Meet Our Staff
(540) 586-7360
Chapel: 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford, VA 24523 | Office/Visitation: 317 West Main Street, Bedford, VA 24523



Christopher D. Burch


Chris has over 29 years of funeral service experience. He started his career in funeral service after graduating from Parry McCluer High School, Buena Vista, Virginia in 1987. He served his apprenticeship at Lomax Funeral Home in Buena Vista where he  was employed from November 1987 to January 1990. He graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service, Atlanta, Georgia in February 1991. Chris was employed by Carder-Tharp Funeral Home, Inc. (now Tharp Funeral Home) in Bedford from 1991 until late 2005. Chris is a member of Thaxton Baptist Church. He has enjoyed working in the Bedford community, coaching children in softball and basketball with the Bedford Parks and Recreation Department. Chris is married to Betsy Wingfield Burch of Appomattox, and is the father of six children; Ryan, Andrew and  Kelsey Oler, Ethan Stratton, Christopher Kincaid "Caid" Burch (8 years old) and, Levi Fielding Burch (6 years old).  Chris is owner of Burch-Messier Funeral Home and Cremation Service and oversees the day-to-day operations.

John P. Messier

dscf0922John has over 35 years experience in funeral service. He started his employment with M.P. Carder Company Funeral Home (formerly Carder-Tharp Funeral Home, Inc. and now known as Tharp Funeral Home, Inc.) in January 1981 while he was a senior at Liberty High School in Bedford, Virginia. He apprenticed there from June 1981 to June 1983 and then entered New England Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, where he graduated Cum Laude with an A.S. in Mortuary Science in June, 1985. While in Boston, he was a contract employee of two funeral service firms. He returned to Carder-Tharp Funeral Home and became licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Funeral Service Licensee. He practiced funeral service with Carder-Tharp Funeral Home until January 1994 when he left to work in his family's business, Southern Flavoring Company as V.P. of Marketing. He continues to work full time at Southern Flavoring Company in addition to helping out at Burch-Messier. John was an EMT for 12 years, is a 17-year member of the Bedford Life Saving Crew Board of Directors; a past member of the Board of Directors and officer of the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce; member and Past President of the Kiwanis Club of Bedford; a communicant of Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church and has served on several boards, commissions and committees in the Bedford area. He is the husband of April and the proud father of P.C., Anna, Jamie, Scott and his newest baby, Benjamin Wayne Messier.  Since John stills has his "day job", he works with Chris, and the others when time (and kids' activities) allow.  He is there in a moment's notice, though, when families specifically request him.

Michael Lee "Joby" Overstreet


Barry and Carl Saunders 

Barry and Carl 2Barry Saunders and Carl Saunders, better known as the "Saunders Boys" are both lifelong residents of Bedford and the proprietors of Coffey & Saunders Farm and Hardware, a fixture in the Bedford business community for many years.  Barry and Carl are members of Thaxton Baptist Church, Life Members of the Bedford Life Saving & First Aid Crew and many other civic, service and fraternal organizations in the Bedford area.  

Penny Carter had a successful career in banking and after retirement became a local representative for Woodmen of the World Insurance and Financial Services.  Penny has played the organ for Epworth United Methodist Church for longer than she'd like to admit and is an integral part of our community through her service in many organizations.

Tammy Johnson

Tammy BM

 Tammy Johnson, a 1984 graduate of Liberty High School and was employed at Liberty High School for 17 years. Tammy is the full time secretary at Burch-Messier Funeral Home. She is a member of Timber Ridge Baptist Church where she is head of the nursery and teaches Sunday School for the two and three year olds.  She is married to Phillip Johnson and has one son, Derek.  God, family and friends are very important in her life.  She enjoys scrapbooking, camping and spending time with family and friends.

John and Chris are honored to be assisted by Joby, Barry, Carl, Penny, Joe and Tammy.

Scheduled Services

John Francis Finnegan, Jr., died Sunday, May 12, 2019. A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, May 25, 2019 at Resurrection Catholic Church, 15353 Moneta Rd, Moneta, VA. A visitation will be held one hour prior beginning at 1:00 p.m. A reception will follow at Bethlehem United Methodist Church, 13586 Old Moneta Rd, Moneta, VA.

Charles Benjamin Russell, 95, of Bedford, died Wednesday, April 17, 2019. A memorial service will be held 5:00 - 8:00 p.m., Saturday, June 1, 2019 at the Bower Center, 305 N Bridge St, Bedford, VA 24523.

Gary Gile, 69, of Bedford, died Monday, May 20, 2019. Arrangements pending.