History & Staff

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, we invite you to learn more about where we came from, our vision, and the dedicated people behind our work.

A History of Caring

We're proud of our role in helping Hilton Head Island families with death care services for over 35 years, and we'd like to share a bit of our story with you.

The Island Funeral Home and Crematory was founded in 1981 by Allen and Nancy Richardson. Their mission was to provide complete death care services to Hilton Head Island. Previously, families had to travel to Beaufort, SC, or Savannah, GA, to care for their loved ones in passing.

When planning for construction of the funeral home, the Richardsons were adamant that the building fit in with the "island" character and settled on a Lowcountry-style building, whose design led to a national award for the local contractor who built the funeral home. In anticipation of the wishes of the client families, the Richardsons added the firm's first on-site crematory in 1983.

For many years, Allen and Nancy solely operated the business with the help of a few part-time staff members. As the island grew, so did the business.

In addition to part-time associates, their daughter Sheri joined the staff in 1992 as a licensed funeral director. Upon Nancy's death in 1993, Sheri assumed partial ownership of the firm with her father. Together, they have grown the business to include six full-time funeral directors and several part-time funeral staff associates.

In 2002, the business expanded to include another family-owned crematory. In 2005, Allen and Sheri made a commitment to extend The Island Funeral Home and Crematory's special brand of caring for all family members to include pet cremation services.

Over the years, The Island Funeral Home and Crematory has been recognized six times as a Pursuit of Excellence firm by the National Funeral Directors Association. Readers of the Island Packet have named our firm "Best Funeral Home" for several years since its inception.

Allen and Sheri also have been featured in American Funeral Director magazine, as well as local publications.

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. 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.

Lawrence E. Melton, Jr.
Location Leader

Lawrence is a native of the South Carolina Lowcountry. He is married to Julie Melton from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. They have three children, Jackson, Emily and Ethan.

Lawrence is active in the local community through the Boy Scouts of America and various other local organizations and charities.  He is also a member of American Lodge # 98 in his hometown of Ridgeland, South Carolina. Lawrence is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard and is passionate about serving veterans in our community. During his service in the USCG he earned numerous awards.

Some of Lawrence’s hobbies include spending time on the water with his family, hunting, fishing and traveling. Lawrence is happiest doing just about anything his family will do.

Sheri Richardson Stahl
Founder/Funeral Director

Sheri was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Hilton Head Island in 1977 with her parents, Allen and Nancy Richardson.

Raised on Hilton Head Island, she is a graduate of Sea Pines Academy, and has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The College of Charleston and a Master of Public Administration from The University of Charleston.  Sheri became a licensed funeral director in 1991 and joined the firm in 1992. She currently serves as Location Leader. She is a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner.

Sheri is a past president of CANA (Cremation Association of North America); former Trustee of the Funeral Service Foundation; member of NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association), where she serves on the Member Resource Advisory Committee; former chair Palmetto Chapter of the American Red Cross; past board member of Hospice Care of the Lowcountry; she is an ordained Deacon in the Presbyterian Church.

Her interests include travel, especially to Italy, and reading.

Sheri lives in Bluffton, SC.

Allen L. Richardson
Founder/Funeral Director

Allen was born and raised in Ohio.  He has been involved in the funeral business for over 55 years.

He attended The Ohio State University and is a graduate of Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science.  He has a Bachelor of Science from Mount Ida College in Funeral Service Management. He has worked in all facets of the funeral business.  He was president and majority partner of The Island Funeral Home and Crematory, established in 1981.

He is an Elder and former Clerk of Session of First Presbyterian Church. He was a member of the Ethics Committee of Hilton Head Hospital and a Paul Harris Fellow of the Hilton Head Island Rotary Club.  He is a graduate and former member of the Board of Regents of Leadership Hilton Head.

Allen's interests include global travel and wine tasting. He is a staunch supporter of The Ohio State Buckeyes.

Allen lives on Hilton Head Island and has one daughter, Sheri.

Valerie Mayer
Lead Funeral Director

Valerie was born and raised in Syracuse, New York. She graduated from Simmons School of Mortuary Science (now known as Simmons Institute of Funeral Service) in 1984.

She became a New York State licensed funeral director one year after graduation. She worked for funeral homes in southern New York State. Valerie and her family moved to Hilton Head Island in 1997.

In February of 2005, Valerie joined the staff of The Island Funeral Home and Crematory as a service coordinator.

In February of 2007, she became a South Carolina licensed Funeral Director. Since then she has received her South Carolina preneed insurance license, is a Cremation Association of North America certified crematory operator and is a Certified Celebrant.

Valerie is a member of Congregation Beth Yam and served on the Board of Directors for five years.

Valerie and her husband Greg are now empty nesters and live in Bluffton.

Melissa Brown
Funeral Director/Embalmer

Missy was born and raised in Tazewell, Virginia.  She worked in West Virginia as a respiratory therapy technician for nine years before feeling the need to change professions. So, she attended Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Decatur, Georgia, graduating as class Valedictorian in February 1999.

Missy worked at an Upstate South Carolina funeral home for 16 years prior to joining The Island Funeral Home and Crematory in December of 2016 as an embalmer and funeral director.

She enjoys reading, cooking, container gardening and spoiling her rescue cats when not working.

Lesley Babington
Crematory Manager/Transfer Team Lead
CANA Certified Crematory Operator

Lesley was born in Irvine on the West Coast of Scotland and immigrated to the States in 2001. Her family spent 1 year in Kirkland, WA; 8 years in Fort Worth, TX; and moved to Bluffton, SC in 2010.

Lesley enjoys spending time with her husband, her son who is at USC Columbia, her daughter who is at May River High School and their two dogs.  

Lesley and her daughter love to read and have a large collection of books and an eclectic taste in music, ranging from classical to rock and pop music. She also loves going to football games to watch her son play in the USC Marching band and occasionally helping her husband with his car restoration project.

Lesley joined the staff at The Island Funeral Home and Crematory in 2017 as a member of the transfer team and Funeral Attendant and has worked her way up to Crematory Manager and Transfer Team Lead. She is a CANA (Cremation Association of North America) certified crematory operator.

You’ll find her most days with a wee hot cup ‘o’ tea and her Kindle.

Jeanne Shelor
Administrative Assistant

Jeanne moved to Hilton Head Island in March 1974 from Claxton, GA and worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years before moving over to the Heritage Classic Foundation as an Assistant Administrator until 2011.

She began working at the funeral home in 2012 as Administrative Assistant.

Jeanne and her husband George have raised 3 children, all graduates of Hilton Head High School. She enjoys reading, snorkeling, horseback riding and cryptograms.

Chris Buck
Transfer Team/CANA Certified Crematory Operator

Chris is a Hilton Head Island resident and employee of Peacock Cabinetry.

He started working for The Island Funeral Home and Crematory in June of 2013 as a Funeral Assistant and then as a Certified Crematory Operator.

He has been married to his wife Windy since 1999 and they have two daughters, Kelsey and Krystal and one son Casey.

Chris enjoys spending time with the family and all manners of outdoor sports.

Jerry Alleman
Transfer Team/CANA Certified Crematory Operator

Jerry and his family moved to Hilton Head in January 1988 from New Orleans, LA and worked as a barber, opening his own shop in 1995.

He began working at The Island Funeral Home and Crematory in October, 2013 as a Funeral Service Associate and transfer team member.

Jerry and his wife Peggy have raised three children and have seven grandchildren. He enjoys the outdoors and spending time with family.

Jim Wisnefski
Transfer Team/CANA Certified Crematory Operator

Jim joined our team as a Funeral Service Associate and transfer agent in 2015 as a result of his wife’s connection with Sheri. Jim’s wife was the Executive Director of the Funeral Service Foundation of which Sheri was a trustee.

Jim comes to us with a background in music education, B.M. University of Wisconsin – Madison and sales. Jim’s gregarious and compassionate temperament brings comfort to the families he serves.

Jim and his wife Kathy, moved to Bluffton to be closer to their three beautiful granddaughters. Kathy is currently employed with the National Alliance for Grieving Children.

Hamilton Powell
Transfer Team

Hamilton Powell grew up on Hilton Head Island in a family of seven children.

Hamilton joined the staff of The Island Funeral Home in 2017 as a Funeral Service Assistant on the transfer team.

Hamilton is currently a student at Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, GA where he is pursuing a degree in Funeral Services. He was a member of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries at Georgia Southern University. He had a calling to be a Funeral director since he was in 6th grade while attending a middle school retreat.

Tim Middlekauff
Transfer Team

Tim was born January 25,1948 in Hagerstown,MD.  He is a 1966 graduate of North Hagerstown High School and a 1972 graduate of Towson University.

He taught Elementary Physical Education from 1972- 1978
Tim worked in manufacturing in several capacities from Machine Operator to Industrial Engineer to Logistics Engineer for 20+ years. He retired from Volvo Logistics in 2011. Over the years he worked in the hospitality industry as bartender and manager to hotel bellman and shuttle driver.

Tim has been an avid outdoor enthusiast most of his life and enjoys camping and hiking and became a certified scuba diver in 2002

His two sons who are attending PA (Physicians Assistant)school in Lynchburg, VA  His oldest will graduate in August then to obtain his doctorate in Medical Sciences, and his younger son will graduate next August from the same school Lynchburg College and also pursue his doctorate

Tim recently married the love of his life,  Julie.  They have lived on Hilton Head Island since 2017.