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Southern Calls Magazine Vol. 42


In this issue: 

People | Kenneth W. Poe
First generation funeral directors are fearless. With either none or very little familial connection to a funeral home, stories vary widely as to what initial interest or curiosity eventually evolved into a career. Dinner disruptions, missed family gatherings, working weekends, late nights, and early mornings were not a deterrent in deciding to enter the funeral ministry, but were viewed as a measure of humble devotion to a sacred craft.

Places | Stevens Mortuary
Stevens Mortuary occupies the historic Cedar Grove estate nestled in north Knoxville, Tennessee. When one arrives at the mortuary, surrounded by flowering dogwood trees, the stately antebellum era house, with wide, inviting porches, is reminiscent of a simpler time when friends came to call on Sundays after church and death calls were sent via messenger.

Passions | Jack Backer
At first glance, John Willmott “Jack” Backer, III – age 16, tall, handsome, varsity tennis player and straight-A sophomore at Sayre School in Lexington, Kentucky – appears to be a typical teenager who enjoys tennis and playing guitar, especially Southern gospel and anything by Don Williams, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings or Johnny Cash. But when you talk to Jack, you have to keep reminding yourself that you’re speaking to a 16-year-old who is mature beyond his years and not a seasoned adult.

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