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 August-September 2018


Legal & Legislative Update

• What you need to know about
sex discrimination and
harassment in the #MeToo era
• Employment legislation
in the pipeline
• Online funeral planning
a hit for customers, owners
• Pokemon GO: A nuisance
or an opportunity for
your cemetery?
• What the mobile
revolution means for
your orgaization
• Finding funding for
a new mausoleum
• Todd Van Beck’s
Keys to Service
• ICCFA Fall

I C C FA Fa l l M a n a g e m e n t C o n f e re n c e , S e p t e m b e r 2 6 - 2 8 , 2 0 1 8 , M a n a l a p a n , F l o r i d a
Tell the Story.
the Life.

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For more information on our personalization options,
visit or contact your local representative.

©2018 Batesville Serv

vices, Inc.
August-September 2018

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
New co-chairs get comfortable as review of Funeral Rule
approaches The ICCFA Government and Legal Affairs Committee
is under new leadership but facing a lot of the same issues as well as
some new ones, including the upcoming Funeral Rule review, evolving
law concerning transgender employees and the continued proliferation
of for-profit companies handling body donation.
The view of the Capitol from the office
of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in the interview of Keenan Knopke, CCFE, and Poul Lemasters, Esq.
Rayburn House Office Building. It was 18 Separate but equally important:
taken during the annual spring Capitol ICCFA PAC, Government & Legal funds
Hill visits by members of the ICCFA 25 Body donation: A primer for funeral directors
Government & Legal Committee to talk
to congresspeople of both parties about 26 HUMAN RESOURCES
issues affecting cemetery, cremation Trending employment law Employment laws are always changing,
and funeral organizations. More photos, and can vary from state to state and even from one locality to another.
and information about the issues and
There are a number of “hot topics” the people who run funeral homes,
bills discussed, begin on page 10.
cemeteries and crematories need to be aware of.
by Stephanie Ramsey
8 Washington Report
Challenge to anti-combo law fails 30 LEGAL/HR ISSUES
by Robert M. Fells, Esq. What you need to know about sex discrimination and harassment
52 Supply Line in the #MeToo era The #MeToo movement has brought the issues of
54 Update
sex discrimination and harassment into the spotlight. Sexual harassment
56 In memoriam: Tom Flynn, can take many forms and can be found anywhere, including in the funeral,
patriot and grief therapy dog pioneer cremation and cemetery profession. Protect your organization and your
61 New Members employees. by Alice Adams
34 A to-do list to protect your employees and organization
61 Calendar
62 Classifieds 36 COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Pokémon GO: A nuisance or an opportunity for your cemetery?
62 Ad Index
Signs prohibiting the playing of Pokémon GO have gone up at a num-

ICCFA officers Cremation and Funeral Association. Subscription

August-September 2018 rates: In the United States, $39.95; in Canada,
Christine Toson Hentges, CCE,
VOLUME 78/NUMBER 7 $45.95; overseas: $75.95. One subscription is
Jay D. Dodds, CFSP, president-elect included in annual membership dues. POST-
Andrés Aguilar, vice president MASTER: Send address changes to ICCFA
Paul Goldstein, vice president Magazine, 107 Carpenter Drive, Suite 100,
Katherine Devins, communications manager; Daniel Osorio, subscription coordinator
Lee Longino, vice president Sterling, VA 20164-4468. Individual written; 1.800.645.7700, ext. 1224 (habla español)
Mitch Rose, CCFE, CCrE, vice president contributions, commentary and advertisements; 1.800.645.7700, ext. 1215
Gary M. Freytag, CCFE, treasurer Jason Brown, communications assistant appearing in ICCFA Magazine do not necessarily
Robbie L. Pape, secretary; 1.800.645.7700, ext. 1218 reflect either the opinion or the endorsement
ICCFA Magazine (ISSN 1936-2099) is published
Nadira Baddeliyanage, executive director of the International Cemetery, Cremation and
Nadira Baddeliyanage, executive director by the International Cemetery, Cremation and
Robert M. Fells, Esq., general counsel Funeral Association®.
& publisher Funeral Association®, 107 Carpenter Drive, Suite ; 1.800.645.7700, ext. 1225 100, Sterling, VA 20164-4468; 703.391.8400;
Magazine staff
Susan Loving, managing editor Robert M. Fells, Esq., general counsel FAX 703.391.8416; Published 10 times per year, with combined issues in
March-April and August-September. Periodicals
Rick Platter, supplier relations manager Brenda Clough, office administrator postage paid at Sterling, VA, and other offices.; 1.800.645.7700, ext. 1213 & association liaison;; Copyright 2018 by the International Cemetery,
1.800.645.7700, ext. 1214

4 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
smart phone scan Property in photo is Fairview Cemetery, Westfield, NJ, Merendino client since 2005
ICCFA news
57 Fall Management Conference ber of cemeteries across the country, bothered by gamers who roam
Gain skills in business management and their grounds, oblivious to people there to pay their respects to loved
network with other business managers and ones. But Fairfax Memorial Park has found a way to accommodate
owners September 26-28, 2018 gamers and turn Pokémon Go into another way the cemetery can con-
58 Thank you to our Fall sponsors! nect with the community. by Chad Aylestock
58 Membership Outreach Corner: Report 40 TECHNOLOGY/SALES
from Florida by Julie A.B. Bly, MPS Online funeral planning a hit for customers, owners
59 2018 PLPA College program announced, More and more consumers want to shop—and buy—online. What
August 22-24, 2018 is your funeral home doing to accommodate them? Ed Sagel and Al
Bloomfield, who own a traditional funeral home, opened up a low-
60 August is certification awareness month
deadline for fall consideration: cost, all-online funeral planning site. by Ed Sagel and Al Bloomfield
August 24, 2018 44 MARKETING & TECHNOLOGY
60 ICCFA Cremation Arranger & What the mobile revolution means for your crematory, funeral
Crematory Operator Program home or cemetery Smartphones have made it easier for funeral home,
cemetery and crematory owners to keep on top of their businesses at
all hours, no matter where they are. So it should come as no surprise
The ICCFA would
to them that death-care professionals need to adjust their marketing to
also like to thank deal with the explosive growth of mobile technology. by Welton Hong
these 2018
Annual Convention sponsors: Cemetery Impossible: Finding a bank to finance building a new mau-
• Christie Toson Hentges, CCE soleum A cemetery is a different kind of business, so it’s not surprising
• Funeral Home Gifts that when it comes to getting their projects financed, cemeterians need to
understand that and find the right sort of banker. by Dan Isard, MSFS
• Wilbert Funeral Services Inc.
The keys to service: The eternal question of ‘Why?’ These days,
To support the ICCFA’s goal when the question “Why?” comes up during a funeral or cemetery family
of raising money to fight interview, it’s usually not a simple request for information.
lung cancer, today’s #1
51 The keys to service: Conclusion by Todd W. Van Beck, CFuE
killer of women, go to

ICCFA calendar
go to for program, registration & scholarship information

Catch the WIRELESS newsletter in your 2018 Cremation Certification Training

inbox for industry news, stories about colleagues ICCFA Cremation Program Coordinator Poul Lemasters, Esq.
making headlines and updates on ICCFA August 28 & 29, Cremation Operator & Arranger Training, Ohio Funeral
educational events & conferences Directors Association
November 14, Cremation Operator Training, Ohio Funeral Directors Association
Follow the ICCFA’s LinkedIn December 11 & 12, Live stream: Cremation Arranger & Operator Training,
page to read breaking news about The Wilbert Group, Broadview, Illinois
colleagues, the profession and the
2018 PLPA College
August 22-24, Embassy Suites by Hilton Cincinnati RiverCenter, Covington, Kentucky
Co-chairs Jodi Clock, CPLP, and Roberta Knauf, CPLP
Follow the ICCFA on Twitter
to receive instant updates on the 2018 Fall Management Conference
association’s educational events September 26-28, Manalapan, Florida
& conferences Co-chairs Andrés Aguilar and Lauren Blevins, CCFE 2019 ICCFA Wide World of Sales
January 23-25, Bally’s Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Like and follow the ICCFA Co-chairs Tim Fish and Delana Pratt
to read up-to-date news on the
2019 ICCFA Convention & Expo
industry, ICCFA members making
April 2-6, Charlotte Convention Center & The Westin Charlotte,
headlines and ICCFA events &
Charlotte, North Carolina Co-chairs Mathew Forastiere and John Gouch Jr.

6 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
Washington Report
by ICCFA General Counsel
Challenge to anti-combo law fails
Robert M. Fells, Esq.
n late June, the Supreme Court of benefits of prearrangements and how that helps Wisconsin handed down a long-awaited consumers avoid the vulnerabilities that making
1.800.645.7700, decision in Porter v. State of Wisconsin. at-need arrangements can create where grief
ext. 1212 The plaintiffs, E. Glen Porter III and and shock may affect the judgment of family
direct line: Highland Memorial Park Inc., challenged members.
703.391.8401 the constitutionality of a law first enacted in For example, if concern with emotionally
➤Fells is ICCFA 1939 that prohibits the common ownership vulnerable consumers making at-need
general counsel, of a mortuary and a cemetery. This “anti- arrangements were really a factor in upholding
responsible for combo” statute was defended by the state the law, the court might have reshaped the law
maintaining and of Wisconsin, including named defendants to restrict combos to arranging only pre-need
improving relationships with federal Laura Gutierrez and the Wisconsin Funeral transactions, leaving at-need situations to stand-
and state government agencies, the Directors Examining Board. alone funeral homes. Some Wisconsin funeral
news media and consumer organi-
Plaintiffs asserted that the law is unconstitu- directors claimed in news media reports that
tional on two grounds: 1.) the prohibition combos would have an unfair advantage over
➤ Fells has worked on behalf of violates the due process clause and 2.) the funeral homes because cemetery acreage is
the cemetery and funeral service prohibition violates the equal protection clause. exempt from property taxes. This brings up the
profession on legal and legislative
The lower court had granted the defendants question of whether the anti-combo law could be
issues since 1975 and joined the
their motion for summary judgment (dismissal) reshaped by requiring that cemetery land used
ICCFA staff in 1983. He is retired
from his position as the association’s without a trial on the merits, and plaintiffs for a funeral home would lose its tax exemption
executive director, which he held for appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. and the combo would have to pay property taxes
six years. The high court sided with the lower court in on its funeral home acreage like all stand-alone
finding the state’s argument that the anti-combo funeral homes do.
➤ He has
published a law was constitutional for three reasons: the Unfortunately, the court used a club instead
number of law promoted legitimate government interests of a scalpel to examine the issues and thereby
books. His latest, by (1) preserving competition in the death-care short-circuited any findings of fact that a trial
“The Curse services industry; (2) protecting consumers from on the merits might have established. Far from
of the Tomb,” higher prices and poor services; and (3) reducing preserving competition in the funeral services
brings back the potential for abuses from commingling market, the state supreme court was satisfied
Maj. Alexander of cemetery and funeral revenues. The court to keep the status quo, meaning that funeral
Armstrong, who reviewed, then disregarded, the arguments consumers in Wisconsin will continue to have
featured in two made by plaintiffs, though two of the state fewer choices of providers, which inhibits price
previous novels. The discoveries of
Supreme Court justices wrote a dissent siding competition, leading to higher prices than if
the royal tomb of King Tutankhamen
with plaintiffs. With this decision, the case has there were more robust competition. This is
creates a huge black market in
forgeries of antiquities where the reached its final adjudication. the situation in the 39 states that have no anti-
stakes include murder, and the British In this writer’s opinion, the majority opinion combo prohibitions, but the court pointedly
government seeks assistance from engaged in a great many conclusory statements chose to ignore these case studies.
the Americans. lacking any factual support that a trial on the Finally, it is tempting to wonder if the actual
merits might have provided. For example, motivation in preserving the Wisconsin anti-
the high court ruled that the anti-combination competitive, anti-combo statute was revealed
statute is “rationally related to the legitimate some years ago in another jurisdiction. This
government interests of protecting the welfare occurred when an Oklahoma federal court
of particularly vulnerable consumers and upheld that state’s law restricting casket sales
limiting or minimizing the manipulation of funds to funeral homes. Paraphrasing the decision,
required to be held in trust by funeral directors the Oklahoma court announced that one of
and cemetery operators.” Yet there was no the privileges of state governments is to dole
evidence provided to buttress these points. out special treatment and protection from
Despite the 20-page length of the majority competition to favored industries.
opinion, there was little effort to document the In the meantime, Americans will continue to
“vulnerable consumers” or “the manipulation explore options that are unrelated to traditional
of funds” cited to justify the statute. The funerals and that will return us to a time when
dissenting opinion, at 33 pages, offered much families performed their own funeral services
more substance in explaining why the majority and burials. The few states that continue to
is wrong, and this dissent may be useful in uphold anti-combo laws on their books may find
future challenges to anticompetitive laws in that the true effect will be to give beneficiaries
the funeral profession. Also, there was little a monopoly on something that few want any
acknowledgement by the majority of the longer. r

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ICCFA Magazine spotlight

kknopke@ L E G A L & L E G I S L AT I V E U P D AT E
➤Keenan Knopke, The ICCFA Government and Legal Affairs Committee
CCFE, is co-chair of
the ICCFA Government
is under new leadership but facing a lot of the same issues as well
and Legal Affairs Com- as some new ones, including the upcoming Funeral Rule review,
➤Knopke is president
evolving law concerning transgender employees and the continued
and CEO of Curlew Hills proliferation of for-profit companies handling body donation.
Memory Gardens, Palm
Harbor, Florida. He
previously served as a regional president
for Stewart Enterprises and as president
of Garden of Memories. He received his
associate’s degree in funeral service and
mortuary science from Miami Dade Col-
lege, Florida.
➤He served as president of the Florida
Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Associa-
tion, 2010-2011.

➤Poul Lemasters,
Esq., is principal of
Lemasters Consulting,
Cincinnati, Ohio.
➤He is the ICCFA’s Jerry Ruskowski, legislative aide to Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, talks to, from left,
cremation program Keenan Knopke, CCE; Greer Redden; Chad Aylestock; Mary Beth McGowan from
coordinator and special the ICCFA’s lobbying firm Dykema; Jim Price, CCFE, CCrE; Caressa Hughes; and
cremation counsel, and co-chairs the CANA Executive Director Barbara Kemmis, who again joined ICCFA representa-
ICCFA Government and Legal Affairs Com- tives for their annual visit to Capitol Hill.
➤He is an attorney and funeral direc-
tor, having graduated from the Cincinnati
New co-chairs get comfortable as
College of Mortuary Science in 1996 and
from Northern Kentucky University, Chase
review of Funeral Rule approaches
College of Law, in 2003. He is licensed as The torch has been passed from Irwin recommendation because everyone trusted
a funeral director and embalmer in Ohio Shipper, now the chairman emeritus of our him. That’s a tradition we need to follow.
and West Virginia and admitted to practice Government and Legal Affairs Committee,
law in Ohio and Kentucky. Have you been surprised by anything in
to you, Keenan and Poul. Do you have any your transitioning from longtime members
More about this subject goals or expectations as the new co-chairs of the committee to its co-chairs?
➤The Government & Legal Affairs of this committee?
Knopke: Everyone knows that it’s one
Breakfast will be part of the Knopke: Irwin taught us a very important thing to watch a play from the audience and
ICCFA Fall Management Conference, lesson in chairing the Government and
September 26-28, at Manalapan, Florida. another to get up on the stage to perform
Legal Affairs Committee. That lesson is it. This is how I feel in going from being
For more information about the conference
transparency. Irwin had the trust of every one of 20 or 25 members of the committee
program, see page 57 or go to member of the committee because he acted to actually running the meeting. There’s a
in the association members’ best interests. whole different set of dynamics involved.
This is a legacy that will be continued, and Lemasters: Well, I’m used to giving
that’s our immediate goal. classes on cremation training and other
Lemasters: I agree. In my years as subjects, so in that sense I have experience
a committee member, I marveled at the in running a meeting. But with teaching,
way Irwin would gently say “Let’s do I’m providing information that might result
this” or “Let’s not do that,” and there was in questions from the students, but not
almost always a consensus to follow his disagreements.

10 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
Above, at the Federal Trade Commis-
sion office to talk to FTC staffers, from
left, Larry Anspach, CCE; Bob Fells;
Mary Beth McGowan of Dykema; Bar-
bara Kemmis of CANA: Jim Price, CCFE,
CCrE; Chad Aylestock; John Resich,
CCE; Keenan Knopke, CCE; Caressa
Hughes; Steve Schacht, CCE; Greer
Redden; and Ed Horn, CCE.

From Left, Andy Buczak from Dykema; John Resich, CCE; Steve Schacht, CCE; Larry
Anspach, CCE; Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV); Bob Fells, Ed Horn, CCE; and Tom Daly, CCE.

Above, Keenan Knopke, CCE, listens

during one of the congressional visits
made by ICCFA members in May.

Left, talking to a legislative assistant to

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), with his
back to the camera. From left, Barbara
Kemmis of CANA; Caressa Hughes;
Greer Redden; Mary Beth McGowan of
Dykema; Jim Price, CCFE, CCrE; Keen-
an Knopke, CCE; and Chad Aylestock.

Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 11


Above, Mary Beth McGowan of Dykema

and ICCFA General Counsel Bob Fells
in the office of Rep. Barbara Comstock
Above left, Greer Redden; Jim Price,
CCFE, CCrE; and Steve Schacht, CCE,
during the breakfast meeting at lobby-
ing firm Dykema’s office that started off
the Capitol Hill visits.
Left, Dykema’s Andy Buzcak points out
where they’re headed for the next visit.
With him are Fells; Tom Daly, CCE; John
Resich, CCE; and Ed Horn, CCE.

I quickly learned that leading a If it’s possible to reason with the IRS, levels. I’d say that things move slower—
discussion on a legal and legislative issue then we may receive guidance that will much slower—at the federal level than at
with the committee can quickly result in resolve our concerns, but some say only the state level. Maybe it’s because the state
contrary viewpoints. I knew I wasn’t in a Congress can help us by amending the tax legislators aren’t in session all year long,
classroom any more. laws. The IRS may feel the same way. so if they are going to move any legislation
Is there one issue at the top of the list of Lemasters: In my practice, I represent along they need to just do it.
immediate concern to ICCFA members? a number of clients from all different In Washington, it seems that there’s
segments of our profession, so I agree always next week or next month, or, more
Knopke: Depending on what segment of
with what Keenan is saying. I can’t play often, next year. To quote an overused
our business you’re in, an issue that might
favorites, since I have to be concerned with expression, Congress is very good about
get your attention at any moment will vary.
the issues facing a diverse clientele, so in “kicking the can down the road” until the
I run a cemetery-mortuary combo, a pet
that sense it’s not any different than chairing next session or the next Congress. I don’t
cemetery and, of course, cremation is a big
the committee. see that as much at the state level.
part of the services Curlew Hills offers. So,
Keenan, you were part of the ICCFA Other than that, there are many similari-
there isn’t much in our industry that won’t
“Capitol Hill Gang” in May that called on ties, such as the perpetual concern with
interest me.
many key people in Congress. What are running for re-election, including generating
At this time, I’d say that the conse-
your impressions of the politicians and favorable sound bites for future uses.
quences of the new tax reform law are
causing concern with the timing of income their staffs? Poul, one of your specialties as a lawyer is
recognition of pre-need burial rights, and Knopke: I spend a fair amount of time in cremation liability issues, but you are also
there’s also an issue with being able to Tallahassee, my state capital, dealing with well-versed on body-donation issues. Do
deduct trust expenses paid for investment state issues, so I can’t help but compare you regard this movement as a competitor
advice. how things work at the state and national or an ally to traditional funeral service?

12 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
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Above left, getting a snack and planning strategy in a House café, from left, Andy Buczek and Mary Beth McGowan of Dykema;
Larry Anspach, CCE; and John Resich, CCE. Above right, in the much nicer Senate café, Chad Aylestock and Greer Redden.

Far left, Greer Redden, Mary Beth McGowan and Chad

Aylestock walk past the Capitol on their way from the
House to the Senate offices. Left, Caressa Hughes,
McGowan and Keenan Knopke, CCE, walk past Alex-
ander Calder’s Mountains and Clouds sculpture in the
Dirksen Senate Office Building’s interior courtyard.
Above, Hughes, Bob Fells and McGowan enter the
Longworth House Office Building through the tunnels
that connect the office buildings. The tunnels mean
that visitors only have to go through security once.

Lemasters: The traditional organ and tissue such business in Colorado recently. pending since last year that only just begins
transplant donation process is becoming This is making news, of course, but it the process of regulating the body-broker
well integrated into funeral service, but a seems to be flying under the radar of the industry, but I think it’s fair to say that it’s
relatively new concern is the non-transplant mainstream news media, so I think it’s fair not going anywhere. However, we have also
market that is run for profit. to say that the general public is not aware been discussing this issue with FTC staff,
This involves third-party companies, of this. That also means that legislators are and we even sent them the Reuters reports
which have been called “body brokers,” also not aware of the growing industry in on the subject.
who solicit a donation of human remains body parts. Did the FTC staff show any interest in the
then sell various parts, including the head I’d call it a “sleeping giant” that will issue?
and hands, for a considerable amount of burst on the national scene eventually, and
money. Knopke: Interest yes, action no. The staff
we’ll see an incredible over-reaction by
Many things are not typically told us frankly that with the number of
lawmakers to rush through some new laws
communicated to the donor or the donor’s issues and projects on their plate, they don’t
without much thought. Of course, that could
family, including the profit angle, and have the resources to explore this particular
hurt our members if a broad-brush approach
many families assume this activity is all issue.
is used.
charitable, similar to organ and tissue That didn’t surprise any of us, because
transplants. Keenan, was the body broker issue Congress has just cut the FTC’s budget by
Earlier this year, the Reuters news discussed on the recent Capitol Hill visits? $5 million this year. And if you look at the
agency published a seven-part video Knopke: Yes, our group brought it up with FTC’s annual consumer complaint report,
investigative report on body brokers, and every Congressional member and staffer you’ll see lots of big issues there.
it’s an eye opener. The FBI even raided one with whom we met. There is a related bill What do you think it will take for the body

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Above, talking to aide Peter

Milhalick in the office of Rep.
Barbara Comstock (R-VA), from Jim Price and Mary Beth McGowan of
left, Keenan Knopke, CCE; Jim Dykema, the lobbying firm the ICCFA
Price, CCFE, CCrE; Greer Red- uses, in the office of Sen. Debbie Stabe-
den; Caressa Hughes; Mary now, D-MI. Behind them is a mural of the
Beth McGowan; Bob Fells; Chad Mackinac Bridge, which connects the
Aylestock and Milhaick. state’s upper and lower peninsulas.
Right, from left, Redden;
Hughes; Rep. Cathy McMorris Let’s turn to an old subject that’s always
Rogers (R-WA); Steve Schacht, generating news. The FTC Funeral Rule
CCE; and Knopke. is scheduled for review in 2019. What
direction do you see that going?
broker issue to move to the front burner profile issue is definitely there.
with Congress or with a federal agency? Knopke: The Funeral Rule has been in
This may be considered a backburner effect for over 30 years. I can remember
Knopke: I remember in 2009 there was a issue, but many businesses are interested that it created a great deal of anger and
scandal at an Illinois cemetery, Burr Oak in trade associations offering group resentment in funeral service when it first
I believe it was called. The Congressional association health plans (AHP). What’s went into effect. But in time there seemed
representative for that district (Bobby Rush, the status of this issue? to develop a grudging acceptance of the
D-IL) decided that a new federal law was
Lemasters: A bill, H.R. 1101, the Small rule, and it was even used as a sale tool to
required and vigorously introduced a bill
Business Health Fairness Act of 2017, promote inquiries.
to federally regulate cemeteries. He even
passed the House last year and is currently Today, I don’t think the issue is so much
held a hearing where the ICCFA and other
awaiting action in the Senate. This bill whether the rule should be repealed or
groups testified.
would authorize trade associations such as sunsetted as whether it will be updated and
The bill was voted out of committee and
the ICCFA to offer group health plans to its modernized.
went directly to the House floor for a vote.
members. What are some examples of modernizing
Fortunately, it was never called up for a
vote, a development that ICCFA members Earlier this year, the ICCFA joined in the rule?
helped along. comments filed by the American Society of Knopke: Well, the writing style of the
But for years after that, Rep. Rush re- Association Executives (ASAE) in response rule is very much a product of 1970s
introduced his bill. I mention this because to the Department of Labor’s request for government-speak. By the 1990s, we had
typically that’s how a low-flying issue public comments on this issue. To all of us, what was called the era of “plain language”
becomes high-profile. the issue seems like a no-brainer that should government documents that helped make
It only takes one member out of the meet with quick approval. regulations more understandable. So the
535 members of the House and Senate to Unfortunately, there is substantial oppo- rule could use a complete rewriting and
make an issue out of something for it to sition to AHPs by insurance companies, updating of its language.
become important. So the potential for the despite the apparent popularity of the Also, there is some clean-up needed.
body-broker business to explode as a high concept. It’s very much a work in progress. For example, under “definitions,” the term

16 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
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Separate but equally important:
ICCFA PAC, Government & Legal funds
T here’s a big difference between the
ICCFA PAC and the ICCFA Govern­
ment and Legal Fund. Poul Lemasters,
Esq., and Keenan Knopke, CCFE, co­
chairs of the ICCFA Government and
Legal Affairs Committee, explain.
Lemasters: Our PAC, or political action
committee, is strictly regulated by federal
law. Contributions can only be made by
individuals from their own personal funds,
paid by personal check or personal credit
card, or cash, and cannot be reimbursed by
the employer of the individual.
A company that has its own PAC can
make a contribution to the ICCFA PAC,
with a maximum per year of $5,000.
Also, the funds received by our
PAC may only be used for donating to
candidates for federal offices, basically the
House and the Senate.
PAC funds also can be used to pay the A raffle at the ICCFA 2018 Annual Convention & Expo raised money for the as-
expenses of the PAC, but other than that, sociation’s PAC. Here ICCFA President-Elect Jay Dodds, CFSP, holds the bowl
the funds can’t be used for other purposes. containing the raffle tickets. With him, from the ICCFA accounting department, are
Teresa Giroux and Sharnica DeSilva, who is selecting a ticket. Raffle winners were:
Government and Legal Fund Yvonne Slonaker, CCFE (television set), David Shipper (Apple watch) and Poul
Knopke: Our Government and Legal Lemasters (special package for the ICCFA 2019 Convention & Expo in Charlotte,
Fund is much more flexible and has few North Carolina). If you don’t want to wait until the 2019 raffle to contribute to the
restrictions, both in terms of fundraising PAC, contact ICCFA General Counsel Bob Fells ( for infor-
and in terms of spending the proceeds. mation on how to make a donation.
In fact, just so we can maximize the PAC
contributions to give to the candidates, ship benefit that pays for itself in terms that many members typically pay.
the PAC expenses are underwritten by our of dues. By that I mean that your call to I should add that the fund also pays the
Government and Legal Fund. one of our attorneys—Les Schneider for expenses for the computer research that
The Government and Legal Fund tax issues, Mike Pepperman for labor law keeps us up­to­date on the never­ending
also underwrites our attorney telephone issues and Poul for cremation or Funeral legislation, regulation and court decisions
consultation services, which is a member­ Rule issues—is worth more than the dues that affect our members. r

“accounting year” is defined, but it’s never to continue some of the requirements in the of direct cremation.
referred to in the rule itself. Funeral Rule as though funeral homes are I hope attention will be given to
In a much larger sense, I hope considera­ the only source for this information. this issue, among others, so our people
tion is given to the fact that funeral Lemasters: I’d suggest that another are not cited for violations of the rule
homes no longer control access to price area of inquiry is direct cremation and the merely because they are trying to provide
information as they did when the rule was price disclosures for that topic. When the consumers options that they really want.
first enacted. Prices for funeral services rule was originally written, cremation was Since the FTC tends to rely on statistics
and merchandise now can be easily found a blip on the map of our profession; now such as surveys to make changes to its
all over the internet, so I’d say that the cremation is the norm. trade rules, what do recent funeral surveys
very purpose of the rule, distributing price The rule allows for one single type of (FCA online price survey; FTC consumer
information, needs to be examined. direct cremation, but this is not in the best complaint survey) suggest in terms of FTC
In a sense, we may have evolved into a interest of the profession or the consumer. potential action?
situation where the FTC is still regulating Greater leeway should be granted so Lemasters: Recent consumer complaint
telegrams, so to speak, in this age of that providers can offer packages that reports by the FTC, and consumer surveys
iPhones. I think it would be short­sighted consumers want, not just a one­off option by the Funeral Consumer Alliance, strongly

18 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
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suggest that problems are few and far
The FTC compiles an annual report
on the top consumer complaints based on
reports filed by federal, state and county
consumer protection agencies, and by the
many offices of the North American Better
Business Bureau.
About three million complaints are
tallied each year, and funeral-related
complaints are near the bottom. To be exact,
funeral complaints are ranked 29 out of 30
categories. Numerically, funeral complaints
amount to about 1,100 or just four-tenths
of one percent of the total volume. That’s
impressively low.
I know some critics say that many
Greer Redden shakes hands with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) as Cassidy’s senior consumers don’t know where to file a
policy advisor Ron Anderson looks on. complaint in terms of government agencies,
so the low count reflects that situation and
does not mean that there are simply few
I would respond to that claim by saying
that everybody knows to complain to the
Better Business Bureau if they have a
problem with any business. So I think that
any attempt to downplay the low complaint
numbers in the FTC annual report by saying
that people have complaints but don’t know
where to file them is false.
Knopke: As to the FCA survey on
funeral homes that post their prices online,
I think the survey was flawed in that it’s
based on the premise that funeral homes
are supposed to post their prices online.
Of course, there is no legal requirement
to do this—even the recent California law
From left, Ed Horn, CCE; Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY); Chad Aylestock; Larry regarding the posting of GPLs on websites
Anspach, CCE; Bob Fells; John Resich, CCE; Steve Schacht, CCE; and Jim Price, includes options.
When I examined the details of the
survey, I found that in some cases, 100
percent of the funeral homes in the
particular market area in fact posted
their prices online. In other instances,
the percentage was high, though not 100
The FCA survey also indulged in asking
consumers if they felt that funeral homes
should post prices online. Of course, why
would anybody say no? I’m surprised the
results weren’t 100 percent “yes.” The
question was flawed because it signaled the
desired answer, and that’s never good for
Is there one key issue that will emerge in
From left, John Resich, CCE; Jim Price, CCRE, CCrE; Larry Anspach, CCE; Steve the Funeral Rule review next year?
Schacht, CCE; a legislative aide to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Ed Horn, CCE; Lemasters: Probably the issue of funeral
and Bob Fells.

20 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”

Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 21


Prices for funeral services and merchandise can now be easily found all over the internet, so I’d say
that the very purpose of the Funeral Rule, distributing price information, needs to be examined.
—Keenan Knopke, CCFE, co-chair of the ICCFA Government & Legal Affairs Committee
eradicating employment discrimination
against transgender persons under Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outweighs
business owners’ theological convictions.
So, I’d say that the take-away here is
that funeral homes, particularly those in
states covered by the Sixth Judicial Circuit
(Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee),
should be careful that they are not making
decisions based in whole or in part on
transgender status. This court ruling makes
it clear that a funeral home’s fear that
customers would be distracted or upset by
encountering a transgender person is not a
valid consideration.
Funeral homes in other states may be
subject to state or local laws prohibiting
discrimination based on sexual orientation
or transgender status.
One thing is certain: We haven’t
Staunch Democrat Ed Horn, CCE, shows the ICCFA lobbyists’ nonpartisan ap- heard the last about this issue. The most
proach to their jobs, asking to have his photo taken behind the desk of Republican noteworthy aspect of the decision is that
Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming. of all the businesses that could have been
providers having to post their general price funeral homes to post online. involved, the first one was a funeral home.
lists online. The first question we would Our profession tends not to be on the While our Government and Legal
have is whether the posting is optional or cutting edge of many important court Committee members were on Capitol Hill
mandatory under any revised Funeral Rule. decisions, but recently there was a federal in May, we understand you gave a boost to
If mandatory, then does this mean that court ruling involving a transgendered veterans burial benefits. (BRAVE Act HR
funeral providers who don’t have a website funeral director. Poul, can you tell us 1212/S 1596)
must establish one, and what about third- about that? Knopke: Private-sector cemeteries have
party sellers, who are not currently required Lemasters: In March, there was an appar- an interesting relationship with national
to make any disclosures? ent “case of first impression” involving a cemeteries because, let’s be honest, there
Also, what information would be transgendered employee who was fired for exists a certain amount of competition
required? Would it be the entire GPL, or being transgendered. The United States between them. After all, it’s difficult to
could it be limited to specific services? And Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit effectively compete against somebody who
could disclosure of prices be limited to just issued an opinion in Stephens v. R.G. and doesn’t charge for the goods and services it
those who allow sales to take place online? G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc., where a provides. This is where private cemeteries
There are many questions, but again it’s transgender funeral director was terminated find themselves when a national veterans
reflective of the changes in technology since shortly after she disclosed her intention to cemetery operates in their market area.
the time the rule was originally written. transition from male to female and dress as On the positive side, most veterans and
Knopke: I agree. As far as we know, no a woman while at work. their families opt for interment in private
other industry or profession is subject to a The federal district court that originally or religious cemeteries, mainly because of
federal law requiring them to post prices handled the case ruled in favor of the heritage. That is, because family members
online. We know that many funeral homes funeral home and dismissed the case, but are interred in the particular cemetery and
do post online, but that’s an independent the Sixth Circuit reversed the dismissal and the person wants to be buried near them.
decision each business makes on its own. allowed the case to continue. The appeals That said, the ICCFA is not opposed
Another question brought up by this court rejected the funeral home owner’s to national cemeteries, and has lobbied
issue is whether posting the proper price argument that his decision to terminate in favor of increasing burial and funeral
disclosures online will exempt the business the employee should have been protected benefits to veterans and their families.
from the “secret shopper” in-person visits because it was motivated by his religious The BRAVE Act, H.R. 1212, and its
that are made to test compliance with the beliefs. companion bill, S. 1596, would increase
rule. I think creating an optional carve-out The Court of Appeals reasoned that funeral and burial allowances for veterans
would be a major incentive in persuading the compelling governmental interest in with nonservice-connected deaths or

22 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
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Joining our committee is pure democracy in action. A member can join

the committee by simply asking to join the committee; it’s wide open.—Poul Lemasters,
co-chair of the CCFA Government & Legal Affairs Committee

then that party can become the majority

party in either or both houses.
This is why the ICCFA maintains
good working relationships with both
the Democrats and the Republicans. The
majority switches from one party to the
other every few years, so we don’t want
to be tied into just one party. This also
explains why we don’t have problems when
the majority changes from one party to the
other, because we’re on good terms with
What’s the practical effect of a change in
the majority party?
Knopke: As a practical matter, the party in
the majority, which is 51 percent or more of
the seats in either house, gets to select the
chairs of all the committees, and the chairs The citizen-lobbyists enjoy a dinner
get to decide which bills move forward for courtesy of Jinny and Mike Doherty
a hearing and a vote. of Fairfax Memorial Park in Northern
The mug collection on Sen. John Bar-
rasso’s office wall gives visitors an idea Typically, Democrats favor bills that Virginia after spending the day talking
expand government operations, while to legislators and their aides.
of how many different news shows he’s
appeared on. Republicans typically try to limit the Lemasters: Well, Irwin was pretty good
veterans with no next-of-kin from $300 expansion of the government. Both parties with his predictions going 12 months out,
to $2,000; increase the funeral benefit have limited success in their goals, and so I feel challenged. I think we can say that
from $700 to $2,000 for death in a VA no matter which party is in power at the cremation liability issues are something we
department facility; and index these two moment, it typically takes years to see a bill will continue to see, especially in terms of
benefits for inflation. enacted into law—if it’s ever enacted. court decisions that can have the effect of
Currently, the monetary benefits paid Regarding the Government and Legal law in the jurisdiction covered by the court.
out by the VA depend on how and where Affairs Committee itself, it seems to be Of course, we know the Funeral Rule
the particular veteran died. A veteran whose one of the most popular committees that review will begin by next year, and let’s
death occurs in a veterans’ hospital will members ask to join. How is a member not be surprised by more court decisions
receive a larger benefit than a veteran who admitted to this committee? in the area of labor law and employee
dies in a non-government facility. rights. I think the decision we discussed
Lemasters: Joining our committee is pure
We believe that the benefits should here concerning the transgendered funeral
democracy in action. A member can join
reflect the veteran’s service to his or her director is not a fluke, and we should expect
the committee by simply asking to join the
country, not the geography of the place to see further rulings on this and on related
committee; it’s wide open.
of death or the cause of death. This bill issues.
From time to time, we do some house-
enjoys widespread bipartisan support, and keeping in terms of members who have Keenan?
powerful veterans group are lobbying in joined but then don’t participate, but we Knopke: I focus on legislation and regula-
favor of passage. But so far, no action has give every person plenty of time to show his tions, so while the Trump Administration
been taken on this legislation. or her level of involvement. has slowed down the federal agencies, this
There’s a mid-term election in November Knopke: Right. If any member reading seems only temporary. Depending on which
that could change which party runs this interview wants to join our committee, party controls the House and Senate after
the House and Senate. How would that please just contact Poul or myself. It’s that the fall elections, we may see an increase in
change affect ICCFA members? simple. legislation.
Lemasters: Mid-term elections, that is, We traditionally conclude our interview All we know for certain is that we need
elections that occur between the presidential with the Government and Legal Affairs to be vigilant because, as we have seen in
election years, typically see the party in the Committee chair by asking you to look into the past, new bills and proposed regulations
minority gaining seats in the House and the the future, or at least to the next year, and can come out of nowhere, and we should
Senate. If they pick up enough new seats, tell us what you see ahead. Poul? never be blindsided. r

24 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”

Body donation: A primer for funeral directors

he frequency of human remains third party or middle man for donation prior to partnering with another business
being donated to science, either by programs. Be careful of businesses that or performing services on their behalf.
choice of the deceased or by the offer any type of compensation to the Donation is a choice that an individual or
next-of-kin, has increased significantly funeral home or family in exchange for family should make independently, based
over the past several years. However, securing a body donation. on information provided in an impartial
the practical effects of such donations The paperwork involved may not manner.
are not often understood and sometimes inform donors or next-to-kin of the In particular, the incentive of “free
not properly disclosed to participants, program’s financial model or whether cremation” in return for donation is
including funeral homes. compensation is provided to any party. potentially a source of litigation, i.e.,
The following questions and answers This could lead to allegations of deception class-action lawsuits, because it may
highlight a few of the key issues involved. and the lack of full disclosure. violate the legal concept of “no valuable
These are not meant to be complete or 3. Is there any governmental consideration” in exchange for a donation.
exhaustive of the subject matter. oversight of body donations? Further, cremated remains that are
1. Donating one’s remains to science The UAGA (Uniform Anatomical Gift returned may be partial remains, and the
is commendable, but are there issues Act) governs the consent, authorization, disposition of the unreturned specimens
that donors, the next-of-kin and funeral modification and revocation of all types or tissues may not be tracked, returned
directors who may assist their customers of donation—for transplant, therapeutic, for disposition or disposed of in a similar
need to be aware of? education or research purposes—at the manner. These details may not have been
There are several types of body/organ/ state level. Many states also have some disclosed to a donor family.
tissue donation. Some “whole body” pertinent laws in the funeral or cemetery Therefore, the funeral home
donation programs operate for profit. In code. participating in the donation should take
those cases, businesses facilitating the so- Beyond that, donation program steps to ensure that donors, next-of-
called donation are compensated and, in operations are not regulated by local or kin, family members—all persons who
some cases, are owned by investment firms federal government. Body donation for are potential plaintiffs—are effectively
with public shareholders. compensation is largely unregulated. Few informed in writing of aspects of the
It is important to identify and states have laws beyond those that govern donation that could be characterized as
understand the mission of the institution consent or revocation, and to date there are deceptive if not disclosed.
or company to which you are making no federal regulations, though currently
the donation and use this as the basis for a bill is pending in the U.S. House of The ICCFA thanks Brandi Schmitt, MS,
making your decision. Representatives. executive director of Anatomical Services,
2. Funeral directors are increasingly 4. How can a funeral home protect University of California Office of the
being approached by businesses that itself should family members turn to President, for her assistance in drafting
facilitate body donations. Before entering litigation because they believe they have these questions and answers.
into a relationship with one of these been deceived in consenting to body For more information or to comment,
businesses, what should a funeral director donation? please contact ICCFA General Counsel
know about it? Funeral homes should consult with Bob Fells at r
Funeral homes should not act as a a knowledgeable legal representative

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by Stephanie Ramsey
stephanie@theforesight H R L E G I S L AT I O N
ICCFA Employment laws are always changing, and can vary
spotlight from state to state and even from one locality to another.
➤Ramsey is the HR There are a number of “hot topics” the people who run funeral
specialist for The
Foresight Compa- homes, cemeteries and crematories need to be aware of.
nies LLC. She has a

Trending employment law

unique perspective
on the challenges

funeral and cemetery
business owners and managers face when
n the United States, employment laws truly based on a candidate’s skills and
dealing with employee issues.
seem to change as frequently as most experience. The states and cities and one
➤Ramsey has managed both small staffs people change their socks. This is territory that currently have banned or will
and ones with more than 200 employees because laws and regulations that relate soon ban salary history inquiries during
and more than 25 supervisors directly re-
to employees are enacted not only at the the interview process are: California,
porting to her. She also has run an 800-call
regional combination business. She has
federal level but also at the state, county Massachusetts, Delaware, Oregon, New
written many employee handbooks and and city levels. York City, Philadelphia, New Orleans,
other job-specific documents for clients News reports about proposed or imple- Pittsburgh and Puerto Rico.
nationwide. mented employment laws can help funeral
home, cemetery and crematory owners LBGTQ non-discrimination
More from this author and managers anticipate the impact their laws
➤Ramsey writes a quarterly blog businesses may face, but such news Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
on HR matters that can be viewed at tends to focus on major changes such as prohibits many forms of discrimination,
increases in the minimum wage or very including on the basis of sex. Over the
controversial laws. But many employment years there have been various rulings
laws don’t make the headlines and are only by the Federal Equal Employment
found through diligent research. Those can Opportunity Commission (EEOC),
catch many funeral business owners and which oversees the enforcement of
managers off guard. Title VII, extending the prohibition on
Let us take a look at some of the sex discrimination to include sexual
trending employment laws that may have orientation and gender identity.
slipped under the radar for many of us in It must be noted, though, that EEOC
the funeral and cemetery industry. rulings are not binding on private employ-
ers and various federal courts have ruled
Salary histories inconsistently on cases specifically involving
One of the newest laws that seems to be sexual orientation and gender identity. This
gaining some ground is one which bans has been an issue over which the LBGTQ
employers from asking job candidates community and their many supporters have
about their previous salary history. been crying foul for many years.
The perception appears to be that such The funeral industry recently saw The
questions can potentially lead to job U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
applicants being lowballed in terms of rule in favor of a terminated employee
compensation rather than paid fairly for stating that the funeral home owner had
their skills, experience and education. unlawfully discriminated against the
Additionally, there is some debate employee. In this specific case, the court’s
as to whether asking for salary histories ruling appears to affirm that transgender
promotes the large compensation disparity individuals are protected by federal sex
between men and women in the same discrimination laws. Another court may
positions. This is a sensitive issue which not see the case in the same exact way.
draws negative attention to employers and Regardless, funeral business owners
impacts employee morale and retention. and managers should be aware that many
Given the increasing number of women states have now passed laws that make
entering the funeral industry, this is an it clear that their state sex discrimination
important issue to consider. Proponents laws do include protection for sexual
of such laws say they will encourage orientation and gender identity situations.
employers to make job offers that are Currently the following states, in addition

26 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
Not surprisingly, the specifics of these law vary state by state, but they do have
a commonality. They all focus on the concept that a pregnant worker with a medical need
for accommodation should not be forced to leave work when she can be reasonably
accommodated without imposing an undue hardship on the employer.
to Puerto Rico, Guam and the District of employers, while others apply the laws to These laws vary from state to state,
Columbia, have such laws: employers with a designated number of so business owners and managers must
California, Colorado, Connecticut, employees. In addition, some laws only carefully review the laws in their state.
Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, focus on accommodations for pregnant Some of these laws have incorporated
Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, employees and others include nursing language requiring employers to consider,
Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, mothers. It is important for business when making hiring decisions, how
New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode owners and managers to know what the a conviction might be related to the
Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington. requirements are in their state to make sure job being filled, how much time has
While this topic is still controversial, they don’t run afoul of the law. passed since the conviction and special
it behooves funeral home and cemetery These are the states with current circumstances or rehabilitation the
owners and managers to know where their pregnancy and nursing mother accommo- applicant has undergone.
states stand on these issues to avoid a dation laws: Alaska, California, Colorado, States that currently do not have any
very messy and public lawsuit that could Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Ban the Box laws: Alabama, Alaska,
damage their community relations. Lack of Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas,
knowledge and understanding can be very Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana,
costly in this situation. Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Rhode New Hampshire, North Carolina, North
Island, Texas, Utah and Vermont. Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota,
Accommodating pregnant Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.
and nursing employees Ban the Box
In 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination What started as a small, grass-roots In conclusion
Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights movement in 2004 to overcome employ- Staying well-informed about existing
Act of 1964 to specifically prohibit discri- ment discrimination against formerly and potential laws and regulations can
mination of women (whether an employee incarcerated people, Ban the Box (also be challenging. Funeral and cemetery
or an applicant) for pregnancy, childbirth known as Fair Chance Laws) is one of the business owners and managers are
or pregnancy-related health issues. strongest trending employment laws in the focused on serving their communities and
Discrimination is prohibited for any United States. families—as they should be. Researching
aspect of employment, including hiring, Initially the focus of the campaign was what potential employment laws soon may
firing, compensation, job assignment, on government agencies and public hiring be impacting their businesses may not
promotion, layoff, training, fringe benefits practices. The intent was to make sure appear to be a valuable use of their time.
(such as leave and health insurance) and the job applications they used did not ask However, failure to comply with some of
any other term or condition of employment. questions about criminal convictions. these laws can be costly not only in terms
This law and its ramifications for Supporters of this endeavor believed of dollars but also in public relations.
funeral owners is fairly well known. removing these types of questions would Ignorance is not an accepted defense
Recently, 22 states, the District of give formerly incarcerated individuals a once the Department of Labor or EEOC
Columbia as well as various municipalities better chance of obtaining an interview determines you have violated the law. Do
have passed laws granting pregnant based on their skills and experience rather what you can to protect yourself.
employees the right to have reasonable than being excluded from consideration One way is to read industry publications
accommodations at work. because of a conviction for a crime which or subscribe to a human resource-related
Not surprisingly, the specifics of these may have no relevancy to the position for website that send emails to update
laws vary state by state, but they do have which they are applying. subscribers.
a commonality. They all focus on the Over time, this movement has grown to Or, perhaps a trusted employee who is
concept that a pregnant worker with a include private employers, as well. While responsible for addressing employee issues
medical need for accommodation should it may have started slowly, as of 2017, the within the firm can be sent to various HR
not be forced to leave work when she can District of Columbia, 31 states and more seminars.
be reasonably accommodated without than 150 cities and counties have enacted Lastly, you can seek a professional
imposing an undue hardship on the legislation which mandates employers consultant to help you identify your
employer. The laws tend to confirm that not inquire about the conviction history compliance with federal, state and local
no employee should be forced to choose of applicants and also delay background laws.
between the health of her pregnancy and checks until later in the hiring process. This is certainly a case of “what you
her paycheck. The movement is expected to continue to don’t know you don’t know may harm
Some states apply the laws to all expand across the United States. you.” r

28 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
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Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 29

by Alice Adams
ICCFA Magazine spotlight
➤Adams is an award- The #MeToo movement has brought the issues of sex
winning columnist and
has been editor for more discrimination and harassment into the spotlight.
than a decade of Texas
Sexual harassment can take many forms and can be found anywhere,
Director, published by the
Texas Funeral Directors including in the funeral, cremation and cemetery profession.
Association. She is as-
sociate editor and feature Protect your organization and your employees.
writer for Southern Calls
Magazine and has been
an advocate for funeral What you need to know
about sex discrimination and
service professionals for more than 20 years.
➤She has a master’s degree in mass com-
munications from The University of Texas
harassment in the #MeToo era
and a doctorate in education from the Univer-
sity of Houston.
he 2002 Tri-State Crematory scandal, according to the lawsuit, included (among
in which a Georgia cremation others):
company stacked cases entrusted to • The owner telling Plaintiff One she
their care in outbuildings and then threw what should go to a funeral convention with him so
they couldn’t stack out in the woods, received she could sleep with him.
worldwide coverage and is still recalled with • The owner talking to Plaintiff One about
horror by cemetery, cremation and funeral women he wanted to have sex with.
professionals. The much more recent (2015) • The owner telling Plaintiff One he took
EEOC lawsuit against a Ft. Lauderdale Viagra at work.
funeral home alleging more than a decade of • The owner telling Plaintiff One she
aggressive sexual harassment and retaliation looked like a stripper on a flier he had and
against several female employees—complete that he showed to others.
with lurid details—was barely mentioned in • The owner showing Plaintiff One
the press. pictures on a phone of naked women, and
Perhaps the Ft. Lauderdale lawsuit would another of him having an orgy with two
have received more coverage had it been filed women.
a couple of years later, in the midst of what • After showing Plaintiff One pictures of
became known as the #MeToo movement. naked women, the owner told Plaintiff One
A 2017 ABC News-Washington Post poll he dreamt about her.
indicated that 33 million U.S. women have The suit also claimed Plaintiff One was
been sexually harassed in work-related physically touched “on the butt, neck, arms,
incidents. Some of their stories flooded the and hips.” Also, it was alleged that the owner
news beginning in 2017. had been having sex with another female
What was the Ft. Lauderdale case about? employee and, after stopping the affair, cut
According to one of the few published her hours, telling her she “would never have
reports, the EEOC conducted a review of s**t.” The owner allegedly told Plaintiff One
allegations made by several women, finding she would never make money as a funeral
“reasonable cause to believe” the funeral director “unless she slept with her boss.”
home discriminated and subjected female Between February 2014 and January
employees to a “sexually hostile work 2015, Plaintiff Two worked at the home as a
environment.” funeral attendant. She also witnessed gross
The suit featured the cases of three former sexual misconduct, witnessing the owner
funeral home employees who were alleged repeatedly “make sexual comments about
to have had hellish experiences at the funeral customers’ bodies” and “taking pictures of
home. Between January 2013 and September female customers’ butts.”
2014, a woman (Plaintiff One) worked as a According to the suit, the owner’s
paid intern (in an apprenticeship). Plaintiff threatening attitude toward Plaintiff Two had
One was subject to “unwelcomed sexual an additional edge. Apparently on probation,
comments and touching by the owner and Plaintiff Two had a parole officer who was
his son,” also an employee at the funeral acquainted with the owner. The funeral
home. The harassment Plaintiff One faced, director told his employee “all you need to

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Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 31


know is that I know her and she’s ready to OSHA and the EEOC have definitions rooms. More than one female manager
send your ass back to jail.” for abuse and discrimination in the assumed promotions and other business
That edge only sharpened in December workplace: were discussed in the weight room. Female
2014, after Plaintiff Two filed an EEOC 1. Workplace bullying ranges from employees wanting to stay fit had to go to
complaint against the owner. The funeral isolating to verbally threatening fellow the gym after work, where they paid annual
boss asked Plaintiff Two to write a letter workers. Bullies can cause anxiety, memberships out of pocket.
to the EEOC saying she “had not seen depression, fear and post-traumatic disorder 3. Harassment consists of actions or
any sexual harassment.” She refused. The symptoms in their victims. comments a worker finds offensive. The
owner slashed her work hours to zero. A person who threatens a coworker worker doesn’t have to be the harasser’s
Plaintiff Three filed her own EEOC with physical harm is considered a bully. target; he can be a third party who hears
complaint regarding discrimination after However, the supervisor who regularly or witnesses the behavior. According to
quitting. The owner badmouthed her to demeans an employee or threatens to fire the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
other area funeral homes, and she couldn’t him also is a bully. Bullies sometimes Commission, harassment becomes unlawful
get another job. ignore their victims to make them feel when it’s so severe it creates a hostile work-
All three women took their complaints nonexistent. Bullies also use other tactics to place for an employee or the employee has
to the EEOC. The commission found humiliate their victims, such as gossiping to put up with the misconduct to keep her
“reasonable cause” for all three instances and spreading lies about them or sabotaging job.
of harassment and discrimination. Three their work. Marsha had been an employee for four
separate “letters of determination” were Mack treated his secretary Beth like dirt, years. Because she was divorced with one
mailed from the government agency to ordered her around like a slave and blamed son in college, Marsha also taught as an
the owner, alerting him of the outcome of her for all his mistakes, tardy reports and adjunct at the local university and was
the investigations. The commission says it forgetfulness. On more than one occasion, working toward her PhD.
invited the owner to “join the commission the middle-aged receptionist with a warm Her boss had a high school education,
in informal methods of conciliation to smile for everyone left the office to cry in was short and dumpy and displayed a list
endeavor to eliminate the discriminatory the bathroom. of complexes a mile long. One of his issues
practices and provide appropriate relief.” After one particularly stressful week, was feeling easily threatened, and the
But the commission couldn’t hash out an Beth went home, complaining of a severe women in his department decided he also
agreement with the funeral home owner, so headache, and was rushed to the ER. She had issues with women.
the lawsuit was filed, alleging that he had died hours later of a brain hemorrhage. Each time he called Marsha into his
violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Mack later basked in HR’s observation: office, he would demand she close the door
the Civil Rights Act of 1991. He ran through admins like water through and then berate her for small, picky items,
(The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed a sieve. including not wearing stockings with a
discrimination based on race, color, 2. Discriminatory behavior treats pantsuit. He obviously berated her to other
religion, sex, or national origin. The Civil workers unfairly based on race, vice presidents within the corporation, and
Rights Act of 1991 provided the right to ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, on several occasions threatened to fire her.
trial by jury on discrimination claims, religion, disability, age or genetic 4. Workplace violence is defined as an
introduced the possibility of emotional information. Discrimination is prohibited act or threat of physical harm against
distress damages and limited the amount a by federal and state laws. Unfair actions another person at the work site. Abusers
jury can award.) include harassment, retaliation, denying might physically assault their victims or use
In May 2016, the court fined the funeral employment opportunities and making verbal abuse to intimidate them.
home owner $85,000, to be distributed decisions that adversely affect people in Workplace violence can lead to
among the harassment and retaliation these categories. Antidiscrimination laws homicide, which is the fourth leading
victims. The owner also agreed to retain an cover all areas of employment, from hiring cause of occupational injuries according to
independent equal employment opportunity and firing to pay, disability leave, training OSHA. The agency also reports violence
consultant to receive and investigate and layoffs. leading to homicide takes the lives of
complaints of sex discrimination. The The effects of discrimination can be women in the workplace more than any
funeral home owner also agreed to create emotional, physical and social. Depression, other cause.
a policy to address the sexual harassment a loss of self-confidence, anxiety and When the new owner appointed a
at issue in this lawsuit. Also, the funeral feelings of helplessness are emotional relative to manage the funeral home, the
home’s owner and employees were to effects. High blood pressure, headaches, new manager waited until the employees
receive training on anti-discrimination laws, ulcers, weight loss and sleeplessness are had left and then went to see the previous
specifically sexual harassment. physical effects. Socially, discrimination manage, a woman. Leaning into her
leads to lower productivity, poor space, his face only inches from hers, he
What constitutes performance, withdrawal from fellow announced some changes were going to
discrimination? Harassment? workers and occasionally violence. be made. His tone was threatening. When
All the illustrative vignettes are from real The large corporation was all about the woman asked about what changes,
life; details and names are disguised to wellness—at least for males, and provided specifically, he wanted to make, his voice
protect the guilty. them with a gym, shower and dressing rose and his tone became harsh. “You’ll

32 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”



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to succeed me, and protecting my employees and how they embraced me. The business has grown
continuing to care for my community was extremely dramatically, and my employees and my community
important. Other potential partners presented welcomed the change. When looking ahead, ask
options, but I felt like they didn’t want me - they yourself, “Is my potential partner going to do what
wanted the business. At Foundation Partners Group, they promised years down the road?” At Foundation
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In one case, two women applied for open positions as lawn mowers at a cemetery.
Both had extensive lawn care experience. When they met the owner,
he laughed and said, “We don’t hire women to mow. You are wasting your breath.”
have to wait and see,” he said, taking
off his coat and beginning to roll up his A to-do list to protect your employees and organization
sleeves as if he were readying for a fist
fight, “and you can’t do a thing about it.
I’m the boss now.”
I f your funeral home, cemetery or
crematory doesn’t have a written policy
of zero tolerance for harassment and
same as being a party to it.
Remember that women are not
the only victims. Men or women can
Bullying, discrimination and violence instructions regarding how to document victimize other men or other women, and
often are categorized as workplace harass- and report a complaint of bullying, abuse, you don’t have to be a supervisor or a
ment. Victims of harassment suffer the same sexual harassment, violence, discrimina- manager to be a bully or harasser.
emotional, physical and social effects as the tion or retaliation, get one, and then Take every harassment complaint
victims of other forms of workplace abuse. review it with every employee. Have each seriously until it is thoroughly investi-
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that employee sign a document saying they gated.
employers may defend themselves in hostile have reviewed and understand the policy. Periodically review your policy
work environment cases brought against them Remind employees that witnessing of “zero tolerance” with employees,
for actions of a supervisor or managerial-level bullying, sexual harassment, violence, including the specific punishment for
employee by arguing they took reasonable discrimination, abuse or retaliation harassment. Be sure to review the policy
steps to prevent sexual harassment and without stopping it or reporting it is the when onboarding new employees. r
made efforts to correct harassing behavior.
Employers may also argue that they are not supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a Both had extensive lawn care experience.
liable if an employee did not take advantage non-employee. When they met the owner, he laughed and
of available reporting or remedial measures • The victim and harasser may be a said, “We don’t hire women to mow. You
to complain about incidents of sexual woman or a man. The victim does not have to are wasting your breath.”
harassment. be of the opposite sex. He said he was required to hire two—
There are two types or classifications of and only two—women, and he already
sexual harassment: Sexual harassment is Types of harassment: had two women working in the office. He
considered to be a form of sex discrimin- Quid pro quo and definitely was not going to hire women to
ation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act hostile work environment work on the landscaping crew. He refused
of 1964, which applies to all U.S. employers There are two types of sexual harassment to even accept their applications.
with 15 or more employees (some state laws claims, though the manner in which a court The women returned a few days later,
may provide additional worker protections). will distinguish between the two for the carrying a concealed tape recorder, and
Anyone affected by the offensive conduct purposes of deciding whether harassment has asked again about getting mowing work at
in question, not just the person to whom it is occurred has become blurred in recent years: the cemetery. The owner repeated exactly
directed, is considered a victim. The EEOC • Quid pro quo: Sexual harassment what he had already told them, but this time
defines the offense as follows: that occurs when a supervisor or one in an it was all on tape. Complaints were filed
“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests authority position requests sex, or a sexual by both women to the Iowa Civil Rights
for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical relationship, in exchange for not firing or Commission and were quickly resolved.
conduct of a sexual nature constitutes otherwise punishing the employee, or in Because funeral service was, for decades,
sexual harassment when submission to exchange for favors, such as promotions or a male-dominated profession, the “old boy
or rejection of this conduct explicitly or raises. network” was long entrenched. This meant
implicitly affects an individual’s employment, • Hostile work environment: Sexual female employees could be harassed and
unreasonably interferes with an individual’s harassment that occurs through the presence otherwise mistreated with impunity, obliged
work performance or creates an intimidating, of demeaning or sexual photographs, jokes to keep quiet because the “old boys” could
hostile or offensive work environment.” or threats. The inappropriate behavior or end their careers in a heartbeat.
conduct must be so pervasive as to, as the In one case, a corporate vice-president
The EEOC offers additional guidance name implies, create an intimidating and regularly held staff meetings. However,
on what constitutes sexual harassment, offensive work environment. none of the department’s female employees,
including the following: including two female managers, both single
• The conduct of the offender must be More examples moms, were notified of the meetings. This
offensive and unwelcomed by the victim. Although both men and women can both be same vice-president and his male underlings
• Harassment may still occur when there targeted for discrimination, women seem to collected monthly expenses they claimed on
is no economic injury to or discharge of the be discriminated against more often due to their expense reports. The female managers
victim. their gender. were only allowed to submit expense
• The harasser can be the victim’s In one case, two women applied for open reports if they traveled out of town on
supervisor, an agent of the employer, a positions as lawn mowers at a cemetery. company business.
➤to page 35
34 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”

➤from page 34
In another department, female managers
were alleged to have been captive audiences
at event planning meetings with a senior
vice-president who fondled himself
throughout the meetings. All the women
could do was try to keep these meetings
short and to the point.
Why didn’t these employees complain
to human resources or to the next level of AVA I L A B L E I N S T E R L I N G S I LV E R , 1 0 K & 1 4 K G O L D
management? SHIPS IN 24-48 HOURS
According to employment attorneys,
abusers often target women who are | | 833-799-2738
beginning their careers, single women or
women who are the principal wage earners
for their families. Also targeted are timid
individuals who have difficulty standing up
for themselves.
Nevertheless, female executives aren’t
immune to harassment, and if they do
experience it may decline to report it
because they worry about retaliation from
peers, the impact on their reputation and
difficulty finding a new job if word of their
complaint gets around.
In discussing her consulting career,
one female executive spoke of a man BUCKET
grabbing her leg and another who persisted LIST
in suggestively coming up behind her
and massaging her shoulders. At work
dinners, she endured male colleagues
cracking off-color jokes and discussing new
employees’ physical attributes or women
in the corporation they’d like to take to
their so-called “rape room.” Never once did
“Jane” ask them to stop, nor did she report
anything to management or HR.
“It’s made into such a big deal, there
is no good response: Either you ruin your
career or you do nothing,” Jane explained.
“But what you really want is that it
doesn’t happen again.” Her choice—doing
Because As An Owner,
nothing—is a common one, research shows.
Employers, judges and juries often use DYING IN YOUR FUNERAL HOME
women’s failure to report harassment as
evidence that it was not a problem or that
plaintiffs had other motives. Only a quarter
Shouldn’t Be On Your Bucket List
to a third of all victims of harassment
or discrimination at work report it to a
supervisor, and 2 percent to 13 percent file Funeral Service Accounting Strategic Business Analysis
a formal complaint, according to studies
at the University of Michigan and the
University of British Columbia. Why?
Human Resource Management Customer Surveys
Because many fear retaliation, and research
shows they do so with good reason.
Market Research Accounts Receivable Management
See the “to do” list on page 34 for the
steps you should take at your organization 800-426-0165
to protect r

Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 35

by Chad Aylestock
➤Aylestock is the
administrator at Fairfax
Memorial Park in
Fairfax, Virginia, where
he is responsible for
cemetery and funeral
home finances, HR,
benefits management,
IT, construction projects
and shareholder
relations. In addition, he also oversees
the cemetery administrative staff and
their functions. Signs prohibiting the playing of Pokémon GO have gone up
➤He came to the profession seven years at a number of cemeteries across the country,
ago from construction management.
Upon his arrival, he jumped in with bothered by gamers who roam their grounds,
both feet, learning and experiencing
everything he could. He is an ICCFAU
oblivious to people there to pay their respects to loved ones.
graduate and recently finished his term But Fairfax Memorial Park has found a way
as president of the Virginia Cemetery
Association. Currently he serves on the to accommodate gamers and turn Pokémon Go into
Conference Committee for the 2018
another way the cemetery can connect with the community.
Mid-Atlantic States Cemetery & Funeral
Conference. Pokémon GO: A nuisance or an
opportunity for your cemetery?
➤Fairfax Memorial Park was founded

in 1957 as Calvary Memorial Park
by Cornelius H. Doherty Sr. His son
purchased the adjoining Fairfax Memory ave you seen people at your cemetery sides of the coin—you get the idea. On the
Gardens in 1976 and combined the two or funeral home inexplicably pausing one hand, what cemetery owner/manager
cemeteries into the present-day, 128- at the same spots over and over isn’t thrilled with the idea of getting hundreds
acre Fairfax Memorial Park. Michael H. again? They’re likely playing Pokémon of people on the property without having to
Doherty, the founder’s grandson, worked GO. Whether you love them or hate them, spend a dime of advertising money?
with his father to found Fairfax Memorial
Pokémon Go and other “augmented reality” The answer, on the other hand, is the
Funeral Home on the cemetery grounds
(AR) games are the next generation of owner/manager who is forced to move
in 2003. He is president and CEO of the
cemetery and funeral home. gaming, and they are drawing a multi- groups of gamers out of the way of funeral
generational crowd. In other words, it’s not processions—especially if the gamers are less
just the kids playing anymore. than accommodating.
Believe it or not, our local gamers That actually happened here at our
association tells me the vast majority of cemetery, along with several other unfor-
Pokémon GO players are 35+ years of age. tunate situations: cemetery employees getting
Furthermore, this same group boasts that their cursed out after asking gamers to leave
ranks include “surgeons, military officers, the property after dark, the police catching
small business owners, federal agents, a people here at 2 and 3 a.m. and, possibly the
local radio personality and many … [other] most annoying, drivers haphazardly coasting
professionals.” through the cemetery staring at their phones,
People of all ages and societal standing not watching where they are going.
have taken on the challenge to “Catch ’em In short, Pokémon GO had become a
all” and “become the highest-ranking trainer.” problem for us.
So the question becomes, when they show In an attempt to get game-play under
up at your cemetery or funeral home, do you control, I began researching the situation.
roll out the red carpet and serve watermelon What I found was interesting, helpful and
and lemonade, or chase them off the property, restored my faith in the positives of allowing
explaining that your cemetery is a dignified the gamers on our property, Fairfax Memorial
place of remembrance? Park in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of
I have to admit, I fall somewhere in the Washington, D.C. Here’s what I learned.
middle on this one. I’m on the fence, see both
➤to page 38
36 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
Our funeral home and cemetery lending specialists are ready
to guide you through financing your legacy.


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The fact is, Pokémon GO is just scratching the surface of what’s

coming through AR technology. One of my sources tells me that,
“allegedly, Niantic will be releasing Harry Potter GO in the future.”

➤from page 36 My experience

Background/game basics When we had the issues I mentioned above,
In case you have no idea what I’m talking Niantic provided help through two avenues:
about, let me start by giving you some basic their support staff and the local chapter of the
information. Pokémon GO is an “augmented Pokémon GO gamers association.
reality” (AR*) video game developed by its After explaining the specific problems
parent company, Niantic. (Nintendo also has we were having, the support team was kind
an ownership stake.) enough to make several changes:
* Google translates augmented reality • They turned off the Pokestops during the
(AR) as “a technology that superimposes a hours of the day we are closed (8 p.m. to 8
computer-generated image on a user’s view a.m.).
of the real world, thus providing a composite • They deleted all of the Gyms on our
view. property to help us keep large crowds from
The goal of Pokémon GO is to collect gathering.
virtual creatures. The more you catch, the • They eliminated the Pokestops that were
higher rank you achieve. The game is played causing traffic bottlenecks at our office.
by finding “Pokestops” (where you capture • They limited the awards gamers can
Pokémon) and “Gyms” (where groups of receive on special days.
people gather to do battle). The changes suggested for your property
Most of these Pokestops and Gyms were might be different, depending on the
Pokémon GO players don’t see your ported over from a geo-caching game called problems you’re having, but with just a few
cemetery the same way you do. These simple adjustments, Niantic’s support staff
Ingress (released by Niantic in 2013). Ingress
screenshots of the game interface show helped us fix our biggest issues.
how Fairfax Memorial Park’s property allows locations to be added by players of
that game, which is why you find Pokestops Interestingly enough, they weren’t content
looks (on the screen, at least) to people
playing the game, with the roads but no and Gyms in odd places like churches and to simply resolve our major concerns. They
other cemetery features visible, just the cemeteries. wanted us to actually be happy to have
virtual creatures they seek to “capture.” gamers on the property.
The goal of the game In addition to what the tech support team
The creators’ stated goal in developing did for us, they also put us in contact with
Pokémon Go was to encourage gamers to get the local chapter of the gamers’ association.
off the couch and get out into the community My assumption was that some balding, fat
interacting with their neighbors. As a result, guy was going to call me from his mother’s
despite challenges you may be facing, Niantic basement (no disrespect meant to balding,
is not likely to just turn the game off at your fat guys or to people living in their parents’
location. That would counter their stated goal. basement).
However, if you are willing to accept the Instead, I got a call from a very well-
fact there will be people playing the game on spoken, proactive individual who works at a
your grounds, adjustments can be made to the military installation close to our location.
game to mitigate your concerns. This person was instrumental in crafting
the Pokémon GO policy of another major,
How to get help nearby cemetery that hosts several millions
The good news is that Niantic Labs is of visitors each year.
happy to help find a solution to your Before I got the call, their leadership
concerns. The best way to get help is to go group had already met and put together a
to the following link, click the “Submit list of suggestions to address our concerns.
A Request” link in the upper right corner The group has self-regulated in the follow-
and follow the directions from there. ing ways:
https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs. • Communicating to their membership
com/hc/en-us. the importance of respecting the property
You will be assigned someone who and those visiting to remember a loved one.
will find out more information about your • Carpooling to minimize the number of
situation and then work with you to craft a cars they add to the cemetery roadways.
solution. • Parking and walking once they get

38 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
A group of Poké-
mon GO players in
Northern Virginia
gather for a picture.
Area gamers worked
with a representative
of the cemetery and
the game’s owners
to come up with
ways to accommo-
date gamers without
bothering people
visiting the park
for more somber
purposes or creating
traffic bottlenecks
for the cemetery.

here instead of aimlessly coasting around to write them off. As a matter of fact, I releasing Harry Potter GO in the future.”
the cemetery. would suggest that to do so would not be Pokémon GO is just the beginning.
• Avoiding playing at our location on in your best interest. So, get your trainer and Pokeballs,
special days of remembrance (e.g., Easter, Instead, work with Niantic to find a catch that Dragonite and have a big time! I
Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s solution. They have a host of options they would wager there may be an opportunity
Day, etc.). can use to tailor the game to work both for here to connect a new generation to the
This group has been a fantastic force their gamers and for the different locations value of cemeteries and memorialization—
to guide the gameplay in our park. They where they play the game, including your and to reconnect members of older
have been respectful of the cemetery and beautiful cemetery. generations.
effective at disseminating information to The fact is, Pokémon GO is just These gamers span the generations, and
their members. scratching the surface of what’s coming they are visiting your property right now.
In conclusion, if you’re having trouble through AR technology. One of my sources What an opportunity! r
with Pokémon GO gamers, there’s no need tells me that, “allegedly, Niantic will be

Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 39

by Ed Sagel and Al Bloomfield


More and more consumers want to shop—and buy—online.

What is your funeral home doing to accommodate them?
Ed Sagel and Al Bloomfield, who own a traditional funeral home,
opened up a low-cost, all-online funeral planning site.
Online funeral planning a
ICCFA Magazine spotlight
hit for customers, owners
➤ Ed Sagel and Al Bloomfield are co-
owners of Value Choice Cremation & n both the larger economic market and all the costs clear. Families also appreciate
Funeral Care P.A., Maryland’s first 100 the funeral business, there is rising that they can review options and make
percent online funeral planning solution, customer demand for real-time, do- selections at their own pace, while an
as well as Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky it-yourself, convenient and cost-saving experienced funeral director and staff are
Goldberg Funeral Care Inc., Rockville, solutions. This has led to online funeral simultaneously available to manage the
Maryland. shopping becoming a rising trend across entire process. the country as consumers increasingly Generally speaking, consumers today rely on the internet as a resource for want the best value for the lowest price.
information and comparison shopping. More and more families who have money
According to Chris Hill, a registered are smarter about spending it. But “brick
financial consultant specializing in end- and click” funeral shopping is not just
of-life issues, 85 percent of families begin about saving money.
funeral planning online. As a result, more We have found that the online planning/
and more funeral professionals are looking shopping experience is well-suited to
for ways to leverage technology to meet people who are less religious. Also, we
customer demands for more convenient have seen this approach to planning
and less expensive online funeral appeals to families who prefer a simple
shopping. graveside service over traditional visitation
But many are worried that creation followed by a burial.
of an online site will siphon business Perhaps the most significant trend
away from their traditional funeral and having to do with online funeral planning
cremation services. This article is intended and shopping is its strong appeal to fami-
to put those worries to rest. lies who desire cremation. The national
cremation rate now exceeds 50 percent,
Responding to a changing according to recent data gathered by the
market Cremation Association of North America
Certainly, millennials are a key target in its 2017 Growth and Demographics
audience for the 100 percent online funeral Report.
planning and shopping experience. But
even the older generations—the baby Example of an online funeral
boomers and members of the silent planning & shopping solution
generation (born 1925 to 1945), are spend- Value Choice Cremation & Funeral Care
ing an increasing amount of time online. P.A. (Value Choice), operating out of Sagel
These online-savvy consumers are Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral
looking for a one-stop approach to funeral Care Inc., launched in February 2018, is
planning and shopping that lets them Maryland’s first 100 percent online funeral
“select, sign and save” on key aspects of planning service.
the funeral planning process. From casket The company, based in Rockville,
selection and other funeral arrangements Maryland, is fully insured and approved
to document completion and paperwork by the Maryland State Board of Morticians
processing, one centralized, online location and Funeral Directors and is regulated by
can take the guesswork and much of the the Federal Trade Commission.
stress out of funeral planning. Value Choice offers simple, less
Properly laid out online pricing makes expensive and more convenient disposition

40 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
Introducing FDMS Pro® with Performance Tracker.™ FDMS Pro ®
contains the tools and features to
easily manage every aspect of the case process, and also utilizes the power of Johnson Consulting Group’s widely
used Performance Tracker™software to provide a deep dive into sales analysis reporting not being offered by any
other software company in the funeral space. It’s like having a business consultant at your fingertips 24/7 providing
insight on issues like rising cremation, lowering profits and developing staff. And, FDMS Pro® is affordable for any
size funeral operation with annual fees lower than the cost of an average funeral. For more information on this
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spreadsheets and industry trackers. And, because the software is web-based, we don’t need expensive servers
or back-up systems, and can access our data from anywhere by smartphone or tablet.”
–Jason Bradshaw, Bradshaw Funeral & Cremation Services

As every funeral professional knows, staff time is our biggest expense in the funeral business.
Any time we can reduce that, we can pass the savings on to the customer. Since its launch, Value
Choice’s “brick-and-click” model for funeral planning and arrangements has grown dramatically, in line
with the increased consumer preference for simpler cremation, funeral and death-care options.

options for customers. The service is based

on a simply-designed, consumer-friendly
website featuring easy-to-understand
packages with no hidden fees. Value
Choice is allowing families to focus on
what they want and need without hidden
costs and additional steps they might deem
The menu of Value Choice packages
• Three cremation packages;
• Two burial offerings, with easy-to-
compare charts laying out each item and
services included; and
• The ability to select caskets and
service options.
Value Choice’s pricing is clearly
disclosed in an online General Price List,
as required by the FTC Funeral Rule. In
our market, Value Choice offers savings of
50 percent to 70 percent when compared
to similar burial packages at traditional
brick-and-mortar funeral homes.
As every funeral professional knows,
staff time is our biggest expense in the
funeral business. Any time we can reduce
that, we can pass the savings on to the
Since its launch, Value Choice’s “brick-
and-click” model for funeral planning and
arrangements has grown dramatically,
in line with the increased consumer
preference for simpler cremation, funeral
and death-care options.
In just a little over two months since
the site went live, several families have
called to say that Value Choice made
things a lot easier for them.
Key takeaways
Now more than ever, funeral professionals
need to be listening to the market and
adapting to what the community needs.
Our industry needs to move with the
times by innovating and giving our client
families the transparency in the process
they desire.
A 100 percent online funeral planning
and shopping platform gives customers
superior flexibility, more control over how
The home page for Value Choice. they are spending their money and, in the
➤to page 43
42 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”

As well as being a bargain for

the customer, that is not lost
revenue but found money for us,
generated with minimal staff time.
➤from page 42
end, greater value.
Adding a “brick and click” option to a
funeral business also does not mean having
to subtract any revenue from traditional
funeral or death-care offerings. On the
contrary, by not letting families who
desire a simpler, less expensive approach
walk out the door, the “brick and click”
approach can bring in more business.
A key point to remember is that there
is a low-cost provider in every market.
Marriott Corp. is the gold standard when
it comes to offering tiered pricing options
through its family of differently named and
priced hotel properties.
Many traditional or “heritage” funeral
homes are reluctant to take a similar tiered
approach to their offerings. As a result,
these traditional funeral homes might
lose potential customers who are looking
for lower prices and a more streamlined
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
By logging on, clicking a few buttons
and doing some of the planning, the
online customer can save 60 percent on
the cremation package price charged by a
traditional funeral home. As well as being
a bargain for the customer, that is not lost
revenue but found money for us, generated
with minimal staff time.
It is important to keep in mind that
Value Choice was designed to serve an
economically, ethnically and religiously TAP INTO the dynamic
diverse metropolitan area, and parent online supplier network
company Sagel Bloomfield follows a
Optimized. of the ICCFA with the
non-traditional business model in a retail ICCFA Supply Link.
setting. These conditions allow for Value Powered by MultiView,
the ICCFA Supply Link
Choice to thrive without affecting or is the premier search tool
draining the resources from the traditional for your industry. All the
funeral home. products and services
All funeral homes must consider the you need, all within the
populations they serve, as well as their supplier network of the
associaton you trust.
socioeconomic environment and pricing
model, before making the business-altering Start your search at
change of adding an online-only business. our homepage
To attract more customers who wish
they could spend less by doing more
funeral planning on their own, it’s time for
funeral professionals to at least consider
adopting this new business model. r

Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 43

by Welton Hong
welton@RingRing Smartphones have made it easier for funeral home,
cemetery and crematory owners to keep on top
➤Hong is the
founder of Ring of their businesses at all hours, no matter where they are.
Ring Marketing, Las
So it should come as no surprise to them that death-care
Vegas, Nevada. He
is an expert in case professionals need to adjust their marketing
generation from
online platforms to deal with the explosive growth of mobile technology.
to the phone line.
He is the author of “Making Your Phone
Ring with Internet Marketing for Funeral What the mobile revolution
Homes.” means for your crematory,
➤Ring Ring Marketing offers a
funeral home or cemetery
comprehensive suite of marketing
services, from broad techniques such as
reputation management, pay-per-click ne of my most entertaining I pushed a little further: “And when
advertising, local search optimization, conversations in recent memory you need information, like a restaurant
email marketing and website content was with a funeral director about when you’re traveling, or if you need an
generation, to more surgical tools such the importance of mobile marketing. If emergency car repair…”
as geotargeting, remarketing and social
you’ll forgive a touch of paraphrasing, I'll “I look it up on my phone,” he said.
media marketing.
relate it (to the best of my recollection) “Even when you’re home? Or do you
now. use a desktop?”
The funeral director and I were at “Usually my phone,” he said.
a death-care industry event, having a I didn’t have to do any more convin-
perfectly pleasant conversation, although cing. He now understood the importance
he seemed a bit skeptical as I ran through of mobile marketing.
the key facts:
• More than half of all Americans who Mobile device use is
access the internet now do so on a mobile skyrocketing across all
device. demographics
• Mobile traffic now exceeds desktop Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to
traffic. help death-care professionals understand
• Google’s new mobile-first indexing the importance of modern online market-
initiative means it now primarily uses ing as simply as possible.
the mobile version of your website to We’re now several years into the digital
determine your site’s organic and local age, and as more people search for services
search rankings. online, “online marketing” essentially
Persuasive as they should have been, could just be called “marketing.” If you’re
my points weren’t entirely sinking in, and not promoting your business on the
I realized why: The gentleman was a bit internet, you’re not really promoting your
distracted. The smartphone in his hand business.
kept chirping with notifications—a text I’m not saying offline marketing is
message here, an email notification there. extinct. In an industry as traditional
Every time, he dutifully checked it. He as death care, offline advertising and
even took a moment to pull up his funeral promotion remain important aspects of a
home website so I could take a look. comprehensive marketing plan. However,
When I regained his attention, I said: “I offline media continues to cede ground
don’t mean to be rude, but would you mind as more people turn to the internet for
if I asked your age?” information on every type of service. In
He looked a bit confused. “I’m 61.” 2018, that definitely includes burial and
“And how often do you have your cremation products and services.
phone with you?” I asked. Meanwhile, online search itself has
He shrugged, then chuckled. He got it. radically changed over the past few years,
“I’m on it all the time.” because the personal computer has evolved

44 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
SINCE 1939


& Cemetery Planners
3 8 0 2 N . B U F FA L O S T R E E T

O R C H A R D PA R K , N Y 1 4 1 2 7 - 1 8 4 0

Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 45


If Google finds that your website doesn’t look good and operate well
on a smartphone or tablet, your ranking will sink. It no longer cares
so much whether your site looks and works amazingly well on a
desktop computer. If it’s a dud on mobile devices, you’re in big trouble.
from a large object that sits on your desk for any type of service, anytime, anywhere.
into a tiny, incredibly powerful device that So that’s exactly what’s happening.
rests in the palm of your hand. Per a Statista study, in the final quarter
We continue to call it a “phone,” and of 2016, mobile searches finally overtook
it’s certainly still used as a telephone, but desktop ones, accounting for 51 percent
for many Americans, making voice calls of organic search engine visits. That
is just one of many things they do with percentage remained fairly consistent
these devices. Particularly among younger (within a couple of percentage points) over
generations—but increasingly for older 2017, but in the first quarter of 2018, it
ones as well—it’s really their computer. leaped to 64 percent.
According to a late 2017 study by The writing’s on the wall: Online search
Asurion, Americans check their phone is a predominantly mobile endeavor now,
on average once every 12 minutes. The and its dominance will only magnify going
average person, per the study, rarely goes forward.
more than 10 minutes without checking his But do people search for death-care
or her phone. services, in particular, on mobile devices?
When respondents were asked whether Absolutely. In the third quarter of 2017,
making a call was the main purpose of a more than half (56 percent) of funeral and
phone, almost half (49 percent) said no. bereavement searches came from mobile
You might think such behavior is devices. Searches for burials and cremations
The mobile versions of the websites limited to teenagers or young adults— grew 13 percent in the third quarter of 2017
for Habegger (above) and Island (below) hardly key demographics in this compared to the same quarter in 2016.
funeral services are easy to read on a business—but that simply isn’t true. One reason should be fairly obvious:
smartphone and make their “click to Per a January 2018 Pew Research If a family member unexpectedly dies
call” functions obvious. Center study, 92 percent of millennials and there’s no preplanning in place,
own and regularly use a smartphone. most people will search for a death-care
That’s not too surprising, nor is the fact provider immediately.
that 85 percent of Gen Xers (ages 38 to 53) The easiest way to do that, especially
do so, as well. if you’re not at home (e.g., at a hospital)
However, as was the case with the is on your smartphone. You have a 24/7
funeral director I chatted with, more than connection to the internet right there
two-thirds (67 percent) of baby boomers in your hand, pocket or bag. You need
(ages 54 to 72) also own and regularly information on local burial or cremation
use a smartphone, per the Pew study. And services right now.
while adoption among the silent generation That’s a primary reason why focusing
(ages 73 to 90) is unsurprisingly much on a mobile presence is imperative to
lower, it’s still a significant 30 percent. generating more at-need cases. The
While smartphones have become firms that have great organic rankings
essentially ubiquitous, consumers have (and appear in Google’s “three-pack” of
rapidly taken to tablet computers, which featured businesses) for that location will
are also defined as mobile devices, as capture those calls.
well. Close to two-thirds (64 percent) of And because smartphones take
Gen Xers own a tablet, as do more than 52 advantage of “call-to-click” technology, a
percent of both millennials and boomers. family member can be on the phone with a
Also worth considering: A majority (57 provider with just a single touch.
percent) of boomers use social media.
Mobile marketing
Searching for death-care starts with your website
services on mobile devices Several highly effective, cost-effective
Mobile devices, and in particular, smart- tools are available to generate calls from
phones, make it incredibly easy to search mobile users, but none of them matter if

46 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”

Your website must be designed so that a potential client can call you with a single tap on the phone.
The same is true for mobile advertising. A grieving family member doesn’t want to go through a
complex process to reach you immediately following a loved one’s passing.
your website isn’t up to snuff. Two funeral home sites you can look potential client can call you with a single
Quite simply, the mobile version of up on your mobile devise to see what good tap on the phone.
your website is now more important than ones look like are: The same is true for mobile advertising.
the desktop version. As I noted, mobile A grieving family member doesn’t want
searches are more prevalent than desktop to go through a complex process to reach
searches, so it makes sense to prioritize you immediately following a loved one’s
mobile. But you also need to focus on Cool tools for mobile passing. Click-to-call makes it incredibly
mobile searches because that’s what marketing easy.
Google does now. Yes, mobile marketing can be cool. Savvy
Just this year, Google fully adopted a developers have come up with some Mobile isn’t just the future
“mobile-first index,” which is exactly what fascinating ways to take advantage of the —it’s the present
it sounds like: When determining how mobile revolution, several of which can I realize it’s not easy to adjust to the mobile
to rank your website in organic searches work wonders for death-care firms. These revolution. Many death-care professionals
and the “three-pack” for local searches, include: are still just warming up to online marketing
it’s going to start with your site’s mobile Geotargeting: Every smartphone in general, and now they’re being told the
version, not the desktop version. comes with location technology, constantly desktop experience is on the way out, so it’s
In other words, if Google finds that your updating where that phone is in the world. time to focus on mobile devices.
website doesn’t look good and operate well With geotargeting, you can create a Regardless, it’s imperative that they
on a smartphone or tablet, your ranking will campaign that reaches out selectively immediately start putting mobile first.
sink. It no longer cares so much whether to individuals in a specific area. Given That’s what potential clients are doing.
your site looks and works amazingly well that at-need clientele almost always seek That’s what Google is doing.
on a desktop computer. If it’s a dud on a nearby provider, you can target these It’s a mobile world now, one being
mobile devices, you’re in big trouble. people based on their proximity to you. adopted by baby boomers almost as much
Keep in mind that Google massively Targeted ads: Another option is to as by those in younger demographics.
dominates market share in organic search: create paid advertisements on search Mobile marketing isn’t a passing fad
Over 86 percent of U.S. internet searches engines (such as Google) to target very or something to consider for the future.
are on Google, compared to runner-up specific locations. When someone in Consider that in 2004, according to Statista,
Bing (less than 8 percent) and third-place the defined area searches for “funeral over 92 percent of households had a
Yahoo (less than 4 percent). services,” “cremation,” “cemetery” or landline. Today, it’s fewer than 44 percent.
Even today, I still come across lots of similar terms, your ad will be positioned to Just as mobile phones are making
independent cemetery and funeral home immediately catch the searcher’s eye. landlines irrelevant, smartphones are doing
websites that do not display or operate Click-to-call: I mentioned this earlier, the same to desktop computers. The time
well on mobile devices. Every site must be but it’s important enough to reiterate. to act is now. r
optimized for mobile use. Your website must be designed so that a

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Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 47

by Daniel M. Isard, MSFS
1.800.426.0165 FINANCES
A cemetery is a different kind of business, so it’s not surprising
Magazine that when it comes to getting their projects financed, cemeterians
need to understand that and find the right sort of banker.
➤Isard is president of
The Foresight Compa-
nies LLC, a Phoenix-
based business and Finding a bank to finance
building a new mausoleum
management consulting firm specializing
in mergers and acquisitions, valuations,
accounting, financing and customer
surveys. Dear CI,
➤He is the author of several books, I went to my bank to borrow money to build
and frequently speaks at industry conven- a new mausoleum. They turned me down.
tions. They said, “they could not perfect a collateral
More from this author arrangement on the mausoleum.” I have built
➤Educational information, including three previous mausoleums and they financed need to be focused on the security provided
copies of this article, can be found at them all. Why has their position changed? by the collateral of the overall cemetery. Sincerely, You can’t resell the mausoleum without
Need to Borrow in Boston the operations of the cemetery. You can’t
➤You can follow Isard on Twitter at repossess a mausoleum by itself. You can’t
@f4sight, LinkedIn and “like” The Fore-
Dear NBB, pick it up and move it to a new location as if
sight Companies on Facebook.
I think your bank got smarter of late. Allow the mausoleum is a temporary warehouse.
Editor’s note me to explain in detail. The amounts involved in both types of
The Cemetery Impossible column is There are two types of lending relation- loans might be similar, but the method of
written by the staff of The Foresight ships consumers and their banks might have. the collateralization by the lender is totally
Companies. If you have a question you Most banks are asset-based lenders. This different.
want to be featured in this column, means you give them an item of collateral Furthermore, if the cemetery goes into
please send it to danisard@f4sight. and they will generally loan you some default on the loan, most lenders are not
com. Dan Isard or a member of his staff percentage of the value. equipped to manage the asset. This business
will call you to get more information and
For example, give them a building worth is not like a hamburger stand. Most lenders
a recommendation will be provided via
this column, helping not only you but also
$1 million and most lenders will use this to understand they can easily hire someone
others who are facing similar challenges. finance 75 percent to 80 percent of appraised to run a hamburger stand if they make a
value over 10 to 25 years. This means the loan and that food business defaults, but a
maximum loan can be about $750,000 to cemetery requires specialized management.
$800,000. There are state operating rules that can
A second type of lender is a cash-flow dictate that the state takes possession of a
lender. This lender makes loans predicated cemetery if it loses its operating certificate,
upon the cash flow of an asset. For example, which is a higher threat than a default.
give them a building with $100,000 of net The lender can have a perfected judgment
rents (triple net leases) and the cash-flow on the cemetery, but if the cemetery loses
lender will give you a loan not to exceed its operating certificate, this can make the
about $70,000 a year in principal and interest lender’s judgment on the cemetery worthless.
payment. The term of the loan amortization The state can sell or transfer the operating
might be from 10 to 25 years. right to whomever it is comfortable with.
With these assumptions, the maximum If a bank wanted to make a properly-
loan could be about $503,000 for a 10-year secured asset-based loan on your mausoleum,
amortization, or as much as $853,000 for a it would have a lien on each niche and
25-year amortization. crypt. As ridiculous as it seems, each time
When you look at an asset-based lender you wanted to deed one of these interment
versus a cash-flow lender, you can see that options to a family, you would have to get
given the length of the amortization, both are that particular interment right released by
able to loan a similar amount of money on the the lender. That would be cumbersome and
same property. However, when dealing with onerous—at best.
a mausoleum building owned and operated I guess your lender has been an asset-
as part of a cemetery business, the lender will based lender. More than 80 percent of all

48 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”

In the past, many banks valued a mausoleum as a building.

This is a ridiculous presumption! A mausoleum is inventory, not a building.

lenders, especially local banks, fit into this a foreclosure or judgment on the mausoleum. the cemetery and its predictable cash. This
classification. However, the premise of It cannot be sold off, except through the will allow you to be comfortable with the
cemetery lending has changed. efforts of the cemetery. While I have seen amount of the loan you take out and the cash
In the past, many banks valued a this, it is the wrong way to do it. You can flow need to make the loan payments.
mausoleum as a building. This is a ridiculous have a guarantee backed by the cemetery Next, look at the sales pro forma for
presumption! A mausoleum is inventory, not organization; if a default occurs, the lender the new inventory going online. What are
a building. In the past, the bank would make a would have to repossess the entire cemetery. you selling in advance of construction,
loan on the mausoleum building and the loan during construction and once construction is
would be paid off from your cash flow, and How to obtain a loan completed? How will your pricing change at
no one was the wiser. So, what can you do? Well, first you need to each level and timing?
I see this is an inventory loan. You, find a cash-flow lender. This cash-flow lender Your banker’s previous brethren didn’t
as a cemeterian, are a dealer in your own should have experience with the cemetery understand the cemetery business. That didn’t
inventory. Constructing that mausoleum is profession. Such experience in dealing matter if you didn’t default.
the same thing as buying land for conversion with cemeteries is critical in case there is a Now, due to the previous defaults of
to grave sites, except that you are creating problem with mortality rates, competition Loewen and other operators, all bankers
crypts rather than graves. You are selling or other issue we in the profession know to and their attorneys understand what to do to
crypts. Whether the loan payoff comes from expect and know how to deal with. secure their loans. That makes many of these
crypt sales specifically or from the free cash A knowledgeable lender doesn’t move lenders unwilling to make loans in cases like
flow of the cemetery in general is a detail to to foreclose too soon. You can’t afford to be yours. Other bankers were motivated to have
underwriting, not the limit on newly-created using limited cash flow to run the cemetery their lawyers investigate perfecting their loans
inventory. and create sales while also paying legal fees in the event of a default by a cemetery, which
In reality, if a default occurs, the bank to keep a lender at bay. led to the lawyers advising the bankers to get
might have an imperfect lien. You cannot get Then you need to understand the value of out of this particular lending business. r

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Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 49

by ICCFA Magazine columnist
Todd W. Van Beck, CFuE
vanbeck@; These days, when the question “Why?” comes up
toddvanbeck@ during a funeral or cemetery family interview,
ICCFA it’s usually not a simple request for information.

The keys to service: The

➤Van Beck is the
director of continu-

eternal question of ‘Why?’

ing education for
John A. Gupton

College, Nashville, Tennessee.
➤He is one of the most sought-after very funeral professional and was once a word employed in the innocent
speakers and educators in funeral service. cemeterian on the globe has heard this: search for information (which probably most “Why? Why do we have to do that/ telephone shoppers indeed are—innocent).
➤Van Beck is dean of ICCFA University’s pay for that?” The word “why” signified the investi-
College of Funeral Home Management Things have certainly changed since gation of cause or reason. When employed in
and received the ICCFA Educational the days when the funeral director actually this manner, it is appropriate, and I know of
Foundation’s first ever Lasting Impact “directed” and people simply did what they no other word to take its place. Unfortunately,
Award in 2014. were directed to do. Of course, this still this is generally not the way it is used today
happens sometimes, but as most people in in funeral and cemetery service.

“Like” Todd Van Beck
our profession will readily attest, the public’s Today, the word “why” too often con-
on Facebook today!
comfort level with being told what to do by notes not a simple request for information but
just about anyone has changed considerably. disapproval and displeasure. Thus when used
You know the routine: “Well, why do by the funeral/cemetery professional or, vice
➤In Van Beck’s new we need a vault?” “Why does the airline versa, by the client family, it communicates
book, “Exploring the require that?” “Why can’t we bury Dad in that something or somebody has done
Heart of Funeral Ser-
his back yard?” “Why do you have all these “wrong” or has behaved “badly.”
vice,” he explores topics
pertinent to funeral com
forms?” “Why do we have to go in that Even when that is not the meaning inten-
munications and funeral room?” “Why don’t you have coffee?” Why, ded by the funeral/cemetery professional, that
service counseling. why, why, why? There have always been is generally how the word will be understood people addicted to the word “why,” but I by the family, and vice versa.
would suggest their numbers are increasing The effect upon the client family will
exponentially. be predictably negative, for they will most
➤Van Beck’s book The single word that best symbolizes probably have grown up in an environment
“Reverence for the Dead: inquiry, suspicion, cynicism and mistrust in which “why” implied blame and condem-
The Unavoidable Link,” more than any other and is most frequently nation. Naturally enough, they will react to
addresses in detail the employed in asking hard, direct questions is the word in the funeral/cemetery experience
ethical standards of car- that little tiny word, “why.” the way they have learned to react to it over
ing for the dead and the At the outset of this article I want to the years, even though it might have been
ethical consequences of
confess that I have an aversion to the way used in the sense of genuine inquiry.
not doing so.
the word is generally used, if not to the word Thus whenever the client family hears
itself, and it appears that this little word is the word “why,” they may feel the need to
➤Van Beck’s book “The being bantered around in the funeral service/ defend themselves, to withdraw and avoid the
Story of Cremation,” cemetery profession more today than at any situation or to attack.
walks the reader through other time in our long and eventful history. In their early years, children use the word
the history of cremation, For example, the case could easily be frequently – often to the utter frustration and
its historical uses to its made and much could be said in support distraction of adults. “Why? Why? Why?
use today. It concludes of the idea that the little word “why” is the Why?” For children, that questions is a key
with a discussion of the genesis and motivation for all the telephone with which to unlock the secrets of the world;
downsides of cremation. shopping calls we routinely receive these it enables them to explore and discover. They days. ask for information without implying moral
A legitimate basis for the use of the “why” judgment, approval or disapproval. They
word in our language undoubtedly exists, learn from asking “Why?”
but I maintain that “why” has so often been In time, however they learn that adults
misused in general communication that its use the word differently. The child learns that
original meaning has become distorted. It adults use the “why” word to put them on the

50 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”

Today, the word “why” too often connotes not a simple request for information but disapproval
and displeasure. Thus when used by the funeral/cemetery professional or, vice versa, by the client family,
it communicates that something or somebody has done “wrong” or has behaved “badly.”
Even when that is not the meaning intended by the funeral/cemetery professional,
that is generally how the word will be understood by the family, and vice versa.
spot, to show them they are behaving in an extent possible. But what about when the point I want to make. If the client family
unacceptable manner. client family uses it? perceives that our attitude is unthreatening, if
Slowly but surely, children stop using the As mentioned before, our profession we have established trust and respect, and if
word for the purpose of inquiry and begin to has heard the word “why” more in the last we then use “why” simply to obtain factual
employ it against others the very same way it quarter of a century that in the previous 500 information the family possesses and we feel
has been used against them. years. Client families use “why” a great deal. we need, then our use of the word should not
The child’s ears ring with the questions “Why do we need that?” “Why should we cause undue damage.
from accusatory adults: “Why did you muddy buy that?” “Why is this so much money?” Perhaps I am saying this to make us feel
my clean floor?” “Why are you barefoot?” “Why can’t we just …?” “Why can’t I bury better because most of us are still using the
“Why don’t you use your knife and fork Mom on top of Mount Rushmore? It’s a free word, but I hope it’s true.
properly?” “Why did you break that dish?” country, isn’t it?” When we do use “why,” we should do so
etc., etc. The word “why” has become a permanent to get at facts rather than feelings, at thoughts
Children learn to imitate their elders. Soon part of the process of the funeral/cemetery rather than emotions. For example, no one in
enough, they will say to their friend, “Why interview for us all, whether in sales or our profession would ever ask, “Why do you
did you take my bike?” “Why did you play service. feel that way?”
with my stuff?” to show that they disapprove Should the word “why,” then, never That question, my friends, is an absolute
of the act—not because they are interested in be used? I know I wish I would employ it guarantee of unwanted and unnecessary
obtaining a bit of useful information. less, for in spite of all my reservations and trouble. In our culture, facts and thoughts
The child will say to the mother, “Why objections to its use, it keeps cropping up. I are more readily accessible, more easily
must I go to the store?” not because they want try to avoid it and am glad when I succeed, disclosed, than feelings and emotions.
a reason but because they don’t wish to go. but often enough there it is to be dealt with As funeral/cemetery professionals, we
This is why the funeral/cemetery again. have a responsibility to furnish answers—
professional should be wary of using the That one little word, however, does have a good, solid ones at that—to all the “whys”
word “why,” should avoid doing so to the justifiable place, and this is the one additional that come our way. r

The keys to service: Conclusion

e come to the end of our quest to and have so for years, that in reality there is sion with whom I have worked have
explore the “keys to service.” It nothing we can do for our client families save discovered that combined formula of service
is not an exaggeration to say that for loving them and supporting them. and happiness that Dr. Schweitzer was
this experience, which happens thousands of However, as funeral professionals, we referring to. In fact, I believe I can personally
times a day in thousands of cemeteries and can draw on our imagination, creativity and vouch for Dr. Schweitzer’s opinion being
funeral homes, this infrequent experience for personal dedication to serve families, and absolutely correct.
our client families, has definite sacred aspects should strive to continually improve our skills I know that even today, after 50 years of
to it. and enhance our knowledge so that we can laboring in this vineyard of serving others,
Dealing with human grief, with which better do so. when I have the opportunity to serve through
every aspect of our work is saturated, is Serving others: How many times have the noble work of our beloved profession,
unquestionably a sacred experience. we heard those two words said in our great whether that service is handling a death call,
In the end, the sacredness or the transac- profession? The great humanitarian and phy- embalming, funeral interviewing, presenting
tional implications of these keys to service sician Dr. Albert Schweitzer wrote something monuments or helping a family choose
will be up to the participants who escape for a marvelous many years ago concerning cemetery and cremation services, I feel happy
time from the craziness of the modern world serving others and being happy. when I have completed my professional
and hold conversations, make decisions and “I don’t know what your destiny will be,” tasks.
participate in some way in the important Dr. Schweitzer wrote, “but one thing I know: When I connect with a client family, it
work of ethically caring for our dead. The only ones among you who will be really makes me happy. I don’t connect with them
All of us who do this work are indeed the happy are those who will have fought and all, but I try. Finding happiness through
custodians, the protectors, the overseers of found how to serve.” serving others is such a simple idea, and a
this important experience. I find it amazing, I believe that most people in this profes- truly worthy ideal. r

Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 51

Supply Line
n BATESVILLE, Batesville, ents across the U.S. and funds more than $30
Indiana, was recently recog- million of insurance assignments annually.
nized as a 2018 Secretary Beta’s presence is especially strong in the
of Defense Freedom Award Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.
Nominee for its exemplary n JAMES METZ,
support of National Guard Honolulu, Hawaii, has
and Reserve employees. The released his book,
Freedom Award is the highest “Help Your Executor
honor given by the Department Before You Leave:
of Defense, and reflects the The Book You Didn’t
efforts made to support citizen Know You Needed.”
warriors through a wide range Metz outlines specific
of measures, including flexible instructions and details
schedules, time off prior to and lists readers can use to help their executors. It
after deployment, caring for covers topics such as preparing a box of vital
families and granting leaves of legal and financial documents, choosing an
absence if needed. Almost half executor and outlining letters to loved ones.
Batesville’s David Meyers with Con- of the U.S. military is made up of National
gressman Jim Banks (R-IN) and military “Thinking about and dealing with death
Guard and Reserve members, many of whom is a difficult subject for many. Some may ne-
leaders representing various branches
of service at the Employer Awards Ban-
also hold jobs with civilian employers. When glect the process that with just a little preplan-
quet in Indianapolis, Indiana. activated, their deployments affect their ning can make life down the road — when
families as well as their employers. It can be things are in the thick of difficulty — much
READERS: To find the products and difficult for both. easier,” said Metz, a retired math teacher. “In
services you need online, go to David Meyers, regional sales director reality, death could happen to us at any time, for the Supply with Batesville, accepted the award on the so being prepared in case the worst does hap-
Link Search Engine, the fastest company’s behalf. Meyers also was nomi- pen can help our loved ones move forward
way to find the products and nated for a Patriot Award for his support of with assurance.”
services you need at your funeral home, Daniel Hill, who works as a sales consultant The book is available at
cemetery or crematory. for Batesville and serves as a 1st lieutenant
SUPPLIERS: Send your press releases in the U.S. Army Reserve. His last deploy-
about your new products and services, ment spanned more than four months. Both
and about awards, personnel changes men were recognized at a recent meeting of
and other news to for Batesville employees.
inclusion in Supply Line. Employers who receive the award must
have surpassed the legal requirements of
the Uniformed Services Employment and
Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by
providing their Guard and Reserve employ-
ees additional non-mandated benefits, such
as differential or full pay to offset lost wages,
extended health benefits and other similar
Part of Holy Land Stone’s new website.
California, has opened a new facility us- n HOLY LAND STONE, Melbourne,
ing the latest technology to create laser- Florida, is commemorating its 20th an-
enameled photo products. The company’s niversary and has introduced a redesigned
product line features photographic images website.
permanently enameled on sterling silver and
10K and 14K gold jewelry keepsakes that al- n FUNERAL DIRECTORS LIFE
low customers to personalize unique jewelry INSURANCE CO., Abilene, Texas, has
pieces memorializing loved ones. launched CLAIMCHECK, powered by Directors Choice Assignment Services, a
division dedicated to providing expedited
n C&J FINANCIAL, Rainbow City, Ala- payments for assigned life insurance policies.
bama, has acquired Betal Capital Corp., The company already offered advance pay-
Portsmouth, Virginia, through its affiliate, ment on life insurance policy assignments for
Mitchell K. Jewelry’s laser-enameled Security National Financial Corp. Beta
photo memorial products. funeral homes and their families. The service
Capital has more than 200 funeral home cli- has been updated and renamed with the aim

52 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”

From left, Howard Miller staff Brian Burley, Cheryl Stormzand; Cressy Memorial Lundgren Monuments photo statue me-
Group staff MaryAnne Scheuble, Michelle Lacay, Tamara Howard, Ray Cressy, Mary morial (above) and kaliedoscope insets
Lou Cressy, Sarah Tepe and Jim Cressy. (two examples, below).

of making it easier to explain to families. n LUNDGREN MONUMENTS, Seattle,

CLAIMCHECK is now accessible through Washington, has introduced photo statue
the Funeral Directors Life online access por- memorials and kaleidoscope insets for
tal. memorials. Photo statues include a translu-
n HOWARD MILLER CO., Zeeland, cent, high-resolution, two-sided image made
Michigan, has named Brian Burley manag- using baked-in enamel paint on architectural
er of the memorial products group. Burley plate glass. The image is printed and encased
has been director—special markets division in four layers of half-inch laminated, clear
for 12 years, with extensive experience in tempered glass and wrapped in a solid core,
new product development and multi-segment brushed stainless steel frame. The kaleido-
sales and business management. scope insets consist of a bronze disc on the
Also, Cheryl Stormzand, director of surface of an upright granite memorial. An
design and merchandising for Howard Miller observer can look through the portal to see a
and Hekman, has retired. Over the years kaleidoscopic image featuring the interred’s
Stormzand managed a variety of sales and favorite colors. No batteries required, only
marketing functions for Howard Miller and sunlight. The Olympia oak hardwood casket
Hekman. Stormzand worked directly with n ONE SOURCE PRIME, Richmond, from Vision Casket, available from
manufacturer’s representative Cressy Memo- Indiana, has added new casket models and One Source Prime. It offers wood
embossing, E-uro-styled interiors and
rial Group to bring new memorial items to cremation containers to its program. The
an environmentally responsible water-
market. additions are four new stainless steel caskets based finish.
616.772.9131; from Astral Industries, four new standard
616.748.2660; value-priced hardwood caskets from Visison
1.866.763.0485; Casket, Starmark Cremation Products’ new
n PHYSICIANS MUTUAL, Omaha, Transporter alternative cremation container
Nebraska, and PRECOA, Portland, Oregon, system, the new Bridgeview raised flat-top
are celebrating the one-year anniversary solid wood alternative continer viewer from
of their partnership by planting at least Starmark and the new Ovation oversize
365 trees. Why trees? Since 2004, Physicians 31-inch solid wood alternative container
Mutual has partnered with the Arbor Day viewer. One Source Prime offers companies a
Foundation to plant a tree in honor of every conduit for purchasing half and full semi-load
customer who passes away and in honor quantities of caskets from Astral, CJ Boots,
of customer birthdays. Since the partner- Southern Craft, VerPlank, Vision Casket and Terrybear’s new butterflies and red
ship began, Physicians Mutual has planted Starmark Cremation Products. roses urns and matching keepsakes.
465,000 trees – and is now on its fifth forest.
to have a tree planted in your honor, visit n TERRYBEAR, St. Paul, Minnesota, has and fill in the launched new Dimensional Ceramic urns,
short form that pops up. Your tree will help blue butterflies and red roses. The urns,
replenish forests in the Mississippi Valley that which include a secure, threaded closed on
was recently devastated by hurricanes. the bottom, featured a hand-painted, raised; design on a pearl glazed background. Match- ing memento box keepsakes are available.
1.888.588.8767; r

Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 53

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

The sign notes the history of Nature’s

Sanctuary, which West Laurel Hill
At the dedication of The Sanctuary at West Laurel Hill, from left, Dave Witeck, opened in 2018, and explains to visitors
senior vice president, finance, operations and administration at US Green Building how the site eventually will evolve from
Council; Cliff David, president and CEO of Conservation Economics and a member a meadow containing native plants to a
of the Weat Laurel Hill Cemetery & Funeral Home board; West Laurel Hill Presi- sucession forest of rapidly growing trees
dent & CEO Nancy Goldenburg; Adam Supplee, principal, landscape architect and supplanting the meadow and finally a
planner for Alta Planning and Design; Peter Hoskins, past president & CEO of West climax forest, shaded by the canopy of
Laurel HIll; and Jennifer Anderson, COO and co-founder of Sustrana. large trees. At that point, minimal main-
tenance will be needed at the site, which
n Nature’s Sanctuary, the green burial invasive underbrush removal, a memorial until then will have to be constantly
siste at WEST LAUREL HILL, Bala Cyn- wall and a walking trail. monitored for invasive species.
wyd, Pennsylvania, has been awarded Gold “We are extremely honored to receive
certification under the Sustainable SITES this SITES certification, as it means that pride that recognizes our commitment and
Initiative certification program. Owned and we have met the high standards that align sets us apart from our peers.”
administered by Green Business Certification design and development with healthy SITES-certified projects are better able
Inc. (GBCI), SITES is the most comprehen- ecosystems,” said Nancy Goldenberg, to withstand and recover from floods,
sive program for designing, developing, and president and CEO of West Laurel Hill droughts, wildfires and other catastrophic
maintaining sustainable landscapes. Cemetery & Funeral Home. “West Laurel events. Projects can help reduce water and
Designed to evolve into a native climax Hill’s green burial site, Nature’s Sanctuary, energy demand, improve air quality and
forest, Nature’s Sanctuary’s design works to is the first cemetery ever to be SITES-cer- promote human health and wellbeing.
create a habitat and preserves a much-needed tified. We work hard to ensure sustainable SITES was developed through a col-
oasis. Additional sustainable design ele- practices throughout our entire organiza- laborative, interdisciplinary effort of the
ments include the use of goat-grazing for tion, and this award is certainly a badge of American Society of Landscape Architects,
the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Nature’s Sanc- at the University of Texas at Austin and the
tuary at West United States Botanic Garden.
Laurel Cemetery. Owned and administered by Green Busi-
There is room ness Certification Inc. (GBCI), SITES is the
for more than
most comprehensive program for designing,
500 graves in
the first 1.5-acre developing, and maintaining sustainable
section, which landscapes. Established in 2008, GBCI
can be expanded exclusively administers project certifica-
to approximately tions and professional credentials and
four acres. The certificates within the framework of the
section has U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED
about 53 burials green building rating systems, as well as
and about 67 the PEER standard for power systems, the
families have
WELL building standard, the Sustainable
spaces pre-need. Sites Initiative (SITES), Parksmart, EDGE
and the GRESB benchmark.

54 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
LED Lighting Solutions
for Memorial Products


LED light bulb for Crypt

& Niche Fronts
Warm color for Bronzes
Allen Memorial Home, now owned by
Rollings Funeral Service. E A SY T O I N S TA L L
SERVICE INC., Peachtree, 1 877 515-4672
Georgia, has acquired Al-
len Memorial Home Inc.,
Endicott, New York. The
business was established
more than 100 years ago and
has been at its current loca-
Rollings tion for more than 80 years.
It serves about 250 families annually. Mark
Rollo and Chris Putrino, the former funeral
home owners, have each been with the firm
for approximately 40 years. “This acquisi-
tion begins what we believe will be the first
of many acquisitions in the state of New
York,” said Greg Rollings, company presi-
dent and owner. The company has more
than 25 locations in New York, Pennsyl-
vania, South Carolina, North Carolina and
Georgia, and a pet crematory in Oregon.
n The Southern Memo-
rial Association has named
Denise A. McDonald as the
new executive director of
Lynchburg, Virginia. McDon-
ald comes to the OCC from
Lynchburg College, where she
McDonald worked for 18 years as vice
president of advancement and vice president
of major gifts. Prior to that, she worked in
development and alumni relations at Sweet
Briar College and Randolph-Macon Wom-
an’s College in the area. She had previoiusly
been director of marketing and public rela-
tions for the Richmond Symphony, manager
in the public relations office for Colonial
Williamsburg and a newspaper reporter for
the Virginia Gazette.
McDonald earned her bachelor’s degree
from the College of William & Mary and
is pursuing a master’s degree in nonprofit
leadership at Lynchburg College. She is also
a graduate of the Institute for Educational
Management at Harvard University.
Dating to 1806, the cemetery is a Virginia
Historic Landmark on the National Register
of Historic Places. r

Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 55


Tom Flynn, patriot and grief therapy dog pioneer

homas Michael Flynn Left, Thomas Flynn Sr. and
Sr., 79, of Hermitage, grief therapy dog Derek as
Pennsylvania, died June they appeared on the March-
18, 2018. In April, he had been April 2007 cover of ICCFA
Magazine, standing along the
honored at the 2018 ICCFA
Avenue of 444 Flags, which
Convention & Expo with the leads into Flynn’s cemetery in
Educational Foundation’s Lasting Hermitage, Pennsylvania.
Impact Award, as well as the first
Golden Paw Award from the Pet people have in genealogy.
Loss Professionals Alliance. Survivors include two sons,
Flynn was born in Chicago, Tom M. Flynn Jr. of Chicago,
Illinois, the only son of parents Illinois, and John R. Flynn of
who had immigrated from Ire- Hermitage; three grandchildren;
land. He graduated from Carmel- and two sisters.
ite Junior Seminary in Hamilton, Visitation was held at John
Massachusetts, and chose the Flynn Funeral Home and Crema-
name Brother Patton in honor of tory, where the funeral, with full
Gen. George S. Patton. military honors, also was held.
He then enrolled in Loyola Flynn was interred amongst the
University in Chicago. During flags in America’s Cemetery.
this time, he was drafted into the Memorial contributions may
Army and was assigned to the be made to the Avenue of 444
101st Airborne Division. After his Flags Foundation, P.O. Box
military service, he returned to 1243, Hermitage, PA 16148;
Loyola, graduated with a degree in or to Hillcrest-Flynn Pet Care
accounting and became a certified Foundation, 2619 E. State St.,
public accountant. Hermitage, PA 16148. r
He purchased Homewood
In 2000, Flynn introduced Derek,
Memorial Gardens, Illinois, in 1974; and
a golden retriever trained by Canine
Hillcrest Memorial Park, Hermitage, Penn-
Companions for Independence, to the
sylvania, in 1977. In 1995, he built the John
Flynn family and funeral home. Derek was
Flynn Funeral Home across the street from
the first CCI-trained grief therapy dog at a
the Hermitage cemetery.
funeral home.
After the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran,
Flynn and Derek reported to New York
was taken over in 1979, Flynn decided to
days after 9/11 to work with almost 300
raise an American flag at Hillcrest each day
children at the South Nassau Communities
the Americans at the embassy continued to be
Hospital in Oceanside, New York.
held hostage. These flags eventually created
Starting at the 1991 ICCFA Convention
the Avenue of 444 Flags, featured on the
& Expo, Flynn brought Derek to many
cover of Time Magazine in 1981 after the
ICCFA meetings. After Derek’s retirement,
hostages were released. The Avenue of 444
Flynn received a second dog, Soloman,
Flags continues to be maintained through a
and together they worked around the coun-
tax-exempt foundation.
try educating veterans about the services
Years later, in 2005, he built the War on
CCI can provide to veterans in need.
Terror Memorial at the cemetery.
Flynn added the Hillcrest-Flynn Pet
In 2015, he renamed the Hermitage park
Funeral Home to the Hermitage property
America’s Cemetery, billing it as “second
in 2006. He also successfully lobbied the
only to Arlington.” He built a veterans-
local government to allow the cemetery
themed ossuary by the War on Terror Memo-
to create a section where people could be
rial designed to accept the remains of thou-
buried with their pets.
sands of veterans and their family members.
Flynn spoke at ICCFA conventions
He brought the Moving Wall, a half-sized Thomas Flynn Sr. greets well-wishers
about how pet services could be used to as he prepares to accept the ICCFA
replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washing-
build relationships on the human side and, Educational Foundation’s Lasting Impact
ton, D.C., to Hermitage three times to allow
more recently, about the importance of Award. Next to him is grief therapy dog
the community to see it.
cemeteries tapping into the interest many Soloman. Behind him is son John Flynn.

56 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”

kills in business management evolve continuously as time Government & Legal Affairs Committee. This traditional event
goes on. Competition grows, technology improves and will deliver you important news you can use about issues that
customers change. These are all things that business manag- affect your business such as taxes, labor, law and litigation.
ers and owners should pay attention to as they go about their daily Also on Friday, Lynn Elliot, founder of Media Demograph-
business. The ICCFA Fall Management Conference on Septem- ics, a full-service research and marketing company that provides
ber 26-28, 2018, at the Eau Palm Beach Resort in Manalapan, marketing communication and design services to customers
Florida, is the conference to attend for new insights on business including funeral homes, presents “Website Marketing.”
management as you build and strengthen your organization. Elliott has trained more than 200 account executives in radio,
Bruce Tulgan, founder and CEO of RainmakerThinking Inc., television and print on how to develop an effective reach and fre-
best-selling author and business adviser, kicks off quency advertising campaigns for their clients. She has received
the conference with his session, “Winning the certification as a radio marketing expert. There are only 32 other
Talent Wars,” on Thursday, September 27, at 9 individuals in the United States currently with the same certifica-
a.m. Tulgan is recognized as the leading expert tion. On the heels of this session there will be an industry panel
on young people in the workplace and one of the discussion in which panelists will talk about their experiences
leading experts on leadership and management. with selling pre-need online and how they navigate the online
Employees today are smart enough to know market.
that their future career success is in their hands
Tulgan —not their employer’s. Because the free-agent Aside from the educational sessions, there are several
mindset is on the rise, it’s getting harder than networking events where you will have opportunities to catch
ever to keep the best talent. In “Winning the Talent Wars,” you’ll up with business contacts and friends and to make new ones.
learn that if you want to win today’s talent wars, you will have Receptions will be held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings
to build a winning culture. To do this, Tulgan will teach the five- offering food, drink, entertainment and the opportunity to so-
step process to build a winning culture in your organization— cialize with fellow attendees.
and see your employee attraction and retention skyrocket. This year’s Golf Tournament will be held on September 26
At 2 p.m., Tulgan returns to talk about “Highly Engaged at 12:30 p.m. at The Breakers Rees Jones Course. The course
Leadership.” Can you say that the leaders in your organization features large fairways, challenging water carries, 62 sand-and-
provide reports with sufficient guidance, support and coaching? grass-faced bunkers and a tropical landscape with 10 lakes.
Believe it or not, 90 percent of all leaders and managers do not. The ICCFA has negotiated a hotel rate of $239 per night.
In this session, you will bust the common myths that result in Make your reservation by calling 1.888.306.4894 and referenc-
undermanagement and empower your managers to be strong. ing the ICCFA Fall Management Conference.
Friday morning will begin with the Government & Legal For more information and for the full program schedule,
Breakfast hosted by Poul Lemasters, Esq., co-chair of the ICCFA visit 

Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 57


Networking break during the ICCFA Socializing during the ICCFA 2017 Golf ICCFA Board of Directors meeting dur-
2017 Fall Conference. Tournament at the Indian Wells Golf ing the ICCFA 2017 Fall Conference.
Resort Celebrity Course.

Thank you to our Fall sponsors!

Argent Trust  Assurant  Batesville  Blackstone Cemetery Development
 Clearpoint Federal Bank & Trust  Coldspring  Cypress Lawn  Flowers for Cemeteries
 Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries  Gethsemane Cemetery & Memorial Gardens
 Global Atlantic Financial Group  Guerra & Gutierrez Mortuary
 Hillside Memorial Park & Mortuary  Inglewood Park Cemetery  Los Parques
 Matthews Memorialization  Merendino Cemetery Care
 National Guardian Life Insurance Co.  Nomis Publications  Park Lawn Corp.
 Regions Bank  Service Corporation International  Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum
 StoneMor Partners LP  The Tribute Companies Inc.  The Woodlawn Cemetery

Membership Outreach Corner: Report from Florida

by Julie A.B. Bly, MPS tors Association. The two of them kicked-off the
educational sessions with a very eye-opening talk
s ICCFA’s membership manager, I recently attended the
on cremation pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Florida Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Associa-
Another insightful speaker was Dr. Chip R.
tion (FCCFA) Conference in Bonita Springs, Florida,
for the first time in June. What an honor it was to meet so many Bell, who spoke at ICCFA’s 2017 Fall Manage- Bly
members of the FCCFA and ICCFA. ment Conference in Indian Wells, California.
The ICCFA was proud to sponsor one of the golf tees at the Dr. Bell is a very creative speaker, keeping everyone on their
Vicki Uselton Memorial Golf Tournament, which was held on toes and wondering what he will say next. He shared ideas on
Thursday, June 21, at the Raptor Bay Golf Club. If you are how business owners can engage their audience, how to get their
a resident of Florida and didn’t have a chance to attend, I highly potential “guests” to start asking for more information and how to
encourage you to mark your calendar for next year’s conference stay ahead of the competition.
at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina on July The FCCFA could not have asked for better weather for their
25–27, 2019. fun-filled “Dive-in Movie” and pool-side welcome reception.
This intimate meeting really caters to the individual FCCFA All in all, with six great speakers and 2 ½ days of education
member. Among the presenters at this year’s FCCFA confer-
and networking with other Florida end-of-life industry profes-
ence was ICCFA’s own Cremation Counsel Poul Lemasters of
sionals, it was amazing to be there. 
Lemasters Consulting. He was joined by Mike Nicodemus, vice
president of cremation services for the National Funeral Direc-

58 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”

2018 PLPA College program announced

he Pet Loss Professionals Alliance will be Ask the Expert (speaker panel)
going Back to the Future for their 2018 Jodi Clock, CPLP; Coleen Ellis, CPLP; Ro-
PLPA College, as they look forward to berta Knauf, CPLP; Bill Remkus, CPLP; Brett
more growth within the profession without los- VanDeWoestyne, CPLP; and Kevin Woronchak
ing the vision of where they have been and the Want to know how the pet loss profession has
lessons learned along the way. PLPA College to changed in the past five years and where it
will be held August 22-24 at the Embassy the might be in five more? Or maybe you are just
Suites by Hilton Cincinnati RiverCenter in starting out and want to ask someone who has
Covington, Kentucky. Here is some of what you will take away “been there” that one piece of practical advice they would share
from this year’s PLPA College: with someone in your position. Now’s your chance! During this
interactive panel discussion, professionals from all aspects of pet
Thursday, August 23 loss will answer your questions and share their experience.
Media: Friend or Foe?
Joe Weigel, principal and owner, Weigel Strategic Marketing Friday, August 24
At times, the local media can be a pet loss operator’s greatest Veterinarians and Aftercare
ally, and other times, its worst enemy. Kathleen Cooney, DVM, MS, CHPV, founder, Home to Heaven
In this interactive session, Weigel will discuss the ins and outs P.C.
of local news gathering and how pet death care facility operators Pet aftercare operations have made it commonplace to offer
can take steps to generate positive news coverage and to ensure wholesale pricing to veterinarians in the hopes of supporting their
that they stay on the “good side” of the media. clients. Veterinarians in turn use the pet crematory for all body-
care needs. But how much does the veterinarian charge the client
Pet Hospice: It’s About Time
and what are they charging for exactly? How well do charges align
Tammy Wynn, MHA, LISW, RVT, CHPT, founder and CEO,
with services provided?
Angel’s Paws
This hour will explore current veterinary pricing trends in pet
Finally! Some 35 years after human hospice made its debut in
aftercare. The goal is to provide attendees with a better feel for
the United States, pet hospice has arrived in veterinary medicine.
today’s veterinary practices and how they impact the pet aftercare
Pet hospice is a new service area and practitioners are piloting
new models across the world. One of the goals of pet hospice is
to give the family time—time to absorb bad news, time to come Marketing: Addressing the Communication Disconnect
to terms with it, time to say goodbye. This session will explain Kathryn Jennings, CPLP, CPFE, executive director, Interna-
what makes pet hospice different from the traditional end-of-life tional Association for Animal Hospice & Palliative Care and
care that has always been available. founder/president, Day By Day Pet Caregiver Support
In your aftercare business you rely heavily on your partnering
The Future of Pet Deathcare:
veterinary offices to market your products and services to pet
Looking at the Past to See Where We Are Heading
families. Although you provide them with marketing materials
Poul Lemasters, Esq., Lemasters Consulting
and the information they need to communicate aftercare options
The pet funeral industry continues to grow. The big question is
to their clients, there is often a disconnect in communication.
what is pet death care growing into? No one can say for certain
This disconnect often leaves families without the information
what the future will bring – but we can predict and try to be
they need to make the best decisions regarding aftercare and
prepared. How do we predict? We look at the past. We look at
memorialization options.
the present. We compare other professions. We look for trends.
This presentation will identify the concerns of aftercare
By looking at all of this we then can make predictions on where
providers in communicating with their partnering veterinary
we may be heading. Why is this important? Because if we don’t
offices, and address how internal veterinary office marketing ef-
prepare for the future, then we are doomed to repeat the past.
forts can be improved. Also addressed will be ways to create and
This seminar analyzes past, present, and even future cases that
effectively implement a direct-to-pet-family (consumer) market-
are changing and re-defining the liability issues for pet funeral
ing plan designed to educate pet families, supply them with the
providers. This seminar also looks forward to discuss future
aftercare products and services they desire and leave them with a
trends affecting the risk of liability. The focus is on “real” prob-
path of least regrets on their grief journey.
lems causing lawsuits and the measures needed to prevent them.
Overall, the presentation will: There will also be tabletop exhibits and vendor visits during
• Identify changes in the pet funeral industry, including old breaks. True to form, the 2018 PLPA College will be a forum for
and new laws. learning best practices, sharing ideas and connecting with others
• Analyze various lawsuits and how they are changing as we who share your passion for taking care of our four-legged family
move forward. members and the people who love them.
• Provide solutions to reduce the risk of what the future may To see the complete program or to register, visit
bring. 

Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 59


August is certification awareness month

he ICCFA has designed certification programs to recongize those persons who have attained the highest level of achievement
within the funeral service and memorialization industry. You must be a member in good standing to apply for, and to retain,
your certification. The ICCFA awards the following certifications:

Certified Cemetery
Certified Cemetery Funeral
Certified Cremation
Executive Executive Executive
Awarded to individuals who have Recognizes professionals Experts in the biggest growth
attained the highest level of extremely knowledgable in fu- sector of our industry—
cemetery management. neral and burial arrangements. cremation—may receive this

Certified Funeral Executive
Certified Pet Loss


Certified Supplier Executive
Funeral directors with a vast array Recognizes leaders in the Suppliers who know both the sales
of experience in funeral service are burgeoning world of pet loss and service sides of the industry
encouraged to apply. services. may apply for this certification.

Cremation Arranger Certification Crematory Operator Certification

This program provides education in understanding This program teaches all aspects of crematory opera-
cremation consumers, how to arrange and create mean- tion and maintenance, including terminology, principles
ingful tribute services, how to create unique options for of combustion, cremation and the environment, forms
memorialization and how best to communicate all of and record keeping, basics of operating equipment and
this with cremation consumers. more.



ICCFA Cremation Arranger & Crematory Operator program

oin us at the ICCFA Cremation Certification Program on August 28 & 29 at the Ohio Funeral Directors Association in Co-
lumbus, Ohio, where you can earn or renew your Cremation Arranger or Crematory Operator Certifications. The Cremation
Arranger Certification will be held on August 28 and the Crematory Operator Certification Program will be on August 29. The
operator course includes two hours of laws and rules relevant to Ohio and specific to crematory operation.
To register or to see additional upcoming dates and locations, visit 

60 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
New Members
Providing exceptional
education, networking
and legislative
guidance and support to progressive
cemetery, funeral and cremation
professionals worldwide
• Go to to
download a benefits brochure and an ap-
plication form.
• Call 1.800.645.7700 to have membership
information faxed or mailed to you.
Though purpose-built flower cars were rare sights even when they were brand
new, the 2017 Professional Car Society meet included two. Meet host Ken Howe
Admission to ICCFA membership normally
owns the 1955 A.J. Miller Cadillac on the left, while Jim and Judy Barron brought
requires a majority vote of those present and
the 1956 Superior Coupe de Fleur from Bragg City, Missouri. The 2018 meet will be voting at any meeting of the executive com-
August 13-19 in Sterling Heights, Michigan. mittee. 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.

Baca’s Funeral Chapels
Silver City, New Mexico
Above left, best-of-Show at the 2017 meet was Mike Riefer’s impeccably restored,
three-way-loading 1934 Henney Arrowline limousine-style hearse from Owensville, Bishop Mortuary
Missouri, originally constructed for the Johnson Saum mortuary of Los Angeles, Lemon Grove, California
California. Post-retirement circa 1948 it was purchased by a professional clown City of Pahokee Port Mayaca Cemetery*
who repainted the body red and yellow like a circus wagon and put a calliope in Pahokee, Florida
the casket compartment with pipes jutting through the roof. Above right, The A.J. Clarke’s Funeral Home
Miller-bodied 1950 Cadillac owned by Lance R. Giberson of Florenceville, New MacGregor, Manitoba
Brunswick. Reversible casket rollers and a removable cot hook allowed small town Desarrollo Urbano de Tepic
morticians to quickly convert these so-called “duplex” coaches into part-time am- Tepic, Mexico
bulances, while the quarter window crucifixes are a popular Canadian motif.
Funeraria Hogar de Cristo
Santiago, Chile
Funeraria Martinez SAC
Calendar Progreso, Peru
Inversiones Campo Santo
➤E-mail calendar listings and additions or corrections to and Panama City, Panama
Malloy & Esposito Crematory and Funeral
➤For continually updated meeting listings, go to, choose ICCFA Events
from the Education drop-down menu, then go to View Full Calendar of Events. Home
Cleveland, Ohio
Merkle Funeral Service Inc.
August 4-8: National Funeral Directors Resort, Verona. Monroe, Michigan
& Morticians Assn. Annual Convention, August 13-19: Professional Car Society
Kissimmee, Florida. 42nd Annual International Meet, Sterling Professional/Supplier
August 6-8: Ohio Cemetery Assn. Annual Heights, Michigan. Daniels Removal & Transport Service
Convention & Field Day, Holiday Inn LLC
Eastgate-Cincinnati & Mt. Moriah Ceme- August 15-17: Washington State Funeral
Macon, Georgia
tery, Union Township. Directors Assn. & Washington Cemetery, International Mortuary Shipping Cremation & Funeral Assn. Annual Fall Union, South Carolina
August 10-11: West Virginia Cemetery Conf. & Golf Tournament, Great Wolf Lodge, Mausoleum
& Funeral Assn. 68th Annual Convention, Centralia.; Queretaro, Mexico
Canaan Resort, Davis. August 20-22: Pet Loss & Grief Wells Fargo Advisors
August 12-15: New York State Funeral Companioning Certification, Embassy San Luis Obispo, California
Directors Assn. Convention, Turning Stone Suites by Hilton Cincinnati RiverCenter, *rejoined r
➤to page 62
Visit the new and improved August-September 2018 61

43 American Cemetery/Mortuary 23 Funeral Services Inc. 55 Northeast Mausoleum

Consultants 64 funeralOne 45 Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell &
39 American Funeral & Cemetery 45 Grever & Ward Hippel
Trust Services 63 IMSA 47 RBC Wealth Management
31 ASD—Answering Service for 45 International Mortuary Shipping 29 Regions Bank Funeral & Cemetery
Directors 21 J. Stuart Todd Inc. Trust Services
2 Batesville Casket 15 Johnson Consulting 55 SEP Technologies
17 C&J Financial 17 Kryprotek 43 Supply Link
7 Continental Computer Corp. 37 Live Oak Bank 35 The Foresight Companies LLC
21 Eickhof Columbaria Inc. 43 Madelyn Co. 19 THE SYSTEM
25 Ensure-A-Seal 45 Mausoleum Supply 21 Triple H Co.
31 Flowers for Cemeteries 5 Merendino Cemetery Care 3 U.S. Metalcraft
33 Foundation Partners Group 35 Mitchell K Jewelry 49 VKM International
49 Funeral Call Answering Service 9 MKJ Marketing 13 Wilbert Funeral Services
41 Funeral Director’s Management 29 National Museum of Funeral History 31 WithumSmith + Brown
System 31 Nomis Publications 19 Zontec Ozone r

➤from page 61
Covington, Kentucky. coleen@ September 24-26: Ontario ALPAR promotes worldwide event
A Funeral Service Assn. Annual
General Mtg. & Conf., Blue LPAR invites other industry associations to join in the
August 22-24: PLPA College,
Mountain Resort. September 30, 2018, celebration of “The World United
Embassy Suites by Hilton
Cincinnati RiverCenter, September 26: Indiana for Life.” Since 2012, this global movement that celebrates life
Covington, Kentucky. Cemetery Assn. Fall Convention has summoned millions of people around the world to join the & Trade Show, Washington Park different activities organized by the companies in the industry.
August 28: Batesville webinar, East Cemetery, Indianapolis. This promotes the unity of families beyond geographical
“Staying Relevant in an Evolving www.indianacemetery borders, raises awareness of the sensitive issue of loss and the
Marketplace.” work of the professionals of our industry. September 26-28: ICCFA Fall ALPAR is asking UNESCO for a proclamation of an inter-
August 28 & 29: ICCFA Management Conf., Eau Palm national day to institutionalize The World United for Life. r
Cremation Operator & Arranger Beach Resort & Spa, Manala-
Training, Ohio Funeral Directors pan, Florida. Assn. Fall Maintenance Day, November 7: Funeral Directors
Association, Columbus. September 29-October 2: Spring Grove Cemetery, Service Assn. of Greater Chica- Wyoming Funeral Directors Cincinnati. www.ohiocemetery go Trade Show, White Eagle
September 12-13: Illinois Assn. Annual Convention & Banquets & Restaurant, Niles,
Cemetery & Funeral Home Trade Show, Casper. October 2-3: Florida Cemetery, Illinois.
Assn. 90th Annual Fall Cremation and Funeral Assn. December 11-12: ICCFA
Convention, Harrah’s Joliet September 29-October 3: Leadership Training Seminar, Cremation Operator & Arranger
Casino & Hotel. New York State Assn. of Daytona Beach. Training, live stream and The
September 18-21: Catholic Ce- Cemeteries 90th Annual Fall Wilbert Group, Broadview,
metery Conference Annual Con- Conf., The Sagamore, Bolton October 4-5: Cemetery Assn. of Illinois.
vention & Expo, Hilton Cincinnati Landing. Oregon Conf., Newport.
Netherlands Plaza, Ohio. www. October 2: Ohio Cemetery 2019
January 23-25: ICCFA Wide
October 10-13: Selected Inde-
World of Sales, Bally’s Las
pendent Funeral Homes Annual
Vegas, Nevada.
Mtg., Snowbird Ski & Summer
Resort, Salt Lake City, Utah. February 4-7: Dr. Alan Wolfelt’s training session for funeral
directors, “Creating Meaningful
October 14-17: NFDA Annual
Funeral Ceremonies,” Scottsdale,
Convention & Expo, Salt Palace
Convention Center, Salt Lake
City, Utah. February 8-10: Monument
October 29-30: Casket & Builders of North America
Funeral Supply Assn. Fall Conf. Industry Show, Marriot St. Lous
& Trade Show, Hilton Columbus Grande & St. Louis Convention
Downtown, Ohio. Center, Missouri. r

62 ICCFA Magazine “Like” the ICCFA on Facebook & friend “ICCFA Staff ”
Who Supplies
the Suppliers?
For funeral and cemetery suppliers, business
has never been more isolating. Often ideas
are done in a vacuum. What you know is only
what you know, which limits how far you can
go. IMSA membership can change that. We’ve
brought together some of the top industry
experts to offer our members free one-on-
one advice on marketing, business planning,
legal issues and more. We also bring to
our members insightful business-boosting
webinars, meaningful industry resources and
networking with other IMSA members. All this
for just $175 a year. We’re the only association
serving all funeral and cemetery suppliers.
Because what’s good for the suppliers is
good for the providers and that’s good for the
families. IMSA. Supplying opportunity.

IMSA members now get free consultation with Dan Katz & Rolf Gutknecht of LA ads, Jake Johnson
of Johnson Consulting, Ryan Thogmartin of Disrupt Media and Poul Lemasters of Lemasters Consulting.
funeralOne AD
page 64 (C4)