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

Constructed in 1853 as a private residence, the Panebaker Funeral Home has served the families of the Hanover area since 1954. In 1953, Paul W. and Geraldine P. Panebaker purchased the home and along with Mr. Panebaker’s brother, renovated it to become the funeral home which opened in 1954. 

The Panebakers operated the funeral home until 1986 when they sold their business to Craig and Renate Johnston. After more than 20 years of ownership and hard work of the Johnstons, the ownership of Panebaker Funeral Home transferred to the family of Michael and Kristin Newman. A strength of Panebaker Funeral Home has been and continues to be the role of a husband and wife serving as a team for those who have suffered a loss.

Our Valued Staff

  • C. Michael Newman

    C. Michael Newman Supervisor & Funeral Director

    Mike, a third generation funeral director originally from Southwestern Virginia, graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, GA in 1986, and has been a licensed funeral director for more than 30 years. Mike served two terms as President of the Cremation Association of North Carolina, an association dedicated to maintaining high standards for the funeral and cremation industry and served on the Board of Governors for the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association from 2012 to 2016. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Hanover, Patmos Lodge #348 F&AM and the Exchange Club of Hanover.

  • Kristin K. Newman

    Kristin K. Newman Funeral Director

    Kristin grew up in Lancaster, PA and is the daughter of a United Methodist minister. She graduated from Taylor University with a BS in Elementary Education and then obtained her AAS from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1996. Kristin is currently a member of the National Funeral Directors Association's Professional Development Committee. She is an active member at First United Methodist Church of Hanover, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Hanover Area Historical Society.

  • Niki L. Petris-Smith

    Niki L. Petris-Smith Funeral Director

    Niki, formerly from Gillett, is currently a funeral director with Panebaker Funeral Home. She is a 2015 graduate of Northampton Community College where she obtained her degree in Mortuary Science. While at Northampton, Niki was noted for being a part of the International Student Organization and Sigma Phi Sigma. Niki truly enjoys her work in funeral service and is constantly expanding her knowledge on the new trends in funeral service that will assist her in providing families the best care. Outside of work, she enjoys being apart of The Hanover Exchange Club and is currently the President Elect. In her free time, Niki likes to go to the movies, geocaching, traveling, and spending time with her family, especially her husband Joshua and her beloved rabbits, Dave and Teela.

  • Cynthia N. Morgan

    Cynthia N. Morgan Administrative Assistant

    Cindy grew up in Baltimore and has lived in Hanover for more than 20 years. She serves as the administrative assistant at the funeral home and is also a pet care specialist for our sister company, Loyal Companion. Cindy and her husband Scott have two sons and a daughter. In their spare time, they enjoy watching their children drag race and vacationing in Walt Disney World.

  • Jeffrey A. Spielman

    Jeffrey A. Spielman Funeral Associate

    Jeff graduated from St. Joseph's Paramedic Institute in 1986 and retired after 25 years of service from Hanover Hospital as Captain of the Advanced Life Support Operations. He continues to have a commitment to the Hanover community, serving on the Penn Twp. Civil Service Commission. A native of Hanover, Jeff and his wife Shari are members of St. Matthew Lutheran Church. He has one son, stepdaughter and a grandson. They enjoy traveling in the family motor coach and saltwater fishing.

  • Fred L. Sentz

    Fred L. Sentz Funeral Associate

    Fred retired from the Borough of Hanover as a Professional Firefighter and EMT in 2015 after more more than 35 years of service and is a life member of Clearview Fire Company and Littlestown Alpha Fire Department. He is a member of The Knights of Columbus McSherrystown Council #2551 as a Third Degree Knight, where he has served on the Board of Directors for several years. He and his wife Sandie have a daughter and are members of St. Vincent dePaul Church. His past time is spent hunting, gardening and spending time with his grandson.

  • David E. Small

    David E. Small Advanced Planning Director

    David is a native of York and is a second generation funeral director, following in his father’s footsteps. He is a 1967 graduate of William Penn Sr. High School, attended York Junior College, The University of Cincinnati, and graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1974. He purchased his father’s funeral home in 1979 and operated it for sixteen years. David is active in his church and several civic organizations in York.

  • Crystal Rhone

    Crystal Rhone Continuing Care Coordinator

    Crystal serves as our Continuing Care Coordinator in assisting family members following a death by providing information, education and social support. She also facilitates our "Coffee with Crystal" program which meets monthly to help those who are journeying through grief. She received an Associate's degree from Penn State - DuBois and earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Crystal and her husband Josh have two children. She enjoys the outdoors, sports, spending time with family and friends, and simply enjoying the life that God has given her.

  • James W. Barnhart

    James W. Barnhart Funeral Associate

    Jim spent 34 years in public education as a teacher and administrator. He also supervised student teachers through York College for 10 years. Jim is a member of Trinity United Church of Christ. He has four daughters and nine grandchildren. Jim enjoys playing golf, hunting, and playing his trumpet at church and in two dance bands. He also plays "Taps" at military funerals with the Hanover Allied Veterans Honor Guard.

  • William H. Wierman

    William H. Wierman Funeral Associate

    Bill is a lifelong resident of Hanover, and retired from Hanover Foods after 38 years of service where he was a Programmer Analyst. Bill and his wife Mary are members of St. Joseph Catholic Church, have two children, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. They enjoy spending time with their family at the beach.

  • Thomas E. Wheeler

    Thomas E. Wheeler Funeral Associate

    Tom was employed by Utz Quality Foods as a route salesman for 25 years and for the past several years as a mail courier. He is a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus Hanover Council #871. He is a life member of Penn Township Emergency Services, Penn Township Ambulance Club, and the Hanover Fire Department Station 3 at Clearview. Tom and his wife of 50 years, Joyce, have two children. He enjoys spending time with his four grandchildren and watching them play basketball and soccer.

  • Jerry Walker

    Jerry Walker Funeral Associate

    Jerry retired from Black & Decker after 43 years of service. A native of Hanover, he and his wife, Sharon, have two children and one grandson. They are member of Hope Baptist Church and enjoy antiquing and going to classic car shows. Jerry is a member of the Hanover Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #1406 and the AmVets Post #22.

  • George L. Zimmerman

    George L. Zimmerman Funeral Associate

    George is a retired Physician Assistant (PA-C) having served the Hanover area community for over 40 years. He earned his PA credential at the Pennsylvania State University / Hershey Medical Center. He is a veteran of the US Navy where he served as a Hospital Corpsman, past president of the Penn Township Lions Club, former scout leader and a member of The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Conewago Chapel). He and his wife Patti are the proud parents of three children and enjoy spending time with their four grandchildren.

  • D. Michael Vial

    D. Michael Vial Funeral Associate

    Mike is a 1974 graduate of York College of Pennsylvania with a Criminal Justice degree. He spent his career serving 31 years as Chief of Police in McSherrystown Borough. He retired in 2010 from McSherrystown and spent the next 5 years as Lead Security office at HACC Campus in Gettysburg. Mike and his wife Cindy enjoy spending time with their two daughters and spouses, along with their three grandchildren whom are all very active in multiple extra-curricular sporting activities. Mike is a member of Annunciation BVM Parish in McSherrystown, a third degree member of the McSherrystown Knight of Columbus and multiple other organizations.

  • Jean M. Whitson

    Jean M. Whitson Funeral Associate

    Jean is a graduate of the Harbor Hospital Center School of Nursing. She was formerly employed as a registered nurse with Hanover Hospital and Heartland Hospice, and is currently an employee of SpiritTrust Lutheran - The Village at Utz Terrace. She enjoys playing golf, reading, going to the beach and spending time with family and friends.

  • Kathi J. Dietrich

    Kathi J. Dietrich Funeral Associate

    Kathi is a lifelong resident of Hanover and in her 32nd year of working for a government agency in Maryland. She has completed coursework in Social Work, including sociology, gerontology, and other related studies. Kathi and her sons attend Hanover First Church of God. She enjoys spending time with her sons, supporting them in their many interests and activities. An avid reader and traveler, she is actively researching her family genealogy, and in the process of obtaining membership to Daughters of the American Revolution, United Daughters of the Confederacy and Daughters of Union Veterans.