Our Story & Staff
Not many businesses can say they’ve been around for over fifty years. Even less can say they’ve been around for sixty years. Well, Bryan-Braker Funeral Home has been around for even longer than that.
It was 1954 when Paul C. Bryan, Jr. purchased the only funeral home in Fairfield and added his name to the door. The Hanson-Bryan was purchased after Paul was able to use his G.I. bill to attend mortuary collage. In 1964, Paul relocated the business from it’s original location and moved it to where it still sits today at 1850 W. Texas Street in Fairfield. It was the same year that he started his own above-ground cemetery, Fairmont Memorial Park on Union Ave in Fairfield.
It was also around this time that he changed the name from Hanson-Bryan Funeral Home to Bryan-Braker Funeral Home. William “Bill” Braker was a key employee to the business and Paul felt having his name on the door as well was the perfect fit. Even though Braker retired in the eighties, his name still remains on our door. He was a foundational part of our company becoming what it is today. We will always be Bryan-Braker.
After studying Business and Finance, Craig Bryan, son of Paul, asked his father if he could work for him for a year to get the understanding of how a business runs before he went out on his own. That one year turned into two and now, 36 years later, Craig has continued in the family business.
Bryan-Braker Funeral Home is more than a funeral home; we are a part of the community. Both Craig and, his wife, Francie enjoy being a part of the community and have done some pretty amazing things over the years.
Craig is a proud Rotarian and has participated in international trips to Mexico where he took ambulances, fire trucks and dental equipment down there. Right now we are working with cities to help remove playgrounds that are no longer ADA compliant and moving the structures to Mexico for the kids to play on.
He also had a big hand in building the skate park in Fairfield, he chartered the Fairfield-Suisun Twilight Rotary Club, is a member of the Elks, Masonic Lodge, both Fairfield and Vacaville Chamber’s of Commerce and was a part of starting the first Wine and Food Jubilee that still supports NorthBay Healthcare to this day.
Bryan-Braker has been a sponsor of the Wine and Food Jubliee for thirty-one years. After being on NorthBay’s board for a few years Craig has taken on the three year commitment of the event’s Chairman (2018-2021). Along with being the food chair for the Wine and Food Jubliee, Francie is also a Soroptimist of Central Solano County member as well as 100 Women of Solano County and LeTip of Vacaville.
Craig’s daughter, Jenna, decided to follow in her father’s footsteps, literally. She too had no intention of working the family business or being involved in the funeral profession. However, after obtaining her degree in Marketing and Communications the opportunity was there and once again was a perfect fit.
Operating a funeral home isn’t a job for everyone. Every person who walks through your door is experiencing one of the most vulnerable and confusing times of their lives. It takes a special someone to be able to carry out what the Bryan family and staff are know for - the special balance between professionalism and compassion.
Bryan-Braker Funeral home is proud to say we can help anyone in the community. Whether it’s pre-planned funerals or helping people who have never had a family member pass, we are here to help. Especially when it comes to different cultures. We pride ourselves on having the knowledge and experience of all traditions and cultures; on that same token we are constantly learning and evolving as a company to continue to provide our community with the most professional, respectful and personalized service possible.“One of the things that I admired of my father, his goal was to always be the funeral service provider who was able to handle all faiths and not fall into a pattern of always doing a certain religion. We truly strive to make the service as unique as the individual,” - Craig Bryan, Owner/President
“We love Vacaville and this entire area and are proud to be members of this community,” - Francie Bryan, Cemetery Administrator
“It’s a nice platform to be able to be of service to people when they’re going through this grieving process in their time of need. A lot of people haven’t set up a service so they look to me and our other directors as their guiding light. It takes a special person to be a funeral director and we have some amazing staff here that are able to find the balance between professionalism and compassion. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback,” - Jenna Bryan Stewart, General Manager
The Bryan Family and Staff
As a staple member of Solano County, Bryan-Braker Funeral Home
employs nineteen full-time employees and five part-time employees.
Craig Bryan, President / Owner
Francie Bryan, Cemetery & Trust Administrator / Pre-Arrangement Counselor
I attended UC Davis majoring in Mass Communications. I have worked at KCRA-TV Channel 3 in Sacramento in various capacities with my last title as Research & Marketing Specialist for 13 years. During employment there I was voted President of the American Marketing Association where I organized and implemented the first Sports Marketing Seminar in Sacramento, which was one of the most successful fundraisers in the association.
I started employment at Bryan-Braker Funeral Home in 1999. I am a member of Soroptimist of Central Solano County, Le Tip of Vacaville and a committee member for the annual Solano Wine & Food Jubilee benefitting NorthBay Hospice & Bereavement programs. I am a supporter of many fundraisers benefitting non-profit organizations in Solano county.
You may contact Francie directly at [email protected]
Jenna Bryan Stewart, General Manager
Ending up in the family business was never in my plans. I left the Solano County area three weeks after I graduated from Fairfield High School. Over a span of 12 years I spent time in Chico, San Diego and San Francisco, finishing my BA in Organizational Communication at SFSU. During that time I also completed two Internships which took me to Iceland and Germany.
A sequence of events led me back to the Solano County area in 2013. I was offered the opportunity to work at the family business. With the intention of it being a temporary situation, I was taken by surprise by how much I enjoyed it here. My father always told me this profession was a “calling”, not a job. Each day I spend here that resonates with me more and more.
Being able to contribute as the third generation to my family’s business and legacy is a gift that I do not take for granted. Seeing my grandfather and father build this business from the ground up it is an honor and privilege to follow in their footsteps. I recognize the reputation they have earned in the community and strive for continued growth as a company which enable us to provide the most excellent service to our community.
We are a family business that fosters a warm and inviting work culture within our office; one which I hope filters to the families we serve. This position is a beautiful platform to be of service to people in such a vulnerable time in their lives.
My husband and I live in Vacaville and are kept busy with our two young boys, dog and pet frog. Any spare time we have is spent doing some family activity – outside if possible. We place a high value on nature and the ability to appreciate and respect it. We do what we can to instill that in our boys.
"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." - Albert Einstein
You may email Jenna directly at [email protected]
Greg Boyko, Office Manager / Funeral Director / Pre-Arrangement Counselor
My life has led me in different ways to enjoy many aspects of it. Athletically, I swam competitively for approximately for 14 years, through youth all the way up to University of the Pacific, in Stockton, CA.
In my first professional career, I was a Dentist, for approximately 23 years, graduating from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry in San Francisco, CA. It was a wonderful career, but I felt I needed a change in how I cared for people. While getting my Master’s Degree prior to Dentistry, I got a taste for the Funeral Industry, by working part time, which I enjoyed greatly.
This led to my next career of being a Funeral Director for the Bryan-Braker Funeral Home. I have now been here at Bryan-Braker for 15 years. With my caring values, this fit well into how I wanted to continue my career. I feel that being a Funeral Director gives me a wonderful opportunity to be able to help individuals and families in such a low and difficult portion of their life. Not only do I care for families here at Bryan-Braker, I also facilitate a “GriefShare” program through my church to help individuals “Journey Through Their Grief”.
When I am not in the office, I love being with my family, training and showing our Vizsla dogs, being a big Disney enthusiast and riding my tractor on our property. I have been called “Green Acres” many times. Again, I fell that I am honored to be able to work in this industry.
You may email Greg directly at [email protected]
Bryan Anderson, Asst Manager / Funeral Director / Embalmer / Pre-Arrangement Counselor
I have been in the Funeral Industry for 30 years. I graduated from San Francisco College of Mortuary Science with honors in 1990. Prior to being in the Funeral Industry, I was in the US Army as a Medic for 6 years. I have a passion for helping my fellow Veterans, and their families. Originally, I worked for Bryan-Braker from 2006 to 2008. After exploring other endeavors I happily returned in 2017.
The Dali Lama said, “Our prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them at least don’t hurt them.” I work on that idea when I meet with families that I have the opportunity to help here at Bryan-Braker.
I am blessed to have a beautiful wife, Anne; daughter, Emma; and three fun loving little dogs in my life. Fun fact: my wife and I were the first couple to get married at Bryan-Braker Funeral Home in 2007!
You may email Bryan directly at [email protected]
Jhonny Druding, Fuenral Director / Embalmer / Pre-Arrangement Counselor
I was raised in Wisconsin and served in the US Army as Military Police from 1999 to 2005. My time in the service took me to Korea; Fort Drum, New York; and completed a tour to Afghanistan.
After leaving the service I attended MMI Technical Institute to become a Harley-Davidson mechanic. Once graduated from MMI, I moved to Colorado in 2007 to work as a Harley mechanic. Though I have a passion for Harley’s and loved what I was doing, I knew I had a higher calling. I migrated to California two years later to attend American River College to become a mortician and embalmer.
I first worked part-time with Bryan-Braker while completing my schooling at American River College. Once completed, I joined the Bryan-Braker family full-time in 2011.
I am a member of the VFW and the American Legion, and has held officer positions in both. I haven’t lost my passion for Harley’s; and also enjoy classic car shows, riding my motorcycle and travelling.
You may email Jhonny directly at [email protected]
Joe Garza, Funeral Director / Embalmer
I have been helping families in need since 1985. Born and raised in Sacramento, my calling has taken me around the state to serve communities from my home town to San Diego, Napa, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Solano Counties. I have been serving families here at Bryan-Braker since 2016.
I completed my formal education at the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science in 1987 and served my apprenticeship at East Lawn Mortuary in Sacramento.
My wife, our daughter and I enjoy travelling, and exploring and hunting for rare antiques for our home and antique store, Magnolia Antiques and Home Interiors in Carmichael. On my time off I love gardening, fishing, photography and supporting our daughter’s soccer club and musical endeavors.
It is an honor and privilege to be the supervising embalmer and a funeral director at Bryan-Braker Funeral Home. I am especially grateful for the trust of the families of our community who are going through the difficult, complex times of bereavement.
You may email Joe directly at [email protected]
Nicole Brownell, Funeral Director / Pre-Arrangement Couselor
I don’t think I have ever met someone who grew up thinking, “I want to be a funeral director when I grow up,” and I was no exception to this. I have always worked in the restaurant business since the age of 15, and when I was presented a job at Bryan-Braker Funeral Home to become the death certificate specialist, I was some what intrigued.
I decided to take this job and start my career in 2015. I went back to school and am currently on track to finish my AA in Psychology. I have been told that I am a highly self-motivated individual who is always pushing myself to go above and beyond for anyone. After about a year of doing death certificates, I decided to obtain my license to sell burial insurance to enable me to meet with families for their pre-arrangement needs. Once getting a taste of working with families, I then was determined to obtain my funeral director license. Having these accomplishments facilitated my promotion to a Funeral Director in 2016.
This is where my experience of 15 years of customer service could shine through. I could help families in their most delicate time of need and make the passing of a loved one an easier experience. I take pride in my upbringing and how being so organized and prompt could touch someone’s life and help them through this difficult time. I can’t tell you how many times I am asked, “How do you do this job?” The answer is simple… at the very end a family will turn to you with tears in their eyes and say two simple words… “Thank you.” This statement makes everything I do worthwhile.
Another way I decided to touch people lives in a positive manner was becoming a group fitness coach by teaching cycling classes at a local gym. This is a wonderful environment for me to really let my outgoing and bubbly personality loose. While I’m not in the office or teaching cycling, my Chihuahua, Twinkle, and I share a passion for hiking. In my down time my fiancé and I enjoy cooking and relaxing.
You can email Nicole directly at [email protected]
Shannon Parra, Funeral Director / Apprentice Embalmer / Pre-Arrangement Counselor
I was born and raised in Old Town Suisun, so I am a native to the area Bryan Braker serves. I started working in the funeral industry at Bryan-Braker in 2016 after graduating from the American River College of Mortuary Science. Not many of us can say they found what they were meant to do, and I feel like I can honestly say that being a mortician is my calling.
I believe my 19 years in customer service has helped me become a team player and a real people person at Bryan Braker. I enjoy meeting, and creating a trusting, comfortable relationship with the families I serve.
“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently.”
You may email Shannon directly at [email protected]
Cate Smeltzer, Receptionist
My mother taught me to give 100% to everything I do. I have done this in every job I have held, helping my husband at Outback and in raising our son.
It is my personal goal here at Bryan-Braker since 2014, to investigate every avenue of our business to get the answers you are seeking. I believe my 20-plus years as an administrative assistant has helped me become a team player at Bryan-Braker.
One of my highest priorities here at Bryan-Braker is to make sure there is an ample supply of chocolate at the front desk when you come to see us (smile).?
You may email Cate directly at [email protected]
April Ramos, Death Certificate Clerk
I was born and raised in Vacaville to parents who emigrated from Spain. Growing up I saw how hard my parents worked for everything they had. I told myself at a young age that I would go to college. I graduated from Sacramento State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication.
I moved to Sacramento where I worked in the Telecommunication industry for almost a decade. During this time I had my son who has blessed my life in every way. As he got older I decided to work for the Vacaville School District so that I could enjoy more time with him and participate in more of his activities.
One day in 2017, I received a call from a friend telling me about a position that had opened up at Bryan-Braker Funeral home. I thought ok, this is different. Open to try something new I went for it. I can honestly say I enjoy what I do and who I work with today.
I take pride in my work and always aim to provide families with what they need in a timely matter. I genuinely care about the families I interact with and I believe that they feel my sincerity and that is truly rewarding.
You may email April directly at [email protected]
Francisco Piedra, Funeral Arranger / Cemetery Specialist
Selfless service and honor are two of the seven values of the US Army. These values are instilled in every soldier from day one. Even after almost 10 years since my separation from the Army, I still hold and live by these values.
I am fortunate to have the privilege of working in a career field that enables me to continue to serve those in need selflessly and having the honor to be entrusted with the care of their loved ones. I was hired here at Bryan Braker in October of 2016. I started as funeral support staff with no experience. In the less than the two years that I have been here, Bryan-Braker has provided me with opportunity to advance my career. I have received my certification as a Funeral Arranger and Crematory Operator. My current role is that of Cemetery Specialist and Funeral Arranger.
When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, fishing, woodworking, tending to chickens and trips to Disneyland
You may email Francisco directly at [email protected]
Tom Sendlakowski, Funeral Director Support / Fleet Maintenance
I started life as an upstate New York resident where I went to Saint Bonaventure University, earning my Bachelor’s degree in Business. Looking back, I realize that the many priests I had as instructors, especially in his Philosophy minor, gave me insight and respect for the many different religions I work with today.
For the last 45 years I have lived in the Fairfield area, where I raised my four fantastic children, volunteered at their school events and grandchildren's events, including my two sons Boy Scout leader.
In my time before Bryan and Braker, I was the owner and lead executive for Harris Protection Systems, a local Solano County burglar alarm company specializing in personal attention toward the safety and care of the community. I also served on many groups and boards for the betterment of Solano County's community and businesses. I was the smile everyone looked for at each event; I played the 4th of July parade marshal in a keystone cop costume time and time again. After my retirement from the alarm company, I was asked by Craig Bryan to join the Bryan-Braker team where I have been applying my skills in customer care and concerning nature to the funeral business since 2006.
These days I enjoy my time with my wife, my dog, and seeing my family as often as I can. I try to make the most of every precious day with as many smiles as possible. I especially love helping other people smile and find their own sense of peace.
You may email Tom directly at [email protected]
Ron Smith, Funeral Director Support
Certified Phlebotomist through California.
Credited City of Suisun Youth and Adult Sports Coordinator.
Certified California High School Level Baseball Coach, including Concussion Awareness Certified, CPR certifications.
Here at Bryan-Braker since 2014, I have been dedicated to improving the quality of life for our community by providing exceptional programs, facilities, and service.
You may email Ron at [email protected]
Robert Johnston, Crematory Operator / Cemetery Maintenance
My work history includes yard care, car washes and Walmart over the course of 7 years. My biggest accomplishment has been reaching supervisor at the Carwash at the age of 17 and being the youngest person there to gain the achievement. I have been a member of the Bryan-Braker Staff since 2018.
My values are efficiency, effectiveness, and elasticity; in any career in helps have a good rate of speed to complete any task, as well as completing them in the easiest way possible while still being fluid with your environment.
When I’m not servicing the families that come into my care, I enjoy competition downhill racing in San Francisco with my longboard, because why not live fast right? Beside the adrenaline, I’m a very down to earth person and enjoy relaxing walks to clear the mind.
You may email Robert at [email protected]
Camille Garrett, Funeral Support / Chapel Attendant / Garden Court Host
“It is your gift that is the key to your success.” Quoted from scripture, it was once said to me, that your gift will make room for you. This gift of serving opened the door that lead to me work here at Bryan-Braker Funeral Home in 2011. I have a passion to serve everyone with love, vitality, vibrancy, energy, enthusiasm and excellence.
I have served in Church Ministry of Helps as an Usher and presently preside over my Church New Member Assimilation Ministry. After serving in the military, USAF Air National Guard and returning from active duty to civilian life, I worked in the airline industry scheduling flight crews and flight attendants worldwide, also Air Cargo Freight shipping worldwide.
I love to travel, enjoying Bay Area destinations such as San Francisco, Napa Valley, coastal drives along beaches and also visiting cruise line destinations. My favorite pastime, of course, is shopping. I am always looking for Classy Fashions and Sassy Shoes.
“Happiness starts with in your sole.” It is not the clothes or shoes I wear, but the Spirit of the Almighty in me producing the beauty in my outward appearance.
You may email Camille at [email protected]
Cassandra "Cassie" Ciraulo, Funeral Director Support / Chapel Attendant / Garden Court Host
Prior to working at Bryan-Braker Funeral Home I was a Surgical Nursing Assistant and a Certified CAN. I have been with Bryan-Braker for 10 years and have enjoyed every minute of it. I am grateful to be able to help and comfort families in their time of sorrow through assisting with services and helping whenever I am needed.
When I’m not working I love being a mother to my two beautiful daughters, shopping, camping, waterskiing and spending time with my friends and family.
I plan on having a long career with Bryan-Braker. I am genuinely passionate about the work I do through Bryan-Braker and working with the best people is just icing on the cake!
You may email Cassandra "Cassie" at [email protected]
Jose Avalos, Maintenance Supervisor / Monument Installation / Funeral Director Support
My greatest professional achievement is working with Bryan-Braker for the 21 years.
I believe my success in this profession comes from my strong work ethic and treating each family’s pain with the same compassion and respect as if it were my own.
In my free time I enjoy my beautiful wife and four children, our cats, dogs and working in my garden.
You may email Jose at [email protected]
Evelyn Mallory, Accountant / Human Resources
“When we lose someone we love, we must learn NOT to live without them … BUT to live with the LOVE they left behind…”
I received this quote from a co-worker here at Bryan Braker Funeral Home after the passing of my mother and I refer to it often as my father too, has joined her once again.
This is simple example of the small, yet special, things the staff does daily for the families we meet. I often share that those in this profession are certainly “called” to be doing what they do; being supportive, informative, compassionate and always available to those who ask.
As I am behind the scenes; as the Accountant/HR since 2013, I try to extend these qualities to my fellow employees in the small details (yet very important) components that are necessary to be a successful business.
I have lived in California now for over 35 years after meeting my husband who served most of his US Air Force time right here at Travis Air Force Base. As retirement approaches we bowl often, both competitively and for fun – more numbers; who would have known! I enjoy traveling, spending time with friends and most important – living with the LOVE of visiting my daughter and family as often as I can.
You may email Evelyn directly at [email protected]
Brigette Pinell, Funeral Director Support / Chapel Attendant / Garden Court Host
My priority is to see that the families served feel it is my privilege to help them. Serving each family in a special way and exceeding their expectations has yielded many expressions of gratitude. The often extended “I’ll never forget you”, is telling of my benevolent nature and my desire to serve well.
Being raised catholic and attending Notre Dame in San Francisco set the tone for my strong sense of compassion and dependability. Having a mother who instilled great generosity and emphasizing “There are always others worse off than you, so be humble,” still resonates with me.
I am a mother of two great young men; one is a VP of Client & Product Marketing at DWS Group and the other is just launching his career in HR payroll at TCU. I love getting together with family and friends; and heading to Napa for wine tasting and culinary exploration. I loved being a volunteer at my church teaching catechism; however, currently I’m mothering my 86- and 90-year-young aunties.
You may email Bridgette at [email protected]
Malia Swanson, Chapel Attendant / Garden Court Host
After high school I prepared to be an RN for NorthBay Hospital in Fairfield. However, my interests led me to the two year Funeral Service Program at American River College in Sacramento. Since 2016 I have been working part-time at Bryan-Braker Funeral Home to gain experience and knowledge within this special profession.
I am currently in the process of acquiring my Funeral Director and Embalming Licenses. I find it interesting that I started working with one side of life and ended up finding my calling working with the opposite of that. I am grateful to be a part of this team at Bryan-Braker as a Chapel Attendant and week-end secretary.
You may contact Malia at [email protected]