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.

Our History

The Vodrazka Funeral Home was established by John R. & Helen C. Vodrazka in 1942 at East 55th & Broadway. Inspired by their willingness to give of themselves and help others in their time of difficulty, their sons Lawrence J. and Jack Vodrazka decided to carry forward this tradition.

In 1957, their son Lawrence J. joined the business, and in 1967 their son Jack also joined the family business. While working at the family business, both sons had started their own individual embalming service to other funeral home businesses, which had become very successful venture for each of them.

Upon the death of Helen C. Vodrazka in 1974, her husband John R. retired and turned the funeral home over to both sons. In 1977, Lawrence and Jack purchased the Cassidy Funeral Home in Independence, Ohio, and renamed it Vodrazka Funeral Home of Independence. Over the next 10 years, the Independence funeral home witnessed a significant growth of business, so in 1987 the facilities underwent a complete renovation and expansion.

In 1997, Lawrence J. Vodrazka retired, and sold his interest in the business to his brother Jack. Jack and his wife Dottie continue to operate the funeral home with the high standards which Dottie and Jack find necessary in order to be a source of comfort to families in their time of need. Attention to details is paramount in every facet of their operation. If you have had to occasion to use services, or if you are  acquainted with our funeral home and staff, you know of what we speak. If not, we are quite sure that you would find our facilities and staff and the work we provide to be that of the highest character.

Our Valued Staff

  • Jack and Dottie Vodrazka

    Jack and Dottie Vodrazka, Funeral Director

    I grew up living above my parents’ funeral home. I was inspired by their willingness to give of themselves and help others in their time of difficulty.

    We have been told by many of the families we have served, that it is a comfort to them to know that when they call upon us in their time of need, that they will meet with a professional staff, who will provide them with a variety of options when making funeral arrangements, and that carrying out the arrangements with attention to detail is our prime concern.

  • April Harrigal

    April Harrigal, General Manager/ Funeral Director

    April B. Harrigal, Licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer and Pre-Need Counselor

    A native of Ohio, April was born and raised in the South-Eastern part of the state in rural Cadiz, Ohio. She studied Psychology at the University of Akron, and later received her Bachelor’s Degree in Mortuary Science from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. After graduation, April relocated to the Cleveland area to begin her career in funeral service. Thirty years later, April continues to humbly minister to the families of our community.

    Widowed at a young age, April’s husband George, was also a funeral director for 30 years. Together, they have 3 children, whom are now young adults; David, Samantha and Brian.

    April is a 30-year member of the Ohio Funeral Directors Association, The National Funeral Directors Association, the Embalmers Association of Cleveland, where she currently sits on the board as 1st Vice President, and is also an active member of The Independence Kiwanis. She has been a member of St. John Bosco Catholic Church for over 25 years, and enjoys being a Eucharistic Minister and visiting with, and taking Communion to the residents in the area nursing homes and the home-bound.

    April is very passionate about our military veterans. Her father was an Army Veteran, serving in WWII. He participated in the Allied Invasion of Europe, swarming Utah Beach, with the men of the 4th Division, on D Day, Tuesday, 6 June 1944. Among many decorations, he received a Purple Heart for the 'wound' he received that day, feeling fortunate to only have lost his left arm in battle.

    April is also an avid blood donor with The American Red Cross, and in her free time, enjoys reading, especially WWII History, cooking, traveling, and spending quality time with her children.

  • Dan Barfell

    Dan Barfell, Funeral Director

    Prior to joining the staff at Vodrazka, Dan was a Pastor for over 30 years in Florida and Ohio. While serving in that capacity, he developed a genuine care and concern for people who were going through the loss of a loved one. He then got his certification as a Life Tribute Professional so he could better serve families who didn’t have a pastor or priest, by conducting their funeral service. He believes every life is worth remembering, honoring and celebrating.
    Today, Dan is continuing that compassion for families as a funeral director by serving them in the difficult time of a loss. Dan has been married to his wife Elena for over 35 years and they enjoy biking and walking in the Metro Parks.

  • Walt Fuge

    Walt Fuge, Pre-Need Specialist

    I am Walt I have been a pre-need specialist going on 20 years. I enjoy helping families looking to plan ahead for loved ones or themselvs. Helping families prepare their pre-need plans is my passion. Being able to give families a sense of relief that everything will be taken care of when the time comes is a great feeling, families are able to then focus on being there for eachothere while we take care of the rest.
    I have met with many-a-family who share my common interests; favorite movie line's “You’re killin’ me, Smalls.” – Ham, The Sandlot, to activities (Ice fishing, poker, and my family) and life advice I have always lived by; The Golden Rule: “Treat others as you want to be treated.”

  • Jason Jardine

    Jason Jardine, Funeral Director

    My name is Jason Jardine. I have lived in Strongsville my whole life except for some of my college years. I have been licensed Director for 20 years and worked with my father at our family funeral home 'Jardine' for 23 years. It is an honor to continue my career as a funeral director at Vodrazka; another Family owned and operated business, known for its outstanding service and attention to detail.

    I understand Independence as a unique and great place to be ! I'm proud of our presence in this community as everyone seems to be as well.

    I truly enjoy honoring the Veterans in our area; The stories and experiences they share with everyone in our office and I are priceless.

  • Crystal Jardine

    Crystal Jardine

    My name is Crystal Jardine and I am a licensed funeral director as of April 2012. I have lived in Strongsville since I was 5 and am a graduate of Strongsville High School. I obtained my bachelors degree in Business from Baldwin Wallace College and earned my MBA in Accounting from Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management.

    Being a funeral home owner, I am dedicated to serving our community in the best ways possible. We strive to make sure families are as comfortable as they can be and receive the care they need though the difficult time they are experiencing.

    I am very involved in the community and enjoy working with other business organizations in town to better our community.

    Jason and I are the proud parents of 3 children - Jake, Julia and Jesse and 3 fur babies. Jake graduated from Ohio University in 2020 , Julia graduated from Strongsville High School in December 2019 and Jesse is a senior at Strongsville High School.

    At Jardine's, we honor Veterans every chance we can. My grandfather, Michael Phillips, was in the US Army during World War II. He was awarded a Silver Star for his heroic effort while under heavy German counterattacks in Mt. Rutundo, Italy on November 10th, 1943. Also, my dad served in the US Navy and I have an uncle who served in Vietnam.

    It's an honor to help families through such a difficult time.

  • Jonathan Obodean

    Jonathan Obodean, Funeral Director Apprentice/ Crematory Operator

    My name is Jonathan Obodean. I began working at Vodrazka Funeral Home in 2019. I am currently in the final few months of my completing my funeral director apprenticeship and I am a certified crematory operator. In addition to my career in funeral care, I'm also a musician and Eucharistic Minister at several churches in the Cleveland area, being mostly self-taught at playing the piano and pipe organ.

    I'm honored and blessed to be part of the Vodrazka team in helping families through what may be one of the most difficult situations they may face and to help them honor and celebrate their loved one in the most distinguished way possible.

  • McKailyn Woodward

    McKailyn Woodward, Marketing Manager/Funeral Director Apprentice/Pet Grievance Director

    My name is McKailyn Woodward and I was born in Parma, Ohio, but have lived the majority of my life in Perry, Ohio. I was a Girl Scout for 18 years, as well as a 4H member for 11 years. I graduated from Cleveland State University with a BA in Business, however, I have found the funeral care industry to be my passion. I love helping others and knowing I can make a difference in their final farewell makes my heart full.

    My Great Grandfather Nicholas (Nick) Bilinsky S Sgt in the US Army fought in WWII earning him the bronze star and leaving me with his quote, “To live in the hearts of others is not to die.”

    As I begin the first year of my apprenticeship, I look forward to learning and keeping the traditions of Jardine Funeral Home. I am also honored to be the funeral homes first Pet Grievance Director.