Meet Our Staff

Our staff provides excellent funeral planning services.

We have years of experience caring for families from all walks of life, cultures and faiths. Our unsurpassed staff and our family provide kind, caring, professional service. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession who are dedicated to excellence in service, adhere to the highest funeral industry standards, and have exceptional integrity. We consistently earn phenomenally high customer satisfaction survey results.

Our licensed, professional staff is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please call 850-864-3361 anytime. We will even come to you to make arrangements in the comfort of your home.

Prompt, compassionate service is always just a phone call away, where and when you need it.


Mr. James R. Bass

Mr. James R. Bass

Managing Partner/Funeral Director -Embalmer

James Bass is originally from McAllen, Texas. James always knew he wanted to be a funeral director and embalmer. He is a graduate of Commonwealth College of Mortuary Science in Houston, Texas and a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer since 1975. Educated in mortuary law, human resources management, leadership, and civic leadership, James is a Scottish Rite 32nd Degree Freemason, Valley of New Orleans Orient of Louisiana, on the Board of Directors for Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers, member of the Fort Walton Beach Rotary Club International, member of the First Baptist Church of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and a 33rd Degree Shriner International, Hagji Temple, Pensacola, Florida.

James has been married to Janice since 1993; they met when Janice was arranging funeral services for her aunt in Texas. They made their home in 2011, at Shalimar Point Dr. in Shalimar, Florida. They have three children, eight grandchildren, and Elvis and Gracie, their two little toy poodles who are their constant companions at home or when traveling.

James and the licensed staff of funeral directors, funeral assistants and celebrants provide an atmosphere of understanding and care for anyone who has lost a family member or a friend with Celebration of Life Service Options and Candlelight Memorial Services. All are highly devoted professionals dedicated to providing the most meaningful celebrations of a loved one’s life and offering families an environment for peaceful reflection.

We realize we have funerals every day and the families we serve do not. Emerald Coast Funeral Home also hosts every Tuesday at 1:00 PM a Grief Support Meeting in conjunction with Emerald Coast Hospice to help families and friends who are struggling with the loss of a loved one.

We take time to listen and feel it is our responsibility to help educate families with options, whether arranging for traditional burial services or a traditional cremation celebration of life service at either Emerald Coast Funeral Home or our state-of-the-art Crematory, where we provide cremation services exclusively for the families we are privileged to serve. Your loved one never leaves our care.

James invites anyone interested in information regarding their options to stop by to discuss at-need arrangements, pre-need arrangements or imminent arrangements that can be funded in advance and guaranteed, or just placed on file for future use with no obligations. Our General Price List is always provided and includes our itemized professional services and merchandise that can freeze the cost of the funeral service guaranteeing that whatever services you select will never rise in cost.

James and the staff are proud to announce that on December 7, 2015 they opened the doors to their new 15,000 square foot state-of-the-art funeral home, located at 161 Racetrack Rd. NW, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, 32547, across from the Choctawhatchee High School Stadium.

Voted 2016 Finest Funeral Home and Crematory on the Emerald Coast for the 6th year in a row

Caring for people. Making a difference in people's lives.     


Lori Gregory

Lori Gregory

Funeral Director

Lori is originally from Nashville, Tennessee and graduated from John A. Gupton College with a degree in Mortuary Science. She has been in the Funeral Industry since 1998 and says she could never imagine doing anything else. Lori has worked in several states but has quickly fallen in love with the Fort Walton Beach area, and is proud to be a part of Emerald Coast Funeral Home. Fueled by a deep passion for the care of others, especially in a time of need such as the loss of a loved one, Lori’s compassion is second to none. Lori is married and has three children ranging from age 27 to four, as well as two wonderful grandchildren.

Scott A. Countryman

Scott A. Countryman

Funeral Director/Embalmer

Scott was born and raised in Tipton, Iowa. He graduated in 2001 from Arkansas State University Mountain Home with his Associate's degree in Funeral Science. Scott came to the Fort Walton Beach area from Jacksonville, Florida and before that, Albuquerque, New Mexico. In his spare time, Scott enjoys golfing, bowling, and traveling. Scott is married and has three grown children, two of whom are married and have blessed him with three wonderful grandchildren. He brings 15 years of experience with him. It is a pleasure for Scott to be here in Fort Walton Beach and at Emerald Coast Funeral Home.

Tim Burke

Tim Burke

Funeral Director/Embalmer

Tim was born and raised in Donalsonville, Georgia. He is married to Tonya Crow, and they currently live in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He has a degree in Education as well as Mortuary Science and brings over 20 years of funeral service experience to Emerald Coast Funeral Home.

Terri Newkirk

Terri Newkirk

Funeral Director

Terri graduated in 2008 from American River College in Sacramento, CA with a degree in Mortuary Science.  She holds a Funeral Director license in California and Florida.  Terri is also serving an Embalming internship at Emerald Coast Funeral Home. Terri and her family have recently moved to the Fort Walton Beach area and are enjoying living on the Emerald Coast.

 

 



Christine Ann Gregory

Christine Ann Gregory

Funeral Director Intern

Christine Gregory is a recent graduate of Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham, Alabama, where she received an Associate’s Degree in Mortuary Science. She is serving her internship with Emerald Coast Funeral Home and is working toward a career as a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer. She is also active in Autism and Down Syndrome support groups. Christine resides in Fort Walton Beach with her husband, Chris, who is stationed at Eglin AFB, and they have two children, Haylee and Drew.

Kevin Lee Farris

Kevin Lee Farris

Funeral Director, Embalmer, Crematory Operator

Kevin has been a Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer since 1988. He received his education at Forrest Park Community College in St. Louis, Missouri, earning his Associate's degree in Funeral Service Education. He is licensed in Missouri and Florida. Kevin has been a part of the McLaughlin/Emerald Coast family since 1993 and is active in local civic and community affairs.

Dwight Johnson

Dwight Johnson

Funeral Director

Dwight Johnson is a Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer and a 1994 graduate of Bishop State College in Mobile, Alabama. He has served the community since graduating at the following locations: McLaughlin Mortuary, the former Little Chapel, Twin Cities Niceville and Emerald Coast. He served a Church Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and is retired from the United States Air Force, having served for 24 active duty years.

L.E. Eddie McLaughlin III

L.E. Eddie McLaughlin III

Funeral Director

Eddie is a third generation Funeral Director. In 1922, his grandfather, L.E. McLaughlin, Sr., founded the McLaughlin Funeral Home in Crestview, Florida, where Eddie currently lives today with his wife Rhonda. In 1955, Eddie's grandfather also founded the McLaughlin Mortuary in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Eddie is an antique car enthusiast and a 33rd degree Mason and Shriner. He has been providing professional funeral services in Northwest Florida and South Alabama since 1969, when he attended Mortuary Science School in Kentucky. He continues to serve his community and to care for his families and many friends.

Antoinette Richard

Antoinette Richard

Administrator

Antoinette has enjoyed a career in the Floral Industry for over 20 years and has worked and come to know many families in the Fort Walton Beach Community and surrounding areas. She is a registered Notary and a Subregistrar for the State of Florida. She has been with Carriage Services assisting our families for eight years and has a tremendous ability to personalize each funeral service for each family that she serves.

Jennah Murray

Jennah Murray

Administrator

Jennah  is originally from Temple, Texas. Raised in a military family she moved from state to state until finally ending up in Texas. She lived a short time in Norman, Oklahoma  where she became a huge Oklahoma Sooner football fan. She first found her passion for the funeral business in 8th grade after meeting a family who owned a local funeral home. Upon moving to Florida she had a daughter, Kylee, who is now four. She is now pursuing her dream and is in enrolled at Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Services to get her Associates Degree in  Mortuary Science.



Pat Holmes

Pat Holmes

Ambassador/Grief Support

Pat hosts two bereavement groups. This warm and caring service is open to anyone, and there is never any charge. Pat is married to Maggie Holmes and has three daughters and four grandchildren. He is retired from the automobile business and is an active member of Saint Mary Catholic Church. Pat is extremely proud to be on the staff of Emerald Coast Funeral Home.

Larry  H. Rogers

Larry H. Rogers

Crematory Operator

Larry H. Rogers moved from his hometown Birmingham, Alabama to the Fort Walton Beach area in 1996. After four years working as an Ambassador assisting with funerals and visitations at Emerald Coast Funeral Home, he became the Crematory Operator at Okaloosa Crematory, located at McLaughlin Mortuary. He attended class and was certified as a crematory operator in April 2008 through the Matthews Cremation program in Apopka, Florida. Larry lives in southwest Okaloosa County.

Dennis Campbell

Dennis Campbell

Ambassador

Dennis Campbell was born in 1954 in Coushatta, Louisiana; he moved to Tampa, Florida and lived there with his mother until the age of eight and thereafter was raised by his grandmother. After joining the United States Air Force in March 1973, Dennis married his first wife, whom he later divorced, and had two children. While stationed in Korea, he met his wonderful second wife, had two children, and has been married over 30 years. After being stationed at approximately ten Air Force Bases, serving over a 20-year time frame, Dennis retired from the military in April 1993 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Dennis worked numerous positions until he began working part-time with the Okaloosa Department of Corrections in Crestview, Florida in August 1999. He then was brought on full-time after enrolling in the Law Enforcement Academy and passing his state exam. After five and some years, Campbell was hired by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in their detention section. He continues to work with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office while working with us at Emerald Coast Funeral Home.

Gary Fuller

Gary Fuller

Ambassador



Daniel Gregory

Daniel Gregory

Maintenance



Allan Stearns

Allan Stearns

Certified Celebrant Life Tribute Professional and Ambassador

Allan "Al" Stearns joined the staff in 2011. Al is a retired Air Force officer and has resided in the local area since 1978. Al is very active in the Fort Walton Beach community, especially the Fort Walton Beach Yacht Club, the Emerald Coast YMCA, the Fort Walton Beach Rotary Club, and his church. Al is married to Carol and has two adult sons and four grandchildren. Al and Carol are owners of Decorating Den Interiors. Al is also an "In Sight Certified Celebrant" with Life Tributes Professionals, providing customized, personal funeral and memorial services that reflect the personality and lifestyle of the deceased. Al meets with families and coordinates with our funeral directors to tailor a service based on a family's wishes.

Jeff Gibson

Jeff Gibson

Ambassador

From Dunnellon, FL.

A 1986 Graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service with a degree in Mortuary Science

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Funeral Director & Embalmer in Atlanta, Ga till 1998 at H.M. Patterson & Son Funeral Home, Spring Hill Chapel Georgia.

Moved to Pensacola, FL & opened Gulf Coast Pet Crematory, Inc. in 1999 selling the business in 2015

Served on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Pet Cemeteries & Crematories for 8 years.

Moved to Fort Walton Beach with his dog Rosie in March 2017

When not at Emerald Coast Funeral Home:

Love to cruise, a platiurn member with Carnival Cruise Lines

Travel often to Miami, a huge Miami Dolphin fan.

When not on a cruise or at a Dolphin game, he can be found camping in his camper or on his boat at Crab Island, Destin, FL.

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Mitch Harrison

Mitch Harrison

Ambassador



Dann Mattiza

Dann Mattiza

Ambassador

Dann is originally from Gatesville, Texas and served over 22 years in the United States Air Force. He was assigned to Hurlburt Field in 1987 and retired from there in 1993. He taught in the Air Force JROTC program at Madison County High School for nine years before moving back to Fort Walton Beach in 2003. He worked for a defense contractor until 2011 and joined the staff of Carriage Services in 2012. He is active in the Air Force Association and a member of the Hurlburt Chapter.

Jimmy McAdams

Jimmy McAdams

Clergy and Ambassador

Jimmy came to the Funeral Home from a ministry career that included pastoring Baptist churches and leading large church-related children’s home program. He retired in 2007 as President and CEO of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. Jimmy earned a Master's in Theology and a Doctorate in Education. He also completed Clinical Pastoral Education training at Georgia Baptist Hospital. His gentle manner and personal touch make him a natural for assisting families in appropriately remembering their loved one. He has personally conducted over 300 funerals. A native of Georgia, he and his wife relocated to Shalimar in 2014 to be near their grandchildren.

Diane Schwartz

Diane Schwartz

Ambassador

Diane is a full-time Floral Designer and works part-time as an Ambassador at Emerald Coast Funeral Home. In 2000, Diane moved from St. Louis, Missouri to the Fort Walton Beach area to fulfill a lifetime dream of living at the beach.


Donna E. Lambert

Donna E. Lambert

Ambassador

Donna E. Dalton Lambert was born and raised in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and is a 1982 graduate of Choctawhatchee High School. She attended Northwest Florida State College (OWJC) and graduated from Bay Area Technical College with a Certification in Cosmetology. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers and 3rd Vice President for GWCFWB Women's Club. Donna is the owner/stylist of Salon Brigitta. She is married to David and has two children and one grandchild.

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