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 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

    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. Almost 30 years later, April continues to humbly minister to the families of our community.

    Widowed at a young age, April’s husband 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 25-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 2nd 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.

  • Christina M. LoPresti

    Christina M. LoPresti, Licensed Funeral Director

    My name is Christina LoPresti and I graduated from John Carroll University in 2013. I am second generation in the funeral business, and I am one of the funeral directors at Vodrazka Funeral Home.

    My family has been in the funeral industry for over 45 years. My passion is to assist families during one of the most difficult times they will experience in life. Christina is an active member of The Independence Kiwanis, and her parish is St. Paschal Baylon in Highland Heights.

    I look forward to serving Independence, and meeting new people in the community.

  • Crystal Jardine

    Crystal Jardine, Funeral Director

    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.

    Jason and I are the proud parents of 3 children - Jake, Julia and Jesse and 2 fur babies.

    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.

  • 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 and dedicated to the family business for sixteen years now and I am heavily involved in the succession planning along with plans for the future success of my family business. The move to our new, state of the art facility was due largely in part to my awareness of the changing funeral industry. Because of the changes the funeral industry is faced with, I am continually trying to make sure that we adapt to those changes and have programs and services to offer families. I truly enjoy honoring the Veterans in our area. The stories and experiences they share with me and everyone in our office are priceless.

  • Diane Desmone

    Diane Desmone, Pre-Planning Specialist

    My name is Diane Desmone. I am single and own a home in Parma where I have lived most of my life with the exception of a 2 year stint in Los Angeles where I worked as a motivational speaker. I’ve spent 20 years in sales and obtained my Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Baldwin Wallace College in 2006. I am proud to be from a large Italian family of 9 with an extended family of Veterans. My father, John Thomas Desmone, was in the U.S. Army during WWII along with his brothers Lou and Tony. His other 2 brothers, Richard and William had joined the Navy. Dad fought in the Battle of the Bulge and earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. My Mothers 2 older brothers, Joe and Frank, also fought in WWII. Joe Costanzo was a Master Sargeant in the Marines, earning several medals including an engraved bronze star. Frank Costanzo was a private in the Army. Both of my Grandfathers fought in WWI. My mothers sister, Philomena, worked for the war effort as a civilian in general accounting.

    I began my career in the Funeral Industry as a Pre-Need Specialist and Family Service Provider back in 2014. I got into this business shortly after my siblings and I experienced the trauma of planning a funeral for my mother who died unexpectedly at the age of 75. She had never shared her wishes with us. As a result, to this day, I still wonder if we had made the right choices for her.

    As a Pre-Need Planning Specialist, I have been educating families on the importance of planning ahead of time to insure your financial and emotional needs are met at the time of the death of a loved one. Let me help create a personalized and meaningful life celebration without stress. I’m dedicated to providing helpful counsel that meets your needs and helps provide some peace of mind. You never know what life will bring. Being prepared can make all the difference in the world to your loved ones!