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December 2016




Pet Memorial Sunday: Pet

Pilgrimages life celebration

Isard on how to set cemetery prices

Van Beck on using time
well The f word
Gundersons green 50th
anniversary celebration




JA N U A R Y 1 1 - 1 4 , 2 0 1 7

International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association
Promoting consumer choices, prearrangement and open competition
Providing exceptional education, networking and legislative guidance and support
to progressive cemetery, funeral and cremation professionals worldwide

Scenes from Pet Pilgrimages Pet Life

Celebration, including luminaries, human
and animal attendees and the memorial
wall. Story, page 12.

8 Presidents Letter
The advantages to your company
of providing pet loss services
by Mike Uselton, CCFE
10 Washington Report
Dewey defeats Truman
by Robert M. Fells, Esq.
32 Supply Line
34 Update
45 New Members
45 Calendar
46 Classifieds
46 Ad Index

ICCFA Magazine online
ICCFA members in good
standing can read the magazine online
Web Expo directory of suppliers and
Association directory
Industry event calendar
Model guidelines
ICCFA Government and Legal Affairs
Committees model guidelines for state
laws and regulations
Links to news and feature stories from all
over the world
Cremation Coaching Center

ICCFA Magazine

Pet Pilgrimage event brings families together to celebrate their

pets lives How did your company observe National Pet Memorial Day
this year? With a Happy National Pet Memorial Day post on Facebook? A banner on your website? If you really want to reach out to pet
families, start by learning about Pet Pilgrimage Crematory & Memorials annual Pet Life Celebration.
interview by Susan Loving


Cemetery Impossible: How do you properly set cemetery prices?

Figuring out how to price merchandise and interment, entombment and
inurnment rights in your cemetery involves doing the math, knowing
your market and getting feedback from your salespeople.
by Daniel M. Isard, MSFS


Helping people talk about the F word It can be hard for families
members to talk to each other about their wishes for their funerals.
Here are some ideas to get the conversation going.
by Doug Wagemann, MBA, CCFE, CFSP

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ICCFA news
41 2017 Wide World of Sales Get back

into shape at the WWS Bootcamp

Phoenix, Arizona, January 11-14, 2017
Thank you to our 2017 Wide World
of Sales sponsors
Thank you for contributing
to Lung Force
2017 music licensing now available
on iccfa.com
Consider sponsorship at the
2017 Annual Convention
Nashville, Tennessee, April 5-8, 2017
Thank you to our 2016
Fall Conference sponsors



ICCFA calendar

go to www.iccfa.com
for program, registration & scholarship info

2017 Wide
World of Sales

January 11-14
Hyatt Regency,
Phoenix, Arizona, Conference Chairs:
Andy Lopez and Stan Engh
2017 Annual
& Exposition

April 5-8
Renaissance Nashville
& the Omni Nashville, Tennessee
Conference Chairs: Mitch Rose, CCFE,
and Nectar L. Ramirez
2017 ICCFA University

July 20-26 Fogelman

Conference Center, Memphis,
Tennessee Chancellor:
Jeff Kidwiler, CCE, CSE


The keys to service: Time, its use and abuse

Time is a precious commodity, and todays world seems to run
on fast time. This can present challenges to a funeral or cemetery
by Todd W. Van Beck, CFuE


Gunderson plants 50 trees to celebrate 50 years

CemeterIes CrematorIes Funeral homes

supplIers pet loss proFessIonals

Submit your news

to ICCFA Magazine

have you held a groundbreaking or grand opening for a new facility? hired or promoted someone? Is your company offering a new or updated product to cemeteries
and/or funeral homes? have you recently held an unusual service or a successful
seminar at your location? added a grief therapy dog to your staff? Share your news
with colleagues all over the worldsend it in to ICCFA Magazine! Its a simple way
to receive some well-deserved publicity for you and your staff and to share ideas
with peers. heres how to get your news in ICCFa magazine:

n Write it down. It doesnt have to be written perfectly (thats why we have editors)it just needs to include the facts. Remember the
basics: Who, What, Where, When & how (and sometimes Why).

n Send it in:
E-mail your Word document as an attachment to sloving@iccfa.com, or write
your release in the body of your e-mail. Please include your full name and title and
the companys name and location in the body of your e-mail.
Photoshigh-resolution jpgscan be e-mailed or uploaded to Dropbox and a link
sent to sloving@iccfa.com. Remember you must adjust digital camera settings to
take high-resolution images before taking the photos! Check the owners manual for
instructions. (If youre scanning in glossies, they must be scanned in at a minimum
of 300 dpi at print size.) Dont forget to include captions. This is often overlooked
and is very important. Whos in the photo? What is going on in the photo?
Questions? need some guidance? e-mail ICCFa magazine managing editor susan
loving at sloving@iccfa.com.

ICCFA officers

December 2016

Michael Uselton, CCFE, president

Scott R. Sells, CCFE, president-elect

Jay D. Dodds, CFSP, vice president
Gary M. Freytag, CCFE, vice president
Paul Goldstein, vice president
Christine Toson Hentges, CCE,
vice president
Richard O. Baldwin Jr. CCE, treasurer
Robbie L. Pape, secretary
Robert M. Fells, Esq., executive director &
general counsel

Magazine staff

Susan Loving, managing editor

sloving@iccfa.com; slovingiccfa@yahoo.com

ICCFA Magazine

Rick Platter, supplier relations manager

rplatter@iccfa.com; 1.800.645.7700, ext. 1213
Katherine Devins, ommunications & member
services manager
kd@iccfa.com; 1.800.645.7700, ext. 1224
Robert M. Fells, Esq., executive director &
robertfells@iccfa.com; 1.800.645.7700, ext.
Brenda Clough, office administrator
& association liaison
bclough@iccfa.com; 1.800.645.7700, ext. 1214

Daniel Osorio, subscription coordinator

(habla espaol)
danielo@iccfa.com; 1.800.645.7700, ext. 1215
ICCFA Magazine (ISSN 1936-2099) is published
by the International Cemetery, Cremation and
Funeral Association, 107 Carpenter Drive, Suite
100, Sterling, VA 20164-4468; 703.391.8400;
FAX 703.391.8416; www.iccfa.com. Published
10 times per year, with combined issues in
March-April and August-September. Periodicals
postage paid at Sterling, VA, and other offices.
Copyright 2016 by the International Cemetery,

Cremation and Funeral Association. Subscription

rates: In the United States, $39.95; in Canada,
$45.95; overseas: $75.95. One subscription is
included in annual membership dues. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ICCFA
Magazine, 107 Carpenter Drive, Suite 100,
Sterling, VA 20164-4468. Individual written
contributions, commentary and advertisements
appearing in ICCFA Magazine do not necessarily
reflect either the opinion or the endorsement
of the International Cemetery, Cremation and
Funeral Association.

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Presidents Letter
President Michael
Uselton, CCFE

Uselton is a managing partner of Gibraltar
Remembrance Services,
Palmetto, Florida.

to support useltons goal

of raising $100,000 to help
fight lung cancer, todays
#1 killer of women, go to

ICCFA Magazine

The advantages to your company

of providing pet loss services

hile being a pet loss

market base with these families
provider may be
and they do remember you when
something new to
a human family member has endour profession within the last
of-life needs or wishes to preplan.
decade or so, the advantage of
Either way, expanding our offerings
being the local pet loss resource
to include this market segment has
far outweighs not offering
been an advantage to our company.
such services. According to the
Even if you are not ready to
2015-2016 APPA national pet
actually begin offering these
owners survey, 65 percent of
services, that does not mean you
U.S. households include at least
cannot provide ancillary services.
one pet, which equates to 79.7
This would include providing
million homes. In 1988, the first
certified grief therapy dogs to be
year the survey was conducted,
present during services or large
56 percent of such households
gatherings. Try it and see how
included a pet.
those in attendance respond. It will
While that leaves a percentage
be positive and people will talk
of households that are not pet
about it.
Three of Pet Passings
owners, we made a decision six
Honor public servants by
clients sit for a photo with
years ago, based on the fact that Santa at a event that resulted assisting in remembering the K9
the majority of households do
officers that have died protecting
in almost 800 photos.
include pets, to begin offering
your community.
pet loss services. We developed a separate section
There are many ways of incorporating pets and
within a few of our cemeteries to offer pet and
companions into your business even if you do not
human cremation gardens where you and your pet
offer them cremation or burial options.
can be placed together, forever. These additions to
Again, the PLPA and the ICCFA are your
our offerings have expanded our marketing base
only total resources for the death-care profession,
immensely while at the same time serving pet
whether human or furred or feathered.
families with a top-shelf level of compassion and
Resolve to attend WWS
Maybe you or your staff are not willing to offer Reminder, its not too late to register for the
these services for fear of offending the minority
Wide World of Sales Conference, being held
of households. All I can tell you is it has been a
January 11-14, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona. Also,
positive influence in our business model. You can
the ICCFA Annual Convention and Expo will be
keep the human and pet services separate and still
an unforgettable event in Music City, USA. Make
serve both successfully.
your plans to be in Nashville April 5-8, 2017.
The Pet Loss Professionals Alliance is part of
the ICCFA and led by none other than our top
dogs Bill Remkus, CPLP, and Coleen Ellis,
CPLP. The PLPA offers much-needed education
and guidance in operating a professional pet loss
business and allows you to network with other petloss professionals.
Lung Force update
There is a whole new world out there with pet
You are making a HUGE difference through your
families, and it opens quite a few doors in terms of support and contributions in defeating the #1 killer
community outreach into households within your
in women today. Thank you for your support!
market. Whether you host a local Yappy Hour
Awareness is important for all.
or offer photos with the Easter Bunny or Santa,
people will come in droves with their pets in tow.
Branding the pet-loss segment of your company
with your firm or cemetery is relationship market
ing. Within six years, we have broadened our

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Foresight Companies is the best choice, no question.
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Because every business needs an edge
Call Dan Isard (800) 426-0165 or visit www. f4sight .com

Washington Report
by ICCFA General
Counsel Robert M.
Fells, Esq.
ext. 1212
direct line:

Fells is ICCFA executive

director and general counsel,
responsible for maintaining and
improving relationships with federal and state government agencies, the news media, consumer
organizations and related trade
Why we vote. A
series of articles
on the importance
of engagement in
the democratic process in the
United States.

ICCFA General Counsel
Robert Fells,
Esq., talks about legal and
legislative issues affecting
funeral, cemetery and cremation businesses at
Wireless. ICCFA members,
send us your email address and
well send you our bi-weekly
electronic newsletter full of
breaking news.


The November Washington

Report incorrectly states the date
when the new overtime regulations become effective. The correct date is December 1, 2016.


ICCFA Magazine

Dewey defeats Truman

y the time you read this column, you will

know something that I dont know as I
write it: the name of the new president
of the United States. At this moment, many polls
say the election is too close to call, but some
polls give the edge to Hillary Clinton. Perhaps
I am showing my age, but I remember too
many presidential elections where the pollsters
could not have been more wrong with their
predictions. The classic examplethat (just for
the record) happened before I was bornwas
the 1948 election where Harry Truman ran
against Thomas Dewey.
Democrat Truman was Franklin Roosevelts
vice president in the 1944 election. FDR died
suddenly in April 1945 and Truman succeeded him
to fill the remainder of the term. In 1948, Truman
was seeking to win a term of his own, but FDRs
memory was proving to be a tough act to follow.
Truman had an unassuming personality in contrast
to the charismatic Roosevelt, though he coined
some memorable one-liners, such as If you cant
stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and The
buck stops here. The Republicans nominated a
powerhouse candidate, New York Gov. Thomas
Dewey, who earlier had won much praise as a
crime-busting attorney general for New York
County. From the beginning of the 1948 campaign,
most observers felt that Dewey had the edge.
Some polls found that Dewey would so soundly
beat Truman that on Election Day night, the
Chicago Daily Tribune felt secure in publishing a
front page banner headline proclaiming, Dewey
Defeats Truman. That night, few people would
have disputed that headline, and Truman himself
went to bed believing he had lost. The morning told
a different tale, as Truman was officially declared
the winner. There is a famous photo of Truman
with a big grin on his face holding up the Chicago
How could so many experts be wrong? Then
as now, there were many factors. First, some
pollsters were personally biased and wanted Dewey
to win. Others were more objective but failed to
take properly balanced voter samples, so skewed
samples created skewed results.
Finally, there were those intangible events the
impact of which nobody can predict until afterward.
In Deweys case, two trivial things may have
doomed his campaign. The first was a photograph
of him sitting on a dais. Dewey was a short man,
but the photo was taken from behind the dais
and showed him sitting on a phone book to make
himself look taller when compared to the guests
seated next to him. The photo was circulated far

and wide and made the candidate into something of

a laughingstock.
The second incident that was later claimed to
have contributed to Deweys defeat was a comment
by Teddy Roosevelts daughter, Alice. A reporter
asked if she was voting for Dewey, since her father
had been a Republican. Alice answered with her
well-known withering wit. She said she would not,
because Dewey reminded her of the little man on a
wedding cake. This remark was greeted with gales
of laughter, because there was a grain of truth to
it, unfortunately for Gov. Dewey. But it is on such
minutiae that the outcome of presidential elections
sometimes depends.
This brings us to the election of 2016. I believe
that no matter who wins, it will be a squeaker, but
hopefully the Supreme Court will not be called
on to decide the winner, as in 2000. Regardless,
some things are certain to continue with our federal
government. Chief among them is the rate of new
federal rules and regulations that agencies crank out
every day. While this is public information, I doubt
many people know the sheer numbers involved.
Lets just take a look at today, as I write this: Its
the deadline for the public to file comments on 12
regulations. Not so bad. In the next three days, 50
regulations have comment deadlines. In the next
seven days, 137 regulations. In the next two weeks,
278 regulations. In the next month, 574, and in the
next three months, 978. But waitthats the good
The number of new regulations published just
today are 82. Published in the past three days are
295 and in the past seven days, 404 new regulations
were published. Dont read the next sentence if you
have a weak heart. The number of new regulations
published in the past 15 days is 1,022, and in the
past month, 2,104. Finally, the number of new
regulations published by federal agencies in the past
six months is 6,283. I would like to say that these
numbers are atypical and are much higher than
usual. But the fact is that these numbers are average
and typical. We are drowning in new regulations
every day and most people dont even know it.
So while, as you read this, you know who is
our new president and, as I write this, I dont, I can
safely predict that whoever has won will not change
the torrent of new regulations, not to mention the
flood of new laws issued from Congress. This is the
reason the ICCFA is constantly engaged in a proactive government relations programs in Congress,
with regulatory agencies and in the courts. There
is no reason to believe that this state of affairs will
cease or even be reduced. Of course, I could be
wrong. Dewey didnt defeat Truman.
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December 2016


intervew by ICCFA Magazine

Managing Editor Susan Loving

ICCFA Magazine subject spotlight


How did your company observe National Pet Memorial Day

this year? With a Happy National Pet Memorial Day post
on Facebook? A banner on your website? If you really want
to reach out to pet families, start by learning about Pet Pilgrimage
Crematory & Memorials annual Pet Life Celebration.

Leslie Reid is director of Pet Pilgrimage
Crematory & Memorials, a division of
Cavin-Cook Funeral Home & Crematory,
Mooresville, North Carolina.

Reid has a background in interior design,

and started with Cavin-Cook advising on
design before being hired to head the
companys pet services division. She has
three cats, a Chorkie and a Vail chameleon.

People attending the Pet Pilgrimage Pet Life Celebration decorate luminaries in honor
of their pets. Volunteers help people place the bags on the labyrinth path, this year in a
butterfly design because of the butterfly release that was part of the service.

Pet Pilgrimage event brings families

together to celebrate their pets lives

Pet Pilgrimage support staff, standing
from left: Randall Cruse; Andrew Fuller;
owner H. Mike Cook; Vice President of
Operations Michael Cook. Seated, from
left: Kylie Anderson; Director Leslie
Reid; Paige Altieri. Dogs: Angus, Jack
and Luna. Not pictured: Arthur Helms,
Susan Humphrey and other Cavin-Cook
Funeral Home & Crematory staff.


ICCFA Magazine

eaching out to animal lovers is

something you can do via petthemed events whether or not your
cemetery, funeral home or crematory offers
pet services. But if your organization does
include a pet division, it becomes crucial
to consider how to make pet families
aware of your services.
Observing National Pet Memorial
Daythe second Sunday in September
is one way to make a name for yourself
with pet families. Pet Pilgrimage, a
division of Cavin-Cook Funeral Home &
Crematory in Mooresville, North Carolina,
has done so for five years.
At Pet Pilgrimages Pet Life Celebration, people and pets are welcomed onto
the Cavin-Cook campus to honor their
pets, past and present, share their stories
with others, receive blessings for current
A flier for this years Pet Life Celebration.
pets and pay tribute to pet heroes

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Clockwise, from top:

Attendees gather for the service.
Pastor Tom McCrea blesses a pet.
Cavin-Cook Funeral Home and Pet
Pilgrimage owner Mike Cook talks to an
People watch the memorial video created to honor the lives of their pets.
A close-up of some of the luminaries
decorated by attendees in honor of their
pets and placed onto a labyrinth.

Start every day at the ICCFA Caf at www.iccfa.com

December 2016



Human and canine attendees enjoy the Pet Pilgrimage Pet Life Celebration. The
company buys tents on sale and keeps them on hand for the September event.

such as service dogs. The event also raises

money for the local Humane Society and,
no doubt, raises awareness of the genuine
good will of Pet Pilgrimage. The event
fulfills a lot of goals and especially their
desire to give back to the community and
the families that have made Pet Pilgrimage
what it is today.
ICCFA Magazine talked to Pet
Pilgrimage Director Leslie Reid about the
organization, what happens at their Pet
Memorial Day observance and how it all
comes together.
Lets start by you telling us a little bit
about yourself. I know youre director of
Pet Pilgrimage. How long have you been
with Pet Pilgrimage and/or Cavin-Cook?
I have been here for five years. I came
into the position in a round-about way. My
background is in interior design, and while
assisting Mike Cook with some interior
design consulting at Cavin-Cook I became
familiar with the funeral homes many
services. Because of my love for pets, I
was especially taken with the services
provided to pet families.
Within the year, I had decided to come
onboard full time, and Ive loved every
minute of it. Its beautiful service work,
and I get so much more out of it than I
Did you start with Pet Pilgrimage
Yes, I came on board to do marketing.
Mike saw the need for a dedicated person
to be focused on the pet services and be
a liaison to the veterinary hospitals, and

ICCFA Magazine

most importantly to minister to people.

Our business is a little different than
some others, at least in our area, The pet
crematories in our area are more routeoriented. Where we, being a part of a full
service funeral home, are people-oriented.
Our pet cremations are all private, and
we meet with families, do a lot of oneon-one work with families. I do a grief
support group. We just have a different
business philosophy.
When we do work with a vet (we now
have several vets in the area we work
with), we go to get each pet individually
from the vets office.

Do you advertise more directly to

families, rather than going in and making
presentations to vets to try to pick up the
vets entire business?
We do try to do that. The feeling I get with
the PLPA is that this is the direction were
going, of offering an option to the old way
of thinking, where pets are put in bags and
freezers and are picked up on a route. We
want families to have an option.
In dealing with a pet grief support
group, a lot of times I see that theres so
much guilt associated with a pets passing.
People feel guilty leaving their pet behind,
they feel like they didnt do enough. Just a
lot of guilt.
Maybe we can give them a little peace
in knowing that their pet is being taken
to our facility in a designated van, on a
gurney, wrapped in an angel blanket. In
knowing we treat our pets just like we treat
our human beings.

Each pet is taken care of individually

when we bring them back to our facility.
They never leave our facilityeverything
is under one roof. People are welcome to
come and view our crematory ahead of
Of course with my design background,
I wanted our facility to be set up to provide
a place of peace and comfort. We have two
beautiful comfort care rooms set up with
mini fireplaces like a home setting, where
people can spend time with their pet if
theyre not ready to say goodbye. We meet
with families in these rooms when they
come to get their pets, as well.
Weve got a big mural across the wall
in the actual crematory, so that when
people do come back to that area its not
a scary place for them to be. We have
a cooler instead of freezerswe never
put pets in pet bags and we only use the
cooler if necessary. And that appeals to
people. They want to know that theyve
done everything possible for their family
Is the Pet Pilgrimage site at Cavin-Cook,
on that same campus?

Yes, it is. We actually took three of the

hearse garage bays and renovated them
into what is now the pet service area. We
had to build a whole new garage for our
hearses, but the former garage is now a
lovely facility, if I do say so myself.
A lot of people want to take their pet
all the way to the crematory. They dont
necessarily want to witness the cremation,
but they want to be with their pet all the
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December 2016



Though this is not an event where outside exhibitors are solicited, the Humane
Society (above), which is the beneficiary
of the event, and a pet communicator
and medium (left) are invited.

way to the end.

We will probably take over more garage
bays as we grow, but right now weve got
about 2,000 square feet with office space.
We also work with a mobile end-oflife-care vet, Dr. Keith Tillman, owner of
Comfort at Home; all of his families use
our facility. He also offers euthanizing in
our officethats another thing that sets
us apart.
Our rooms are set up as individual
living rooms so you can bring your pet
there to be euthanized at a neutral location
rather than your house, so you wont have
those memories attached to your home,
or in the sterile environment of the vets
About how many families do you serve
each year?
Were rather small; we serve about 2,000
families a year. When I started, we were
serving maybe three or four a month. So,
its grown exponentially, as the word has
gotten out.
Ive run my own business before, and I
am of the old school that says you should
grow a business slowly. I made promises
to people, and I intend to keep every one
of those promises, and in order to do that,
I think steady, slow growth is best.
And you know, the vets that we do have
on boardthere are about 10 vets in our

ICCFA Magazine

area who use our servicesthink the same

How many staff people do you have?
Ive got three assistant directors who work
with me and three crematory operators,
two of whom wait on families. We are a
24-hour service just like our funeral home,
so we are on call 24 hours a day. Well
meet families at our facility at any hour of
the night if need be. We are unique in that
we dont charge for that service.
We have an emergency vet we work
with; we go out for each pet that has
passed at the emergency clinic. Again,
thats a unique thing we offer that most
crematories will not do.
Kids are very near and dear to us at Pet
Pilgrimage; our service is very familyoriented. We help the parents with their
children when theyve lost a pet. They
come in and sign a memory board, we do
private balloon releases with them, make
a clay paw printwhatevers appropriate
for their age level and that they would like
to do.
Are you the one who started the pet life
Yes, I was inspired when I took Coleen
Ellis pet companioning class five years
ago. I was inspired by the group there
people like Jodie Clock and Roberta
Knauf. They were so full of ideas!

When I got back to the office, I thought

about National Pet Memorial Day, but that
seemed awfully sad to me, so we ended
up turning it into Pet Life Celebration,
because we do want to celebrate the lives
of our pets. Even our grief support is
focused on remembering the happy times.
We also wanted to give back to the
Humane Society of Iredell County, where
several of us have adopted our dogs, for
their hard work. All of the rescue groups
in our area work so hard. We are going
to do more events this year to help some
of the smaller rescues in our area, but the
Humane Society is near and dear to our
hearts, so we wanted to start with them.
I think the first year we raised $400
or $500 for them, and its grown from
that. Also, last year Mike Cook started
matching all the donations. His little dog
Angus was on death row and was saved
by the Humane Society, so hes a big
proponent of the Humane Society.
We do many other events during the
year to raise money for organizations
like Friends of the Animals, which has
been raising money for a beautiful Pet
Education and Adoption Center that will
serve the greater Lake Norman region once
it is completed.
I noticed the Pet Life Celebration this
year was in the evening. Do you always
hold it in the evening?
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December 2016



People sign the memory boards inside and outside the Pet Pilgrimage building.

We do, because its a luminary event

and we want people to see the glow. We
sell the luminaries for $5. Of course,
most people donate much more than that
because its for the Humane Society, but
we want to keep it a very kid-friendly
event. We want to make it affordable so
that any child who wants to can decorate a
luminary in honor of their pet.
We started out with real candles for the
luminaries, but weve gone to LED lights,
and people take them home afterward.
The first four years, we also included
a balloon release, but this year the local
Girl Scout troop planted a butterfly garden
for us, so we decided to have a butterfly
release and give back to Mother Nature.
Mike Cooks granddaughter, Casey, and
grandson, Landon, actually did the release.
It was just beautiful. The butterflies lit
on the plants and on peoples shoulders
and it was a huge success, so its
something well continue to do. We plan
to build a separate butterfly garden over by
the Pet Pilgrimage facility.
We also had bubble soap for the kids to
blowkids like to do something physical.
Do you have a plan for inclement
weather, or do you go ahead, rain or
We do go ahead rain or shine, but we have
a brand new building on our campus called
Heritage House and it is used for all kinds
of events, so it can be used if needed.
Mike is a visionary, and we are
constantly reinventing ourselvesour
cremation rate in Mooresville is about 68
percent right now, so Mike likes the idea of
having three different businesses: CavinCook Funeral Home, Pet Pilgrimage and

ICCFA Magazine

Heritage House.
Heritage House opened in January
2014. It is beautiful. It has a barrel vaulted
ceiling and a great outdoor patio. Weve
had many, many weddings there. We are
having to work on our signage, though,
because its a bit of a drawback coming to
a funeral home campus for a wedding. We
are working on a sign that separates the
three businesses.
Our tagline for Heritage House is
Celebrating the past, present and future.
Weve had birthday parties for people from
3 to 90; weve had class reunions there. Its
a beautiful facility and includes a catering
kitchen. So moving things into Heritage
House is our inclement weather plan, but
so far, weve been blessed with beautiful
weather in September.
Who does the pet blessings for you?
A local minister, Pastor Tom McCrea, has
been doing our pet blessings. He does
many of our funerals as well; he will
handle a service for any denomination.
This year at the pet blessing we gave out
little St. Francis charms and a certificate
for each pet that was blessed. He blessed
all of the charms in case there was a pet
that couldnt make it to the service so
people could have the charm.
People mostly bring dogs, but weve
had a couple of cats come to our celebration, and we have a bearded dragon that
comes every year.

Do most people take advantage of the pet

Yes; many people come just for that. A
lot of people come back with their newly
adopted pets. We have many families who

have come every single year.

We are an extended family, because
its such a personal service. We spend a
lot of time with these families and they
drop in all the time when they adopt. They
come by and see us, to introduce their new
From the photos I saw, it looked like you
have things going on both inside and
outside the building during the Pet Life
Celebration. It looked like the luminaries
were being decorated outside and there
was food inside.
Yes; exactly. We also had several TVs
running, showing a video we put together.
We start at the beginning of the year,
contacting families to send in pictures they
would like us to include on the video. We
have a cut-off date for submissions in late
August. We set the video show to music.
People gather in front of the TV inside
or the large screen outside and watch
the videothey look for their pet. (We
also run the video at Pet Pilgrimage for
the rest of the year.) Copies of the video
are available, again for $5 so theyre
Do you have booths or displays by other
groups at this event?
We really dont, other than the Humane
Society and an animal communicator
who comes every year, mostly to provide
comfort to people. We really didnt want it
to be, for a lack of a better word, a circus.
This year, we even hesitated to have the
event at all, since National Pet Memorial
Day fell on the 15th anniversary of 9/11. A
lot of people have moved to our area from
New York and New Jersey. It seems like
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everybody has some sort of connection
to 9/11, so its a touchy subject, but we
really focused on the rescue dogs and how
amazing they are.
We work closely with our police and
fire departments, and typically honor a K-9
or other service dog. When we honored
an arson dog that had served the entire
county, the fire department came out with
the trucks and the kids just loved that.
We honored several K-9s, and one year
we honored Marine Joe, who had served
in Iraq. The Marines attended and played
Taps in his honor.
This year we honored the service dogs
of 9/11. We lined the fence with stories
of the dogs who served on and after 9/11.
The research was fascinating. One of the
things I learned was that rescue workers
had to hide in the rubble so the dogs could
find them just to keep the dogs spirits
up, because there were so few people to
actually find.
Stories of the amazing things those
rescue dogs did didnt surprise anybody
in our audience. Everybody understands
how amazing our K-9s and our own
personal pets are. Ive heard many stories
of bravery and courage about dogs in our
own community.
Police and fire personnel were there as
usual. In todays society, we really want to
support our local EMTs, rescue squads and
police and fire departments. They do a lot
with our funeral home, so we like to give
back as much as possible. We, of course,
take care of all of their K-9s free of charge.
We also supported a program where
they created trading cards with fun facts
on them about the K-9s. They take them
into the schools to introduce the kids to the
K-9 dogs. We sponsored that trading card
The fence that you turned into a
memorial wall looks really well done.
We had posters made up about the 9/11
dogs and their stories and put them up on
the entire perimeter fence. People could go
over and read about the dogs. There were
hundreds of rescue dogs who worked the
scene, and we couldnt post all of their
stories, but we focused on a few of them.
That fence is where our new butterfly
garden will be located.
Were slowly cultivating the property.
We have an area behind our property as
well, where we plan to do a garden walk
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December 2016



Mike Cook spares no expensehe really is all or nothing. We do spend money on things like
buying flowers that may not be necessary if you want to hold a memorial event. We cover the area
in flowers. But you dont need to put a lot of money into it to start a Pet Memorial Day event.

Above left, the fence that was turned into a memorial wall in honor of the dogs who served in the aftermath of 9/11.
Above right, some of the officers, including a K-9 officer, who attended the service.

and eventually a scattering garden. We

keep adding as we go along.

I see that the luminaries were set out in a

butterfly pattern. Is this something youve
done every year?
Each year weve designed a different
type of labyrinth or a path through the
luminaries so that people can walk through
them. Its symbolic of the grief journey.
This year, we spent extra time with the
labyrinth, since we werent ending with
our traditional balloon release. We allowed
people extra time to walk the path and take
photos of the luminaries.
People who were not able to attend but
wanted to be supportive and honor their
pets were able to buy luminaries, also. We
had volunteers, including lots of children,
who decorated the luminaries for them.
We then photographed them and sent them
to the families who couldnt be there that
You can buy plain luminary bags to
Yes; we do it every year. When people
arrive, everything is set up. We have six
tables with markers, stamps, stickers and
other things they can use for decorating.
When our families come in, they sign in
and then go right to the luminary tables.
Children help put sand in the bags and
then theyre placed along the labyrinth

ICCFA Magazine

path thats been drawn. We also light

luminaries for pets at the Humane Society
that still need a permanent home.
The labyrinth is all drawn out ahead
of time, and we have volunteers who help
guide families along the path to place their
luminaries so that we maintain consistency
of the design and so the pet family will
know where their luminaries are located.
One year we did a heart. Once it was a
meandering path that circled back to the
center. And this year it was a beautiful
butterfly. We leave about four feet between
the sides so that theres room for multiple
people to walk through it.
People then move to the memory board,
a big canvas board people can sign and
record their favorite memory about their
pet. Everyone wants to do itespecially
the adults.
After everyone has taken their seats
and all the luminaries are lit, we begin
our service. Mike Cook usually starts the
event with a welcome. We used to do the
balloon release at the end, but we had to do
the butterfly release earlier. The butterflies
need at least an hour of daylight to find
food and shelter, so we did the release
right after the welcome.
Then I talk about why were there,
about the fact that grief is a big deal,
about how to work through grief. This
year, I talked about the fact that it was the

anniversary of 9/11, and I read some of the

stories of the rescue dogs, and about one
who worked as bomb detection dog in the
towers and was the only dog to die that
I then introduce Pastor Tom, who gives
a message and ends with a prayer. He
stays after the service to complete the pet
blessings. Its a very short but meaningful
service. We then take time to walk through
the labyrinth, and this year people gathered
afterward to talk and look at the memorial
I always encourage people to share a
story, ask somebody else about their pet, so
that everybody takes a little bit of somebody
elses story home with them. Thats how we
work through grief, by sharing. Thats how
things work in my support group.
I tell people that grief is grief. It doesnt
matter if its over losing a person or a cat
or a job or a marriage. Grief hurts. And
theres no certain amount youre allowed
to grieve.
Whats involved in planning for the
event? How far out do you have to start?

We start at the beginning of the year as far

as collecting the photos for the memorial
video. Usually around May, we intensify
that effort with an email blast.
We have wonderful marketing group,
OLA Design Works, who works closely
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December 2016



Above left, Andrew Fuller and Casey and Landon Cook, wearing the T-shirts Pet Pilgrimage provides volunteers, release butterflies during the service. Above right, a view of the butterfly-shaped labyrinth lined with luminaries in honor of pets.

with us on press releases and that type of

The work intensifies around June, but
yes, we do have most of it down. We keep
luminary bags and candles in stock so
were ready to go when the time comes.
This year we had a little extra work
because of the research on the 9/11 dogs
and getting the posters made. If we honor a
specific K-9 or other dog we usually have
a large poster made.
Michael Roberts, who is on staff, does
videos for families on the funeral home
side, so we have him work on our videos;
my whole staff works on that together. We
take a lot of time picking the songs, because
its very important to us and to our families
that its done properly and respectfully. We
dont want the video to be sad; we want it to
be uplifting. It takes time.
How do you publicize this event? Do you
market it only to the families you serve, or
is it open to the community?
Its open to the community. We are very
active in our community and we do a lot
of networking. Were members of three
different Chambers of Commerce in our
tri-city area. The funeral home has been
here for 90 years. So we have a lot of
support, and our marketing people are
wonderful in getting the word out.
We post notices at all the veterinary
offices we serve, and we reach out to all
the families whose pets we have taken
care of. We post the event on Facebook
and on countless online community event
Most of the people who come are
people who have used our services. We
develop relationships with our families,

ICCFA Magazine

and we have a lot of repeat business from

families. I think once people have used our
services, they spread the word to others.
Other than substituting a butterfly release
for a balloon release, have you changed
the event format over the years?
No, its been fairly consistent. I want to
keep it very meaningful and personal for the
families. I just want it to remain a memorial
service where we come together, share
stories and celebrate life. A lot of people
who come every year have developed
friendships with others who attend.
We try to keep it very simple, not make
it bigger and add things every year. People
dont want to spend hours at a memorial
service. Keep it short and simple is our
I believe the pet events that are
longer and involve inviting in other
organizations tend to be pet adoption
days or fundraisers rather than memorial
I agree. And I think if you add these other
things, you start to take the focus away
from the families. I really do try keep the
focus on our families who are there to
honor their pets, and any specific service
dogs were honoring. If you add too much
other stuff, you forget the meaning of why
youre there.
What kind of expenses are involved in
doing this type of event?
Mike Cook spares no expensehe really
is about all or nothing. We do spend
money on things like buying flowers that
may not be necessary if you want to hold
a memorial event. We cover the area in

But you dont need to put a lot of

money into it to start a Pet Memorial Day
event. Luminaries are not expensive. We
found the bags and candles on the internet,
and they were very affordable.
The cost of the butterflies depends
on how many you want. You can spend
anywhere from $100 to $500 on them. We
kept it in the middle range. We decided
it was a symbolic gesturewe werent
trying to release one butterfly for every
family who was there. When you try to do
something like that, it gets complicated.
We released about 40 butterflies.
When we did balloon releases, we spent
maybe $100 to $150 on balloons.
The items we make available for
decorating the luminaries I buy throughout
the year. I buy stickers when they go on
sale. Im always on the lookout for sales
on stamps and things like that.
We have a full stock of markers on
hand at all times. When families bring
children in, we give them a drawing pad
and markers. My background is in art, and
Im a big proponent of having kids express
their feelings through art.
One thing we spare no expense on is the
sound system. We use the company that
does a lot of our funerals. They take care of
the podium, microphone and speakers. They
play music throughout the event and they
film it for us. Still, its not an exorbitant
amount; it runs around $500 to $600.
We already have tables and chairs, so
we dont have to rent those.
We also buy tents when theyre on sale.
Of course we have our own Pet Pilgrimage
tent that we take with us when we have
a booth at other events, but we also have
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a stock of tents that dont have logos on
them that we set up over the tables.
How many people do you have on hand to
work the event?
We have several staff members and
volunteers, including a lot of the kids
whose pets we cremated and who want to
be a part of the event.
My kids volunteered every year before
they went off to college, and my daughter
made a trip home from school to help
this year. The kids from many of our staff
members enjoy helping as well.
We have T-shirts with our logos on them
made for the kids who volunteer. Thats
something else thats not necessary but we
do it. The kids love being recognized as
volunteers. We dont really need very many
adults because we have so many children
who volunteer!
And now that were five years down the
road from our first Pet Life Celebration,
some of those kids still come back. They
show up early, set up tables, put the
markers and stickers out on the tables,
help set up the memory board. They pretty
much know what to do.
All of our Pet Pilgrimage staff is there,
as well as some of the funeral home staff
who are instrumental in helping us set up
tables and tents.
We look forward to it every year; its a
great way to bring us back together with
the families we have served and also give
back to our community, and to the Humane
How do you feel an event like this benefits
Pet Pilgrimage?

People enjoy the glow of the luminaries placed along the butterfly-shaped labyrinth
path as the sun goes down.

Im sure giving back to the community and

the Humane Society does benefit us, but
thats not the focus of this event. We go to
a lot of events during the year to promote
our business, but this is the one where we
step back from that. We dont look at it as
a marketing tool.
I think Mike and I and our entire staff
are very giving people. We want to make
this an event that people will enjoy, that
will uplift and comfort them.
What advice would you give to others who
are interested in doing some sort of Pet
Memorial Day event?
Plan ahead. We do have an order of
service, and its important to get the people
you need lined up to do what is needed
ahead of time.
Decide how many families youre going

to invite. Decide if youre going to do

something like a video, which takes time
and planning. As I said, we start gathering
pictures at the beginning of the year for
this September event. We have a checklist
we go by, and a chart to keep track of who
is sending in photos.
You need to set a budget. Im fortunate,
because Mike truly spares no expense,
but you need to have a budget. It doesnt
take a lot of money, but if you dont have
tables and chairs and have to rent them, for
example, that will be an expense we dont
In the end, its such a rewarding event
for the staff. Its so rewarding to give back
to the families who have given to you by
entrusting you with their furry, scaled and
feathered babies throughout the year.

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December 2016


by Daniel M. Isard, MSFS



ICCFA Magazine
author spotlight
Isard is president of

Figuring out how to price merchandise and interment, entombment

and inurnment rights in your cemetery involves doing the math,
knowing your market and getting feedback from your salespeople.

The Foresight Companies

LLC, a Phoenix-based
business and management consulting firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions, valuations, accounting, financing and customer surveys.

He is the author of several books, and

the host of The Dan Isard Show.


Educational information, including

copies of this article, can be found at


You can follow Isard on Twitter at

@f4sight and like his page on Facebook.
Editors note: The Cemetery Impossible
column is written by the staff of The Foresight
Companies. If you have a question you
want to be featured in this column, please
send it to danisard@f4sight.com. Dan Isard
or a member of his staff will call you to get
more information and a recommendation will
be provided via this column, helping not only
you but also others who are facing similar


ICCFA Magazine

How do you properly set cemetery prices?
Dear Cemetery Impossible,
My cemetery is not priced right and I cant
figure out a method to create a solid pricing
schematic. Can you help me?
Puzzled About Pricing
Dear Pricing,
Nothing is tougher in cemetery management
than determining the price of interment rights.
Merchandise is very simple. Let me walk you
through both.
However, before I do, I must reiterate the
basic mantra of pricing. For every item being
sold, there should be a model showing:
We use this good-better-best (GBB)
analysis for merchandise and for interment
rights. For merchandise, we know that we
have different markers, vases, benches and
For interment or inurnment, we can do
the same GBB. We can have whole-body
interment either with ground interment,
above-ground interment or private interment
options, and the same for cremation options.
Each option for whole-body interment
or cremation inurnment needs to have a
logical progression in offerings and prices.
That is why GBB is so very important and
GBB for whole-body interment progresses
from the good, represented by a single
grave in the middle of the section to the
better, as represented by a grave alongside
a feature. The best is represented by a grave
adjacent to the driveway.
A whole-body interment plan also considers the options for a couple. The good
is a side-by-side grave in the middle of the
section. The better is a double-depth grave
in a pre-vaulted area. The best is a side-byside grave with a bench.
Each step up for a single or a double grave

presents the consumer with the opportunity to

spend more if they see value in the increased
cost. For example purposes only, lets say
a single grave in the middle of a section is
$1,000. A single grave by a feature is $1,400,
and a single grave by the roadway is priced at
The important thing to remember about
GBB is it allows people to be comfortable
spending more. For example, when someone
chooses a marker, they choose to spend
$0 before the death and suddenly $X for a
minimum marker. This is a big jump, from
$0 to $X. When the consumer suddenly must
spend $X, that is initial spending.
However, with GBB, they choose $X to
$X+ or $X++, based on how much they like
or appreciate what each level offers. This
spending over the initial spending is called
incremental increase spending.
To go from $X to $X+ may be $100, or
only 10 percent more than they were going to
spend for the minimum. Surprisingly, when
presented properly, incremental increase
spending is easier for people than initial
For a single or a double grave, our
example would start with a single grave in
the middle of a section at $1,000. This is the
initial spending. A single grave by a feature is
$1,400. The incremental increase spending is
now $400.
Compare this to a single grave by the
roadway at $1,800. The incremental increase
is only another $400. With GBB, we do
not have people make a decision on $1,800
versus $0, we have them judge if the $400
increase is worth their while.
Remember, these figures are simply
illustrativeyou need to determine your own
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prices, keeping in mind maintaining
some sort of GBB spread.

Pricing merchandise



Interment right
For setting prices on merchandise, you
will need to figure out three key items:
1. What is your cost to purchase
Base and marker
each item?
2. What is the commission you pay
on each item when sold?
3. What do you want your mark-up
no profit. You now need to decide how much
to be?
profit you want to make.
If you buy something for $400, and you
If you wanted a 100 percent return, then
are going to pay a commission of 20 percent,
sell that item for $992 or more. At this price,
then the sale price must be something above
you would have $198 going to commission
$496. The math is not so simple. It is (cost x
and $400 to cost of goods sold. Your gross
[1+ commission rate]) x commission rate +
cost. In this case, it equals ($400 x [1+ 0.20]) profit would be about $394. That gives you a
100 percent profit on merchandise.
x 0.20 + $400 = $496.
When you think about pricing interment
Most of you probably guessed that the
rights or inurnment rights, you need to start
price should be $480. But do the math:
with the incremental increase for each level
$480 x 20 percent commission rate = $96
of interment right. Start with the cost basis
commission. You are then left with $384
you have in each interment right. Without
($480-$96), which is less than you paid for
regard to the historical pricing pattern, what
the item.
should that units price be now?
At a price of $496, you are still simply
While each location within a garden may
covering your costs. At this price, you make

have the same cost basis, each does

not have the same value from the
consumers point of view.
Step one is to reprice everything.
Gardens with more sales should be
priced higher than gardens with fewer
sales. Limit the number of gardens
open for sale at any one time, as
offering too many options makes
decision-making more difficult for
Start with the price for ground
interment as your good. Then figure how
much the premium is to get from good to
better. Add the same premium to better to
calculate your best price.
It is critical for this pricing to allow the
story to be told as to what drives more expensive interment.
Step two is to do the same for aboveground entombment. I have found that when
we set the price on crypts relative to ground
spaces, crypts will sell just as effectively.
For example, if you look at your least
expensive crypt and determine the lettering,
opening and closing as a package, it should
be about 10 percent to 20 percent more than

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December 2016


by Doug Wagemann, MBA, CCFE, CFSP

with Lady, who
comes to the
funeral home
most days to
comfort families.


is president
of Cochrane
& Wagemann
Funeral Directors
in Roseville and
Cremation Society
of Placer County in
Rocklin, California.
He began his career in the funeral service profession in 1973. He
graduated from the mortuary science program at Cypress College
in 1979, then received a bachelors degree in operations management from Cal Poly, Pomona, and M.B.A. from Cal State, San

www.cochranewagemann.com; www.csopc.com
He is a current board member of Sutter Care at Home, Sut-

ter Roseville Medicaal Center Foundation, and served on the

boards of Eskaton Foundation and the National Hospice Foundation and the Foundation for Hospice of Sub-Saharan Africa.


It can be hard for families members to talk to each

other about their wishes for their funerals. Here
are some ideas to get the conversation going.

Helping people talk

about the F word

ore and more people are asking me for advice as they

look for ways to have that difficult conversation with
their parents about the F word (funeral).
Hey, lets face it, no one really wants to think about the prospect
of dying, let alone discuss it with family. While it is one of the
most difficult conversations youll experience, it can also be one
of appreciation, love and understanding leading to a once-in-alifetime conversation that will be repeated for generations.
There are no rules about how to have this talk, but here are
some tips for starting and continuing the conversation:
Dont stress over how or when you will begin the
Understand that this might not just be one conversationit
may take several.
Bring out family photos, heirlooms and other treasured items
to begin the conversation by sharing stories, life experiences, etc.
Rely on open-ended questions that require more than a oneword answer. Some examples; Describe the time Tell me
about How did you feel when Ask follow-up questions.
Listen carefully with an open mind and heart. Avoid passing
If you mention a topic that makes the other person
uncomfortable, respect their wishes and move on.
First talk about how you want to be remembered, then ask how
they want to be remembered.

your most expensive grave, plus vault, plus
opening and closing, base and marker. So
use the guide in the chart ON PAGE 25. (I
have filled it in with hypothetical numbers for
explanation purposes only.)
By these numbers, there is a 20 percent
premium for the crypt. Therefore, it is priced
in terms of a logical progression, beginning
with grave interment rights.
Steps three and four involve repeating
steps one and two with the upright section
of your cemetery. Steps five and six involve
doing the same thing for inurnment.
After adjusting the interment, inurnment
and merchandise prices, you have now
completed the first phase in having a solid
pricing platform. Unfortunately, its wrong.
Its wrong because we need to see how

ICCFA Magazine

it works in your market. Your pricing needs

to be analyzed. I tell people that this is
artillery and not marksmanship.
To the marksman, there is a three-count
call: ready, aim, fire. But to the artillery,
there is a different three-count call. It begins
with ready, fire, but then, after the shell is
propelled to the target, the third count or step
takes place: adjust.
There are so many factors to consider in
artillery. The compaction of the ground varies, which changes the recoil, which changes
the trajectory of the shell. The winds aloft
affect the flight. The density of the air may
slow or speed the shell in its trajectory. It is
like playing Angry Birds with trial and error.
Start out with your best estimate of
pricing. Then watch the sales. Listen to

your salespeople. Adjust prices as needed to

generate sales.
It is also important to consider that
cemetery sales are frequently not about price.
Weak salespeople believe they are, but they
also think they are good salespeople.
Cemetery sales are about finding out what
is important to someone. Price is a factor,
but so are factors such as whoM the shopper
is related to or loves as a dear friend who is
interred in your cemetery. Their location may
make more difference than the price. Maybe
other cemetery across town is cheaper, but the
consumer wants to be buried near loved ones
in your cemetery.
The next question is when to raise prices.
That subject will have to wait for another
question and another column.
Like the ICCFA on Facebook & friend ICCFA Staff



Dedicat and focused, Bills

knowledge and experience of the
death ca
care industry provides you
with val
value added services, enabling
you to fo
focus on what truly matters
in such challenging times.

Bill Newman, CPA




TAP INTO the dynamic online supplier network of the ICCFA with the
ICCFA Supply Link. Powered by MultiView, the ICCFA Supply Link is
the premier search tool for your industry. All the products and services
you need, all within the supplier network of the associaton you trust.
Start your search at our homepage www.iccfa.com.

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December 2016


by ICCFA Magazine columnist

Todd W. Van Beck, CFuE
ICCFA Magazine
author spotlight
Van Beck is one

of the most soughtafter speakers and

educators in funeral
He is the director of continuing education for John A. Gupton College, Nashville,

Van Beck is dean of ICCFA Universitys

College of Funeral Home Management
and received the ICCFA Educational
Foundations first ever Lasting Impact
Award in 2014.

Like Todd Van Beck

on Facebook today!


Van Becks book

Reverence for the Dead:

The Unavoidable Link,
addresses in detail the
ethical standards of caring for the dead and the
ethical consequences of
not doing so.

Van Becks new book

The Story of Cremation, walks the reader

through the history of
cremation, its historical
uses to its use today. It
concludes with a discussion of the downsides of


ICCFA Magazine


Time is a precious commodity, and todays world

seems to run on fast time. This can present challenges
to a funeral or cemetery professional.

The keys to service:

Time, its use & abuse

he American culture measures much

of what we do in terms of time.
How much time we use up weighs
heavily in whether we feel weve failed or
Our cultural slang is resplendent with
sayings about time: A stitch in time saves
nine (whatever that means), time waits
for no one, time is money.
Timehow it is used or abusedis an
important factor in the funeral interview,
because time is important to people.
These days, fast time is ingrained in the
American psyche.
If a fast meal at McDonalds takes too
long (which could mean 10 minutes instead
of five), people get impatient, and some
get annoyed enough to walk out and go
somewhere else. Today, online shopping
and banking offer speed and convenience
not dreamed of 20 years ago.
I am not in the least suggesting that
ordering a #3 at McDonalds or the latest
bestseller from Amazon is in any way
equivalent to handling a death, but at the
same time (pardon the pun), I am saying
that people will care for their dead in a
manner consistent with how they live their
If people expect quick service, and they
have lived with this expectation for years,
the probability is high that they will march
right into the funeral or cemetery office
with the same expectation.
The central subject of this article in
my Keys to Service series is time. Let
us begin by asking important questions
concerning our professional work and
our attitude toward time, particularly our
clients time.
When we schedule a funeral interview for
10 a.m., are we there and actually available
in person to the client family at 10 a.m.?
This may strike some as a strange place

to begin, but I have seen some terribly

disorganized funeral operations where even
this minimal responsibility becomes the
impossible dream.
Promptness is more than merely a matter
of courtesy. The longer bereaved clients (or
any clients, for that matter) are kept waiting,
the more they can easily start to wonder
(even if they dont say it aloud) what else
will be mishandled.
They might wonder whether they are
considered unimportant. Or whether they
are being kept waiting intentionally for
some dark ulterior purpose unknown to
them (changing prices or something worse).
Or whether they will be dealt with fairly,
since by failing to greet them on time we
have already set the stage for distrust.
Every experienced funeral director or
cemeterian knows full well that many times
what the client familys imaginations can
whip up about us is amazingly unreal. But
remember, no matter how unfounded or
exaggerated their thoughts are, they are real
to them.
You get the point. They might already be
suspicious of us, so why make things worse
by being late for your appointment with
What this means in terms of client trust
and respect is obvious. Dont be late for
appointments. If you are late, give a good
reasonand dont include any shop talk
in your explanation. Here is an example
of what not to do: Oh, I am sorry I am
running late, we just got back from a house
call, and you know how slow the police are
in situations like this. No, they dont know.
They have no idea what youre talking
If you want your clients imagination
to run wild, go ahead and use that type of
explanation, and you will succeed beyond
your wildest dreams. Your explanations
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If youre a funeral industry supplier but not an IMSA member, you should
know what our members are getting that youre not: the best booth pricing
at the major tradeshows, hours of free one-on-one consultation from top
industry experts, business-boosting webinars, networking with other IMSA
members, and so much more. And the kicker is, our members pay only
$175 a year for the privilege. Is that unfair? It is, unless you join IMSA
too. Dont lose the upper hand. Join now at www.IMSA-Online.


I know this sounds harsh, but I have seen many funeral operations thrown into
absolute bedlam because some person walked in and demanded to see
a funeral professional when none was available. The operative word here is demand!
should be short and sweet, something like:
My apologies. I was unavoidably delayed,
and I do hope you will forgive me.
Never use phony and feeble excuses like
the ones we have all experienced ourselves.
There are few if any experienced funeral
directors who have not dealt with the
following scenario.
Someone dies in the hospital and mysteriously the head nurse or the security guard
simply forgets to call the funeral home. At
9 a.m. the next day, the bereaved family
walks in and announces they are there
to make arrangements for a decedent the
funeral home knows nothing about.
After an internal investigation, the error
is finally uncovered. A phone call is made
to the hospital, and inevitably a nurse or
security guard offers the worn out, utterly
predictable and feeble excuse: Well, the
shift was changingthats what happened.
I actually used to believe that excuse, until a
veteran funeral professional set me straight.
Time can be abused in other ways.
For instance, we all have had this happen.
Someone rushes into the funeral home or
cemetery office unannounced, without any
prior appointment, and insists on seeing you
at once.
This can be a sticky wicket, because
many times either there is no compelling
reason to see them right away or were
simply unable to drop everything and see
I concluded many years ago that the
death of a human being can indeed create a
crisis, but what is a crisis to a client should
not toss the funeral home or cemetery into
a crisis.
I am not talking about a death emergency where it is a house call, a police/
coroner call or the like. These instances do
require immediate attention, and certainly
our traditional walk-in clients must be
served, but they also must display some
patience if their announced presence risks
putting the funeral home or cemeterys
schedule in jeopardy.
I know this sounds harsh, but I have
seen many funeral operations thrown into
absolute bedlam because some person
walked in and demanded to see a funeral
professional when none was available. The

ICCFA Magazine

operative word here is demand!

I believe we need to re-evaluate our
historic stance that all death situations
are dramatic emergencies equivalent to a
fire in an occupied building. I believe this
historic approach to death in a mortuary is
overstated and overdone.
Its understandable that people would be
upset, nervous, grieved and sad when they
need our attention, but no funeral interview
takes that longor should take that long
that a walk-in cannot be tended to in a
reasonable time frame.
What is not necessary is the old theatrical reaction that if someone does not tend to
that walk-in client ASAP, disaster is waiting
around the corner for the funeral home.
Professional serviceseven those
offered in hospitals and veterinary clinics
are delivered via schedules and appointments. When someone comes in without
an appointment and the professional is
with another client, that professional is
legitimately occupied.
If a client family without an appointment
must see you that day, they will have to wait
until you are free or make an appointment
to see you or someone else.
This is not an uncaring policy. On the
contrary, if you were to come out to see this
walk-in family while still preoccupied with
another clients concerns, or try to see them
both simultaneously (see the case study
below), you would be so distracted and
tense you wouldnt be able to give anyone
your full attention.
There are always exceptions to this
rule, but honesty has a way of smoothing
out relationships. It is the honest helping
procedure to do everything we can to set
up appointments and stick to them, and
if we cannot see a walk-in without taking
away from those who have appointments,
we need to be gentle but firm in telling the
walk-in client to make an appointment.

Case study

It is liberating to admit that Ive made

every mistake in the funeral book.
Through it all, my love of our beloved
profession has kept me going. Part of
my love of funeral service is tied up with
my memories of the fascinating funeral

professionals I worked with in my careers

I mentioned the high-risk practice of
trying to serve two family clients simultaneouslysomething a funeral director
who wants to do it all, even though help is
availablemight try.
I bring this up because I actually saw
a funeral director attempt to serve two
families at once. I believe to this day that
he thought it would work, but in the end it
was a colossal flop.
This funeral professional was the
poster boy for the self-obsessed egotist,
a modern day Narcissus. He actually
thought he could say whatever he wanted
to anybodyexcept the boss, of course.
He also thought any and all death calls
required a response time comparable to
our ambulance calls, complete with high
speeds, siren and lights.
For instance, the coroners office might
notify us of a first call for an unknown
homeless person who had been in the
morgue for a month, and this chap would
fly into overdrive action. I was young, but
even back then, I thought he was nuts.
One day, a scheduled family arrived,
and in they went with this particular
funeral director to make their arrangements. About 10 minutes later, a second
family walked in, coming directly from the
hospital where their father had died.
As I was explaining to the second
family that the funeral professional was
engaged (which they totally understood),
my agitated associate came flying out of
the office, saw the second family, froze
in his tracks and then plunged right in,
barging into our conversation and telling
them he would wait on them immediately.
He took them into a second office, and
then the funeral arrangement acrobatics
began. The rest of the staff just stood in
the foyer watching him run from office
to office like a lunatic. One staff member
actually had a stopwatch on his wrist
watch and kept time. The funeral director
managed to scramble his way through both
interviews, but both families felt rushed,
and one even complained. I thought both
could have complained.
Even when confronted with the client
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the tiim


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complaint, this funeral director refused

to admit that he had done a foolish and
reckless thing by trying to show off while
being insensitive to the families and disorganized in his use of his professional time.
Our awareness, our respect and our
sensitivity to time is very important, and
in our fast-paced life, I would humbly
suggest that this issue is all the more
magnified today in funeral and cemetery
Setting interview times and moving
the funeral interview on with gentle
persistence shows wisdom and will help
prevent myriad difficulties. Sometimes
boundaries must be clearly drawn, because
some people go on talking without
realizing they are repeating themselves.
Some clients honestly may not know
how to end the interview, get up and leave.
Being products of our society, they may feel
that the polite thing to do is to sit and await
a signal from the funeral professional that
the interview is actually over.
I do not mean that we should ever
rush the client family, but I do mean
that we should make clear to them the
time available so that they can orient
themselves within it.
I have no precise answer as to how long
an interview should be, but as one veteran
funeral director said to me many years ago,
two things need to be at least considered:
1. We are not wasting the family clients
time, and 2. The funeral interview has to
come to an end sometime.
One final practical point: If you must
and are compelled to interview several
client families in one day, always allow a
few minutes between interviews to write
or fill in your notes, to think over what
has just gone on or simply to relax and get
ready for the next family.
Otherwise, you may, as I have done
many times, keep talking to Family A
in your mind while Family B is sitting in
front of you. Family B is entitled to your
full attention.
Get Family A off your mind before
seeing Family B. To do this, you may
well need a few minutes to mull things
over, note on your work sheet what you
promised Family A you would look into
or just sit back or walk around the funeral
home once to get ready for Family B.
Try it. It works.



for full









800-321-7479 Fax 800-321-9040

December 2016


Supply Line

The first place winner in Pet Perennials pet photo contest, Helen Sphons
snapshot of her dog Nemo.


CLONES, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and
Louisville, Kentucky, respectively, have
announced the winners of their pet photo
contest. The first place winner, who submitted a photo of her dog, received a MiY Pet
Perennials Kit and a custom plus Cuddle
Clone. The award for second place was a
MiY Pet Perennials Kit and a Cuddle Clones
statue. info@cherishedones.net;

Plano, Texas, has released new catalogs.
The company has two
catalogs, one for products memoralizating
people and the other
for products memori- Love Urns petthemed catalog.
alizing pets.
1.888.910.7860; www.loveurns.com

n LEGACY.COM, Evanston, Illinois,

has released a series called Search
Engine Marketing for Your Funeral
Home to help funeral directors understand search engine optimimization. The
series explains how search works and
presents simple strategies to help funeral
homes grow business by boosting local
A screen shot from Legacy.coms series
on search engine marketing.
READERS: To find the products and services you need online, go to www.iccfa.com
and select directory to find:
Supply Link Search
Engine, the fastest way
to find the products and
services you need at your
funeral home, cemetery or
SUPPLIERS: Send your press releases
about your new products and services,
and about awards, personnel changes and
other news to sloving@iccfa.com
for inclusion in Supply Line. Large files that
will not go through the ICCFA server can be
sent to slovingiccfa@yahoo.com.


ICCFA Magazine


CO., Abilene, Texas, has
named Sandy Costello
director of sales development for Kansas, Missouri
and Nebraska. Costello
has more than 17 years
in the insurance business
and is experienced in sales development,
marketing, recruiting and training, with
the last seven years of her career focused
on serving the funeral profession. She is
a licensed insurance producer in 10 states
and is a Certified Preplanning Counselor.
Also, A.M. Best Co. recently reaffirmed a rating of A (excellent) with a
stable outlook for FDLIC. A.M. Best
analyzes an insurers financial strength
and ability to meet its ongoing insurance
policy and contract obligations. Bests
credit ratings are based on a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation
of a companys balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile.

n David Navarrete has

launched a consulting firm,
Navarrete, who is president
and director of the company, is a 23-year veteran
of funeral service. He has
been senior vice president of Navarrete
Funeral Home Gifts and held senior-level
management positions at funeral homes
and cemeteries in Texas and New Mexico.
His firm will offer team-building dynamics, strategic planning, business valuation enhancements and other services.

n TUKIOS, Layton, Utah, has started a

web series, Funeral Cribs, showcasing funeral facilities with interesting
properties and unique stories. At each
location, the host will guide viewers on
a tour of their crib. The name is a twist
on the popular MTV series titled Cribs,
where celebrities take viewers on a tour
of their homes and show off their cars,
hobbies and other interests. This show is
meant to have a similar feel.
Curtis Funk, founder/dreamer at
Tukios, said: During my years in the
funeral profession, Ive noticed a couple
of behaviors that many funeral directors
share. They love to take you on tours of
their facility and they love to visit and
learn from other locations. Funeral Cribs
is designed to play to those behaviors.
The pilot episode of Funeral Cribs
was filmed at Larkin Mortuaries in Salt
Lake City, Utah, and can be seen at
www.funeralcribs.com. Anyone who
would like to suggested a funeral home,
cemetery or other facility in the profession
for an episode can send an email to
The logo
for Tukios online

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nighttime chime shut-off feature allows for
times when quiet is needed.
1.866.763.0485 (Cressy Memorial);

ASDs onsite generators.

n ASD, Media, Pennsylvania, recently

tested its crisis communications system.
The companys notification system was put
into place as part of its plan to let funeral
homes know in a timely and reliable manner
if there has been a serious loss of capacity
at ASD. The system was created in 2009
and has never been used. ASDs building is
equipped with two powerful onsite generators, fully integrated with a backup battery
system which is tested weekly to prepare for
local power failures.
Kevin@myasd.com; 1.800.868.9950;

n LIVE OAK BANK, Wilmington, North

Carolina, has promoted Tim Bridgers
to general manager of its funeral home
lending team. Bridgers will manage the sixperson lending team as well as lead referral
source communication. He joined Live Oak
in 2014 and has more than 10 years of business and entrepreneurial experience.
1.877.890.5867; www.liveoakbank.com


Michigan, has introduced the Braxton
wall clock, designed to fit in narrow spaces. It blends
with traditional, contemporary or eclectic
dcor. Done in a black
coffee finish, it is less
than 13 inches wide
and 24 inches long.
With a depth of only 5
inches, its slim profile
makes it easy to use a
clock where it might
have otherwise
Howard Millers
slim Braxton clock.
have been a challenge. It features
easy-to-read numbers and a single-chime
movement that plays Westminster chime on
the hour and counts the hour. An automatic
Start every day at the ICCFA Caf at www.iccfa.com


Maryland, has introduced a new metal
burial casket, the Ascent Metallic Pearl.
It features a white crepe interior combined
flawlessly with a lustrous pearl finish,
chrome swing-bar hardware, a V-ray head
panel and raised silver trim molding.
Thacker is the only manufacturer to offer
this color casket in 20-gauge steel. It is the
fourth casket to be added to Thackers Ascent collection, which includes the Ascent
Metallic Graphite, Blush and Cascade Blue
caskets. 1.800.637.8891;

Thacker Caskets new Ascent Metallic Pearl


n MKJ MARKETING, Largo, Florida,

will present a program on dealing successfully with challenges from larger competitors February 27-March 1. The program
will be during the companys ski seminar at
to page 35

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December 2016



Send in news about your cemetery, funeral home, crematory or association to sloving@iccfa.com. If you publish a newsletter,
please email a copy to sloving@iccfa.com or mail to: Susan Loving, ICCFA, 107 Carpenter Drive, Suite 100, Sterling, VA 20164.


Austin, Texas, were special guests at a
Wreaths Across America gala. The fourth
annual Truckload Carriers Charitable Gala
featured Taya Kyle, New York Times bestselling author of American Wife: A Memoir of Love, Service, Faith and Renewal,
about her late husband, Navy SEAL Chris
Kyle, whose story was also depicted in the
movie American Sniper.
TFDA guests were Past President Charlotte Chism Waldrum and Brad Shotts,
funeral director at Wayne Boze Funeral
Home in Waxahachie. Both were instrumental in bringing Kyle to the TFDAs Wreaths
Across America ceremonies at the Texas
State Capitol and Texas State Cemetery on
December 12, 2016.
Over the past decade, Waldrum and a
committee of Texas directors have led the
TFDAs annual Wreaths Across America
ceremony. She and Shotts also have worked
with Texas Gold Star families to honor
fallen heroes at the annual ceremony.
The Truckload Carriers gala in
Washington, D.C., benefited the nonprofit
organization Wreaths Across America,
raising $75,155 to support logistics for
delivering hundreds of thousands of fresh
remembrance wreaths to adorn veterans
graves on December 17, National Wreaths
Across America Day. It also raised an
additional $150,000 to support WAAs
overall mission.
Other notable participants included
Candy Martin, whose son, 1st Lt. Thomas
Ohio, has begun renovating its historic
superintendents house for use as a columbarium. The house, built circa 1890, will be
rechristened as the House of Reflections. In
its new role, the building will contain 368
glass-fronted indoor niches where family and
friends of loved ones can privately reflect in
comfortable, updated, tranquil surroundings.
The niches will all have beveled glass and
LED lighting, as well as the opportunity to
include a photo of the loved one and niche
vases. Six sizes and configurations will be
available, from 12-by-12-inch to as large as
24-by-24-inch, many accommodating two
Making niches available in what will be
a beautifully restored building is an extension

ICCFA Magazine

From left, Charlotte Chism Waldrum,

TFDA Past President; Taya Kyle, bestselling author and widow of American
Sniper Chris Kyle; and Brad Shotts,
Texas funeral director and member of
TFDAs Wreaths Across America annual ceremony.

Martin, was killed in action in Iraq in 2007,

and who is now president of American
Gold Star Mothers Inc., an organization of
mothers who have lost a son or daughter in
service to the U.S.; Heather French Henry,
Miss America 2000 and the daughter of
a disabled veteran, who served as master
of ceremonies; and Morrill and Karen
Worcester, founders of Wreaths Across
of our commitment to meet the interests of
the community, said Ferncliff Supervisor
Stanley Spitler. These interests are clearly
revealed in the increasing utilization of our
crematory, installed in 2012.
The House of Reflections will provide
private, environmentally controlled conditions, along with comfortable furniture and
soothing music, all to enhance the spirit
of meditation. Convenient parking will be
available. The House of Reflections allows
family and friends to visit at their leisure
and reflect in private, unlike when cremated
remains are kept in someones home, said
In transforming the superintendents
house, Ferncliff is committed to maintaining
the character of the original house while
updating the infrastructure and adding up-to-

After a reception and dinner, a cake was

brought out to celebrate the 25th anniversary
of the Worcester family first laying a wreath
at Arlington National Cemetery.
At the gala, attended by approximately
1,000 people, Waldrum and Shotts were
introduced to Martin, who is from San
Antonio, Texas, and the Worster family,
owners of the wreath company that began
Wreaths Across America, and were able to
discuss TFDAs upcoming event in Austin.
This years ceremony and wreathlaying will be held Monday, December 12,
at 11 a.m. on the south steps of the state
capitol building. The ceremony at the State
Cemetery will follow. This is the first year
for the State Cemetery ceremony.
During their visit, the TFDA
representatives were accompanied on a
twilight tour of Washington, D.C.
The following day, Anthony Whalen,
a Texas director who is now a staffer at
Arlington National Cemetery, arranged for
the Texas delegation to get a behind-thescenes tour of the caisson and horse barns,
as well as the shops of those responsible for
making the specifically-designed harnesses,
reins and tack for the teams pulling
the caisson and the individual animals
serving as the riderless horse for funeral
The visitors from Texas also witnessed a
full military service using the caisson, saw
the changing of the guard at the Tomb of
the Unknowns and George Washingtons
church and Masonic Lodge and Mount
Vernon National Park.
date conveniences and dcor. The exterior
will be restored, including new windows and
a slate roof to replicate the original. Some
of the interior changes include new flooring
throughout and renovated restrooms.
Installation of the indoor niches is only
one of the recent additions to Ferncliff, which
has been a focal point of the Springfield
community for more than 150 years. In 2014,
in commemoration of its sesquicentennial, the
organization dedicated the Ferncliff Cemetery
War Memorial, representing nine significant
U.S. military conflicts, from the War of
1812 to the War on Terror. In 2012, Ferncliff
began onsite cremations, as a response to the
significant rise in cremation.
The House of Reflections project is
expected to be completed near the end of
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from page 33
the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah. The
focus is on the marketing and financial steps
smaller businesses can use to improve their
competitive position within their markets,
including the use of technology. The seminar
will be repeated at the Boca Beach Club in
Boca Raton, Florida.
1.888.655.1566; www.mkjmarketing.com

a wipe with a damp sponge is all that may

be needed.
1.800.684.0901; www.cathedralstone.com


Harbor, Washington, is now offering double
prints as an engraving option on several
items. The option is available on several
different remains-holding and non-remainsholding jewelry styles and metal choices.
Families can combine two engraved fingerprints in one unified design to symbolize an
everlasting, loving bond. Any type of prints
can be engraved together, including fingerprints, handprints, footprints or even animal
nose and paw prints. The family can choose
a yin-yang style, evenly split halves or have
the prints engraved on pendant shapes such
as a star or teardrop. The lead time for these

Some of the
pieces New Memorials
Direct now offers with
double engravings.

pieces is one to three business days.


A memorial with one of GlassAct Studios custom glass inlays.


has obtained a patent on its manufacturing and inlay process. GlassAct Studio, an
art glass design and manufacturing company,
manufactures custom permanent color art inlays for the memorial industry. The company
installed its first colored glass inlay into a
headstone 12 years ago. Since then, they have
enhanced and tested their glass products to
withstand weather extremes.
801.310.6674; www.glassactstudios.com


Hanover, Maryland, has introduced
masonRE Latex 20, a strip-away latex
cleaner for exterior brick, stone and other
masonry surfaces. The waterless cleaner
works without scrubbing. It applies as a
liquid and hardens to a rubbery film. After
about 24 hours, the latex film is then peeled
away, bringing grime with it. Dust and fine
particles are trapped and lifted as the film
dries. The heavy-duty cleaner works into
pores and is powerful enough to remove soot
and nicotine.
Spray or brush-applied, the cleaner can
reinvigorate tile, brick, marble, limestone,
sandstone, concrete, plaster or terra cotta.
It is also ideal for preparing masonry for a
Cathedral Stone mineral-based finish.
Unlike most other masonry cleaning
agents, masonRE Latex 20 does not require water for surface application, which
reduces labor and environmental impact,
and is especially important in waterrestricted areas and for reducing runoff in
urban areas. After the film is peeled away,
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for Memorial Products

LED light bulb for Crypt

& Niche Fronts
Warm color for Bronzes

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December 2016


Washington, has opened the first Green
Burial Council-certified green burial
cemetery in the Seattle area. Cedar Lawns
has dedicated approximately one acre next
to a landscaped garden for green burials on
its 16-acre grounds.
Since we opened our green burial park
in July, were seeing more people than
expected choosing the green burial option
when purchasing a preneed plan, said
Sally Estoy, general manager of Cedar
Lawns. Client families purchasing the
plots love the idea of a more natural, earthfriendly burial.
In addition to the use of GBC-approved
materials, the GBC prohibits the use of
vaults, vault lids, concrete boxes, slabs or
partitioned liners in the burial plot. The
green burial park at Cedar Lawns offers
both traditional plots and smaller spaces
for urns.
Cedar Lawns will use locally-sourced
stones and boulders inscribed with the
decedents name rather than traditional
granite markers or monuments. Landscap-

The entrance to the green burial section at Cedar Lawns Funeral Home and Memorial Park, Redmond, Washington.

ing and grounds maintenance for this portion of the cemetery will also be minimal,
in keeping with the plan to preserve the

Rebecca Kaplar,
chairperson of
Women Celebrating Life-Downriver;
Charlie Saganek
and Barbara Ballard, Michigan
Memorial Walking
Club; Michigan Memorial Park President Kelly Dwyer;
Bill Elwell, MM
Walking Club; and
Michigan Memorial Funeral Home
President Corey
Calderone with the
contribution from Michigan Memorial Park and Michigan Memorial Funeral Home.


HOME, Flat Rock, Michigan, recently
donated $3,324 to Women Celebrating
Life Downriver on behalf of their walking
club. Every year since 2011, Michigan
Memorial Park donates one dollar for
every mile walked during the month of
August, said MMP President Kelly
Dwyer. The three members who log
the most miles during that time period
then select an organization to receive the
funds. This year, top walkers Bill Elwell,

ICCFA Magazine

Charlie Saganek and Barbara Ballard

chose Women Celebrating Life Downriver,
whose goal is to support women as they
fight breast cancer.
Michigan Memorial Funeral Home
decided to match the gift made by
Michigan Memorial Park, which increased
the donation by 100 perecent. Were
thrilled to be able to help people in our
communities and support the great work of
our many non-profit groups.
Since 2011, Michigan Memorial Park
has donated $10,542 to six local charitable

naturalistic environment.
Cedar Lawns is a Dignity Memorial
organizations on behalf of the 113 walking
club members, an average of $2,100
annually. The club is active from April 1
through October 31 each year.
n Mitch Mitchell has been
hired as president of MIDAMERICA COLLEGE
Jeffersonville, Indiana, part
of Pierce Mortuary Colleges.
Mitchells 16 years of experience in higher education includes working as an instruc- Mitchell
tor, administrator, dean and
academic dean. He has presented at national
conferences on articulation agreements, and
published his dissertation, A Stakeholders
Approach on Retention: Using Emergenetics
in the Classroom.
Mitchell also brings perspective from
outside academia, having served as an
engineer/project manager for both Capstone Engineering and Harshaw Trane.
He served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a
combat engineer. He earned a Ph.D. in strategic management from Sullivan University.
He also holds an MBA degree and a masters
degree in managing information technology
from Sullivan University.
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In memoriam
Richard Robert Krueger

Richard Dick Robert Krueger, 65, died

September 26, 2016.
A native of La Crosse, Wisconsin, he
started his career as a coach in Conroe,
Texas. He married a teacher, Debbie
Cashner, whose father owned a cemetery
and monument business. When his
father-in-law became ill, he left coaching
to work in the family business. He
learned the business from the ground up,
and played a crucial role in the formation
of Cashner Funeral Home.
He loved that he was able to serve
people in his community on what may

very well be the worse day of their lives.

He believed wholeheartedly that the
service he was providing was the start of
the healing process.
Survivors include his wife; two
daughters and a son; two sisters and two
brothers; and four grandchildren.
Visitation was held at Cashner
Funeral Home. Funeral services were
held at Cashner Colonial Chapel,
followed by burial in Garden Park

Janet Z. Torchinsky

Janet Z. Torchinsky, wife of Irving

L. Torchinsky of Torchinsky Hebrew

Funeral Home, died September 26, 2016.

The Torchinskys were married almost
66 years. Survivors include her husband,
eight children, 11 grandchildren and
three great-grandchildren.
The funeral took place at Shaare
Tefila Congregation, Olney, Maryland.
Shiva was held at the home of one of her
children. Interment was at Mt. Lebanon
Cemetery, Adelphi, Maryland.
Memorial contributions may be made
to The Jewish Foundation for Group
Homes, 1500 E. Jefferson St., Rockville,
MD 20852, or to the charity of your
choice. Arrangements were handled by
Torchinsky Hebrew Funeral Home.


Rancho Palos Verdes, California, has named
Tom Frew to the newly-created position of
general manager, sales and administration.
Frew has been with the park for five years as
controller, overseeing the successful implementation of a new accounting and cemetery
reporting software system and the upgrading
and modernization of many internal sytems.
He has been an integral part of the planning
and development of the Inspiration Slope
Mausoleum and renovations to the cemeterys
administration building and chapel.


Pennsylvania, has hired Dina S. Kelly for
the newly created role of national vice
president of sales. Kelly joins StoneMor
from Senior Lifestyle Corp., a Chicago-based
company focused on senior care communities where, since 2014, she was senior vice
president, sales and marketing. Prior to
Senior Lifestyle, from 2012 to 2014, she was
district vice president, sales and marketing,
acquisitions for Holiday Retirement Lake in
Oswego, Oregon. Prior to 2012, Kelly filled
numerous sales and executive director positions at Brookdale Senior Living (formerly
Horizon Bay), Sunrise Senior Living and
Service Corporation International, where she
was park director and preneed funeral sales
Kelly will oversee the companys
approximately 525 sales personnel and is
responsible for the companys sales team
expansion, adding approximately 100 new
team members over six to nine months.
The expansion is part of a broader workforce realignment recently undertaken
to page 40
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December 2016



Above, trees being delivered for Gundersun Funeral Home and Cremation Services
50th anniversary celebration. Right, the Gunderson sign, which features trees.

Gunderson plants 50 trees to celebrate 50 years

ur Honor and Privilege to Serve has
been the Gunderson Funeral Home
and Cremation Services community
motto since its founding. In celebration of
providing these services for 50 years, the
Fort Dodge, Iowa, firm devoted a day to
planting 50 trees in the community. Fortyeight trees were planted along Dodger
Drive at the Fort Dodge Middle School,
and two were planted at the Freedom Rock
at the entrance of the Karl King Bridge.
Gunderson Funeral Home and Cremation Services first started serving the
community on August 1, 1966, in what
was considered a state-of-the-art building
designed specifically as a funeral home.
Phil Gunderson tells the story of how he
was 7 years old when his father, Robert C.
Gunderson, along with Delaine Sellergren

and silent partner Kenneth Rasch, opened

the doors at 1615 North 15th Street in Fort
In 1974, Highway 413 was a two-lane
road and construction to widen it, along
with adding the 15th Street bridge, started
in the spring and continued until just before
Thanksgiving. This construction shut off
Gundersons from the community, with just
a dirt road providing access to the funeral
home. There were only three funerals held
that year due to the construction.
The new paved road helped the area
grow and a second story was added on to
the funeral home in 1982. Phil and Keely
also moved into the home located on the
Gunderson Funeral Home & Cremation
Services property at that time. The
crematory was added in 1999.

It is our honor and privilege to be able

to serve the Fort Dodge community for
50 years, said Phil Gunderson, funeral
director and owner.
Help with the tree planting came from
PICA (Pride in Community Appearance)
and volunteers from UnityPoint HealthTrinity Regional Medical Center and the
Dodge Community School School Board
and administration.
Kevin Lunn, city forester, and his staff
were on hand to assist by using an auger to
dig the holes, along with providing water
wagons and mulch for the trees. Smittys
Lawn and Landscape and Smittys Garden
Center were in charge of delivering the
trees. Event planning and coordinating,
photos and videotaping was handled by
Spin Markket.

Home &
set up a
to commemorate
its history.
A cake
and shirts
marked the


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Gunderson staff members Phil and Rob Gunderson, Janet Hubbell and Kevin Rogers, PICA (Pride In Community Appearance)
and other community volunteers and city employees worked together to plant the trees properly. PICA supplied shovels, gloves
and other equipment. The city provided an auger, water wagon, mulch and compost.

Trees Gunderson Funeral Home & Cremation Services donated to the community line the road in front of Fort Dodge Middle School.

Above, Gunderson staff at the funeral home. Holding the scissors is owner
and director Phil Gunderson. Right, volunteers pose with a successfully
planted tree.
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December 2016


from page 37
which saw the elimination of approximately
100 non-sales generating positions, representing total cost savings of approximately $6
million, across a variety of functions, largely
comprised of duplicative roles that arose as
the company has grown through the acquisitions of more than 285 cemeteries and funeral
homes since becoming a public company in
2005. StoneMor has 317 cemeteries and 107
funeral homes in 29 states and Puerto Rico.
n PARK LAWN CORP., Toronto, Ontario,
has received approval for the listing of
its common shares on the Toronto Stock
Exchange. PLCs common shares are now
trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under
the symbol PLC. The companys common
shareas have been delisted from the Toronto
Stock Exhcnage Venture Exchange. Since
2013, PLC has become the largest publiclytraded Canadian company in this industry,
expanding from six cemeteries in the greater
Toronto area to 56 cemetery and funeral
home operations across Canada and in the
U.S., said Andrew Clark, PLC chairman and
CEO. We believe graduation to the TSX is
the right next step as we continue to grow
our operations. To celebrate the milestone,
PLCs management team and guests opened
trading on the TSX on October 19, 2016.

Kurt Lester, Ballweg and Lunsford Funeral Homes, Syracuse, New York; Michael
Ashe, Wilhelm Portland Memorial, Portland, Oregon; Jim Dobbins, Simplicity Lowcountry Cremation and Burial Services, Charleston, South Carolina; Clair Ferris,
Funeral Alternatives of Washington, Tumwater, Washington; and Danny Jefferson,
Pierce Jefferson, Kernersville, North Carolina; share best practices with Brad Rex,
Foundation Partners Group CEO and president, and other attendees during the
panel discussion at the companys leadership conference.


Orlando, Florida, recently hosted its fourth
annual leadership conference. The threeday event included FPG location leaders
and the sales management team, along with
headquarters staff, executives, sponsors and
industry experts.
A highlight of the first day of the event
was a 9/11 remembrance video and moment
of silence, followed with a special ceremony
to remember the Pulse nightclub shootings
in Orlando, including a presentation about
a family who lost a loved one at Pulse and
was served by Thompson Funeral Home

in Lexington, South Carolina. The session

concluded with a keynote address from FPG
President and CEO Brad Rex.
The Perfect Service Award for the funeral
home with the highest family satisfaction
score was presented to McGuinness Funeral
Home in Sewell, New Jersey. The Ripple
Award was given to McDermott-Crockett
Funeral Home in Santa Barbara, California,
for its outstanding community outreach
endeavors. A conference highlight was the
panel discussion with leaders from recently
acquired FPG funeral homes, who shared
their firms best practices.

n The International Association of Pet

Cemeteries and Crematories buried
at time capsule at HARTSDALE PET
CEMETERY, Westchester County,
New York, during the associations 45th
annual conference. Those attending the
conference contributed memorabilia to
the time capsule, including present-day
artifacts, photographs, brochures, newsletters and various pet aftercare merchandise. Following a short ceremony, the
time capsule was buried in Hartsdales
Centennial Obelisk garden, established
in 1996 to commemorate the cemeterys
100-year anniversary. A specially designed granite marker memorialized the
event and marks the place where the time
capsule was interred. The conference
drew more than 100 members, including
representatives from France, Mexico,
Canada and China. When it was established in 1971, the IAOPCC also buried
a time capsule at Hartsdale, unearthing
it 25 years later as part of the cemeterys
Attendees at the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories
centennial celebration.
r conference participate in the burial of a time capsule at Hartsdale Pet Cemetery.

ICCFA Magazine

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Get back into shape at the WWS Sales bootcamp

n Phoenix, Arizona, the 2017 Wide

World of Sales Conference will
feature three inspirational keynote
speakers in the Sales Boot Camp program that focuses on topics driving
the world of preneed and at-need sales:
prospecting, presenting and referrals.
This program is designed to give you the
inspiration, education and understanding
to be successful in presenting to new clients, closing sales and ultimately gaining
referrals. After the motivational keynotes,
professionals in the industry take the
stage to bring the message even closer.
Afterward, our breakout sessions will get
even more in-depth. By the time you leave
Phoenix, you will have the knowledge and
motivation to be successful in sales and
family service.
At this years Wide World of Sales
conference, youll study whats relevant to
our profession today: people, technology
and cremation. Here is a sneak peek at the

area before advancing to an area

sales manager role prior to accepting the market manager position.
Palmer has been actively involved
in the ICCFA, where he serves on
the Sales and Marketing Committee.

Thursday, January 12, 9:30 a.m.

Prospecting: How Much is

Enough?Brad Palmer
Brad Palmer is market manager
for 23 SCI properties in Ohio. He
has an extensive background in the
funeral industry, dating back to
the age of 13, when he first started
working at the Anderson Streuve
Funeral Home in his hometown
of Greenfield, Ohio. Since 2013,
Palmer has worked for SCI, where
he was a sales manager at two
locations in the Columbus, Ohio,

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Getting Ready to Get Going

(Goal Setting & Lead
Generation)Linda Jankowski
Linda Jankowski is the owner/
president of the Jankowski Consulting Group. She is a member
of the ICCFA Sales & Marketing
Committee and served as program
co-chair of the Wide World of
Sales Conference in 2010.

Visit Phoenix/Doug Stremel

Making Prospecting Fun

Andrs Aguilar
Andrs Aguilar is president of
Los Parques in Guatemala City,
Guatemala, a second-generation
family business that provides funeral, cemetery and cremation services. Los Parques conducts more
than 1,800 funeral services and
1,000 burials annually.He holds
a bachelors degree in marketing
from Arizona State University and
an MBA from Thunderbird School
of Global Management.

Visit Phoenix/Jill Richards

Thursday, January 12, 2:30 p.m.

MotivationalDouglas Gober Jr.

Doug Gober began his funeral
service career 37 years ago as a
sales representative in the casket

Visit Phoenix/Michael C. Snell

December 2016


industry. He has earned numerous national awards from
various organizations within the death care industry. In
addition to helping arrange financing through Live Oak
Bank, he can help business owners make the most of
their strategic and market opportunities.

Being PreparedAndrs Aguilar

PresentingWarm Up, Personal Planning Guide and

the Sales PresentationMitch Bennett

Comparisons: Above Ground and Below Ground

John Gouch Jr.
John Gouch is the general manager of his familys
cemetery, Gethsemane Cemetery and Memorial Gardens in Charlotte, North Carolina, a position he has held
for 10 years. Gouch holds bachelors degrees from the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in chemistry
and dental hygiene. He is also a graduate of ICCFA University. He is a regular speaker at ICCFA University as
well as at other state and regional cemetery association

Friday, January 13 at 9:30 a.m.

These Leads Are No GoodErin Norton

Erin Norton started her career as a preplanning consultant in March 2014 with Larkin Mortuary in Salt Lake
City, Utah. Norton exceled in her first year as a consul-

tant and was named Homesteaders Life Co.s Rookie of

the Year for 2014.

Objections & ClosingAndrs Aguilar

ReferralsLinda Jankowski

You will have a chance to attend all of these educational sessions and more. Included in the registration are:
Sales Boot Camp: The focuses of this boot camp are prospecting, presenting and referrals (offered free, but attendance is limited to 40 people)
The new and improved Wide World of Sales notebook, with
complete on-site schedule along with note-writing space
Welcome reception
Networking lunch
Breakfast, coffee and refreshment breaks between sessions
The 2017 Wide World of Sales Conference is coming up fast,
so mark your calendars now for January 14-17 to make sure you
dont miss it.
Hotel rooms at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix are only $179 per
Registration forms, hotel information and sponsorship
opportunities are available at www.wideworldofsales.com.


Assurant Solutions Batesville Casket
Co. Buchanan Group Services LLC
Cypress Lawn Disrupt Media
Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks &
Mortuaries Johnson Consulting Group
Matthews International Corp.
Memorial Business Systems Inc.
Merendino Cemetery Care
Service Corporation International
StoneMor Partners LP The Signature
Group webCemeteries.com

ICCFA Magazine

Hyatt Regency in Phoenix, Arizona

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for your contribution

to the ICCFA Lung
Force campaign
throughout the year.

2017 music licensing now available on iccfa.com

usic licensing for 2017 is now available. The ICCFA offers music licensing with ASCAP,
BMI and SESAC for only $265 per property if purchased by January 31, 2017, and $278
per property after that date. This is the least expensive option in the profession, because
there is no additional membership required.
This music license rate is a pass-through of the combined annual fees from ASCAP, BMI and
Licensing with those agencies would cost nearly $600 per location. Music licensing is required for all copyrighted music and
failure to obtain it can result in damages similar to fines of up to $30,000 for each song infringement. For more information and to
purchase music licensing, visit www.iccfa.com/music.

Consider sponsorship at the 2017 Annual Convention

he ICCFA will have its 2017 Annual Convention and

Expo at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee, on
April 5-8, 2017. Attendees will sit in on various keynote
speakers educational and motivational sessions in the Expo Hall.
You can be a sponsor and have your company recognized at
the convention and in the March-April and July issues of ICCFA
Magazine. There are many general recognition opportunities to
market your business at the convention.
For more information on sponsorships, contact Kelly Spann
at spann@iccfa.com.For more information on programming announcements and hotels, visit www.iccfa.com/annual.
r The hall entrance at Music City Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

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December 2016




Cave Hill Cemetery Cypress Lawn Forest Lawn Memorial-Park & Mortuaries
Gibraltar Remembrance Services LLC Global Atlantic Financial Group
Guerra & Gutierrez Mortuaries Homesteaders Life Inglewood Park Cemetery
Johnson Consulting Group Los Parques Matthews International Corporation
NOMIS Publications Regions Trust Service Corporation International
Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum StoneMor Partners LP
The Signature Group The Tribute Companies Inc.

ICCFA appreciates your continued support!


ICCFA Magazine

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Statement of Ownership,
Management & Circulation

1. Publication title: ICCFA Magazine.

2. Publication no.: 1936-2099
3. Filing date: September 30, 2016.
4. Issue frequency: 10 times per year.
5. No. of issues published annually: 10.
6. Annual subscription price: $39.95.
7. Complete mailing address of known office of publication: 107 Carpenter Drive, Suite 100, Sterling,
VA 20164-4468.
8. Complete mailing address of headquarters or general business office of publisher: 107 Carpenter
Drive, Suite 100, Sterling, VA 20164-4468.
9. Full names and complete mailing addresses of
publisher, editor and managing editor: PublisherRobert Fells, 107 Carpenter Drive, Suite
100, Sterling, VA 20164-4468; Editornone;
Managing editorSusan Loving, 107 Carpenter
Drive, Suite 100, Sterling, VA 20164-4468.
10. Owner: International Cemetery and Funeral
Association, 107 Carpenter Drive, Suite 100,
Sterling, VA 20164-4468.
11. Known bondholders, mortgagees and other security holders owning or holding 1 percent or more
of total amount of bonds, mortgages or other
securities: None.
12. The purpose, function and nonprofit status of this
organization and the exempt status for federal
income tax purposes has not changed during
preceding 12 months.
13. Publication name: ICCFA Magazine.
14. Issue date for circulation data below: AugustSeptember 2014.
15. Extent and nature of circulationAverage no.
copies each issue during preceding 12 months:
(a) Total no. copies8,580; (b) Paid circulation
(b1) Mailed outside-county paid5,233; (b2)
Mailed in-county subscriptions37; (b3) Sales
through dealers and carriers, street vendors
and counter sales and other non-USPS paid
distribution401; (b4) Other classes mailed0;
(c) Total paid distribution5,671; (d) Free or
nominal rate distribution (d1) Outside-county2,004; (d2) In-county0; (d3) Other classes
mailed5; (d4) Outside the mail312; (e) Total
nonrequested distribution2,321; (f) Total distribution: 7,992; (g) Copies not distributed588;
(h) Total8,580; (i) Percent paid circulation71
percent. Extent and nature of circulationActual no. copies of single issue published nearest to
filing date: (a) Total no. copies7,800; (b) Paid
circulation (b1) Mailed outside-county paid
5,599; (b2) Mailed incounty subscriptions29;
(b3) Sales through dealers and carriers, street
vendors and counter sales and other non-USPS
paid distribution491; (b4) Other classes
mailed0; (c) Total paid distribution6,119;
(d) Free or nominal rate distribution (d1)
Outside county1,084; (d2) In-county0; (d3)
Other classes mailed2; (d4) Free or nominal
rate distribution outside the mail135; (e) Total
nonrequested distribution1,221; (f) Total distribution: 7,340; (g) Copies not distributed460;
(h) Total7,800; (i) Percent paid circulation83
16. This statement of ownership will be printed in the
December 2016 issue of this publication.
17. Signature and title of editor, publisher, business
manager or owner: Susan Loving, Managing

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New Members

Providing exceptional education, networking and legislative guidance and support to

progressive cemetery, funeral and cremation professionals worldwide

Go to www.iccfa.com/membership to download a benefits brochure and an application form.

Call 1.800.645.7700 to have membership information faxed or mailed to you.


Admission to ICCFA membership normally requires a majority vote of those present and voting
at any meeting of the executive committee. The names of all applicants must be published in this
magazine. ICCFA members objecting to an application must do so in writing to the ICCFA executive director within 45 days of publication. In the event of an objection, the executive committee
will conduct an inquiry. If an applicant is rejected, they will be granted an appeal upon written
request. The decision of the Board of Directors shall be final.


Fairmount Cemetery & Cremator

Davenport, Iowa


Caldwell Insurance Consultants

Hartsville, South Carolina
Cherished Eternal Glass
Gladewater, Texas

Security National Life Insurance Co.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Professional: Pet Loss Services

Hunt Valley Animal Hospital
Cockeysville, Maryland
Tim Jones
Markham, Ontario

E-mail calendar listings and additions or corrections

to bclough@iccfa.com and sloving@iccfa.com.
For continually updated meeting listings
and direct links to websites for professional
associations, go to www.iccfa.com; select
Find a Member, then Industry Associations.
December 1: Connecticut Funeral Directors Assn. Annual Mtg. www.ctfda.org
January 11-14: ICCFA Wide World of
Sales, Hyatt Regency, Phoenix, Arizona.
January 14: New Hampshire Funeral Directors Assn. 117th Annual Mtg.,
Church Landing, Meredith.
January 15-17: Alabama Funeral
Directors Assn. Mid-Winter Trade Show,
Birmingham. www.alabamafda.org
February 7-13: Ohio Funeral Directors
Assn. Annual Educational Conf., Panama
City, Panama. www.ofdaonline.org
February 10-12: Monument Builders of
North America Industry Show, Indianapolis, Indiana. www.monumentbuilders.org
February 18: Ohio Cemetery Assn.
Annual Awards Banquet, Holiday Inn,
February 23: Alliance of Illinois Cemeterians Annual Convention, President
Abraham Lincoln Hotel, Springfield.
February 23-25: California Assn. of
Public Cemeteries 59th Annual Conf.,


To see all industry conventions and meetings for a particular month, go to

www.iccfa.com; select Find a Member,
then Industry Calendar.
Oxnard. www.capc.info
February 27-March 1: MKJ Ski Seminar, Waldodrf Astoria, Park City, Utah.
www.mkjmarketing.com; 1.888.655.1566
March 1-2: International Conf. of Funeral
Service Examining Boards 113th Annual Mtg., Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront
Resort. www.theconferenceonline.org
March 9-11: Casket & Funeral Supply
Assn. of America Winter Seminar, Hotel
del Coronado, San Diego, California.
March 31-April 1: Arkansas Funeral
Directors Assn. Annual Convention, Rogers. www.arfda.com
April 5-8: ICCFA Annual Convention &
Expo, Music City Center & Renaissance
Nashville & Onmi Nashville, Tennessee.
April 24-28: Catholic Cemeteries of the
West Annual Convention, Lake Tahoe
Resort, California. www.ccwecare.org
April 30-May 3: Kansas Funeral Directors Assn. Annual Convention, Wichita.
May 15-18: Ohio Funeral Directors
Assn. Annual Convention, Hilton Columbus at Easton. www.ofdaonline.org
May 16-17: Iowa Funeral Directors Assn.

to page 46

December 2016


25 Abbott & Hast
37 American Cemetery/Mortuary
27 ASDAnswering Service for
17 Cherokee Casket
5 Continental Computer Corp.
37 Crisanti Glass
21 Ensure-A-Seal
27 Flowers for Cemeteries
19 Funeral Call Answering Service
15 Heraeus Kutzer Precious Metal


Holland Supply
Holy Land Stone
Love Urns LLC
Madelyn Co.
Memories LLC
Merendino Cemetery Care
Miles Supply Inc.
Nomis Publications
Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell &
48 Paradise Pictures


RBC Wealth Management

Ring Ring Marketing
SEP Technologies
Supply Link
The Foresight Companies LLC
The Key Chain Urn Co.
U.S. Metalcraft
WithumSmith + Brown
Worsham College
Xiamen Ever-Rising Stone Co.
Zontec Ozone

from page 45

Annual Convention, Altoona.

June 4-7: Texas Funeral Directors Assn.
Summer Convention, Austin. www.tfda.com
June 4-7: Georgia Funeral Directors Assn.
Summer Convention, King and Prince
Beach Resort, St. Simons Island.
June 6-8: Funeral Directors Assn. of Kentucky Annual Convention, Crowne Plaza
Hotel & Kentucky Fair & Expo Center,
Louisville. www.fdaofky.com
June 9-11: National (British) Funeral
Exhibition, National Agricultural Center,
Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, England.
June 11-15: Catholic Cemetery Conf.
School of Leadership & Management Excellence, University of Notre Dame, South
Bend, Indiana.
www.catholiccemetery conference.org
June 22-24: Florida Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Assn. Annual Convention,


Go to www.iccfa.com and choose Directory/Industry Event Calendar to see a

monthly calendar of industry association meetings worldwide.
Aventura. www.thefccfa.com
June 25-28: Florida Cemetery, Crema-

tion & Funeral Assn. Annual Convention,

Aventura. www.thefccfa.com

Check the classified announcements at www.iccfa.com/employment.htm

To place a classified, contact Rick Platter, rplatter@iccfa.com


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ICCFA Magazine

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