Meet Our Team. Our Most Valuable Asset.
Patsy Harrell, Co-Founding Funeral Partner
Patsy, a life-long resident of Austin, graduated from William B. Travis High School in 1962. She attended Nixon-Clay College of Business after graduating and soon began working at Wilke-Clay Funeral home as an administrative assistant in 1962. After marrying Arvin Harrell in 1963, a fellow employee at Wilke-Clay, Patsy decided to work outside of the funeral industry and begin a career with the Texas Highway Department.
“I enjoyed working for years at the Highway Department, but I always missed the opportunity to connect and help people at the depth the funeral industry provided. When Arvin and I opened the doors of our funeral home in 1984, we opened our arms to a community of friends we loved. We had time-honored relationships with most of the families that came for service, and for those we didn’t know, we set a tradition to sincerely care for and embrace each as though they were a part of our own family. Our aim was to create a business that stood beside a friend when they needed someone to call upon and help love live on despite death.
Today, unlike thirty years ago, many customers arriving are new to our Community. Yet, we are finding as we greet new customers with the same open arms, love, and respect, we would have an old friend years ago, deep connections are developing quickly. By the time our customers are leaving our home today, many are saying ‘thanks for being a friend that saw me through.’ These words of gratitude are among the greatest treasures we receive from families. We desire that our time with you gives evidence of our heart for you and reveals that even amidst death, love carries you through and lives on.”
Patsy and her husband, the late Arvin Harrell, established Harrell Funeral Home in 1983. Patsy has worked in several managing and operational roles since the funeral home opened. Currently, she oversees financial operations for all locations. Also, she is an active member of the community serving at Woodlawn Baptist Church, attending a weekly women’s bible study group, and is a member of Onion Creek Club and Town Lake Garden Club.
Patsy has two sons, Jerry and Jason, and four grandsons, Caleb, Zac, Hunter, and Hoyt. In her time outside of the funeral home, Patsy enjoys spending time with friends, family, and going to the lake to relax. She has an exceptional aptitude for growing plants successfully and will always hold a special place in her heart for animals.
Jason Harrell, Co-Partner, Funeral Director, Cremation Specialist
Jason has been a funeral director since 1994. He founded Frontier Cremations, an onsite crematory at Harrell Funeral Homes in 2008 and became a co-partner at the Harrell Funeral Homes in 2012. In January 2018, he purchased Angel Funeral Home, and in January 2019 he founded ATXCremation, an online cremation company. Jason offices in the South Austin location of Harrell Funeral Home and oversees operations for all funeral home locations.
“Providing service to people who have experienced loss is more of a ministry to me than work. I was raised in the funeral business by my Father, Arvin Harrell, and have served families in the Austin area for the past 23 years. I enjoy developing long-lasting relationships with people in the community where I live and serve. I find reward in getting to help friends through difficult times.”
Jason is a life-long resident of Austin graduating from Travis High School in 1990. He attended San Antonio College and graduated in 1994 with a degree in Mortuary Science. Jason is a member of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA); Texas Funeral Directors Association (TFDA); International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA); and Austin Oaks Church (AOC). Since entering the Funeral Industry, Jason has been active in TFDA by aiding on the Disaster Team, and currently chairing the Legislative Committee. He was awarded Funeral Director of the Year by South Central Texas Funeral Directors Association in 2018. He currently serves on their Board of Directors, fulfilling the Vice President position in June 2019. He serves on the Men’s Leadership Team at AOC and is an Assistant Scout Master for Boy Scouts of America (BSA), Troop 448, mentoring young men striving to achieve their Eagle Scout rank. He is a third generation Eagle Scout, and his son, Caleb, recently joined the ranks as an Eagle Scout and his son, Zac, is on track to complete his Eagle Scout next year.
Jason resides in South Austin with his wife Christy and their two sons Caleb and Zac. In his time outside of the office, Jason is an avid hunter and enjoys golfing, fishing, camping, and traveling.
Andrew Gonzales, Funeral Director
Andrew is a native of Austin, Texas where he graduated from Hyde Park School in 1995. Following this time, he spent 13 years in management working in the restaurant industry. Serving in this capacity illuminated Andrew’s passion to help families and connect with them on a more personal level. It was during this time he began to have strong desires to work in the funeral industry.
Andrew began Mortuary school in San Antonio and while in college, he sold markers and grave spaces with Assumption Cemetery. Upon completing his Mortuary Science Degree from San Antonio Mortuary College in 2013, he began working at a local Austin funeral home for a short time before transferring to Harrell Funeral home in 2017. Andrew completed a Crematory Operator’s Certification to operate in the state of Texas in 2015. Currently, Andrew serves as the location manager for the Austin Harrell Funeral Home location.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to help people in their time of sorrow. People are always so willing to express their gratitude for taking care of the small details and reassuring them with comforting words. I especially enjoy receiving thank you notes after the service is over. It is the most rewarding part of my job. Sometimes, I wish the families I serve knew how much I was blessed by getting to serve them. Thank you for bringing me into your family to help as you say goodbye.”
Andrew is fluent in reading, writing, and speaking Spanish. He serves as an Alter Server at Our Lady Guadalupe Catholic Church in Austin and has taken an interest in the local “No One Dies Alone” program. The program is committed to keeping a patient company so that, no matter the circumstances, they do not die alone.
In his free time, Andrew enjoys roping cattle, dancing, yoga. He loves taking his nephews and nieces to breakfast on Saturday morning and then heading to the theater to watch a movie.
Paul Williamson, Funeral Director
Paul is a second generation funeral director raised in Missouri in his family’s business. Growing up in a family-owned business (and actually living upstairs, above the funeral home) he started helping his family at the early age of 13. He assisted his parents, and sisters with evening visitations. Also, during the summer months, when other kids were riding bikes and playing in the parks, he was at the funeral home or church helping with funerals.
“I really got a since of fulfillment, seeing how the family whose loved one we had just buried, hugged and complimented my parents, and thanked them for a beautiful service. I knew then that I wanted to be like my parents, assisting families during a difficult time with their loved one.”
Paul graduated from Lamar High School, Lamar, MO; attended Missouri State University, Springfield,
MO; and graduated from Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science, Dallas, TX in 1980. He moved to Kentucky in 1980 to 1983, where he worked for Whaley Funeral Home and received his Kentucky funeral directors and embalmers license in 1982.
In 1984, Paul moved to Austin, received his Texas license in 1985, and began working for Harrell Funeral Home from 1987 to 1998, under the guidance of Arvin Harrell. Arvin shared a lot of his experiences with Paul. He taught Paul the value of honestly treating and respecting Harrell client families. In 1998, Paul became affiliated with another large funeral home in South Austin to manage their location. In 2005 he received his Crematory Operators License. Upon a corporate buy out of that funeral home in April of 2017, Paul whole-heartedly wanted to return to Harrell Funeral Home.
“Being a part of a family owned funeral home is one of the main reasons why I decided to return to the Harrell Funeral Home family. It is very important to me to be able to take care of family’s needs first and to be capable of treating my customers like family. Here at Harrell Funeral Home, the staff is treated as family, and we have the ability to treat our customers as family. I can offer more meaning in my service here because the amount of quality time I spend with each family is encouraged, not restricted. There is a lot of time involved in being able to meet with families to really understand their needs and implement a personalized service.”
Paul has been a member of Oak Hill Rotary and South Austin Rotary and is currently a member of Council #10131 Knights of Columbus with St. Ignatius Catholic Church. He has a son, Tyrell Williamson; a daughter and son-in-law, Paige and Tanner Taylor; and two beautiful granddaughters, Shylee and Whitley, all of the Austin area. He loves spending time with his family, watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals, and playing golf.
Lynnette Gabrielle Davis, Funeral Director
Lynnette grew up in Louisiana graduating from C.E. Byrd Magnet High School in 2008. In 2012, she graduated from Dallas Institute of Funeral Service receiving an Associate of Applied Science in Funeral Service. Lynnette is a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer and has been serving in Texas as a Funeral Director since 2014. Before 2014, she served an apprenticeship at Hixson Funeral Home in South Louisiana, and as a Funeral Director at Forest Park Funeral Home and Distinctive Life Funeral Home in Houston Texas. She joined the Harrell Funeral Home staff in 2018.
“I was initially drawn to this profession while studying grief psychology at Louisiana Tech. My uncle who serves in the funeral industry noticed my passion for helping those who were grieving and began to mentor me and guide me into the profession. I joined the Harrell team because I enjoy working with people who share the same values and desires I cherish such as honesty, quality in every aspect of my work, and family values. It is important to me to be a part of a team that honors life and celebrates each life uniquely. I am truly blessed to get to know the families I am serving and walk beside them during this difficult time in their life.”
Lynnette is a member of the National Funeral Director Association (NFDA), Texas Funeral Directors Association (TFDA), Louisiana State Board of Funeral Directors Association, and Women in Black Organization. She also serves as a Cremation Specialist at ATXCremation. In her time outside of the funeral home, Lynnette finds great pleasure volunteering with non-profit organizations that support children who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, such as Kenna’s Kids and Abby’s Gifts. She has assisted with the Kenna Cup golf fundraiser and Abby’s Gift fundraising banquets to help raise awareness and capital. Lynnette has also enjoyed volunteering at the Dallas Life Homeless Shelter.
Some of her treasured time is spent with her family, including her two nephews and niece. Lynnette has an adventurous spirit and can be found frequenting art museums/shows, enjoying the Austin music scene; traveling, kayaking, and attending LSU football games. She makes it a priority to engage in the communities where she lives and serves.
Wade Lind, Funeral Director
Wade is a Licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer, Certified Crematory Operator, and serves as Manager of the Kyle Funeral Home location. He has 25 years of experience in the funeral industry performing in numerous capacities including sales manager, pre-arrangement counselor, embalmer, lead funeral director, and general manager. Wade demonstrates exceptional talent applying his leadership in his profession and impacting the community. He has successfully designed, built, and operated his own funeral home and crematorium in a community, while at the same time revitalizing a nonoperational cemetery and renewing purpose and vitality to the area. Harrell Funeral home was excited to welcome Wade to their staff in 2016.
“One of my most memorable experiences as a funeral director involved directing the services for the Mayor of Sacramento, California. He was the first Latino Mayor in the United States from a Mexican immigrant farm worker decent, and I had the honor of orchestrating all aspects of his funeral. I enjoyed the opportunity to bring together many different groups of people to celebrate his life, from dignitaries and city officials to union farm workers, religious leaders, and national media. The entire experience illuminated to me how one person can touch so many different lives. This is what I enjoy about my job, the chance to bring individuals from diverse backgrounds together and celebrate the love they share for each other.”
Wade has earned many professional accolades and held several positions in the community including serving as Secretary, Vice President, and President of the Northern California Funeral Directors Association. He has occupied offices on boards including Hospice of Martin in California, Spectrum in San Francisco, Alzheimer’s Association of Marin County, and Autism Society of San Francisco Bay Area. Wade has also assisted as Vice President of Board of Directors for Willamette Leadership Academy in Oregon where he was instrumental in growing the school from one to two campuses.
Wade enjoys many hobbies outside of his professional work including restoring cars, carpentry and restoring furniture, snow skiing, boating, hiking, backpacking, camping and floating down the Comal River. He enjoys spending time with fiancé, Shelly, and his three children.
Ray Martinez, Funeral Director
Ray is a Licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer, and Crematory Operator who knew after the loss of his mother that he was called to help others through this time in their life. Ray transitioned from the health industry where he managed durable medical equipment to the funeral industry in 2001. He graduated from Dallas Institute of Funeral Service in 2001 receiving an Associate of Applied Science degree in Funeral Service. Ray moved to Austin in 2006 and has spent the last 13 years helping families at Austin Peel and Son as a Funeral Director. With the recent sell of the business, he knew he was being called to serve at Harrell Funeral Home.
Ray joined the Harrell Funeral Home staff in 2019 and serves as a funeral director in the Kyle facility. Ray is a compassionate, humble and gentle director.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the community I have grown to love within the past 12 years living in Austin. Working in a family owned business provides a different atmosphere because I can go the extra mile for my families and provide them a truly unique experience. Harrell Funeral Homes is truly a professional and caring place that values focusing on each family uniquely and doing whatever it takes to meet their needs. After walking through this experience when I lost my mother, I knew I was being called to help others experiencing a loss.”
Ray is fluent in Spanish. Outside of the funeral home, Ray likes to spend time with his two sons, Chris and AJ Martinez and his five grandchildren.
Doug DuBois Jr., Office Relations Manager, Dripping Springs
Doug is a fifth generation Texan with family roots in South and Southeast Texas. Born in Beaumont, the family also lived in Fort Worth and Houston, where he graduated from Westchester High School. Doug pursued both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Texas A&M University in College Station, specializing in Marketing and Management in Agricultural Economics. Following 17 years in the retail convenience store industry, Doug and his wife Tricia moved to Austin where he embarked on a 21-year career in association management and government relations.
Doug aspires to the philosophy that “A Texan is measured by his honesty and integrity, with respect of his fellow man tantamount to successful relationships. We are taught to treat others the way we would like to be treated, but truly, we need to learn how others want to be treated, and act accordingly.”
Raised by one of “the Greatest Generation” to love sports and the outdoors, Doug is passionate about passing on that heritage to future generations, relying on Isaiah 40:30 – 31 as his life verse, providing guidance and encouragement to future generations of leaders. This is accomplished through his volunteer work, including over 15 years as a “Huntmaster” with the Texas Youth Hunting Program, ten years as a Texas Parks & Wildlife Hunter Education Instructor and most recently a volunteer with Footprints Children’s Grief Ministry, which reminds children experiencing grief from death of a loved one or from divorce that “You Are Not Alone.” This caring and compassionate mission is what attracted Doug to Harrell Funeral Home, where he feels a calling to work with families in their darkest hour to remember their loved one with honor and grace.
Doug and Tricia are active members of Austin Oaks Church, where Doug serves as Lead Usher and both are involved in bible study and small group leadership roles. Doug is stepfather to Tricia’s two lovely daughters and grandfather to four, with two great grandkids in the family, as well.
Starlyn Aurit, Marketing Director
Starlyn is a native Texan graduating from Texarkana’s Pleasant Grove High School in Texarkana in 1990. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas State University in 1994 minoring in marketing and specializing in communications. Starlyn also completed a Master of Business Administration at St. Edward’s University in 1998. She is a communications expert with more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech industry working with local and international print media, customers, and public stakeholders. During her career at Motorola, she directed international teams and orchestrated communication programs including public relations, media relations, executive visibility and speech writing, analyst relations, tradeshow/event management, product launches, employee communications, and community relations.
After leaving Motorola in 2004, Starlyn pursued her passion for photography and opened a business specializing in families. She quickly found herself immersed in the community helping non-profit organizations with promotional materials and communications programs. During this time, she also volunteered her time initiating fundraising benefits in the Austin community to assist families in crisis medical situations. Furthermore, she served on community advisory boards and helped develop students through teaching. Recently, she has used her communications background to help students flourish at Texas State University by expanding their professional development in business communications and helping prepare them to successfully enter the workplace upon graduation.Starlyn is a result-oriented leader and motivator and joined the Harrell family in June 2017.
“I am excited to see how we can use technology and communication to improve our client’s experience at Harrell Funeral Home and foster healing within our families. Our goal is to provide an atmosphere where love lives on in spite of death. We want each family to experience our love for them in how we care for them. Our home is an open door to welcome, comfort, and celebrate the uniqueness of each family who enters. Although the grieving process looks different for each family member, the healing process contains one essential ingredient that never changes and never fails… and that is love. We desire to love your family well and celebrate that love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Come and let us love you well.”
Starlyn enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family. She is married to Jon Aurit and has two daughters, Ashley and Kalei Aurit. In her free time, you will find her giving back to the community through serving and prayer. She is involved in several ministries at Austin Oaks Church and Veritas Academy.
Wanda Little, Executive Assistant and Office Locations Manager
Wanda is an executive assistant with Harrell Funeral Home where she began part time in 1990. She plays a vital role in the day to day operations and we take pride in her attention to detail and organizational skills. She is the office manager over all locations and resides in the Austin office.
“Today many children are asking for cell phones for their birthday, but when I was 13, I asked for a typewriter. This was my prized possession and I practiced all the time. By the time I was 18, I was working as an administrative assistant and have continued helping people in this capacity for decades. I tell folks, I was not looking for this job at Harrell Funeral Home, this job found me! I never envisioned myself working at a funeral home, yet have come to adore being a part of this family and plan to stay here until I retire. I enjoy helping relieve stress for families by filing insurance and life claims for them. Although these tasks are not complicated, they can feel daunting when you don’t know where to begin. Families are so grateful for the smallest details, and their words of gratitude are so fulfilling to me
Wanda graduated from King High School in Kingsville, Texas in 1972. She moved to Austin in 1980 and has worked as a computer operator at an engineering company and as an administrative assistant in the insurance industry. Family is very important to Wanda and was a key consideration in her coming to work for a family owned business. Wanda has two sons, David and Randy, both living in Austin. She married Cid in 2006 and currently helps care for her elderly parents and also co-parents her two grandchildren, Juliette and Nina. In her free time outside of the office, Wanda enjoys aiding underprivileged children and volunteering at her granddaughter’s school when she can. Her hobbies include gardening, water sports, traveling, and vacationing annually with her family at the beach.
Kathy Glosson Shugart, Office Relations Manager
Kathy joined the staff in 2016 and is the office relations manager residing at the Austin location. Kathy has served professionally as a general manager in the fuel industry for 20 years. She has extensive experience in sales, accounting, and operations management. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Kathy has also fulfilled the role of caretaker for the past four years with the onsite care of both of her parents, as well as both of her in-laws. Her life experiences demonstrate her passion for caring for others.
“My dream to work in the funeral industry began when I was in my 20’s. My mother would reaffirm this idea by telling me I would be good at helping during their loss. As I was caring for my mom before she passed away, she told me she wanted me to follow my dream. Months after her burial, I didn’t know where to begin, so I gave my desire over to God and told him, ‘if you want me to work in the funeral industry, you are going to have to pick out a company for me.’ A couple of months after that prayer, the phone rang, and it was Jason Harrell asking if I was interested in coming to work for him. My husband couldn’t believe it because just the day before I received the call he commented, ‘Do you think God will just call you for your next job?’ My answer was ‘yes,’ and that is exactly what He did. I know this is the place I am “called” to work, and I am excited to serve your family as though you were my own.”
Kathy was born in Austin and has lived in Dripping Springs most of her life. She graduated from Dripping Springs High School in 1975. Kathy married her husband Tim in 1993, and they have two daughters, Jennifer and Misty, and two granddaughters Lydia and Emma. In Kathy’s time outside of the office, she is a sports enthusiast enjoying professional sports, as well as attending to her grandchildren. She is also a member at Dripping Springs Baptist Church.
Mary Jennings, Office Relations Manager, Kyle
Mary is a native of Austin and graduated in 1977 from Albert Sidney Johnston High School. She continued her education at Austin Community College and began employment in the retail industry, which continued until 1984. Following this time, she moved into the insurance industry to serve medical, dental, and life insurance clients. Mary held numerous positions aiding customers from administrative assistant to a claims adjuster and also a customer service representative.
In 2005, she left the insurance industry and began work for the Travis County Medicals Examiner’s office where she was employed for the next eleven years. As a Sr. Office Specialist, Mary’s responsibilities included transcribing autopsy reports for the Chief Medical Examiner’s office and four Deputy Medical Examiners, training office employees, implementing a system to electronically process death certificates, and assisting funeral homes and families with death certificate requests. In 2016, Mary joined the staff at Harrell Funeral Home as the office relations manager in the Kyle location.
“I grew up in a large family with seven older siblings, five brothers, and two sisters. I know what it is like to share a special family bond with siblings. I have experienced loss on a personal level when burying my mother, my father, and recently when losing my oldest brother to cancer in 2015. I know the pain experienced when a family member is taken home. One thing I enjoy about my job is having the opportunity to lighten the load for families walking this path. I sometimes feel just listening and going the extra mile remind people there is hope and help them feel loved.”
Mary married her husband, Rod, in 2000 and has raised one son, Ramon, and enjoyed three grandchildren. In her free time, Mary takes great pleasure in spending time with her family, gardening, reading, cooking, and fishing. She is happy to be welcomed into the Harrell family business and looks forward to meeting new people in the Kyle community.
Trista Pallarez, Funeral Service Counselor
Trista is a Family Service Counselor at Harrell Funeral Home and her job is to help families after the funeral service is over. Trista has years of experience outside of the funeral industry, but it wasn’t until her grandmother passed that she realized her purpose in life is to help families make decisions during the weeks and months following the death of a loved one. Trista’s favorite quote is “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” She strives to be impeccable with her words, to not take anything personally nor make assumptions, and to also always do her best. Outside of work, Trista loves spending time with her family and raising her son.
Susan Hendrickson, Funeral Service Counselor
Susan is a Family Service Counselor at Harrell Funeral Home and her job is to help families after the funeral service is over. Susan has decades of experience in the funeral industry serving successfully in various aftercare positions. She desires to live her life in a way that makes the most of her potential. She wishes to instill in her own family the values and character she tries to live by daily. Her favorite pet is her rescue dog, Claude. She enjoys spending time with her family, being out in nature, and reading a good book on a rainy day.
Clarence Arvin Harrell, Jr.
Founding Funeral Director 1938-2005
Arvin grew up in South Austin and graduated from William B.Travis High School in 1956. He attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas and became the first graduate of the San Antonio College of Mortuary Science in 1962.
He began his career serving his apprenticeship under Jimmy Clay at Wilke-Clay Funeral Home. Arvin moved to work at Weed-Corley Funeral Home, progressing to an Assistant Manager and later co-owner of Wilke-Clay Funeral Home. In 1983, he decided to build a business of his own and established Harrell Funeral Home in South Austin February 5, 1984. He served as a dedicated funeral director and embalmer for over 40 years in the funeral industry and had the honor of facilitating many memorable services, including the late Lyndon B. Johnson’s funeral.
“While I was completing my apprenticeship, I met the love of my life, and ten months later Patsy and I were married. In 1984, we opened our business with a sizable investment and a lot of faith. I told her I was hoping to do about 100 funerals the first year, which was an ambitious goal in those days. And I will never forget, at 6 a.m. on the first day of our second year in business, the phone rang to begin work on our 100th funeral. I had missed my first year’s goal by only six hours.”
Arvin had high expectations for his business and served his community with the same passion. He joined Boy Scouts of America at an early age and followed in the footsteps of his father, achieving his Eagle Scout Award at an early age. He continued to be active and serve as an adult leading many organizations, including being the past president of several groups:
- Texas Funeral Directors Association
- Founders Lions Club of Austin
- West Austin Lions Club
- Austin Woods and Waters Club
- South Austin Civic Club (Business Man of the Year and Business of the Year)
In addition, Arvin was a member of many groups including South Austin Rotary, Woodlawn Baptist Church, Travis County Grand Jury Association, Onion Creek Masonic Lodge, Onion Creek Club, Austin Scottish Rite Bodies, Ben Hur Shrine, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Texas Bighorn Society, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
Arvin loved being around friends and family, especially if that time included adventures, hunting, fishing, golfing, or traveling. Arvin married Patsy Harrell in 1963 and had two sons, Jerry and Jason, and four grandsons, Caleb, Zac, Hunter, and Hoyt. Arvin enjoyed spending time relaxing with his family and working hard on the ranch. Outside of the office, he spent many hours in nature, whether raising cattle on his ranch, establishing water collection ponds in West Texas to save Bighorn Sheep, or hunting exotic animals in Alaska and the Arctic Circle.
Today he is missed, but his legacy lives on. He would be proud to know the business he founded is now the largest family owned and operated funeral home in the Austin area.