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

The Severino family started and owned American Mortuary Services from 1970 - 1980 providing removal and preparation services to local and nationwide funeral homes that took care of  over 900 service calls a month. In 1980 they opened Cremation Services Inc., the first crematory not housed in a cemetery.

Later they saw the need for alternatives in funeral service, allowing families more choices at affordable prices.   In 1991 they started  Alternative Funeral Services, the first low cost funeral service center, which lead to building River Woods Funeral Chapels in Des Plaines. 

We have been in Des Plaines for almost 20 years now.

Our Valued Staff

Tom Chung  II Suh

Tom Chung II Suh, Funeral Director/Embalmer

Tom Chung-Il Suh has been serving as the President of the Korean American Association of Chicago since 2013. Tom has been a licensed funeral director in since 1996. He received his license after graduating from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling. Tom, along with his wife Sue, have two sons and a daughter. Tom and Sue currently attend Hebron Church. Due to his affiliation with the Korean American Association of Chicago, he has had the opportunity to meet with the President of South Korea on many occasions. Tom has a desire to see all Korean Americans succeed in every aspect of their lives. He is an avid golfer, runs marathons, and enjoys traveling.

Colette M. Severino

Colette M. Severino, Funeral Director/Embalmer

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 20 and Mason age 18.

Mason 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.

Colette enjoys walking her dogs, Laddie and Goose and when weather permits you will find her in the garden.

William E. Conlon

William E. Conlon, Funeral Director

Bill has served the Chicagoland community for almost 50 years. He was born and raised in Iowa. He came to Chicago to fullfill he dreams of being a funeral director. Bill has been with the firm for over 20 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. Bill enjoys movies and theatre.

Gabriel J Severino

Gabriel J Severino, Funeral Director Assistant

Gabriel is the newest addition 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 is attending Worsham College of Mortuary Science and will be graduating in September 2018.

Stephanie Rodriguez

Stephanie Rodriguez, Pre Need Insurance Specialist

Stephanie is our Pre need specialist. She is very knowledgeable in pre arranging funerals with insurance. Stephanie is also biligual, which helps us communicate efficiently with our Spanish families. She has a way of making everyone immediately comfortable.

Andy Kopnicky

Andy Kopnicky, Funeral Director/Embalmer

Andy brings over 30 years experience to our firm. He is articulate in his embalming skills. Andy has a quiet, yet calming personality which makes people feel more relaxed as soon as they start talking with him. Andy is the proud owner of two cats, Rupert and Grace.

Neli Nova

Neli Nova, Funeral Director