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Cleveland sworn in as Henry coroner

Special Photo
Donald Cleveland (right) was sworn in by Henry County Probate Judge Kelley Powell Wednesday, as the new coroner for Henry County.

Special Photo Donald Cleveland (right) was sworn in by Henry County Probate Judge Kelley Powell Wednesday, as the new coroner for Henry County.

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Henry County has a new coroner, following the resignation of the man who held the position for five years.

Donald Cleveland, co-owner of Cannon Cleveland Funeral Directors in McDonough, was sworn in on Wednesday, by Henry County Probate Judge Kelley Powell.

Cleveland replaces his business partner in the funeral home, Greg Cannon, who resigned as coroner Tuesday.

Cleveland, who worked as a deputy coroner under Cannon, will be responsible for working with law-enforcement authorities to investigate deaths in Henry County. Cleveland said he is looking forward to serving in his new role.

"I have always had an interest in public safety," said Cleveland. "When the coroner position became available, I had a desire to pursue it full-time, and take a step back from the funeral home."

He added that the funeral home will continue to bear his name, and he will have an office in the Henry County Administration Building.

Judge Powell swore in Cleveland as deputy coroner in January of 2009, and did the honors again as he was sworn in to serve as coroner, following Cannon's resignation. Powell appointed Cleveland to fill the unexpired term of his business partner, Cannon.

Cleveland, the judge said, "seemed like a logical choice" for the position. "Also, he's a well-respected member of our community," Powell said.

She said Cannon, too, is well-regarded in the Henry community, for his performance as a coroner. "By all accounts, I think the public was very pleased with the service he provided," Powell said.

Cannon had worked as the coroner in Henry, on a part-time basis, for five years. Leaving the position, he said, was a "tough choice" to make.

"The coroner's office has grown in the number of cases that are investigated, as well as management of case documents," said Cannon. "It's just outgrown what a person can manage on a part-time basis."

Cannon said the demands of his funeral home and crematory have grown in recent years, adding that he plans to focus more of his time and energy on his business.

"I think our county needs a full-time coroner, and I can't fulfill that responsibility and do what I need to do for my business," he said.

He said he has been "proud," as coroner, to work with public-safety professionals in Henry. "One of the things that I've been most impressed with, is the quality of law enforcement, fire and [emergency medical] services that we have in Henry County," he said. "We should all be proud to know that we have that quality of people protecting our citizens."