When Forsyth County Coroner Paul Holbrook was sworn-in to his new role on Monday, Dec. 28, he was able to include some late family members.
Like he did four years ago, when being sworn-in as a deputy coroner under former Coroner Lauren McDonald III, during Holbrook’s swearing-in this week, he did so using his grandparents’ Bible, which, according to a note on the inside, they received on Christmas day 1953.
“My dad passed away several years ago, and my grandmother gave it to me, because I’m sure it was going to go to him,” Holbrook said, “but she gave me that, and I used it for my dad’s eulogy at his service, I used it whenever I was sworn-in as deputy coroner four years ago and my grandmother actually died two months [ago] and I just thought it would be something nice to kind of honor her and my grandfather and my dad to be sworn in on that Bible.”
Taking on his new role, Holbrook said he had big shoes to fill and learned a lot from McDonald, who did not seek re-election for coroner and was elected to the District 26 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in November.
After four years as a deputy coroner and two as chief deputy coroner, Holbrook said he is “excited and nervous” for his term and has a few ideas he wants to initiate.
“Over the next few months, I would like to implement a couple of programs at no cost to the citizens, like a suicide awareness group,” Holbrook said. “I know a lot of churches have them, but we deal with the families firsthand when it comes to suicides and that sort of thing … I thought if I could offer some kind of support system as well, of course at no cost, that would be something I would like to do.”
Holbrook is a director at McDonald & Son Funeral Home and began working in the funeral industry when he was 16. He is a graduate of the Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service and earned degrees in forensic science, funeral service and criminal justice.
He has previously volunteered with Prevent Child Abuse Georgia and serves as court-appointed special advocate with CASA of Forsyth County.
Along with Holbrook, his deputy coroners – Keith Bowen, Hutch Bennett, Claire McDonald, Chris Shelton, Stan Rutledge and Kent Saferight – were also sworn-in on Monday.