Tel: 1-440-632-0818

About Us

Gary Best and his wife, Tracey, are both originally from Northeast Ohio and wanted to live in the beautiful community of Middlefield after he served twenty years and then retired from the United States Navy. Mr. Best thoroughly believes in assisting others in times of need so he became a licensed funeral director to serve the community.

Gary, a native of Conneaut, Ohio is a 1985 graduate of Ashtabula St. John High School. Following graduation, he entered the United States Navy where he served: aboard ships; USS Affray, USS Leader, USS Adroit, USS Warrior (plankowner), and USS Inchon; as a recruiter in Vermont and New Hampshire; on a battle group staff position as the Damage Control Officer; and as the Senior Enlisted Leader of the Naval Reserve Center in Akron, Ohio. He is a Veteran of both Gulf Wars and provided assistance to refugees during the Kosovo Conflict.

Gary began his interest in the funeral industry in 1999 while stationed aboard USS Inchon in Corpus Christi, TX. He volunteered to work at a funeral home and it was during that time he received his calling. During his final tour in the U.S. Navy, Gary volunteered to serve as the Command Casualty Assistance Calls Officer for Northeast Ohio. He served eleven military families during his tour. Since his time in Corpus Christi, Gary has been involved with several other funeral homes in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. He now intends to bring the knowledge and experience he has learned to serve those in the Middlefield/Rock Creek areas with dignity, compassion, and respect.

Gary graduated from Granite State College, Excelsior College, and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. He is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in the States of Ohio and North Carolina and holds a certificate for “Counselor” from the Navy National Apprenticeship Program. He is currently a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Middlefield (Life Member), Disabled American Veterans (Life Member and previous Chapter Adjutant), Embalmers Association of Cleveland, Ohio Embalmers Association, Ohio Funeral Directors Association, and Past Board Member of the Middlefield Historical Society. Gary is also a two-time Past Master and the current Treasurer of Western Phoenix #42 Free & Accepted Masons of Ohio in Parkman; five time and Current High Priest of the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons of Ohio, Grand River Chapter #104 in Rock Creek; Past Illustrious Master of Grand Council of Royal and Select Masons of Ohio, Geneva Council #145 in Madison; and Past Commander and current Captain General of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Ohio, Eagle Commandery #29 in Painesville, Current Sovereign Master of the Leroy F. Shanower Council #149 Allied Masonic Degrees, Past District Education Officer of the 25th District and current Grand Representative to The Netherlands of Royal Arch Masons of Ohio. Gary received the York Rite Cross of Honour in November 2022 and is the current Geauga County Hospitaler for Ohio Priory #18, Knights of the York Cross of Honour.      

Tracey recently retired from being an Advanced Language Arts and Reading teacher at Chardon Middle School after 25 years. She is now the owner/operator of Best Custom Embroidery, LLC and also helps at the funeral homes. Tracey graduated from Kent State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education, and two Master’s Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction as well as Gifted Education.

Tracey and Gary have three children between them. The eldest, Brett, is a self-employed Private Chef serving all of Central Florida. Audrey, a graduate of Chardon High School and Kent State University, is currently a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the United States Navy Nursing Corps. She will be transferring to Recruit Medical at Marine Corps Recruit Depot-Parris Island in December 2023. The youngest, Noah, also a graduate of Chardon High School, resides in Akron and is just beginning his junior year in the Pre-Dental program at Kent State University. 

.We believe that during time of need, families need to rely on dependable, trustworthy, and compassionate people. Through his life experiences, Gary has chosen this profession as a second career not because he had to, but, because he chose to. That difference alone will help him serve family members with the dignity and respect they deserve. 

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We are always interested in hearing from the families that we serve.  

Please take a moment to let us know how well we served you in your time of need. We very much appreciate your feedback.

I can’t recommend Gary enough to entrust your beloved pets to. He treated my dog with the same dignity and compassion, one would expect for any family member.
The cremation package you receive, is very personalized for each family, and very beautiful and touching.
Gary, thank you for your outstanding treatment and services during such a difficult time, and thank you for ensuring I was actually receiving my dog Chase back.

Donna Doles
April 5, 2024

Hands down the best funeral home I've ever been to. Very professional, caring ,and considerate. Very nice, warm,and clean. Thank you for your amazing service.

Kevin schneider
March 13, 2024

Gary has been wonderful in handling the cremation of several of our family pets. Highly recommend. Always available, personalized service, and the returns are very thoughtful keepsakes of our lost family member.

Carol & Dave
January 29, 2024

Thanking Gary Best for his handling of the cremation of our much loved Quinn. A kind and caring man who presented us with a neck chain ornament with a small charm containing Quinn’s ashes, a beautiful inscribed wood box containing Quinn’s ashes, and a touching print of Quinn’s foot pad, (that made me cry), it was a wonderful tribute to our faithful family member. I would and will recommend Gary’s services to anyone wanting a caring and compassionate person to handle the cremation of their pet family member…Thank you Gary

Mark and Brenda Johnson
January 27, 2024

Friends suggested that we take our dog to Gary for cremation and wow were they right! Gary was so compassionate and kind so we knew he would take care of our baby girl (Coco-14 1/2 year old). Not only did he go above and beyond in the services he provided for cremation last fall, but we also received an ornament with her name on it at Christmas. Can't say enough positive things about Gary helping to make an awful situation a little easier! This place is truly the Best!

Jim & Lisa Milner
January 13, 2024

Thank you for the Bella ornament .
Nice surprise.

Baron Miller
January 8, 2024

Thank you for the Xmas ornament in Pinkies name. It was a pleasant suprise.

L Sygula
December 15, 2023

Gary came highly recommended by several friends who just recently lost pets. Gray was so understanding and made everything so easy, even for a blubbering idiot like myself. When I got Capone back it warmed my heart...Everything was so professional and Gary didn't miss a beat! He collected everything I could of possibly wanted to remember my sweet Kittie by...Thank you so much Gary for making this alittle easier for me! God Bless you and what you do for me and other!🙏🏻
- Vikki Woodin

Vikki Woodin
September 29, 2023

Gary simply wonderful, professional , caring etc.
took care of our needs wonderfully
thank you Gary

paul eaton
June 7, 2023

Been a year since you helped me lay Candice to Rest, still a little difficult ,thank you for your thoughtful approach and caring.

June 7, 2023

BEST Ever. service they provide! Compassionate & Respectful, Beautiful service. To much to say. HIGLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Other places you drop off and you don't know where they are going. This is a true service for you and your family. I was at peace. Love you ETHEL Your my buddy! Run in the clouds with your sister Lucy!


March 11, 2023

I'm still in shock of the passing of my sweet caring lovable son John Joseph Miller who fought 17 years of a TBI from a car accident 04/15/2006. Gary and everyone were so kind and compassionate during our time of grief. They surely will be used "next time" God Bless Gary and all who helped me, my family

Kathleen Miller
March 7, 2023

I cannot express enough how grateful we are in the handling of my dear husband during this very difficult time. Gary went over and above to accommodate all of my requests, questions, changes etc. and truly empathized with me for our great loss. I am recommending them to family and friends, when they have to make these difficult choices.

Cherie Lawrence
January 20, 2023

Thank you so much for your professionalism, kindness, and grace in planning services for our dear mother, Pearl Franklin. Everything was beautiful and you were truly wonderful to our family. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. Much love to the Best Family from our Franklin Family.

Summer Brainard
September 1, 2022

Thank you for your services in time of need. You are a part of our family and all family's during this devastating time for all god bless all prayers. Your services will never be forgotten.

david roose
January 18, 2022

Efficient, accurate, organized, thorough, thoughtful and caring. A great experience for us in a tuff time. Gary made it easier. 2 deaths in 1 yr. for us. Glad to have had Gary’s help and care with the loss of our father and mother.

Chris Bohach
December 31, 2021

I highly recommend Best Funeral Home! They were there for us in the time of need losing our beloved pet. Caring and kind owners of the funeral home I will never forget during the most difficult time. Thank you!

Karen McGhee
October 15, 2021
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