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Renovated funeral home still serving community

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By M.J. Subiria Arauz

marauz@news-daily.com

Officials with Parkway Garden Chapel, a full-service funeral home in Forest Park, are hoping the major renovation of the facility and its grounds will help the business stand out in the competitive, local environment.

Located at 1000 Forest Parkway, Parkway Garden Chapel has undergone a $300,000 renovation and upgrade, that includes exterior and interior renovations, according to Dwayne Green, general manager, licensed funeral director and embalmer for Dignity Memorial's South Atlanta market.

Green added that other funeral homes he oversees include: the Tara Garden Chapel, in Jonesboro, and the Horis A. Ward Stone Mountain Chapel.

Dignity Memorial, he explained, is a brand of Service Corporation International, the company that owns Parkway Garden Chapel. Service Corporation International invested $300,000 in renovations at the 18,000-square-foot facility, which is more than 30 years old, according to Green, because "It was just time, basically to renovate."

He said the facility's roof, siding, landscaping and gutters got a complete make-over. The pews in the building's chapel were refurbished, and a new sign was placed outside, he said.

Green, who has been general manager for about eight months, said Parkway Garden Chapel provides funeral, cremation and cemetery services for the metro Atlanta area.

Parkway Garden Chapel offers burial and cremation plans, which vary in cost, said Green. He said he has worked hard to reduce the cost of plans to the lowest possible price for his customers, since he assumed his position.

For example, the Legacy plan was $12,395, and has been reduced to $9,600, he said. Legacy is Parkway Garden Chapel's premier burial plan, he added. The plan includes a casket from the Legacy collection, a premium floral selection, and Omnilaw Legal Plans, which help with other issues that may need to be handled in connection with a loved one's final arrangements.

According to Parkway Garden Chapel's web site -- www.parkwaygardenchapel.com -- Dignity Memorial partnered with Omnilaw, a network of more than 16,000 attorneys, to provide services that include unlimited telephone consultations on all legal matters, probate assistance and document preparation.

Green said he has been in the funeral-home industry for about 25 years, and considers it a ministry. It is a business that he has wanted to be a part of, he said, since he was 14 years old. "I look forward to helping people at their lowest point in their lives," he said.

According to Parkway Garden Chapel's web site, the Forest Park funeral home was established in 1954, and was then known as Abercrombie Patterson. The current 18,000-square-foot facility was built in 1974, to accommodate the funeral home's growing business.

In 2003, the facility was grouped with Horis A. Ward Funeral Homes, and was named Horis A. Ward Parkway Garden Chapel.

Claudia Gilmer, office manager for Dignity Memorial's South Atlanta operation, said Service Corporation International took ownership of the funeral home around 2005, and it was then renamed Parkway Garden Chapel.