George Levett Jr. has been around death his entire life. As part of the well-known funeral home family, he grew up in a funeral home, literally. His father, George Levett Sr., opened the George Levett and Sons Funeral Home. George Jr. now operates the Levett Funeral Home in Conyers and his brother owns and operates the Gregory B. Levett and Sons Funeral Home and Crematory in DeKalb County.
So when incumbent Coroner Dr. Steven Boyle announced he would be stepping down after 16 years, it was a natural next step for the 42 year old to make a bid for Rockdale County coroner on the Democratic ticket.
“I’ve wanted to run for it for quite a while,” said Levett, a soft-spoken man. “My dad took a bid for it in 1996. He was unsuccessful in that. When he decided to run for it, I said that’s something that I would like to do.”
“Coming up in the business, we’ve always been exposed to what the coroner does, how he does it,” said Levett. “Before there were morgues where autopsies were performed, I remember autopsies were performed here at the funeral home.”
He’s served as a deputy coroner for the last three years, one of four deputy coroners, and said many people don’t quite understand the role of a coroner or the procedures surrounding the investigation and handling of a death.
“It is death investigation. That’s what we do. We don’t investigate crimes,” he said.
“When there is a death, there is a process that has to take place before that body is released because we want to make sure everything’s covered. The coroner’s office has jurisdiction over the deceased. We work alongside other authorities and we are trained in this.”
“In Rockdale, we have a very good system here. I’d just like to improve upon it and tweak it to where it is even more sufficient.”
One of the things he said he’d like to do, if he were elected coroner, would be to have more coordination with other first responder, health and public safety agencies in doing preparedness drills for potential disasters.
“Sometimes the coroner’s office is overlooked. It’s like, we’ll call them when we need them.”
Currently, the county sees about more than 300 deaths a year. “Once Rockdale County hits the hundreds of thousands of people, we’re going to have a lot more deaths to deal with. I think now is the time to prepare for that rather than waiting until then.
“Back in 2004, the BioLab disaster, if people had died from that we would have had nowhere to house the dead. That’s one of my goals, to look at some of the facilities the county already owns that we could convert to a morgue, so we wouldn’t have to transport our deceased to another county to house them.”
The second youngest of six siblings, George Levett Jr. graduated Rockdale County High School in 1988 and went to the Gupton Jones Mortuary School in Lithonia. For a moment, he considered going to college for pathology but decided to go into the family business instead.
Levett and his wife have five children, ages 6 to 18 years old, attending Eastminster and Rockdale County High School. He is also the pastor of Crawfordville Baptist Church on Lake Rockaway Road and has been in ministry for 23 years.
For more information, Levett can be contacted at (404) 516-2787.