The Hillcrest Difference
Since 1970, we have been honored to deliver healing experiences to the Lake County community. We exist to serve the unique needs of every family. Learn our story. Lean on us. And let our expertise lead you through the best experience possible.
We’re here to give you care and comfort as we help guide you through the planning journey.
We've learned a lot about caring for families over the years. We realize that we aren't just caring for a loved one, but the entire family. People come to us during their most difficult times, and we respond with kindness, understanding and expertise. Our goal is to make everyone feel at home as we work with them to create a memorable service in honor of a beautiful life.
Dedication & compassion for over 50 years
Hillcrest Memorial Gardens was established over 50 years ago by our founders Cecil and Helen Theus on 26 acres of countryside boasting Florida native hardwoods and foliage. We continue to serve our community with the same dedication and compassion making our cemetery one of the finest in the region.
Acres of serenity
The cemetery's manicured gardens offer a place of peace and reflection for family members and friends to honor their loved ones. We want every guest to experience the warmth and beauty of our gardens. You will find flowers in bloom when you go down our winding drives. The live oaks are a source of great solace that allows our families to honor and pay tribute to their loved ones in the tranquil surroundings of our gardens.
The area’s only Jewish Garden
In addition to our beautiful statuary and custom family estates, Hillcrest Memorial Gardens also boasts of the area's only Jewish Garden. The Garden of David’s main highlight is a shrine, which features stones from the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in remembrance of those lost during World War II.
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Years in Business
We're members of the local community who have many years of experience caring for families from all backgrounds and all walks of life. Families know they can count on us to provide them the comfort they need when they need it most.
Jim is a native Floridian, who was born and raised in the Daytona Beach area. For over 12 years, he and his wife, Bev, have resided in Leesburg, Florida with their 2 sons, Hunter and Carter. His children attend Lake Sumter State College and Adventure Christian Academy in Tavares, where Jim’s wife serves the school as Librarian, and personal assistant to the Principal.
He and his family are members of Lake Eustis Christian Church. Jim is an avid fisherman and has traveled from Alaska to Maine and all points in between in order to wet a line.
He is a graduate of Mainland Senior High School and he attended Daytona State College, Daytona Beach, Florida. Jim went on to graduate from Gupton Jones College in Atlanta, Georgia with a degree in Mortuary Science. In 1991, Jim became the third generation of his family to hold funeral director and embalmer licenses in the state of Florida.
He has a long history of community involvement through his church affiliations and he has been a member of Rotary International for over 20 years. Jim has held many board positions in his Rotary Clubs and served as secretary and president over the years. He has the distinction of being a multiple “Paul Harris Fellow.” Additionally, Jim’s service to the Lake County community has allowed him to serve on the boards of the United Way and the Salvation Army.
Professionally, Jim was a founding member of the Florida Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association. He has served as a member of the board, secretary, treasurer, vice president and two terms as president of the association. The association represents Florida funeral professionals’ legislatively and coordinates continuing education venues, regional meetings and conventions each year. Most importantly, the association fosters broad cooperation between death care professionals around the state and around the country. Jim currently serves as a Board Member of the International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association.
William C. Ward, III was born in Rochester, New York and is married to his wife Dr. Marnie L. Ward. They have three children, Diana M. Ward, William C. Ward, IV and Grace L. Ward.
Bill has been in the funeral industry since 1991 and when asked why he is in this industry Bill states “Since I was a young man I have always had a calling to help those who were truly in need of help. The funeral service has truly offered me the opportunity to help families who are truly in need of help.” When asked what Bill likes about his job he stated “Helping families through the difficult process of the funeral arrangement, funeral service and committal service. Thereby allowing them the opportunity to have a service that meets and exceeds their request.”
When Bill is not working, his favorite things to do are helping his children with school work, 4H projects and working on his Lionel Train layout.
When asked what the best advice was that he had ever received Bill said, “Always treat a client family as though they were your own family and you will never be wrong! Given by the late Orlando J. Fero, Jr. who was the owner of Fero Funeral Homes of Beverly Hills and Dunnellon, Florida.”
Raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dan has always worked in professions that involve helping people. Having worked in the Cemetery/Funeral industry over 20 years, he is passionate about his work as a Sales Manager in Lake County, Florida.
Dan is dedicated to the families and staff who call on him, seeking assistance, guidance, and practical solutions to their needs. He is trained to listen and personally address particular issues and concerns. He specifically enjoys sharing the necessary information needed to make informed decisions about making arrangements now or planning for the future.
We illuminate paths to peace with personalized ceremonies and memorial tributes that honor your loved one.
What Families Are Saying
Very peaceful, and beautiful manicured landscape. My mom and daughter's resting place.Isabel Sanchez 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
You've been through a lot of losses my mom my grandpa my uncle my great grandma and my Uncle Dave passed you oh and I'm there it's always clean and everybody's always nice and pleasantTonya Thomas 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Hillcrest Memorial Gardens is a nice cemetery. The landscape is worked vigorously by caring groundskeepers. The staff are polite, friendly, and professional. They honor your faith traditions and understand the importance of it during your loved ones passing.Bryan Knedgen 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Beautiful final resting place for our deceased love ones. Staff maintains the property quite beautifully.Tim Wayne 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Very pleasant resting place for my wife. Maintained beautiful.Lee Thompson 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Kind staff. Grounds are well kept.Carol Glisson 5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
News & Events
News May 30, 2022
There is no greater sacrifice than those who gave their lives to protect us. We honor all veterans who died protecting our country -- and those they left behind. We are proud to provide all...
News Mar. 15, 2022
State-of-the-Art Updates Coming Soon
We’re updating our facilities to provide state-of-the-art funeral, cemetery and onsite cremation services that will give families around-the-clock care and support. With these updates, you will...
News Apr. 14, 2021
FEMA Offers to Help Families Cover Funeral Costs
Up to $9,000 in aid may be available for those who suffered the loss of a loved one from COVID-19.
News Feb. 03, 2021
Learn What Matters Most
These times have shown us that life does not come with a guarantee. Get started with your free planning guide.
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We offer a healthy work/life balance and invite ideas and innovation. Hillcrest Memorial Gardens is where our team members' purpose and passion unite.