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117 N. Massey St. | Watertown, NY 13601

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131 Maple Street PO Box 65 | Black River, NY 13612

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237 William Street | Dexter, NY 13634-0007

Our Staff

Our staff is comprised of dedicated and licensed professionals with the experience to answer all your questions regarding our services. Please feel free to contact any of our staff members at any time.

John P. Bruce

Funeral Director

Mr. Bruce was born and raised in Proctor, VT. He graduated from Proctor High School in June of 1964. Following graduation he served an internship with Fred Herbst & Sons Funeral Home in Brooklyn, NY from 1964 until 1965. He graduated Simmons School of Mortuary Science in 1966. He went on to serve his internship with the Gordon Brown Funeral Home in Bristol, VT until February of 1967, at which time he eneterd the US National Guard in Virgennes, VT during Vietnam. 

He married Karen E. Gardner on November 26, 1966 and the couple moved to Sackets Harbor in September 1967 and worked for the Cleveland Funeral Home until May of 1970. He moved to Glen Falls and worked for James F. Singleton until moving to Black River in 1972 and purchasing the C.P. Clark Funeral Home. 

While residing in Black River he was a founding father of the Black River Ambulance Squad, member of the Black River Fire Department for 20 years, former chief and currently an exempt member, former chief of the Black River Ambulance Squad and former secetary for Black River Kiwanis, a basketball coach for 10years at Holy Family School, former Exalted Ruler in the Watertown Elks Lodge #496 in which he held various positions, a member of the Jimmy Creek Club.

Telephone: 1-315-788-3351

Jill Bruce Wiley

Funeral Director

Jill graduated from IHC in 1991 and went on to Jefferson Community College and graduated in 1993 with a math/science asociates degree. She then graduated in 1994 from Canton College of Technolgy with a mortuary science degree. Upon graduation she went to work for her father John P. "Jack" Bruce at the Hart & Bruce Funeral Home, Watertown and Bruce Funeral Home, Black River. She became the manager of the Bruce Funeral Home. 

Jill married Jeffrey L. Wiley, the Athletic Director at Jefferson Community College on July 22, 2000. The couple have two children Benjamin and Brooke Wiley. 

She is a Past Exalted Ruler and District Deputy of the Watertown Elks Lodge #496 and a referee for the Jeff-Lewis Boys & Girls Basketball Association.

Jill purchased the Bruce Funeral Home and Hart & Bruce Funeral Home from her father in 2012 and on October 14, 2020 she purchased the Johnson Funeral Home in Dexter.

Telephone: 1-315-788-3351

Perl Johnson

Perl Johnson

Johnson Funeral Home was founded in 1928 by Perl Johnson. Perl, a Dexter native was licensed as an undertaker and embalmer in 1922 from Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science of Syracuse after being in Vaudeville following World War I. He worked in the Watertown area until 1928 when the citizens of Dexter requested a funeral home.

Perl also started an ambulance service for Dexter, along with conducting and running the Dexter Citizens Band and several other bands in the area.

Robert C. Johnson

Robert C. Johnson

Robert C. Johnson, Perl's son, was licensed in 1954 as a Funeral Director from Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science of Syracuse. He had worked with his father and served his apprenticeship prior to Embalming School. Robert took over the funeral home in 1955 due to Perl's failing health. Robert was also a well known musician in local bands

Richard W. Stevenson

Richard W. Stevenson, Robert's son-in-law, a Philadelphia NY native graduated from Indian River Central High in 1972. He attended Jefferson Community College in 1973 and graduated from Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science of Syracuse in 1974. He was licensed in 1975 as a Funeral Director. Richard served his apprenticeship in Watertown at Cummings Funeral service where he also managed the Watertown home until 1979.

In 1979 joined Robert at the Johnson Funeral Home where he worked until 1990. In 1990 Richard bought the Johnson Funeral home from his father-in-law.

[Dick Stevenson and Cathy Pitkin]

Cathy J. Pitkin

Cathy is a native of Brownville, NY. She graduated from General Brown High School in 1985 and went on to attend Canton ATC where she received an Associates Degree in Mortuary Science.

Cathy worked her residency at Hart & Bruce Funeral Home in Watertown, NY and then worked there from 1986 to 1994. While employed there, she also managed Bruce Funeral Home in Black River, NY, a subsidiary of Hart & Bruce.

Cathy joined Johnson Funeral Home in 1995. Cathy and her family now reside in Brownville, NY.

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