Page 1

Fall 2013 I

The Future of Funeral Service

Young Professionals

One-on-One with next generation funeral professionals

Fall Forum

Austin, TX hosts networking, education & fun

Networking: Make a Plan

Learn how to get the most out of conference attendance

The Independent速 | Fall 2013


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2 | The Independent®

Table of Contents

Inside OGR President’s Message





Maximize Conference Networking

Newsworthy 18

These easy tips will make your conference attendance more productive.

GSG Spotlight

By Thom Singer

Fall Forum

Austin, TX plays host to OGR and NFDA for education, networking and Texas sized fun.

Young Professionals By Denise Rodriquez

Association staffer goes one-on-one with the next generation of OGR members.

CALENDAR [ Sept. 26 ]


New Members 24 In Memoriam 26 Exemplary Service


Milestone Anniversaries



[ Oct. 18-19 ]

OGR Fall Forum, Webinar: Austin, TX Using Telecommunications to Manage & Grow Your Funeral Home

[ Oct. 20-23 ] NFDA Annual Conference Austin, TX

[ Nov. 26]

[ March 27-29]

Webinar: Innovative Technology in Funeral Homes: Challenges & Victories

Annual Conference Charleston, SC 55 march 27-29 | charleston, sc

The IndependentÂŽ | Fall 2013


The Independent® is a benefit of membership in the International Order of the Golden Rule (OGR), a not-forprofit organization tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, Federal ID No. 43-1828432. Published quarterly, The Independent® is mailed the first full week of each new quarter. Send address changes to OGR, Attn: Mailing List, 3520 Executive Center Dr., Suite 300, Austin, TX 78731. © 2011 International Order of the Golden Rule. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Nonmember subscriptions (USD): One year: $40; two years: $60; single copy: $11.50. Founded in 1928, OGR is composed of independently owned and operated funeral homes located throughout North America and overseas. Editorial material and letters of opinion are invited. Published articles reflect the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the association. OGR reserves the right to edit all submitted materials and does not assume responsibility for unsolicited materials. For author guidelines, contact the editor, (800) 637-8030, or visit

BOAR D OF D IR EC TOR S President David Fry

President-Elect Wayne “Bud” Wieting

Secretary-Treasurer William Brock, Jr. CFSP

Immediate Past President Michael S. Lewis Directors Roger Beyers

Charles Castiglia

Adam Miles Martin


Peter “Skip” Urban

Access Financial Group......................... 7, 9 Chris Chigas, (800) 487-8220, ext. 8233

Answering Service for Directors ............. 25 Kevin Czachor, (800) 868-9950

STAFF Executive Director Mark Allen

Communications & Scott F. McClure Marketing Director Staff Maureen Hayes

Connie Haymes

Aurora...................................................... 32

Pamela Hutchinson

Chip Ray, (800) 457-1111

Gael Murdoch

Denise Rodriguez Debbie J. Smith

C& J Financial ........................................ 31 Jamie Meredith, (800) 785-0003

Church & Chapel Metal Arts, Inc...............8 (773) 489-3700

F.A.C. Marketing..........................................17 Chris King, (800) 800-5809

Federated Insurance...................................8 Jack West (800) 533-3046

PinDot Media...............................................25 Ruth Gravely, (678) 775-7646

The Judith Roth Collection............................2 (800) 413-4455

4 | The Independent®

Jessica A. Smith Design & Layout Scott F. McClure

Advertising is accepted at the discretion of the publisher. The advertisement of any product or service in The Independent® does not represent an endorsement of such product or service by OGR. Classified Advertising: line ads: $1.10 per word; display classified ads: $30 per col. inch. Call the communications department to reserve space or to request a rate card and mechanical specifications. OGR does not accept ads that discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, age, gender, disability or any other federally protected class.

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The Independent® |

Fall 2013 | Volume 16 | Issue 4

President’s Message



his edition of The Independent® focuses on young professionals. Let me start by saying that I am really excited about our young professionals who are members of OGR. These select men and women are the future of OGR and funeral service. I am proud to serve on the Board of Directors with two of the best funeral service has to offer, Adam Martin and Charles Castiglia. Watch them, learn from them and others just like them who are at the head of the class.

As I talk with our membership and read survey responses, I need to address an issue that really has me concerned. As a member of the Board of Directors we are given the privilege of reviewing members when they: 1) apply for membership into OGR; 2) advance to the Gold Level of membership; and lastly, 3) decide to terminate their membership. I want to focus on the last item that deals with termination of membership.

Serving on your Board of Directors has given each Board member an insight as to how funeral service, and in particular, organizations like and including OGR, are changing. Your Board is very aware that we must offer real benefits to our members along with the very best and brightest of speakers who will address topics that are relevant to our profession. We are very aware that your time away from your business is hard to come by. I get it. Until my daughter is licensed, I have to hire coverage from another licensed funeral director to cover my funeral home in my absence while serving this great association. I understand how difficult it is to get time away.

The value comes from attending our annual educational conferences or our Fall Forums. I am willing to wager that if you haven't attended one of our functions in several years you might be one of those who says, "I don't see the value of membership in OGR". I will make another wager. I'll bet that if you attend the Fall Forum in Austin, Texas you will not be disappointed. You will go back to your home and funeral business refreshed and energized with a fresh approach that will enable you to implement several ideas that will have made the trip worth the time and expense.

Do you know that OGR has over 700 members that In a recent survey of our membership, it was discovbelong to this prestigious organization? Membership ered that the average age of the is a very good thing for you and owner of our member firms is 55 the families that you serve. What “...young professionals years of age. I have now passed is hard to understand is when a have a new and differthe 60 year mark and am lookmember who has terminated with ing to the future by serving with ent approach which will OGR lists the reason as "I don't my daughter, Amber Spangler, see the value of membership," or be a design change in who is in the final stages of her worse, "I am canceling my the ways we have done even classwork and will soon be filling membership in all my funeral 'business as usual.'” the role of funeral director in service organizations.” our firm. These young professionals have a new and different The value of belonging to any approach, which will bring a change in the ways we professional organization is being able to be with your have done ‘business as usual’. I am looking forward to peers and sharing ideas with each other. I, personally, serving along side of these newest members of funeral have grown professionally by being an active member service. of this association. The key word here is 'active'.

continued on page 9 The Independent® | Fall 2013






Many forget about the value of the networking opportunities and use break times to run back to their hotel rooms or check e-mail and voice-mail. Rarely is there an emergency at the office, but the time it takes to check in on every break leaves people with little chance to connect. Even when they stay in the area of the conference, too much time on breaks is spent on smart phones and other electronics. If the people present at the event are worth knowing, being engaged in conversation will have a better ROI than surfing the internet. Here are 5 ways to maximize your ROI from attending a conference:


ne of the most common reasons that business professionals sight for attending a conference, seminar or convention is the “networking opportunities”. However, few people take advantage of making the connections that they claim to be seeking. Those who attend meetings often come up short in their efforts to build meaningful relationships. Too many people in attendance are unclear on how to take advantage of the amazing chances to interact with the others in attendance. People tend to huddle with their co-workers or other long-time friends and close off their conversations. This can create an atmosphere that feels cliquish and discourages others from joining in discussion. It is common for five people from the same company to sit together at a table. Combined they can meet five other people at a table of ten. If they split up, combined they could meet forty-five people. Do the math! Plus they rarely ever speak to the strangers anyway, as they only talk to each other.

6 | The Independent®

1. Know in advance who you would like to meet.

If you can identify people ahead of time who you assume will be in attendance you can be on the look-out for them at the conference. Better yet, reach out to them by e-mail a few weeks before the seminar and tell them that you would like to meet them for coffee or a drink. You can utilize any number of industry directories, LinkedIn, Facebook or other on-line tools, to locate their contact information if you do not already know them.

2. Always wear your name tag.

Some people are not comfortable wearing name tags and will remove them at the happy hours and during breaks. If you are one of these people, get over

it. The name tag is a great tool to allow others to start conversations. If someone is looking to meet you at the conference, you want to make it easy for them to find you. Plus, name tags will usually have your company name and hometown displayed prominently, and this is a good conversation starter for another person to ask you about yourself and your business.

3. Have plenty of business cards.

Exchanging business cards is common at these events, so make sure you bring a lot of them. Very often people will run out of their cards at events, and this means that when you meet someone you want to connect with you will be at a disadvantage. Politely offering your card in exchange is also a great way to end a conversation when you feel trapped talking to someone and you would prefer to move on.


Ask questions of others. You are not networking at a conference to sell anything on the spot, therefore forget what you have learned about leading with a pre-memorized “elevator pitch�. Instead, be interested in the other person and what they have to say. Ask them about their company, career path, family, hobbies or any other topic that will get them talking. If you are competing with them to talk, you will lose. People like to talk about themselves, so let them. There is lots of time for you to follow up and let them know about your products and services.

5. Follow up.

The most important step to effective networking at a conference is having a good follow up plan. Most people return to work to a very busy schedule and never get around to re-connecting with those

continued on next page

The IndependentÂŽ | Fall 2013


they met at the convention. If the conference is out of town, bring blank note cards with you and write handwritten notes on the airplane. Send emails or other information within one week of meeting someone new, or you might not be remembered. Do not assume that the other person will follow up with you, take this action step as your responsibility and you will have more success at establishing a real connection.

Thom Singer is a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant who will present at OGR’s Fall Forum. He is the author of ten books on the power of business relationships, networking, presentation skills, and entrepreneurship. More information at

All opportunities come from people. Attending a conference can expose you to large numbers of exciting and influential people in your industry who could impact your life and career. But these people can also be ships that pass in the night. You will never know what could have come your way from someone you did not meet at a conference. Make networking a priority and discover the power of business relationships.

Too Busy To Protect Your Business? Even the best businesses can have claims. Contact your local Federated representative to learn more about risk management resources, like a distracted driving program, designed to help keep your business on the right road. Visit to find a representative near you. Federated Mutual Insurance Company • Federated Service Insurance Company* • Federated Life Insurance Company Owatonna, Minnesota 55060 • Phone: (507) 455-5200 • *Not licensed in the states of NH, NJ, RI, and VT.

8 | The Independent®

© 2013 Federated Mutual Insurance Company

continued from page 5

I have seen a couple firms over the past several years leave not only OGR but also their state organizations as well. You may be one of those who says, “I can do this business by myself ” and “I don't need my membership in XYZ Organization anymore”. I believe that in today's constantly changing world you can not stand alone and survive for very long, let alone grow. You have to be fed from somewhere and the best place to get this nourishment is not from your neighbor but from fellow funeral directors who come from all over the United States, Canada, Mexico and other countries. As professional death care providers, we all need time away from the constant stress of running our funeral homes. As you all know this is a most demanding career. Every successful professional I know outside of funeral service belongs to several different organizations that not only help them grow but allow these professionals the opportunity to connect face to face with other professionals in their chosen field. If you think you can't be replaced at the office, please think again. As one man put it to me a couple of years ago, "the cemetery is full of people who can't be replaced". Think about that for a while. Come share and grow with our young professional funeral directors and with those of us who are a little older who together love this profession that we call funeral service. Thanks for listening.

David Fry, President

Thank you, Sponsors!

Welcome Reception

General Session Texas BBQ & Honky-Tonk Party

The Independent® | Fall 2013



Gold Level Achievement in Funeral Home Excellence


Achieving Gold Level membership status in the International Order of the Golden Rule communicates to families in your community that your professional colleagues determined that your funeral home meets and maintains excellent service, regulatory compliance and business standards that adhere to the “Golden Rule.” In April 2010, OGR members approved the introduction of two levels of OGR membership: Basic Level and Gold Level. All members approved prior to April 24, 2010 were grandfathered as Gold Level members until July 1, 2014. OGR BENEFITS BASIC GOLD firms approved after OGR’s Golden Services Group buying program— April 24, 2010 joined group purchasing leverage on products & services as Basic Level memFamily Contact Program—insightful customer feedback on service satisfaction and staff performance bers with the option The Independent® magazine (quarterly)—solutions of upgrading to Gold for funeral service challenges Level by submitting OGR Video Tips Library—access two-minute videos of members providing advice for improving your business and service techniques documents to OGR’s Gold Level Member logo—recognition for your funeral home as a Gold Level Memberdistinguished achiever in your community ship Review Panel. To Golden Rule Member placard—attractive display of your receive approval from commitment to area families Casket and urn purchasing—negotiate best deals with Matthews and Aurora the review panel, Gold members receive the highest discounts possible for each funeral home profile Level membership OGR Roundtable sessions—your inside track to ideas and business plans used by top performing members applicants must demOnline resource library—exclusive access to funeral home forms, onstrate adherence to templates and best practices a set of business and Online community forum—OGR’s version of Facebook for use service performance only by members and ethical standards. Mentoring Program as a Mentor—opportunity to share your knowledge with less experienced peers After receiving the Mentoring Program as a Peer—learn lessons about funeral serdesignation of Gold vice that only experienced professionals can provide Level member, a firm Event discounts—50% off OGR event registrations within the first need only to inform year of membership the review panel of any Free use of Have the Talk of a Lifetime consumer outreach campaign materials— tell families why funerals are important and urge them to discuss final planning substantive changes E-FACTS e-newsletter (bi-weekly)—members-only product & service that have taken place discounts and specials every three years. Independent Insider e-newsletter (2 issues/month)—at-a-glance funeral service news updates

All members are invited and encouraged to take advantage of all benefits and services afforded by your membership in The International Order of the Golden Rule. Contact Debbie Smith, OGR Membership Director at (800) 637-8030 or

10 | The Independent®—24/7 access to members-only news, tools and resources

Resource Guide—instant access to a network of peers and shipping resources

OGR Awards of Excellent Scholarship Program—support for promising mortuary science students entering the job market

Annual Business Meeting—face-to-face feedback about OGR and your membership

Voting rights—representation in all Board elections and membership petitions

Board & committee service eligibility—opportunities to contribute to your profession through OGR service

Urgent notices & update—time-sensitive news, calls-for-action and member deaths


October 18 - 19, 2013 Friday Oct. 18

Welcome Reception 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.

Dutch Treat Dinner (opt.) 6:30 p.m.

Welcome Reception – Enjoy an Austin welcome as you

reconnect with old friends and make new ones while listening to local musicians, The Bluebird Specials. Sponsor

Saturday Oct. 19

Educational Sessions – Attend educational sessions that will help you

Connecting in a Social Media Crazy World 8:00 - 9:15 a.m.

Texas BBQ & Honky-Tonk Party – Join OGR and other indepen-

Coffee & Pastries 7:00 - 8:00 a.m.

Price Shoppers and Your Staff 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Boosting Profitability Through Preneed Marketing, Pt. I 10:45 - 11:45 a.m. Lunch 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Preneed Marketing, Pt. IICase Studies 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.

Engaging Families with Celebrants 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Great Ideas Member Exchange 4:15 - 5:30 p.m. BBQ & Honky-Tonk Party 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 20

Gospel Brunch at Stubb’s BBQ (opt.) 11:00 a.m. NFDA Welcome Party 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

make smart choices to be financially successful.

dent funeral professionals for a night of bands, beer, and barbecue at Austin’s Sponsor: legendary honky-tonk, the Broken Spoke. Included with Fall Forum Registration

Stubb’s Gospel Brunch – Join your colleagues for live gospel music

and a world-renowned buffet, featuring such items as: southern-style grits, migas, fried catfish and their famous BBQ brisket.

NFDA’s Welcome Party – Held at the home of The University of Texas Longhorns, this party will be one to remember. Enjoy game day food and truly Texas style entertainment as you explore the stadium. Show your team spirit by wearing your home – or favorite – college team apparel. Included with Fall Forum Registration

Opening NFDA General Session – Dr. Thomas G. Long and Thomas

Lynch will discuss the essential dynamics, values and best practices of a good funeral. They’ll also explore how to inform and inspire a new generation on the ritual, religious, cultural and social importance of serving the living by caring for the dead. Included with Fall Forum Registration

NFDA Expo Hall – Attend the world’s largest funeral industry tradeshow FREE, courtesy of GSG suppliers exhibiting at the Expo. Included with Fall Forum Registration

Monday, Oct. 21

NFDA Opening Session 9:45 - 11:45 a.m. NFDA Expo Noon - 5:00 p.m.

The Independent® | Fall 2013 11

Keynote: Connecting with People in a Social Media Crazy World


essio S n o i t a uc

Thom Singer, The Conference Catalyst Are you fully connecting with people? Learn how to create long-term business relationships with colleagues and families and discover the untapped potential of “hallway conversations”. You’ll walk away with the tools necessary to build more meaningful connections with families and colleagues through personal relationships and not just social media or business.

Rising Above the Competition: Price Shoppers and Your Staff

Scott Newton, Graystone Associates, Inc. You have only a few seconds to rise above competitors when potential clients call your funeral home. Make sure your staff uses this time to convert shoppers into buyers. Back by popular demand, Scott Newton will build on his 2013 Annual Conference presentation as he demonstrates the telephone skills and etiquette needed to effectively handle price shoppers.


Boosting Profitability through Preneed Marketing, Part I

Quinn Eagan, Pre-need Funeral Program Is your preneed program working for you as well as it should? Find out how you can boost profitability, help families, and distinguish your funeral home from your competitors by appealing to veterans, avoiding marketing pitfalls and evaluating the success of your preneed program.

Video Case Studies for Achieving Better Service and Profitability through Preneed Marketing, Part II

Quinn Eagan, Pre-need Funeral Program and OGR member testimonials Looking for ways to pump up the profit in your preneed program? Learn from fellow OGR members as they share their marketing success stories in short videos, and then discuss with peers how to effectively execute a marketing strategy for preneed seminars, mail campaigns, staff training and community outreach. This is a useful session you won’t want to miss.

It’s All about the Stories: Engaging Families with Celebrants

Glenda Stansbury, In-Sight Institute Families think funeral directors lack the ability to arrange creative funerals that honor their loved ones in meaningful ways, according to recent studies. This doesn’t have to be the case. By providing a unique and personalized experience for each family, you can provide a service that exceeds families’ expectations, generates revenue and creates loyalty for your firm.

Great Ideas Members Exchange— with a Twist!

In these interactive sessions, ideas brought up by the moderators will be discussed and examined by the group as a whole, as well as online and through Twitter. Attendees should bring their OWN best practices and challenges with them to add to the discussion.


The newly-renovated Courtyard Austin Downtown/Convention Center offers full-service amenities at the Courtyard value (mention OGR’s rate of $205/night when you register). Adjacent to the Convention Center where NFDA’s expo will be taking place, the Courtyard Marriott is within walking distance of the 6th Street music scene and restaurants. At the doorstep of the hotel are the State Capitol, the University of Texas, the flagship store of Whole Foods Market, and the trendy Warehouse District. To make hotel reservations, call 1-800-321-2211 and mention the OGR rate of $205 by Thursday, September 26. Rooms are available for Thursday, October 17 – Wednesday, October 23, and OGR’s rate is only guaranteed while rooms are available in the room block, so make your room reservations early.

12 | The Independent®


Fly into Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), located only eight miles from the Courtyard Marriott. For transportation to and from the airport, make a reservation with Super Shuttle ($13 one way, (800) 622-2089 ext. 2, or take a bus ($10 one way) or a taxi ($25 one way). The hotel does not provide shuttle service. Visit for more information.


Up to 7.5 hours of CEU credit is available in states where approved. Visit the OGR website for the current list of approvals.

L Re OWE gis tra R Fee tion s!

2013 Fall Forum Registration Form October 18 - 19, 2013 | Austin, TX | Courtyard Austin Downtown/Convention Center Firm:


City, State / Prov., Zip / Postal Code: Phone:


E-Mail Address:

Meeting Registration

(includes educational sessions, welcome reception, breakfast, lunch, breaks and Texas BBQ Party)



FD/EMB Lic# $450 First Registrant___________________________________________________________________________


$325 FD/EMB Lic# Additional Registrant______________________________________________________________________


Guest(s)*________________________________________________________________________________ $150


*Welcome reception, breakfast, lunch, breaks and BBQ Party only; no educational sessions

Additional Tickets:

Welcome Reception____________________________________________________________________ Qty: _____X $45 each Names of attendees _____________________________________________________________________ Texas BBQ & Honky-tonk Party tickets (Sat. night)__________________________________________ Qty: _____X $50 each Names of attendees _____________________________________________________________________ Sunday Gospel Brunch at Stubb’s (pay $20.95 on site) _________________________________________Qty: _____ Names of attendees _____________________________________________________________________ I am interested in signing up for Friday’s Dutch Treat Dinner (details to come)

Payment Information


My check is enclosed (payable in US dollars to OGR) Charge to my

AMEX Discover MasterCard Visa

Name on card:____________________________________________________________________________ Account #__________________________________________Exp. Date:_________Security Code:________ Signature:________________________________________________________________________________ Registration & Cancellation Policy: Full payment must accompany registration. If you are unable to attend, another staff member may attend in your place. If you must cancel, notify OGR in writing no later than 10 days prior to the meeting. Refunds will be processed minus a $75 administrative fee, and no refunds will be made if notified less than 10 days before the event or for no-shows. Americans with Disabilities Act: If you require special assistance while attending OGR’s Fall Forum, contact Jessica Smith at (800) 637-8030 or at least two weeks prior to the event. Mail form with payment to OGR, 3520 Executive Center Drive, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78731, or fax to (512) 334-5514.

Questions? (800) 637-8030

The Independent® | Fall 2013 13

Q: How does it feel to be out of school? Was the transition easy for you?

A: I am so glad to be out of school. I miss my friends and hometown, but I’m glad I don’t have to study anymore. It was hard. I missed my family. Q: Who or what inspires you?

By Denise Rodriquez

Mackensie Rupp-Intern

Music Lover & Closet Introvert

A: Dealing with people in hard times, I feel like it’s a calling. People who have inspired me are Mark Jahn, my parents, grandpa, grandma and family. They are my biggest pushers and supporters. I am really inspired when people thank me and encourage me. Q: What is one thing you believe your peers would be surprised to know about you?

A: I’m actually kind of an introvert rather than extrovert. I often have to push myself out of my bubble. I love people, though. Q: What is your favorite phone app?

A: Pandora. I love listening to music.

Q: Is there anything in particular you do at work to keep your spirits high or the spirits of your fellow staff members high?


ackenzie Rupp, a music lover and closet introvert, is a recent graduate and intern at OGR member firm Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home in Indiana. We recently caught up with her to see how she’s transitioning from student to intern and what it’s like to be a young professional in funeral service. Q: How did you begin working in the funeral service profession? Describe your job responsibilities.

A: At the end of my senior year, I was exploring career choices and decided I didn’t want to do nursing. I liked how the funeral directors dressed up and helped families in need. After being here a month, I realized this is what I was supposed to be doing. I work visitations, make families feel more comfortable, hold arrangement conferences, and help out in the prep room. 14 | The Independent®

A: Just working with families, and when I know that they have been treated well, that keeps me going. In the prep room, I like to put music on. I love Dave Matthews.

Q: What are your plans for the future? Any further goals you have in mind?

A: I don’t believe I will change professions. This is my calling, my blessing. I love it. I want to buy into our funeral home and help out as much as possible. I have worked for a few funeral homes in Jeffersonville for a short while volunteering, and I have never seen anyone do a better job or families be more grateful than here.

Ms. Rupp of Berne graduated from Mid-America College of Funeral Service in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 2013. Following her graduation, she also successfully passed her National Board Exam. She will now be serving her internship at Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home over the next year, after which she can take her State Exam in order to become licensed in the State of Indiana as a funeral director. She has been working part-time at Zwick & Jahn since May of 2010.

with the board and the members for years. They talked very highly of Federated, so it was fun for me to have that interaction.”

Jack West

National Account Executive by Day by Night


ack West has been with Federated Insurance for over 16 years and, yes, it’s true, he enjoys a good game of fantasy football. He began working with Federated straight out of college. West confesses, “This was the last profession I thought I would get into. I initially took the interview as practice.” He also adds, “But when I found out what Federated was about and that it had a year training program, I knew they were going to invest in me and so I began working here and have progressed up the chain. I believe in what we do.” One service Jack believes in is Federated Insurance’s online risk management program, the Federated Shield Network. Federated members are able to access this online network 24/7 and gain access to videos, risk management programs, brochures, posters, drugfree workplace tools and webinars. West has taken over working with OGR members and is picking up where his predecessor, Mike Russell, left off. He is interested in formalizing a partnership between Federated Insurance and OGR and recently attended the annual conference in Memphis, TN. West had several positive things to say about the experience stating, “I felt very comfortable at the conference as everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I felt like I had worked

According to West, OGR is a very “tight-knit, family-oriented group.” He is a family man and has been married for 16 years commenting, “My wife and I were high school sweethearts. We started dating when we were 14, and we’ve known each other since 5th grade.” West’s marriage sounds like the happy ending to a great, romantic movie. In addition to spending time with his wife, he dedicates much of his free time to his three children. He has two sons, ages 5 and 11, and one daughter, age 13. Over the years, he has coached his son’s wrestling and baseball teams and has spent countless hours at the soccer field cheering on his daughter. West also finds time to relax by playing golf and watching football. His favorite team is the Green Bay Packers. West just got an iPhone, so using phone apps is a new experience for him. However, one app that he finds practical and helpful is Google Maps Mobile. This app keeps him from getting lost when he travels through the country on business since there’s no need to stop and ask for directions. Now all he has to do is consult Google Maps or Siri, the iPhone’s intelligent personal assistant. West will be at the NFDA conference this fall and will be doing a presentation on Federated Insurance’s Distracted Driving Program. The goal of the program is to bring attention to the growing problem of distracted driving. It is also designed to be a community outreach tool. West says, “The program is simple and tailor-made to create awareness.” If you are attending the conference this fall, be sure to stop by and see Jack and come equipped with fellow fantasy football player stats.

The Independent® | Fall 2013 15


tG Scot

& Lover d a P i r r, Golfe re Enforce a Afterc


cott Green says that one thing people would be surprised to know about him is that outside of work he is not an obsessive “neat freak”, relaying that people tend to make assumptions when they first meet him because of his well-groomed appearance and mannerisms. Working in the funeral service profession probably doesn’t help dispel this rumor, especially among people who have watched the HBO hit series Six-feet Under where one of the main characters, David, is depicted as an uptight and obsessively organized funeral director. Hollywood stereotypes aside, many people might be surprised to know that in his spare time, Green is an avid golfer. He’s incorporated the use of technology into the game by using Skydroid, a mobile app designed especially for golf lovers. Skydroid maps the GPS distance to the front, center and back of every green among other features. He also enjoys other phone apps such as SportsCenter and Facebook. Green represents the 3rd generation at George Irvin Green Funeral Home. His grandfather, George Green, founded the funeral home in 1941, and it has been a family run business ever since. His grandmother, Helen Green, received her funeral license in 1959, which Green comments was “very unique for a woman to be licensed during that time.” He finds his everyday motivation by living up to their legacy. As a child, he would watch his father work and when he grew older he realized that his personality and passion met with what families needed during that 16 | The Independent®

time. Green states, “I enjoy what I do especially when families come back after the service and say how wonderful everything was. OGR Family Contact surveys help as well. Seeing all the positive comments is rewarding.” It is important to Green to promote a good working environment, and he often finds himself staying positive throughout the day. This has served him and his fellow staff members well. He comments, “We like to maintain a family-oriented atmosphere so that when someone is hired, they never leave.” Although many interpret the phrasing, “when someone is hired here, they never leave,” as the perfect tagline to a scary movie (especially in the context of a funeral home), Scott’s sincerity shines through his genuineness and strong Christian outlook. Green enjoys implementing new ideas and concepts to innovate funeral arrangements. He has a progressive attitude and does not shy away from using technology at his funeral home. For example, Green finds visual aids helpful during his conferences with families saying, “It helps to have a screen to show information on. The DVD, the 40 pictures, the demo can be easily shown off an iPad, so families have a visual example of what we can do for them.” Recently, he has spear-headed the implementation of an aftercare program commenting, “A lot of times we don’t want our service to end when the funeral service ends, so we take it upon ourselves to reference who to contact and where to go next. Aftercare is overlooked, but it is very valuable to follow up with anniversary cards and phone calls; it completes the process of comfort.” According to Green, a great benefit that OGR offers is the opportunity to, “network and exchange ideas and concepts. It is nice to have a core group in our area/field.” With the help of OGR, he plans to host a study group at his funeral home, which he feels will be beneficial for himself and other members. Scott was recently one of the 50 funeral directors selected by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) to participate in the Meet the Mentors program. The program brought young funeral professionals together to learn from three of the country’s leading funeral directors and network with like-minded peers. It took place August 19 and 20 at the Harvard Faculty Library in Cambridge, Mass. Scott comments, “Attending the Meet the Mentors program was a great experience. It was a great honor to be selected to associate with the highest and best of our profession nationwide.”.


hen Lindsay Eagan Bourgeois is not scuba diving or running with the bulls, she is working at Pre-Need Funeral Program (PFP). After she earned her degree in public relations, her father, Quinn Eagan, president and founder of PFP, recruited her to work for the family business. Bourgeois writes articles for national and regional trade magazines such as American Funeral Director and Southern Funeral Director. Among other tasks, she also designs marketing material and copy edits for PFP. When asked how she keeps her energy and motivation high at work, Bourgeois responded, “Reminding myself of why I am doing this is a good motivator,” and confesses that “chocolate is too.” Bourgeois also revealed that one of her greatest inspirations is her father, stating, “This may sound kind of cliché, but my dad inspires me the most because he is the ultimate professional and expert when it comes to the preneed program. He is really into this to help families and has such an innovative, unique mind when it comes to new marketing strategies. I aspire to be like him and hope to have as much integrity as he does.” In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano and the flute and loves to water ski. When she’s not exercising her adventurous spirit or giving into her chocolate cravings, she enjoys killing time on her favorite

phone apps— Twitter and Vine. One of Bourgeois’ most memorable tweets mentions the joy of working in a family business. “My whole family has been fired. But we all eventually get rehired!” This is a sentiment that funeral directors who work in a family owned business may find humorous —firing a family member in the morning and rehiring them the next day after a good night’s sleep. Bourgeois also spends her free time keeping in touch with her family and friends saying, “I moved to Maryland a few months ago because my husband got a job here, so now I enjoy spending time with my family whenever I get the chance. I miss New Orleans, and I want to move back there within the next few years.” One marketing tool that Bourgeois finds beneficial is the use of social media, stating, “Social media outlets help funeral homes engage through social networking. It is free marketing and you are able to engage with individuals and speak to them on a more personal level.” Among the things she values most about her relationship with OGR is “the way OGR reaches out to suppliers and funeral homes and brings everyone together. OGR provides an extra channel to (connect with members) in a very family-business-oriented network. Everyone is very supportive of each other, and we are constantly bouncing ideas off of one another.” The feelings are mutual, Lindsay. OGR appreciates you as well. The Independent® | Fall 2013 17


BesT simply the

Eight Time Winner

Parthemore Funeral Home & Cremation Services of New Cumberland, PA has been honored as the 2013 Simply The Best Funeral Home by Harrisburg Magazine. This is the eighth consecutive year that Parthemore Funeral Home has been honored. Every year, the readers of Harrisburg Magazine vote for their favorites in categories including area businesses, services, destinations and many others. Over 13,000 ballots were cast for this year’s selection. “We are proud that our family tradition of caring has been recognized as Simply The Best for all these years,” said Gilbert J. Parthemore, Supervisor. “We would like to sincerely thank the community for the honor and promise that we will continue to dedicate ourselves to understanding their unique needs and providing the outstanding service that the community has come to expect.”

Charity Starts at Home

Readers Choose Ponders The readers of the Daily Citizens News in Dalton Georgia voted Ponders Funeral Home as the Readers Choice for Best Funeral Home in Northwest Georgia. “It has always been an honor to serve the families of Northwest Georgia, and myself and staff will continue to do the very best for the families we serve”, said Stoney Ponders. Share your stories of community involvement, dedication to the calling or recognition in projects for the greater good. E-mail to Scott McClure at

for less than the cost to place a single newspaper ad, you can branch out! Premium Social Media Management Includes:

Stauffer Funeral Homes recently pledged $25,000 to Hospice of Frederick County, becoming the first charter member of Hospice’s Corporate Partner’s program.

Stauffer’s pledge is an integral part of Hospice of Frederick County’s over arching three-year, $5 million Plan for Living Campaign which has two goals: to establish a fund to support the Kline Hospice House, and provide critical financial support to Hospice’s extensive grief support program. 18 | The Independent®

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GSG Spotlight

OGR Gives You

Options: W

hen it comes to purchasing power, the choices that you make impact the profitability and success of your funeral home. That is why we are happy to offer our members the best when it comes to burial, cremation and memorialization products and services.


OGR’s 27-year relationship with Aurora Casket reflects our mutual commitment to funeral service. Aurora’s support of OGR’s goals and efforts provides us with a vehicle to give back to funeral service in a way that strengthens the value of the service you provide. OGR’s Aurora Casket programs provide very attractive terms and rebates to our members nationwide. Members can choose to remain on the Aurora Advantage program or explore alternative Aurora sales programs that offer even great savings for a higher level of purchase commitment. You can be assured of the best purchasing program and pricing to meet your specific needs. Meet with your Aurora representative to review the available sales programs and see how Aurora can best benefit your firm. You can also call the Aurora Answers team at (800) 457-1111.


In addition to Aurora, we are happy to offer members a new addition to our products and services discount program. Matthews International has joined the elite group of Endorsed Suppliers with OGR’s Golden Services Group. Matthews supplies products and services to OGR member funeral homes including caskets & alternative containers, urns, keepsakes and cremation jewelry. Matthews is known industry-wide for its strong product quality, excellent customer service and consultative sales force. To request the best purchasing program and pricing available in your area, contact or call (800) 223-4964 to be directly connected with the Matthews Funeral Sales Consultant in your area and to learn more about what Matthews can offer you. Whichever option you may choose, we are certain that both Aurora and Matthews will provide you with the service you have come to expect from your Golden Services Group Suppliers. You are encouraged to explore your purchasing options and to negotiate your ‘best’ price guarantee with a commitment from both Aurora and Matthews to offer OGR members the most competitive pricing in the business.

The Independent® | Fall 2013 19

OGR’s Positions on Funeral Service Issues: Do These Policy Statements Represent Your Interests? What should OGR’s position be on issues that impact independent funeral homes now and in the future? OGR’s Board of Directors have identified where they believe OGR stands regarding important concerns. Why Develop OGR Position Statements? While OGR is not a political action group, it monitors steps taken by the federal government that impact independent funeral homes and provides commentary and testimony to decision makers. The loudest and most effective voices are those delivering messages in unison. By identifying what best represents OGR members, we stand united in supporting activities and allies that move funeral service in the right direction. Position statements provide an easy way to evaluate and communicate common ground in terms that serve members. Issue Regulation of Preneed Funeral Contracts Variable Service Fee


How Can You Use OGR’s Position Statements? Not only will we be on the same page as independent funeral professionals, but individual members can use these statements to respond to client families, critics or local media. They are intended to communicate the values and ethics for which OGR stands. What Is YOUR Opinion? Let us know if you have a different viewpoint before we affirm these as official OGR Position Statements. Which issues are most important to you? Should we avoid any issues? Submit your comments in confidence to OGR at or call Mark Allen at (800) 637-8030.

OGR’s Position OGR supports additional consumer protection provisions to state preneed laws and regulations.

OGR supports replacing the Basic Services Fee in the FTC’s Funeral Rule with a variable Basic Service Fee that funeral homes could set depending upon the type of funeral and disposition selected by the consumer. Amend the Current OGR supports modifications to the Funeral Rule Funeral Rule that hold all funeral service providers (i.e., Internet, religious, cemeteries and discount providers) to the same standards when selling funeral services and merchandise. Inclusion of OGR supports that sellers of funeral Cemeteries, goods and/or services to the public and Crematories and who are currently excluded by the other sellers Funeral Rule be subjected to the same regulatory requirements. State Guidelines for OGR supports state-developed Written Price guidelines for price disclosures for all Disclosures sellers of cemetery, alkaline hydrolysis and/or crematory goods or services. OSHA Reform OGR supports legislation, regulations and policies that improve OSHA’s ability to develop practical, performancebased, safety and health workplace practices that appropriately reflect actual funeral home conditions. Use of Formaldehyde OGR supports development of | The Independent® in the Prep Room alternative embalming chemicals, products and equipment that will

Rationale Mishandling of preneed funds is injurious to all segments of funeral service. Clear and appropriate regulatory guidelines will help funeral professionals avoid problems. The static Basic Service Fee was designed for traditional services with burial and often does not adequately account for unique, nontraditional and/or cremation services. Unfair advantages to certain categories of funeral providers place undue hardship on those who must comply to FTC Funeral Rule regulations. Consumer advocacy groups often claim consumers are better served by a wider pool of funeral providers. OGR believes they should function under the same guidelines. Federal guidelines will paint with too broad of a brush when establishing price disclosure guidelines. OGR members want to keep their employees and customers safe at funeral homes. Safety guidelines are positive, but some of OSHA’s regulations are not practical. OGR would like the agency’s funeral home regulations to move in a more pragmatic direction. Growing evidence suggest formaldehyde may increase cancer risks for prep room personnel. Regulations will most likely tighten controls on

Issue Use of Formaldehyde in the Prep Room

State Regulation of Alkaline Hydrolysis Organ and Tissue Recovery Non-Profits Entering Funeral Service

Veterans Funeral and Burial Benefits Military Funeral Honors

International Shipping Standards Cargo Screening Program for Human Remains Infectious Disease Inoculation

Emergency Reciprocal Licensing

Small Business Legislation and Tax Reform

Access to Affordable Health Insurance Exclude SSI Irrevocable Funeral Trusts as Assets

to develop practical, performancebased, safety and health workplace practices that appropriately reflect OGR’s Position actual funeral home conditions. OGR supports development of alternative embalming chemicals, products and equipment that will increase the health and safety of prep room personnel who regularly work with formaldehyde. OGR supports state regulation of alkaline hydrolysis as a means of final disposition separate and apart from cremation. OGR supports appropriate and respectful recovery standards and policies for organ and tissue donations. OGR supports evaluating the consequences of churches, abbeys, hospice organizations and other nonprofit entities that provide funeralrelated services. OGR supports legislation that increases the funeral and burial benefits for veterans and their families. OGR supports improving the military honors program and insuring that implementing policies regarding the providing of military honors for qualified veterans reflect congressional intent and continue to address specific concerns. OGR supports establishing international shipping standards for human remains. OGR supports developing reasonable methods to screen human remains prior to shipping. OGR believes funeral service personnel should be among the first groups eligible for voluntary inoculation against any and all infectious/ contagious diseases or biologic agents. OGR supports reciprocal recognition of licensed funeral directors and embalmers across state lines in the event a mass disaster. OGR supports legislation that creates economic conditions that help small and family-owned businesses grow and improve their businesses. This includes tax reform that considers small business circumstances. OGR supports access to affordable health insurance for small business. OGR supports federal legislation to exclude irrevocable funeral trusts as assets used to determine eligibility for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

guidelines are positive, but some of OSHA’s regulations are not practical. OGR would like the agency’s funeral home regulations to move Rationale in a more pragmatic direction. Growing evidence suggest formaldehyde may increase cancer risks for prep room personnel. Regulations will most likely tighten controls on or eliminate the use of formaldehyde within 15 years. Separating alkaline hydrolysis from traditional cremation recognizes the vastly different procedures used in each method. Families should have general knowledge of organ and tissue donation methods prior to selecting that option. Certain entities have unbalanced influence on segments of consumers’ final planning decisions. These entities should not have an unfair advantage through exemption from regulatory standards and accountability. Memorializing those who have served the interests of one’s nation should always be a priority. As preferences shift to non-traditional funeral services, honoring veterans and those in the military has retained a strong foundation in memorialization. OGR believes this tradition is an important reflection on the dignity of a country’s citizen and should be encouraged. A set of standards designed to accommodate shipping human remains will relieve cost and burden from families. Shipping security is an important priority that should include practical considerations. Workplace safety is a priority for funeral professionals. Often among the first line of handling human remains, personnel should have the assurance of minimizing risk of diseases and injuries. Many instances of mass disasters/fatalities prove that additional support of out-of-state funeral professionals is sometimes necessary. A system to quickly enable sufficient support is in the interest of all those affected by disasters. Independent funeral homes are the bread and butter of funeral service. Overbearing taxation and regulatory requirements impair small business success and make it more difficult to serve families in the most meaningful ways possible. Health insurance, one of the largest staffing expenses, has risen by double digit percentages in recent years. SSI assets are currently subject to multiple levels of taxation.

The Independent® | Fall 2013 21

Nominations Open

NOMINATE COLLEAGUES & FIRMS FOR OGR’S INDUSTRY ACCOLADES OGR invites you to nominate candidates for the Golden Light Award and the Golden Rule Community Service Award. These awards are presented annually to members who inspire you through leadership and service to the profession and community -- members who define success in terms of what they give back. GOLDEN LIGHT AWARD

The OGR Golden Light Award, now in its eleventh year, honors an individual (not a firm) who has made specific, meritorious contributions to society through his or her profession, community or field of voluntary service as lifetime achievements. GOLDEN RULE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

Golden Light

The Golden Rule Community Service Award recognizes a firm (not an individual) for outstanding service to the community during the 2012 calendar year. Members are encourage to submit their own firms. ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES ◊ Funeral homes applying for the Golden Rule Community Service award must meet the following guidelines:

Golden Rule Community Service

◊ All member firms are eligible for the Community Service Award; ◊ Support materials should show evidence of the activity or service, such as press clippings, letters of thanks, testimonials, photos, or governmental citations; ◊ A firm may win this award only once every three years The Golden Light and Golden Rule Community Service award winners will each receive an engraved award and a press release, be recognized at the Annual Conference, and be acknowledged in The Independent™ and on the OGR web site. Submissions must be received by January 31, 2014. For questions about the Golden Light or Golden Rule Community Service Awards, contact Jessica Smith at 800-637-8030, or Download the Awards Entry Form at



SAVE DATE 55 march 27-29 | charleston, sc Charleston, South Carolina— “Ranked the No. 1 World’s Best City By Travel + Leisure”

Board of Directors nominations 2014 - 2015

The OGR Nominating Committee Seeks Candidates with These Skills:

Vision - Innovation - Leadership Any Gold Level member in good standing may submit two people to consider for Board service by sending OGR the person’s name, funeral home and telephone number along with the signatures of three OGR members to the Nominating Committee by e-mail:; or postal mail: OGR, 3520 Executive Center Dr., Suite 300, Austin, TX 78731, by Oct. 15, 2012. The slate of candidates for the 2014-2015 Board of Directors will be announced in the next issue of The Independent magazine and ballots will be mailed this winter. The new board will be installed at OGR’s 2014 Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase in Charleston, SC on March 27-29.

The Independent® | Fall 2013 23

New Members

Business Members: Batesville Technology Solutions Batesville, IN Lori Hartman; Megan Weber; Bonnie Jeffries Phone: (877) 287-8661 Referred by Skip and Delores Urban, Anton B. Urban Funeral Home, Ambler, PA

The GriefWords Online Library is a powerful resource for the families you serve, offering industryexclusive grief articles and book excerpts created by nationally recognized grief expert, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, Director for the Center for Loss and Life Transition. With GriefWords, you can offer families a unique and meaningful resource on your website.

Member benefit: GriefWords subscription - $300 set-up fee ($50 discount) and $135 annual hosting fee (25% discount). Early bird special: Sign up by October 1, 2013 to receive an additional $50 discount or $250 set-up fee, and 25% off hosting fee ($135 annual fee). Detroit, MI Steven Holland Phone: (786) 763-1875

A Mobitsm is a mobile-app with all information regarding final arrangements. It uses features of smartphones such as navigation, tap-to-call and internet search to make it much easier on the family to communicate the loss to those concerned as well as directions, date, time and location information of the final arrangements. Each Mobit™ is branded with your funeral home’s name and contact information, with links to the funeral home’s phone number, website and mobile website. For a demo, text “Mobit” to 72727.

Member benefit: Your first Mobit (Mobile App Obituary) is Free! Funeral home mobile apps are also available with $100 off the one-time standard price of $499. No hosting fee for the funeral home mobile app if you use at least one Mobit annually. For multiple funeral home locations, there is a one-time $100 fee for each additional location. 24 | The Independent®

Nicodemus & Associates Virginia Beach, VA Mike Nicodemus Phone: (757) 503-3576

Nicodemus & Associates

The number of families that choose cremation versus burial has reached almost 50 percent, and they recognize the need to help guide funeral directors through the years ahead. There are many funeral directors that still look at cremation as bad for business. This is where Nicodemus & Associates can help. Cremation may certainly put a damper on your bottom line, but they can help change that. They are funeral directors helping funeral directors. Services include business operational assessments, staff training, marketing, technology, policy and procedure review, crematory site and process inspections. Member benefit: Solutions gained from years of operations expertise, industry leadership and comprehensive knowledge of the industry on a national scale. Shine On Brightly Ashville, NC Adrienne Crowther Phone: (828) 348-0455 Secondary Phone: (866) 844-4469 Referred by Tom Frisch, America’s Great Funeral Homes, Maquoketa, IA

A premier source for unique, hand-crafted memorials, including cremation urns, memorial and cremation jewelry, memorial paintings, memorial glass, hand-bound guest register books, and pet memorials. The company is based in Ashville, NC, which enjoys a long legacy of artists and fine craftsmen. All products on the site are hand-crafted in the U.S. Member benefit: 25 percent off retail pricing

Funeral Home Members: Calvillo Funeral Home Primary Contact: Richard Calvillo AP BOA M PRO RD EM V 206 E. 19th St. BE ED R Lubbock, TX 79403 Phone: (806) 765-5555 Gold Level Achievement in Funeral Home Excellence Fax: (806) 765-0140 Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home- Macland Chapel Primary Contact: Sharon Darlene Pendley 3940 Macland Rd. Powder Springs, GA 30127 Phone: 770-943-1511 Fax: 678-426-3736 Alvarez Funeral Directors Primary Contact: Susan Alvarez 2500 N. Cicero Ave Chicago, IL 60639 Phone: 773-278-8888 Fax: 773-637-6825

The Independent速 | Fall 2013 25

In Memoriam

Remembering Family & Friends Joseph A. Butler III

Joseph A. Butler III, 89, Mission Hills, KS, passed away July 30, 2013 at Bickford of Mission Springs. Mr. Butler was born Dec. 16, 1923 in Kansas City, Kansas to Joseph A. Butler, Jr. and Naydene Rhodus Butler. He grew up in the Parkwood area of KCK, where he attended St. Rose of Lima Grade School, and was a member of the Class of 1941 at Wyandotte H.S. Mr. Butler attended the University of Kansas, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. During WWII, he served first with the Army Air Corps and later with the 3rd Army in Europe. Following the war, he officially entered the family funeral business founded by his grandfather in 1905. He was president of that business at the time of his death. Through the years, he served as president of the KC Funeral Directors Assoc., was a member of various professional organizations and was a former member of the Board of Directors of Donnelly College. In 1951, Mr. Butler was elected Wyandotte County Coroner; an office he held until 1963. He was a Life Member of the VFW as well as the Am. Legion and the 40 & 8. His memberships also included the Fitzsimmons and Lafayette Councils of the Knights of Columbus, Rotary Club, Kaw Valley Investors and Monkey Club. He was a former president of the Top O’ the Mornin’ Club and was honored as its Man of the Year in 1996. He was proud to be an honorary member of the KCK Polish-American Club.

Jimmy A. Dyal

James Aubrey Dyal, 77, of Summerville, SC founder and owner of James A. Dyal Funeral Home, Inc., died Saturday, July 6, 2013 at Hospice Center of Charleston in Mt. Pleasant. Jimmy was born November 29, 1935 in Jasper County, SC, son of the late Marvin Anthony Dyal and Clenner Woods Dyal. He was a 1954 graduate 26 | The Independent®

of St. Paul’s High School, Yonges Island, and a graduate of Kentucky School of Mortuary Science in Louisville, Kentucky. He served in the US Army during the Korean Conflict. He served on the SC State Board of Funeral Service. He was proud to be a member of the SC Funeral Directors Association, Selected Independent and Order of Golden Rule. He was a lifetime member of Chicora Lodge #366. He was also a member of the Omar Shrine, VFW and the American Legion. He was formerly a member of the Summerville Lions Club and Rotary Club. He established Dorchester Memory Gardens, Tri County Cremation Center and Lowcountry Monuments after establishing the funeral home in 1963. He was a member of Summerville Baptist Church. He married Mary Alice Marvin on July 20, 1957. Surviving are his wife; a daughter Elizabeth Dyal Locklear; a son, James A. Dyal, Jr. both of Summerville; three grandchildren; a brother, Bernard L. Dyal and his wife, Gloria; a sister; Elizabeth “Lib” Simmons and her husband Horis, all of Summerville. He is also survived by his brother-in-law Frank M. Marvin of Hollywood and brother-in-law W. Henry Marvin and his wife Narda of Winston Salem, NC. He was preceded in death in 1983 by his daughter, Lorraine Dyal. IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, memorials may be made to Dorchester Memory Gardens Development Fund, PO Box 3040, Summerville, SC 29484 or Miles Road Baptist Church Building Fund, 816 Miles Road, Summerville, SC 29485.

Thomas L. Ferry, Jr.

Thomas L. Ferry Jr., 92, husband of the late Joan Curley Ferry, passed away on Saturday, June 22, 2013 in Meriden, CT with his family at his side. Born in Meriden on February 15, 1921, the son of the late Thomas L. Ferry Sr. and Anna Donahoe Ferry, he had resided in Meriden for all of his life. He attended local schools and graduated from Georgetown Prep and the College of the Holy Cross, Class of 1943. Thomas was the retired president of the John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home. He was a veteran of WWII, having served with the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant, J.G. on the L.S.T. 729 in the Atlantic and Pacific

In Memoriam theatres of operation, including The Battle of Leyte Gulf. Thomas was a lifelong parishioner of St. Rose of Lima Church. He served on the Board of Directors of the Central Bank for Savings and was an active member of The Meriden Boys and Girls Club, The Rotary Club (past president), and a charter member of the Farms Country Club. Thomas was a member of OGR, NFDA and CFDA for many years. Thomas is survived by five children, eight grandchildren, two sisters and two brothers. In honor of Thomas, contributions in his memory may be made to St. Rose of Lima Church, 35 Center Street, Meriden, CT 06540, or to a charity of one’s choice.

Dale Kenneth Griffis

Dale Kenneth "Ken" Griffis, 85, of Pea Ridge, FL passed away Friday, August 2, 2013 at a local hospital. He was a native of Sebring, Florida. He was a US Army Air Corp Veteran of WWII. He was a retired Federal Civil Service Employee whose working career took him to Brookley Field, Mobile, Naval Air Rework Facility, Pensacola, Vietnam, Whiting Field, and Eglin Air Force Base. His love of airplanes led him to build his own experimental home built plane that actually flew. He was an avid reader and loved to read about treasure hunters and finding gold. He loved to watch and tell you about classic movies, again and again and again. He was a man that enjoyed his retirement. He loved to travel, whether it be by RV, airplane or, especially, a cruise ship. He attended First Baptist Church of Milton.

Jon Charles Thomas, Sr.

Jon Charles Thomas, Sr., 74, of Gainesville, FL passed away on Wednesday, June 12, 2013. Jon was born on January 22, 1939 in Uniontown, PA to Robert and Myrtle Thomas. He was in the US Army and was a Licensed Funeral Director and entrepreneur, owning and operating several different funeral homes. In 1986 Jon became the Chief Executive Officer of Thomas-Pierce and Company, specializing in sales, acquisitions, mergers, construction, development, marketing, and cash flow management for the funeral and cemetery industries and cremation businesses throughout the United States and Canada. Since 2004 Jon has served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Forest Meadows Funeral Home and Cemeteries, Moring Funeral Home in Melrose, Evans-Carter Funeral Home in High Springs and A-Direct Cremations in Gainesville and Summerfield. Jon is predeceased by his parents Robert and Myrtle Thomas and a brother James Thomas. He is survived by his wife Patsy Ann Fowler Thomas; children Timothy James Thomas(Lance Licciardi), Hollee Ann Bollman(Kyle) and Jon Charles Thomas II(Karen); a brother Gerald Thomas( Joy); and grandchildren, Cole, Hannah and Miles Bollman and Charlie, Julia and Sailor Thomas. For more information or to leave a condolence please visit:

He was preceded in death by his mother, Mattie Mae Lambert, his brother, L.G. Griffis and his son, Rodney Griffis. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Katherine Adams Griffis, of Pea Ridge; three daughters, Jackie (Tim) McCary of Milton, Kathie (Mike) Lewis of Milton and Christie (Roy) Worton of Warner Robins, Georgia; 15 grandchildren, Kim, Lisa, Angie, Jeffrey, Joey, Ashley, Jason, Bobbi, Dixie, Candy, Rachelle, Katrina, Stephen, Cameron and Kace; 5 great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

The IndependentÂŽ | Fall 2013 27

Exemplary Service

Above THE GOLDEN RULE & Beyond

These members have been cited for providing exemplary service, going beyond expected service levels, and are now eligible for the Gold, Silver or Bronze Exemplary Service Awards. Winners will be honored at the 2014 Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase. Comments submitted by families responding to Family Contact Surveys.

Farmer & Son Funeral Home, Inc.| Geneva, NE They are extremely professional yet in a relaxed, compassionate atmosphere. The burial was a 2 ½ hour drive (one way) and they never made us feel like it was a burden or inconvenience. They made it all about honoring my mother and I will never forget that. They showed great concern about her appearance and if we were satisfied. It was my mother as I remembered her. Beyers Funeral Home & Crematory | Leesburg, FL I called Beyers Funeral Home because our brother’s body had already been lying at the Medical Examiner’s Office for a week because the first funeral home we called refused to pick him up until they were paid. I was beside myself and still cry at the thought of it. I can’t describe what a comfort and relief it was to talk with David at your facility. He was kind and compassionate, and willing to work with the insurance. Within 24 hours, the body was picked up. We were able to do everything over the phone and through e-mail. Karen was very helpful as well. I have very high praise for this facility. Loyless Funeral Home, LLC | Land O’Lakes, FL I am glad to have this opportunity to say how appreciative I am for the professional and personal courtesy exhibited by their staff. My mother passed at a nearby hospital and was to be sent to the funeral home and prepared for transportation to Gainesville as she donated herself to the anatomical society. There were errors made by the physician resulting in a coroner taking my mother to another county and then being transported back to Land O’Lakes. What should have been a few days process turned into a 28 | The Independent®

3 week fiasco. During this entire period, the staff at the funeral home kept me informed and took care of all the arrangements. What could have been so much stress added to an already stressful event was avoided because of the professionalism of the staff. I extend my thanks on behalf of my family to the people responsible for all of the arrangements. Proko Funeral Home | Kenosha, WI Pete was efficient, courteous, patient and very accommodating. He even surprised me with my Dad’s WWII honorable discharge papers. Quite a gift. Each and every one of them was fantastic. Pete notified Kenosha VA, so we had a military burial for my dad. He would have loved it. Proko has been taking care of our family for generations. Having to personally deal with them now, I understand why my family has used them for so long. Exceptional service. Mann-Slonaker Funeral Home, Inc.| East Greenville, PA They worked in perfect coordination to make each transition comfortable. There was ample room for flowers, family and friends, and seating for everyone to see and hear the service. It was over and above my expectation. The service at the home was touching, but the military ceremony at the grave site was impressive. The special touches and the way everything was presented, from the guest book, prayer cards, photo display, flowers, candle, rosary, urn presentation, to the grave site service, gun salute, flag and taps. All was a fitting tribute to a WWII vet, and a good man. The Mann-Slonaker Funeral Home is, in my opinion, the best in service and care during a very difficult time. Carl and Sherry Slonaker have been providing top-notch advisement and consider-

Exemplary Service ation to my family and our community for a very long time. They truly provide care, compassion, and dignity and make every detail flow seamlesly to free the family from added stress. I cannot thank Carl, Sherry, and especially Aubrey enough. Faulmann & Walsh Golden Rule Funeral Home | Fraser, MI Jim Walsh is an amazing, kind and compassionate servant of the Lord. He offered to bring out their “classic” (1942?) hearse because my dad loved that era and cars. The director’s daughter, Sam, embraced me as a friend during my father’s visitation, funeral and burial. She added a dove release with the prayer that blessed us all. The facility is gorgeous, and simple/not overdone. You feel like you are visiting at a friend’s home. One guest called to tell me it was “the best funeral service” she’d ever been to. Cochran Mortuary & Crematory | Wichita, KS The two funeral directors were very professional, yet compassionate and understanding. They answered all my questions and made me feel at ease. Both were very caring individuals. The funeral staff was exceptional. They assisted as casket bearers for my brother. I truly appreciated their services. The funeral home was very well-maintained inside and out. The furnishings for the visitation were comfortable. And the room was very “homey.” I appreciated the drinks and cookies that were provided for our family and friends. The director coordinated everything with the minister who was wonderful. I have already recommended this funeral home to my friend and coworkers. The staff even gave my grandchildren coloring books and colors to entertain them during the visitation. Welch Funeral Home | Ford City, PA I cannot say enough about Mr. Welch. He was wonderful and caring and made this very difficult time for us as bearable as possible. What an amazing person. The staff was fantastic and was right there every time we needed something. They are truly wonderful and special people. The ceremony could not have been more perfect. It was absolutely beautiful and what a tribute to our mom. She was smiling down and very happy. Mr. Welch, his staff and funeral home could not be more perfect. I am so grateful to them for everything.

Johnson-Romito Funeral Homes, Inc.| Bedford, OH My primary contact at the funeral home was Rick Lauck, whose assistance was ideal. Rick led me through the process of planning a modest memorial service for Mom with a certain grace that left me feeling truly uplifted. By the time we left the cemetery, our family had experienced a sense of closure that enabled us to feel that we had truly celebrated a life well-lived. I would not hesitate to recommend the Johnson-Romito staff to anyone. Kolssak Funeral Home, Ltd. | Wheeling, IL Jon Klossak was very thoughtful and welcoming. He had a sincere interest in finding out about my mother and wrote a detailed story of my mother’s life in the church bulletin. The wake at the funeral home was set up well, and he took care of every detail (including flowers, having the grave dug, and having the estimate for the engraving sent to my house). Jon and Louis Klossak were at the church early and set up the flowers, casket, and background music for a viewing one hour prior to the service. Jon gave a thoughtful, short speech at the grave site. Bradley Funeral Home and Crematory | Antigo, WI Very professional. It is obvious Thomas Bradley takes his duties seriously. He displays the utmost respect for the deceased and their family; he is truly dedicated to his profession. He always wanted to know what our needs were and went above and beyond to meet them. The ceremony exceeded all of our expectations. The dignity of our loved one was maintained throughout the entire funeral and visitation. It was all about Mom! Never once did we feel that Bradley Funeral Home and its staff were just providing a service to us. We were welcomed with open arms, treated like family with respect and honor during our time of sorrow. Plummer Funeral Services, Inc. | Litchfield, IL My dad always instructed me, “When something happens to me, you call Terry Plummer and he will take care of things!” My dad was so correct, Terry Plummer ensured that we were taken care of. Dad was a POW in WWII and the funeral staff ensured that the ceremony was a final tribute to my dad’s memory. A huge “Thanks” to the entire funeral home staff for all the support they provided to our family during our time of sorrow. The Independent® | Fall 2013 29

Milestone Anniversaries

MEMBERSHIP makes a difference Fewer than 5 percent of funeral homes in North America have earned the right to hang an OGR plaque in their funeral homes. That plaque stands for something: It means you’re an OGR funeral home of prestige; you’re an OGR funeral home that operates with integrity; you’re an OGR funeral home that extends the golden rule of service to your community. Most importantly, it means you’re in the OGR family.

55 Years | October 1958 Kirila Funeral Home, Inc. Struthers, Ohio

25 Years | September 1988 Fiksdal Funeral Service, Inc. Webster, South Dakota

50 Years | October 1963 Freitag Funeral Home Bridgeton, New Jersey

20 Years | August 1993 George Darte Funeral Chapel, Inc. St. Catharines, Ontario

30 Years | August 1983 Paquelet Funeral Home of Massillon Massillon, Ohio

15 Years | August 1998 Bradley Funeral Home and Crematory Antigo, Wisconsin

30 Years | August 1983 McPherson Funeral Service, Ltd. Cranbrook, British Columbia

15 Years | September 1998 Kitching Steepe & Ludwig Funeral Home Ltd. Waterdown, Ontario

30 Years | September 1983 Bolton & Lunsford Funeral Home Cincinnati, Ohio

15 Years | September 1998 Behr ‘s Funeral Home Dubuque, Iowa

25 Years | September 1988 Bell Funeral Home, Inc. Providence, Rhode Island

15 Years | October 1998 Boone Family Funeral Home & Cremation Svcs West Jefferson, North Carolina

25 Years | September 1988 Denbow-Primm-Kemery Funeral Home Ashland, Ohio

10 Years | August 2003 Golden Funeral Home Bastrop, Louisiana

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The Independent速 | Fall 2013 31

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The Independent/Fall 2013  

International Order of the Golden Rule Quarterly

The Independent/Fall 2013  

International Order of the Golden Rule Quarterly