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Melisssa A. Drake
COO and President

Melissa A. Drake began her tenure at AFC in 1991 where she worked with Vanderlyn R. Pine until his retirement, at which time, Melissa became Co-Owner, COO, and President of AFC in 2007 and upon Kathy's retirement in 2021, she became the sole owner of AFC.

As such, she oversees all data processing, analysis, and interpretation, as well as all computer program design, development, and implementation for all Appraisals and all other specialized consulting carried out by the firm. In addition, Melissa serves as a Buy/Sell Intermediary and carries out all phases of sales transactions, working closely with all clients on a daily basis.

Melissa's professional career has been devoted exclusively to providing professional and personalized service to our clients

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Kathy D. Williams

Profile Article - 50 Years and Going Strong

Kathy D. Williams began her career with American Funeral Consultants founder Vanderlyn R. Pine in 1969, even prior to the formal formation of the Company.

In 2007, she became Co-Owner, CFO, and Secretary/Treasurer of AFC with Melissa Drake until her retirement on June 30th 2021.

Over the years, both Melissa and Kathy have co-authored and served as an expert resource for many featured topics and articles that have appeared in funeral service trade journals and publications. In addition, they have co-presented on critical funeral service issues at various Association Conventions, funeral service educational institutions, study groups, and other related organizations.

Our History

American Funeral Consultants originally evolved to fill a need expressed by funeral business owners and funeral directors. In response to their search for guidance for financial advice, Vanderlyn R. Pine developed a niche business designed to provide specialized funeral business appraisal and consulting services and buy/sell intermediary services.

In 1970, founder Dr. Vanderlyn R. Pine, licensed funeral director, sociologist, and statistician was appointed as the Management Consultant for the National Funeral Directors Association, a position he held until 1985. He formed "Research and Analysis Associates" and carried out NFDA's work through that Company. He also began publishing articles and books and presenting seminars on the sociology of death, grief and bereavement issues, disaster preparedness, funeral home evaluation, and financial management. In his capacity as NFDA's Consultant, Dr. Pine began to receive requests for help from funeral directors who needed to know how to value their funeral homes and from those who wanted to sell their firms and didn't know where to start. This demand for services led to the development of "Vanderlyn R. Pine Associates," which began to offer formal Appraisal, Buy/Sell Intermediary, Succession Planning Services, and Expert Witness Testimony and Support. In 1992, Vanderlyn R. Pine Associates metamorphosed into "American Funeral Consultants" to designate the Company's nationwide work exclusively within funeral service.

From 1970 on, Dr. Pine helped hundreds of funeral home owners and their management staff throughout the United States to achieve their business goals. The clients of the Company have included owners of small, medium, and large independent funeral homes, and acquisition companies, as well. In March, 2007, we enacted our own Succession Plan and Dr. Pine transferred ownership of AFC to his long-time employees and colleagues, Kathy D. Williams and Melissa A. Drake. Kathy retired in 2021. Melissa continues to operate the Company with the same high level of commitment to funeral service, continuing Dr. Pine's legacy of dedication, expertise, and professionalism to funeral service.