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 Carter-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 has over 35 years experience in funeral service. He started his employment with M.P. Carter Company Funeral Home (formerly Carter-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
Michael is a life- long Bedford resident and a 1974 graduate of Liberty High School. He is married to Carolyn Lloyd Overstreet and has two children; daughter Ryan O. Long and son Justin Overstreet, and one granddaughter, Sadie Jean Long. He is a member of Main Street United Methodist Church and was a volunteer fire fighter in Bedford in his younger days. Many years of his life have been spent on softball fields all over the country, playing fast-pitch softball, as well as coaching many local young ladies in both softball and basketball, and many local young men in baseball.
After years spent working for Trailways, The Lamano Agency, and years of self- employment, Michael began his funeral career at Tharp Funeral Home in 1999, lured there and hired by Chris Burch. After working in the business for several years, he decided to get his Funeral Director’s License, and graduated from John Tyler in Richmond in 2015. During school and after graduation, he worked for Diuguids’ Funeral Home in Lynchburg, and then in 2017, determined it was time to join forces with Chris Burch once again at Burch-Messier Funeral Home.
BARRY AND CARL SAUNDERS
Barry 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, 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