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 

When we sit down with a family, we have just one goal: to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. Together, we explore the wide variety of services and products available, as well as a wealth of creative ideas and suggestions.

Together, we'll design a memorial or funeral service that suits their needs now, and in the future. Families who come to us know that years from now, they will have deep peace-of-mind because in coming to us, they've done their best to honor their loved one.


MMS-Payne has the only privately owned crematory in Rogers County to serve our families. 

We do not use an answering service at any time of the day.  Our phones are always answered by one of our experienced staff members.


MMS-Payne Funeral Home & Cremation Service is owned by Ryan and Brandi Payne. Three licensed funeral directors and embalmers on the staff: Ryan Payne, Denise Adamson, and Allen McElwain, the most experienced staff in Rogers County.




Our Valued Staff

Ryan Payne

Ryan Payne, Owner/Funeral Director

Ryan Payne, a Rogers County native, started working for the Smith’s washing cars and doing yard work. The Catoosa High School graduate worked summers while he was earning a Bachelor's of Mortuary Science at the University of Central Oklahoma. He is married to Brandi Girten and lives in Chelsea. They have 3 daughters. He is the son of Charlie and Betty Payne of Claremore and Sharon and Jack Sappington of Chelsea. He is a member of the Claremore, Chelsea, and Inola Chamber of Commerces and attends the First United Methodist Church in Claremore. He is an avid hunter and fisherman.


Jim Smith

Jim Smith, Owner/Funeral Director

Jim attended Oklahoma Military Academy, Northeastern Oklahoma State University, and earned his Mortuary Science degree at the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science. Jim and Cindy are parents of Amy and Clint. Amy is married to William Paiva, and living in Tulsa, and has two children, Gordon James and Adeline. Their son, Clint, has joined the pro baseball ranks with the Detroit Tiger organization.


Cindy Smith

Cindy Smith, Owner


Denise L.S. Adamson

Denise L.S. Adamson, Funeral Director

Denise Adamson, who joined the staff in March 1997, graduated from Edmond Memorial High School and the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond with a Bachelor’s degree in mortuary science. She is a graduate of the Claremore Chamber of Commerce Leadership Claremore, and past president of Claremore Business and Professional Women’s Club. Denise is married to Travis Adamson and has 4 daughters.


Paul Merriott

Paul Merriott, Funeral Director

Paul Merriott, who owned and operated Paul Merriott Funeral Service in Chelsea, has 55 years as a licensed funeral director. He is an active senior citizen, member of the First Presbyterian Church, and an avid sports fan.


Allen McElwain

Allen McElwain, Funeral Director

Allen McElwain joined our staff in Nov. 2013. Allen is a lifetime Claremore resident. He graduated from Claremore High School and the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor's in Mortuary Science. Allen earned his mortuary science degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. He is married to Anne McElwain and they have three sons. He is a member of First United Methodist Church in Claremore.


Ryan Payne

Ryan Payne, Funeral Director

Ryan Payne, a Rogers County native, started working for the Smith’s washing cars and doing yard work. The Catoosa High School graduate worked summers while he was earning a Bachelor's of Mortuary Science at the University of Central Oklahoma. He is married to Brandi Girten and lives in Chelsea. He is the son of Charlie and Betty Payne of Claremore and Sharon and Jack Sappington of Chelsea. He is an active member of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce and attends the First Baptist Church in Chelsea. He is an avid hunter and fisherman.


Frank Friedemann

Frank Friedemann, Director of Family Service

Frank began his funeral service career in 1992, and has been part of our staff since 2003.

He was educated at Oklahoma State University, and is certified in Grief Counseling. Frank also is a certified Cremation Specialist, and is licensed in Life, Accident & Health Insurance.

Interestingly, Frank is a descendant of Johann Sebastian Bach. "I'm the great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of the musical genius. Now there's a legacy to live up to!" Frank carries this musical talent into his work as Director of the Talk of Tulsa Show Chorus of Sweet Adelines. Frank is an International Seniors Quartet Champion of the Barbership Harmony Society, having won the Championship in both 2005 and 2008.

He is Chairman and Coordinator for the annual Veterans Day Parade and Retirement of the Flags ceremony in Claremore for many years. Frank and his wife Patricia have been married for 37 years. He is a member of St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Claremore.


Charles D. Bray

Charles D. Bray, Funeral Director's Assistant

Charlie has been with our funeral home since 2001. He is married to Jan and has four children. Charlie earned his B.A. and M.S. at Fort Hays State University. He worked 40 years as a teacher, coach, athletic director, and principal for K-12 in the state of Kansas. Charlie is a member of First United Methodist Church in Claremore.


Denise Cooper

Denise Cooper, Funeral Director

Denise Cooper, who joined the staff in March 1997, graduated from Edmond Memorial High School and the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond with a Bachelor’s degree in mortuary science. She is a graduate of the Claremore Chamber of Commerce Leadership Claremore, and past president of Claremore Business and Professional Women’s Club. Denise has 4 daughters.


Susan Bickford

Susan Bickford, Chelsea Funeral Home Office Manager

Susan Bickford has been the Office Manager at Chelsea Funeral Home and Crematory since 2003. She considers it a privilege to be able to help comfort grieving families. Susan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Rogers State College. She is a wife and mother who is actively involved with her family, church and community.


Frank Friedemann

Frank Friedemann


Charles D. Bray

Charles D. Bray, Funeral Director's Assistant

Charlie has been with our funeral home since 2001. He is married to Jan and has four children. Charlie earned his B.A. and M.S. at Fort Hays State University. He worked 40 years as a teacher, coach, athletic director, and principal for K-12 in the state of Kansas. Charlie is a member of First United Methodist Church in Claremore.


June Medlock

June Medlock, Inola Funeral Home Office Manager


Susan Bickford

Susan Bickford, Chelsea Funeral Home Office Manager

Susan Bickford has been the Office Manager at Chelsea Funeral Home and Crematory since 2003. She considers it a privilege to be able to help comfort grieving families. Susan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Rogers State College. She is a wife and mother who is actively involved with her family, church and community.