Farley Estes & Dowdle | Staff
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John F. Dowdle


John was born in Battle Creek, number four of six, to John F. and Mary Louise (Smith) Dowdle. He graduated from St. Philip Catholic Central, received his Bachelors in Business Administration from Western Michigan University and his Mortuary Science Degree from Wayne State University.

He began his career with Farley-Estes & Dowdle Funeral Home in 1972.  John has been involved in many local civic and fraternal organizations and is a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church.  He enjoys working outdoors in his yard, electrical and mechanical work and more than anything spending time with his wife, Debbie and his grown children, Cory (Kori) Dowdle, Bart (Janelle) Dowdle and Adam Dowdle. John has been a lifelong Detroit Tiger and Lion fan and also cheers on Michigan State. John currently serves as president of Farley-Estes & Dowdle Funeral Home.

Deonne Estes


Deonne has been involved with the company since 1977. Upon graduating from Lakeview High School and Michigan State University she worked part time at the funeral home before becoming full time in 1979. She was employed as secretary for the funeral home for several years before becoming their preneed representative. In 1988 she received her Resident Life Insurance License by the State of Michigan. This allows her to write insurance funded prefinanced policies as an option for families that may wish to pay their funeral expenses in advance.

Deonne has two grown daughters, Stacey Smith now living in New York City & Jessica Smith, of Battle Creek, MI.

Deonne has worked on several local committees since joining the company. Currently she is serving on the Battle Creek Community Foundation Scholarship Committee.  She is a member of Chapel Hill United Methodist Church.

Deonne’s duties at the funeral home, in addition to some administrative, primarily involve preneed, offering families options to make their final tribute unique as well as affordable.

Jonathon A. Barnes


Jonathon was born and raised in Battle Creek, graduating from Lakeview High School with the Class of 1995. He then furthered his education at Michigan State University, Kellogg Community College and in 1998 graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, Illinois.  Receiving his mortuary license in 1999, Jonathon remained in the Greater Chicago area until joining our staff in June of 2003.

Jonathon is a member of the Lakeview Baptist Church and also attends First Wes of Battle Creek.  He has an active music ministry that allows him to travel to various area churches, believing the vocal gift God gave him should be used to tell others about God.

Jonathon and his wife, Allison(Buck), live in Battle Creek with their two young boys, Thomas and Joseph.

A true sports enthusiast, Jonathon is a Chicago Bears, St. Louis Cardinals, Michigan State University and Detroit Tigers & Red Wings fan!  His true passions in life are his wife and children, and spending as much time with family as he possibly can.

Jonathon benefited greatly from the Shrine Hospital for Children in Chicago, Illinois.  He therefore has a great passion for helping others in need and is very active in Community Service.  Jonathon is an Imperial Ambassador for the Shrine of North America, Past-President of the Cereal City Lions Club, a Past-Master of Battle Creek Lodge #12 F&AM, member of the Battle Creek Shrine Club, Chief Ambassador of the Saladin Shrine Temple in Grand Rapids and a member of many other Masonic Organizations. He is also a Past-Commander and currently the 1st Vice-Commander of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron #298 where he also served on the Make-A-Wish committee for many years.

Ross M. Schimmel


Ross was born July 6, 1948, in Battle Creek, Michigan, the son of Clyde B. and Arlene E. (Best) Schimmel. He is a 1966 graduate of Battle Creek Central High School and served with the USNR, as a corpsman with a tour of duty in Vietnam with 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. He was Honorably Discharged from Active Duty in 1970.

He attended two years at Kellogg Community College, one year of apprenticeship at Farley, Estes and Schimmel Funeral Home, and one year at Wayne State University with a Certificate of Mortuary Science in 1975. He had three additional years of college at Michigan State University.

On December 31, 1995, Ross married Nanc C. (Drake) Wellever at the First Congregational Church in Battle Creek. He is currently employed at Farley-Estes & Dowdle Funeral Home, is manager of the Augusta Chapel and lives in Climax with his wife, dog and two cats.

Ross and Nanc have six grown children, Matthew R. Schimmel of Comstock; Sara A. (Schimmel) Bellin of Brussels, Belgium, married to Sebastien; Emily D. (Schimmel) Barda of Battle Creek, married to Dan; Ryan D. Wellever of Kalamazoo; Megan N. Wellever of Battle Creek; and Rory M. Wellever of Hollywood, California.

Charles H. “Charlie” Johnson


Charlie has been a licensed funeral director since 1977, serving families in the communities of St. Joseph, Dowagiac, Lansing, Battle Creek, Richland and Augusta, MI. He joined our staff on February 8, 2005. He attended the University of Kentucky and graduated from Western Michigan University in 1975 with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree. Then, Charlie graduated in 1976 with an Associate Degree in Mortuary Science from the Indiana College of Mortuary Science of Indianapolis, IN.

He is a Past President of Rotary; a Past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus and a Past President of the Board of Directors for Cass County (MI) Hospice. An avid golfer and sometime fisherman, Charlie is also a Die-Hard Chicago Cubs Fan (AND all Chicago Teams!); THE University of Michigan Fan and THE U – University of Miami, Florida Fan. He and his wife, Cindy live at Sherman Lake in Augusta, MI along with their Dalmatian, Zoey. They are members of St. Ann Catholic Church of Augusta and he is a member of the Gull Lake Area Rotary Club of Richland, MI. Also, they have two, grown children; Erik L. Johnson of Chicago, (Wrigleyville) IL and Kelsey L. (Mike) McEntee of Farmington Hills, MI.  (T L J!)


Andrew J. Emerson

Emerson, Andy

Andy began his time in the funeral service industry in 2002, serving families in Lansing while completing his apprenticeship.  Since then, he has also worked in Chicago, Cadillac, and Battle Creek.  He attended Lansing Community College and earned an Associate’s Degree from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, IL., graduating in March of 2008.  He joined our staff in October of 2008.

Shortly after high school, Andy married his high school sweetheart, Nettie, and together they have three beautiful girls.  He attends the Battle Creek First Assembly of God Church and is a member of the Battle Creek Kiwanis Club.  As an avid sports enthusiast, he roots for all Detroit teams and is a dedicated University of Michigan fan.  During the summers, Andy enjoys camping with his family by Lake Michigan, and takes one long trip to the Upper Peninsula each year.  They proudly participate in the Mackinaw Bridge Walk each Labor Day.

Robert E. “Bob” Hegerberg


Bob was born September l7, 1938 the son of Emil K. & Edna B. (Bitgood) Hegerberg in St. Clair Shores, MI. His parents moved to Bath in 1943 where they both taught as school teachers. Bob graduated from Bath High School in 1957 and served his mortuary apprenticeship at the Estes-Leadley Funeral Home in Lansing. He attended Adrian College and completed his education at Wayne State University, Department of Mortuary Science in 1962.

After working in Lansing, he and his wife Susan moved to Battle Creek in 1963 where he was employed at the Farley Funeral Home. Bob managed the Farley-Kelser Funeral Home in Marshall for several years and returned in 1976 to serve the families in Battle Creek. He is a past member and President of the Battle Creek Jaycees, elected a JCI Senator, member of Maple United Methodist Church where he served on the Church Council as President, 1979 Past President of the United Arts Council and was also fund raising chairman, past president of the local American Heart Association and past member of the State AHA Board of Directors, member and Charter President of the Pennfield Exchange, Battle Creek Lodge #12 F&AM.

Bob married the former Susan Carole Roberts on June 23, 1962 at the Martha Mary Chapel at Green Field Village in Dearborn, who sadly passed away on June 15, 2015. They have two children; Jeff  R. (Stacey) Hegerberg of Lake Orion, MI  and Sheri L. (Don) Berry of Battle Creek and a grandson, Jack Robert Hegerberg.