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

Ernest Severino started and owned American Mortuary Services from 1970 - 1980 providing removal and preparation services to local and nationwide funeral homes which handled over 900 service calls a month.In 1980 he also opened Cremation Services Inc., the first crematory not housed in a cemetery.

Ernie and his wife Colette also a funeral director saw the need for alternatives in funeral service  which was restricted to traditions.  In 1991 they started  Alternative Funeral Services, the first low cost funeral service center for cremation and burials for families.

In 2000 Ernie and Colette opened  Severino's  River Woods Funeral Chapels in Des Plaines, Illinois serving Des Plaines and surrounding communities.


Our Valued Staff

Colette M. Severino

Colette M. Severino, Owner/Funeral Director

A 1992 Graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science, Colette has been a funeral director for over 25 years - a founder and partner of Severino's River Woods Funeral Chapels.
Colette was also a partner and founder of the Alternative Funeral Services in 1991 which served families with low cost affordable services.

The Lady Elks of Des Plaines Lodge 1526 and member of Mt. Prospect Moose Lodge 660.
Colette is the proud mother of Gabriel age 18 and Keo age 16.

Keo is an aspiring artist, extremely talented and has sold art work at various exhibitions.
Gabriel is an assistant at the funeral home and presently attending Harper College.

Colette is honored to be a part of a family funeral home serving other families in there time of need.
Her personal compassion and touch, along with her attention to details throughout the funeral process, is a great comfort to families.


William  Conlon

William Conlon, Funeral Director

Bill has served the Chicagoland community for almost 50 years. He is compassionate and dedicated to the families he serves. Bill is always caring and his gentle nature has been a comfort to many families in their time of need.


Gabriel J Severino

Gabriel J Severino, Funeral Director Assistant

Gabriel is the newest addtion to our staff. We are lucky to have him. Gabe is a natural at helping people feel comfortable. Gabe is presently attending Harper College where he will be studying his favorite subjects, History and Philosophy.


Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams, Funeral Director Assistant

Ryan is an energetic young man who is very devoted to helping people. His compassion will serve him well as he begins his education and development in the world of funeral service. Ryan adds a young energy to our business. His knowledge of the new technologies as well as his ability to identify with the younger people of our community will help us to serve all family members properly. Ryan will be attending Worsham College of Mortuary Science in September.