The Thomaston and Upson County community lost a long-time businessman on December 5, 2015 with the passing of B. Fred Coggins. Eighty-eight years old at the time of his passing, Coggins was the founder and operator of Coggins Funeral Home and Crystal Hill Cemetery for more than 60 years.
Born and raised in Pike County, he worked in the B. F. Goodrick Mill. Coggins enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 17, and was sent to Japan during World War II, serving in the infantry. After returning, he went back to work with Goodrich.
But Coggins also started working part time with the Stephens Funeral Home in Thomaston and discovered he dearly loved the funeral business. He and his wife, Virginia Avery Coggins, took their young daughter, Peggy, and moved to Nashville, Tennessee so he could attend the Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science. After graduation, they moved to Griffin, Georgia, where he worked for the Haisten Brothers Funeral Home. After a few years, and attaining his license, Coggins and his family, which now included son Kenny, moved back to Thomaston to again work for Stephens Funeral Home.
After several years, Coggins finally attained his dream of opening his own funeral home, and Coggins Funeral Home went into business on South Center Street. After growing the business for 16 years, and having son Kenny and Rusty Coggins join as partners, Crystal Hill Cemetery was purchased and a new funeral home was built and opened in 1981 on Hannah’s Mill Road, with the slogan, “A family serving families.”
Coggins operated the funeral home until his retirement, when he turned it over to his son, Kenny Coggins, who continues the family tradition today.
Coggins was a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer for nearly 65 years. He also held his life insurance license for more than 40 years. He was a Mason for 50 years, a member of the Georgia Funeral Directors Association, The Academy of Graduate Embalmers and The National Funeral Directors Association. He was also a member of The Gathering Church in Thomaston.
Coggins is survived by his daughter and son, five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and other relatives.
For funeral information, see Page 2A.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.