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

Nicholson Funeral Home is a landmark in downtown Statesville. Now housed in a stately 1901 colonial revival home on East Front Street, its history goes back to 1850. It was then that the William Thomas Nicholson family settled on Hunting Creek, north of Harmony. They had traveled from New Jersey to open a gristmill. Some 28 years later, the Nicholson's, along with the Jennings and White families, began to make and sell caskets at the general stores they operated throughout northern Iredell County. As was common in the late 1800s, many undertakers were also furniture makers, and the Nicholson's continued to sell caskets and conduct funerals in their furniture store when they moved to Statesville. At the time, a casket’s price was based on the wood used and its size—probably between $25 and $35 for an adult casket. W.T. Nicholson moved the funeral home into its current location in 1920, and he remained its owner until his death in 1951. “Many of Mr. Nicholson’s descendants have remained in our community, even to this day.

Lonnie G. Turner, Sr. and his family bought the funeral home from Mr. Nicholson before he died. During that time, and until 1991, Marvin and Louise Raymer managed the business for Mr. Turner. When Lonnie Turner died, Nicholson Funeral Home went into his family estate, which was managed by his daughter, Mary Turner Gilliam. Mrs. Gilliam, like her father before her, and her husband, Mr. L.S. (Bill) Gilliam, Jr., were benevolent caretakers to Statesville, their church, friends and strangers alike. In 1983, in keeping with her father’s wishes that his business be sold to a local family who would carry on his philosophy of “family serving family., The Troutman/Strandburg family became Nicholson’s third family of owners in all of its 131 years. “Mary Gilliam was like a guardian angel. She gave us the opportunity to help others and to follow in her father’s footsteps.  Mrs. Gilliam trusted the new owners to continue her father’s strong traditions.”

Our Valued Staff

  • Bill Brater

    Bill Brater, President

  • Tommy Nesbit

    Tommy Nesbit, Funeral Director

    704-872-5287 | [email protected]

  • J.Burr Fraley

    J.Burr Fraley, Funeral Director & Embalmer

    Born and raised in Statesville. Graduated from Catawba College and moved to Texas to work as a Surveyor in Gas and Oil Exploration. Moved back to Statesville with my Texas bride, Guylyn. Took early retirement from Freightliner and changed my career going to work for Nicholson Funeral Home. My wife and I live on a farm in West Iredell. We try to spend our free time camping, fishing and enjoying life in the outdoors.

  • Legrand Payne

    Legrand Payne, Funeral Director, Licensed Pre-Need Insurance Agent

    704-872-5287 | [email protected]

  • Alana Henderson

    Alana Henderson, Funeral Director/Advance Planning Specialist/Aftercare Specialist

    [email protected]

  • Wayne Stikeleather

    Wayne Stikeleather, Funeral Assistant

  • Carl Gilbert

    Carl Gilbert, Funeral Assistant


  • Richard Kimball

    Richard Kimball, Funeral Assistant

  • Dave Nyquist

    Dave Nyquist, Funeral Assistant

  • Tony Cook

    Tony Cook, Funeral Assistant

  • Rebecca Beaver

    Rebecca Beaver, Funeral Assistant

  • Jim VanZee

    Jim VanZee, Funeral Assistant

    Jim and his wife Nedra have been married for forty-nine years. They have been blessed with two children and four grandchildren. They have enjoyed living in Statesville and being members of First Baptist Church for over 40 years. Jim enjoys watching sports, playing golf, and being with my family.

  • Earnest Galliher

    Earnest Galliher, Funeral Assistant

  • Andrew Pierce

    Andrew Pierce, Funeral Service Apprentice

    [email protected]

  • Pastor James Lewis

    Pastor James Lewis, Funeral Assistant

  • Patti Sherill Sloan

    Patti Sherill Sloan, Funeral Assistant

  • Michele Bowes

    Michele Bowes, Administration Assistant

  • Byron Winn

    Byron Winn, Funeral Service & Pre-Need Specialist

    Byron Winn is now a dual licensed funeral service professional. He has an Associate of Arts degree in Mortuary Science from John A. Gupton Mortuary College in Nashville, Tennessee, an Associate of Arts in Practical Theology from Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas; and a Bachelor of Science in Church Ministries from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas. He has worked in funeral service since 1992. Byron has also been credentialed with the Assemblies of God as a licensed minister and served as an associate pastor in of a church in northern Virginia. Byron is married to Krisa and they have two children, Grace & Karis. When I became a funeral director, I believed it was the opportunity for me to be the hands, feet, and mouth of Jesus – fleshed out to people who are desperately hurting as they navigate through the Valley of the Shadow of Death – helping to bring them comfort and peace in the midst of their storm.

  • Kaylee Christine Varner

    Kaylee Christine Varner, Funeral Service

    Kaylee was born in Wake County and grew up in Franklinton, NC until 2005, when her family then moved to Newton, NC. She attended Fred T. Foard High school where she graduated from in 2009. She then went on to Cosmetology school, became a licensed hair dresser and then went into funeral school. She joined into the funeral business in September 2012. She married her best friend, Cody, in May of 2016. They have a mini farm along with four spoiled fur babies, Rylee, Marlee and Maggee and cow, Monkey. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, canning, cuddling to watch movies and crocheting her blanket.