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James Alvin Williams
September 15, 1927 ~ December 6, 2006
Funeral Director / Founder
James A. Williams was a Licensed Funeral Director and Founder of The Williams Funeral Homes in Barnesville, Milledgeville, & Gordon. A native of Spalding County, he began his career in the Funeral Industry in 1952. He has started seven successful funeral homes in his career. Mr. Williams has been a member of The Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, and The Lion's Club. He has been a member of the Georgia Funeral Director's Association for over 43 years, and has been a member of the National Funeral Director's Association as well. James was a member of The First Baptist Church of Barnesville. He was the husband of Blanche Williams and enjoyed gardening in his spare time.
Walter Joseph (Joe) Westbury was born on February 13, 1975 in Griffin, Georgia. His parents are James Richard Westbury, Sr. and the late Loretta Chambley Westbury. Joe was educated in the Griffin-Spalding School System but at the age of 14 started working part-time at his family's nursing home, Westbury Medical Care Home, located in Jackson, GA. Joe's grandfather, the late Reverend S.J. Westbury, started the nursing home in 1959.
Joe graduated from Griffin High School in June of 1994. Following graduation Joe studied at Gordon College in Barnesville, Georgia for 2 semesters. During this time the family experienced a death, and Joe was intrigued by the care that was provided to his family at their time of loss. He went to inquire about pursuing a career in funeral service and spoke with Mike Conner, manager of McCullough Funeral Home in Griffin, GA. After the discussion Joe started working at McCullough Funeral Home part-time, while also working at the family's nursing home in Jackson. In September of 1995 Joe started Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Decatur, Georgia. He was invited to join the honor fraternity. Joe graduated from Gupton-Jones in August of 1996.
Following graduation he started his apprenticeship with McCullough Funeral Home in Griffin, while still working part-time at Westbury Medical Care Home. He received his funeral director and embalmer licenses in May of 1998. He continued to work with McCullough Funeral Home and Westbury Medical Care Home until he began employment with Haisten-Woodlawn Funeral Home, Griffin, GA in February of 2000.
During this time Joe, grew his experience as a funeral director and embalmer, having met with the majority of families and embalming most of the deceased. In March of 2001, Mike Conner and Joe Westbury, with the financial backing of Rick Towns, bought the Moody Funeral in Griffin. The Moody Funeral Home had opened in 1997 and historically performed between 40-60 funerals annually. Conner-Westbury Funeral Home opened on March 23, 2001 and by the end of 2001 had performed 146 funerals. This trend increased every year. The last full year that Mike, Joe and Rick owned the funeral home, they performed 465 funerals.
In March of 2012, Joe and his partners collectively sold their business to Carriage Services, Houston, TX.
In April of 2002, Joe married Drew Carden Westbury. They have four daughters, Kitty, Kami, Karoline and Kaysen. They are members of Rock Springs Church in Milner, Georgia, where Joe serves on the Board of Stewards. Joe also serves on the Advisory Board for Rock Springs Christian Academy. He is a member of the Jackson Butts County Rotary Club, Butts County Leadership Class of 2014, and serves as Chairman for the Partner's for Smart Growth. Joe enjoys playing golf and riding motorcycles.
Ashleigh Meghan Nelson
Ashleigh Meghan Nelson was born on September 22, 1987 in Clayton County. At the early age of 9 months, she became a Lamar County resident. She is the daughter of Jerry and Gail Messer of Milner. Ashleigh graduated from Lamar County Comprehensive High School in 2006. At a young age she knew she wanted to work in funeral service but in 2005 when her grandmother passed away she became very interested in the process of embalming and started researching as much as she could. After attending Southern Crescent Technical College, in 2012 she was accepted to Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service. She went on to graduate in August of 2013. She started working with Williams Funeral Home in September of 2013 and spent the next four years working with them. She completed her apprenticeship training with Trice Funeral Home of Barnesville and went on to gain her Funeral Director and Embalming Licenses in 2017. Ashleigh looks forward to helping serve families in their time of need. She enjoys reading and spending time with her family.