History & Staff

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

Our History

The business that would become the Jim Rush Funeral Homes has been serving families in Cleveland for over 45 years. For the majority of those years, since 1963, Jim Rush has been there. Back then, Jim worked for Ralph Buckner, Sr. as part of the Buckner Funeral Home. Mr. Buckner sold the business to a Houston, Texas conglomerate in 1973, and Jim stayed on until 1977 when he and Ralph Buckner, Jr. bought the funeral homes back. The name of the business then became the Buckner Rush Funeral Homes. In 1978, Jim Rush took sole ownership of the North Ocoee and Wildwood Avenue Chapels. In 1993, the business, but not the chapels, was sold to Prime, a large Funeral Home conglomerate. Jim maintained ownership and administration of the chapels and was able to bring his son, Greg, on as General Manager, keeping it a family-run business. In 2003 Jim decided that his family could better serve the community by taking personal ownership of the Funeral Homes. That's where we are today. The Jim Rush Funeral Homes are locally-owned and operated by the Jim Rush Family

Our Valued Staff

Jim  Rush

Jim Rush, Founder 1938-2013

Born in Rome, Georgia, Jim Rush was a strong, community-minded individual. He was involved in various aspects of law enforcement in our local area, even serving as head of the detective division of the Bradley County Sheriffs Office.

After Graduation from the Cincinnati College of Embalming in 1958 with a degree in Mortuary Science, he took the National Board Exam and the Tennessee State Laws Exam becoming a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in the State of Tennessee. Jim went to work for Ralph Buckner, Sr. in 1963 and remained until gaining sole ownership in 1978. Jim was very active in the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association, serving as President from 1994 to 1995.

Jim and Judy Rush were married over 50 years and have four children: J. Gregory, Christopher Marc, Kim and Kathi.

Jim and his family are members of the Westmore Church of God.

J. Greg  Rush

J. Greg Rush, Owner/Funeral Director

Greg has served alongside his dad since 1978, becoming a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in 1986. He received his mortuary training from Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham, AL. Greg received high honors when he was elected by colleagues to serve as president of the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association for 2003-2004. He is also a past member of the National Funeral Directors Policy Board and remains active with the state association and a sought after funeral professional.

Outside of the funeral home, Greg is an avid golfer. Greg and his wife Darla have two children, Jennifer and Brock (Kayla.) They are active members of the Westmore Church of God.

Darla  Rush

Darla Rush, Administrative Assistant

Darla has been married to Greg Rush for 30+ years and has been very supportive and active in the family owned business, where she came to work full time in 2004. Before she joined her husband, she previously worked in banking and for the Bradley County School System. Darla and her family are members of the Westmore Church of God. She loves her community and family.

C. Marc Rush

C. Marc Rush, Funeral Director-Embalmer

Marc joined his dad, Jim, and brother, Greg, in the family owned business in 1979. In 1984 he graduated with a mortuary degree where he received his training from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, GA. After completing his training, he became a dual licensed Funeral Director-Embalmer in 1985 in the state of Tennessee. Marc and his wife Tina have three children, Bailey, Matthew and Olivia. He and his family attend the First Baptist Church of Cleveland. Marc is an avid golfer and racquetball ball player.

Don  Dixon

Don Dixon, Funeral Director/Embalmer

Don has been a member of our staff since 2005. He has been a licensed Funeral Director-Embalmer since 1982, after completing his mortuary training at Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, GA; yet he has 35+ years of experience in the funeral business. Don is licensed in both Tennessee and Georgia. He and his wife Pam attend the Cloverleaf Baptist Church in Cleveland.

James A. Staton

James A. Staton, Funeral Director/Embalmer

James has been a part of the Jim Rush staff for 10 years, having served in the funeral business since 1995. He received his mortuary training from Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham, AL and has been a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer since 2006. James serves as Senior Pastor at Burdette Baptist Church, Meigs County, TN. He and his wife, Amber, have two children.

Mason  Holliday

Mason Holliday, Funeral Assistant

Reverend Mason Holliday has been part of our staff since 2000 providing care and hope to families in their time of loss. Before joining the Jim Rush team, he pastored churches in Summerville and Chatsworth, GA. He was also blessed to have a radio ministry for many years. He is the proud husband of Rena Holliday.

Joshua S. Edwards

Joshua S. Edwards, Apprentice Funeral Director-Embalmer

Josh joined the Jim Rush staff in 2011 and is pursuing a degree in Mortuary Science at Jefferson State Community College. He is a member of the Cleveland Lions Club, and enjoys attending morning devotionals with His Hands Extended Ministries here in Cleveland. Josh and his wife, Kaye, attend the Lafayette Church of God.

Tim  Higgs

Tim Higgs, Funeral Assistant -Part Time

Tim has been a part of our staff for nearly 15 years. He and his wife Polly attend the Samples Memorial Baptist Church. Tim serves as a full time Deputy Sherriff in Hamilton County. He also owns and operates Higgs Handyman Services in Cleveland and is an avid hunter.

Jim Hibbard

Jim Hibbard, Funeral Assistant-Part Time

Jim recently joined the Jim Rush staff after moving to Cleveland from Indianapolis, Indiana. He has served as pastor and in various other positions with the Church of God for more than 47 years. He and his wife, Pat, have three children and eight grandchildren, with one deceased. Jim loves to golf and being with the love of his life, Pat. He has more than ten years experience in the funeral business and is looking forward to serving the Cleveland/Bradley County community.

Ricky Vaughn

Ricky Vaughn, Funeral Assistant-Part TIme

Reverend Ricky Vaughn, a native of Bradley County, joined the staff of Jim Rush Funeral Homes in October 2014. He and his wife Tonia have been married two years and are members of Covenant Baptist Church. Ricky is proud of his daughter, Rachel Lockhart; stepdaughter, Brittany Morgan and his two granddaughters, Bailey and Chloe. Outside of caring for the families here at Jim Rush, Ricky has served the families of Amedysis Hospice as Chaplain for more than three years.

Craig R Dumont

Craig R Dumont, Funeral Assistant-Part Time

Craig has been involved in ministry for 35 years, including serving as the pastor of Okemos Christian Center in Michigan for 20 years. He now creates educational resources for pastors and churches through Dominion Leadership Network.

Dr. Susan  Harper

Dr. Susan Harper, After Care-Family Support

Dr. Harper, better known as Chaplain Harper, has brought support, care and love to grieving families of Cleveland and Bradley County for years. She has been a member of the Jim Rush staff since 1993. She received her Doctorate of Ministry from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, here in Cleveland, TN; earned her Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Master of Science in Family Community Health Nursing from Nell Hodgson School of Nursing at Emory University in Atlanta, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Nell Hodgson School of Nursing at Emory University in Atlanta.
Outside of serving the families entrusted to Jim Rush Funeral Homes she also cares for families as a Hospice Chaplain with "Family Hospice" in Cleveland, TN and is a past clinical member of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education and is licensed as an ordained Church of God minister.
Dr. Harper also facilitates our Grief Support Group meetings held every first and third Tuesday night of the month at the Old Fort Restaurant in Cleveland, TN.

Dale  Moore

Dale Moore, Grave Service

Dale has been serving the families of Cleveland and Bradley County for nearly 30 years providing assistance in the cemetery. Dale is married to Kim and together they are members of the Kinser Church of God.

Tammy  Reese

Tammy Reese, Building Services

Tammy has been a part of our team, caring for our facilities, for 10 years. She and her husband Mike, of 30+ years, have one son, Jonathan. Tammy and her family are members of the South Cleveland Church of God.

Judy Cochran

Judy Cochran, Administrative Assistant

Judy, a native of Bradley County, joined the Jim Rush Staff in the fall of 2015. She and her husband, David Cochran, have 5 children, 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. They are members of the Clingan Ridge Baptist Church here in Cleveland. Judy is honored by the privilege of serving the families of Bradley County.

Rick Smith

Rick Smith, Family Services Counselor

Richard was born in Bowling Green, KY. He is the third of four children and his parents are pastors to this day. He is happily married to a wonderful, Christian woman, Carolyn. They have three boys and their first grandson was born at on March 3rd, 2016. Richard has recently returned to seminary to pursue his PhD in Theology.

Tom Grissom

Tom Grissom, Funeral Assistant

Tom is married to his wife. Tom is the father of Kevin and Mark Grissom. Judy is the mother of Susan and Keith Rogers, Kevin and Robb Blackaby. Tom served in ministry with the Church of God for over 52 years. He also served as State Overseer of Alaska and Great Lakes Region. Tom enjoys golf, fishing, Southern Gospel and Bluegrass Music

Connor Brock

Connor Brock, Funeral Assistant

Connor grew up in Dacula, GA with two siblings, a brother and a sister. His father, Tony Brock is a pastor in Snellville, GA and this is where Connor got his first job and learned how to run church media.. He graduated from Dacula High School and now attends Lee University in Cleveland, TN where his major is Studio Production. In 2013, he joined the Lee Singers to run media for the group and has traveled all over the world with them. In 2015, they traveled to Italy to perform for the Vatican.

Nickalis Alexander

Nickalis Alexander, Funeral Assistant

Nickalis is originally from Memphis TN. He is currently a college student at Lee University in Cleveland, TN, majoring in Psychology. Nickalis a member of the Lee University Campus Choir. He has sang for the Queen of England as well as the President of the United States.

Perry Horner

Perry Horner, Funeral Assistant

Perry is a retired graphic designer for the Church of God of Prophecy International Offices and currently assists the Awakening America Alliance as a volunteer designer. He has served as a deacon for their local church more than 30 years and is a former board member for New Hope Pregnancy Care. He is involved with nursing home and ecumenical prayer ministries in the community as well as a member of The Gideons International. His servant heart is well known by many and is clearly demonstrated in a variety of avenues. Perry's and Kay's daughter Emily, her husband Kirk, and their granddaughter Lillian Rose reside in Cleveland, Tennessee. Their son Ben is a graphic designer and counselor in Chattanooga.


James "Jim" Swafford, Funeral Assistant

Jim is a life-long resident of Bradley County, growing up in the Hopewell Community. He attended Hopewell Elementary School and graduated from Bradley High School.

His parents were Ellis and Evelyn Swafford.

Jim is married to Frances Swafford, they have one son James Brian Swafford, Daughter-in-law Patty Swafford. He and Frances have two grandchildren, Cody and Courtney Swafford who gives him much joy.

An active member of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, serving as an Elder, Sunday School Superintendent and former Church Treasurer.

Jim retired from Cleveland Express Inc. after 43 years, working in accounting.

Jim and Frances have worked in the funeral business over fifteen years, they see this as a ministry.

Frances Swafford

Frances Swafford, Funeral Assistant

Frances is a life-long resident of Bradley County, growing up in the Prospect Community. She attended Prospect Elementary School and graduated from Bradley High School.

Her parents were G.H. (Bert) Murray and Geneva Murray.

Frances is married to James (Jim) Swafford, they have one son James Brian Swafford, daughter-in-law Patty Graham Swafford. She and Jim have two grandchildren Cody and Courtney Swafford, who are the joys of their life.

Frances is an active member of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, serving as an Elder, Women's Ministry Leader, Worship Committee and sings in Choir.

Frances and Jim have worked in the funeral business over fifteen years, the see this as a ministry.