History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
When we sit down with a family, we have just one goal: to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. Together, we explore the wide variety of services and products available, as well as a wealth of creative ideas and suggestions.
Together, we'll design a memorial or funeral service that suits their needs now, and in the future. Families who come to us know that years from now, they will have deep peace-of-mind because in coming to us, they've done their best to honor their loved one.
At E. James Reese Funeral Home and Crematory, we take great pride in what we do. Our purpose is to:
• Help families make well-planned preparations in their time of need.
• Provide a peaceful and soothing environment where people can gather to honor the life of a loved one.
• Preserve longstanding traditions and customs.
• Offer personalized and affordable services and products. Reach out to the greater community.
We believe that the success of any business requires dedication and professionalism. In our business, in particular, it also requires a great deal of kindness, compassion and attention to detail. You’ll find these qualities in each and every member of our staff E. James Reese Funeral Home and Crematory.
Put your trust in us to make this experience as comfortable and carefree as possible.
Our Valued Staff
E. Dean Gunter CFSP, Licensed Funeral Director / Embalmer
Dean was born and raised in St. Petersburg. He has been a licensed funeral director and embalmer since 1971. He graduated from Northeast High School in 1968 where he was Captain of the Band and played in the percussion section. He received his Associate in Science Degree in Mortuary Science from Miami-Dade Community College in 1971.
Dean was involved in the formation of the Pinellas/Pasco Mortuary Disaster Response Team and is a member of the Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System (FEMORS). He is a member of the Pinellas County, Florida and National Funeral Director Associations.
Dean has achieved an accredited certification in Death and Grief Studies through The Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, CO in conjunction with Colorado State University.
Dean participates annually in the Pinellas County School District "Great American Teach In". He also is part of the 500 member "Awesome, Original, Second Time Arounders Marching Band" with which he is a bass drummer.
Dean and his wife Ellie live in Seminole. He has six children (3 girls and 3 boys) and 4 grandsons.
He became Funeral Director in charge of the funeral home in March 2008.
Leanardo Stubbs, Funeral Director
Originally from Freeport, Bahamas, Leanardo’s family moved to Riviera Beach, FL. While in high school, he began working at a local funeral home in West Palm Beach, FL. At an early age, his care and love for people drew him closer to his devoted calling and service to families. After graduating from Palm Beach Gardens High School, Leanardo entered the United States Air Force as a Health Service Administrator. Returning from a two year tour, he attended and subsequently graduated from Miami-Dade College of Mortuary Science in 2006. Leanardo is dual licensed as a Funeral Director and Embalmer in Florida. He has been contracted as a Funeral Director/Embalmer, and employed with many funeral homes, family owned and corporate, in the state of Florida. Having a successful career and an excellent reputation with several funeral homes in South Florida, he was thrilled to become part of the Reese Family in 2014.
In his spare time, Leanardo continues to be active with Orthodox Zion Primitive Baptist Church in West Palm Beach. He is also a member of the P.H.A. Masonic Lodges, Kiwanis Clubs International, and several other organizations. Leanardo is currently working on his Bachelor of Science in Franchising Management at Northwood University. He also spends his time with his daughter, Natassia, who resides in Riviera Beach. Leanardo is also awaiting the arrival of his 2nd daughter.
Joanne K. Hawkins, Chapel Administrator
Joanne was born and raised in Chester, PA and graduated from Chester High School. She and her husband, Jack, moved to Florida in 1968 to attend Florida Junior College for Property Management. Previously, Joanne worked as a Marketing Associate for a non-profit organization associated with the National Cancer Institute.
Joanne enjoys the Bible, genealogy, and poetry. She was invited to attend the International Library of Poetry Convention and her poem was published in "Voices for the Soul" and "A Flood of Contentment". Joanne and Jack skated competitively and placed in the top five in the Southeast Regionals for the United States as a dance team. Joanne attends Theocratic Ministry School.
She and her husband, Jack, have been married 45 years and have 5 daughters, 10 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren. Her husband Jack passed away in August of 2012.
E. James Reese Jr., Licensed Funeral Director / Embalmer
Born at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Mr. Reese, Jr. is a lifelong resident of Pinellas County. He attended Gulfport Elementary, Tyrone Junior High and Boca Ciega High School, graduating from Dixie Hollins High School in St. Petersburg in 1961. He attended St. Petersburg College and received his Associate of Science Degree in Funeral Service from the Kentucky School of Mortuary Science in Louisville, Kentucky where he graduated Cum Laude in 1966. Mr. Reese, Jr. is an active member of Faith Presbyterian Church in Seminole, the Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, the Egypt Temple Shrine in Tampa and a former member of the Seminole Kiwanis Club. He enjoys classic and antique cars, boating and fishing.
E. James "Jimmy" Reese III, Licensed Funeral Director / Embalmer
Born at Bayfront Hospital in St. Petersburg, Mr. Reese, III is a lifelong resident of Pinellas County. He graduated from Seminole High School in 1988. After attending St. Petersburg College, he attended Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, Georgia where he received his Associate Degree in Funeral Service in 1992. Mr. Reese, III then attended St. Joseph's College of Maine where he obtained his Bachelors Degree in Education in 1999 and Masters Degree in Theology in 2004. A Certified Funeral Service Practitioner, Mr. Reese, III was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to a four year term of office to the Board of Funeral and Cemetery Services. His community involvement includes the Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge, Past President and member of the Rotary Club of Seminole, member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, member and past Vice Chairman of the Board of the St. Petersburg Theological Seminary, member of the Advisory Board of the Pregnancy Plus Medical Center in St. Petersburg and Staff Officer and Certified Instructor with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. He is also active with many social and community projects, numerous philanthropic organizations and charities including All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Catholic Charities, Osceola Middle School, Pinellas Park Middle School, Orange Grove Elementary School and Madeira Beach Recreation Soccer Teams.