Neil Fogarty, President
Years at Dodds: 22 as a full-time employee, however, I’ve been working at Dodds in many capacities since the age of 13.
- 2014 Monument Builders of North America (MBNA) Aspire Award
- Xenia Chamber of Commerce Industrial Award (x2)
- Completion of the Rock of Ages Preferred Memorial Counselor certificate
Last book read: The Civil War, A Narrative: Volume 1, by Shelby Foote
Most memorable customer story: I sold one of my first custom-shaped memorials to a couple that had lost their son. He was my age at the time, and I think working with me helped comfort them. She told me I reminded her of her son. That memorial meant a lot. I tied the taller single tablet to a lower double tablet. The double tablet connected to the single through a ribbon of polish left on all edges. The Rest of the double tablet was steeled to differentiate the son from the parents. Simple yet powerful.
Michael Morrison, Director of Operations
Years at Dodds: 14
Last book I read: The Leader’s Handbook, by Peter Scholtes
Favorite quote: The Golden Rule – Do to others what you want them to do to you! (Matthew 7:12)
My family: My wife, Aimee, and I both grew up in Ohio. We have been married for 18 years and have eight beautiful children – five girls and three boys. They are Grace, Gabriel, Rachael, Eleasha, Hadassah, Elesheava, David, and Joshua.
Desiree Roose, Marketing Manager
Years at Dodds: 7
Favorite hobbies: My husband and I bought an 1870’s Federal Style house three years ago and have been fixing it up ever since. That takes up most of our time!
Most memorable customer story: When I worked at the Milford office, I worked with a couple Mr. and Mrs. Valz, on a pre-need memorial for themselves. We got to know each other well and I even invited them to my wedding! They were such a sweet couple and would bring me chocolates every time they came in to look at artwork.
My family: I grew up in the Cincinnati area and graduated from Lebanon High School in 2007. I have been married to my husband for six years now and we just had our first child, Cecilia, in November 2017. We also have three cats and a Newfoundland dog named Lexie.
Larry Morrison, Director of Sales, Xenia Branch
My most memorable customer story: I’ve had the privilege of working with several Air Force groups and organizations at the National Museum of the United States Air Force helping to design and create memorials that preserve the legacy of their service to our country. It’s an Honor to help these men and women who risked their lives, and in some cases given their lives, for our country.
For some of them, it’s the first time they’re able to share their missions and accomplishments due to the declassification process. I’ve been humbled and grateful each time I’ve witnessed the unveiling of their memorial. I see their pride, joy, sadness, and hope as they share their legacy with friends and family. The bonus for me is that I’ve made some lifelong friends through my work at Dodds.
My role models: My Father worked harder than anyone I know and he instilled that work ethic in me. My Mother was always the rock in the family. She taught me the power of prayer and how to love unconditionally. I’ve tried to instill these traits into my family as best I can.
My family: I’ve been happily married 43 years. I have two sons, 12 grandchildren (Yes, 12!), one dog, and three cats. I grew up in Pennsylvania until I was 12 then moved to Mt Vernon, OH in 1968. I graduated from Mt. Vernon High School. I met my lovely wife and married her in 1974. We moved to Texas soon after and lived there for 12 years. In 1986, we moved back to Dayton to be closer to family. That same year I began working here at Dodds, and have proudly served our customers for the last 32 years.
My hobbies: I love to golf, watch sports, and do some home remodeling – only some. 😊
Matthew Morrison, Memorial Consultant, Xenia Branch
Favorite hobbies: I love to play golf.
My most memorable customer story: The times when you get to be a positive part of the grieving process. Specifically, with a young lady who lost her mom. She was given the burden of picking out the memorial because her dad and brothers didn’t want to. She had a tough persona as she tried to present herself as “ok”. However, in two separate instances as we worked through the details of the memorial she broke down and “vented” for well over 45 minutes. I was there with tissues and a listening ear. I was humbled to be able to provide some comfort; that she trusted me enough to share her grief. I was reminded of why we do what we do at Dodds. We have to maintain that perspective.
Favorite quote: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24
My family: I am married to the love of my life, Beth. She and I were married on January 11, 2002. We have been blessed with four beautiful children. We have three girls and one boy; Lydia, Elliana, Isaac, and Phoebe. I grew up in Vandalia, Ohio. When I left for college in 1997, I lived in many different cities and several different states until I came home to work at Dodds in 2016. I count it a privilege to work with my family here at Dodds and I hope to be here a long time preserving the legacy of Dodds in Southwest Ohio.
Lisa George, Memorial Consultant, Middletown Branch
Industry recognition: I earned a Preferred Memorial Counselor through Rock of Ages, a premier, global granite manufacturer.
The last book I read: I read a lot…. “So many books, so little time.” – Frank Zappa. 😉 The last book I read was, “A Fragile Hope,” by Cynthia Ruchti.
Most memorable customer story: I have two. A daughter came in looking for a memorial for her parents. We have a sculpted angel in our office display and she asked if we could do a sculpted farmer like the angel. I asked her if her father was a farmer and she said that he was and that her mother was an angel for putting up with him! She was able to connect to some playfulness even while she was grieving. We created a custom monument in black granite with an angel on one side, two hearts in the center, and a farmer on the other side. She said it looked just like him.
A wife came in with a piece of paper cut to the size on the memorial she wanted for her husband. It had a beautiful Celtic cross drawn on it. As we talked, I learned what the cross meant to her and her husband and about their many travels. To this day, she sends postcards from around the world. I made a special friend that day.
Favorite quote: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
My role model: My mom. While our relationship has experienced ups and downs, I am always inspired by her continued striving for bigger and better things. She has accomplished a lot and has had a positive influence on many people. Her faith in God and in me is unwavering.
My bonus, celebrity role model is Oprah Winfrey. She is an inspiration for having overcome a lot of adversity growing up.
Dan Grimme, Memorial Consultant, Dayton Branch/Dixie
Years at Dodds: 26
Favorite quote: Nice people attract nice people.
My role models: My parents are my biggest role models. I would not be the person I am today without them. Also, my grade school football and baseball coach, Mr. Jerry Raiff, had a big influence on me.
Most memorable customer story: [TBD]
My family: I married my wife, Tina, in 1983. We have two sons. Our oldest, Keith passed away in 2010 at the age of 21 and our younger son, Brian, is 27.
Lola Walters, Memorial Consultant, Dayton Branch/Dixie
Years at Dodds: 19
Most memorable customer story: A distinguished woman came in for pre-planning but she was hesitant about actually going through the process while she and her husband were still doing fine. But, she did it at her husband’s insistence. Later that summer, he suggested planting bulbs in the fall. She thought the idea was silly but they did that, too. He passed away the next spring. When I spoke to her after his passing, she told me how grateful she was that we took such care to help her create a memorial ahead of time. She counted the time we spent in pre-planning along with the flowers that bloomed from their fall planting as her main comforts during her initial shock and grief from her husband’s passing.
There’s a special feeling I get when I can see how our work at Dodds has a direct impact on comforting people and families through their grief.
My role model: My dad is my biggest role model. He lived simply and humbly and always put others before himself.
My family: I grew up in Vandalia, Ohio. I have been married to Josh for 30 years and we have three sons and three grandchildren that are the light of my life. I also love dogs.
Courtney Parks, Memorial Consultant, Lebanon Branch
Years with Dodds: 7
Favorite Hobbies: playing guitar, being a worship leader at my church, kayak fishing, gardening, woodworking, and collecting Cincinnati Reds memorabilia
Most memorable customer story: We created a memorial for my customer’s parents and grandparents. Her grandfather had created and built a mini carousel ride, which was a favorite at the Great Darke County Fair in Ohio. The fair was always a wonderful memory for the family. A custom sculpted carousel horse was placed at the top of the memorial along with laser etched portraits. Above each of the four names of her parents and grandparents were small etched emblems, which represented something personal about that person’s life: in addition to the carousel ride, there was a masonic emblem, an arrowhead, and a needle and thread. On the back of the memorial was a collage of around 70 pictures. These pictures were of old and recent memories of the family. Family vacations, fishing adventures, military photos, dance recitals, girl scouts, and of course photos of the family at the Darke County Fair.
I was moved by how personal it was. It sticks with me because I know the family will be able to visit and really connect to their loved ones through that memorial.
Favorite quote: “I love you Daddy.” – My children are my motivation and inspiration. They certainly keep me laughing and on my toes. My ceiling is their floor.
My family: My wife Emily and I were married in 2011. We currently have 3 children. I spent my childhood in the Trenton, Ohio area, where I attended and graduated from Edgewood High School. I then received a Bachelor of Arts degree in the College of Science and Technology from Morehead State University in Kentucky. My family and I attend the Anthem House Church in Liberty Township, where I serve as worship leader.
Josh Walters, Memorial Consultant, Springfield Branch
Years at Dodds: 19
Favorite hobbies: I love to spend time with our grandchildren, family and friends. I enjoy woodworking, home construction and remodeling, and cooking.
Most memorable customer story: I worked with the wife of the first crew chief for Airforce One. He passed away from cancer. He served three presidents during his Air Force career. After retirement, he spent his time volunteering at the Champaign Aviation Museum at Grimes Air Field in Urbana, Ohio. A tireless worker, he volunteered many hours helping with the restoration of a B17 Bomber at the museum. His wife wanted to share his unique story through a memorial. She wanted to honor his distinguished career but also his life as a devoted husband, father, and family man. The memorial we helped her create is tall and supports the Great Presidential Seal mounted at its peak. It includes blue, gray, and black granites to represent the colors of his Air Force uniform. Inlayed panels display laser etched photographs of Airforce One, other aircraft he serviced, and family photos to represent all that was important him. The memorial was placed at Fairview Cemetery overlooking a valley in West Liberty, Ohio. I often receive comments about how beautiful the memorial is. People also note how special he must have been – which is what his wife was hoping to show through our work together.
Favorite quote: I have always been inspired by the words of John Kennedy at his inauguration – “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” I believe each of us can contribute something to our country. It may only be that we are honest, productive, and loving toward everyone we encounter. We have different personalities, upbringings, and talents yet we can treat each other with kindness, love and respect. I focus on taking responsibility for myself and work to make sure I earn my place in the world. There is no greater confidence builder than to know you are earning your keep.
My family: I have been married to Lola for 30 years. We have two sons, a daughter-in-law, three grandchildren, and two dogs. I graduated from Carroll High School in Dayton and was senior class president. I received a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from Wright State University. My wife and I owned and operated a catering business in Dayton Ohio for 10 years until we sold it in 1998. The business still operates in Dayton. After selling the business, Lola and I both came to work for our friends, the owners of Dodds Memorials in 1999.
Rick Meyer, Memorial Consultant, Milford Branch
Years at Dodds: 20, though I have a total of 42 years in the memorialization industry.
- Won Monument Builders of North America (MBNA) Award for top design for my design of the Domestic Violence Memorial
- Certified in Rock of Ages in 1989 and 2013
- MBNA Certificate Knowledge Quest 1998
Last book read: Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg, for my granddaughter.
Most memorable customer story: I had a family come in who lost their 3-year-old little boy. He had been hospitalized his entire life, fighting cancer. His mother told me in that three years he never put down a Woody doll (From the movie, Toy Story). She wanted a memorial that incorporated Woody and wanted it to be bold. I designed a 6-foot tall hand sculpted Woody. In working with this family, I could see how important this was to them. When the memorial was set the look on their faces was overwhelming to me. To know Woody would always be there with their son gave them some peace. I will always remember that experience. This is at the heart of what we do for families, translating their feelings and memories into a lasting vision of love.
My role models: My wife, Patty, of 30 years, and daughter, Desiree, because they have pushed me to be a better person and have always been my rock when I needed it. They both have a great heart and spirit about them and I am learning every day.
Scott Wright, Community Outreach Director, Calvary Cemetery
- Scholarship to attend the Catholic Cemetery Conference’s “School of Leadership and Management Excellence” at the University of Notre Dame
Favorite hobbies: I love community theater. I am on the board of directors at The Dayton Theatre Guild and active in lighting design. In 2017, I received a DayTony for the design of “Outgoing Tide.”
Favorite Quote: Have the courage to be truly happy! – Pope Francis.
My Family: I married Kelly in September 2017. We are expecting our first child in the summer of 2018. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and attended Carroll High School. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the Pontifical College Josephinum and a Master’s of Divinity degree from The Athenaeum of Ohio. Two little known fun facts – I was a chaplain for the Cincinnati Bengals for several seasons and I flew in zero gravity with NASA while in college.
Judy Pavy, Memorial Consultant, Calvary Cemetery
Years at Dodds: 27
The last book I read: First Ladies Fact Book, an in-depth biography of all the First Ladies of the United States.
Most memorable customer story: There are so many. It is what I appreciate about my work – the opportunity to connect with people and learn their story. One story that stands out is the family of Joseph Desch. He invented a code breaking machine during WWII, which helped to shorten the war. Another customer, John Janning, invented thermal paper and the stay-lit Christmas lights as well. Another memorable customer was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. All are fascinating lives and that I was honored to help memorialize.
Another story that really moves me is from a family who lost their young daughter to illness. During her sickness, she told her mother she wanted a pretty monument with flowers. Her parents had the monument custom designed in the shape of a flower drawing the little girl. It was a truly remarkable monument.
My favorite quote: There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? – Robert F. Kennedy (from George Bernard Shaw’s play, Back To Methuselah)