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
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 CFSP, Snellville Chapel 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. He is a member of 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.
Tom M. Wages, Jr. Lawrenceville Chapel Manager
Tom M. (Tommy) Wages, Jr. was literally born into the funeral profession. As a child he spent most of his time at the funeral home with his father. Tommy is a 2011 honor graduate of Central Gwinnett High School, a 2014 graduate of Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Georgia with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management, and is a 2016 Mu Sigma Alpha Graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service where he was Valedictorian of his class as well as the recipient of the Bill Pierce Award. Tommy is also a member of Pi Sigma Eta National Mortician's Fraternity where he served as Master Artist/President. He currently is a board member of Heart of Gwinnett as well as a member of the Gupton - Jones College of Funeral Service advisory board.
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 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. She is a devoted wife to her husband Keith and step-mother to his three boys. Andrea brings her devotion to our families each and every day.
Donald Burgess Licensed Embalmer & Funeral Director
Donnie Burgess is a Georgia native who graduated from Washington Wilkes High School before attending and graduating from Gupton Jones Mortuary School. Donnie has been in the funeral business for over forty years. He is the former owner of Callaway Funeral Home in Union Point. He was there for fifteen years. He now resides in Crawford, Georgia with his wife Beverly. He has two children and five grandchildren.
Teena W Fowler Administrative Assistant
Teena W. Fowler, from Snellville, GA, currently of Jefferson, GA has joined Tom M. Wages, Snellville Chapel as an Administrative Assistant. 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 step grandsons and 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 Administrative Assistant
Stephanie Friess grew up in Toledo, Ohio and moved to the Snellville area, May 2014. She is a graduate of Davis Business College, where she obtained her Associates Degree in Business. She joined the team at Tom M. Wages, Lawrenceville, in May of 2014, after working for a funeral home in Ohio, as an Administrative Assistant for 13 years. Stephanie is currently married to her husband Mark, and between them they have 5 children; Tyler, Chelsea, Crystal, Mark, and Catherine and 2 grandsons, Nash and RJ. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her children and grandsons, and rooting for her beloved Pittsburgh Steelers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, as well as baking.
Annessia Richardson Administrative Assistant
Annessia Richardson was born in Georgetown, Guyana and raised in Queens, New York. She relocated to Loganville, GA in 2006. Along with attending Grayson High School, she joined the nursing program at Maxwell High School of Technology. Annessia is a 2013 graduate of Grayson High School, as well as a 2016 graduate of Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service. She became a member of Pi Sigma Eta National Mortician's Fraternity. She is also a certified crematory operator through Cremation Association of North America (CANA). In late 2016, she began her funeral service career as an apprentice with Tom M. Wages Funeral Service. Aside from funeral service, she has dedicated 6 years to children education, care, and wellness, and continues to actively work with them. Her aspirations are to complete her apprenticeship and become a licensed funeral director/embalmer. Annessia is excited to start her new journey in this industry and serving families.
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 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.
Casey, a native of Lawrenceville, a graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science, knew early in life that he was called into service as a funeral director. He has been with Tom M. Wages Funeral Service since 2014 and his dedication, seldom seen in a young person in today's world is evident through his willingness to excel and work hard in life.
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.
Bernice Dodson Administrative Assistant
Bernice was born in Alabama and moved to Snellville, GA in 1991. Bernice began her career in Banking in 1969 when she lived in Alabama. She has been employed with The Brand Banking Company since 1999 as a teller, currently at the downtown Lawrenceville Branch. Bernice has been with Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, LLC since 2003 as a Weekend Administrative Assistant. She is a very compassionate and caring individual and develops great rapport and relationships with the many families she comes in contact with through our organization, as well as her service to the Brand Banking Company. Bernice has one daughter, Ashley. Ashley is married to Snellville native Wayne Briscoe, and Bernice is the proud grandmother of Makayla and Chandler.
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.
Tammy Donofrio Funeral Assistant
Tammy Donofrio is a native of Upstate NY. She moved to Georgia in 1987. Tammy joined the Tom M. Wages in April 2016. Tammy married her late husband Joe Donofrio in 1994.
Tammy is an active member of Snellville First Baptist Church where she serves as a life group leader, choir member and a mentor to young women. Tammy spends her time volunteering in the community with family homeless centers and singing with the Jubal Choirs and Jubalheirs. Tammy has been invited to be a keynote speaker at many women’s ministry events, retreats and conferences. Her caring and outgoing personality along with her compassion for others will be an asset to Tom M. Wages.
LaVoy Johnson Ambassador
Paul LaVoy Johnson, born in Tampa, FL Graduated from Lee University and Bob Jones University where he earned a B.A. in Bible and finished seminary in 1957. He has been married 55 years to Bettye. They have lived in Loganville for the past 11 years. They have 4 children and 11 grandchildren. After finishing seminary he served in Campus Crusade for Christ at Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University. He was Assistant Pastor at Forrest Hills Baptist Church in Decatur and Sales Manager for WAVO radio station in 1979. LaVoy co-founded Concerned Christians for Good Government and was a Lobbyist at the Capitol for Christian concerns for several years. After retiring he worked at Sears. He is now employed at Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, LLC as a Funeral Assistant and Ambassador.
Shirley Harbin Ambassador
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”.
Grace Clower Ambassador
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.
Betty Hughes Ambassador
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 Ambassador
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.
Keith Allgood Ambassador
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.
Christine Berrier Funeral Assistant
Chris was born and raised in Ohio but chose to become a Southerner in 1976. She attended Trumbull Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and has worked in many different fields as an RN. She and her husband, David, raised three children in Lilburn who all went on to graduate from UGA. (Go Dawgs!). When her husband passed away in 2012, she chose to have his Memorial Service at Wages in Snellville. During the course of planning, Valerie Wages asked where she was working and suggested that she might be good in the funeral service field. Three years later she came in and asked if there were any positions open. " I feel like I've come home", she told her daughter that night. She loves the attention and compassion the staff consistently shows when dealing with hurting families and feels that this is her way of giving back what she was given in her grief. She enjoys her pups, UGA and Falcons football, spending time with her kids, granddaughter and friends and has enjoyed getting to know her co-workers at her new position at Tom Wages.
Jim Foster Funeral Assistant
Jim is a native Atlantan who grew up in Decatur/DeKalb County and graduated at Towers High School in 1970. He served 4 years in the U. S. Marine Corps and retired with the Georgia Air National Guard in 1996. He also retired with Southern Bell/BellSouth/AT&T in 2008 with 32 years, is widowed and lives with his mixed lab dog Lucy and two cats, Sophie Bear Cat and Calico. He has had several of his close family members who have been taken into Tom M. Wages care and feels privileged to be part of the team, helping family members and loved ones of those who have passed, cope with some of the worst days of their lives. Jim is a member of First Baptist Church Snellville and sings bass with the choir and baritone with a men's choral called the Men of Praise.
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 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.
Wayne Oglesbee Care Team
Mailin Simmons Apprentice Funeral Director
Jovonni Dunlap Apprentice Funeral Director
Samuel Schultz Funeral Assistant