We are proud to be locally owned and operated and our greatest asset is our people. Beginning with our chapel, we also offer the best of amenities in the Des Moines area: stained glass windows, seating for more than 175 guests, an area for luncheons, and ample parking. The idyllic setting, on the grounds of Chapel Hill Gardens, provides a fitting location to celebrate the lives of those we love.
Merle Hay Funeral Home is located on the grounds of the beautiful Chapel Hill Gardens. In addition to the chapel, our on-site services include a crematory, mausoleum, and the areas most affordable cremation niches.
Blair A. Overton has been a licensed funeral director since 1992. Raised in Traer, Iowa, Blair was a 1986 graduate of North Tama High School and continued his education at the University of Iowa, where he graduated with a degree in economics in 1990.
Blair received his education in mortuary sciences at the New England Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Upon graduation in 1991, he received the Fredrick J. Walker Award for highest academic average and the Founders Award for the most promise of outstanding contribution to funeral service. While in Boston, Blair worked full time for the J. S. Waterman & Sons Funeral Home.
Returning to Iowa, Blair has served families for almost thirty years. He has owned and operated funeral homes in small towns and the greater Des Moines metroplex, as well as a cremation society and two cemeteries. Blair takes pride in helping families arrange for a fitting celebration of life.
Blair, his wife, Whitney, and sons, Alexander, Tyler, and Ryan, make their home in Johnston, Iowa.
Sara was born in Des Moines and lived in Colorado for 15 years before returning to Iowa to be close to family. It was through her father’s death that brought her to Merle Hay Funeral Home. Sara found that she was able to demonstrate her compassion for those she serves while also tending to the daily happenings of a funeral home. Sara & Blair partnered in January 2020 to form Iowa Funeral Planning and look forward to continuing to offer quality services to all families.
Jack joined Iowa Funeral Planning at the beginning of 2020. He is managing sales and marketing for all locations and supporting the family service program to help families to understand all the options that we offer. Jack has over 30 years of experience in the operational and marketing support of funeral home and cemetery operations. He began his career in High School digging graves and cemetery maintenance. He has worked in Sr. Management in the preneed insurance business for over 20 years including the two largest providers in the US and Canada. Jack has been COO of a large funeral home and cemetery operations on the east coast and the Midwest. As we welcome him to our team with his knowledge and experience, we will offer the best solutions for our families to educated and serve the community.
Mike was born and raised in southern Madison County, Iowa on a farm. He graduated from East Union Community Schools, South Western Community College, and from the Mortuary Science Program at DMACC in 2007. He and his wife Karen lived in Marshalltown, Iowa for 35 years. Karen passed away in 2015, then Mike moved to Ankeny, Iowa. He is blessed with three daughters, Kellee, Ragan, Kinzee and seven grandbabies, Caleb, Jose, Isiah, Lily, Eli, Ella, and Dani and one great-grandbaby, Camille. He has been a Hospice volunteer for 35 years and loves to renovate and remodel and cook in his spare time.
For Mike, being a funeral director is not a job, it’s a ministry and one he loves.
Seth grew up outside of Gladbrook, Iowa, and graduated from Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School in 2000. He was a biology major and religion minor at Simpson College. Following graduation in 2004, he attended and graduated from the DMACC Mortuary Science Program and has been a licensed funeral director and preneed sales agent since 2007, working for Iowa Funeral Planning locations since 2010.
Seth’s family consists of his wife Kristin, and children Sydney and Turner. They reside in Bondurant. He enjoys spending time with them outdoors and encouraging his kids in their activities at school and church. Seth is an avid Iowa State Cyclones and Chicago Cubs fan.
Seth currently serves on the Iowa Board of Mortuary Science and the DMACC Mortuary Science Program Advisory Committee, helping ensure Iowa has quality funeral directors who do their best to serve their communities.
Samantha grew up in Runnells, Iowa, and graduated from Southeast Polk High School in 2014. Following High School, she obtained her Associate in Science at DMACC and then attended the Mortuary Science Program, graduating in 2018. Samantha completed her internship at Merle Hay Funeral Home and has been a licensed funeral director since 2019.
Samantha now lives in Des Moines with her two cats, Marvel and Maple. She enjoys spending her free time with family and friends, attending live music events, going to the farmers market, and being outdoors.
Jason Henderson has been a licensed funeral director since 2007. He was raised in Waukee, Iowa, and graduated from Waukee High School. He attended the mortuary science program at DMACC and graduated in 2006.
Jason lives in West Des Moines with his son, Noah, and is an avid supporter of Liverpool Football Club. In his free time, Jason enjoys playing soccer and attending concerts.
Tracie Hicks has been employed with Iowa Funeral Planning since 1988 and is involved with the day-to-day operations of the funeral homes and cemeteries. She graduated from Dexfield (Redfield) High School in 1983 and then attended the University of Northern Iowa, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration in 1987. Tracie resides in Redfield with her husband Matt. They have one daughter.
Sylvia is a Des Moines native and the newest addition to the Family Service team. She compassionately assists families and individuals with their after-death wishes. Sylvia grew up by Woodland Cemetery and has always had a fascination with its encapsulation of the history of people. She was prompted to work in funeral services after losing her father to cancer and wants to help others in his honor. Sylvia did her schooling at Western Washington University in Washington state and has worn many hats including; waitress, barista, bartender, administrative assistant at Senior Services for South Sound, and music instructor. In her free time, Sylvia enjoys live music, traveling, salsa dancing, and reading at local coffee shops.
Rachel has been the voice of Merle Hay Funeral Home for more than 11 years.
Music is a passion she shares with family and friends, often attending band gigs in the Des Moines area. Rachel and her husband Wayne enjoy their century-old home in the Drake neighborhood.
Beth is the receptionist for Brooks Funeral Care and the Cremation Society of Iowa. She is a longtime resident of Des Moines, with a small detour in South and North Carolina. Beth graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree and she also took accounting classes from Des Moines Area Community College. Beth is a Member of P.E.O. Her free time is spent with family and friends, and she enjoys gardening, crocheting, reading, and the great outdoors.