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.
In June of 1988, five Erwin, Tennessee business men, including funeral director Michael D. Peterson, formed a corporation with the purpose of constructing and operating Unicoi County's fourth funeral home. They acquired property on Main Street that had housed an automobile dealership, a tire and appliance center, and later a van conversion center. They immediately began the renovations to make the building suitable for use as a funeral home, including a new roof structure, interior walls, ceilings, carpeting, exterior brick, and paving.
On September third and fourth of that year, just ten weeks after renovation began, an open house hosted several hundred people of the community, and Valley Funeral Home began serving Erwin and the surrounding area. In February of 1989, "The Southern Funeral Director" magazine selected Valley Funeral Home as the month's feature firm. A photograph of the facility appeared on the cover of the publication, and a story with additional photographs were included inside. Valley Funeral Home has a church-type chapel with vaulted ceiling and private family room, offices, and a large reception area.
Since 1992, four years after the opening of the funeral home, Valley Funeral Home became the leading funeral home in Unicoi County. Since the start of Valley Funeral Home in 1988, Valley Funeral Home has been increasingly preferred. In 2002 the funeral home served more families than all other funeral homes in Erwin combined. We are proud to be the funeral home of choice for the families of Erwin and Unicoi County.
Our Valued Staff
Michael D. Peterson, Manager, Funeral Director and Embalmer
Michael began his career in funeral service in Unicoi County in 1974 serving his apprenticeship under veteran funeral directors Kay Carey and Bill Campbell. He eventually became a stockholder and manager of that firm, which he served for 12 years prior to selling his stock and becoming associated with H.M. Patterson and Sons Funeral Home in Atlanta, Georgia. Mike attended East Tennessee State University and graduated from Kentucky School of Mortuary Science in 1976. He was involved in the initial stages of the building and opening of Valley Funeral Home and has managed the firm since its inception in 1988. He is a member of Calvary Baptist Church. He has three children, Mindy Lynn Johnson and her husband, Allen; Michael D. Peterson, II and his wife, Kelly Vance Peterson, and Aaron Peterson and his fiance Summer. Michael has two granddaughters, Rilee Grace Peterson and Allie Jo Johnson, two grandsons, Connor Guy Peterson and Ryan Allen-Michael Johnson. Mike is married to Charlene Corby-Peterson.
Amanda V. Edwards, Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer
Amanda is a proud native of Unicoi County, graduating Unicoi County High School with honors in 2003. She then went to John A. Gupton Mortuary College, in Nashville, TN, where she earned an Associates of Arts Degree in Funeral Service. Amanda is married to Lee Edwards, and they are the proud parents of daughters Madilyn McKenzie and Katie Ann Edwards. When not working Amanda enjoys being outdoors and Fall is her favorite time of year. She is a member of Shallow Ford Baptist Church. Amanda considers it an honor to serve the families of Unicoi County, and Valley Funeral Home considers it a privilege to have such a dedicated person.
Michael D. Peterson, II, Family Service Counselor
Michael is a 2004 graduate of Unicoi County High School and is the son of Valley Funeral Home Manager, Mike Peterson. He has been affiliated as a part-time associate with Valley Funeral Home since elementary school and currently serves as a family service counselor through Valley Funeral Home and Evergreen Cemetery. He is a member of West Park Street Baptist Church and is married to Kelly Vance Peterson. They have one daughter, Rilee Grace Peterson and one son, Connor Guy Peterson.
Angela L. Shelton, Administrative Assistant
Angela grew up in Erwin, TN and graduated from Unicoi County High School in 1991. She attended Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, FL where she majored in Business Administration and Management. Angela attends Erwin Church of God. She enjoys photography and spending time with her nieces and nephews.
John Edwards, Funeral Assistant
John is a 1987 graduate of Unicoi County High School, and attended Draughons Jr. College, East Tennessee State University and the Church of God School of Ministry. He has been married to Lori Hire-Edwards since 1994, and they have one son, James Ryan and one grandson, Desmond Wyatt. John is an Ordained Bishop in the Church of God, having served in many areas of pastoral and pulpit ministry across the state of Tennessee since 1986. He was proud to be selected in 2007 to come home and serve as Senior Pastor at Erwin Church of God. John’s experience in funeral service started here in Erwin in 1988, and continued in several areas of the state as he traveled, ministering the Gospel. “I am honored to extend my ministry to help serve the people of Unicoi County, here at Valley Funeral Home,” John says, “it is a great opportunity to show the love of Christ to families in some of their darkest hours, offering a helping hand, a compassionate ear, and a prayerful heart.” John joined the Valley Funeral Home family in January, 2010.
Eddie Bolton, Funeral Assistant
Eddie was born in Erwin, TN and grew up in Love Chapel. He was Valedictorian of his 8th grade class. Eddie is an Eagle Scout with a Gold Palm and was elected to the Order of the Arrow. He graduated from Unicoi County High in 1970 and attended ETSU for 2 years and UT for one year. He worked at NFS for 14 years and then entered sales which he has done for almost 30 years. Eddie was appointed to the Erwin Housing Authority in 2004, elected as an Erwin Alderman in 2006, and also served as Vice Chairman of the Unicoi County Republican party. He is very active at Calvary Baptist Church. Eddie loves to bicycle, hike, and ski.
Kelli Hughes, Funeral Assistant
Kelli is a native of Unicoi County and a 2003 graduate of Unicoi County High School. She attends Carmen Church of God where she serves as the Toddler Class teacher. Kelli loves to help out at her church and to hike, fish, hunt and is an avid outdoors woman.