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Willie Watkins

Meet Willie Watkins: Atlanta’s mortuary mogul

Nearly 40 years since Watkins turned a former Confederate general’s Victorian house in the West End into a funeral home, he has built a multimillion dollar empire that lays to rest roughly 1,500 people each year. Watkins organized the funerals of Coretta Scott King, Lillian Miles Lewis (Congressman John Lewis’s wife of 50 years), and family members of Usher and Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks.

What really happened to the man found hanging in Piedmont Park?

Authorities have finally identified the victim as 22-year-old New Jersey resident Michael George Smith Jr., but still-unanswered questions will likely keep conspiracy theories percolating.

How to prepare for the loss of a pet

No one likes to think about death. But it’s something all pet owners have to face. It helps to know what to expect, so as end of life draws near, you’ll be (at least somewhat) prepared.

Scattered thoughts

Funny thing: When you donate your body to science, they don’t actually keep it. For me this was a surprise. I thought that was the whole point.

Death Becomes Her

I have died five times today already—horribly—and always my corpse has been stumbled upon by my child. This is thanks to my friend Grant Henry, who lately has taken to creating morbid scenarios of my demise during our conversations.

Wreckage

Pleasant Drive, less than a mile of curb-lined asphalt cut into the residential hills just west of Douglasville, is aptly named. The tiny inlet branches west off the highway, jogging down a decline into a right-hand turn that levels off to a quiet straightaway.

My Brother’s Keeper

It was a bright weekday in mid-September and the Cormier boys—thirty-one years old, identical twins, best friends, incorrigible malcontents—were coming home. Their sixty-two-year-old father looked out his living room window as a U-Haul rumbled into the gravel drive.

The Crossing

The train that killed DeKai Amonrasi no longer exists. CSX Q612 out of New Orleans met its end at Tilford Rail Yard near Marietta Boulevard, a few miles west of Berkeley Heights on Atlanta’s west side.

Twelve Places

We called her grandmother. Never Grandma or Granny. To my father, she was simply Mother. Mom, if he was mad. My uncle sometimes called her The Nazi, but never to her face.

Dead Wrong

That's it. My friend Lynn is dead. Probably. And it's my fault. I didn't pick up the phone. That is how it always starts, isn't it? With the missed call from the friend in distress, in this case due to a car with a dead battery compounded by a forgotten cell phone.

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