The Tennessee Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers has suspended Thomas Henry North Jr.’s funeral director and embalming licenses on grounds he allegedly displayed inappropriate conduct and was disrespectful to deceased persons in three different instances.
North owns Watson-North Funeral Home at 405 Sharp Springs Road, Winchester.
Although the board suspended North’s personal licenses, the funeral home’s establishment license has not been suspended, according to a statement from the board.
Watson-North has been allowed to continue operating with services handled by another licensed embalmer.
The suspensions were issued on July 11, pending a formal administrative hearing that has not been set.
The allegations have been denied, according to a written statement released from North’s attorney, Kerry Knox from Murfreesboro. The statement says the allegations were made by a disgruntled former funeral home associate and two disgruntled former employees.
The statement says that North has been in compliance with requests made by the Board of Funeral Directors, and the business intends to remain in operation and looks forward to serving the community for many years.
The board’s order of summary suspension says that two complaints were filed on June 9, 2017.
The order states that in the 2016 summer North and two others were preparing the remains of a deceased female, and North was allegedly cleaning the deceased in an inappropriate manner and had made disrespectful remarks.
The order states that a second incident was observed by a former employee on Oct. 4, 2016, where North allegedly inappropriately handled a deceased male’s body and allegedly made graphic remarks that were disrespectful to the deceased.
The order states that a third incident occurred on Sept. 3, 2016, where North allegedly mishandled a deceased female’s body.
“Because of the nature of the alleged violations and seriousness of the alleged violations, the health, safety and welfare of the public imperatively require emergency action,” the order states.