Our Staff

Our Staff

Our dedicated staff are here to provide support, compassion, and information to help you through your journey of grief and the celebration of your loved one’s life.

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James O'Donnell Owner, Funeral Director, and Embalmer

Born and raised in America’s Hometown, James J. O’Donnell, graduated from Hannibal High School, has a Bachelor of Science in History from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. O'Donnell also holds an Associate of Mortuary Science Degree from Kansas City, Kansas Community College, and is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in both Missouri and Illinois. Jim is also a member of the Missouri Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association, Illinois Funeral Directors Association, National Funeral Directors Association, past member of board of directors for the Hannibal YMCA, member of the Hannibal Park Board, member of the Hannibal Arts Council Board, member of the F&M Bank and Trust Company Advisory Board, past member of the board of directors for Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce, member of Early Bird Kiwanis, member of the Hannibal Elks Lodge #1198, member of the men's auxiliary at the Hannibal Veterans of Foreign War #2446, member of Hannibal Knights of Columbus Council #907, and a member of Holy Family Catholic Church.

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Rory O'Donnell Owner, Funeral Director, and Embalmer

Born and raised in Hannibal, MO, Rory graduated from Hannibal High School. He received an Associate of Mortuary Science Degree from Des Moines Area College in Iowa, and is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in both Illinois and Missouri. He also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media Studies and Public Relations from Quincy University, where he played soccer for the legendary coach, Jack Mackenzie. Rory spent 15 years working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade before returning to Quincy and joining O'Donnell-Cookson Life Celebration Home.

Rory is married to Brenna and they have two children: Rory Thomas and Scarlett James. Young Rory and Scarlett both attend St. Peter School in Quincy.

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Jed Taylor Funeral Director and Embalmer

Jed is a graduate of Hamilton High School in Hamilton, IL and a 2006 graduate of Carl Sandburg College of Mortuary Science. In his spare time he enjoys riding motorcycles, antiquing and spending time with his girlfriend Maggie and their dogs. 

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Emily Roegge Funeral Director and Embalmer

Born and raised in Southern California, Emily is a 2013 graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and studied Graphic Design and Advertising at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles.

Emily moved to Springfield, Illinois in 2014 to be closer to family. She later moved to Galesburg, Illinois to attend the Carl Sandburg College Mortuary Science Program, graduating with her Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in 2017.

Emily and her husband Mathew married on January 24, 2020 and purchased their first home together in September of 2021. Together they enjoy raising their two cats: Morty and Greta, their three reptiles: Peaches, Cream, and Waffles, and spoiling their nephew, Lincoln.

In her spare time, Emily enjoys painting and printmaking, thrift shopping, going antiquing, visiting museums and historical buildings, and traveling with her husband. Emily is excited to continue serving families in the Quincy area and surrounding communities for many years to come.

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Rod Cookson Funeral Director and Embalmer

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April Hawkins Office Manager

April is a native of Quincy, IL. She graduated from Quincy High School in 2010, and later from Quincy University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management in 2013 and a Master’s degree in Business Administration in 2015, where she graduated summa cum laude. While at QU, April was a member of Beta Sigma Delta Honor Society, President of the CEO Club, and a 4-year member of the Hawkettes Dance Team, serving as captain for her last 2 years.

April has worked as a Dance Instructor/Choreographer at Vancil Performing Arts Center for 14 years, and was previously the Quincy University Hawkettes Dance Team Head Coach for 5 years. She has danced at Vancil Performing Arts Center for a total of 20 years and was a member of the Bay City Dance Troupe, as well as Vancil's Competition Team and Vancil's Production Team. April has attended countless dance competitions and conventions around the country, and has even performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, as well as at halftime of the Orange Bowl in Miami, FL. She has also performed in musicals both locally and in Springfield, IL.

In her free time, April enjoys traveling, going to concerts, exercising, reading, and attending church at The Crossing. Most of all, she loves spending time with her family and friends, including her husband, Austin, and their English Cream Golden Retriever, Sadie Hawkins.

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Gwen Swierk Office Assistant

Born and raised in the Chicago Area, Gwen is a 2015 graduate of Morton West High School. She later went on to receive her Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Quincy University in 2019. While at QU, she was the vice president of the CEO Club, a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, and a member of the marching band, symphonic band, and percussion ensemble. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies, reading, cooking, and making people laugh. Most importantly, she loves spending time with her friends, family, and fiancé, Ben.

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Christy Wellman Preneed Couselor

Born and raised in Quincy, IL, Christy is a Quincy Senior High school 2008 graduate who later then graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 2011 with an Associate Degree in Applied Science. She is married to her husband, Frankie. They have two daughters, Addison and Alaina, and a dog, Macy. Christy is a lifelong member of St. James Lutheran Church and attended grade school there as well. She is also a member of the North Side Boat Club. Christy enjoys watching her husband race his dirt car at local area dirt tracks, traveling, shopping, gardening, and hanging out with family and friends.   

 

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Sarah Blair Funeral Director Apprentice

Sarah is a graduate of University of Missouri – St. Louis and is currently pursuing a degree in Mortuary Science. Sarah is an avid reader and classic film lover. When she is not studying, Sarah enjoys spending time with her two children, Maxwell and Rosemary.

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Dave Liesen Funeral Assistant

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Dick McKinney Funeral Assistant

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Sue McKinney Funeral Assistant

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Clif Weisinger Funeral Assistant

James O'Donnell

Owner, Funeral Director, and Embalmer
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Born and raised in America’s Hometown, James J. O’Donnell, graduated from Hannibal High School, has a Bachelor of Science in History from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. O'Donnell also holds an Associate of Mortuary Science Degree from Kansas City, Kansas Community College, and is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in both Missouri and Illinois. Jim is also a member of the Missouri Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association, Illinois Funeral Directors Association, National Funeral Directors Association, past member of board of directors for the Hannibal YMCA, member of the Hannibal Park Board, member of the Hannibal Arts Council Board, member of the F&M Bank and Trust Company Advisory Board, past member of the board of directors for Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce, member of Early Bird Kiwanis, member of the Hannibal Elks Lodge #1198, member of the men's auxiliary at the Hannibal Veterans of Foreign War #2446, member of Hannibal Knights of Columbus Council #907, and a member of Holy Family Catholic Church.

Rory O'Donnell

Owner, Funeral Director, and Embalmer
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Born and raised in Hannibal, MO, Rory graduated from Hannibal High School. He received an Associate of Mortuary Science Degree from Des Moines Area College in Iowa, and is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in both Illinois and Missouri. He also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media Studies and Public Relations from Quincy University, where he played soccer for the legendary coach, Jack Mackenzie. Rory spent 15 years working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade before returning to Quincy and joining O'Donnell-Cookson Life Celebration Home.

Rory is married to Brenna and they have two children: Rory Thomas and Scarlett James. Young Rory and Scarlett both attend St. Peter School in Quincy.

Jed Taylor

Funeral Director and Embalmer
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Jed is a graduate of Hamilton High School in Hamilton, IL and a 2006 graduate of Carl Sandburg College of Mortuary Science. In his spare time he enjoys riding motorcycles, antiquing and spending time with his girlfriend Maggie and their dogs. 

Emily Roegge

Funeral Director and Embalmer
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Born and raised in Southern California, Emily is a 2013 graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and studied Graphic Design and Advertising at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles.

Emily moved to Springfield, Illinois in 2014 to be closer to family. She later moved to Galesburg, Illinois to attend the Carl Sandburg College Mortuary Science Program, graduating with her Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in 2017.

Emily and her husband Mathew married on January 24, 2020 and purchased their first home together in September of 2021. Together they enjoy raising their two cats: Morty and Greta, their three reptiles: Peaches, Cream, and Waffles, and spoiling their nephew, Lincoln.

In her spare time, Emily enjoys painting and printmaking, thrift shopping, going antiquing, visiting museums and historical buildings, and traveling with her husband. Emily is excited to continue serving families in the Quincy area and surrounding communities for many years to come.

Rod Cookson

Funeral Director and Embalmer
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April Hawkins

Office Manager
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April is a native of Quincy, IL. She graduated from Quincy High School in 2010, and later from Quincy University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management in 2013 and a Master’s degree in Business Administration in 2015, where she graduated summa cum laude. While at QU, April was a member of Beta Sigma Delta Honor Society, President of the CEO Club, and a 4-year member of the Hawkettes Dance Team, serving as captain for her last 2 years.

April has worked as a Dance Instructor/Choreographer at Vancil Performing Arts Center for 14 years, and was previously the Quincy University Hawkettes Dance Team Head Coach for 5 years. She has danced at Vancil Performing Arts Center for a total of 20 years and was a member of the Bay City Dance Troupe, as well as Vancil's Competition Team and Vancil's Production Team. April has attended countless dance competitions and conventions around the country, and has even performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, as well as at halftime of the Orange Bowl in Miami, FL. She has also performed in musicals both locally and in Springfield, IL.

In her free time, April enjoys traveling, going to concerts, exercising, reading, and attending church at The Crossing. Most of all, she loves spending time with her family and friends, including her husband, Austin, and their English Cream Golden Retriever, Sadie Hawkins.

Gwen Swierk

Office Assistant
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Born and raised in the Chicago Area, Gwen is a 2015 graduate of Morton West High School. She later went on to receive her Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Quincy University in 2019. While at QU, she was the vice president of the CEO Club, a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, and a member of the marching band, symphonic band, and percussion ensemble. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies, reading, cooking, and making people laugh. Most importantly, she loves spending time with her friends, family, and fiancé, Ben.

Christy Wellman

Preneed Couselor
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Born and raised in Quincy, IL, Christy is a Quincy Senior High school 2008 graduate who later then graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 2011 with an Associate Degree in Applied Science. She is married to her husband, Frankie. They have two daughters, Addison and Alaina, and a dog, Macy. Christy is a lifelong member of St. James Lutheran Church and attended grade school there as well. She is also a member of the North Side Boat Club. Christy enjoys watching her husband race his dirt car at local area dirt tracks, traveling, shopping, gardening, and hanging out with family and friends.   

 

Sarah Blair

Funeral Director Apprentice
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Sarah is a graduate of University of Missouri – St. Louis and is currently pursuing a degree in Mortuary Science. Sarah is an avid reader and classic film lover. When she is not studying, Sarah enjoys spending time with her two children, Maxwell and Rosemary.

Dave Liesen

Funeral Assistant
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Dick McKinney

Funeral Assistant
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Sue McKinney

Funeral Assistant
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Clif Weisinger

Funeral Assistant
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