- About Us
Our staff is comprised of dedicated and licensed professionals with the experience to answer all your questions regarding our services. Please feel free to contact any of our staff members at any time.
John-Michael “J.M.” Jones has been a Director with Gray Funeral Directors of Westfield and Cranford, since February of 2010. J.M. began his career in funeral service in 1979 as a high school junior growing up in Punta Gorda, FL, where he worked for a classmate’s family funeral home. He graduated with a BA degree from the University of Florida, Gainesville in 1984, then enrolled in mortuary science school in Miami, graduating cum laude with a degree in Funeral Service Education in 1986 from Miami-Dade College.
J.M. began a 20 year career with the Kraeer Funeral Home group, based in Pompano Beach, FL, where he managed the firm’s Coral Springs, FL and Boca Raton, FL locations. In 1991, he earned a Masters degree in Business Administration, from Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, while working his way up to General Manager of the firm’s 13 funeral homes. In 2000 he was appointed regional manager of the Southeast Florida Market of The Loewen Group,Inc, which was the firm’s parent company. J.M. oversaw the firm’s 24 funeral home, cemetery, and crematory properties and operations from Jupiter,FL down to Key West, FL. In 2003, he helped transition the market into the newly reorganized company, which became the Alderwoods Group, based in Toronto, CN. J.M. was elected District Director for the Florida Funeral Directors Association, representing the Fort Lauderdale area. He was later nominated to the Executive Committee, and served as the association’s Secretary/Treasurer. J.M. was appointed to the association’s Legislative Committee, which wrote a proposal to amend the State of Florida statutes to combine both of the state’s Board of Funeral Directing, and the Board of Cemeteries, into one regulatory board. This was mandated by then Governor Jeb Bush, in his effort to streamline state government. The proposal was later enacted into legislation and became law.
After the untimely death of J.M.’s wife Staci Cummings Jones, in 2004 from cancer, J.M. left funeral service in 2006, to raise their three children. Having taught school as an adjunct professor of funeral service management and law, at the former mortuary science school at Lynn University, Boca Raton, J.M. had a desire to teach history, his favorite subject. He enrolled into the transition to teaching program at Bethel College in suburban South Bend, IN, where he and the children had previously moved to. He taught economics, history, and government in local high schools there.
In 2009, the family of his late wife Staci, who was also a funeral director, asked him to come to Westfield, and Cranford to help them with their family run funeral homes. The Crabiel family has owned and operated Gray Funeral Homes since 1966. J.M. joined the team of longtime funeral directors and managers: Bill Doyle and Dale Schoustra. In 2012, J.M. helped guide the firm into becoming a Life Celebration Home. A community of like-minded funeral directors throughout the country, Life Celebration Homes are committed to helping a family create healing moments, through the co-creation with the family of a special tribute and life story reflecting what was most important in their loved one’s life. The experience the family and friends become a part of, has been one of the most rewarding aspects of J.M.’s career. He currently serves on the Leadership Committee of Life Celebration.
J.M.'s daughter; Christina Elizabeth Jones, is a 2013 graduate of Westfield High School, and currently a premed student at State University of New York, Binghampton. His two sons are currently students in the Westfield schools. Matthew Stephen Jones is a wrestler, and a freshman at Westfield High School, and Mark Andrew Jones is a 6th grader at Roosevelt Intermediate School. J.M. attends The Presbyterian Church in Westfield, and enjoys the comraderie, hardwork, and sweat of KOA Crossfit in Cranford, as well as running in the annual Greta’s Run 5K, and the Pizza Run 5K. J.M. used his acting skills while singing, dancing, and having lots of fun in the annual Washington School Shows, in Westfield. Although his children are native Floridians, they love the change of seasons and the wonderful small town feel of Westfield, Cranford, and surrounding towns.
Manager / Funeral Director
William A. Doyle is a funeral director with Gray Funeral Homes with more than 55 years of service . With more than 65 years of experience, young William decided he wanted to be a funeral director since his formative years as a 7th grader. While visiting a friend’s house for lunch, Bill heard his friend’s father, who was a funeral director, remark on how nice the checks were that they had received that week “for three days work.” That set in motion what would later become his life’s vocation. He would soon find out that it wasn’t just ”three days work”, but 365 days work, and being available 24/7 including weekends, and holidays.
Born in Newark on December 8th, 1929, to the late James and Elizabeth Fox Doyle, Bill has a sister ,Claire Doyle Smith, and a brother, the late James Doyle. He was raised in Newark, where he attended Blessed Sacrament School, St. Joseph’s School, and St. Benedict’s Prep School. Upon graduation, in 1947, he began a three year internship with the James F. Caffrey & Son Funeral Home in Newark. It was during this time that a funeral director friend, Andy Flood, set him up on a blind date, with the lovely Alice Vermilyea. Soon after, world events changed Bill’s plans. The Korean War broke out, and mortuary science school would have to wait, as Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was sent to the Naval Hospital Corps. School in Bainbridge, MD, where he was trained as a medic. Before he was sent oversees to Japan and Korea, he and Alice, his soul mate, were married, February 2, 1952 in Saint Mary’s Abby Church, Newark. Medics were in high demand on the ground, so the Navy transferred Bill into the US Marines, 1st Division in Korea. He would remain there for a year and a half. After his tour there, he was transferred to the Naval Hospital in Japan. He agreed to an overseas extension in Japan, where he was later joined by his young bride, Alice and their first child, Carol, with their second child Bill Jr. “on the way.” They lived in Japan until Bill’s duty ended in December 1955.
With the war over, and Bill’s service to his country having ended, it was time to get back to his life’s work i.e. having lots of kids, and working long hours as a funeral director. Bill completed his studies at the McAllister School of Mortuary Science, New York City and passed his state board exams to become a licensed funeral director and embalmer in New Jersey. He was eventually able to find a full time position with the former Weatherhead Funeral Home in Orange. He later worked at Arthur K. Brown, in Montclair, and Haeberle & Barth in Irvington and Union. In 1958, Bill learned that Mr. Fred H.Gray Sr. was looking for a funeral director for his Westfield and Cranford funeral homes. He accepted what was then a generous offer, and never looked back. In 1966 Gray’s would become part of the Crabiel group of funeral homes. David B. Crabiel, founder, and president, would later name Bill to positions of manager, and executive director of Gray’s. Bill has served his community and profession well over his many years of service. Having been active with many civic groups such as the Lions, the Knights of Columbus, and the board of the Westfield Senior Housing, Bill has also served in various committees and positions with the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, and the Union County Funeral Directors Association.
He is a committed supporter of religious missions work and US military veterans groups. He and Alice’s love for each other have produced eight children: Carol Ann Dinsmore (Robert), William A. Jr. (Claudia), James K. (Linda), Kathleen Dinsmore, Timothy, Thomas (Rose), Patrick, and Mark (Veronica). There are now 13 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren. Where it stops no one knows!
Funeral Director / Manager
Dale Schoustra has been with Gray Funeral Homes since June of 1988 as a funeral director, and became Manager of Gray Memorial in 1993.
Dale started his interest in funeral service at age seventeen while in Eastern Christian High School in North Haledon, New Jersey. He started out as a parking attendant at a local funeral home in Bergen County. As he got involved in other aspects of the business, he was encouraged by his employer and his parents to look at a career in funeral service. Following his calling for his life work, he followed that path by going to Bergen Community College, and then on to American Academy Mc Allister Institute Of Funeral Service in New York City.
Growing up in Ridgewood, New Jersey, he served his apprenticeship at C.C. Van Emburgh Funeral Home in the same town. He came to Westfield, and Cranford and met Christine M. Barber. She is a lifelong resident of Cranford, and a true Jersey Girl (Bruce Springsteen fan). They got married in 1994. They have two children, Jonathan, and Kelly. Jon works as a parking lot attendant and tends door here at Gray’s. Kelly is a student at Clemson University (Go Tigers) in South Carolina with a major in pre business.
Dale came to love Cranford, Westfield, Garwood and the surrounding communities to which he serves. He is a member and Elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Cranford, and the Cranford Elks, and the Azure Masada Lodge. When he is not working, he enjoys his family first and foremost, and also enjoys golf and watching a good football game.
Along with William Doyle , and J.M. Jones; Dale runs the Gray Funeral Homes as if they were his own. As he likes to put it,“ it is his old school upbringing” that trickles down to the families he serves, and their loved ones. Treating everyone with the upmost dignity and respect, is important to him. With our path of Life Celebration, we can bring out a life that is and was well lived. Dale likes to think that he went into funeral service for the right reasons, and that is to help people through a most difficult time.