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.
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, Member Board of Directors, 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. Advisory Board Member LifeNet Health, 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 2018 Finest Funeral Home and Crematory on the Emerald Coast for the 8th year in a row
Caring for people. Making a difference in people's lives.
Funeral Director/ Embalmer
Christine is a long time resident of Okaloosa County. She graduated from Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham, Alabama, where she received her Associate’s Degree in Mortuary Science. After serving her internship at Emerald Coast Funeral Home, she transitioned to become a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer. She has a passion for creating a personalized experience for families honoring their loved ones in unique ways. Christine and her husband, Chris, have two children and reside in Fort Walton Beach. When not working, she enjoys deep sea fishing, concerts and travelling.
Jeffrey was born and raised in Carrollton, Georgia. He graduated from Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham, Alabama with his Associate’s degree in Funeral Science. Jeffrey started in the funeral business in 1997 in Carrollton, Georgia and moved to Milton, Florida in 2007. Jeffrey enjoys the outdoors including camping and long walks on the beach. His favorite pastime activity is playing the piano. Jeffrey has been in the business for over 20 years and looks forward to another 20 years with Emerald Coast Funeral Home.
Born in neighboring Santa Rosa County, Phillip possesses the hospitable nature characteristic of people in the South. He has a passion for helping people after the passing of their loved ones. Phillip earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Troy University and went on to earn his Applied Science Degree in Funeral Science Education at Georgia’s Ogeechee Technical College. Prior to joining the professional staff at Emerald Coast Funeral Home, he served as a funeral director at Atlanta’s historic H.M. Patterson & Son Funeral Directors. Phillip currently holds funeral director and embalmer licenses in both Florida and Georgia.
Taylor is from Carterville, Illinois and a 2019 graduate of Southern Illinois University where he received his Bachelors of Science degree in Mortuary Science and Funeral Service. He obtained his funeral director and embalmer licenses in the state of Kentucky following in the footsteps of his late grandfather, Robert Earl Taylor, whose funeral home Taylor grew up in. Taylor has lived in Mary Esther since August of 2021 and is currently reciprocating his Kentucky licenses to Florida. When he is not serving families, Taylor enjoys the gym, fishing, watching St. Louis Blues hockey, and spending time with his dogs Gracie and Binnie.
Apprentice Funeral Director/Embalmer
After living in Oklahoma and Texas for most of her life, Brandy moved to Florida in February of 2021. She first felt called to serve grieving families as a young teenager while watching her mother work at a funeral home as an Office Manager. She earned an Associate degree in Mortuary Science from Dallas Institute of Funeral Services and is currently doing her apprenticeship to attain her funeral director and embalmer licenses. Brandy lives in Baker with her husband and their 3 children. She is committed to compassionately caring for each family while celebrating each life lived with dignity and honor.
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.
Funeral Director Assistant
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 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 Sub registrar for the State of Florida. She has been with Carriage Services assisting our families for nine years and has a tremendous ability to personalize each funeral service for each family that she serves.
Maddy is from Kansas City, Missouri and went to Baker University in Kansas where she played volleyball and graduated with a degree in Psychology and Special Education. The Air Force brought her and her husband, Logan, to Fort Walton Beach. She began her personal training business in October of 2019 and has been the administrator at Emerald Coast Funeral Home since May of 2021. She enjoys volleyball, Chiefs football, and their Golden Doodle, Baker.
Gary is a lifelong resident of Ft. Walton Beach, FL. Gary was in the insurance and auto business since 1974. After retiring, Gary joined our team as a funeral assistant. Gary has raised four children and has seven grandchildren. He and his wife, Gloria reside in Ft. Walton Beach.
Gerling is originally from Charleston, West Virginia. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2005 after 20 years of service. Gerling has two children, Jakob and Jadyn. He resides in Fort Walton Beach, Florida with his cat, Sebastian.
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.
Ted Stookey is from St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked many years in the Funeral Industry and owned his own crematory (Stookey Pet Cremation Service). He moved to Florida in March of 2018 and is the proud father of 2 children. He began working at Emerald Coast Funeral Home as an Ambassador in January of 2019. Soon after, he attended classes and became certified as a Crematory Operator here in Florida, through the Matthews Cremation Program. He is now a Crematory Operator for the only crematory in south Okaloosa County.
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.
Jerry was born in Florida, moved around to Louisiana, Texas, then settled in Fairfax, VA where he enlisted in the United States Air Force and served his country honorably as an Aircraft Maintenance/Personnel. After retirement, he pursued a career in the building trade and eventually moving to Fort Walton Beach to work with the United States Air Force in Lodging Maintenance. Jerry enjoys rebuilding old cars, listening to oldies music, and his cat “Tiger”.
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. 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. Donna started working in the funeral home industry at the local Koontz Little Chapel in 1984. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers as well as serving in other areas of the local community. Donna is the owner/stylist of Salon Brigitta. She is married to David and has two children and one grandchild.
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.