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 2021 Finest Funeral Home and Crematory on the Emerald Coast year after year.
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 resides in Fort Walton Beach. When not working, she enjoys deep sea fishing, concerts, and traveling.
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 Bachelor 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.
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.
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.
His family has served Okaloosa County for over 100 years.
Julie is a Texas native. She has traveled and lived all over the world. Moving many times with a military spouse has given her experience in many job settings. Her best attribute is helping others when they need it most. She is a registered Notary for the State of Florida. Her greatest treasure is being called Mimi. Julie enjoys making crafts, spending time with her family, camping, the water, and time with her dog.
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.
Gabe is originally from Washington State where his family resides before moving to Niceville in July of 2022. Gabe has been in the funeral industry for almost two years and plans on furthering his career in the field.
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 "InSight 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.
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.
Larry operates the only crematory in Fort Walton Beach, Fl.
Tyler was born in Adel, Georgia to a military family where he spent several years before relocating to Michigan. Tyler joined the army where he spent several years working investigations before leaving in 2014. Tyler moved to Fort Walton Beach in 2014 where he spent his time assisting the community in local events and operating as a behavioral therapist. Tyler received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of West Florida. When not working as the Cremation Technician Tyler enjoys spending time with family, Cooking, and spending time at the beach.
Maintenance Supervisor, Ambassador.
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 moved 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”.
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.