Why do so many people trust Legacy Funeral Group during their time of need? Over the past several decades, we have developed a commitment to delivering the highest quality of service alongside and a sincere desire to help families within the communities we serve to handle the changes and transitions that come with life. We have built our business by putting people first, and we never divert from our values and our mission.
Our leadership team couples a history of innovation with decades of experience in funeral home management, cemetery services, preneed marketing, and finance. The result is strong leadership and a wide range of knowledge and marketing expertise. This provides our funeral homes with a competitive edge to address the demands of the new and ever-changing funeral service industry.
We invite you to get to know the leadership of Legacy Funeral Group and the vital role our executive team plays in guiding the company’s strategic vision. And most importantly, the unwavering dedication we have to our employees and the families served in communities across the country.
Michael Soper founded Legacy Funeral Group, LLC in 1998; today, the company owns and operates funeral homes and cemeteries in Texas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Las Vegas, Nevada, and is among the fastest-growing companies in the funeral industry. This makes Michael a leader in the field, and one of the foremost providers of funeral service expertise.
He serves the company as President and Chief Executive Officer. Before founding Legacy, he was President of Memorial Pre-Care, a pre-arranged funeral and burial benefits company. Prior to that he was a Vice President at Southwest Guaranty Trust Company, a position that gave him oversight of investment management for funeral homes spanning 34 states.
Michael graduated from Texas Christian University in 1989 and began his career with Kanaly Trust Company in 1990. He is active in the Young Presidents Organization and has previously been involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Leadership Board. He is also a member of St. John Divine Episcopal Church.
Michael is happily married and is the proud father of a son and a daughter. He is committed to providing ongoing leadership and vision for the death care industry.
Bill Wimberly is Legacy Funeral Group’s Senior Vice President and has been with Legacy since 2006. Bill is a US Army veteran as well as a licensed funeral director and embalmer. He holds an Associate’s degree in Mortuary Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management. Bill has worked in the funeral profession since 1993 in various roles, from funeral director, to manager, to regional manager. As Senior Vice President for Legacy, Bill is responsible for overseeing all operations within Legacy Funeral Group. Bill’s heartfelt mission is to offer the highest level of service to families every day and empower Legacy’s employees to serve “one family at a time.” His goal is “to see that every family receives the best service and merchandise that can be offered by our firms, and to create a work environment that each employee enjoys.” Bill has served as the President of the Louisiana Funeral Directors Association and Commander of the American Legion. He is also involved in numerous civic activities and community groups. Bill loves spending time with his three daughters and attending sporting events with them. He also enjoys fishing, hunting, and outdoor activities.
Corinn Russo has been with Legacy since the very beginning as the start up the company began at her office computer. She was a true jack-of-all-trades handling all company accounting, correspondence, and day-to-day operations; a one-woman corporate office, Corinn guided Legacy through various eras of expansion and growth, and today serves as Executive Assistant to Michael Soper. She also maintains a significant financial role with the company. Corinn has an Associate Degree in Computer Science, and has been working for the Soper family in both healthcare and deathcare since the age of 17—right out of high school—. She now marks 48 years with the Sopers. She has two children and five wonderful grandchildren.
Harry C. Drew, CMA, CFM, is the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Legacy. Harry joined Legacy in 2008 and was promoted to Senior VP and CFO in 2012. In his role with Legacy, Harry manages all financial aspects of the organization including responsibilities for cash flow management and acquisition integration. Harry has over 25 years of accounting experience, with more than 20 of those years in the death care industry. Before joining Legacy, Harry worked with corporate funeral and cemetery operations and managed accounting, compliance, SEC filings, analysis, acquisitions, and reporting. Harry is a Certified Management Accountant, a Certified Financial Manager, and a Certified Business Manager. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from The Ohio State University and went on to earn his Master of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Houston. Harry volunteers for the Boy Scouts of America in a variety of unit and district functions.
Bill Vallie has been a Regional Manager with Legacy Funeral Group since April 2007. He graduated from the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science to become a licensed funeral director and embalmer in 1976. Since 1986, Bill has worked in various capacities as the manager of a single location, an area manager of multiple cemeteries and funeral homes, and a Regional Manager overseeing fifteen different locations. As a Regional Manager for Legacy, Bill was responsible for thirteen funeral homes in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. He currently is a Regional Manager over 10 West Texas funeral homes, cemeteries and a crematory. He also manages the daily operations of Sunset Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home in Odessa. In addition to his qualifications and experience, Bill brings a perspective of genuine enthusiasm and compassion to his work. He “enjoys helping all those at his locations grow in their career in funeral service” and considers it “an honor to be called upon by families in a difficult time to help them with the final arrangements of their loved ones.”
Bill is a past member of the Lions Club, Rotary Club, and a member of the Masonic Lodge. He has served on the Advocacy Committee for the National Funeral Directors Association, in addition to being its Texas Policy Board Member. He is a past President of both the West Texas Funeral Directors Association and the Texas Funeral Directors Association. Bill has served as Chairman of the Legislative Committee for the Texas Funeral Directors Association. Bill has three children (one of whom is also a funeral professional) and five grandchildren. Bill is married to Tammy Martin and they enjoy traveling.
John Keath has been Regional Manager of Kansas for Legacy Funeral Group since 2014. He is licensed in Preneed Insurance and has contributed valuable insight and experience to Legacy’s team. John has been in the funeral industry since 1995 and is adept at working with professionals and families. After graduating from Fredonia High School, John attended Kansas City Community College, receiving his Mortuary Degree in 1994. Before joining Legacy, John worked for several funeral homes in Oklahoma and Kansas. His experience has given him a keen knowledge of the funeral profession as well as a desire to provide families with the best possible service.
John is a member of numerous organizations, including the Neodesha Men’s Organization, the Cherryvale, Caney, Neodesha, and Independence Booster Club, and the Coffeyville Community College Booster Club. He has two children, Kyle and Kelsi, and one granddaughter Klara. He enjoys NFL Football, Nascar, Hunting and Fishing.
Stephen Bassett is Legacy’s Vice President of Cemetery Operations and has been in the funeral profession since 1991. He started with Legacy in 2013 and is tenured in almost all facets of the industry, but is especially knowledgeable regarding cemetery and crematory design, development, operation, and maintenance. His substantial experience and concern for families motivate him to provide beautiful and functional facilities that give a sense of serenity and comfort. Additionally, Stephen strives “to ensure that each of his staff and coworkers are working at their highest potential to serve customer families well.” His skills are crucial for his role at Legacy, which requires him to oversee facilities and to guide others in providing professional service. Stephen holds a BS in Environmental Design from the University of Oklahoma and is a CANA Certified Crematory Operator. He previously served on the Board of Directors for both the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) and the Cremation Association of North America (CANA). In his free time, Stephen enjoys outdoor activities like cycling and skiing, as well as spending time with his wife, Joanne, and their three children, Eric, Lauren and Patrick.
Steve is Legacy Funeral Group’s Regional Manager for Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama. With over 20 years of experience as a licensed funeral director, Steve is dedicated to serving families and enhancing the level of service they receive by bringing new ideas to Legacy’s locations. Steve is also a licensed insurance agent and member of the Louisiana Funeral Directors Association. In the past, he has served as governor for the Southwest Louisiana Funeral Directors Association. Before joining Legacy, Steve worked with a large corporate casket company as a Funeral Service Consultant and worked as a funeral director in the Lafayette, Louisiana area since 1992. Steve’s favorite aspect of working with Legacy is the family atmosphere and small-company feel that Legacy promotes. During his time off, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and going fishing.
Philip Smith is the Las Vegas Regional Manager with Legacy Funeral Group. His career began in 1999 where he found his life’s calling in helping others during the worst time in their life. Prior to joining Legacy, he was a Regional Manager in Arkansas overseeing 7 funeral homes and 3 cemeteries. He holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from Geneva College and an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from Jefferson State Community College. Philip is married to Sara and together have three children, Isabelle, Park and Whit. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling watching college football and taking Sunday afternoon naps.
Gabriel Casaus is the Regional Manager for New Mexico at Legacy Funeral Group. A native New Mexican, Gabriel graduated from San Antonio College with a degree in Mortuary Science in 1999 and is a certified celebrant. He has completed continuing education from the International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association. Gabriel is a certified crematory operator. Since 2003, he has been a licensed funeral home director in New Mexico and is also licensed in Texas. Additionally, Gabriel is the current President of the New Mexico Funeral Service Association. Always active in his community, Gabriel has been involved with such organizations as Leadership Roswell, Knights of Columbus, and the Roswell Kiwanis Club. He’s also a member of the National Funeral Directors Association. Currently, Gabriel manages eight funeral homes in the Legacy family, all in New Mexico; he has been with the company since 2014, starting as a Location Manager for LaGrone Funeral Chapel in Roswell. In 2017, he was promoted to Area Manager for New Mexico, and mere months later was elevated to Regional Manager. Gabriel has one daughter; he loves spending time with her on their family ranch in Cuba, New Mexico.
Norman Rey Gonzalez is Legacy Funeral Group's South Texas Regional Manager that joined our Legacy family in 2017. Norman is a second-generation funeral director and has been a part of the funeral industry for over 22 years. He graduated from Dallas Institute of Funeral Services in 1996 and is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in both Texas and Virginia. In 1999, Norman joined the Navy and served as a U.S. Navy Mortician. During his tenure in the Military, Norman served as the Department of Defense Mortician in the Asia-Pacific region and was the first Navy Mortician to be stationed at Headquarters Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia. He earned several awards including the Navy Commendation Medal for his expert care and attention to detail with active duty and POW/MIA casualties. After his 14-year career in the Navy, Norman was a successful manager of several funeral homes in Houston and San Antonio. Norman is a member of the Knights of Columbus and American Legion. He volunteers his time assisting food banks and organizations that help shelter animals throughout Texas. Norman enjoys spending his time with his two daughters, Aria and Sivan.