History & Staff

We have nearly 100 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. "Since 1917"

Our History

J. Mellie NeSmith Funeral Home is located at 513 West Main Street, Claxton, and is owned and operated by J. Mellie and Phyllis NeSmith. 

            Mellie represents the third generation of NeSmith’s associated with the funeral profession. He grew up in Claxton, where he spent many hours observing his father, Murry NeSmith, uncle, Colquitt NeSmith, and mother, Betty NeSmith Edwards, perform the duties of Funeral Directors, Embalmers, Coroner, and small business owners. Betty is still a big part of the funeral home today. Many families still request Betty to assist them at their time of need. Mellie, at the young age of 13, could be found in the cemeteries, cutting grass, cleaning lots, repairing monuments and digging graves.  Later, he left the funeral business for a short time and worked at Georgia Pacific, but came back to his roots and heritage in 1990.  At that time, he completed the necessary hours of his apprenticeship and began his schooling at Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service from 1991-1992.  After graduation, Mellie worked with his father and uncle once more, until the death of his father in 1992.  He remained in the funeral business as manager of the funeral home, then, in June 1998 he began construction of his own facility.  “I know my dad was up there smiling, and probably watching every nail being placed in our new building,” said Mellie. “My dad would be very proud.”   J. Mellie NeSmith Funeral Home’s opening was Tuesday, November 10, 1998.

            Mellie married the former Phyllis Fields of Claxton.  She is the daughter of  the late Charles and Louise Fields.  Phyllis grew up in Savannah, but moved to Evans County in 1978.  Mellie and Phyllis have been married 32 years and have one son, Cody, who is 26. Mellie is a member of the Claxton Rotary Club, Ezel Lodge No. 335, Georgia Funeral Directors Association, Independent Funeral Directors Association, and currently holds the position of Coroner in Evans County.  Mellie enjoys his model trains when he isn’t busy with funerals, monument sales or cemetery work.  Phyllis enjoys working in the yard, reading and taking care of business at the funeral home.  Cody graduated from PCA in 2007 and went to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton in which he graduated in 2011 with a degree in business management & accounting. Upon graduation he went on to Ogeechee Technical College where he is currently enrolled in the schools funeral service program. Cody also manages the website for the funeral home and helps out when needed.

            Things sure have changed in the last 30 years of funeral services.  Mellie can remember a time when his mother had to call the daily newspaper and read an entire obit, including spelling half of it.  Now fax machines and emails are used.  He remembers when you didn’t have a computer to keep up with the business details.  Now most funeral homes have answering services, but Mellie and Phyllis agree that answering their own calls and giving personalized service seems to be in line with the tradition Mellie grew up with.  “Mellie wants everything copied for the individual files," Phyllis said, “so how his mother did office work without modern technology amazes me.”

            But, even with all of the luxuries available now, Mellie still believes in the old family training and tradition.  “We hope to serve the community whole-heartedly, in the same manner my family always instilled in me. We have been very fortunate in our business and hope that we can always give the personal service they strive for. We certainly appreciate the opportunity to serve our community and appreciate all the fine citizens of Evans and surrounding counties, that we have had the privilege to serve," said Nesmith. That is the reason Mellie and Phyllis use the logo, OUR FAMILY SERVING YOUR FAMILY. 

            Mellie supports traditional funerals and the opportunity for a family to make a Pre-need Funeral Arrangement is certainly a loving thing people do for their families.  It eliminates a lot of confusion at a sad time and guarantees that you will be buried in the manner you selected.  “This is not a new service to the funeral business, my father assisted with advanced funeral planning in his time. “ I believe people are more self-sufficient in their wishes and desires,” said NeSmith, “they can relieve their family of the burden of funeral planning.” “I have never had a family say they regretted making their arrangements in advance.”

            J. Mellie NeSmith Funeral Home employees three other individuals, Josh Brown who graduated from Ogeechee Technical College's funeral service program and is married to Lori Brown. Josh and Lori have two children, Lizzie and JT. Mrs. Glenda Coley who has been working with our family for nearly 50 years and Mrs. Faye Terry began working with our family in November of 1998.  “We are like one big family, we support each other and love working together,” said Phyllis.   

            I would like to thank all of the people who have supported and believed in me and my family for so many years,” said NeSmith, “without your help we would not be able to continue the tradition.”

            Mellie and Phyllis can be reached at 912-739-3338.


Meet Our Staff

Mellie NeSmith

Mellie NeSmith, Owner/Funeral Director

Mellie is the 3rd generation funeral director and Embalmer in his family. When he was 13 years old, He could be found in the cemeteries cutting grass, cleaning lots, repairing monuments and digging graves. Later, he left the funeral business for a short time and worked at Georgia Pacific, but came back to his roots and heritage in 1990. At that time, he completed the necessary hours of his apprenticeship and began his schooling at Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service from 1991-1992. After graduation, Mellie worked with his father and uncle Colquitt once more, until the death of his father in 1992. He remained in the funeral business as manager of the funeral home, then, in June 1998 he began construction of his own facility. Mellie and his wife Phyllis opened J. Mellie NeSmith Funeral Home on November 10, 1998. They reside in Claxton and have one son Cody.


Phyllis NeSmith

Phyllis NeSmith, Owner/Office Manager


Josh Brown

Josh Brown, Funeral Director/Embalmer

Josh started working for J. Mellie NeSmith Funeral Home when he was 17 years old. He is a 1999 graduate of Claxton High School and a 2009 graduate of Ogeechee Technical College with an Associates Degree in Mortuary Science. He resides in Bellville with his wife Lori and their two children Lizzie and JT; who both attend Pinewood Christian Academy. They are active members of Union United Methodist Church in Claxton. Josh has served on the Claxton-Evans County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Tattnall Campground. In his spare time, Josh enjoys spending quality time with his family and playing golf when he has the chance.


Betty NeSmith Edwards

Betty NeSmith Edwards, Funeral Director


Glenda Coley

Glenda Coley, Funeral Assistant

Glenda started working with NeSmith Funeral Home in the early 1950's under Murray & Colquitt NeSmith. Glenda and her husband Carey both reside in Claxton and are members of the First Baptist Church of Claxton. Glenda is the Funeral Home's Cosmetologist and takes the lead role in funeral planning. Glenda and Carey have one daughter, Angie, and one granddaughter Meredith. She enjoys working in her garden and baking along with spending time with her granddaughter.


Faye Terry

Faye Terry, Funeral Assistant

Faye Started working with J. Mellie NeSmith Funeral Home when the new location opened in November of 1998. She and her Husband Charlie both attend Daisy United Methodist Church in Daisy. Faye and her Husband reside in Claxton. She serves on the Evans County Tax Assessors Board and enjoys helping with the elections in Evans County.


Cody NeSmith

Cody NeSmith, Website Manager

Cody is the 4th generation Funeral Service Apprentice. He is a 2007 graduate of Pinewood Christian Academy. Cody served as President of the Evans County Chamber of Commerce Junior Board of Directors. He is a 2011 graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College with a degree in Business.He attends Bay Branch Primitive Baptist Church in Claxton. He is currently enrolled in Ogeechee Technical College's Funeral Service Program.