Our knowledgeable staff are passionate about providing families guidance and support during the funeral planning process and well after the funeral. Together, we can honor your loved one’s life while beginning your grief journey.

 

 

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Michael J. O’Connor President
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Daniel T. Kuhn Oxford Manager/Funeral Director
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Nancy Kennedy Durham Office Manager / Funeral Director
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Eugene S. Bobbitt, Sr. Finance Manager/Service Associate
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Justin R. Boone Durham Funeral Director
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James M. “Jimmy” Stepp Durham Funeral Director
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Cassandra “Casey” Champion Oxford Funeral Director
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Katie C. O’Connor Durham Funeral Director
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Mark T. Higgins Durham Funeral Director
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Michael C. Poole Durham Funeral Director
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John E. Newell Oxford Funeral Director

Michael J. O’Connor

President
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Michael O'Connor joined Hall-Wynne in 1999 soon after graduating from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. Funeral service is not only a second career for Mike, but a vocation as well. Mike was a 1977 graduate of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where he was born and raised. He was employed for 16 years with Rockwell International Corporation working on the U.S. Space Shuttle and B-1B Bomber programs in Los Angeles, CA. He was introduced to funeral service in high school while working for his uncle, who owned two funeral homes in the Pittsburgh area.

When corporate life at Rockwell became routine and unremarkable, it was an easy decision for him to enter funeral service. Mike became a stockholder in Hall-Wynne Funeral Service in 2005 and on October 3, 2019 he became principal owner and president.

Mike enjoys working out at the gym 3-4 days a week. An avid reader who enjoys travel when schedule permits, he’s a devoted Pittsburgh Steeler fan and a loyal Duke Blue Devils basketball fan. Mike has two wonderful children. His son, Brian, proudly served his country in the U.S. Air Force for six years and is currently attending Clemson University. His daughter, Katie, joined the company in April 2018 and will soon receive her Funeral Director’s license. Mike is a long-time member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Durham.

“Establishing trust and exceeding expectations are key ingredients in making a family feel well-cared for throughout the funeral process. Funeral service is unique in the sense every Hall-Wynne employee has the capability to form a long-lasting friendship with family members who may have walked through the door days earlier as a complete stranger.”

Daniel T. Kuhn

Oxford Manager/Funeral Director
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Daniel Kuhn has been working in funeral service since June, 2000. He received his education from The San Francisco College of Mortuary Science where he graduated in the top of his class and with (almost) perfect attendance. His growing up years were in Rockville, MD and Greencastle, PA. Daniel moved to Durham in 2007 to join Hall-Wynne, where he remained for 3 years prior to accepting a management position with Brown-Wynne in Raleigh. Happily for all, he assumed the position of Manager at Gentry-Newell & Vaughan,

Daniel and his wife, Katie, have three young children including two beautiful daughters, Marin and Ailey; and son, Holden. They treasure every opportunity to spend time together as a family, whether at home, the beach or mountains. They are members of the Durham 2nd Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

“It is a sacred trust every family places in us when they come seeking help. It is my personal responsibility and privilege to provide every family with the highest level of professionalism and care. I love what I do; I love that I can offer help and support to a family who may feel as though their world has just come crashing down. Funeral service is a deep honor, and I am blessed to be involved in this noble vocation.”

Nancy Kennedy

Durham Office Manager / Funeral Director
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Nancy Buttry Kennedy is a Durham native. She graduated from Southern High School and completed her funeral directing education at Fayetteville Tech. She has been with Hall-Wynne since 1995, receiving her funeral directing license in 2002. Nancy is married to James Kennedy and lives in Hillsborough with her children, Michael and Abby. She is a member of Orange United Methodist Church.

“I consider myself lucky because I’ve discovered not only who I am but where I’m supposed to be. My life’s been led by the overwhelming desire to help others, something I did not fully understand until I began working at Hall-Wynne. That satisfaction continues to reinforce I’m in the right place.”

Eugene S. Bobbitt, Sr.

Finance Manager/Service Associate
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Gene Bobbitt is a well-known Durham native who spent 33 years as Director of Advertising for the Herald-Sun newspaper. He served as President of Friendly North State Sertoma Club, Chairman of the Durham Amateur Golf Tournament, the Board of Directors for Durham Sales & Marketing, President of the Herald-Sun Credit Union, and President/Board of Directors of the Mid-Atlantic Newspaper Advertising & Marketing Executives Association, a six-state newspaper management organization, and received an Honorary Life Membership for his long term service and accomplishments to the organization.

He joined the Hall-Wynne staff in 2003 as the company’s in-house accountant and funeral service associate. Gene became operating manager of the crematory upon its construction in 2009. He also serves on the company’s board of directors.

Gene also owns and operates a tax and accounting business, holds a private pilot’s license, but mostly enjoys time with his four children and six grand-children. He is also a car and motorcycle enthusiast and can often be found in his Corvette convertible or on his Harley-Davidson cycle.

“Funeral service has allowed me to help so many friends and acquaintances through a difficult time. I especially enjoy helping people I have never even met deal with the loss of a loved one. The gratification and appreciation I receive from families exceeds anything I’ve ever experienced.”

Justin R. Boone

Durham Funeral Director
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Justin Boone joined the staff of Hall-Wynne in Durham in August of 2009. A native of Rutherford County, he is a graduate of Fayetteville Technical Community College’s funeral service program. Justin is a member of Grey Stone Church, through which he has generously volunteered his time on mission trips to Haiti and Zambia, and where he serves as an ordained Deacon. He is a member of the Exchange Club of Greater Durham. Justin values time spent with his wife, Dr. Allison Boone, a large-animal pathology veterinarian, enjoys the outdoors and playing the piano.

“I’ve always wanted to work with people, and can’t imagine doing anything I’d love more than exactly what I do now.”

James M. “Jimmy” Stepp

Durham Funeral Director
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Jimmy Stepp rejoined the staff of Hall-Wynne in September, 2017, having left the area for several years to work in another region. A native of Denton, NC, he is a graduate of the funeral service program at Fayetteville Technical Community College. Like many in the profession whose inspiration occurred early, Jimmy worked for a local funeral home as a high school student. He is married to Staci and has two beautiful daughters, Allisyn and Jillian, along with dogs, Chloe and Henley. They treasure every opportunity together as a family – whether at home, camping at the beach or mountains, or visiting Staci’s home state of Iowa. Jimmy has been active in Kiwanis International, Masonic Lodge #669 A.F. & A.M., and the Oasis Shriners.

“My work as a funeral director is deeply satisfying as people respond gratefully for help and guidance during a sad and stressful time. It’s a privilege to work with a sense of calling in such a noble profession as funeral service. Every day we get to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to making our corner of the world better.”
 

Cassandra “Casey” Champion

Oxford Funeral Director
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A longtime Granville Co. resident, Casey Champion is a graduate of Longwood College and also holds a master’s degree in public health. She is a volunteer fire fighter and EMT with Berea Fire Dept. and has been a state medical examiner in Granville & Franklin Counties since 2010. Casey is completing studies in funeral service at Fayetteville Technical Community College and following her internship will write exams for licensure. She is married to B. Wayne Champion, a retired law enforcement agent. Casey and her husband have a son, and she is step-mother to four children.

“There is no more difficult a time than at the death of a family member. The privilege to care for the deceased, and to show kindness, respect and gentleness to  families and friends is priceless.”

Katie C. O’Connor

Durham Funeral Director
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Katie O’Connor was born in Pittsburgh, PA and moved to Durham, NC at a young age. She is a graduate of Durham School of the Arts and East Carolina University. Katie worked in sales at Lenovo for two and a half years after graduating college. She graduated from Fayetteville Technical Community College in December 2019, where she pursued her Funeral Directors’ degree. Lover of all things hot pink and leopard print, Katie enjoys shopping, working out and spending time with friends and family.

“Since the young age of 4, I’ve grown up in the funeral service industry and have witnessed firsthand many aspects of this business that have helped mold me into the person I am today.  I chose funeral service because compassion and care are so important during the time of loss and I want to continue to give that attention to the families that we serve. This position helps me be a compassionate, understanding and poised individual not only at work but in my day-to-day life.”

Mark T. Higgins

Durham Funeral Director
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Mark Higgins is President Emeritus of Hall-Wynne, having been its principal owner until 2019 and now serving in a part-time capacity. He is a graduate of Hope College in Holland, Michigan and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. Mark spent 10 years as a consultant and marketing director of the international association, Selected Independent Funeral Homes prior to relocating to Durham in 1992.

A frequent presenter on end of life issues, Mark regularly conducts programs in the community, including Duke Divinity School, area churches, hospice groups and Duke Hospital’s CPE program. He is a member of Durham Rotary Club, on the board of Durham Nativity School, and was President (2015-16) of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. Mark is a devotee of art history, enjoys exercise, travel, playing the hammered dulcimer, and tutoring at Durham Nativity School.

Michael C. Poole

Durham Funeral Director
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Mike Poole is a Durham native who was raised in East Durham. A graduate of Southern High School, Mike took a job out of school with Hall-Wynne, being groomed under the legendary Jesse Barnes. He returned to Hall-Wynne after training at Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He served on Durham’s city council, is a member of Durham Lions Club, Masonic Lodge #352 A.F. & A.M., Southgate Chapter 177, O.E.S., the American Society of Embalmers, and is a member of Durham Memorial Baptist Church. He is married to Marilyn Poole, and is the proud father of two daughters and two grandsons. Mike is an accomplished vocalist of Southern Gospel music and appears frequently in performances throughout the community.

“I’ve always thought of my career in funeral service as a ministry. I have been honored to have served thousands of families in my years of service at Hall-Wynne.”

John E. Newell

Oxford Funeral Director
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John E. Newell is a native of Warren County and a former owner of Gentry-Newell & Vaughan. An affiliate with the company his entire career, John graduated from San Francisco College of Mortuary Science. He is the father of four children, 13 grandchildren and a great grandchild. When not working, John raises cattle on his farm, and collects antique cars and model trains.

“My greatest satisfaction has been assisting countless people in the 50 years of my career, earning their trust and being present in whatever ways I can. The families of Granville County have been loyal to us, and I cannot imagine a better place to practice my vocation and care for such wonderful people.”