Lafayette County welcomes a new face to a crucial role: Glenn Coleman, soon to be sworn in as the county’s coroner. Stepping into the shoes of Rocky Kennedy, Coleman brings a wealth of experience to this critical position.
Coleman has served the county as the deputy coroner for years, both through Kennedy and a former coroner’s tenure, responding to scenes of death, assisting with autopsies and offering guidance to families.
Years of Experience
Coleman became a part of the funeral business partly because of his father, who had an interest in the funeral world. After shadowing at a firm in Memphis, Coleman found that the work suited him.
“The science side appealed to me more than anything,” he said. “The more I did it, the more I liked it, and next thing I know, I’m at a mortuary program.”
In 2004, Coleman Funeral Home opened its doors. “Part of what I like about the local funeral home atmosphere,” Coleman said, “is that nine times out of 10, we’re working with families from Lafayette County and Oxford. I’ve grown up here, and this is where I’ve chosen to raise my family.
“When working with families who’ve lost a loved one, you have a little bit more intimate knowledge of the family, their situation, that kind of thing.”
Empathy and Professionalism
Coleman has found his calling in supporting families during difficult moments.
“We meet all different types of people at all different seasons of life,” he said. “It’s our job not just as funeral directors, but anyone in the death care industry to help the family walk from the starting point, which is the death, through that process.”
Coleman believes that ability translates well to the coroner’s office. “I think what made Rocky such a good coroner is that, because he had a funeral home background, he knew how to work with families and have those uncomfortable conversations.”
Earning trust in such a delicate space requires a unique blend of empathy and professionalism. Coleman said, “You have to develop a very intimate relationship with people in a very short amount of time, and it’s not under good circumstances. Something terrible has happened, so you have to be a very open, sincere person and do what you say you’re going to do.”
Facing the Inevitable
Coleman’s piece of advice for families is to talk openly about your final wishes.
“This is one of the most uncomfortable topics to talk about because it makes us look at and face our own mortality,” he said, “but take the time to have a conversation with your family. Let someone know, ‘Hey, if something ever happens, this is what I would like done.’ If you want to be really bold, you can even go as far as to maybe write some instructions down. Don’t dwell on it, but have conversations periodically with your loved ones about what you want done.
“Unfortunately, when someone passes away, there’s not a big window of time. These decisions that your loved ones are forced to make come at them pretty quickly. If they have a roadmap to go by, it helps them out.”
Building upon the strong foundation laid by his predecessor, Coleman hopes his tenure reflects the same service, compassion and attention that Kennedy provided.
“If you call the state medical examiner’s office, Lafayette County truly is the most efficiently run coroner’s office in the state, and it’s because of Kennedy’s eye for detail,” Coleman said. “I have enough of those qualities that I hope what the people in the county experience is that they don’t even realize anything’s changed. It’s hard to improve upon what he has done, but I want to maintain that same level of service.”
“We’ve got a good group of people that will be serving in the coroner’s office,” said Coleman. Deputy Coroner Frankie Tidwell will continue to assist the community at the coroner’s office.
Coleman’s vision for the coroner’s office focuses on the human impact of his work. “At the end of my career, however long that’s going to be, one of my goals would be that I’ve truly helped people in a very difficult time.”