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Longtime Savannah coroner, featured in ’Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,’ passes away

Dr. James Metts, who served Chatham County as their coroner for 40 years, passed away on...
Dr. James Metts, who served Chatham County as their coroner for 40 years, passed away on Monday, Jan. 20 at the age of 88.(WTOC)
Updated: Jan. 22, 2020 at 11:29 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Dr. James Metts, who served Chatham County as their coroner for 40 years, passed away on Monday, Jan. 20 at the age of 88.

According to his obituary, he was surrounded by loved ones and his Bichon Frises. He was being cared for by Georgia Hospice.

Dr. Metts had many accomplishments in his life, including obtaining the rank of captain while serving in the United States Air Force as a physician.

He was a physician in Savannah for 50 years and a Rotarian for over 50 years. Dr. Metts was Chatham County’s elected coroner for 40 years before resigning in 2012.

He founded the Community Cardiovascular Council and served as its chairman for 40 years. There he championed the effort to reduce the death and disability caused by heart attack and stroke, locally and throughout the nation.

For several decades Dr. Metts lead and supported medical missions of mercy for the people of the Republic of Haiti.

Dr. Metts won numerous awards and recognitions in his life time. His obituary reads, “He was also honored to be a member of various groups and organizations. He has insisted that all of these items not be listed individually. He wants everyone to remember not what he did, but that he did it with a servant’s heart submitting to God’s authority and enjoying His Grace.”

Dr. Metts was also a WTOC Hometown Hero in 2009, where he was recognized for his work in containing and even reversing the effects of strokes.

He is survived by his wife, Paula, his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and his Bichon Frises.

While Chatham County’s coroner, Dr. Metts was featured in the bestselling book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” John Berendt’s 1994 nonfiction bestseller on the trials of a prominent antiques dealer charged in a deadly shooting in Savannah.

Care and Services for Dr. Metts are entrusted to Brannen-Kennedy Funeral Home in Glennville. Per his request, private services will be held at a later date.

To send flowers to James’ family, or to read his obituary, visit Brannen-Kennedy Funeral Home’s website.

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