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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.

The Day King Died

On the night of Thursday, April 4, 1968, Louise and I were in our bedroom at home watching television and reading the newspaper when a bulletin flashed on the screen: MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., SHOT IN MEMPHIS.

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