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 1880's James M. Cheek and Rober H. Cheek, uncles of J.L. Bass, were merchants and traders of New Middleton. In October, 1897, they started an undertaking firm in New Middleton as a part of their operation. As a boy, J.L. Bass began helping his uncles in their business and conducted his first funeral alone when he was only fourteen years of age. 

In September 1916, J.L. Bass started his own undertaking firm in New Middleton. Meanwhile, Cheek and Cheek had become Cheek and Parker and later Cheek and Neal. In 1917, J.L. Bass bought our Cheek and Neal and merged it with his own firm. Thus, the firm started by J.L. Bass's uncles in 1897 became part of his firm and operation. Then J.L. Bass formed a partnership with S.F. Coffee which enable him to operate an undertaking firm in both New Middleton and and Gordonsville.

Our Valued Staff

  • Danny Bass

    Danny Bass, Funeral Director/ Embalmer/ Insurance Agent

    Danny is a 4th Generation Licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer, Insurance Agent, Preneed Sales Agent, and serves as Owner of Bass Funeral Home. Danny Married the late Annette Manning of Lancaster and they have two children; Megan Bass (Justin) Cobble, and Kurt Bass. Annette was the daughter of Nell Manning of Lancaster and the Late Fred Manning. Danny is the son of the Late Oleda Gwaltney Bass Hill of Gordonsville and the Late Paul B. Bass. Danny Graduated Gordonsville High School in 1976 and Received an Associates Degree in Mortuary Sciences from John A. Gupton College in 1978. Danny has been very active in several organizations as he is Past President for the Smith County Chamber of Commerce, Past President of the Upper Cumberland Funeral Directors Association and Past Director for the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association. Danny has been active in Funeral Service since the age of 12 and received his EMT License and Apprentice Funeral Directors License at the age of 16. Danny enjoys spending time with his grandchildren; Katherine, Benjamin, Case and Whit.

  • Kurt D. Bass

    Kurt D. Bass, Funeral Director/ Apprentice Embalmer

    Kurt Bass is a Licensed Funeral Director, TN Licensed Insurance Agent, and Apprentice Embalmer with our Firm and the fifth generation to work in the funeral business. Kurt has two children; Katherine Annette Bass and Benjamin James Daniel Bass. Kurt is the son of Danny and the late Annette Bass of Lancaster. Kurt graduated from Gordonsville High School in 2010. He attended University of Tennessee - Knoxville in 2010 and 2011 and graduated from Tennessee Tech University in 2016 with a degree in Accounting. Kurt also serves on the Board of Directors at DTC for the Temperance Hall Exchange and on the Wilson Bank & Trust Community Board. Kurt enjoys playing music and running - having participated in one marathon, several half marathons, numerous 5Ks, and overnight relay races.

  • Dennis Croslin

    Dennis Croslin, Funeral Director/Embalmer

    Dennis is a 1999 graduate of Gordonsville High School, a 2015 graduate of Volunteer State Community College, and a 2023 graduate of Gupton College. He has been pastor of Union Hill Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the Sykes Community since May of 2013. Dennis and his Wife, Melinda, reside in Gordonsville and are parents to eight children: Chris (Shelby) Fuson, Shane (Raven) Fuson, Quentin Fuson, and Levi, Bart, Hank, Sarah, and Savannah Croslin. They are also grandparents to Carson, Evie, Wyatt, and Emilia Fuson. Dennis is the son of Gary "PeeWee" Croslin and Marie Wills Croslin. Dennis enjoys exercising, studying his Bible, participating in the church activities, and spending time with his kids.

  • Billy  Bass

    Billy Bass, Funeral Director/Insurance Agent

    Billy is married to the former Amanda Holliman of Defeated and they reside in Tanglewood. Billy has 3 children, Zach, Jacob, and Sydney.

  • Sarah Beasley Tinsley

    Sarah Beasley Tinsley, Funeral Assistant

    Mrs. Sarah is a funeral assistant with our firm. She has been with us since January of 2017. Mrs. Sarah is married to Harvey Tinsley. Originally from Dixon Springs, Mrs. Sarah taught Kidergarten for 22 years and then 2nd Grade until her retirement, all in the Smith County School System. Mrs. Sarah and Harvey have two children, Reid (Sarah) Tinsley of Nashville, TN and Erin Tinsley of Soddy Daisy.Mrs. Sarah enjoys pet sitting, the beach, Cade's Cove, and stays very active in her retirement. She attends the Carthage United Methodist Church, where she is involved in Women's Bible Study and the Prayer Shawl Ministry.

  • Steve Armistead

    Steve Armistead, Funeral Assistant

    Steve is a funeral assistant with our firm. Steve graduated from Gordonsville High School in 1972 and Cumberland College in 1974. He received his BS in Education from Tennessee Tech in 1977 and his MS in Education from Trevecca in 1989. Steve taught in the Smith Co. School System for 40 years. He served as Principal of Union Heights Elementary for four years and of Gordonsville School for 16 years. Steve and his wife, Renee, have three children; Brooke, Brandi, and Brittany, and seven grandchildren. Steve attends First Baptist Church, Gordonsville, where he has served as a deacon since 1995.

  • James T. Gibbs

    James T. Gibbs, Funeral Assistant

    James Thomas Gibbs is married to the former Brenda Armistead and they reside in South Carthage. He is the pastor of the Jared Missionary Baptist Church. They have one son, Thomas Allen Gibbs, and 1 Granddaughter, Jessica Dillehay. Bro. James enjoys farming and spending time with his Great-Grandson, Jackson.

  • Matthew Boss

    Matthew Boss

    Matthew is a Funeral Assistant with our firm. Matthew is the son of Joey and Kimberly Boss of Alexandria. Matthew graduated from DeKalb County High School in 2013. Matthew graduated from Tennessee Technological University in 2016 with a degree in Political Science. Matthew also graduated from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in 2018 with a Juris Doctor. Matthew attends First Baptist Church in Alexandria. Matthew serves as the President of the DeKalb County Fair Association Inc., and member of the Alexandria Lions Club. Matthew enjoys farming on his family farm, and spending time with friends and family.

  • Zachary  Fuson

    Zachary Fuson, Funeral Director / Insurance Agent

    Zach has been with our firm since May of 2016 and is a licensed Funeral Director & Insurance Agent. He serves as Funeral Director for Avant Funeral Home. He graduated from DeKalb County High School in 2006 & from Tennessee Tech. University in 2010 with a degree in Animal Science. Zach currently serves as Vice President of the Upper Cumberland Funeral Directors Association & is a member of the Indian Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Smithville. Zachary & his wife Leigh have one son, Landon Roy Fuson and they live in Alexandria.

  • James L. Bass

    James L. Bass, Funeral Director

    **In Memory**James was the oldest active licensed funeral director in the State of Tennessee. He married the late Erma Armistead Bass of New Middleton, and resides in Carthage. They have three children, David Bass, Jane Bass Turner, and John Bass, who is deceased.

  • James Robert Bass

    James Robert Bass, Funeral Director/ Embalmer/ Insurance Agent

    **In Memory**James Robert was a Licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer, and Insurance Agent. He is a 1960 graduate of John A. Gupton College. He was married to the former Cora Goad of Russell Hill and they reside in Gordonsville.