church of Umatilla. I am on the Bags for Babies Committee at church and a member of Chapter CA PEO Sisterhood of Eustis.

Vera Martin

Vera Martin

Staff Associate
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I was born in Lakewood, New Jersey and moved to Florida in 1989 from New York with my husband, John. I have experience working as a counselor in cemeteries and also at Page Theus Funeral Home. I began working at Hamlin & Hilbish Funeral Directors in 1998. I enjoy working funeral services and visitations. Each family is different and it is a pleasure to help them in any way possible.

I am the former Vice President of Educational Affairs (Retired) for Tambrands, Inc., Proctor & Gamble Company offering educational counseling. I also owned and managed a campground and was a demonstrator for Nutro Pet Food Products. I am a member and active participant of several committees at Faith Lutheran Church of Eustis.

I have family members in New York and Georgia that I love to visit.

Harold  Robinson

Harold Robinson

Staff Associate

Virginia S. Ranta

Virginia S. Ranta

Administrative Assistant
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I’m originally from Conneaut, Ohio and moved to central Florida in 1994. I’m married to Michael Damsel, who is originally from England. We have a son, Ty CarsonRanta, a daughter, Desiree Nicole Adey, a few grandchildren and a Bichon named Baxter.

My husband and I lived in Suzhou, China from 2004 – 2013 whilst working for an American company. He was the Director of Asian Operations and I worked in Human resources. We were fortunate to have opportunities to visit Taiwan, Thailand, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.

We now feel blessed to call Mount Dora, Florida home.

I graduated from Conneaut High School and attended Kent State University.

I enjoy baking but only for holidays and special occasions. I always make sure to send the leftovers home with someone, so I’m not tempted to finish them off.

I also enjoy exercising so I attend a Walk Fit class three times per week. We walk from three to five miles in a one-hour session, sometimes with weights or bands.

My husband and I love Disney Cruises.

I must say that I enjoy working at Hamlin & Hilbish Funeral Directors. Art and Carol Hilbish are truly wonderful people to work with.