The Lakeside Difference
Since 1957, we have been honored to deliver healing experiences to the Lake County community. We exist to serve the unique needs of every family. Learn our story. Lean on us. And let our expertise lead you through the best experience possible.
We’re here to give you care and comfort as we help guide you through the planning journey.
We've learned a lot about caring for families over the years. We realize that we aren't just caring for a loved one, but the entire family. People come to us during their most difficult times, and we respond with kindness, understanding and expertise. Our goal is to make everyone feel at home as we work with them to create a memorable service in honor of a beautiful life.
Tranquility & solace
The flowers, live oaks and symbols of faith are a source of tranquility and solace to our families.
Serenity for acres
Our park’s beauty has been enhanced and maintained better than ever; offering more options than any other cemetery in the area.
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Years in Business
Managing Partner, Operations
John started his career in funeral service in 1989 in New York City. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he grew up in Montgomery, NY, two hours northwest of New York City. John graduated from Valley Central High School and managed Woolworth stores for 3 years.
In 1989, he moved to Middle Village, Queens, NY to start his career in funeral service. He attended the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in Manhattan and graduated in 1991. While attending school, he worked in several funeral homes simultaneously to start his training.
In 1997, John and his wife, Laura Anne relocated to central Florida. They have two beautiful daughters, Rachel Anne and Megan Riley. Laura Anne is the Director of the Wellness Department at AdventHealth Fish Memorial hospital in Orange City and is very active in their community.
Their family attends St. Clare Catholic Church in Deltona and John attends daily Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Mount Dora and St. Mary of the Lakes Catholic Church in Eustis. He is also a Fourth Degree Knight, K of C.
John is the Managing Partner of Operations at Steverson, Hamlin & Hilbish Funerals and Cremations in Tavares, Hamlin & Hilbish Funeral Directors in Eustis and Lakeside Memory Gardens in Eustis.
Funeral Home Manager
I was born in Greensburg, PA and moved to Orlando, FL at the age of 16. I graduated from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando. After high school, I moved to Gainesville, FL, where I attended the University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College.
In 1994, I moved to Nashville, TN to begin my career in funeral service. I worked for several different funeral homes, while I was going to school to get my degree in Funeral Service. I graduated from John A. Gupton College in Nashville in 1996.
After graduating from college, I returned to Florida to start my career as a funeral director. I have worked for the same group of funeral homes here in Lake County since returning from college. While working full time as a funeral director, I went back to college taking night courses and received my B.A. degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern College in Lake Wales, FL in 1998. I currently hold the position of Funeral Home Manager at Steverson, Hamlin & Hilbish Funerals and Cremations in Tavares.
In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, camping, and spending time with my two dogs, Jameson and Zyda.
Chapel Manager - Chapel Manager, Hamlin & Hilbish Funeral Directors in Eustis
I moved to Leesburg in 1958. My parents were in the bowling business and built Leesburg Bowling Lanes. In 1960, we moved to Eustis, where they built Eustis Bowling Lanes.
I graduated from Eustis High School, as did my wife, Carol Gill Hilbish. I have an Associate of Science Degree from Miami Dade State College.
In 1964, I began working at, what was then, Zeller, Kennedy, and Hamlin Funeral Home. While in college, I worked and lived at Gerhardt Funeral Home in Miami and at the funeral home here in Eustis, when I was home. Since 1972, I have either owned or managed Hamlin & Hilbish Funeral Directors. In 1975, Mr. Verdual W. Hamlin Jr, Carol and I built what is now Steverson, Hamlin and Hilbish Funerals and Cremations in Tavares. Carol has been the Office Manager here since 1978.
We have two wonderful daughters, Tracey Hilbish Lichtinger and Lory Hilbish Baxley. We are fortunate, they both live locally.
I am proud to have been on the founding board of what is now Cornerstone Hospice. I am a past president of the Eustis Chamber of Commerce. I have received three “Service Above Self” awards from the Rotary Club of Eustis. Carol and I have received many forms of recognition for our work on behalf of Toys for Tots. I have served on many Citizens Advisory Committees and School Advisory Committees at Eustis Elementary School, Eustis Middle School, and Eustis High School.
We are members of the First Baptist Church of Umatilla.
Cemetery Office Manager
Janet is originally from Texas and relocated to Florida in 1991 after retiring from the banking industry. She spent 18 years in real estate before joining the team at Lakeside Memory Gardens in 2016.
Janet truly enjoys caring for our families and managing the office. When she’s not working, Janet loves to spend time with my family. Her interests include crafts, motorcycle riding, and reading.
J. David Sawyer
Managing Partner, Family Service
David was born in Daytona Beach and raised in Orlando, Florida. He is a third-generation Cemetery / Funeral professional who began his deathcare career in Lake County, Florida in 2009 at Lakeside Memory Gardens in Eustis, FL.
David has spent ten years in family service during his career in the funeral and cemetery profession and is well adept at discovering the needs and developing a meaningful solution for the families he is honored to serve. David always treats every family as his own and knows that God has given him the gift to help others in this sensitive field. He feels that there is no greater reward than to help a family put a plan of protection in place, for one of the saddest days of their life.
David loves sharing life with his wife Ashley, his two daughters, and granddaughter. He also loves spending time reading, fishing, kayaking or just sitting on the beach.
David and Ashley are members of St. Andrews Chapel in Sanford, Florida.
We illuminate paths to peace with personalized ceremonies and memorial tributes that honor your loved one.
What Families Are Saying
Wonderful and caring people that will take care of your needs during a very difficult time.Janet Ledbetter 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Barbara’s help with everything was exceptional and Janet’s design was also more than I expected. These ladies are awesome. They made it all easy.Linda Abbott 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
David is excellent!! Made everything easy.Lynn Vella 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Excellent service. David Sawyer was a very kind person, very professional and very patient. he took the time to answer every question and doubt that I had. I definitely recommend it, impeccable service.Kellin Yolany 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
David was extremely helpful. He explained all the options and helped me pick out exactly what I needed. I am very comforted knowing that by prearranging my funeral service my family will not have to deal with this during the time of stress that comes with the passing of a loved oneBrenda Henderson 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
David was helpful, knowledgeable, but never pushy. He helped us make a decision that suited our needs.Vicki Vizzi 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
News & Events
News Feb. 03, 2021
Learn What Matters Most
These times have shown us that life does not come with a guarantee. Get started with your free planning guide.
News Jun. 22, 2020
Life Moves Quickly
From first steps to first jobs and all the times in between, life moves quickly. How you will be remembered is just as important as how you lived.
News May 11, 2021
When a Loved One Dies Far from Home
When a loved one dies, it can be complicated to plan the funeral. There are many decisions to be made, from big choices such as the final resting place to small details such as the music and...
News May 01, 2023
There is no greater sacrifice than those who gave their lives to protect us. We honor all veterans who died protecting our country -- and those they left behind.
News Apr. 20, 2022
Monument Row Expansion Coming Soon!
The expansion of one of the most desirable areas of our cemetery is slated to be complete in mid-Summer 2022.
News May 11, 2021
Final Arrangements: When Family Members Disagree
When a loved one dies, emotions often run high. It's a stressful time, and family members may disagree on arrangements. It's hard to know what to do in that situation. What can you do...
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We offer a healthy work/life balance and invite ideas and innovation. Lakeside Memory Gardens is where our team members' purpose and passion unite.