Article Category: Passions | Pillars | SC24
Michelle Adams | Adams

Married, Mortician, Mom | Michelle Adams

Posted Saturday, Jun 01
Written by Luke Teague
Photography by Robert Cooper
Southern Calls, Vol. 24, June 2019

Serving as a funeral director is arguably one of the most demanding career paths one could choose – or be chosen to do. While those employed by larger firms are given the option to work alternating weekends or to use livery services for nighttime removals, many family firms and genuine owner/operators work in the proverbial trenches by spending endless hours at the office during holidays, in the middle of the night and every day of the week – whenever duty calls. While rewarding in many ways, the profession can still be grueling, challenging the patience of spouses and families who remain optimistic and devoted despite having to share the attention of the person they love with a bereaved family.            

“Staying grounded and setting priorities are just a few ways to successfully manage my life,” said Michelle Adams, a married, mortician mom who juggles three full-time roles – and not necessarily in that order.

Although Adams has called Savannah, Georgia, home for many years, the former military brat was actually born in Korea and spent her early childhood in Mississippi and Japan.

“My dad was in the Air Force for 23 years and met my mom while he was stationed in Korea,” she described, attributing their long marriage to a mutual love and respect for each other. “My mom knew very little English, and many Asians are not able to work for other people because of the language barrier, so she really made her own way and was a natural entrepreneur. After being awarded the contract, she began cleaning homes on the base.”

       

Adams’ parents, Benjamin and Sun Hui Hamilton, pictured in front of their home in  Savannah, Georgia (TL Photography & Design)   Inset: Adams’ parents while stationed in Osan Air Base in South Korea (early 1980’s)
Adams’ parents, Benjamin and Sun Hui Hamilton, pictured in front of their home in Savannah, Georgia (TL Photography & Design)
Inset: Adams’ parents while stationed in Osan Air Base in South Korea (early 1980’s)

“It was so different from what I knew. The people showed up for funerals and carried themselves with reverence,” Hills said. “On the streets in town as well as on the highways, cars pulled over. Drivers often stopped their engines, got out and stood by their cars, removing their hats and placing them over their hearts when a procession passed. I had never seen anything like that.”

The remainder of this article is reserved for subscribers only

In addition to receiving all of our quarterly magazines by mail, subscribers to Southern Calls have exclusive access to additional online articles, as well as ability to read all Southern Calls magazine articles as they come available.

Get your One Year or Two Year subscription today, or login here to continue viewing the rest of the article. 

Order this issue

Southern Calls Issue 24

In stock

Articles Relating to Issue 24

Waterman’s Cortege | Bradshaw & Sons Funeral Home

Waterman’s Cortege | Bradshaw & Sons Funeral Home

Around here, captaining is something passed down from generation to generation,” says Robert H. “Bob” Bradshaw Jr., owner of Bradshaw & Sons Funeral Home in Crisfield, Maryland. “I think it’s in the blood.” He pauses and adds, “Like undertaking.” Nestled in the…

Rooted in Southern Tradition | Jerry Griffey

Rooted in Southern Tradition | Jerry Griffey

When you meet veteran funeral director Jerry Griffey, you are struck by his soft Southern drawl and the pride he takes – and has always taken – in serving as a funeral director for the families in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. Although Jerry retired several…

Other Recent Articles

Issue 38 Available for Pre-Order!

Issue 38 Available for Pre-Order!

Featuring our exclusive article with the staff from Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home on the tragedy at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, Southern Calls Issue 38 brings you the details from a funeral director's perspective. And, as always, our December issue of Southern...

read more
Issue 37 Available Now!

Issue 37 Available Now!

What a unique collection of articles we have put together for our September issue -- read about the extraordinary details of the life and death of the world famous P.T. Barnum and his friend and performer General Tom Thumb, with lots of interesting facts and images...

read more
Jim Kurtz

Jim Kurtz

We probably have never met, but you may have seen me before. I was that little guy watching funerals from the steps of the Catholic school across the street from Galloway & Sons Funeral Home in Beeville, Texas. I especially loved seeing the big cars that led the...

read more
Bibber Memorial Chapel

Bibber Memorial Chapel

The air smells briny and gulls caw overhead. In the distance, against the backdrop of an iron-colored horizon, a few hearty lobstermen trawl the sea, braving the frigid temperatures. It’s snowing again, but that’s not newsworthy. It’s winter in Maine. Three miles up...

read more
Rhonda Keyes Pleasants

Rhonda Keyes Pleasants

Before reading any further, pause for a moment and reflect on your career, regardless of your age or your job title. Reminisce about opportunities that were afforded to you, both past and present. Consider equally decisions you made with the excitement of future...

read more
Issue 36 Available Now!

Issue 36 Available Now!

See the beauty and honor of the funeral profession reflected through a father’s eyes as he documents the passing of his beloved son – every funeral director should own this issue. Mitchell’s Journey is a moving tribute to unconditional love as a grieving family...

read more

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter to periodically receive article updates, industry news, and details about new issues before they are released.

The Magazine