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

In May of 1993, Heritage Funeral Home was opened to serve the Chattanooga and North Georgia areas. Heritage was founded by the late Ross C. Lane and Russell Friberg continuing a tradition where your families traditions become our own. We have two locations to serve the Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia area.

We pride ourselves on the service we provide each family we serve. Our funeral home provides a full range of funeral service options, from the traditional religious service, to celebration of life ceremonies, to simple cremation. Each family is provided with the opportunity to learn about and discuss the wide variety of funeral service options available to them.

A funeral can and should be as unique as the life that is being celebrated. Don't feel that you have to have a cookie cutter type of service or that your ideas for a special ceremony are foolish. You shouldn't feel pressured or rushed into making a decision. We want to help you make the arrangements that you want.

Meet our East Brainerd Chapel Staff 

Back row: Stephen Dietz, Don Wilson, Dean Gentry, Bill Ottinger, Gary Crider, Curtis Ottinger, Gary Holder, Collin Hamrick, Jose Perez, Eldon Bruton, Harold McClure
Front row: Karen Goforth, Pat Boatman, Liz Wright, Christy Scroggins, Deborah Qualls
Not pictured: Lowell & Linda Blevins

Our Valued Staff

Ross C. Lane

Ross C. Lane, Founder

Ross Lane is one of the biggest contributors to the funeral profession in Chattanooga and North Georgia. He began his career as a young man with Coulter Funeral Home and Bryan Funeral Home. In November 1958 he started Lane-McCormick Funeral Home on Chickamauga Avenue. As the business grew, it changed to Lane-Routh then Lane Funeral Home, South Crest Chapel. Thru the successful years that followed Ross built and purchased several other locations such as Valley View Chapel, Summerville Chapel, RJ Coulter Chapel, Tennessee- Georgia Memorial Park and other ventures. The funeral business flourished under the leadership of Ross after which time he decided to retire in 1986. He wanted to travel a bit and enjoy his farm in Burning Bush while tending to his prize possessions, his beautiful Belgian and Clydesdale horses and cattle. In 1993 he decided to re-enter the funeral profession as a partner with Russell Friberg and launch Heritage Funeral Home on East Brainerd Road. In 1996 the construction of our Battlefield Parkway Chapel began. It was during this time we faced the untimely death of Ross. Although his presence is greatly missed, the work of Ross Lane continues yet today.

Thelma  Lane

Thelma Lane, Founder (Funeral Assistant)

Mrs. Lane is the backbone of Heritage Funeral Home, Battlefield Parkway Chapel. She pulls on her years of experience that date back to 1958 at Lane Funeral Home. She has served as a licensed funeral director for over 50 years. She remains active in her church activities at Burning Bush Baptist and enjoys time with her daughter, Diane and two grandchildren, Holly and Bill and several great-grandchildren. She lives on the family farm in Burning Bush.

Russell  Friberg

Russell Friberg, Founder / Licensed FD & Emb, TN & GA

Russell started working for Lane Funeral Home in 1970 while a college student. He served the company in management and eventually ownership. He, along with Ross Lane , founded Heritage Funeral Home in 1993. He received his degree in mortuary science from Gupton Jones College . Russell is active in church and civic affairs throughout the Chattanooga and North Georgia area. He serves on the board at Capital Bank, trustee of the University of Chattanooga Foundation , member and director of Rotary Club of Chattanooga, National Funeral Directors Association, has served on the board of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Association, Hospice of Chattanooga and Hutcheson Hospice. He has had leadership roles with both the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association and the Independent Funeral Group. He and his wife Linda have two children ,Ben & Roxie

Curtis L. Ottinger

Curtis L. Ottinger, Managing Partner / Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer TN & GA

Curtis is the Managing Partner of Heritage Funeral Home and Cremation Services on East Brainerd Road. He has served with Heritage since it’s beginning in 1991 and with Lane Funeral Home for 10 years prior to joining Heritage. Curtis has 35 years of service in the funeral profession serving as a key player in laying a solid foundation to the business. He is known for his personal touch and innovative ideas surrounding the funeral professional. He received his degree in mortuary science from Gupton Jones College in 1981 and is a licensed funeral director, embalmer and insurance agent in Tennessee and Georgia. Curtis is a gifted singer and musician having led music in several area churches for many years as well as traveled professionally for several years. He is a member of East Chattanooga Church of God and attends St. Elmo United Methodist Church. National Funeral Directors Association, East Lake Masonic Lodge #698 and the Alhambra Shrine Temple. Curtis has two daughters and son-in-law, Brittany and Michael Teets and Maeghan Ottinger and two grandchildren, Bentley and Anniston. He makes his home in the Snow Hill Community of Ooltewah.

Ben  Friberg

Ben Friberg, Managing Partner /Ga. Director / Embalmer

Ben is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville as well as Gupton Jones College of Mortuary Science. Ben began working with Heritage in 2000. He is an avid outdoor enthusiast and performing jazz musician. Ben is the Managing Partner for the Battlefield Parkway Chapel of Heritage.

David Cummings

David Cummings, Georgia Director/Embalmer

David is a familiar face to the funeral industry having started with Lane Funeral Home in 1984. He has served with Heritage Funeral Home since the Battlefield Chapel opened in 1997. He is a graduate of Dalton Junior College and received his degree in mortuary science from Gupton Jones Mortuary College and is a member of the Cremation Association of North America. David is past president of North Georgia Civitan Club, member of the Quitman Lodge #106, Ringgold Kiwanis Club, Georgia Academy of Graduate Embalmers and co-chairman of the Down Home Christmas Committee in Ringgold for the past 7 years. He has been a coordinator in the 1890's Day Jamboree for more than 25 years having been instrumental in starting the family gospel night. David, along with his wife Marlene are member of Poplar Springs Baptist Church and reside in Ringgold , GA.

Stephen Dietz

Stephen Dietz, Director/Embalmer TN

Stephen has been with Heritage since 2000 after spending over 28 years of funeral service in Knoxville , TN. He received his Mortuary Science degree from Commonwealth College in Houston , Texas . Stephen has two daughters and resides in Chattanooga. He is a primary director at the East Brainerd chapel. He lives in the East Brainerd community.

Dean  Gentry

Dean Gentry, Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer, TN & GA

Dean has been with Heritage Funeral Homes and Crematory since May, 2009. He began his career in Funeral Service in 1993 and graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in 1997. Dean is licensed in both Tennessee and Georgia and is a key director at the East Brainerd location He along with his wife, Sherri, live in East Ridge.

Collin  Hamrick

Collin Hamrick, TN Director/Embalmer/Media Co-ordinator

Collin became a valued member of the Heritage Funeral Home family in late 2002 and is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. Collin received an Associate of Arts in Mortuary Science from John A. Gupton College in Nashville, but he initially started his college education as a Fine Art major. Collin’s background in art and design has helped him become one of Heritage’s finest at restoring damaged photographs and in creating professional memorial tributes for families.

John  Lifsey

John Lifsey, Director/Embalmer TN & GA

John is a graduate of John A. Gupton College and Middle Tennessee State University. He has been a licensed funeral director and embalmer since 1968 having 10 years teaching and administrative experience in an American Board of Funeral Service Education accredited Mortuary College. John served as representative to the Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards and served as Secretary of the University Mortuary Science Education Association. He is a member of the National Funeral Directors Association and the Georgia Academy of Graduate Embalmers. He is Past Master of the East Ridge Masonic Lodge, Past Sovereign of Knights of Red Cross of Constantine, Thirty Third Degree Scottish Rite Mason, member of the Alhambra Shrine Temple, The Royal Order of Scotland and the Royal Order of Jesters. He and his wife Ellen reside in Flintstone, GA and have a son, Griffin and four grandchildren. They are members of First Centenary United Methodist Church and the Chattanooga/LaFayette Emmaus Community.

Gary  Crider

Gary Crider, Funeral Assistant (non licensed)/Media Co-ordinator

Gary Crider, a long time resident of Dalton, Georgia has been with the Heritage Family since 2008. Gary completed his apprentice funeral director education in 2010 and also serves as a media co-ordinator for the funeral home. His gift of compassion reaches the families he assists along with producing personalized memorials for our families. Gary worked alongside his family at Dalton Equipment Rental for 25 years and remained in management with RSC for an additional 10 years before deciding to pursue a career in the funeral industry. He is a member of Crosspointe Christian Center in Dalton and has two children: his son, Colby and daughter, Ashley and her husband, Abdel Al-Tamini

Jose  Perez

Jose Perez, TN Director/Embalmer

Jose joined the staff of Heritage Funeral Home and Cremation Services in January, 2012. He earned his Associate of Science degree from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, Georgia in 2011.

Dewayne Gravely

Dewayne Gravely, Apprentice (Funeral Director/Embalmer)

Dewayne has been in the funeral industry since 2003 and joined Heritage Funeral Home in July, 2012. He is a member of the Battlefield Parkway team where he is currently completing his apprenticeship to become a funeral director and embalmer. Dewayne has helped us serve many families over the last year and a half and we are thrilled to have him as a full time member of the team. Dewayne has over 10 years of experience serving families in the funeral service profession. He currently resides in Ringgold, GA, is a member of Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle, and is married to Shelley Smith Gravley. Shelley is a teacher at Ringgold Elementary School. Dewayne is an avid New York Mets and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets fan.

Eldon Brunton

Eldon Brunton, Apprentice (Funeral Director)

Eldon Brunton joined the Heritage Family in 2013 and has recently started an apprenticeship for his Funeral Director's license. He is currently serving in the TN Army National Guard with the 278th and spent the last two years providing Military Funeral Honors to countless families around the area. Eldon recieved his bachelor's degree in Parks & Recreation from East TN State University and is currently attending Jefferson State Community College for a degree in Mortuay Science. Eldon is a member of the TVCC Tn Valley Canoe Club and attends church at The Mission Chattanooga with his wife Liz and daugher Hazel.

Christy Scroggins

Christy Scroggins, Administrative Secretary (non licensed)

Christy Scroggins joined the Heritage staff in November 2013. She was born and raised in Chattanooga and graduated in 1989 from Pine Ridge Christian Academy Class in Ooltewah, TN. She worked as a secretery in the automobile industry for 18 years before joining the Heritage team. Christy lives in Soddy-Daisy with her husband of 15 years, Brian.

Karen  Goforth

Karen Goforth, Administrative Secretary (non licensed)

Karen works as bookkeeper and secretary at the East Brainerd Chapel. She has a tremendous gift of music and has traveled with her family, The Blevins Trio for a number of years. She is a gifted pianist and organist and is a member of Parkway Baptist Temple in Ft. Oglethorpe. Karen and her husband, James live in Ringgold. She has a daughter, Ami and her husband Clay and a son, Justin and his wife, Joyce. And the love of her live are her three grandchildren, Brooklynn, Dawson and Henry.

Sue  Humble

Sue Humble, Ambassador (non licensed)

Sue is a greeter for both the East Brainerd and Battlefield Parkway Chapels of Heritage Funeral Home. She is a retired mother of two sons and one stepson and the proud grandmother of three. Sue is an active member at Ridgedale Baptist Church and enjoys music, baking, decorating, and volunteering at local nursing home bible studies. She especially loves time spent with her grandchildren and friends. Sue is a member of Fun Time Band of Spring Creek Road Baptist Church. Sue makes her home in Ringgold, GA. with her husband, David who is also a part of our Heritage staff.

Harold  McClure

Harold McClure, Ambassador (non licensed)

Harold has been with Heritage since 2001 making evening removals and assisting on funeral services. Harold has a heart for those in need, making him such a vital part of the Heritage family. Harold is a licensed minister and he serves as a deacon at Spring Creek Road Baptist Church and has been active in church work teaching Sunday School for many years. He and his wife, Pat live in Harrison and have two children and four grandchildren.

Mike  Sims

Mike Sims, Ambassador(non licensed)

Mike has been with Heritage since spring of 2007. He is a retired minister having pastored for 30 years and has also trained and educated aspiring ministers. He and his wife Flonnie have three children and nine wonderful grandchildren. When not at the funeral home Mike enjoys fishing, hunting, and spending time with his family and grandkids. He and his wife live in Ringgold, GA.

Don Wilson

Don Wilson, Ambassador (non licensed)

Don joined the Heritage family in 2013 after retiring from the Olan Mills Human Resources department where we worked for 42 years. Don has served on numerous boards in the Chattanooga area and continues to have an active role with Chattanooga Society of Human Resources management. He spends most of his spare time with his family and friends who are very important to him. Don lives in the East Brainerd community, loves to golf, and is an avid fan/supporter of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Gary Holder

Gary Holder, Ambassador (non licensed)

Gary has recently joined the staff of Heritage Funeral Home. He is a lifelong resident of Chattanooga and lives in the East Brainerd community. Gary has been employed in the wholesale grocery industry for the past 17 years. He is an active member of The Crossing Church and is involved with the Anointed Praise ministry. Gary's musical talents include singing and playing drums. He and his wife, Vicki of 35 years, have one daughter, Vanessa, married to Jonathan Childers, and a son, Jonathan (J.D.)

Bill  Ottinger

Bill Ottinger, Ambassador(non licensed)

Bill has been a part of the Heritage staff for at least 19 years, answering the telephones throughout the night, and helping with evening visitations. Bill has served as a church deacon, conducting bible teachings and sharing his talents in musical tributes. After working for 35 years for Combustion Engineering, he remains active in the area, belonging to the Whitwell Masonic Lodge, and the Alhambra Shrine Temple. Bill has also enjoyed membership in the East Lake OES #238 for the past half-century and attends Silverdale Baptist Church with his family. He has four sons, Marty, Del, Curtis and Tim along with nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Pat  Boatman

Pat Boatman, Organist/Ambassador (non licensed)

Pat is also not a stranger to the industry. Pat has been with the Lane and Friberg Family for over 20 years. She serves as the music co-ordinator at the East Brainerd Chapel and our Battlefield Parkway Chapel as well as part of the visitation staff at East Brainerd. Pat enjoys teaching music and time with her two children, Darwin and Darla and her four grandchildren. She is a member of Morris Hill Baptist Church and also serves as pianist at Boynton Baptist Church in Ringgold. Pat resides in the East Brainerd community.

Liz  Wright

Liz Wright, Ambassador (non licensed)

Liz is a greeter as well as the hair stylist for the East Brainerd Chapel. Liz has been working in the funeral profession for some 30 years. Liz was former owner and operator of the Beauty Nook Salon in East Ridge for many years. She is a member of New Haven Baptist Church. She lives in Ringgold, GA and has a son and daughter, and two grandsons.

Deborah Qualls

Deborah Qualls, Ambassador (non licensed)

Deborah Qualls is a greeter at the East Brainerd chapel and has been a part of the Heritage family for over five years. Before joining the Heritage staff, Deborah was a hairdresser and barber. She and her husband Mitch have 6 loving children and a house full of grandchildren.

Jerry  McDonald

Jerry McDonald, Ambassador (non licensed)

Jerry is a lifelong resident of Chickamauga. He worked in the Walker County School System for 18 years and has been assisting with funeral services in this area for several years. He and his wife Gail attend Shiloh Baptist Church in Rossville. He has actively served in the church for over 30 years and has held positions including deacon, Children’s Minister, and Sunday School Teacher. He and his wife have three children and eight grandchildren.

Lowell and Linda  Blevins

Lowell and Linda Blevins, Ambassadors (non licensed)

Lowell joined the Heritage Staff as a greeter and funeral assistant in early 2008. He spent 40 years as a construction contractor and is an active member at Brainerd Baptist Church where he sings in the choir and specials. He and his wife Linda have two sons, James and Duane, special daughters-in-law, and two grandchildren. They live in East Brainerd. Linda joined the Heritage Staff as a greeter in early 2008 along with her husband Lowell. Linda retired from TVA but remains active working as a contractor and has traveled extensively with them. She is an active member of Brainerd Baptist Church where she sings in the choir as well as specials, serves on various church committees and assists with the kindergarten children’s choir. She and her husband have two sons, James and Duane, special daughter-in-laws, and two grandchildren. They live in East Brainerd.