OXFORD – Otis E. “Rocky” Kennedy II was appointed as interim coroner Monday on a 5-0 vote by the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors. A licensed funeral director and embalmer at Waller Funeral Home in Oxford, he has been a deputy coroner for six years and is state-certified as a death investigator.
“You can be assured that you’ve got the full backing of the board of supervisors,” said board President Lloyd Oliphant.
Kennedy will succeed Lonnie Weaver, whose resignation after 20 years as coroner takes effect Oct. 31. Weaver resigned from the presidency of the Mississippi Coroners and Medical Examiners Association in May and from his position as a sergeant with Oxford Police Department in July.
The Mississippi Coroners and Medical Examiners Association submitted paperwork to the State Attorney General’s Office for investigation, alleging that funds were misappropriated during his presidency.
Kennedy had only kind words for Weaver.
“Lonnie served this county faithfully for many years,” he said.
Kennedy moved to Oxford 11 years ago from Kentucky. After securing a summer job at age 16 washing cars and mowing grass for a funeral home, he had worked his way through Georgetown College as an interim funeral director and attended Mid-America School of Funeral Service in Indiana. He also worked with the University of Kentucky’s Body Bequeathment Program.
He and his wife, Leslie, a nutritionist, have two small children.
Six applicants were considered for the post. Supervisors originally planned to ask the interim coroner to agree not to run for the permanent post next year, but in the end that gentlemen’s agreement was laid aside.
Kennedy says he takes his professional duties seriously, both as coroner and funeral director.
“It’s our job to conduct investigations, but we’re aware that we’re going to be dealing with people on one of the worst days of their lives, having lost a loved one,” he said. “Our job is caring for the living by caring for the dead.”
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal