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

Our History

In the early 1930's, Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home, Alleghany County's first funeral home, was opened in the home of Mr. Dewey Sturdivant on Main Street in Sparta, North Carolina. At one time, Reins-Sturdivant had funeral homes in West Jefferson, Sparta, Newland, and North Wilkesboro in North Carolina, and in Independence, Virginia. Sometime later, Mr. Sturdivant built a new funeral home across Main Street from the original building. The name was changed to Sturdivant Funeral Home in the early 1960's.

Alleghany County native Harold Church joined Sturdivant on a part-time basis in 1963. He began full-time employment with the firm in 1965, and graduated with honors from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in March of 1968. He remained with Sturdivant until 1970, when he joined Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

In 1973, a group of local investors built a building on a large piece of property on Grandview Drive, hired Mr. Frank Jones, a Mount Airy, North Carolina funeral director, and opened Jones Funeral Home. Because the expectations of the investors were not met, Harold Church was contacted by the group and was persuaded to return to Sparta in 1974. The name of the firm was changed to Church Funeral Service. 

By 1980, Sturdivant Funeral Home merged with Church Funeral Service, and the name became Grandview Memorial Funeral Home. Harold Church and Cecil Murray purchased the stock of the other investors, and in 1986, Harold Church bought Murray's stock and became the sole owner of Grandview. In 1991, Grandview merged with an independent family owned business located in Elizabethton, TN called Heritage Family Funeral Service.  Harold Church remained with Heritage Family Funeral Service until his retirement in June of 2010.

Grandview continues to proudly serve the personal needs of Alleghany county and surrounding areas.

Our Valued Staff

  • Donnie  Brim

    Donnie Brim Manager and Licensed Funeral Director

    Donnie is a native of Mount Airy and moved to Sparta in 1991. He graduated from Mt. Airy High School in 1974 and Fayetteville Technical Community College in 2005. He is a North Carolina licensed Funeral Director, a member of the Sparta Church of God, the Gideons International and the Alleghany County Rotary Club. He is married to the former Glona Hines Bennett. He has three step-children, five step-grandchildren and three step-great-grandchildren..

  • Marie Thompson

    Marie Thompson Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer

    Marie Thompson is a third generation funeral director and embalmer. Her family owned and operated Harrelson Funeral Home in Rutherford County, North Carolina, where her desire to assist and serve families began. Marie is a graduate of Fayetteville Technical Community College, and has several years of experience. She has three children, Debra, John and Maria. She feels right at home in the beauty of Sparta and Alleghany County, and looks forward to serving the wonderful people of our area for many years to come.

  • Michael Hendricks

    Michael Hendricks Family Services Counselor

    Michael was born in Jacksonville, Florida and graduated from Andrew Jackson High School. He is a licensed life insurance agent, with several years of experience. He retired from Publix Supermarkets in 2016, and moved to Sparta. He has one son, Justin and one daughter, Amber. Michael joined the staff at Grandview Memorial Funeral Home in August of 2018 as a part-time funeral assistant. His duties with us have recently expanded to include assisting our families with their monument needs, aftercare consulting and pre-arrangement planning.

  • Jim Parker

    Jim Parker Funeral Assistant

    Jim was born and raised in Washington, DC and moved to Sparta in 2003. He joined the staff of Grandview Memorial Funeral Home in 2010 as a part-time Funeral Assistant. He is an Army veteran who served in Korea. He is married to Priscilla Parker and is a member of Horizon Church in Elkin, NC.

  • Walter F Johnson Jr

    Walter F Johnson Jr Family Services Director

    Since the age of 17, Walter F. Johnson has been in and around the Funeral Service Industry, and is a second-generation employee of Heritage Family Funeral Service. He served his apprenticeship at Hampton Funeral Service in Boone, North Carolina, where he also worked for seven years. Walter is a 2015 graduate of Fayetteville Technical Community College with a degree in funeral service. He is a licensed funeral director, and is a licensed pre-need counselor in North Carolina. Walter is married to Pam (Cornett) Johnson. They have two children, Zack and Kaylee, and they live in Boone, North Carolina. They are active members of Willow Valley Baptist Church (Watauga County), where Walter serves as a deacon and in other leadership roles.

  • Patsy  Gillespie

    Patsy Gillespie Funeral Assistant

    Patsy is a native of Alleghany County and joined the Grandview Memorial Staff in 2008. She is a 1957 graduate of Sparta High School and is married to Jimmie Gillespie. They have two daughters, Jill and Jennifer and three grandchildren. Patsy attends Old Saddle Mountain Union Baptist Church.

  • Jimmy  Gillespie

    Jimmy Gillespie Funeral Assistant

    In Loving Memory
    1939-2020

    Jimmie was a lifelong native of Alleghany County, and worked most of his adult life in Sparta. He graduated from Sparta High School in 1957. He was married to the former Patsy McKnight and they had two daughters, Jill and Jennifer, and three grandchildren. Jimmie and Patsy owned and operated Sparta Florist for nearly thirty years. He was very active in community and Church affairs. He currently served on the Board of Directors of the Glade Creek Fire Department. Jimmie attended Old Saddle Mountain Union Baptist Church. He joined the staff at Grandview Memorial in January of 2002 as a part-time funeral assistant.