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 1934, Little and Ware opened a funeral home in Forest, Mississippi servicing the Scott County area. Ollie Ott and Hugh Lee purchased the funeral home in 1942. Ott & Lee has four locations to serve the counties of Scott, Smith, Rankin, Hinds, Simpson, and other areas in central Mississippi. In 2016, longtime employee Hugh Strebeck became an owner of Ott & Lee and continues to oversee the day-to-day operations of the business.  As one of the largest independent funeral home operations in the State of Mississippi, we remain committed to our heritage and the tradition of service established by the Ott & Lee families. Our name is synonymous with service, care, and compassion for those at their time of need.

Our Valued Staff

  • Hugh  Strebeck

    Hugh Strebeck, General Manager/Owner

    Hugh Strebeck has been a member of the Ott and Lee family since 1981. He is a graduate of East Central Community College and East Miss. Community College School of Mortuary Science.

    Hugh is a native of Scott County and now makes his home in Brandon. He is married to the former Susan Brittain of Forest and they have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. Chris Strebeck and his wife Jessica of Forest, Melissa Cobb and her husband Justin of Pontotoc, Erin Pollard and her husband Michael of Brandon and grandchildren, Ella Grace Strebeck, Rylee Kate Strebeck and Grayson Cole Strebeck of Forest, and Hayden Cobb of Pontotoc. He is a member of Park Place Baptist Church where he serves as a deacon, usher and serves on various committees. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Mississippi State Board of Funeral Service, being appointed by Governor Barbour in 2011.

    “I have always felt I was called by the Lord into this profession. Helping families get through their most difficult time is a passion of mine. If a family tells me, you really did help me get through this difficult time, then I can truly say without a doubt, I had one of the greatest days you can imagine.”

  • Brian  Barnes

    Brian Barnes, Funeral Director/Embalmer

    Brian is a funeral director/embalmer and has been employed with Ott & Lee since graduating from East Mississippi Community College School of Mortuary Sciences in 1999. Brian and his wife Jennifer, both originally from Forest, have a son, Hagen and daughter, Emma. They have made Brandon their home and are members of Brandon Baptist Church, where he serves as a Deacon. Brian was influenced to become a funeral director by his family and he sees it as a ministry from God. Brian is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Rankin County in Brandon, MS and is an avid sportsman. He enjoys all forms of hunting and fishing in his spare time.

    "I feel that when a person loses someone close to them it is probably the worst time of their life. Having to make final arrangements is a tremendous burden. If I can make that burden a little easier and make a friend in the process, then I have achieved my greatest accomplishment."

  • Tony  Gilmer

    Tony Gilmer, Funeral Director/Embalmer

    Tony, funeral director/embalmer has been serving families at Ott and Lee in Brandon since 2001. He is a graduate of Northwest Mississippi Community College of Mortuary Sciences Class of 1995. Tony enjoys spending time with his family and loves to travel abroad in his spare time. His recently visited Europe in 2008 and 2012.

    "Serving families at Ott and Lee is a ministry to me. If I can help someone out at one of the lowest times in their life then I have done what it is that I am supposed to do."

  • Jonathan  Nicholson

    Jonathan Nicholson, Funeral Director/Embalmer

    Jonathan Nicholson had served as a funeral director and embalmer for Ott and Lee since the Summer of 2007. He has been serving families in MS since graduating from Holmes Community College School of Mortuary Sciences in 2003.

    Jonathan and wife, Tiffany, have two children, Brooklyn and Brayden. When he is not assisting families, Jonathan enjoys spending time with his family, playing drums, riding four-wheelers and being involved in church activities.

    "It is my mission to use my professional abilities to put families at ease and to provide families with a lasting tribute for their loved one."

  • Vickie  Dipuma

    Vickie Dipuma, Funeral Director/Embalmer

    Vickie, funeral director/embalmer, has been with Ott & Lee since January 2009 and is a graduate of East Mississippi Community College School of Mortuary Science. Vickie is married to Carlos Dipuma and has three children, Brooke Harrell, DeAnne Paige Harrell Stevens (Caleb) and Dustin Lee Dipuma (Carlie). Vickie enjoys spending time with her family, shopping and singing.

    “Working for Ott & Lee is not just a job for me. It is a ministry to serve families who have broken hearts in their time of need. In times of sorrow, the little things you do for someone can change that person forever. When someone loses their loved one, they are at one of the lowest times in their life. My goal is to make the arrangement process as easy as possible and the funeral a memorable tribute for that family. The value of compassion can never be over emphasized and the friendships I make with these families will always be cherished”.

  • Pat  Matthews

    Pat Matthews, Funeral Director

    Pat Matthews serves families in the capacity of funeral director for Ott & Lee. He resides in Florence, MS with his wife, Peggy. Pat has two daughters, Jennifer and Brooks, and two sons, Scott and Patrick. In his spare time Pat enjoys outdoor activities and gardening.

    "It is my goal to provide care and guidance to the families I serve at their time of great loss. My greatest feeling of accomplishment is when a family is pleased with how the funeral service of their loved one was conducted."

  • Marty  Wilson

    Marty Wilson, Funeral Director/Embalmer

  • William  Savell

    William Savell, Funeral Director

    William began his service to families in the funeral profession in 1998 at James F. Webb Funeral Home (now Newton County Funeral Home) in Newton.

    He is a graduate of Newton County High School, East Central Community College, East Mississippi Community College, and the University of Southern Mississippi.

    He and his wife Renae, live in the Hazel Community, north of Lake, and are active members of Salem Baptist Church.

    He serves his community through participating in the Lions Club International, volunteering at local nursing homes on a weekly and monthly basis. He also serves as pianist at Pleasant Valley Church, and a lay speaker. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends, doing genealogy research, playing the piano, and gardening.

  • Reggie  Tatum

    Reggie Tatum, Funeral Director/Embalmer

    Reggie, funeral director/embalmer has been on staff with Ott & Lee since 2006. He is a graduate of East Mississippi Community College School of Mortuary Science.

    Reggie and his wife, Vickie, have two sons, Jon Aaron and Christopher.

    “It is from the Ott & Lee Mission Statement that I have adopted my own mission statement. For years, the Ott & Lee staff has proven trustworthy and professional. The families who have chosen us as their funeral service provider, attest to the fact that Ott & Lee is truly a Caring and Compassionate friend in time of need. Funeral service allows me to serve and be a part of the families’ lives during their hour of loss.”

  • Vaughn  Galloway

    Vaughn Galloway, Funeral Director/Ambassador

  • Charles  Gilmer

    Charles Gilmer, Funeral Director/Ambassador

    Charles Gilmer has been a member of the Ott and Lee family for over 12 years. He is married to Dot Gilmer and they have 6 children, 7 great grandchildren and 2 great- great grandchildren.

    Charles is a member of Harperville Baptist Church and enjoys working in his shop and cooking in his new shop kitchen for his family, friends and church family. He also enjoys fishing and deer hunting.

    “The reason I chose this profession is because I have always felt it was something I would like to do. My father also had the same feelings. God has blessed me for 44 years in being able to serve families in their time of loss. I get a true blessing by helping a family during this time and have made a lot of friends through my work. I am 68 years old and still enjoy my job.”

  • Toney  Hollingshead

    Toney Hollingshead, Funeral Director/Ambassador

  • Lacey  Harvey

    Lacey Harvey, Host/Funeral Director Assistant

  • Rev. Hobson  Toney

    Rev. Hobson Toney, Funeral Director Assistant/Host

  • Christine  Adams

    Christine Adams, Administrative Assistant

  • Erma  Fortenberry

    Erma Fortenberry, Administrative Assistant

    Erma has enjoyed serving families with pre-arrangements since 1999. She loves all people and she is willing to help them anyway that she can. While working in the Funeral Home, she also performs various other tasks.

    She lives in Pelahatchie, MS and is a member of Pelahatchie Baptist Church. Erma is married to Wrighty Fortenberry, Jr., They have two children, Joyce McMillan and Scott Fortenberry and three grandchildren, Ashley McMillan, Erin McMillan, and Mary Beth Fortenberry. She really enjoys baking, sewing, and spending time with her family and friends.

    "I feel that my work in this field is a ministry as well as a career. I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to serve and bless families during such a difficult time of loss."

  • Christy  Palmer

    Christy Palmer, Administrative Assistant

  • Sherry  Waltman

    Sherry Waltman, Administrative Assistant

  • Sheila Gates

    Sheila Gates, Preneed Sales/Family Services

  • Angie  McGowan

    Angie McGowan, Preneed Sales/Family Services

    Angie has been serving families with Ott & Lee Funeral Homes since 2007. She enjoys music, art and cooking for friends and family. She has three children, Reges, Raven and Ralph.

    "I believe that by helping people pre-arrange their funerals they eliminate the extra burdens of financial stress and decision making during their families' time of grief. By providing this service I feel I am able to help people provide the best gift they can give their loved ones."

  • Wayne  Murray

    Wayne Murray, Preneed Sales/Family Services

  • Pamila Ross

    Pamila Ross, Preneed Sales/Family Services

  • Melva Courtney

    Melva Courtney, Ambassador

    Melva was raised in Pineville (Smith County), MS and graduated from Pineville High School. After graduation, she attended Jones County Community College in Ellisville, MS. She has worked in funeral service locally since 1988 and has been a member of the Ott and Lee family since January 2016.

    Melva is married to Charles Courtney and has lived in Pearl, MS since 1959; they have two daughters, Denise Copeland (Derrick) and Chryste Roberts (Chris) and five grandchildren, Kaley and Bryce Copeland and Brady, Abbey and Jacob Roberts. Melva’s children and grandchildren are currently attending Rankin County schools. She and Charles attend Pearl United Methodist Church and have been active members since 1960.

  • Will Dowling

    Will Dowling, Ambassador

  • Marie Graham

    Marie Graham, Ambassador

  • Mack Greer

    Mack Greer, Ambassador

  • Donna Miller

    Donna Miller, Ambassador

  • Cheryl Nutt

    Cheryl Nutt, Ambassador

  • Dorothy Thompson

    Dorothy Thompson, Ambassador

  • Patsy Twiner

    Patsy Twiner, Ambassador

    Rev. Patsy Twiner lives in Brandon, MS with her husband James, and both are retired United Methodist ministers. They continue to serve in various ministry settings. Most recently they have been co-pastors at Pearl United Methodist Church in Pearl, MS.

    Born in McComb, MS, she grew up in Jackson, graduating from Millsaps College. Eventually she completed the United Methodist Course of Study at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. Prior to entering the ministry, she was the managing editor of the Journal of the Mississippi State Medical Association and Director of Communications for that organization.

    The Twiners have two sons who live in GA, and two daughters who live in TX. They have five grandchildren.

  • Larry Waggoner

    Larry Waggoner, Ambassador

  • Gary Wyatt

    Gary Wyatt, Ambassador

  • Marcus Mitchell

    Marcus Mitchell, Maintenance

  • Mike Moore

    Mike Moore, Maintenance

  • Preston  Nick

    Preston Nick, Maintenance