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.
(Photo: Ward Funeral Home, 1930)
The history of our firm stretches back to the 1920s, when Mr. Winslow Ward opened the original facility, the Ward Funeral Home. Some 16 years later, in 1936, Mr. James Daniel Buchanan bought the business, changing the name to the Buchanan Funeral Home and Ambulance Service. His foresight led him to also establish the Buchanan Burial Association – one of the first such associations in the state. He operated the firm until his retirement in 1973.James McClendon, Jr., joined Mr. Buchanan in 1968 and took the opportunity to purchase the home when Mr. Buchanan retired. He chose to change the name to the Buchanan-McClendon Funeral Home, and some two years later, the name changed once again, when the late Carnie Wise joined the firm. What was now known as the Buchanan-Wise-McClendon Funeral Home served the community for many years.
In 1994 the funeral home purchased the Spivey Funeral Home of Beggs (formerly the Bryant Funeral Home) to be able to serve the residents of northern Okmulgee County.
In the spring of 2001, they dedicated a new, modern facility in Beggs. In 1999 we also dedicated a facility in the Historic Library Building in Morris, creating a place for the residents of the Morris area to call their own.
In 1997 Jason Winters joined Jim McClendon, creating the McClendon-Winters Funeral Home. Together they serve the families of Okmulgee County, providing the service and facilities that families have come to expect since 1936.
“The overriding goal, from the very beginning, was to serve the families of this county as we would wish to be served. From time to time that goal motivated us to expand or renovate; but the core intention remains the same: to bring your family comfortable surroundings, and excellent service – at a time in your life when nothing short of that will do.” ~ Jason Winters, McClendon-Winters Funeral Home
Buchanan Funeral Home
Buchanan Funeral Home
Funeral Home, 1985
Our Valued Staff
Jim McClendon, Funeral Director & Embalmer
Jim has served families in Okmulgee County as a Funeral Director with McClendon-Winters for the past 40 years.
His academic training includes a Bachelor of Science Degree from Northeastern State University, and study with the prestigious Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, where he graduated in 1971.
Everyone who works with him knows his personal motto, and families who walk through our door come to know it too. “Treat every family as if they were your own,” say Jim; and he lives up to his own expectations every day.
He is a qualified pre-need counselor and a licensed Life Insurance agent; both roles bring him a depth of knowledge and understanding, which serve Okmulgee families well – whether in pre-need, or aftercare.
Jim has held positions on Oklahoma State Burial Board, Oklahoma State and Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce, Okmulgee School Board, and the Okmulgee Memorial Hospital. Jim remains an active member of the Okmulgee Lions Club, serving currently as President, as well as having a long time commitment to the Okmulgee County Family YMCA, where he remains on the board of directors.
Jim has three children and four grandchildren..
Jason C. Winters, Funeral Director, Embalmer, & Cremation Counselor
With 27 years in funeral service, and 19 years at McClendon-Winters, Jason is well experienced. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Funeral Service from University of Central Oklahoma, graduating in 1995 with Honor.
He was raised in Miami, Oklahoma, and joined the McClendon-Winters Funeral Home in 1997.
Jason is happily married. His wife Nicole helps part-time at the funeral home and they shared the parenting of two children, Braden and Merrick. Jason is deeply involved with the many youth activities of his children, and thoroughly enjoys the time spent, and the memories they are making together.
He’s community-minded, and has served –or is currently serving as – the Chairman of the Board of the Okmulgee Memorial Hospital, Okmulgee Memorial Hospital Foundation, Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce, City of Okmulgee Board of Adjustment, and the Okmulgee Pecan Festival. He’s served on the Allocations Committee for Tulsa Area United Way, Okmulgee County Homeless Shelter Board, Okmulgee Education Foundation Board, and the Okmulgee Main Street Board.
Jason is also a Pre-Need Counselor and Licensed Life Insurance Agent.
Jason is a member in good standing of the Oklahoma Funeral Director’s Association, and the National Funeral Director’s Association. As an active member of Selected Independent Funeral Homes, he participates in their regular meetings and is part of a study group of Selected Members.He also enjoys membership in the Okmulgee Rotary Club, Okmulgee Elk’s Lodge, Beggs Chamber of Commerce.
Nicole D. Winters, Funeral Director Assistant, Advance Planning & Life Celebration Center
Nicole assists with funeral services as well as coordinating the Life Celebration Center. She graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1996 with a Bachelor's Degree in Education and from Northeastern State University with a Master's Degree in Administration. She taught Elementary Education at Beggs for several years. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Jason, and their children, Braden and Merrick. Nicole is a past or current member of the Okmulgee Library Board, Okmulgee Service League, Beggs Chamber of Commerce, Okmulgee County Spring Livestock Show, PEO and the First United Methodist Church. She has her Oklahoma Life Insurance License and is able to explain and sell pre-arranged funeral plans.
Larry Biddle, Funeral Director Assistant
Larry is a retired OSU-Okmulgee instructor, and joined McClendon-Winters in 1999. He has a fine way with words, and is a true asset to families facing the often-overwhelming tasks involved in a funeral or memorial service. Larry is a graduate of Okmulgee High School and proudly served in the United States Navy. He and his wife, Freida, have four children and seven grandchildren.
Larry assists with services and visitations and he takes great pride in maintaining the facilities and beautiful landscaping and lawns at each location.
Jeffrey Rogers, Funeral Director Assistant
Gerald Thompson, Funeral Director Assistant, Cremation Counselor, Advance Planning & Monuments
Gerald has been with the funeral home for over nine years. He graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1989 and Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee in 1992. Gerald holds a Life License with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. He is a member of the Schulter Baptist Church. He enjoys singing karaoke as well as being at the lake and fishing. Gerald's greatest enjoyment is spending time with his daughter, Julia and son, Jake. Gerald possesses true care and compassion for people.
In addition to being a funeral director assistant,Gerald serves families wishing to plan their arrangements in advance. As a Cremation Counselor, Gerald can share the many options available with cremation. Gerald has a great amount of knowledge about pre-planning, as well as monument designing and manufacturing.
Hayley Tuggle, Funeral Director Assistant & Cremation Counselor
Hayley is an Okmulgee native and graduated from Okmulgee High School. She is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor Degree in Science-Funeral Service. Hayley is currently completing her requirements to become a Funeral Director and Embalmer.
Hayley has two daughters and enjoys spending time with her family.
Freida Biddle, Beggs Office Manager & Continuous Care Coordinator
Freida joined McClendon-Winters Funeral Home in 2014 after retiring as County Secretary at Okmulgee County Farm Bureau. She is responsible for overseeing the office duties as well as an assistant at visitations and services. Freida also assists with our continuous care services offered to every family we serve.
Freida is a graduate of Preston High School and Newman University. She is an active member of St. Anthony Catholic Church, where she serves as a member of the Alter Society and Catholic Daughters.
Freida and her husband, Larry, have four children and seven grandchildren.
Freida's greatest desire is to show respect by serving families and friends in a caring, compassionate manner during a very tender time.
LaVeta Rhodes, Funeral Director Assistant
LaVeta joined McClendon-Winters in 2006. Prior to that, she had 35 years of service as a banking representative, where she learned an abundance of communication and ‘people-skills.’ “Serving my friends and neighbors as a funeral assistant brings me great joy; I can offer them comfort in a difficult time.” LaVeta enjoys spending time with her family and friends as well as traveling. She is a volunteer at Open Gate and attends the First United Methodist Church.