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

Watson-Yates funeral home has a long standing tradition in the Seaford area since 1820, making it possibly the oldest established funeral home in the State of Delaware and one  still in business.  Originally known as “The House of Watson”, the funeral home began in the Seaford area in 1920 by Paynter Watson. As the firm grew the need for a new location was foreseen and in 1858 operations were moved into  the current location of 609 East King Street.  Through the years the business continued under the direction of several Watson heirs, beginning with Henry H. Watson (son of Paynter), his son Medford L. Watson, Sr.; then his two sons, Medford L. Watson, Jr. (Paynter) and Pasher Watson, then business associate and licensed funeral director Gary Yates. 

Top left- Henry Watson     Top Right-Medford L. Watson Sr.
Bottom left - Paynter Watson  Bottom right- Pasher Watson

Our Valued Staff- currently under construction

  • S. Keith  Parsell

    S. Keith Parsell, Sole Owner and CEO

    Keith is a native Sussex Countian, having been raised in Dagsboro then Smyrna, Delaware. He is a graduate of Wesley College in Dover, Delaware and the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and is licensed to practice in the States of Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. He also holds an insurance license in the State of Delaware for preneed funeral arrangements.

    Keith has three children: Christina, Johnathan and Andrew; is a member of Bethel United Methodist Church in Lewes where he sings in the choir and serves as substitute organist; is a life member of the Citizens Hose Company, Smyrna, Delaware and a member of the Citizens Hose Company Fireman's Band where he plays the trumpet.

    He is honary member and past president of the Lewes Volunteer Fire Department; member and past president of the Delaware State Funeral Director's Association; member of the Delmarva Funeral Service Assn.; member of the National Funeral Director's Assn. where he has served on the Budget Committee for two years; member of the Cremation Society of North America; former member of the Board of Directors of Delaware Hospice for over twenty years; member of the Georgetown and Bridgeville Historical Societies; and former member and treasurer of Rehoboth Beach Kiwanis Club and is currently a member of the the Beebe Ambassadors. Most recently he was appointed by Delaware Governor Jack Markell to a three year term on the Board of Funeral Services for the State of Delaware where he currently serves as President of the Board.

    He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, hunting and a game of golf here and there.

  • Alison  Parsell

    Alison Parsell, Vice President

    Alison, Keith's wife, joined the staff in 2003. She is a native Delawarean, raised in Dover; graduated from Caesar Rodney School District and the Peninsula General Hospital School of Radiologic Technology. She relocated to Lewes in 1980.

    Alison holds an insurance license in the State of Delaware for preneed funeral arrangements.

    Alison has two children: Stephen Jones and Amanda Boyer; is a member of Bethel United Methodist Church in Lewes where she is a past member of the choir, music librarian, Administrative Board Secretary, and Sunday School Assistant.

    She is a former member of the Board of Director's and former assistant treasurer of the Lewes Historical Society and curator of the Doctor's Office Museum. Also, she is a former member of the Sussex County Medical Society Auxiliary where she assisted in the production of many fund raising local fashion shows.

  • Johnathan  Parsell

    Johnathan Parsell

    Johnathan, son of owner Keith Parsell, grew up in the family business, learning many aspects of the funeral industry. He currently oversees the financial operations of the company and assists with general management.

    His previous experience includes working in financial services as a Registered Representative for some of the largest and most well-known mutual fund and financial advising companies.

    He holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Marketing and Operations Management from the University of Delaware and a Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Drexel University.

    Johnathan has served as a Director on the Cadbury Foundation Board of Directors and is a former member of the Lewes Volunteer Fire Department. In his spare time, Johnathan enjoys exploring new cities and cuisines with his wife and spending time outside with his Australian Labradoodle, Cannoli.

  • Andrew Parsell

    Andrew Parsell, Licensed Delaware Funeral Director, Vice President

    Andrew Parsell is the son of the owner, Keith Parsell. He is a graduate of Cape Henlopen High School and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. In 2010 he became a Delaware Licensed Funeral Director, after completing his resident internship with the firm. He now serves as a director on staff and is Chief Networking Officer for the funeral home. He is a member of St. Jude The Apostle Catholic Church, Lewes, DE and the Lewes Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. He is an avid golfer, fisherman and hunter and was elected President of the Delaware Funeral Directors Association for the 2014-2015 year term.

  • Brian J.  Clymer

    Brian J. Clymer, Licensed Delaware & Maryland Funeral Director

    Brian joined the firm in September 2013 as a licensed funeral director. A graduate of Old Mill Senior High School in Millersville, MD, Brian then attended the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science graduating with an Associate’s Degree in Specialized Business in Mortuary Science in 1997. Prior to joining the firm, he had served the Annapolis area for the past 15 years.
    Brian lives in Bridgeville, DE with his wife, Kimberley and their 2 West Highland White Terriers, Duncan and Max. Brian is a member of the Masons and enjoys attending local sporting events, NASCAR and life on the Chesapeake Bay and at the beach.

  • David T.  Bradley

    David T. Bradley, Licensed Delaware & Pennsylvania Funeral Director

    David is a licensed funeral director with 17 years’ experience, who joined our firm in July 2014. Originally from Western New York, David proudly served in the U.S. Navy after high school. He is a Marketing Management graduate of Central Pennsylvania Business School and worked in admissions for 11 years, eventually serving the school as the Director of Enrollment. David then graduated from Northampton Community College with an Associate in Applied Science in Funeral Service Education and worked with his in-laws at their family funeral home in Lebanon, PA. Dave and his wife Carolyn, along with their children Megan, Ben and Hope have been vacationing to the Southern Delaware area for years, and are proud to call the region their new home.

  • Frank  Basile

    Frank Basile, Licensed Delaware & New York State Funeral Director

    Frank Basile joined our firm in 2007. Frank has been in the funeral business for more than 30 years having worked mostly in the New York area as a manager of various large funeral homes and most recently as the owner of his own funeral home, prior to retiring in 2001. Frank and his wife Barbara relocated to the beach in 2003, attend St. Edmonds's Catholic Church, Rehoboth Beach, DE and enjoy time spent with their children and grandchildren.

  • Scott Burdette

    Scott Burdette, Certified Pre-planning Specialist & Delaware Licensed Life Insurance Producer

    Scott Burdette joined the firm in April 2011. He is a Delaware Licensed Insurance Agent and has also been certified by the National Funeral Directors Association as a Pre-planning Consultant.

    Scott was born and raised in Maryland and moved to Rehoboth Beach in 2002. For 33 years he has worked in the food industry holding various positions as Clerks and Department Managers with Giant Food to being a Sales Representative, Retail Sales Manager, Accountant Manager and Business Manager with Acosta Sales & Marketing.

    In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his husband, their friends and families, working around his home and the beach.

  • Beverly  King

    Beverly King, Bookkeeper

    Beverly joined our firm in March 2011 as a Bookkeeper. Prior to joining us, she worked 23 years for several local accounting firms as an Administrative Assistant and then as Office Manager. Beverly is a local who graduated from Cape Henlopen High School in 1988, and she holds Associate Degrees in Accounting and Business Administration and a BA in Human Resource Management.

    Beverly enjoys spending time with family and friends and traveling with her daughter Morgan who dances competitively. She also enjoys going to the beach, watching movies, exercising, reading and playing with her labs, Casey and Bailey.

  • Paul  Becker

    Paul Becker, Funeral Home Associate & Media Systems Coordinator

    Paul joined the firm in January 2011. He has been a resident of Lewes the majority of his life. He graduated from St. Thomas More Academy in 2002 and received a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Finance from the University of Delaware in 2006. He worked in the AmeriCorps after college.

    Paul is a member of St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church in Lewes, DE. He keeps active by playing tennis, soccer and golf.

  • John  Hazzard

    John Hazzard, Funeral Director Assistant

    John Hazzard joined the firm on a full time basis in May 2013 as a Funeral Director's Assistant. He originally began with the firm in March as a Funeral Home Associate. He was previously employed by the Rehoboth Beach Fire Company as an EMT and Fire Fighter since 2007.
    Born in Key West, Florida, John has lived full time in DE since 1997. He enjoys going to the beach with his wife and children, fishing and watching Flyers games.

  • Harvey  Walls

    Harvey Walls, Senior Crematory Manager & CANA Certified Master Crematory Operator

    Harvey joined the company in 2001 after retiring from the DuPont Company in Seaford. He is one of the first to receive the title in Delaware as a Certified Master Crematory Operator, a title given by the Cremation Association of North America. He manages the Parsell Crematorium which includes responsibility for all aspects of the operation and maintenance of the human and pet crematories.

  • Laura  Ward

    Laura Ward, Office Assistant

    Laura Ward joined the company in April 2015. She was born and raised in Lewes and currently resides here with her husband, Jason.

    She graduated from St. Thomas More Academy in 2008. Laura loves spending time with her family and friends, driving on the beach with her husband and playing with their Shih Tzu, Buddy.

  • Amy Matarese

    Amy Matarese, Office Assistant

    Amy joined the company in May 2016. Born and raised in the Wilmington and Hockessin areas, Amy relocated to Lewes in 2014. She graduated from St. Mark’s High School in Wilmington and attended Wesley College in Dover and DE Technical and Community College in Wilmington.

    Amy enjoys spending time at the beach with family and friends; especially her son, Steven and daughter, Sydney.

  • Leah Rochelle

    Leah Rochelle, Receptionist

    Leah Rochelle joined the staff in September 2016 as a Receptionist. She and her husband, Dennis Jeney, CMSgt USAF (Ret) recently relocated to Rehoboth Beach from Washington, DC.

    Leah holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from Boston College. She spent 25 years focused in Higher Education Administration as a Director of Graduate Admissions and as an Associate University Registrar.

    She is a member of St. Edmond Catholic Church in Rehoboth Beach and enjoys health and fitness, nutrition and cooking, gardening, and spending time relaxing at the beach.

  • Bill  Nennstiehl

    Bill Nennstiehl, Funeral Home Associate

    Bill Nennstiehl joined the staff in April 2012. He is a graduate of Rehoboth High School, served four years in the Navy and retired from the construction business.

    He and his wife, Laura Anne, reside in Bridgeville, where they enjoy their Arabian horses and are actively involved with their granddaughters.

    Bill is a member of the Bridgeville Historical Society, Apple-Scrapple Festival and Bridgeville Lions Club.

  • Ron  Fleetwood

    Ron Fleetwood, Funeral Home Associate

    Ron Fleetwood joined the staff in 2007 serving our Bridgeville and Georgetown locations. Ron and his wife Alma reside in Bridgeville and enjoy spoiling their grandchildren. They attend Union United Methodist Church in Bridgeville, DE and are members of the Bridgeville Historical Societies and very active in the Apple-Scrapple Festival each year.

  • Thomas J . Bishop

    Thomas J . Bishop, Pet Crematory Manager & CANA Certified Crematory Operator

    TJ joined the firm in 2012. He is a graduate of Annapolis Sr. High School and then continued on to the “Maryland College of Art and Design” to pursue his love of art. Before residing in Lewes in 2004, TJ frequently visited the area to help assist his family with the rental of their Delaware beach house. Now a permanent resident, TJ enjoys boating and fishing, with his wife and 2 children, and going to the beach with family and friends.

  • Dan  Doody

    Dan Doody, Funeral Home Associate, Building & Grounds Supervisor

    Dan joined the funeral home staff in 2009 as a funeral home associate and in 2010 became supervisor of building and grounds for the Clarksville, Hardesty-Bridgeville and Dodd-Carey-Georgetown chapels. He enjoys the challenges of repair and maintenance work and takes pride in the appearance of each Parsell facility.

    Dan and his wife Linda moved to the Delaware shore full time in 2009. Prior to joining the firm, Dan retired as a supervisor from a utility in upstate N.Y in 2007. He held various managerial positions in his 37 year career. Dan also worked part-time for eight years as a funeral home associate in Rochester, NY. They have three sons and enjoy their six grand children. In his spare time, Dan enjoys boating and fishing. He attends Mary Mother of Peace Catholic Church in Millsboro.

  • Sharon  Hawk

    Sharon Hawk, Funeral Hostess

    Sharon Hawk has been a Funeral Hostess on staff since 2005, primarily in our Hardesty Chapel, Bridgeville. She and her husband Charles are life-long residents of the Bridgeville area. Sharon is a member of St. Mary's Episcopal Church where she is very active with the various church committees.