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Whitfield Funeral Home
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Hamilton Mill

Donald Ray Kerlin

Obituary Date: Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Donald Ray Kerlin, 86, of Buford, Georgia, passed away peacefully and surrounded by his family on July 10, 2019.  Born on February 3, 1933 in Lawrenceville, Georgia to Lester and Linnie Mae Kerlin, Mr. Kerlin was a veteran of the Korean War serving in the U. S. Army’s 31st Infantry Division at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.  Upon being honorably discharged from the Army, Mr. Kerlin returned home to Lawrenceville where he and his younger brother Billy owned and operated a popular Gas Station for many years.  On August 8, 1958, Mr. Kerlin married Laverne Dollar of Buford, Georgia, and the couple made Buford their home. Mr. Kerlin attended First Baptist Church in Buford and was a member of the Fellowship Sunday School Class.

For the next 25 plus years, Mr. Kerlin worked for Bailey Cabinet Company in Sugar Hill as a cabinet maker, restored the Bailey residence, Bona Allen Mansion, and worked tirelessly for all the things the company needed.  In addition to his regular duties, using his self-taught skills, natural talent and love of cars, Mr. Kerlin was selected to restore Larry Bailey’s extensive collection of antique cars.  Some of Mr. Kerlin’s restorations were awarded National Prizes for Antique Car Restorations and today many remain part of antique car collections throughout the country.  At the end of his career, Mr. Kerlin brought his skills to the City of Buford where he managed the Building Maintenance, Landscaping and Custodial Departments for the Buford City Schools for 11 years.  Throughout his adult life, Mr. Kerlin also worked tirelessly in his home garage restoring and repairing damaged vehicles each day after work (and after eating Laverne’s homegrown cooked meals with their children).  He also cultivated one of the best lawns and best vegetable gardens in Buford, and to his delight, it was a garden enjoyed by many in the community over the years. 

In addition to his parents, Mr. Kerlin was preceded in death by his six siblings:  Shirley Kerlin, Louise Freeman, Betty Paden, Harold Kerlin, J. D. Kerlin and Billy Kerlin all of Lawrenceville.  He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Laverne Dollar Kerlin; his son and daughter-in-law, Bryan and Susan Kerlin (Buford); his daughter and son-in-law, Amy and Bill Reed (Buford); his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Bill and Jalaine Smith (Buford); his sister-in-law, Pat Kerlin (Lawrenceville); his brother-in-law, Billy Paden (Lawrenceville); his grandchildren, Lyndsay Reed, Ryan Reed, Anna Kerlin, Amanda Kerlin and Alyssa Rae Kerlin (all of Buford); several nieces and nephews; and a host of other loving relatives, friends and neighbors.  Donald Kerlin worked hard, loved BIG, and left a lasting legacy in the hearts of all who knew and loved him.  

The funeral will be held Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. in the Chapel of Flanigan Funeral Home with Rev. Wayne Johnson and Rev. Jon Reed officiating.  Interment will follow at Broadlawn Memorial Gardens in Buford.  The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Friday, July 12 from 4 to 8 p.m. and again on Saturday, July 13 from 9 to 11 a.m.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association or to the Northside Forsyth Hospital Foundation in memory of Donald Kerlin.

To express condolences, please sign our online guest book at  Arrangements By: Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory, Buford, GA (770) 932-1133.

Funeral Date
07/13/2019 at 11:00AM
Funeral Home
Flanigan Funeral Home & Crematory
4400 S. Lee St, Buford 30518