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

Our History

Larry Bolen grew up in a coal mining town in a “patch” called Ralph near Uniontown, Pennsylvania.  For generations, the Bolen family worked the coal mines and steel mills.  Larry, however, had a vision to follow a different path.

Larry first became interested in funeral service at the young age of thirteen.  His grandmother had suffered with cancer and lay bedridden for years.  When she passed away, and young Larry went to the funeral home to see her, he was impressed that she did not look like she was in pain any longer.  Larry was also impressed with the compassionate treatment the funeral home provided to his family during such a difficult time.  This life experience was Larry’s inspiration as a future funeral director.

Years later, Larry moved to New Jersey and began working for a local funeral home in Rahway and Clark , New Jersey .  He did this while attending college to become a funeral director.  After completing his schooling and working here for several years, Larry’s love for what he did, along with his “do it yourself” family values from his upbringing in the Pennsylvania coal mines, lead him to decide to go into business for himself.

In 1980, Larry and his wife Joyce purchased the funeral home at 412 Main Streetin Toms River from its 1950 establisher Robert Carmona.  After thirteen years of serving families at this location, Larry and Joyce decided to build a second funeral home at 66 Lacey Road in Whiting.  For Larry this was a dream come to fruition and a labor of love that took two years to complete, with Larry doing most of the work himself along with the help of family and friends.  With the building of the new funeral home in Whiting, Larry decided to perform a complete remodel of the TomsRiver facility so that both funeral homes had the same design theme and could better meet the needs of our families. 

Sadly, in March of 2006, our beloved founder, Larry Bolen passed away.  Carmona-Bolen continues to be family owned and operated and is dedicated to serving the needs of our families. Carmona-Bolen is presently run by Larry's wife Joyce, along with Michael DeFonzo, funeral director and manager of both the Toms River and Whiting locations.  Michael has been with the family since 1990.  Keeping with Larry's tradition of being family run, Joyce's niece Cherie Robertson has recently joined our team as office manger in Toms River.  Together Joyce, Michael, Cherie and our professional staff work to carry out Larry's vision.

Our Licensed Staff

All of our licensed directors adhere to the highest standard of ethical practices and are committed to ensuring that all of your needs are attended to. Their commitment to the community and genuine compassion toward families are but a few of the characteristics that make them outstanding in their field. We are proud to have them on our staff.

Our Unlicensed Staff

Although they are not licensed funeral directors, these staff members are vitally important to the operation of our firm. These individuals make it possible for us to professionally coordinate funerals with the quality of service our community has come to expect from us.

Our Valued Staff

  • Lawrence G. (

    Lawrence G. ("Larry") Bolen Our Founder

  • Joyce Lewis Bolen

    Joyce Lewis Bolen

    Unlicensed Owner

  • Michael J. DeFonzo Jr.

    Michael J. DeFonzo Jr. Manager, N.J. Lic. No. 4075

    Toms River and Whiting Locations

  • Cherie Robertson

    Cherie Robertson Office Administrator

  • Valerie Morton

    Valerie Morton Funeral Director N.J. Lic. No. 4357

  • Patrick Piccoli

    Patrick Piccoli Office Assistant, Toms River

  • Manus Divers

    Manus Divers Funeral Assistant

  • Nicholas P. Diorio

    Nicholas P. Diorio Apprentice

  • Jennifer Zgola

    Jennifer Zgola Funeral Director, NJ Lic. No. 5334