Tamela Cooper

Tamela Cooper

Funeral Director/Owner

Tamela Cooper is the owner and operator of Banister-Cooper Funeral Home and is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in both Georgia and North Carolina. She worked in a number of industries including food service, call center and construction before being called to the funeral profession. She is a 2012 graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service and originally joined Banister Funeral Home in 2012. Tamela began working in the funeral industry in Cleveland, Georgia. She and her husband purchased the funeral home in 2017. She is also a member of North Mt. Zion Church of God. 

Tamela resides in Towns County with her husband Marvin and youngest son Memphis who attends Towns County High School. Together she and Marvin also have four adult children, Andrew, Wesley, Morgan and Mackenzie spread across Georgia and Colorado. Outside of work Tamela enjoys decorating her home for the changing seasons, listening to old music, traveling and spending time with her kids. Through the years you could find her at Towns County wrestling matches, chorus concerts, band concerts, football games and much more. 

Tamela is active in the community where she is co-chair in the Hiawassee Downtown Development Authority. She is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, supporter of the Towns County Emergency Management Agency, member of the National Funeral Director's Association and the Georgia Coroner's Association. Tamela served as a deputy coroner for seven years and was elected Towns County Coroner in 2020. 

Telephone: 1-706-896-2218

Email: 


Marvin Cooper

Marvin Cooper

Co-Owner

Marvin Cooper is the co-owner with his wife, Tamela, of Banister-Cooper Funeral Home. He has been a north Georgia resident and small business owner for over 25 years. He brings significant financial and managerial experience to the company.

Marvin completed a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Memphis in 1987 before moving to Georgia to pursue a Master's degree at Georgia Tech and an MBA at Emory University. He has worked for companies large and small including IBM and AT&T throughout the southeast as well as resided internationally before settling permanently in north Georgia. He loves the beauty of Towns County, the good hearted people here and our pace of life.  His part in Banister-Cooper Funeral Home is a chance to give back to this wonderful community and minister to people when they are hurting.


Sarah McClure

Sarah McClure

Secretary/Funeral Director

Sarah McClure has been part of the staff at Banister-Cooper Funeral Home since October 2014 where she first started as a secretary but later determined her desire to obtain a professional license in Mortuary Science. She graduated from Ogeechee Technical College in May 2018 with an Associates of Mortuary Science Degree and is now a licensed funeral director and embalmer.

Sarah resides in Towns County and has three children, Zoe, Wyatt and Millie, who attend Towns County Schools.

Sarah is a member of North Mt Zion Church of God where she is the media director. 


Telephone: 1-706-896-2218

Email: 


Cassandra Banister

Cassandra Banister

Office Manager

Cassandra Banister joined our staff in October 2018  as a part time assistant and not long after assumed the duties of Office Manager. 

Cassandra and her husband Will are both natives of Towns County. As a mother of three children, Cole, Kinsey and Makayla, she spends her free time taking them to dance, karate, basketball and many school and church related events. 

She is a natural people person who is passionate about taking care of the families in our community and keeping our office running smoothly. 


Ken Nicholson

Funeral Associate/ Apprentice

Ken Nicholson worked for Banister Funeral Home back in the early 90's before life led him in a different career direction. He remained on in an as- needed capacity, helping on nights and weekends for over 15 years. The Lord continued to lay the funeral industry on Ken's heart while also tugging at the owners' Marvin and Tamela to bring his experience, compassion and talent onboard regularly. Ken joined our Banister-Cooper team on December 1, 2020 as an apprentice and funeral associate. 

Ken and his wife Freda reside in the Bell Creek community. They have a daughter and son-in-law, Damon and Ciji Crowder, and three grandsons, Kendall, Keenan and Collin who all attend Towns County High School. Ken is also the pastor of Bunker Hill Baptist Church in Blairsville, Georgia. 


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