Our History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know were leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

                                                  Burkholder Chapel History

The M.S. Blish residence at 419 N. Chestnut St. was built circa 1900, but the history of the Burkholder Chapel business dates back to 1869 when the Hustedt family established a funeral service in downtown Seymour.

The Blish home has many historical features. Besides being the first electrified home in Seymour, the third floor was used as a school classroom where Mrs. M.S. Blish taught kindergarten. The home has many interesting features, including carved mantels, a waterfall staircase, stained glass windows, and coffered ceilings.

The business later changed hands and was known as the Tower Funeral Home before Victor Burkholder changed the business' name in 1957. It was in 1963 that Burkholder moved the business into the former Blish home. The business was also owned by the Myers family, who sold the business to Service Corporation International (SCI) in 1998.

In the mid 2000's SCI sold the funeral home to Rick and Linda Ferguson, returning the company once again to private ownership. During the Fergusons tenure the facility underwent additional renovations that assured the beautiful building and grounds would continue to display the rich history that it had enjoyed. In fact, the facility was featured in episode 1911 of the HGTV's Network show, “If Walls Could Talk” in the spring of 2008.

In November of 2017 the Ferguson's sold the funeral home to Thorne-George Family Funeral Homes. Thorne-George is a family owned and operated business of Phil & Amy (Hanson) Thorne and their daughter and son-in-law, Abby & Derek George. Until marrying Phil in 1986, Amy was raised in the Greene County community of Owensburg, IN.  Her now deceased grandparents resided in Seymour.  Phil, Abby and Derek are all life-long residents of Bedford, Indiana and are committed to serving southern Indiana with integrity and compassion for years to come.  In addition to Burkholder Funeral Chapel, Thorne-George also owns and operates Ferguson-Lee Chapel in Bedford and Queen-Lee Chapel in Shoals.


  • Buddy Fletcher (Amy)

    Buddy Fletcher (Amy), Managing Director

    Buddy has been serving families for over 30 years. He graduated from the Mortuary Science program at Cypress College in 1984. He has served as a licensed funeral director, embalmer and managing director.

    Buddy believes giving back to the community is very important. He currently serves on the Seymour Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and Finance Committees. He is on the board of directors with The Mental Health America of Jackson County. He recently initiated the first chapter of All Pro Dads in Seymour and serves as the team captain at Emerson Elementary. He has previously served on the RTA Hospice Advisory Board and been active in the Lions Club, serving two terms as president. He also served as president in the Rotary Club.

    Buddy is very compassionate about funeral service. He considers it an honor to assist families in the community during their most critical time of need. His goal is to create a personal and meaningful tribute for your loved one. Buddy joined the staff at Burkholder Chapel in February 2018. He is excited to be part of the Thorne-George Family Funeral Homes group because of their family-first attitude and desire to continually improve ways to serve families.

    Amy was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana. She attended Indiana University where she studied human and family development with an emphasis on grief studies. Amy volunteers in multiple youth programs at Seymour Christian Church, is active with the Emerson Elementary PTO and volunteers with various organizations including Meal on Wheels of Seymour. She is delighted to call Seymour home and appreciates serving families in their time of need.

    Buddy and Amy have been blessed with six children. They cherish every moment spent with their family. Together they enjoy attending Seymour Christian Church, serving the community, traveling, visiting family and friends and many outdoor activities.

  • Karen  Metz

    Karen Metz

    Karen has been a resident of Jackson County most of her life; she graduated from Immanuel Lutheran School and Seymour High School. She then went on to graduate from a technical college in Missouri.

    She was married to Stan Metz for 43 years, with whom she had three sons and one grandson. Before retiring in 2010, she was the officer manager of the Jackson County Health Department. She began working at the Health Department in 1983 and held several positions throughout her time there.

    She is now a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church at Dudleytown where she serves as Sunday School Superintendent and is active with various groups and committees. She is also a board member of Mental Health America of Jackson County and volunteers at Clarity Pregnancy Services.

    Karen has worked as a part-time employee of Burkholder Funeral Chapel for the past three years.

  • Brooklyn  Brown

    Brooklyn Brown

    Brooklyn was born and raised in southern Indiana. She graduated from Bloomington High School South in 2018.

    Brooklyn is a member of Seymour Christian Church and active in their young adult ministry. She has a heart for special needs children and plans to attend college in the fall to study Special Education.

    Brooklyn joined the staff at Burkholder Funeral Chapel in August 2018 and lives at the funeral home with her parents, Buddy and Amy Fletcher.

  • Bud  Nieman

    Bud Nieman

    Born and raised in Seymour, Indiana. Life long member of Immanuel Lutheran Church.

    Married to Joyce Mullikin for 53 years, with two sons, Scott, a dentist in Columbus, Ohio, And Matt, Youth Director, at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

    Graduated from Brownstown High School. Attended Concordia Teachers College and Sullivan Business College.

    Retired from the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., and was co-owner of Seymour Tire.

    Has been employed at Burkholder Chapel since 2011.

  • Steve  Ward

    Steve Ward

    Steve has lived in Seymour for over 35 years. He and his wife have four children and nine grandchildren.

    Steve has been employed at Dicksons Gifts for over 30 years. His grandfather was a lifelong funeral director at Criswell's Funeral Home in Ada, Oklahoma.

    Steve enjoys serving the people of this community at Burkholder Funeral Chapel. He has worked at Burkholder Funeral Chapel for about two years.

  • Debbie  Risser

    Debbie Risser

    Debbie has been a resident of Seymour for 35 years. She grew up in Delaware County near Muncie and graduated from Cowan High School. At Ball State University, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychological Sciences and Social Work. She obtained her certification from Butler University in Paralegal Studies.

    Debbie and her husband, Mark, have a daughter and son-in-law, Maggie and Andrew Keller. They reside in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Andrew is a student at Concordia Theological Seminary and Maggie is an elementary school music teacher for DeKalb County Schools.

    Currently, she works part-time as a substitute teacher and school cafeteria assistant for area schools. Debbie is a member of Peace Lutheran Church where she serves as a Sunday school teacher and on various committees. She has also been a 4-H leader for 11 years for the Leftovers 4-H Club.

    Debbie has worked part-time at Burkholder Funeral Chapel since January of 2015.

  • Phil  Thorne

    Phil Thorne

    Phil Thorne is the President of Thorne-George Family Funeral Homes, Inc. A Bedford area business owner and retired Pastor after over 30 years of ministry, Phil and his wife Amy went into a partnership with their daughter and son-in-law and became the owners of Ferguson-Lee Chapel in Bedford and Queen-Lee Chapel in Shoals.

    In November of 2017 they purchased Burkholder Funeral Chapel. The Thorne's believe in helping people through the most difficult days of their lives and have committed to being a part of Jackson County.

    In addition to their daughter Abby, they also have two other children and three grandchildren that all live in Bedford.

    They enjoy living on their small mini-farm where they have Dexter cattle, mini-donkeys, goats, chickens and a horse in addition to three dogs and a cat.

    They look forward to serving the needs of the families of Seymour.

  • Derek George

    Derek George, Derek George, Owner/Funeral Director