Alice Adams and Duane Hills

Appropriate to Greatness: Deaths of the Rich and Famous

    There have been many good books written about the deaths of the rich and famous. However, none have taken the viewpoint of the funeral service professional or cemeterian. In this series, we hope to accomplish exactly that with the little-known details, obscure facts and citations we have found in our research. We’re excited to share our findings.


    An award-winning writer, Alice Adams has chronicled the men and women in funeral service for more than two decades. “My goal has always been to recognize funeral directors and cemeterians who selflessly assist families during times of their darkest grief,” she said. Adams resides in Dripping Springs, TX, where she enjoys her children, four grandchildren, Cassie, the Black Lab and two cats – all three rescues.
     A funeral director for the past 40 years, Duane Hills grew up in upstate New York, has been at the helm of the historic Joseph Gawler’s Sons Funeral Home in Washington, DC, and recently partnered with Alice Adams in writing One Block West of the White House: Joseph Gawler’s Sons – Undertakers for the Presidents, published in 2022. Hills is an active member of the District of Columbia’s Funeral Board, the DC History Center and The Lincoln History Group of the District of Columbia. He has been selected to mentor NFDA’s 2023 Class of Meet the Mentors. He resides in Silver Spring, MD.


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