History & Staff
At Thompson Funeral Homes, we have provided customizable memorial services for over 60 years. Personalized service options allow you to honor your loved ones in a way that is both meaningful and healing. We hope to provide support and caring while delivering memorial services that celebrate life and help families find the peace they deserve.
If you’re seeking an honorable celebration of life in West Columbia, Lexington & Columbia and the surrounding areas, we invite you to learn more about where we came from, our vision, and the dedicated people behind our work.
A History of Caring
Thompson Funeral Home
Our Thompson Funeral Home at Greenlawn Memorial Park
Learn The Legacy
The history of Thompson Funeral Home dates back to 1928 when J.R. "Buddy" Thompson started the business with the simple idea of providing unparalleled personal service to the families of Cayce, West Columbia, and Columbia. In return, through the years the people of this area have been very faithful to Thompson Funeral Home.
As with most depression-era businesses, "Buddy" Thompson was assisted throughout the years by his parents, his wife Bleeka; his sisters, Minnie Price, Inez Sox, and Thelma Morrison; his brothers, Clifford Thompson and E.L. "Tootsie" Thompson; as well as several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Thompson Funeral Home has also been fortunate over the years to have many excellent, loyal associates from within the community.
In 1935, "Buddy" Thompson completed the first building in this area that was built strictly for the use as a funeral home. That building still is operational today at 200 State Street in West Columbia. In 1999, Thompson Funeral Home opened its second location (our "Lexington" chapel) at 4720 Augusta Road (Hwy #1) in Lexington to better serve all the families of Lexington County.
In 2013, Greenlawn Memorial Park and Thompson Funeral Homes merged to create Thompson Funeral Home at Greenlawn Memorial Park. This allows families in Richland County and downtown Columbia the opportunity to experience the Thompson Funeral Home difference.
Thompson Funeral Home at Greenlawn Memorial Park offers all-encompassing services to provide the Columbia community additional value and benefits. Services include funeral services, on-site crematory and memorialization options. Additionally, it employs a diverse staff, all with deep roots in the community, representing the entire Columbia area.
Our professional staff has well over 100 years of combined experience in caring for families in our community. We pledge to provide excellent service for those families that we are privileged to serve.
Thompson Funeral Home at Greenlawn Memorial Park
Greenlawn Memorial Park has been providing for the needs of families since 1937. We are proud of the reputation we have established during almost 75 years of service to our community.
From the beginning, Greenlawn has endeavored to provide only the finest in service and facilities for families in their time of need. An early Greenlawn brochure stated, “We envision a future of continuous growth, increasing beauty and loveliness. Our past, successful as it has been, is only our ‘prologue’.”
The first thing you will notice upon entering the grounds at Greenlawn is the natural beauty of dogwoods and crepe myrtle as well as centuries old live oaks and other mature trees of various species. The pond at the center of the memorial park serves as a focal point for our annual interdenominational Easter Sunrise Service which has been a Greenlawn tradition for over 50 years.
For those families who prefer other than in-ground interment, our Mausoleum provides the ultimate in above-ground entombment. Constructed of the finest domestic and imported marble, the Mausoleum was the first in the Columbia area and is still unmatched in its richness of detail and striking beauty. The Mausoleum Chapel, constructed as a wing of the mausoleum itself, is available for services in conjunction with funerals at Greenlawn. Niches for cremation urns are an integral part of the mausoleum, an excellent choice for a permanent memorialization.
A key element in our success in providing unsurpassed service through the years has been our ability to make arrangements for many families before the time of need. Consider for a moment the emotional stress of losing a loved one. It is precisely for this reason that approximately ninety percent of funerals at Greenlawn during recent years have been arranged for prior to the death of the family member. Our staff stands ready to assist at any time, but we strongly recommend that arrangements be made in advance for the sake of your family and your own peace of mind.
In May of 1998, our services expanded to include a conveniently located, modern funeral home facility. Thompson Funeral Home at Greenlawn Memorial Park Funeral Home serves families all over the Midlands. Our funeral home is conveniently located adjacent to Greenlawn Memorial Park on Leesburg Road and also convenient to Fort Jackson, just one exit north on Interstate 77. Our funeral home offers a variety of funeral options, including both traditional options as well as cremation. It is our desire to make every funeral or memorial service a personal time of remembrance to capture, share and preserve your special memories of life.
At Thompson Funeral Home at Greenlawn Memorial Park, we are proud of our pioneering efforts in making special packages available for veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States. Special discounts for veterans are just one of the ways we recognize the contributions of those who have served our country. Considerable savings can also be realized for non-veterans as well for arrangements made prior to the time of need.
Our Staff’s Dedication to Respectful Care
A funeral, or memorial service, should provide family members and loved ones with the chance to reflect, remember, and celebrate a life well-lived. At Thompson, our goal is to create exceptional services and experiences that fulfill the wishes of your loved one. Our experienced Funeral Directors provide guidance on the crucial first steps toward healing.
Chad Frye CFSP
Chad is a lifelong resident of Lexington County and has spent his entire funeral service career in the greater Midlands. Knowing at an early age that he wanted to serve his community, Chad found his calling in funeral service where he serves each family with care and compassion. Chad began his career working in all aspects of funeral service from washing cars, setting tents, to becoming a licensed funeral director-embalmer, and certified crematory operator. Chad has also earned the distinction of becoming a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner.
An active member of Willow Ridge Church in Lexington, Chad serves on the Church Praise team, where he plays multiple instruments. Chad’s passion is serving his community through various organizations and speaking engagements.
Chad has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Western Governors University as well as an associate degree in Funeral Service from Piedmont Technical College . Chad is married to Robin Campbell Frye, formerly of Hopkins, and is the proud father of triplets.
Managing Director, Licensed Funeral Director and Cremation Specialist
Rob Aker, a native of Southwestern Virginia, is a 1994 graduate of John Tyler Community College in Chester, VA, where he received his degree in Mortuary Science. Rob is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in both SC and NC, as well as a licensed insurance agent in SC.
Rob’s worked in the funeral business in Raleigh, NC until he married and moved to Columbia, SC in September 2016.
Rob has a distinct passion for the funeral business and serving others. “Taking care of families at one of the most difficult times in their lives is a great honor. I feel that it is a sacred tradition which one must sincerely provide for each family with the highest quality of service and respect.”
Rob not only has dedication in serving families during their times of loss, but also as an advocate in providing food and shelter for the homeless community in Columbia.
Funeral Director / Embalmer
A.J. Bracy began his funeral service career in December, 2001. He has been honored to serve at several firms in the Midlands area as well as Charlotte, NC. A.J. was born in Camden, SC but moved to the Northeast Columbia area at an early age. He attended Richland School District Two schools, and graduated from Spring Valley High School. A.J. is also a graduate of Midlands Technical College (Associate of Arts), Limestone College (Bachelor of Science), The American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service (Associate of Occupational Studies) and Liberty University (Master of Arts in Religion). A.J. is married to Cassandra Dennis Bracy, and they have one son, Joshua A. Bracy. In addition to being a funeral director and embalmer, A.J. is an ordained Baptist minister. He has served as the youth pastor at First Northeast Baptist Church and continues to work in the gospel ministry. A.J. is a board member of the Richland School District Two Education Foundation Board, Vice Governor for the fifth district of the SC Morticians Association and is a member of the Academy of Funeral Service Practitioners. A.J. enjoys reading, bowling and traveling.
Craig joined the Thompson team in 2014, after a successful career in funeral service in Easley, SC. He and his wife, Rhonda, have two children; Chandler and Haley; a grandson, Braden James, and live in Lexington, SC.
Funeral Director / Embalmer
Greg Edwards is a twenty five year Air Force veteran and a 2012 graduate of Piedmont Technical College with a degree in Mortuary Science. He has worked in funeral homes since 2006, and is a fully licensed funeral director and embalmer. Greg is married to Jennifer (Everhart) Edwards and they have one daughter, Ivey Elizabeth. He is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Sumter, SC and volunteers parts of his summer leading youth groups repairing houses for families in need. He also enjoys spending time camping with his family and playing golf.
David R. Hardee
Funeral Director and Cremation Specialist
Dave has worked for Thompson Funeral Home twice; first as an Apprentice Funeral Director in the 1980's with Earl "Tootsie" Thompson, and he currently works with families at all three funeral home chapels. David has been a licensed Funeral Director since 2008, and is a member of St. Martin's in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in downtown Columbia. Dave is a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, and also serves as the 2017 Chairman for the Central-Coastal region of the South Carolina Funeral Directors Association. Dave earned his Bachelor's degree and two Masters' degrees from the University of South Carolina, and was a SC public elementary and middle school teacher for 15 years prior to returning to funeral service. He enjoys caring for people in their time of greatest need.
Licensed Funeral Director / Embalmer
I am a 1987 graduate of Airport High School in West Columbia, SC. Upon graduating from Airport High, I attended Long Island University (Brooklyn, NY campus) for pharmacy undergraduate studies. While attending L.I. University, I cared for exceptionally challenged adults at a group home in Bronx, N.Y.
I am a fifteen year U.S. Army veteran; I served my country in the 82nd Airborne from 1989 until 1997. I then re-enlisted from 2006 until 2013. I am also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Rucker Hall Post (# 6089).
I began my funeral service career in 1996, during my active duty enlistment at Ft. Bragg, NC, and graduated from Fayetteville Technical Community College, with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Funeral Service in 1998. I obtained my funeral director and embalmer licensure in NC in Sept. 1999, and in South Carolina in 2003. I am also licensed in the states of New York, Virginia & Georgia.
I am the proud father of a daughter, Ambrosia Keel, and two sons, Phillip Mark Holmes, and Yaz Holmes. I am a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Anderson and Columbia, SC.
Funeral Director and Cremation Specialist
Tom is the former owner of Maddux Funeral Homes in Hopkinsville and Pembroke, Kentucky. He is a graduate of John A. Gupton School of Mortuary Science in Nashville, TN. After several years of retirement, Tom decided to return to the funeral profession and ultimately joined the staff of Thompson Funeral Homes.
Tom and his wife Carolyn were married in 1958, and later became the parents of two sons and one daughter. Their oldest son, Mike died in 1987 and their second son, David died in 2013. Their daughter, Kathryn lives in Lexington, SC. They have been blessed with six grandchildren.
Tom is member of Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce and, since 1964, A member of Gideons International.
Funeral Director / Embalmer / Cremation Specialist
Ryan attended Mortuary College at The Dallas Institute of Funeral Service in Dallas, Texas. He has held a Funeral Director/Embalmer license in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and most recently, South Carolina. During his twenty-three year career, he has had the unique experience of guiding many families of diverse populations and cultures through their time of loss and remembrance.
Ryan and his wife, Cindy, live in Lexington, South Carolina.
My experience in the funeral industry started very early in my life. My parents bought our family business from my grandfather John Schreffler in 1972. For the next 28 years, my mother and father ran the business. In 2000, I took over the day to day operations for the Schreffler Funeral Homes. In the year 2015, an opportunity presented itself for us to sell. After the sale was complete, for the first time in my life, my family was able to relocate anywhere we wanted to go. We decided to come to the Columbia area mainly to be by my wife’s family. We couldn’t have made a better choice. I was very fortunate to immediately find an opening at the Thompson Funeral Homes. They welcomed me with open arms and accepted me into the Thompson family. I look forward in bringing my many years of funeral experience to Columbia and help the Thompson Funeral Home team continue the same excellence in funeral service that the Columbia area is accustomed too.
My philosophy on the funeral profession is simple. It is to help those who are going through one of the hardest times in their lives, create a personalized tribute of their loved ones, and to honor the life that was lived. I always considered this profession an honor to be a part of and I look forward to serve the families of Columbia for years to come.
My education background includes receiving a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Management from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. After receiving my degree I attended Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, IL obtaining an associate’s degree in Mortuary Science. My wife Virginia along with our children John, Ava Rose, and Max reside in Irmo, SC. Virginia is a teacher at St. John Neumann Catholic School and we are members of Our Lady of the Hills Catholic Church in Columbia.
Funeral Director/Cremation Specialist/Embalmer
Jamie joined Thompson Funeral Homes recently. Jamie began his career in Funeral Service in 1996 where his served his apprenticeship at Goldfinch Funeral Homes in Conway/Murrell’s Inlet. Jamie is a 2001 Graduate of Gupton Jones of Funeral Service in Atlanta, GA. Jamie obtained his South Carolina Funeral Director/Embalmer License in 2001. Jamie relocated back to Atlanta in 2006 and obtained his Georgia Funeral Director and Embalmer License. While in Atlanta, Jamie worked at A. S. Turner Funeral Home and Crematory, and Paws, Whiskers and Wags Pet Crematory. Jamie moved to Charleston, in October 2012 to be the Crematory Manger at Carolina Memorial Funeral Home. Jamie moved back to his hometown in Marion, SC where he worked with Palmetto Professional Service as an Embalmer, and a South Carolina Public School Bus driver in Horry County.
Jamie has been a certified Crematory Operator with Matthews Cremation, Facultatieve Technologies, ICCFA. Jamie has been a member of Georgia Funeral Directors Association, South Carolina Funeral Director Association, and National Funeral Director Association, and a member of SCAPT - South Carolina Association for Pupil Transportation.
In Jamie’s spare time he enjoys camping, hiking, anything outdoors. Jamie Is a proud father of 2 dogs, McKenzie and Bella
SGT Benton Jones
Apprentice Funeral Director and Emblamer
SGT Benton Jones was born in Lake View, SC. He began his career in funeral service under the late Elder Kevin Thomas of House of Thomas Funeral Home in Dillon, SC . He joined the United States Army in October 2012, and served 4 years. SGT Jones is currently a student at American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service. He is married to Raveen Anthony Jones, and they have two children, Ke'sean (6), and Lauryn (2).
Director of Operations
A native of Florida, Laurie and her husband Brian recently moved from Florida where they
owned and operated their own funeral home. She has been in the funeral industry for over 15 years.
She and her husband have two sons who attend school in Lexington.
Cindy grew up in Lexington County, attended Airport High School, USC, and Midlands Technical College, where she graduated with Associate degrees in both accounting and finance. She retired from JB White after 15 years of service.
Cindy is married to Rick and they are the proud parents of one son, Drew. She attends and is an active member of Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church in West Columbia. Cindy volunteers and serves as an advocate supporting colon cancer awareness and research. She enjoys spending time with family, friends and their four-legged family member, Crumpet.
Libby, a native of West Columbia, is the proud mother of three boys and a doting "Granny" to five grandchildren and four beautiful great-granddaughters. She has been a valuable part of the Thompson Funeral Home staff for 20 years. Libby assists our families with death certificates and insurance matters, and genuinely loves helping people. She attends True Life Fellowship Church in South Congaree.
Office Manager - Greenlawn Memorial Park
Tonya grew up in Columbia, SC and attended AC Flora High School. Tonya and her husband Ray currently reside in Pelion, SC. Together Tonya and Ray have 2 children, 3 step-children and several grandchildren. Tonya attends and is an active member of the West Columbia First Church of the Nazarene.
Tonya has been a passionate Cemetery professional for 23 years with the majority of her career being at both Greenlawn Memorial Park and Woodridge Memorial Park. Tonya really enjoys being a part of a great team of professionals who are caring and passionate about serving and assisting families.
Tonya enjoys being involved in the community and spending time with her family.
Teresa joined the cemetery staff in June of 2016. She comes from a very large local family and is a graduate of Lower Richland High School. Teresa recently returned to Columbia from many years in Boca Raton, Florida where she has devoted her life to customer service through various administrative services including municipal, medical and multiple lines of insurance. As a marker specialist, Teresa prides herself in assisting with the creation of a lasting memorial to your loved one.
Teresa and her husband Patrick are the proud parents of one daughter, two sons and five grandchildren who are the light of her life. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her family and friends, shop and cheer on her beloved Gamecocks!!
"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. - Albert Pine"
Brenda has been employed at Thompson Funeral Home since 2004. She is an active member at Temple Baptist Church. She was blessed with a wonderful son Jonathan who passed away in 2010.
I am an Administrative Assistant at Thompson Funeral Home at Greenlawn Memorial Park.
I have spent most of my life in Southeast Columbia. I am happily married; I have 1 son, 1 step- son, a miniature poodle and three kitty cats. I love meeting people from all walks of life.
Family Service Advisor
My name is Breanna Forrester, I graduated from Airport High School in 2016 and started my career about a month ago. I can’t wait to expand my skills and really be an asset to the team and help Greenlawn Memorial Park grow and prosper. I’m excited to be aboard and cannot wait to see what's to come.
Family Service Advisor
Rachel was born and raised in Columbia, SC, and is grateful to have joined the Thompson/Greenlawn family in September of 2017. She graduated from Cardinal Newman High School, and received a Bachelor in Social Work degree from Columbia College. She has two daughters, Madison (13) and Taylor (9), and is a member of Shandon Baptist Church.
Family Service Advisor
Marilyn Shine joined the Thompson Funeral Home team as a Family Service Advisor in January, 2017. She was reared in West Point, Mississippi. She is an undergraduate of Allen University and is currently pursuing her Masters of Science Degree in Leadership at South University, Columbia, SC.
Marilyn has an extensive background of over 15 years in Academia as an insightful speaker, trainer and presenter. She is skilled in employing clarity and innovation to deliver effective presentations to diverse audiences at all organizational levels. As a Servant Leader, she is passionate about helping others.
Marilyn is married to Isaac Shine, and together they have 4 beautiful children: Brandon, a Junior attending Morris College, Kennedy, a Sophomore attending Lander University, Kayla, attending Clemson University and Sheldon, a rising fourth grader attending Dutch Fork Elementary.
Family Care Advisor - Licensed Funeral Director
Brian and his wife Laurie joined Thompson Funeral Home from Florida, where they owned and operated their own funeral home. Brian graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science, and has been in the funeral business for over 25 years. He is the proud father of two boys who keep him active with youth baseball.
Family Care Advisor - Licensed Funeral Director
Alicia is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in South Carolina and North Carolina, as well as being licensed to sell preneed insurance.
She holds a Bachelor's degree in biology from Furman University and an Applied Associate of Science degree from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.
Alicia moved to South Carolina from Massachusetts and has been a resident of Lexington for 10 years and enjoys her free time with her son Jody.
Mary Beth Lamey
Community Care Coordinator
Mary Beth joined Thompson Funeral Home after working in the field of hospice and end of life care. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Master of Social Work degree and has provided counseling and support to grieving families in the Columbia area for over seventeen years. Mary Beth greatly enjoys spending time with family and friends, running, and traveling to new places.
Community Relations Coordinator and Creative Support
Robin is originally from Batesburg-Leesville, SC and joined Thompson Funeral Homes in February 2018. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a BA in Studio/Graphic Art Design. Robin is excited to be a part of this new industry after having been in magazine design for 27 years.
In her spare time, Robin enjoys gardening, watching Gamecock football and spending time with her spouse and their four-legged family members.