Meet Our Staff

Our staff provides excellent funeral planning services.

We have years of experience caring for families from all walks of life, cultures and faiths. Our unsurpassed staff and our family provide kind, caring, professional service. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession who are dedicated to excellence in service, adhere to the highest funeral industry standards, and have exceptional integrity. We consistently earn phenomenally high customer satisfaction survey results.

Our licensed, professional staff is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please call 401-596-2465 anytime. We will even come to you to make arrangements in the comfort of your home.

Prompt, compassionate service is always just a phone call away, where and when you need it.


John G. Weeden

John G. Weeden

Location Manager / Funeral Director - Embalmer

R.I. License # 1070

John G. Weeden of Ashaway and Rockville, Rhode Island is a Funeral Director/Embalmer and the Location Manager of both the Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home and S.R. Avery Funeral Home. He has been associated with both funeral homes since 1985.

He is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science Degree, the Chariho High School, and the former New England Institute of Anatomy and Sciences in Kenmore Square, Boston, now part of Mt. Ida College, Newton, Massachusetts.

John and his wife Janet (Mourninghan) Weeden are active members of the Westerly Yacht Club and Hopkinton Historical Society, and both attend St. Joseph Church in Hope Valley.

John volunteers and serves on the Hopkinton Animal Control Commission. He is a member of both the Rhode Island and National Funeral Directors Association. In his spare time John enjoys spending time with his wife Janet, traveling, practicing yoga, working out at morning boot-camp, and skeet and trap shooting at the Narragansett Gun Club.

Michele J. Wegner

Michele J. Wegner

Managing Partner / Funeral Director - Embalmer

R.I. License #1242

Michele J. Wegner is a Funeral Director/Embalmer and the Managing Partner of both the Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home and S.R. Avery Funeral Home. She received her degree in Mortuary Science from Briarwood College in Southington, Connecticut in 2005 and has been a practicing funeral director ever since. She is a licensed funeral director in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Michigan and a member of the National Funeral Directors Association and Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. Prior to that she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology/Chemistry from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame in Indiana in 1997.

Michele is a US Army veteran and served as a Captain in the Army Engineer Corps before working for The Stanley Works (Stanley Black & Decker) as a logistics and operations manager. She spends her free time exercising and traveling and is active in both the American Legion and the 82nd Airborne Division Association. Michele and her husband David Roden reside in Stonington, Connecticut.

Tara J. McCarron

Tara J. McCarron

Funeral Director-Embalmer

R.I. License #1220

Tara J. McCarron graduated from Johnston Senior High School in 2009 and F.I.N.E Mortuary College in 2012. She became a licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer in October 2012. Tara previously worked for Nardolillo Funeral Home in Cranston, Rhode Island for four years and has been with Buckler-Johnston and S.R. Avery Funeral Homes since 2014. Tara is a member of the Rhode Island Funeral Directors Association and National Funeral Directors Association.

Nicole Whittaker

Nicole Whittaker

Administrative Assistant

Nicole joined Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home in March 2016. She graduated from Chariho High School in 2002 and earned her Associate's Degree in Business from the Community College of Rhode Island in May 2015. She is a member of the Kappa Beta Delta and is also a Notary Public.


Phil Smith

Phil Smith

Ambassador

Phil graduated from the Westerly (Rhode Island) High School in 1962 and New England Technical Institute in 1963 with a certificate in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. He was employed by General Dynamics Electric Boat Division for 42 years. At Electric Boat Division, he was a Weight Engineer responsible for the ballasting of submarines. He was also a Safety/OSHA Compliance Officer for the Division. His hobbies include auto racing; he was a NASCAR Track Steward for over 20 years at the Stafford Motor Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl, both in Connecticut. He has been a boater for over 50 years and has cruised New England and New York waters extensively. He also has an antique car, a 1938 Ford, that he has restored.

Salvatore Parise

Salvatore Parise

Ambassador

Salvatore Parise grew up in Westerly, Rhode Island and is one of nine children. Sal married his wife, Elisabeth, in Europe and spent many years traveling overseas. Sal served in the Air Forces in Germany during the Korean War. He worked as a masonry sub-contractor for over 20 years and also owned his own kitchen cabinet business for over ten years.

Sal is a Past Commodore of Westerly Yacht Club and former councilman of the Town of Westerly. He and his wife have two sons and are members of Immaculate Conception Church in Westerly.

Ray Smith

Ray Smith

Ambassador

Ray is the owner/operator of Bea Smith’s Clothing Company. He is a native of Westerly and a 1982 graduate of Westerly High School. He attended St. Michael’s College in Vermont before assuming ownership of the family business, Bea Smith’s, in 1984. Ray continues to grow this popular clothing company via direct sales to retirement communities and an e-commerce platform.

Ray is active in the business community of Westerly, serving as the Secretary of the Old Town Hall Museum. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce and as past president of the Downtown Business Association.

Ray married his wife Sharon in 1994. They enjoy vacationing in Turks, Caicos and New Hampshire, sailing their Hobie, and are devoted dog lovers. They are active parishioners of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Pawcatuck Connecticut. They reside in Bradford Rhode Island.

In his spare time, Ray enjoys hiking with his dog, relaxing at the beach, and collecting Lionel electric trains. He is a member of Rhode Island Mobile Sportfishermen and the New Haven Railroad Historical Society

Courtney Sojka

Courtney Sojka

Ambassador

Courtney Sojka is a resident of Westerly, Rhode Island. Courtney graduated from Franklin County Technical School in 1988. From there he proceeded to obtain training from multiple police academies to follow a career in law enforcement. Courtney was a police officer in Vernon, Vermont, as well as a Deputy Sheriff for the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, where he retired in 2014. Since his retirement, Courtney has trained at the National Advanced Training Center to be an Advanced Protective Security Specialist.

Henry Laudone

Henry Laudone

Ambassador

Henry was a Norwich Free Academy Teacher of Multi-Racial/Multi-Cultural History for 37 years retiring in 2016. During the last five years, he was a new teacher coach along with being a football coach for ten years and a softball coach for 16 years.

He has received numerous awards in the academic field, including the Norwich Free Academy Teacher of the Year. He was selected by the Connecticut Association of Schools as one of the top five high school teachers in Connecticut. Henry was also selected by the Ronald McDonald House Charities as one of the top ten teachers in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He also received the NAACP award for service to the community and was the Co-Chair of the advisory committee for the Holocaust Resource Center of Southeast Connecticut for 12 years.

He has had the opportunity to share his expertise through speaking engagements, including the International Conference on Race and Diversity in Oxford, England and the New England Social Studies Convention at Yale, and was the keynote speaker for the Holocaust Remembrance in Southeast Connecticut.

Henry lives in Westerly with his wife of 35 years, Maura, and together they have a daughter Rebecca and a son-in-law Joe.

Michael O'Connor

Michael O'Connor

Ambassador

Michael O’Connor is a resident of Westerly, Rhode Island.  He grew up in Albany, New York and graduated from Albany Academy High School in 2008.  He is currently attending Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut working on a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  He has also worked as a dock builder in the local area. 

In his free time, Michael is an avid golfer and enjoys spending time with his family. 


Christina Davis

Christina Davis

Ambassador

Christina Davis is a resident of Westerly, Rhode Island where she resides with her daughter, Courtney.  She is a 1995 graduate of Somers High School in Somers, CT. 

 

Since starting in the workforce Christina’s focus has been exemplary customer service, which she has received awards for.  Christina has held Connecticut licenses in both real estate and insurance and is pursuing her real estate license in the State of Rhode Island.

 

Christina is a parishioner of Curtis Corner Baptist Church in Wakefield, RI.  She is devoted to her family and friends also loves travelling, gardening, and auto racing. Multiple times a year Christina also volunteers her time to raise money and awareness for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and The Terry Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation; where she also participates in the TBBCF half marathon walk yearly.


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