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

Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home

Earnest L. Oulla (1881-1960) acquired, in the early 1900s, a business long-remembered as “The Vaughan Undertaking Company.” The new business was operated as Oulla’s Inc., and it was advertised as offering “Furniture and Pianos, Ambulance Service, Funeral Directors.” The funeral home was located on South Dargan Street next door to St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Expansion became necessary as Mr. Oulla’s clientele began to increase. The residence of Dr. Frank H. McLeod, Sr. at 300 South Dargan Street became available. The McLeod house, which was completed in 1917, was one of the residential showplaces of Florence. A brick structure, it incorporated many elaborate architectural details and had been the family home of Dr. McLeod for nearly 20 years.

In the early 1930s the price of the McLeod residence was reported to be 10,000 dollars, a tremendous price at that time. In order to purchase the house, Oulla used the property on which his funeral home stood as a down payment. Oulla Funeral Home moved into the old McLeod home at the corner of Dargan and Palmetto Streets.

In 1946 Conner D. Stoudenmire (1911-86), purchased the Oulla Funeral Home. In 1948 the name of the business was changed to Stoudenmire Funeral Home.

In 1973 Stoudenmire incorporated his business, allowing his employees to become stockholders. Two of them, Alton Parker and Merle Baxley, remained stockholders and active employees until their deaths.

In 1980 John F. Dowling joined the staff as a funeral director and embalmer. A native of Darlington County, Dowling had been associated as a stockholder with funeral homes in both Darlington and Hartsville. In early 1981, he was named manager of the firm, and purchased a portion of the business. Upon the death of Stoudenmire in 1986, Charlotte C. Stoudenmire was named the president, and Dowling was named vice president and general manager. On June 30, 1988, Dowling purchased all of the outstanding stock in the corporation. Since that time he has served as president and general manager, and his wife, Wanda Haynes Dowling, as vice president and office manager. In 1990 the name of the corporation was changed to Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home, Inc.

In 1996 Dowling came to realize that just as Florence was experiencing a rapid growth, so was his business. It was apparent that his beautiful facility was not going to be adequate to handle the needs of their families. After several months of searching for the right location, the Dowlings purchased a four acre tract on the outskirts of Florence on Highway301 and 52 South. After extensive site preparation construction was begun on February 27, 1998 for the new facility.

The new facility is a two story colonial design with a front porch with four columns. The approximately 16,000 square feet space on the lower level is designed with large rooms and high ceilings. The entry foyer offers access to the office complex, which is comprised of a business office, a bookkeeping office, private offices for John and Wanda Dowling and the arrangement office. The arrangement office is conveniently located next to the Casket Selection Room, which can exhibit 26 adult caskets, a vault display, and a clothing display. Also adjoining the arrangement office is a cremation display room with both cremation caskets and cremation urns.

The foyer also offers access to the center of the building where the large reposing rooms open into a large center hallway accented with columns and chandeliers. The foyer also offers entrance to the chapel area. The chapel has its own large foyer, which can be used as a reposing room. The chapel also has an adjoining family room. Together, they have a seating capacity of 275 people. A custom-made 3 –piece stained glass window highlights the pulpit area. The building is equipped with 2 sound systems, one in the chapel and one for the remainder of the building. The chapel also has a wheelchair area and equipment for the hearing impaired. One person from an area adjacent to the pulpit area can control the sound and lighting systems. The preparation room is a two-station facility with state of the art equipment. It has a cooling and ventilation system utilizing a custom designed air exchanger. The preparation room is joined to an enclosed garage area that will allow unloading directly into the prep room. Also adjoining the preparation room is a dressing and cosmetology room which provides a more suitable area for visiting hairdressers to work.

A minister’s study is situated near the family entrance to the chapel and to the pulpit. This was designed to give the ministers a quiet area for meditation and study yet easy access to the families arriving for services.

Florists are able to deliver flowers directly into a floral delivery room and have access to the room during all business and visitation hours.

The paved parking lot can accommodate in excess of 150 automobiles. Handicapped parking is available on all four sides of the building.

The Dowlings are proud of their funeral home and its rich heritage, and they are also proud to be a part of the Florence community.


Our Valued Staff

  • Wanda Haynes  Dowling

    Wanda Haynes Dowling

  • Sandy  Dowling

    Sandy Dowling Funeral Director

    Sandy was born and raised in Darlington, South Carolina. He began his career in funeral service working part-time while in high school and has been involved in the profession for over 30 years. He attended Clemson University, Francis Marion University, a graduate of Piedmont Technical College, and also earned Certificates of Advanced Training in Sales and Management and has been trained in OSHA and DHEC compliance. Sandy has been associated with Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home since 1990. He is married to Debra Cole Dowling and they have two daughters, Amanda Dowling and Courtney Dowling Freeman and her husband, Thomas, and two grandsons. Sandy and his family attend Central Baptist Church in Darlington.

  • Heather Dowling Burnham

    Heather Dowling Burnham Office Manager

    Heather was born and raised in Florence. She graduated from South Florence High School and attended Francis Marion University. She and her children, Jason and Karlee, are all members of Central United Methodist Church in Florence. She has worked for Stoudenmire-Dowling since 1999.

  • Marc Kitchens

    Marc Kitchens Funeral Director - Embalmer

    Marc is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where he received a BA Degree in Accounting. He is a 1993 graduate from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, GA. Marc has been in funeral service since 1988.

  • Wayne Campbell

    Wayne Campbell Funeral Director and Embalmer

    Wayne was born in Little Rock (Dillon County), SC on November 18, 1968. He graduated from Dillon High School in 1987 and graduated from Fayetteville Technical Community College in 2005 and received an Associates Degree in Funeral Service Education. He served his apprenticeship under Raymond Kannaday in Latta, SC and earned his dual license in 2007. Wayne served in the United States Marine Corps from 1987 - 1991 and was part of the 3rd Marine Air Wing. He is the very proud husband of Lynn Campbell, proud father of Courtney Marie Campbell and step-father of Mitchell Cockfield. He was also a Past Master Mason in the Mackey Lodge #77 AFM in Dillon, SC.
    Wayne joined Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home in September 2013 as a Funeral Director, Embalmer and is a certified crematory operator.

  • Lenora Haynes Starling

    Lenora Haynes Starling Insurance Specialist

    Lenora was born and raised in Florence and graduated from South Florence High School. She is a member of Palmetto Street Church of God. She has three children and six grandchildren.

  • Mr. W. Pete Hoogendonk II

    Mr. W. Pete Hoogendonk II Funeral Director and Embalmer

    Pete is a native of The Netherlands. He attended East Carolina University and graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science. He holds a dual license as Funeral Director/Embalmer in both NC and SC. Prior to coming to Florence in 2001, he Had worked in NC for 25 years. He is a member of the Florence Kiwanis Club, having served as its President, and is currently a Trustee of Region 8 of the Carolinas District Kiwanis and has been named a George Hixon Fellow. Pete served in the US Air Force during Vietnam and is a member of Florence VFW Post 3181 and Calabash, NC American Legion Post 503. He and his wife, Marti, are members of Central United Methodist Church and the Sarah Blanton SS Class. Pete also is active with the United Methodist Men, serves as a Crucifer and is on the Columbarium Committee.

  • James Richardson

    James Richardson Advanced Planning Funeral Director

    Jimmy Richardson has been a licensed funeral director since 1989. A native of Charleston, he began his career in funeral service at McAlister Funeral Home while a student at the College of Charleston. Jimmy continued his education at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science where he earned his bachelor’s degree. In 1999, he began to specialize in advanced funeral planning and continues in that capacity today. He and his wife, Rebecca, have been married since 1991 and have two adult children, Ross and Kara, and two grandchildren, Raelynn and Keaton. They also have three dogs: Biggie, Tank and Ricky. Over the years, Jimmy has served in his church as a deacon, in his community in the Lions International, and in the Gideons International. Music, reading and running are among his hobbies, but his occupational passion is to help people be prepared. “I want to keep an emotional loss from also becoming a financial loss. That’s a burden bereaved families don’t need and that’s why I’m such an advocate for advanced funeral planning.”

  • Aubree Lee

    Aubree Lee Apprentice

    Aubree was born in Florence, SC. She graduated from South Florence High School and began working for Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home in November 2020.

  • Wally Smith

    Wally Smith Associate Director

  • Ron  Pruitt

    Ron Pruitt Associate Director

  • Ed Sprenger

    Ed Sprenger Associate Director

  • Ronnie Reynolds

    Ronnie Reynolds Associate Director

    Ronnie was born in Mullins, SC on August 3, 1951. He is married to Terry and they have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. Ronnie retired from AT&T in 2009 after 32 years. He is a member of Sparrow Swamp Baptist Church, active in disaster relief, and Past Master of Oak Grove Lodge. He started working with Stoudenmire-Dowling in August of 2017.

  • Bill Bridges

    Bill Bridges

    Bill Bridges is a native of Florence who began part-time with Stoudemire-Dowling in 2020 after having retired from a distinguished career in Sales and Business Development. A graduate of Furman University, Bill is active and known throughout the Florence community, including membership in Central Methodist Church, and as a Board Member of the Florence County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Bill is married to Kathy, and they share love and affection for Piper, a gorgeous Gordon Setter.
    Bill is pleased to contribute to the legacy of caring long associated with the Stoudemire-Dowling tradition in Florence.

  • Raymond Keith Shepard Jr.

    Raymond Keith Shepard Jr. Associate Director

    Born in Marion, SC and raised in Darlington, SC, Keith graduated from St. John's High School.
    A Vietnam Era Veteran, in 1969, he enlisted in the US Navy.
    Keith met his wife, Donna Brown, in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1972 and married in 1973.
    Keith participated in the retrieval of the astronauts and capsule for Apollo 16 aboard the USS Ticonderoga as a Helicopter Sea Air Rescue (SAR) Swimmer and Crew chief.
    In 1993, after almost 25 years, Keith retired from the US Navy as a Master Chief Petty Officer.
    He worked many different jobs before settling in 1998 in Darlington and taking a job as a Senior Manager of Quality Control with a start-up company, Musashi SC in Bennettsville.
    In the Fall of 2009, Keith began classes at Francis Marion University and after attending school year round, in the Summer of 2011, he graduated from Francis Marion University (FMU) with a BA degree in German and a Minor in Religion.
    In 2019, Keith began working for Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home.

  • Sophie McLellan

    Sophie McLellan Bereavement Care

    Sophie is a registered service and emotional support dog. She was born in 2014 and has now been serving in the funeral industry since 2019. She is part Shih-tzu and part Maltese. She is here to comfort and help our families.

  • George  Hammond

    George Hammond Associate Director

    George was born in Florence and raised in Darlington, SC. He graduated from St. John's High School, Darlington. He has lived in Florence since 1989 and retired in 1999 after 35 years as an Insurance Agent.

    He and his wife, Patty, are members of Unity Baptist Church, Florence. He has worked for Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home since March of 2000..