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.

Our History

Our History

In January 1949, the first Tom M. Wages Funeral Home opened in Lawrenceville, Georgia on Pike Street in a former family dwelling on the Courthouse Square, where it remained until 1963.  The business outgrew the facility leading Mr. Wages to build his first modern establishment, Tom M. Wages Oak Lawn Chapel at the corner of Scenic Highway and Jackson Street in Lawrenceville.  Several changes and additions occurred during a remodeling of the facility in 1973.  Recently, a complete building renovation, both inside and outside, was done to bring families served by Tom M. Wages one of the most spacious and warm environments available in death care today.  The community is invited to tour the renovated facility anytime between the hours of 8:00am to 5:00pm daily.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the second Tom M. Wages location on Highway 78 outside of Snellville, Georgia were held in May, 1984 and further growth and service in the community was realized by the Wages family. The Snellville Chapel has served as one of the most elegant funeral homes in the Greater Atlanta area.  The Tom M. Wages staff has continued the tradition of updating and modernized their facilities to better serve families. At the end of October, 2012, the Snellville Chapel completed a redecorating of the funeral home with the addition of plantation shutters, new carpet, furniture, lamps, artwork and other accessories that provide families with a home-like environment to celebrate the life of their loved one.  The community is invited to tour the Snellville Chapel between the hours of 8:00am to 5:00pm daily. 

In 1993, Tom M. Wages Funeral Service once again proved to be the “leader in the area” opening Gwinnett County’s first Crematory.  Since its opening, Peachtree Cremation has been on the “cutting edge” for a facility of its kind.  The crematory has proven to be a vital part of the various service options offered to meet the needs of Tom M. Wages’ families. Loved ones no longer needed to be transported to a third party provider to perform the  cremation. Beginning in 1993, all cremation services were handled on-site, which provides a tremendous amount of peace of mind for the families served by Tom M. Wages.  The entire staff takes great pride in knowing that families that select cremation as their form of disposition for their loved one can be assured that the cremation is done exclusively right on-site in Lawrenceville at Peachtree Cremation.

An important aspect of the death care profession is advanced planning and pre-payment for an impending death, as well as, estate planning and having to prepare to place a loved one into a nursing home facility.  Advanced planning is one of the most caring, compassionate things you can do for your family.   Tom M. Wages Advanced Planning Counselors are available daily to explain the benefits of advanced planning and if desired, pre-payment for services.   You create peace of mind for your family knowing that your wishes and desires have been taken care of in advance.  It truly is a “gift” to your family.

Throughout the years, the reputation of Tom M. Wages Funeral Service as caring, compassionate and devoted professionals has become widely known throughout the state, as well as, the nation.  On November 19, 2005, Tom M. Wages, Sr., died at 81 years of age.  During the visitations held at each chapel many people called him “an icon, one of a kind, my mentor, my friend and my father.”  Tom M. Wages, Sr., was truly one the greatest funeral directors’ having the honor of serving families.  He continues to be greatly missed by his community and the funeral profession.

Our Valued Staff

  • Rick  Johnson

    Rick Johnson Chief Executive Officer

    In 1978 Rick married Tom Wages' daughter, Tommie Ann, and started his career in funeral service. Born in Gwinnett County, he grew up in Waycross, GA and, in 1973, moved back to Lawrenceville. Rick, a licensed Embalmer and Funeral Director, has served two terms on the Lawrenceville City Council, served as Mayor Pro Tem of Lawrenceville, enjoyed his time on the Board of the Aurora Theater, was president of the Gwinnett Municipal Association, and now enjoys playing ALTA tennis and playing in the First Baptist Atlanta Orchestra. Rick and Tommie Ann have three children - Matthew, Kathryn, and Sam. He presently serves as CEO of Tom M. Wages and focuses on the development of the company.

  • Valerie J. Wages

    Valerie J. Wages

    On June 6, 2018 Valerie received her forty-year Achievement Award from the Georgia Funeral Directors Association for faithful and diligent licensed professional service to the public. She also received the first annual 2018 Warren Chandler Legacy Award for dedication to the death care profession and providing exceptional customer service.

    Valerie has worked with Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, LLC, served as a National Training and Development Specialist and as a Commencement Speaker. Her career included consulting with and developing funeral home personnel throughout the United States, as well as in Europe. She was recognized as a sought after public speaker in the death care profession for her passion for serving families and being able to communicate to other professionals the important role they play in the lives of people when a loved one has died.

    Valerie graduated from Central Gwinnett High School in 1967, Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, Georgia, in 1971 with a Bachelor Degree in Education and was an honor graduate from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, Georgia on August 19, 1977.

    She has served as a licensed Embalmer & Funeral Director in the State of Georgia since 1977 and holds the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP) through the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice (APFSP).

    Valerie received numerous awards and recognitions in her career, such as, serving as the first woman President of the Georgia Funeral Directors Association (1988-89) and first licensed woman Embalmer and Funeral Director to serve on the Georgia State Board of Funeral Service.

    Valerie was also a recipient of the Initiative Award given through the National Funeral Directors Association Professional Woman’s Conference in recognition of outstanding leadership and commitment to funeral service.

    It was always Valerie’s desire to provide exceptional customer service, provide each family with meticulous attention to detail and help family members and friends begin the next journey of their lives without their loved one physically with them on this earth. As Valerie stated, “I will always cherish the relationships I was able to build with so many families over the years, by given the honor of taking their loved one into our care. I hope my service and the service of my fellow colleagues helped them to move forward with their changed-lives.”

    It’s just time for me to take care of myself by relaxing, doing some traveling, and spending time with friends” as stated by Valerie.

    Valerie is still available to serve those families that request her services when she is not traveling. The Tom M. Wages organization is being effectively lead into the future by her brother-in-law, Rick Johnson, CEO, Chris Banks, Snellville Chapel Manager, Bryan Rickert, Head of Care and Preparation for the organization, and her brother, Tom M. “Tommy” Wages, Jr., Lawrenceville Chapel Manager.

    “I know my father would be so proud of these four professional gentlemen honoring the legacy and heritage of the business he started in 1949,” as stated by Valerie.

  • Christopher S. Banks

    Christopher S. Banks CFSP, Georgia Regional Manager, Snellville Manager

    Christopher S. Banks, CFSP, Snellville Chapel Manager of Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, LLC, is the Funeral Director in full and continuous charge. Chris is a 1992 graduate of LaGrange High School and graduated in 1993 from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service. In 1995 he obtained his licenses with the State of Georgia as an Embalmer and Funeral Director. Chris is a member of the Georgia Funeral Directors Association, where he served as the 1 East District Chairman for GFDA in 2011 and 2020. Chris is also a member of the Snellville Lions Club, The Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice and the Academy of Graduate Embalmers of Georgia. He has been trained by Emory University and certified by the Georgia Eye Bank as an Eye Enucleator. Chris enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessie; and his daughter, Alexah who is a fulltime college student at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA., and his beautiful German Shepard son, Ollie.

  • Bryan E. Rickert

    Bryan E. Rickert Licensed Embalmer & Funeral Director

    Bryan E. Rickert, immediately following his 1992 graduation from Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, started his funeral service career with Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, LLC. In 1994 he graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service and soon thereafter earned a license as an Embalmer and Funeral Director. Bryan started at the apprentice level and after many years of hard work and dedicated service has proven to the company, his co-workers and families served by Tom M. Wages that he has been gifted in the area of embalming. He now oversees all preparation work done for both locations. You may email Bryan with any questions at [email protected] Bryan also serves families at Peachtree Pet Crematory.

  • Andrea  Barnes

    Andrea Barnes Licensed Embalmer & Funeral Director

    Andrea Barnes is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer. She’s a Georgia native and a graduate from Gupton - Jones College of Funeral Service. Andrea continually worked in service industry because she has always enjoyed meeting and interacting with individuals and families. As a result, she decided to enter the Funeral Service industry, where she knows she can continue to serve others. Andrea brings her devotion to our families each and every day.

  • Michael Bailey

    Michael Bailey Licensed Embalmer & Funeral Director

    Michael is a native of the Florida Panhandle and now resides in Alpharetta, Georgia. Michael has dedicated his life to the service of others. He is a 12 year veteran of the Armed Forces, having served both in peace and war time. He served his home state of Florida for 8 years as a corrections officer and has been serving the families of Florida and now Georgia during their times of grief, since 2013. Michael graduated with honors in 2015 from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service, where he served as the chapter vice-president of Pi Sigma Eta, a professional mortuary fraternity. He has been a certified crematory operator since 2015 and a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer since 2017. In July of 2020, he joined the staff of Tom M Wages Funeral Service. Michael has several hobbies, which include motorcycling, collecting, hunting, fishing, and sports. However, he mostly enjoys spending time with family and friends.

  • Sam Schultz

    Sam Schultz Funeral Director Apprentice

    Sam was born in Nebraska and moved to Georgia in 2012. He is a graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service, where he was Salutatorian of his class. He has been on the Tom Wages staff since 2019. Sam has a passion for animals and loves spending time with his two dogs and anything relating to the outdoors.

  • Teena W Fowler

    Teena W Fowler Executive Administrator

    Teena W. Fowler, from Snellville, GA, currently of Jefferson, GA has joined Tom M. Wages, Snellville Chapel as an Executive Administrator. Teena has been married to her husband Hal (Herbert) for 32 years and they have one daughter, Jessica Fowler Sears. Teena and Herb have been blessed with 2 granddaughters, AnnMarie and Maggie Jean.

    Teena worked at The Emory Clinic for 15 years working with Breast Cancer patients. In 1998 she retired to stay home and take care of her family. Following Jessica’s graduation from college Teena decided to return to work and joined the Snellville Chapel as an Administrative Assistant.

    Teena and Herb have dedicated many years to the Snellville Masonic Lodge and Order of the Eastern Star, donating their current location in Memory of Teena’s father. Teena was also active with Beta Sigma Phi. They are members of Snellville First United Methodist Church. Teena currently serves a board member for Heart of Gwinnett and most recently worked on the committee for Spring Green Festival.

  • Stephanie Friess

    Stephanie Friess Executive Administrator

    Stephanie grew up in Toledo, Ohio and moved to the Snellville area, May 2014. She is a graduate of Davis Business College. She joined the Tom M. Wages Lawrenceville Chapel as an Executive Administrator, in May of 2014, after working for a funeral home in Ohio, for 13 years. Stephanie is currently married to her husband Mark, and between them they have 5 children; Tyler, Chelsea, Crystal, Mark, and Catherine, 2 grandsons, Nash and RJ and 2 fur babies, Koda and Bella. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her children and grandsons, as well as baking, and crafting.

  • Steve “Bo” Roberts

    Steve “Bo” Roberts Funeral Assistant

    Bo, known as “Boweevil” to the families of Barrow County, Georgia and surrounding areas, has been in the funeral profession since age 11. He worked at Wise Funeral Home in Winder, Georgia for 20 years before coming to Tom M. Wages where he has found a home since 1991. Between the years of 1981 and 1984, Bo was the Coroner for Barrow County. He is an active member of the Winder Apostolic Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and has family in both Barrow and Gwinnett Counties. His life has been dedicated to the funeral profession and his compassion is known throughout North Georgia. Bo has coached and mentored many funeral service apprentices in how to exceed each family’s expectations and the importance of high quality family service. He is an expert floral arranger and has done some of the largest funeral services in the area. His talents also include being a soloist at many services where he sings acappella. Bo holds the distinction of being certified by the Crematory Association of North America as a “Certified Crematory Operator”.

  • Sim Chastain

    Sim Chastain Apprentice

    Simcha “Sims” Chastain was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. He is a graduate of Riverwood high school in Sandy Springs, and graduated with honors in French foreign language. Sims started his career in the funeral industry in 2012, and began working for Tom Wages in late 2014. Sims is currently serving his apprenticeship and aspires to be a licensed funeral director.

  • Patrick Hedger

    Patrick Hedger Apprentice

    Patrick Hedger is originally from Huntington West Virginia and has lived in the Atlanta area since 1988. He has gone to Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service. He is a member of Grace Fellowship Church and serves on the hospitality team at the New Hope campus. He lives in Lawrenceville with his wife Donna and stepson Ethan. He looks forward to serving families for years to come as a future Funeral Director.

  • Kathryn Martin

    Kathryn Martin Apprentice

    Kathryn Martin was born in Maryland and moved to Snellville in 2004. Kat attended Georgia State University receiving a Bachelor’s of fine arts degree with a concentration in studio arts in 2013.
    In 2020 she began her journey in funeral service and is currently enrolled in Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service. In 2021 she began her service with Tom M. Wages. Kathryn lives in Snellville with her cat Winston and enjoys reading and listening to podcasts.

  • Kathy Wells

    Kathy Wells Administrative Assistant

    Kathy Wells has lived in Lawrenceville all her life. She graduated from Central Gwinnett High School and attended Georgia College at Milledgeville. Kathy joined Tom M Wages Funeral Service LLC in 1995 as an ambassador and is currently working as a Part Time Administrative Assistant. Kathy has previously worked in the banking industry for over 32 years. She has been married to Kenneth for 41 years and they have one daughter, Kelley. Kathy is a caring and compassionate person.

  • Keith  Allgood

    Keith Allgood Ambassador & Care Team

    Keith Allgood was born on August 30, 1953 in Belleville, Illinois. His childhood was spent as a member of a Military family (Air Force “Brat”) till 1968.

    Keith is a 1971 graduate of South Gwinnett High School and a lifelong expert cabinetmaker and woodworker. He loves swimming, snowmobiling, working outdoors where he enjoys his prized garden.

    Keith serves as a Funeral Assistant and Ambassador for Tom M. Wages. Keith and his family are members of The Cross Church in Loganville, Georgia. Keith and his wife, Donna, enjoy three dogs, two cats, two children, and one grandson (not necessarily in this order either!).

    Keith’s family is from the Youth Community-Loganville area and he enjoys his time with family and friends.

  • David Mulkey

    David Mulkey Funeral Assistant

    David Mulkey was born in 1950 in Atlanta and has lived there and surrounding areas his entire life. David and his wife, Wanda, of 46 years have two children, Derek and Allison, and 3 grandchildren. We have lived in the Grayson area for 13 years and are members of Community of Grace Lutheran Church in Grayson Ga. I retired in 2015 after 42+ years at BellSouth/AT&T and spent many years there as Director of Operations. I began working for Tom Wages Funeral Service in the spring of 2018, and have enjoyed meeting and getting to know the staff while serving families of our community. I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren, going to concerts & music festivals and riding my Harley.

  • James Dean Burdett

    James Dean Burdett Funeral Assistant

    Dean Burdett, retired from ABF Freight after 40 years in the trucking business. My wife, Margie, and I just celebrated our 46th Wedding Anniversary. We have a daughter, Stephanie and a son, Justin. We have three beautiful granddaughters. My hobbies are UGA football, I have been a season ticket holder for 31 years.

  • Ronique Ortiz

    Ronique Ortiz Administrative Assistant

  • Wanda Mulkey

    Wanda Mulkey Ambassador

    Wanda is married to David Mulkey who is also a funeral assistant with Tom M. Wages. Wanda and David have been married for 49 years and have two children, Derek and Allison. Their 3 grandchildren, Sawyer, Lyla and Knox are the loves of their lives.
    Wanda loves to read and enjoys any types of puzzles and art. Wanda is a member of Community of Grace Lutheran Church and has held many positions such as teaching, church treasurer, reader, bible school coordinator and anything else I can do to help the church.

  • Glenda Smith

    Glenda Smith Ambassador

    Glenda was born and grew up in the Atlanta area. Glenda has one child and one grandson. Glenda stays busy playing tennis, taking long walks and being the treasurer for her neighborhood HOA.
    Glenda is an active member of Snellville United Methodist Church in Snellville, GA.

  • Norm Terry

    Norm Terry Funeral Assistant, Care Team

  • J. D. Waddell

    J. D. Waddell Care Team

  • Betty  Hughes

    Betty Hughes Retired

    Betty Hughes has lived in Snellville, GA, Gwinnett County all her Life. She is retired after 30 years from the Gwinnett County Public School System. She is married to Kenneth, a Baptist Minister. They had two children and three grandchildren. She is very active in her church and Snellville Eastern Star. She enjoys doing things for others and helping people. Betty is a devoted, compassionate Ambassador for Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, LLC.

  • Mary Anne  Jenkins

    Mary Anne Jenkins Retired

    Mary Anne was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She went to Greenleaf Business College in Atlanta, Georgia where she graduated in 1964. Mary Anne also worked as a Medical Secretary and Assistant for 16 years. She then worked for Gwinnett Public Schools 14 years as a Secretary and later an Administrative Assistant. She moved to Lawrenceville in 1971 when she married Bartow Jenkins, they were married for 37 ½ years and raised 3 daughters, Nancy, Lauren and Robin. Mary Anne has 8 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter. Mary Anne came on board with the Tom M. Wages team in March of 2010 as an Ambassador. Her caring and outgoing personality along with her compassion for others has been an asset to Tom M. Wages.

  • Grace Clower

    Grace Clower In Loving Memory

    Grace Clower, a native of Gwinnett County, lives in Snellville and is retired from the United States Department of Agriculture. She is now using her skills in working with families at Tom M. Wages. Grace is a faithful member of Snellville United Methodist Church where she serves as teacher of the Friendship Sunday School Class and is a member of the Archives Committee, United Methodist Women, and Vice Chair of the Church Council. She is a member of the Vision Committee at Snellville UMC. She has served as the Treasurer, Vice President, and soon to be President of the Snellville Historical Society and is a devoted member of the Snellville Lions Club. As a Lion, Grace has served as District 18-D Leadership Coordinator, is currently Leadership Coordinator for the State of Georgia, and is Past District Governor and Past Council Chair of Lions of Georgia. Grace is continually doing volunteer work in the community, but she enjoys time spent with her grandson, Braylon Emmett Clower, granddaughter, Ellie Catherine Clower, and her son and daughter-in-law, Tom and Katie Clower. She also enjoys playing golf. Grace’s husband, Woody Clower, died in 2006 after a gallant battle against kidney cancer; so Grace brings her gift of understanding and compassion to the families served by Tom M. Wages.

  • Shirley Harbin

    Shirley Harbin In Loving Memory

    Shirley Harbin was born in Monroe, GA. She married her husband Robert Harbin in 1962 and just celebrated 52 years of marriage. Shirley and Robert moved to Snellville in 1965, and now reside in Grayson, GA. They have 3 children, Robbie, Russ, and Renee, along with 4 beautiful grandchildren. Shirley has been employed with Tom. M. Wages since 2013, as an Ambassador. Before becoming employed with Tom M. Wages, she was the co-owner of Harbin’s Body Shop for 37 years, and was also employed with Scientific Atlanta for 13 years. Shirley enjoys coming to work, and admires and respects her fellow co-workers. She once stated “an added benefit to working at the Funeral Home is, no matter what location she’s working at, she always runs into someone she knows”.