Obituaries

Annette Johnson, 86: In diner or among family, she made life more fun

Annette Johnson, 86: In diner or among family, she made life more fun

Annette Johnson and her husband were true life partners. Married 63 years, they raised two daughters and spent a quarter-century working side by side in a restaurant they opened in south DeKalb County in the late 1940s. Roy Johnson was the cook. She was the personality. “Mom was always the smiling face at the front of the restaurant,” daughter Sandra Johnson Bevins said. Annette Alexander...
High school coach killed in Ga. 400 crash

High school coach killed in Ga. 400 crash

A high school soccer coach was killed Saturday morning in a four-vehicle crash on Ga. 400 in Forsyth County, according to multiple news reports. Jed Lacey of Dawson County High School died and three other people were injured in the crash, which was north of exit 15, according to reports. All vehicles were southbound at the time of the accident. “We are heartbroken at the loss of a great...
Veteran AJC photo editor Kent Johnson dies at 57

Veteran AJC photo editor Kent Johnson dies at 57

Kent Johnson’s last assignment as a photographer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was part of his passion and an example of why his staff adored him. It was a Saturday night, and he was in Conyers to shoot the Bill Pickett Rodeo at the Georgia International Horse Park. Monday’s paper needed a “lead” visual, and Johnson, the AJC’s photo editor, could easily have assigned...
Family, friends remember ‘Mama P’ for more than pizza

Family, friends remember ‘Mama P’ for more than pizza

She was the infectious smile that greeted customers at Athens Pizza for 40 years, but Asiemoula Papadopoulos was much more than that.  “She was ahead of her time ... the epitome of the modern woman,” said her youngest son, Sandy Papadopoulos, who now runs the north Decatur restaurant opened by his parents in 1977.  Born 81 years ago in what was then the Soviet republic of...
Bruce D’Agostino, 70: Vietnam veteran had heart for helping others

Bruce D’Agostino, 70: Vietnam veteran had heart for helping others

Vietnam vet Bruce D’Agostino always had a huge place in his heart for the American soldier. In the late 1980s, long after his official service to country had ended, the not-particularly-religious D’Agostino told family he felt called by God to return to Vietnam. His mission: negotiate on behalf of America’s prisoners of war and missing in action. Decades later, when Cobb County established...
Kyara, last killer whale born in captivity at a SeaWorld park, dies

Kyara, last killer whale born in captivity at a SeaWorld park, dies

The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio park, SeaWorld said. Veterinarians were treating 3-month-old Kyara for an infection last weekend, but her health continued to decline, the Orlando-based company said in a news release. "Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, not to mention all of...
Branch Curington, 91: He helped hundreds in Atlanta through tennis

Branch Curington, 91: He helped hundreds in Atlanta through tennis

Former students of tennis pro Branch Curington Sr. filed one by one into Curington’s Atlanta home in the days leading up to his death. They sat beside the hospital bed he occupied, rubbing his arm and telling him how much they love him. With Curington’s help, most had attended college on tennis scholarships and gone on to successful careers. Some are now tennis pros themselves. &ldquo...
Pioneering Atlanta educator, Moses C. Norman influenced a generation

Pioneering Atlanta educator, Moses C. Norman influenced a generation

Moses C. Norman never sat on the sidelines in life. Not as a pioneering educator. Not as a devoted member of the tight-knit Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. And not in the 30 years he juggled his work in education with a side job in NCAA college football. “He had a lot of energy. He had a lot of bandwidth to get a lot done,” son Chris Norman said. “He was not pedestrian really in anything...
Funeral tonight for family killed in Gwinnett stabbings

Funeral tonight for family killed in Gwinnett stabbings

A Gwinnett father and four of his children will be laid to rest Thursday night at a funeral mass in Lawrenceville. Thirty-three-year-old Martin Romero and children Axel, 1, Dillan, 4, Dacota, 6 and Isabela Martinez, 10, were stabbed to death last week in their Loganville home. Nine-year-old daughter Diana Romero survived the attack and is recovering from her wounds at Children’s Healthcare...
Scathing obit shredding great-grandmother’s character not true, family member says  

Scathing obit shredding great-grandmother’s character not true, family member says  

A scathing obituary for a Florida great-grandmother published in a North Carolina newspaper late last month is not true, according to her son, and parts of it may have been plagiarized from another obituary published in California in 2008. The obituary in the Cherokee Scout described Cornelia June Rogers Miller, who died in February at the age of 82, as a woman who “made no contribution to society...
Clifford Copeland, 86: Farm boy pharmacist founded discount drug chain

Clifford Copeland, 86: Farm boy pharmacist founded discount drug chain

Clifford Copeland went from farm boy to formidable force in regional retailing with his chain of 42 discount drugstores. His company, Copeland Drugs Inc., won customers by setting prices 20 percent below the competition’s standard. “He offered a much better price, undercut the competition and still made a profit,” his daughter, Cynthia Hodge, said. Clifford Eugene Copeland, a Korean...
Estelle Hill, 110: Golden rule marked supercentenarian’s life

Estelle Hill, 110: Golden rule marked supercentenarian’s life

Estelle Hill wouldn’t be caught out in public in flat shoes or at the breakfast table without proper dress and jewelry. “She was always very formal up until about five years ago,” son-in-law Michael Deis of Newnan said. Myrtle Estelle Morrow Hill, 110, died peacefully June 17. She was at the home of daughter Sandra Deis and son-in-law Michael Deis, where she had lived for the past...
Phyllis Kravitch, trailblazing jurist in Georgia, dies at 96

Phyllis Kravitch, trailblazing jurist in Georgia, dies at 96

Diminutive in stature but a giant of the legal profession, Phyllis Kravitch bucked tradition, broke barriers and paved the way for countless women to become lawyers and judges across the South. Kravitch died Thursday at Piedmont Hospital. She was 96. Over the course of her career, Kravitch became one of the first women trial lawyers in the South, the first woman president of the Savannah Bar Association...
Bill Taggart, 55: Morehouse officer succeeded in more than business

Bill Taggart, 55: Morehouse officer succeeded in more than business

The basement of Bill Taggart’s home is a shrine to two of his many passions, Atlanta sports and music. Autographed pictures of sports legends collected through the years line the walls, along with pennants from every hometown team from the Atlanta Chiefs to Braves. Record albums collected starting in his college disc jockeying days run floor to ceiling. “He was a Renaissance man,&rdquo...
Judge Marvin Shoob, revered for his independence, dies at age 94

Judge Marvin Shoob, revered for his independence, dies at age 94

U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob, who “made the Constitution a reality” in his rulings on Cuban refugees, the Ten Commandments, local jails and hundreds of other cases, died Monday at 94.  Shoob was the embodiment of an independent judiciary in his 36 years on the federal bench in Atlanta. He consistently protected the powerless and downtrodden, notably in cases regarding imprisonment...

Former federal judge Marvin Shoob dies at age 94

Marvin Shoob, the embodiment of an independent federal judiciary and a jurist who consistently protected the powerless and disadvantaged, died Monday at his home in Atlanta. He was 94. Shoob retired in February 2016 as a senior U.S. District Court judge after 36 years on the bench. “It has been an honor and privilege to serve as a United States district judge,” Shoob wrote in a letter...
Adam West: remembering the real Batman

Adam West: remembering the real Batman

Adam West, the campy television star who delivered zingers with a straight face on the hugely-popular 1960s series “Batman,” never recovered from being typecast as the Caped Crusader. Eventually he came to embrace that fate, doing voice-over for animated comedies and gamely participating in pop culture conventions. A few years ago he told a convention crowd, “I’m the luckiest...
Joyce Brookshire, 76: Daughter of Cabbagetown put life into songs

Joyce Brookshire, 76: Daughter of Cabbagetown put life into songs

Joyce Brookshire, a singer-songwriter whose music frequently expressed her love of the North Georgia mountains and Atlanta’s Cabbagetown, died June 4. She was 76. A memorial service will be announced later by Haugabrooks Funeral Home in Atlanta. Brookshire was born in the Appalachian mountains of northeast Georgia. Her family was one of many to make a move to Atlanta for work at the Fulton Bag...
Samuel DuBois Cook laid to rest at Morehouse College

Samuel DuBois Cook laid to rest at Morehouse College

When Samuel DuBois Cook was trying to convince his future father-in-law that he was worthy of his daughter, he would often show up at their home with a fresh melon.  It worked.  That was part of Cook’s southern and gentlemanly charm. A brilliant scholar, who after becoming the first black tenured professor at any Southern college went on to lead Dillard University, Cook understood...
Gregg Allman laid to rest next to brother Duane in Macon

Gregg Allman laid to rest next to brother Duane in Macon

MACON – Only a thin iron fence will separate Gregg Allman and his beloved brother Duane in their final resting places. Just after 2 p.m. on Saturday, Allman, the co-founder of Southern rock behemoth The Allman Brothers Band, received his final blessings at a Rose Hill Cemetery grave site, mere feet from his sibling, as well as fellow Allman Brothers Band mate Berry Oakley. Allman died on...
Samuel D. Cook, 88: Revered educator, activist ‘was walking integrity’

Samuel D. Cook, 88: Revered educator, activist ‘was walking integrity’

To understand how large Samuel DuBois Cook loomed in higher education, you have to start from the beginning. Born in nearby Griffin, Cook arrived in Atlanta in 1944. Only 15, he was too young to go to war, but a perfect candidate for Benjamin Elijah Mays’ early admissions program at Morehouse College, designed to identify qualified young black students while most older students...
Southern rock titan Gregg Allman dies at 69.

Southern rock titan Gregg Allman dies at 69.

A seminal voice of Southern rock is gone. Gregg Allman, leader of The Allman Brothers Band, died Saturday at his home in Savannah from complications of liver cancer. He was 69. “It’s a sad passing,” said Peter Conlon, president of Live Nation Atlanta, who knew and worked with Allman for decades. “It’s not only the end of Gregg Allman, but between him and ...
More than 1 million helped by Atlanta attorney’s work

More than 1 million helped by Atlanta attorney’s work

Most low-income Georgians had no place to turn for justice — or a decent lawyer — until Betsey Neely and other young attorneys stepped up. Armed with a study of the disparity between legal access in Atlanta and the rest of the state more than 40 years ago, they co-founded the Georgia Legal Services Program. “Betsey had a real commitment to assuring access to justice for everyone...
Robert ‘Bob’ Ledbetter, 81: Early investor in Atlanta pro sports teams

Robert ‘Bob’ Ledbetter, 81: Early investor in Atlanta pro sports teams

Bob Ledbetter was part of a who’s who of Georgia businessmen who pooled their money and brought professional basketball, hockey and soccer to Atlanta in the 1970s. “As far as investments go, it wasn’t a great one,” Ledbetter’s son, E. Wright Ledbetter, said. “But he said he would do it all over again because he had so much fun being a part of that.” Robert...
Atlanta blues community mourns passing of Northside Tavern’s Ellyn Webb

Atlanta blues community mourns passing of Northside Tavern’s Ellyn Webb

Ellyn Webb, longtime owner of Northside Tavern and a woman known in the Atlanta blues scene as a matriarch, died Thursday morning after a yearlong battle with cancer. She was 63. Born in 1954, the Atlanta native graduated from Grady High School and earned her college degree from Georgia State University. She worked in the accounting field for a number of years, but Northside Tavern is what encompassed...
Eva Friedlander, 95: Life was a story of triumph over hardship, evil

Eva Friedlander, 95: Life was a story of triumph over hardship, evil

On Sunday, April 9, AJC’s Personal Journey’s column featured 95-year old Hungarian Holocaust survivor Eva Friedlander, who had overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles during her extraordinary life. Ironically, her final journey began the next day when she became ill just before the Passover dinner. This time, even her eternal optimism, indomitable spirit and ability to reinvent herself...
J.B. Smith, Atlanta editor, teacher in turbulent times

J.B. Smith, Atlanta editor, teacher in turbulent times

The Atlanta Student Movement of the turbulent 1960s had a story to tell. And J.B. Smith was determined to be a part of that. Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves said Smith “never wavered in getting the real news out to the community through his newspaper.” “Along the way, he was a trailblazer for other African-American journalists who would follow in his footsteps,&rdquo...
Shirley Franklin praises her former police chief, Richard Pennington

Shirley Franklin praises her former police chief, Richard Pennington

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, reflecting on her first big hire as mayor, called Richard Pennington a “great leader,” who was “determined to improve the Atlanta Police Department.  “He led the APD to expand officer training, to gain national accreditation, to launch the Atlanta Police Foundation, to access the root causes of crime, to realign resources...
With Col. Bruce Hampton’s death, Atlanta loses a piece of music history

With Col. Bruce Hampton’s death, Atlanta loses a piece of music history

An African proverb says “When an elder dies, a library burns to the ground,” and so with the passing of Bruce Hampton, an archive of Atlanta music history goes up in smoke. Hampton, a man once referred to as Atlanta’s only living art object, whose life inspired a documentary film and a horde of musical followers (who gave birth to the aptly named H.O.R.D.E. jam band tour), has left...
Jam band patriarch Col. Bruce Hampton dies

Jam band patriarch Col. Bruce Hampton dies

Music was Col. Bruce Hampton’s lifeblood, and his death came hours after being surrounded by the things he loved most — family, friends, fans and an everlasting beat. Hampton, affectionately known as the “Granddaddy of the Jam Scene,” was performing Monday night at “Hampton 70,” an all-star concert at the Fox Theatre, when he collapsed during the encore &mdash...
Forkner was soldier, lawyer, top golfer and helped start Waffle House

Forkner was soldier, lawyer, top golfer and helped start Waffle House

Thomas Forkner, co-founder of the iconic Waffle House roadside restaurant chain, died April 26, within weeks of the deaths of his beloved wife of more than 70 years and his longtime business partner. He was 98. Forkner, who was first an attorney, served in World War II and became a real estate broker, then paired with Joe Rogers Sr. to start the hugely successful chain after selling Rogers a home...
Snow cone benefit to help family of Lassiter brothers killed in crash

Snow cone benefit to help family of Lassiter brothers killed in crash

A Roswell snow cone business is holding a fundraiser to assist a Lassiter High School family grieving two brothers killed in a wreck Monday. All proceeds earned between 4 and 8 p.m. this upcoming Tuesday at Bahama Buck’s will go to the family of 18-year-old James and 14-year-old Joseph Pratt. The brothers were heading to dentist appointments about 3:40 p.m. when their car collided...
Funeral services set for Cobb County brothers killed in auto wreck

Funeral services set for Cobb County brothers killed in auto wreck

Funeral services for the two brothers killed Monday in an auto wreck in Roswell have been set for Sunday, Cobb County school officials say. The service for James and Joe Pratt is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Piedmont Church, 570 Piedmont Rd., Marietta. The brothers were headed to a dental appointment when their vehicle struck a school bus Monday afternoon. James Pratt, 18, was a senior at Lassiter...
Fundraiser for Lassiter brothers killed in crash reaches $50K in a day

Fundraiser for Lassiter brothers killed in crash reaches $50K in a day

Hundreds of people are rallying around a Lassiter High School family mourning the loss of two sons. In the day since the campaign was posted online, 850-plus people have donated more than $50,000 to cover the funeral expenses of brothers 18-year-old James and 14-year-old Joseph Pratt. The teens died Monday on Ga. 92 in a wreck with a Fulton County school bus for students with special-needs...
Joan Garner, 65: LGBT, civic activist put passions in public service

Joan Garner, 65: LGBT, civic activist put passions in public service

Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner spent decades championing gay and lesbian equality and other causes close to her heart. Some of her efforts were door-openers, including her successful push 25 years ago for domestic partner benefits for City of Atlanta employees. Atlanta City Councilman C.T. Martin said Garner “possessed an unwavering commitment to causes that she held dear, and that&rsquo...
Lassiter High brothers remembered as hard-working, fun-loving

Lassiter High brothers remembered as hard-working, fun-loving

Kids flooded out the doors of Lassiter High School eager to head home Tuesday afternoon. All was normal except for the grown, misty-eyed military men standing outside the concert hall describing two students who will never walk across that parking lot again. Capt. Jim Minta, head naval sciences officer at the school’s ROTC program, spoke through red eyes about brothers 18-year-old James...
Ben Willis, 78: Warrior for country became servant for church, others

Ben Willis, 78: Warrior for country became servant for church, others

Eight plaques hang at North Springs United Methodist Church as a testament to the congregation’s record Red Cross blood donations. Ben Willis, the drives’ organizer, knew how to sweeten the appeal for donors. Instead of giving out the standard juice and cookies, Willis had a barbecue sandwich waiting for anyone willing to roll up their sleeves and give blood. He bought the barbecue with...
Boy killed at Sun Dial ‘was sweetest, most accepting, and lovable child’

Boy killed at Sun Dial ‘was sweetest, most accepting, and lovable child’

He had a hug for everyone, and 5-year-old Charles Woody Holt had a sweet disposition to accompany his natural curiosity, his family said Tuesday. Charlie, who lived in Charlotte, N.C., died Friday after getting stuck between a wall and a table at Atlanta’s Sun Dial restaurant, atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza. His parents and others in the restaurant were able to free him, but Charlie died...
Fulton County Commission Vice Chairman Joan Garner dies

Fulton County Commission Vice Chairman Joan Garner dies

Last Wednesday, though she was too ill to make it downtown for the Fulton County commission meeting, vice chairman Joan Garner cast several votes via telephone on issues that were close to her — public health. Garner, who died Tuesday at 65 after a lengthy battle with breast cancer, was an activist long before she was a politician. She advocated for LGBT rights, and fought for more...
Eli Sotto, 93: Barber survived history’s worst, cherished life’s best

Eli Sotto, 93: Barber survived history’s worst, cherished life’s best

Midtown Atlanta barber Eli Sotto had customers who stuck with him through the decades, when his shop relocated and even after they had no hair left to cut. Some still visited him at the retirement home after he decided at age 90 to put down his comb and scissors. “His customers had actually become close friends,” a rarity in modern times, said Sue Verhoef, director of oral history and...
Former Atlanta Constitution columnist Tom Teepen dies at 82

Former Atlanta Constitution columnist Tom Teepen dies at 82

Tom Teepen, retired Cox columnist and editorial page editor of The Atlanta Constitution, died Sunday morning. He was 82. His wife of more than 30 years, Sandy Teepen, had just gone home after visiting Tom at Hospice Atlanta, where he had been since Friday. Sandy played Al Jarreau, Sun Ra and the bluegrass records that she and Tom collected over the years. She listened to the music of string quartets...
Robert Frank Meaders: Surveyor never stopped working, enjoying family

Robert Frank Meaders: Surveyor never stopped working, enjoying family

Robert Frank Meaders was known by his clients throughout Cobb County and North Georgia as an expert surveyor and development consultant. His family recalls his “amazing” work ethic and his career of more than 50 years that started right out of high school. But most of all, they remember the life-long loving relationship they had with him. “Our last conversation was a call from him...
Two visitations planned for well-traveled attorney killed in Midtown

Two visitations planned for well-traveled attorney killed in Midtown

Trinh Huynh loved to travel so much, she quit her job as an attorney in 2010 and set out to see the world. For two years, she traveled, visiting every continent except Antarctica, according to her obituary published Friday. “Trinh lived her life passionately whether as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, or attorney,” the obituary said. Huynh, 40, died Monday after being shot as she...
Lorenzo Wallace, 97: WWII Marine served Georgia Senate in later years

Lorenzo Wallace, 97: WWII Marine served Georgia Senate in later years

Lorenzo Wallace found real joy in the part-time job he started at age 68: doorkeeper to the Georgia Senate. Wallace thrived in the chaotic atmosphere of the annual 40-day legislative session — earning a promotion to Senate sergeant-at-arms at 86. “He really loved that job,” said his son, accountant Lorenzo Wallace Jr. of Atlanta. “He liked knowing what was going on and meeting...
Friends: Life of lawyer slain in Midtown shooting ‘an incredible story’

Friends: Life of lawyer slain in Midtown shooting ‘an incredible story’

She was born in a war-ravaged Vietnam, a country she left as a toddler. But Trinh Huynh was living her own American dream. From a tiny boat drifting away from her homeland, Huynh graduated from both Princeton and Emory universities. Professionally, she distinguished herself as an attorney, but it was her passion for teaching others, humor and love of adventure that many will remember about Huynh. ...
Rhubarb Jones, country radio personality, dead at 65 

Rhubarb Jones, country radio personality, dead at 65 

Rhubarb Jones, popular Atlanta radio host and country music personality, died of a heart attack Sunday in Haralson County. He was 65. Jones, affectionately called “Rhuby” by his friends, was a morning host at country station Y106 and then Eagle 106.7 from 1985 to 2008. He was currently senior development officer at Kennesaw State University, where he also taught and helped the school launch...
Teacher dies after pickup truck goes off embankment on I-575

Teacher dies after pickup truck goes off embankment on I-575

A Cherokee County middle school teacher died Thursday morning after his pickup truck went off a 100-foot embankment on I-575, officials said. The driver of the F-150 was identified as Kevin White, 37, of Canton. He was a chorus teacher at Booth Middle School in Woodstock. The incident happened on the southbound side of the interstate at Little River Bridge near Ridgewalk Parkway in Woodstock...
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