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

United Funeral Service, Inc. had it's beginnings in 1907 when Hamilton Hardware began filling an unmet need in Union County by stocking caskets and doing embalming above the main floor of the hardware business in downtown New Albany. By succession, United Funeral Service was incorporated in 1964 by a group of local community leaders who wanted a first class facility with dedicated caring professionals to serve the community for future generations. We will celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2009. We have met the vision of our forbearers by continually remodeling and upgrading our physical site as well employing the very finest professionals who are sincerely motivated by their calling to serve families. We’ll be here when you need us and always have been. We call ourselves "The United Family" and truly feel that way.

Our local newspaper began a poll of citizenry many years ago called “the best of the best” and United Funeral Service has always been voted "The Best Funeral Home" every year. We don’t take our duty and responsibility for sterling service for granted and we pride ourselves in meeting and exceeding the expectations of families in their time of need. We are humbled when we are told by visiting friends and family from other states and locations that they wish they had a funeral home like United in their city or community.

We continue to be family owned and understand what families go through when they suffer the loss of a loved one because each one of us has experienced that and know what a huge difference it makes in the grief process in how the funeral ceremony and saying "goodbye" is professionally and caringly handled. We are proud to give each family the care and attention they deserve. We encourage families to celebrate the life of the deceased and try to personalize every funeral service to reflect on that life. 



Our Valued Staff

Rodney Shands

Rodney Shands, President

Rodney has practiced law since 1972 and was elected County Attorney for seven consecutive terms and then as Chancery Judge for the First Judicial District of Mississippi in 2002, retiring from the bench in 2006. He came to United as a Board Member and legal counsel in 1973 and was selected as President in 1987 and continues in that capacity today. In addition to his duties at United, he also is a roster neutral for the American Arbitration Association and conducts mediation for cases for appointment by Judges and upon request by counsel. He has been a member of the New Albany Presbyterian Church since 1964 and has served as Deacon and Elder as well as served on the Synod’s Missionary Board, Foundation Board and Board of Stewardship, all based in Greenville, South Carolina. He and his wife, Ginger, have three daughters and seven grandchildren


Larry  Reedy

Larry Reedy, Manager

Larry is a licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer, and Insurance Agent who has been with United Funeral Service for over 40 years. Larry graduated from high school in New Albany, attended Northeast Community College and graduated from Kentucky School of Mortuary Science. He is a long-time member of Hillcrest Baptist Church in New Albany and has two children, Will and Laura Reedy. Will is married to Renee and is the current worship pastor at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Columbus, MS. Laura teaches at New Albany Elementary School. Larry has been the manager at United since 1988.


Cary  Saxon

Cary Saxon, Funeral Director

Cary is a licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer, Pre-Need Counselor and Insurance Agent who has been working in funeral service since 1986. A graduate of South Pontotoc Attendance Center and Northwest Community College where he earned his degree as Associate of Applied Science in Funeral Service. He and his wife, Sara, daughter, Ashlyn, and son, Levi live in Ingomar and are members of Hillcrest Baptist Church.


Thomas  Maclin

Thomas Maclin, Funeral Director

Thomas earned his BS degree from Delta State University and his Masters Degree in business Administration from the University of Mississippi. He joined the United family in October, 2001 and is a licensed Funeral Director. He and his wife, Betty, have two children, Mark and Stephanie and 3 grandchildren.


Nicky Lynn Owen

Nicky Lynn Owen

Nicky joined United in 2004. He is the son of the late Pearl and Ralph Owen. He is a graduate of Victory Christian Academy in New Albany.


Caleb M. Chandler

Caleb M. Chandler

Caleb is married to Amanda Chandler. They have one daughter Macy Chandler. He is the son of Don and Katie Chandler. Caleb graduated from New Albany High School in 2007.


Benny  Hogue

Benny Hogue, Maintenance manager

Benny has been working in the funeral business as a groundskeeper and maintenance manager since 1990. He and his wife, Doris, have been married for over 37 years and have three children and seven grandchldren. Benny served in the National Guard for six years. Benny and Doris attend Hillcrest Baptist Church.


Kathryn  McClure

Kathryn McClure, Office Manager

Kathryn has been a member of the United family since 1989. She and husband, Mike, have been married for over 30 years and have two daughters. Laurie is married to Jeremy White, they have two sons, Owen and Reece. Whitney, who is engaged to Brock White, is studying to become a Dental Hygienist. Kathryn and Mike are long time members of Martin Baptist Church where Kathryn serves on the nominating, counting, shower and food committees as well as serving as a member of WMU and works in the church nursery from time to time. Her favorite Bible verse is "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" Philippians 4:13.


Judy  Wingo

Judy Wingo

Judy came to United in 1994 after many years working in the banking industry. She is the daughter of the late William "Bill" and Blondie Wingo and has one son, Bobby, a graduate of Mississippi State University. She is a member of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.


Beverly  Baker

Beverly Baker

Beverly came to United in September 8, 1998. She has two sons Baron Baker, a member of the Union County Sheriff's Department, and Brent Baker a member of the New Albany Police Department. She attends Hillcrest Baptist Church.


Joe  Bryant

Joe Bryant

Joe has worked part time for United since retiring as Sheriff of Union County where he served for three terms. Prior to that, Joe was a policeman and investigator for the New Albany Police Department. Joe and his wife, Martha, have one daughter, Denise Allen, who is married to Skipper Allen and one grandaughter and two great-grandchildren. Joe is a member of the American Legion, a Mason and a Shriner and he and his wife attend Parks Baptist Church.


Steve  McCollum

Steve McCollum


Benny Rakestraw

Benny Rakestraw

Benny was born and raised in Union County. He and his wife, Mabel, have two children, Tonya McBrayer and Perrin Rakestraw; three grandchildren and three great granchildren.
He served five terms as a Union County Supervisor.
He is a member of Parks Baptist Church.