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.
In 1935, Joseph "Joe" William Yates and his partner, Mr. Burns, opened Burns and Yates Funeral Home in Fort Pierce.
However, within a few months Mr. Burns moved to Miami. The original funeral home was located at 524 North Fourth Street
across from Padrick Chevrolet. At this time, Yates Funeral Home was also an ambulance service. Our original phone number
was HOWARD 789.
In 1943, Joe Yates bought Fee Mortuary and their unfinished building on US#1. By 1944, Joe, his wife Hattie, and daughter Sally, welcomed baby Bill into the new funeral home.
In the early 1950's, Joe converted an old house in Okeechobee, Florida to a funeral home. In 1965, Joe began construction on a new funeral home. Sadly, Joe died before he could see the funeral home completed. The Okeechobee Funeral Home was sold in the early 1970's. The funeral home is now the Okeechobee Presbyterian Church.
After Joe passed in January of 1965, Bill commuted from Fort Pierce to Miami to get his degree. Bill completed Mortuary Science at Miami Dade in 1967.
In 1978, Bill Yates opened Yates Funeral Home in Port Saint Lucie.
Yates Funeral Home joined Order of the Golden Rule, an International Funeral Organization, in 1962 and is still a member.
Our Valued Staff
Bill Yates, Funeral Director
“I’m excited about working with Tom and his sons, they are like family to me and I know that they will continue serving the people of our community the way I’d want them to be served.”
Bill Yates, known to many as "Billy," was born and raised in Fort Pierce, Florida. He grew up in the funeral business. He worked with his father, Joe Yates, until his death in 1965. Bill Yates graduated from Dan McCarty High School in 1962 and from Miami-Dade in Mortuary Science Program in 1967. He was past president and member of Emergency Medical Services Board from 1983 – 1990. Bill was president of the Tri-County Funeral Directors Association in 1976-1977. Additionally, Bill has been a long-standing and active member of many clubs and fraternal organizations throughout our community.
He and his wife, Betsy, have been married for over 40 years. When he is not helping families, Bill enjoys fishing, hunting, and collecting coins.
Thomas Conway, Sr., Owner and Funeral Director
“When Bill gave me the opportunity to work with him, I was truly honored. Just like Bill, my family’s legacy has been about helping people and I hope to blend the heritage of the Yates family into my own.”
Tom Conway, Sr. has been licensed as a funeral director for more than 30 years and is a fourth generation funeral director. Working most of his career for his own family’s funeral home, in 2003 Tom purchased the Bass Okeechobee Funeral Home, located in Okeechobee, Florida. Then in 2007, Tom acquired Yates Funeral Home and Crematory from Bill and his family, and in 2010, Tom purchased Buxton Funeral Home and Crematory, also located in Okeechobee.
Tom is married to Lisa and they have seven children; their oldest, Tommy (Tom, Jr.), is a fifth generation funeral director and Patrick, Kaela, Brenna and Tori (Tom, Jr.'s wife) are active in various roles at the funeral homes; Kait, Tom's oldest daughter, has chosen a successful career path outside the funeral profession and Baleigh, their youngest daughter, is finishing up high school.
Paul R. Mitchell, Owner and Funeral Director
Paul R. Mitchell, Licensed Funeral Director in Florida for 37 years, owner and partner with Thomas G. Conway Sr. for the past six years. Paul sits on the board of the Florida Funeral Directors Association, where he is co-chairman of the Legislative committee. His passion is serving people and he is actively involved with community volunteer organizations.
He is married and has three step-children and four grandchildren.
Thomas G. Conway Jr, Funeral Director
Tom, Jr. is Tom and Lisa Conway's oldest son and he is a fifth generation funeral director. On December 13, 2014, Tom married Tori and they have one "kid", their standard poodle, Sarge.
When Tom has a spare moment, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends and he enjoys boating and fishing, pretty much any type of RC vehicle (the bigger and faster the better), and doing a little trailblazing in his Jeep.
Kelly Squires, Funeral Director
Kelly was born and raised on Long Island. She majored in Mortuary Science at the State University of New York at Farmingdale where she earned an Associates Degree in Applied Science. She has been a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer since 1991, and is currently licensed in the states of Florida and New York. Kelly worked for a family owned funeral home in Huntington Station, NY for 17 years before relocating to Port St. Lucie in 2005. After working in the corporate world for several years, she returned to a family owned funeral home, joining Yates Funeral Home in 2012.
Kelly is dedicated to helping families at their time of need, and loves to help create lasting memories that truly reflects the life that was lived. When not at work she enjoys reading, scuba diving, but mostly spending time with her family. She is married to Joseph Henry, has three beautiful children, and four dogs.
Philip Buxton, Funeral Director
Philip M. Buxton is a second generation funeral director and embalmer. He is a native of Okeechobee, and graduated from Okeechobee High School in 2002. After high school he attended the University of South Florida in Tampa on a full academic scholarship. At U.S.F. he received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Management. He then followed in the footsteps of his father and two older brothers and enrolled in mortuary school. He graduated from the St. Petersburg College Funeral Services Program with an A.S. degree in Funeral Directing and Embalming. He returned to Okeechobee to serve his internship at his parents’ funeral home.
Growing up in a funeral home Philip recalls the compassionate and professional nature of his father’s approach to funeral directing. It was his father’s ideologies which inspired Philip to join his family’s business.
Philip lives in Vero Beach with his wife, Renee who is a C.P.A, and their first child, Emerick, who was born in May 2014.
Lisa Conway, Journey Services Representative and Certified Life Celebrant
Lisa Conway has maintained many different roles in the family's funeral homes for over 30 years. During this time Lisa has raised her and Tom's 7 children as well as owned and operated other businesses. In more recent years, Lisa has taken on an even more active and full time role in our Funeral Homes, managing our offices on the coast. In addition to these responsibilities, Lisa is also a Certified Life Celebrant and Journey Services Representative caring for our families through Provisions Advances Funeral Planning, Pathways Bereavement and Grief Support, and Treasures Remembrance Services.
Through the years Lisa has been inspired by the way Tom cares for families and realized it is a true calling to journey with each family. Because of this It has become Lisa's passion as well to serve our families each and every day.
When not at the office Lisa enjoys spending time with her family that now includes her granddaughters Jayden and Ireland. Lisa also enjoys traveling, coaching girls lacrosse, working with youth and volunteering in various ways throughout the community.
Kevin Pastore, Journey Services Representative and Life Celebrant
"Our lives tell a story and we have the privilege of journeying with every family to ensure that the story will be shared and each life will be honored...and by sharing the story, we begin to heal"
Kevin joined Yates Funeral Home and Crematory in March 2013 as a Life Celebrant and Journey Services Representative caring for our families through Provisions Advanced Funeral Planning, Pathways Bereavement and Grief Support, and Treasures Remembrance Services.
Hilari Cabo, Administrative Assistant
Hilari came to Florida from Kentucky in 2007 and still remains a Kentucky Wildcat fan. She has lived in several different states, but her heart will always belong to the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, where most of her family is from. When Hilari’s not busy being a fantastic Administrative Assistant, she spends her time fishing with her husband, Danny, and spoiling her loyal and lovable dog, Phoenix. She and Danny started running marathon races together in 2013 and intend to continue with their new passion for years to come. Hilari is also an avid reader of works by J.R.R. Tolkien and Ted Dekker.
Hilari started working for Yates Funeral Home & Crematory in July of 2013 and feels privileged to be able to assist our Funeral Directors in caring for families in their time of need.
Tori Conway, Accounting
Tori joined the Conway Family (officially) on December 13, 2014 when she married Tom, Jr. and then, not too long after, she joined the Yates Funeral Home family in January 2015.
Tori enjoys life! She loves to share any time she can with family and friends and she appreciates any opportunity to work with the families who entrust their loved ones to our care.