Who We Are

Our professional staff has years of experience caring for families from all walks of life. We are leaders in our profession, with dedication to service and professional integrity.
  • When we sit down with a family, our shared goal is to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. We offer them a wide variety of services and products, 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.

  • Our History

    Our History

    Our firm traces its roots back, deep into the 20th century, when our first facility was dedicated. Many years later, this location has seen renovations and changes, but has always been and will continue to be an integral part of this community.

    Over the years, the original mission of the firm hasn't changed. We have always intended to provide the best, most professional services, complemented by the finest products. Today, we pride ourselves on being current with the major changes in funeral service trends - and bring those innovations and memorialization options to our client families with integrity and insight.

Our Valued Staff
  • Mr. James R. Bass
    Mr. James R. Bass, Managing Partner/Funeral Director -Embalmer

    Originally from McAllen, TX, bilingual, James always knew he wanted to be a funeral director and embalmer. A graduate of Commonwealth College of Mortuary Science, Houston, Texas, Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer since 1975. Schooled in staff management, leadership, human resources and civic leadership, James is a 32 degree Mason, a member of the Scottish Rite and sits on the Board of Directors of the Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers and is a member of the Fort Walton Beach Rotary Club International.
    James has been married to Janice for over 22 years, they met when Janice had to arrange funeral services for her Aunt in Texas, They have made their home in Shalimar Point, Florida, they have 3 children, and 8 grandchildren and Lacey, a little white toy poodle who is their constant companion in Shalimar, Florida.
    James and the staff provide an atmosphere of understanding and care for your loved ones Celebration of Life. We 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. We take our time to listen and we feel it is our responsibility to help our families, who are arranging a Traditional burial services, or Ceremonial Celebration of Life, followed by traditional cremation at the McLaughlin Mortuary where our State of the Art Crematory. Where we only provide cremation services exclusively for the families we are privileged to serve. Your loved one never leaves our care.
    James invites anyone interested to stop by to discuss At Arrangements or Pre- need/imminent Arrangements. With no obligations our General Price List is provided that include all of our itemized services.
    Thank you, James Bass

  • Kevin Lee Farris
    Kevin Lee Farris, Funeral Director

    Kevin Farris, Funeral Director and Location Manager
    Kevin is a Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer since 1988. He received his education at Forrest Park Community College in St. Louis, MO earning his associate 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.

  • Hailey Rain Bryan
    Hailey Rain Bryan, Funeral Director and Embalmer

    Born and raised in West Monroe, Louisiana. Hailey is a graduate of West Monroe High School and East Mississippi Community College, where she received an Associates's Degree in Mortuary Science. She is a member of the Fort Walton Beach Women's Club. Hailey is married to Howard Bryan and they also have two Chihuahuas, Gremlin and Keke. Since 2012, Hailey has been part of the Emerald Coast Staff. She is honored to help families in their time of need, personalizing any service for their loved one..

  • Tim Burke
    Tim Burke, Funeral Director/Embalmer

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

  • Dwight Johnson
    Dwight Johnson, Funeral Director

    A Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer and a 1994 graduate of Bishop State College in Mobile, Alabama. Serving the community since graduating, at the following locations McLaughlin Mortuary, the former Little Chapel, Twin Cities Niceville & 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 serving for 24 active duty years.

  • Scott Howrey
    Scott Howrey, Funeral Director

    Scott is a long-time resident of the N.W. Arkansas region where he was a graduate of the University of Arkansas, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. After spending a few years in the teaching field, Schott decided to change career paths but still wanted to work and serve the public. He chose the field of Mortuary Science where he earned his Associates degree in 1997 from San Antonio Texas College.
    After having worked for various companies in both Texas and Virginia, Scott is excited to serve the families of Florida and the Emerald Coast region.
    Scott is happily married to his wife of 12 years, Anna. His hobbies include being an avid supporter of Razorback sports, landscaping, gardening, dining out, cooking and antique shopping. He and his wife, Anna also enjoy experiencing new cultures through their enjoyment of traveling to different world countries.

  • L.E. Eddie McLaughlin III
    L.E. Eddie McLaughlin III, Funeral Director

    Eddie is a third generation Funeral Director. Eddie's grandfather L.E. McLaughlin, Sr. founded the McLaughlin Funeral Home in Crestview, Florida in 1922, where Eddie currently lives today with his wife Rhonda McLaughlin.
    In 1955 Eddie's grandfather also founded the McLaughlin Mortuary in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
    He is a antique car enthusiast, a 33rd degree Mason and Shriner. Eddie has been prividing professional funeral service's in North West Florida and South Alabama since 1969 when he attended Mortuary Science School in Kentucky.
    He continues to serve his community, 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 for 6 years, assisting our families, and has a tremendous ability to personalize each funeral service for each family that she serves.

  • Felicia Nichole Popp
    Felicia Nichole Popp, Administrator

    Felicia has many clerical skills in serving our families. Also assisiting with visitation and funeral services. She is dedicated to attention to detail to insure
    exceeding our families expectations.

  • Pat Sowell
    Pat Sowell, Administrator

    Pat has been a resident of the Fort Walton Beach area for over 20 years. She is married to Sam and have two children, Cathy and Sam, and one perfectly awesome grandson, Elliott. Pat enjoys serving our families here at 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 CrematoryOperator 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.

  • Wes Straughn
    Wes Straughn, Funeral Assistant, Ambassador and Licensed Crematory Operator

    Wes is a Fort Walton Beach native and graduated from Fort Walton Beach High School in 1991. He worked for Mayflower Van Lines for 16 years before moving to Gainesville, Florida. He worked for Budweiser in sales for 2 years before coming back to Fort Walton Beach to open Taylor made Construction Services. Wes is a licensed crematory operator and an Ambassador for Emerald Coast Funeral Home. He has 3 beautiful children, one boy and two girls . He is an active member of the Elks Lodge and loves living in the Fort Walton Beach Community.


  • 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 in1987 and retired from there in1993. He taught in the Air Force JROTC program at Madison County High School for 9 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.


  • 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.

  • Allan Stearns
    Allan Stearns, 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 4 grandchildren. Al and Carol are owners of Decorating Den Interiors.

  • Jan A. Bass
    Jan A. Bass, Administration

    Grief Support Coordinator

  • 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, MO to Fort Walton Beach area to fulfill a lifetime dream of living at the beach.

  • JJ Jarvis
    JJ Jarvis, Ambassador

  • Fred G. Baughman
    Fred G. Baughman, Ambassador/Maintenance

    Fred spent 24+ years in the United States Air Force and is retired. He went to school for two and half years for Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical. He worked in the apartment and resort industry as a Maintenance man.
    Fred worked at the Air Force Enlisted Village, Bob Hope Village as the Supervisor of Transportation. Transporting the residents to Doctors, Dentist, Commissary and any other place they might have an appointment. Once a month they took the "Ladies", out to dinner, a movie or to a play. He did this for 14 years and really enjoyed it.
    Fred has been with Emerald Coast Funeral Home for the past 2 years.

  • Sam Sowell
    Sam Sowell, Ambassador

    Sam graduated from Fort Walton Beach High School in 2013. Currently, an Electrical Engineering student at the University of West Florida. He has trained in Taekwondo for 14 years and competes in tournaments regularly. His family consists of his dad, Sam; mom, Pat, his older sister, Cathy and her husband David; and his nephew, Elliott.

  • Michael Hoppenjan
    Michael Hoppenjan, Ambassador

    Michael is a 2012 graduate of Choctawhatchee High School and is currently enrolled at Northwest Florida State College. He has lived in the Fort Walton Beach area for the last nine years and is a member of Shalimar United Methodist Church. Michael joined the staff at Carriage Services in January 2014 and enjoys working with our families and assisting with visitations and services.

  • Donna E. Lambert
    Donna E. Lambert, Ambassador

    Donna E. Dalton Lambert, born and raised in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, a 1982 graduate of Choctawhatchee High School, Attended NWFSC (OWJC) and Graduated from Bay Area Technical College with Certification in Cosmetology.
    A member of the Board of Directors for Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers, 3rd Vice president GWCFWB Women's Club. The owner/stylist of Salon Brigitta.
    Married to David Lambert, 2 children and 1 grandchild.

  • Dylan Morrison
    Dylan Morrison, Family Service Counselor

    As a Family Service Counselor at Emerald Coast Funeral Home Dylan's mission is to preplan all families in the Fort Walton Beach, Destin, and Niceville region because he is passionate about helping people on one of the most difficult days of their lives. He strongly believes everyone should benefit from the positive impact of preplanning and be made to feel comfortable throughout the process.

    Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada Dylan comes from a very close family of five and understands the value we place on loved ones. Choosing to further his education Dylan migrated south to Atlanta, Georgia in 2007 where he was very active in both academics and athletics.

    Dylan has since received his bachelors in business and professional selling from Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia. He was also the President of the Hockey Program where he won a National Championship while on an International Scholarship for Academics.

  • David Holm
    David Holm, Preneed Counselor

    As a Family Service Counselor at Emerald Coast Funeral Home David's mission is to preplan all families in the region because he is passionate about helping people on one of the most difficult days of their lives. He strongly believes in the positive impact of preplanning and helps families feel comfortable throughout the process.
    David was raised in northwestern Indiana on the south shore of Lake Michigan. After graduating from Ball State University with a degree in Telecommunications David decided to move south, and he is now a resident of Fort Walton Beach.

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