Nelson-Berna Funeral Home & Crematory of Fayetteville
4520 N. Crossover Rd.
Fayetteville, AR 72703
Telephone: (479) 521-5000
Fax: (479) 521-0500
Back in the 1930’s, what was to become the Nelson-Berna Funeral Home was founded here, in Northwest Arkansas. Originally Nelson Funeral home, there was one guiding principal that is still the hallmark of Nelson-Berna today: to provide extraordinary service, attention to detail, and make each service as unique as the individual it celebrates. At Nelson-Berna Funeral Home, we have been celebrating life for over 75 years.
Our Caring Staff
Scott and Paula Berna
Owners / Funeral DirectorsRead Scott and Paula Berna Bio
A native of Van Buren, Arkansas, Scott began his career in the funeral profession while still in high school by washing cars and answering phones for the Edwards - Fentress Funeral Homes of Van Buren and Fort Smith. Scott went on to obtain his Funeral Directors license from the state of Arkansas in 1985.
Scott gained valuable experience managing funeral homes and cemeteries throughout the region including Longview, Texas and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 1999, Scott was offered the opportunity to move back to Arkansas to manage Nelson’s Funeral Home and Crematory and Fairview Memorial Gardens.
Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Paula moved to Illinois as a youngster where her parents pastored a church. She later began traveling and singing as a soloist in churches across the United States. It was while singing at her grandfather's funeral in 1987, Paula met her future husband, Scott, who was the funeral director for her grandfather’s services. They were married in 1989.
Paula feels called to help families through the important process of pre-planning and worked as a prearrangement counselor in Oklahoma City and in Northwest Arkansas. Today, Paula manages the Fairview Memorial Gardens in Fayetteville.
In 2002, Scott and Paula purchased Nelson’s Funeral Home. In 2010, the Bernas’ purchased Moore’s Chapel Funeral Home, a Fayetteville institution providing funeral planning and services since 1889. Together Scott and Paula feel blessed to offer their focus, empathy and guidance to families as they celebrate and honor their loved ones.
Scott and Paula have two children, Colby and Calli, and three wonderful grandchildren, Grayson, Charlie, and Chase. Scott is an member of The Rotary Club of Fayetteville and serves on the board for the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association. During their free time, Scott and Paula enjoy spending time with family.
Funeral Director/EmbalmerRead Colby Berna Bio
Scott and Paula Berna’s son Colby joined the family business in 2011 as an apprentice funeral director and embalmer and now serves as a funeral director and embalmer after receiving a Funeral Science Degree from Arkansas State University Mountain Home in 2014.
Colby grew up in Fayetteville and graduated from Fayetteville High School in 2009. In 2012 he graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. He and his wife Jessica Shepperd live in Fayetteville and have a son, Grayson.
Funeral Director/EmbalmerRead Robert Kaelin Bio
Robert began his career in funeral service at Edwards Funeral Home in Fort Smith in 1988 while in high school. He graduated from the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service and received his Embalmers and Funeral Directors license in Arkansas in 1990.
Robert has worked for funeral homes throughout Arkansas including Griffin Leggett Healey and Roth in Little Rock, Fentress Mortuary in Fort Smith and currently is the manager at Moore’s Chapel in Fayetteville. Robert and his wife Tammy have one daughter, Emily, and two sons, Hunter and Andrew. He enjoys biking and spending time with his family.
Funeral DirectorRead Mark Huggins Bio
A native of Rector, Arkansas, Mark Huggins has over 37 years of experience as a funeral director and embalmer. His wife, Sandra, is originally from Fayetteville, and the couple moved here from southeast Arkansas in 2019.
Mark graduated with a degree in funeral service from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1983. They have two children, Gennie and Elizabeth, and a grandson David Slade.
Funeral Director/EmbalmerRead Bruce Smithson Bio
Bruce has worked in funeral service for over 35 years. He was born and raised in Marshall, Arkansas and graduated from the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service in 1986. Bruce has worked with Nelson-Berna for four years.
He is married to Rose Carol (Cooke) Smithson and has two children, Jamey Smithson and Leslie Fett and six grandchildren. He enjoys spending time with his family and flying his airplane.
Funeral Director / EmbalmerRead Mark Bishop Bio
Mark has been in funeral service for over 35 years and is a graduate of Dallas Institute of Funeral Service. He moved back to Northwest Arkansas in 2014 after having owned funeral homes in south and central Arkansas.
He and his wife Marilyn live near West Fork and close to a daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren. He’s a avid hunter in Arkansas and Kansas.
Funeral Director / EmbalmerRead Joe Hott Bio
Joe is a native of Springfield, IL, where he graduated from Springfield High School, then began working at a local funeral home.
In 1976, he graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Mortuary Science and Funeral Service. He landed in Peoria, IL, married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Lou, and worked for local funeral homes until purchasing the businesses in Princeville, Wyoming and Toulon, Illinois, with his business partner, Bob DeBolt. They moved to Princeville, where they operated Hammitt-Hott Funeral Home.
In 2017 they made the decision to move to Northwest Arkansas to be near their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. He also decided to come back into funeral service on a part-time basis with Nelson-Berna and Moore’s Chapel.
They are members of Central United Methodist Church, Fayetteville, where they both sing in the choir. He enjoys spending leisure time with his family, boating, fishing, riding his motorcycle; and has been an Amateur Radio Operator for over 45 years.
I am honored to be able to work with such a dedicated and respectful group of funeral professionals who are truly committed to the needs of the families we serve.
Comfort DogRead Gracie Berna Bio
Gracie has been an important part of our "staff" for several years. She enjoys being pet and is a great and non-biased listener. She helps bring comfort to the families and guests we serve.
Your information was submitted successfully!
Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We are committed to respond to all email inquiries.
We want you to know that we appreciate your attention-to-detail. One of our professional funeral arrangers will call you shortly, or you may choose to call us now at (479) 521-5000.
An error has occurred. Please try again.