John Joseph “J. J.” Twiford, a native of Elizabeth City, NC, is a partner of Twiford Funeral Homes, LLC and a funeral service licensee for the states of North Carolina and Virginia and has been full-time with the firm since 1998. He has a daughter, Callie Elizabeth Twiford and a son, John Wells Twiford. He is a 1994 graduate of Northeastern High School and has an Associate of Arts in Mortuary Science from John Tyler Community College in Chester, VA. He is a member of the North Carolina Funeral Director’s Association, National Funeral Directors Association, First United Methodist Church and the Improved Order of Red Men. His interests include golf, traveling, and family.
Twiford Funeral Homes - Elizabeth City Staff
The heart of any organization is it's staff. We feel that we have the very best staff available serving the Elizabeth City area. Twiford Funeral Homes prides itself on the length of employment that our friends continue to work with us. As you browse through the photos and bios below, take notice of the number of years many of our staff has continued to work with us.
Joe Griffith, a native of Seth, WV and licensed funeral director since 1984, has been with the firm since 1988. Joe earned an A.S. and B.S. in Education from West Virginia State College and a Pastoral Certificate from Pine Level Bible Institute. He served four years in the US Air Force and two years in the WV Air National Guard. An ordained minister, Joe is pastor of Rehoboth Baptist Church in Maple, NC. Former president of the WV Student Education Association, he is currently a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, the NC Funeral Directors Association and the Improved Order of Red Men. He is married, has one daughter and enjoys travel, gardening and piano.
Jerome Rust, a native of Currituck, NC, has been with the firm as a funeral director, embalmer and crematory manager since 1989. Jerome is a graduate of Currituck County High School and has a diploma from John A. Gupton College of Mortuary Science in Nashville, TN. He is a member of Rehoboth Baptist Church, serves on the board of the Cremation Association of North Carolina, and is a member of the American Society of Embalmers and the Improved Order of Red Men. He is married, has a son, and enjoys hunting, gardening, woodworking and reading.
Ottilie E. “Beth” Sommars, was born in Rhode Island and as a military ‘brat’ lived all over the East coast. Beth is a funeral service licensee having joined the firm in 2015. She holds an A.A.S in Funeral Service from Piedmont Technical College and is Nationally Board Certified in Arts and Sciences. Beth attends Good Shephard Lutheran Church and is a volunteer Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America. She has three children and enjoys reading, movies, music, and good food.
Richard Frederick Ratzlaff has been a licensed funeral director for fourteen years and in the funeral service industry for twenty-two years. He joined the firm in 2016. Richard is a 1979 graduate of Andress High School in El Paso, TX and received his certification as a funeral director from Fayetteville Technical College in 2002. He served thirteen and a half years in the US Air Force from 1979 to 1992 and is a Gulf War Veteran. He is a member of Open Door Church in Bertie County, NC and served as a deacon. He is married with four children, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Presley L. Eley, IV, Preneed Funeral Consultant, received a Mortuary Science Degree from Tidewater Community College and is licensed in North Carolina and Virginia. He worked for funeral firms in Eastern North Carolina before moving into the planning side of the funeral business. Presley has traveled all over the East Coast speaking about the advantages of advanced funeral planning and brings a wealth of knowledge in helping families plan ahead.
Presley was born in Portsmouth, VA, and currently resides in Tyner, NC with his wife and daughters. He is a member of Open Door Church and in his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, camping, boating, and fishing.
Sammy O. Smith, Licensed Funeral Director has been with Twiford Funeral Home since 1957 in full-time and part-time positions. Born in Spot in Currituck County, he has resided in Kitty Hawk for over fifty years. Sammy graduated from Dr. W. T. Griggs High School and attended College of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City State University, and Norfolk State University. He is a veteran having served in the U. S. Army. Sammy is married and has four daughters, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
June Hess, funeral service intern, is a native of Dare County, NC. She joined the firm in 2019 and is currently serving her apprenticeship while attending Fayetteville Technical Community College to earn her Associate of Applied Science in Mortuary Science. June has been a resident of Currituck County since 2005. She has two sons, Tyler, who is currently attending trade school, and Michael, who recently joined the United States Coast Guard. June is a volunteer for Currituck County’s NC State University Master Gardener program and enjoys spending her free time among plants and animals.
Jessica Stefano, funeral service intern, graduated from Tidewater Community College with a degree in Funeral Services. She is National Board certified and will spend the next year as an intern to obtain her funeral service license. Jessica was born in Southern Illinois, near the St. Louis area and moved to the East Coast in 2012. She has one young son and together they enjoy camping, hiking, four-wheeling, and watching baseball games.
Robert “Bobby” Winslow, Jr., a native of Elizabeth City, NC, has been with the firm since 1996. Bobby is a 1976 graduate of Northeastern High School. He then joined the US Army as a drummer and trombone player with the Army band. He is married and has two children and a granddaughter. He enjoys bowling, bass fishing, music and collecting toy trains.