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Winter 2014 I

2014 Annual Conference Charleston, SC INSIDE:

2014 Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase A First Look at Education, Social Events & Charleston Board Candidates Making Your Choice for 2014-2015 OGR Events Calendar A Full Year for Your Review

The Independent速 | Winter 2014


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Table of Contents

Inside OGR President’s Message


Conference Preview


Young Professionals


Newsworthy 22

Get the low-down on the low-country as OGR takes on Charleston, SC

GSG Spotlight

By Denise Rodriquez


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

New Members 28


Bylaws Changes

In Memoriam 29


OGR Calendar


Review the recommendations and make your vote count. We’ve laid it all out for you-events, education and deadlines. Take a look and see how we can help you.

Exemplary Service


Milestone Anniversaries


Board Candidates

A first look at the slate of nominees for 2014-2015.

CALENDAR [ Jan. 30 ] FREE “Hot Topic” Webinar: Navigating Legislative and Regulatory Issues


[ Feb. 13 ] OGR Regional Workshop: Lady Lake, FL

[March 2-4]

[ Feb. 27 ] CE Webinar: Women and Funeral Purchase Decisions

OGR Regional Workshop: Hamburg, N.Y.

[March 18]

[March 27-29]

FREE OGR Roundtable Webinar: Making Your Services More Valuable

OGR Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase, Charleston, SC

[March 4-6] NFDA Advocacy Summit, Washington, D.C.

55 march 27-29 | charleston, sc

The Independent® | Winter 2014


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 STAFF

Access Financial Group...................... 13,15 Chris Chigas, (800) 487-8220, ext. 8233

Aurora...................................................... 36

Executive Director Mark Allen

Communications & Scott F. McClure Marketing Director Staff Diane Durbin

Chip Ray, (800) 457-1111

Maureen Hayes

Connie Haymes

Pamela Hutchinson

C& J Financial ........................................ 35

Gael Murdoch

Jamie Meredith, (800) 785-0003

Denise Rodriguez Jessica A. Smith Esther R. Teller

Matthews International ........................... 2 Thomas Pontone, (800) 223-4364

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.

Printer Publisher

360 Press Solutions, Cedar Park, TX International Order of the Golden Rule 3520 Executive Center Drive Suite 300 Austin, Texas 78731 (800) 637-8030 Fax: (512) 334-5514 Email: Website:

The Independent® |

4 | The Independent®

Winter 2014 | Volume 17 | Issue 1

President’s Message



s funeral home owners and directors, we have all heard these words too many times. The truth of the matter is that the words seem to be accurate when we relate them to funeral service. As we look to the future of funeral service, we also need to look to the past. First, we will look backward. For me, October was monumental. As you know, our Fall Forum was held prior to NFDA in Austin, Texas. This format has been very successful and your Board has unanimously endorsed this mutual arrangement of holding our Fall Forum in conjunction with NFDA. We feel that this should continue into the future, as meeting prior to NFDA offers our members a fantastic educational offering as well as allowing them the opportunity to join NFDA’s Educational programs and product showcase. Our focus for the coming year will be building bridges into the future. As we look to the future I am reminded of another major highlight. Mark Allen and I received an invitation to attend the opening session of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. This is exciting news, folks. We, as independent funeral directors, have the same concerns, regardless of where we call home. I honestly believe in the value of education and coming together with Selected and NFDA. We will all benefit if we unite our voices and our resources to tell our story. The families that you so graciously serve will be the benefactor of your time spent learning with others as well as learning from experts in death care. I look forward to reciprocating the invitation with Selected Independent Funeral Homes in the future.

Now as we look forward please plan to attend the OGR Annual Conference March 27-29 in beautiful Charleston, SC. Our speakers will equip you with valuable information that you can take with you and begin utilizing upon returning home. I know it can be challenging to leave your firm for a couple of days, but I promise you will come home refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to serve. Excitement is contagious, so join us to learn new ways of serving our families. Come and be willing to openly share with each other to learn and grow. After all, we are members of OGR and subscribe to the true meaning of the Golden Rule: DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU. I am writing this article for The Independent® and now realize that this will be my final article as the President of OGR. I remember when Past President Michael Lewis told me how quickly time would pass and he was absolutely right. I want to give the credit to your current Board of Directors for their guidance and insight. We are truly united as one for the greater good of your organization. I also would be very remiss if I failed to give credit to Mark Allen and all of the hard working staff at the home office. You have all made our lives much easier by your attention to detail, good work ethic, and living up to the ideals this group stands for. I love funeral service and the time I have served on your Board of Directors. Thank you for the privilege. Blessings & Peace,

David Fry, President The Independent® | Winter 2014



Annual Conference Preview

55 march 27-29 | charleston, sc

Building Bridges • More Interaction • More Relevance • More Networking • More Than Ever!

Charleston, SC Sponsors: 6

Gold: | The Independent®


SESSION highlights How to Attract More Customers: Knowing What Families Really Want from Your Firm Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender, Kizer & Bender

Building Bridges with your Florist: Maximizing the Potential Waneita Bovan, June’s Flower Company

What are families really looking for? Come learn how to arrange funerals that have more meaning, value, and quality for families. Kizer & Bender, consumer anthropologists, have mystery shopped funeral homes and held funeral-home specific focus groups in order to bring you the most up-to-date information on exceeding customer expectations.

In lieu of flowers? Think again! Learn how to maximize the relationship you have with your florist while working within families’ budget constraints. This session is designed to explore how funeral directors and florists can work together to maximize client relations and retain the families they serve for generations to come.

Is it Time to Buy or Sell? Preparing Yourself for Succession and Opportunities Jake Johnson, Johnson Consulting Have you planned what will happen to your funeral home when you retire? What are your options? Are you an employee who wants to buy into a funeral home? Are you looking to expand your business by purchasing another facility? Join us for a practical, hands-on session to answer these and other questions about valuations, acquisitions, and succession planning. Using the Science of Shopping to Increase Funeral Home Revenue Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender, Kizer & Bender Have you ever gone to a store to buy a single item but left with a bagful instead? Congratulations – you have fallen victim to the Science of Shopping! This session will explore how you can make the arrangement process easier and more “user-friendly” for families by offering eye-appealing displays and merchandise in your funeral home.

How to Bring Have the Talk of a Lifetime to your Community Springboard Brand You can help create a positive momentum toward reversing the trend of less memorialization by taking part in the new FAMIC consumer education campaign, Have the Talk of a Lifetime. Come learn how to encourage more meaningful memorialization and help consumers understand the important role that funeral professionals play in the memorialization process. This session will offer a “how to” guide as well as customized campaign materials. Going Beyond Personalization: Meeting Families’ Needs through Concierge & Event Planning Services Carolyn Thompson, PIMS Phrases like “personalization” and “memorialization” are industry standards. What unique services can you offer now that go beyond the standard? A licensed funeral director and former event planner, Carolyn Thompson will explore how offering families event planning and concierge elements will help you meet families’ needs and stand out from your competition. The Independent® | Winter 2014


BREAKOUT Florists / Concierge Services /Advertising Attend three 25-minute brainstorming breakout sessions for more intimate discussion and collaboration.

RALLY finale It’s not Us against Them: Redeeming the Funeral Home & Hospice Relationship



Brainstorming A: Building Bridges with your Florist Come discuss further how florists and funeral directors can work together to meet families’ needs through personalization and memorialization. The presenter will showcase unique memorialization pieces and explore how to maintain profitability. After this session, you’ll know how to identify and implement floral innovations for serving families. Brainstorming B: Concierge & Event Planning Services Learn how to develop and implement a plan of action for incorporating concierge services, budgeting for additional guest services, and creating a celebration of life for families. At the end of the session, attendees will be able to identify and implement new approaches to funeral service for serving families. Brainstorming C: Developing a Marketing Campaign for Have the Talk of a Lifetime.

Working with local hospice can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. This closing session will challenge funeral directors to build new relationships with hospice workers and to educate them on all funeral service has to offer families. By learning to partner with local hospice, you’ll expand your reach and together provide optimal care to the families you serve. Great Ideas Exchange Join us for an annual favorite, the roundtable discussion. In this year’s Great Ideas Exchange, members will learn new ways to tackle challenges and to provide exceptional service to families using an online question app. Come prepared with questions and your own best practices to contribute to the annual networking exchange. Annual Banquet Join us for a fun twist on our Annual Banquet and take a trip back in time to the Roaring 20s! Dress in your evening finest or like a character from the Great Gatsby era. Activities include casino tables, lots of dancing, and a photo booth. Visit for updates.

Further explore the free materials that are available to you and your firm for starting this grassroots campaign and helping families to have the talk of a lifetime.

Sponsors: 8

Copper: | The Independent®


HOTEL travel


Ghost Tour / Historic Carriage Rides

Walking Ghost Tour, Bulldog Tours Friday, March 28, 9:00 PM Learn about the history of Charleston’s haunted graveyards and hear tales about the famous individuals who found their final resting place in the Holy City on this 1 ½ hour walking tour. You’ll hear fun and chilling stories of ghosts, haunted houses, voodoo and Lowcountry superstitions.

The Francis Marion Hotel 387 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 In the heart of the historic district on legendary King Street, across from Marion Square, the hotel offers unsurpassed views of Charleston Harbor. This charming hotel is located downtown, just minutes from Charleston attractions like Fort Sumter, City Market, and countless museums and historic houses. To make room reservations, call the Francis Marion at (843) 722-0600 and ask for the OGR rate of $219.00 per night by February 21, 2014. This rate is only guaranteed while rooms are available in the room block, so make your room reservation early. When making flight arrangements, be sure to fly into Charleston International Airport (CHS), located only twenty minutes from the Francis Marion. For transportation to and from the airport, the hotel recommends Mitch’s Limo Service (843-270-6902) or a registered taxicab. If you choose to drive in, valet parking at the hotel is $19/day or self-parking in the city garage is $14/day. Visit for more information.

Cost: $10/ person. Preregistration is required. Limited to 20 people. Please wear comfortable walking shoes.

Historic Carriage Ride, Palmetto Carriage Works Sunday, March 30, 10:00 AM Join Palmetto Carriage Works, the oldest carriage tour company in Charleston, for the greatest carriage experience in the city. A Palmetto carriage tour offers a blend of knowledge, wit, humor, and history, a seamless fusion of 19th century conveyance in a 21st century city. During the one-hour tour, you will experience 2530 blocks of Charleston’s historic downtown district; view houses, gardens, mansions, churches, cemeteries, and parks; learn about buildings, history, architecture, flora, and people that make up the “Holy City”; and see everything Charleston has to offer. Cost is $25.00/person. Pre-registration is required. Limited to 30 people.

The Independent® | Winter 2014


ACTIVITIES Schedule / Scholarship Auction

Thursday, March 27, 2014 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Board Meeting Noon - 4:00 p.m. Exhibitor Set Up 3:00 p.m. Registration Opens 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. 6:30 p.m.

Welcome Reception Dutch Treat Dinner (Optional Activity)

Friday, March 28, 2014 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. Coffee and Pastries 8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Opening Session 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Keynote: How to Attract More Customers 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Break / Supplier Showcase 10:30 – Noon Is it Time to Buy or Sell? Preparing Yourself for Succession and Opportunities Noon – 1:00 p.m. Awards Luncheon 1:00 – 1:15 p.m. Memorial Service 1:15 – 2:15 p.m. Using the Science of Shopping to Increase Funeral Home Revenue 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. Break / Supplier Showcase 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Great Ideas Exchange 4:15 – 5:30 p.m. Supplier Showcase Closing Reception 5:30 – 6:15 p.m. Scholarship Auction 9:00 p.m. Walking Ghost Tour (Optional Activity) Saturday, March 29, 2014 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. Coffee and Pastries and Leader- ship Breakfast (Invitation Only) 8:00 – 9:00 am Building Bridges with your Flo- rist: Maximizing the Potential 9:00 – 9:15 a.m. Break 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. Have the Talk of a Lifetime 10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Break 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Going Beyond Personalization: Meeting Families’ Needs through Concierge & Event Planning Services

10 | The Independent®

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. Breakout – Flowers, Events, Marketing 2:00 – 2:15 p.m. Break 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. Annual Business Meeting 3:15 – 3:30 p.m. Break 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Closing Session: Bridging the Gap: Building Relation- ships through Hospice 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. FREE TIME 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. President’s Reception 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. Banquet and Roaring 20’s Casino Night Sunday, March 30, 2014 10:00 am Carriage Ride (Optional Activity) Awards of Excellence Scholarship Auction Help support future generations of funeral directors and do some shopping all at the same time! This annual auction benefits the Awards of Excellence Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to mortuary students in their last year of school. Your donations make the auction a success, so contact Jessica A. Smith at with your contributions of gift baskets, travel vouchers, industry products, or other unique items.

55 march 27-29 | charleston, sc

2014 Annual Conference Registration Form Firm __________________________________________________________________________________ Address _______________________________________________________________________________ City, State/Province, ZIP/Postal Code ________________________________________________________ Phone ________________________________________ Fax _____________________________________

Attendee Registration Exhibitor Registration Form is available at Members q 1st Full Registrant ________________________________ Lic# _______________ $769 (includes all events EXCEPT Ghost Tour & Carriage Ride) e-mail____________________________ q Addl. Full Registrant ______________________________ Lic# _______________ $699 (includes all events EXCEPT Ghost Tour & Carriage Ride) e-mail____________________________ q Social Guest(s) ______________________________________________________ $469 (includes all events EXCEPT Education, Ghost Tour & Carriage Ride) e-mail___________________________ q One-Day _______________________________________ Lic# _______________ $369


$869 $799 $569 $419

(includes day of educational sessions, breakfast & lunch)

q Student ________________________________________ Lic# _______________ (includes all events EXCEPT Ghost Tour & Carriage Ride) e-mail____________________________



Optional Tickets q Dutch Treat Dinner - Thursday, March 27 Qty: __________ on own q Additional Welcome Reception tickets - Thursday, March 27 Qty: __________ x $85 each q Ghost Tour - Friday, March 28 Qty: __________ x $10 each q Additional Awards Luncheon tickets - Friday, March 28 Qty: __________ x $50 each q Additional Annual Banquet tickets - Saturday, March 29 Qty: __________ x $125 each q Carriage Ride - Sunday, March 30 Qty: __________ x $25 each Registrant name(s) _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Payment Method Total $ ___________________ q Check, amount of $

(payable to OGR in USD).

Charge: q AmEx q Discover q MasterCard q Visa Name as it appears on card: Account #: Exp Date: Signature *Security Code:

Check all that apply to your firm; list name(s)

q First-time Annual Conference attendee q Young Professional Attendee (under 40) q Prospective Member referred by: Name(s):

*Small three or four digit number on back; AmEx on front. 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 before the conference. 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. If you have special dietary or access needs, please contact Jessica Smith at or (800) 637-8030.

Register online at Mail to: OGR, 3520 Executive Center Drive, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78731, or fax to (512) 334-5514.

Young Professionals Preston Rader: Avid Duck Hunter Devoted Comrade Former Grave Digger Preserver of Rader Legacy By Denise Rodriquez, Family Contact Coordinator


here’s Preston Rader at 3AM on a typical Saturday? No, he’s not asleep in bed, which is where our minds blissfully go after a long week of work, and he’s not responding to the always somber first call or doing keg stands at some wild all-nighter either. He’s amidst wild terrain waiting for an oblivious little water fowl to come his way and make his season. Yes, while most people are sleeping in on the weekends, Preston uses any day he has off during the fall and winter seasons to duck hunt. During the spring and fall, he likes to kill time on the golf course. Although “killing time” seems like a “rare hunt” for Preston ever since he joined the family business, he has never seen it this way. He’s grown up around the funeral service profession and enjoys being a part of it. As a young man, Preston worked from an early age. His father (former OGR board member Charles Rader) put him to work in the cemetery where he executed maintenance tasks like lawn care and grave digging. Before he officially began working in the actual funeral home, however, he admits that his father made him work as a waiter for a year in high school. Preston hated it, commenting, “I suppose it might be different for people who didn’t grow up around a family funeral home, but I feel a lot of pride about getting involved in the (4th generation) family business. There’s no pressure and working with my family is not a hassle to me. I enjoy the people I work with.” Preston went on to receive a degree from Texas Tech University and became a graduate of The Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service in Houston with a plan to return to his family’s funeral home. Preston cites his father as a big inspiration in his life as well as his deceased grandfather. He also says that the people he works with inspire him on a daily basis. “I have known them for most of my life, and I learn something new from them every day.” His family firm, LeRoy Rader Funeral Home in Longview, TX, 12 | The Independent®

likes to promote a tight-knit atmosphere. Preston adds, “We are friends, not just co-workers. People stay with us for most of their lives and retire from here.” When speaking to Preston, he was gearing up for their annual Christmas party. The gathering takes place every year by the lake at the Cherokee Club in Longview, TX. He comments, “Even guys who have retired come to the party, and we get to catch up and let loose.” Preston admits that camaraderie is important to him and to LeRoy Rader Funeral Home, which is one of the reasons he enjoys OGR. “I value the comradery I have seen between my father and other members and the camaraderie that I am starting to gain as I get more involved.” The fact that OGR focuses on independent funeral homes means a lot to Preston too. He states, “I enjoy being a part of a group of men and women that try to be the best at what they do and continuously push family values. We share the same mindset of keeping up with the times and preserving our legacies as family funeral homes.” Currently, LeRoy Rader Funeral Home is in the process of planning out the construction of a new mausoleum and creating a pond in their cemetery for visiting families to enjoy. Besides those projects, Preston is always looking for new ways to expand memorial services. Technology plays a big role in the memorial services he provides, such as utilizing the home’s website where they host online guest books for services. For more personal use, Preston confesses that he indulges in social app play from time to time. When he is not on Instagram, you can find him on Facebook. j The Independent® | Winter 2014 13

ARTICLE III - MEMBERSHIP 3.1 Classifications. Membership shall consist of seven classifications, three of which are voting: Regular, Affiliate, and Foreign International; and four of which are non-voting: Auxiliary, Adjunct Supplier, Emeritus and Academic. There shall be a separate, non-voting classification for Members Not in Good Standing.

MEMBERS ASKED TO APPROVE BYLAWS CHANGES ON MARCH 29 OGR’s Board of Directors is asking members to consider several changes to the Association’s Bylaw. All Bylaws changes must be approved by the membership. A vote will be taken at the Annual Business Meeting on March 29, 2014 at 2:15 p.m. during the Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase (March 27-29) at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, S.C. (visit for details). All Gold Level members in good standing may vote. A Q&A session will precede the balloting. All votes must be cast in person (per OGR Bylaws Article V Section 5.5). The following section presents recommended additions (text in red) and deletions (indicated with a strikethrough). Purpose of changes: 1) To clarify membership categories and definitions; and, 2) To define membership eligibility as being for independently owned funeral homes. Article III, Section 3.1 Rationale: The following changes will update two membership category titles (“Foreign” to “International” and “Adjunct” to “Supplier”), define the purpose of each membership category, and move eligibility criteria to Section 3.2.

14 | The Independent®

3.1.1 Regular Membership: the single funeral home location designated by management as their primary business location. Within the classification of Regular Membership shall be two sub-classes, Exclusive and Non-Exclusive as defined by the board from time to time. 3.1.2 Affiliate Membership: additional funeral home locations with the same ownership as the main location. Any affiliate firm must be owned and managed by a “main” member firm and must be located within a 100-mile radius of the “main” member firm location. 3.1.3 Foreign International Membership: funeral establishments located outside the United States and Canada meeting such standards as the Board of Directors may publish from time to time. 3.1.4 Auxiliary Membership: individuals formerly affiliated with OGR member firms who are no longer participating in the funeral profession. any retired principal of an OGR member firm who has sold or otherwise disposed of his/her interest in that member firm; or the spouse of a deceased principal of an OGR member firm; or any person who is a retired employee of a current or former OGR member firm, provided that such persons are no longer actively participating in the funeral profession. 3.1.5 Adjunct Supplier Membership: any person or firm engaged in selling products or services to OGR members. 3.1.6 Emeritus Membership: may be extended to any person who has made an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of the purposes of OGR in the opinion of and by unanimous vote of the Board.

3.1.7 Academic Memberships: Student Membership: mortuary science students. offered to individuals only for the period of time they are attending mortuary school, as described in Student and Educator Membership in the Organizational Policies. Educator Membership: offered to non-member educators, researchers, and academics engaged in the study, but not the practice of mortuary science. Article III, Sections 3.2.1 & Rationale: The following changes will retain OGR’s distinction as representing independent funeral homes by restricting membership to independently owned funeral homes. The changes will remove membership eligibility from funeral homes owned by private equity firms as well as publicly-traded companies. 3.2 Eligibility 3.2.1 Regular, Affiliate and International Memberships. In order to be considered for membership in OGR, a firm shall have been in business for a period of not less than two (2) years. In the best interest of the provision of a quality service by members of OGR to the public we serve, the Board of Directors may, with the approval of two-thirds of those Board members present and voting, suspend the two-year requirement. Membership in OGR, including foreign membership, shall generally be limited to firms that are not publicly held or whose management or control is not in or by a publicly held corporation or limited partnership entities which are independently owned. As used herein, “publicly held” means a corporation whose shares are listed on any recognized exchange or traded in the “over-the-counter” market. Entities that may be excluded from membership in OGR, at the sole discretion of the OGR Board of Directors, include: • Entities that are publicly held (i.e., firms in which interests are traded on an established securities market) or whose management or control is in or by such publicly held entities, or persons affiliated with such entities. •Entities in which management control is held by a private equity firm or firms (i.e., firms which, through their own capital or capital raised from investors, invests in companies not publicly held).

The Independent® | Winter 2014 15

...BYLAWS CHANGES Article III, Sections, 3.2.2 to 3.2.6 & 3.3 Rationale: The following changes will update and clarify the eligibility requirements of membership in each category; existing text has been transferred from Section 3.1. All eligible locations that are owned and managed by the same firm within 100 miles from the main member firm may be considered for and be brought into membership as Affiliate members. Volume shall be computed by totaling the number of cases in all locations, provided that any location refused membership or not eligible for membership shall not be included in the computation. 3.2.2 Auxiliary Membership. Individuals eligible for Auxiliary membership include the following: 1) any retired principal of an OGR member firm who has sold or otherwise disposed of his/her interest in that member firm; 2) the spouse of a deceased principal of an OGR member firm; or 3) any person who is a retired employee of a current or former OGR member firm, provided that such persons are no longer actively participating in the funeral profession. 3.2.3 Supplier Membership. Membership in OGR will include entities offering products, services or consultation to OGR members. Those directly or indirectly affiliated with any OGR Regular, Affiliate or International member as defined in Section 3.1 may be excluded from membership in OGR, as the sole discretion of the OGR Board of Directors. 3.2.4 Academic Memberships. Student membership in OGR will include all students of mortuary science at accredited colleges, universities or accredited trade schools. Eligibility ceases when the student graduates. Educator membership in OGR will include all current faculty of mortuary science at accredited colleges, universities or accredited trade schools. 3.2.5 Regardless of ownership, management, control, employment or affiliation status of an applicant, membership may be denied at the sole discretion of 16 | The Independent®

the Board of Directors if it determines an applicant’s business and service objectives are inconsistent with OGR’s objectives as set forth in Article II. This section applies to all members. 3.2.46 As it is essential to the maintenance of the highest professional standards, a condition of any exclusive level of membership shall require a member, or a professional employee of a member, to continuously maintain the standards and requirements for exclusive status as determined and published by the Board from time to time.

3.3 Application approval. The Board shall consider each application for membership by applying the objectives set forth above in Article II. Membership in OGR shall become effective upon a two-thirds vote of approval by the Board of Directors. Regular, Affiliate and International members seeking exclusive membership status, as defined by the Board of Directors, will adhere to procedures described in OGR’s Organizational Policies. 3.4 Resignation. A member may resign at any time by filing a written resignation with the Executive Director. However, such resignation shall not relieve the member of the obligation to pay any dues or other outstanding financial obligations accrued and unpaid nor cause a refund of prepaid dues to be made. 3.5 Suspension, Expulsion and Termination. The Board of Directors of OGR may suspend, expel, or terminate the membership of any member firm because of conduct which, after a hearing if requested by the member firm, but at the sole discretion of the Board of Directors, violates the licensing standards of the member firm’s state of residence; or is improper, is found to be unethical or inimical to the welfare of the membership as a whole. Any such action taken by the Board will be in accordance with the Board’s policies and procedures governing suspension, expulsion, or termination which the Board shall set and publish from time to time. Contact Mark Allen, OGR executive director/ceo, at (800) 637-8030 or for additional information.



any funeral homes have difficulty getting their employees to think differently about the families they serve when that family has chosen cremation as their choice of disposition. Cremation does not mean direct disposal. Most families know one thing; they want cremation. Other than knowing that they desire cremation, they really have no idea just what they want. This is where we, as funeral directors, fail in not offering services and options to those families so they know they have choices. Disposition by cremation does not have to be any different than disposition by burial. Staff training is so vitally important when it comes to having your employees understand how to better connect with your cremation families. There are a number of things you, as the owner/manager, can do to ensure your employees are onboard with your marketing procedures to provide cremation families with the information they need to make sound decisions. Communication is the key when your employees are making arrangements with a cremation family. Your employees must be equipped with the tools that raise their confidence level when dealing with the cremation family that wants a direct cremation. Are they able to handle any question that may be presented to them, or do they just wing it and take a good guess at their answer? Does that family really understand, and do your employees really understand what direct cremation means? Probably not. I recently had a family that wanted direct cremation with burial of the cremated remains at sea. I took the time to get know about the decedent, job(s), interests in fishing, sports, etc., and I offered quite a few suggestions on how we could memorialize this gentleman’s

life. By the end of the arrangements, the direct cremation with burial at sea became a full service cremation with a visitation prior to the service in our chapel that included military honors with burial of a solid bronze military urn in Arlington National Cemetery. I made suggestions. I didn’t talk them into anything they didn’t want. They just didn’t know they could do what we did. Recently, a friend and colleague visited 150 funeral homes and posed as a family member who was there to make arrangements for a loved one. The results were amazing. Among other issues he had with the funeral home employee, the biggest issue was that almost every funeral home apologized for the cost of cremation. Why do funeral homes apologize for being on call 24/7/365? Anymore today, it takes longer to make arrangements with a cremation family than a burial family. Make sure you have practice sessions with your employees on handling phone shoppers and families that want nothing but direct cremation. Have them trained, knowledgeable, and ready to be as sharp with a cremation family as they would be with a family that called and asked how many copper caskets you have on hand. Provide your staff with the skills they need to drive success and help increase profits. Remember, it costs you nothing to be nice to your employees. A simple, “Job well done” can go a long way in helping that employee feel that what they are doing adds value to the company and gives them the confidence they need knowing they have the support of their boss. j

The Independent® | Winter 2014 17

See page 23 for the complete 2014 Education Schedule or visit

20 14 O G R M EM B ER BENE FI TS Ja nuar y first FREE “Hot Topic” 3 0 OGR’s webinar will help you navigate

Mar ch cont . Brainstorm how to make your services more 18 valuable by participating in a free-to-members

Fe br uar y launches its inaugural Regional Workshop 13 OGR in Lady Lake, FL; find out how to attract fami-

27- 29

upcoming legislative and regulatory issues

lies that are slipping away from traditional funeral homes (also presented in the Chicago area on May 13)


OGR Roundtable Discussion webinar

Apr il the discussion on the hospice/funeral 8 Continue director relationship started at the Annual Conference—or jump into it if you couldn’t attend-with this free-to-members Post-Conference Webinar

OGR CEU Webinar— Learn how women make funeral purchase decisions

Ma r c h your auction items with OGR to help 1 Register raise funds for the Awards of Excellence Schol2-4 4-6

Be on hand to learn to build bridges in your community at this year’s Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase


OGR’s Northeast/Great Lakes East Regions Study Group will meet in Hamburg, N.Y. to generate ideas for better funeral home profitability and practices (Host: Charles Castiglia)

OGR’s second Post-Conference Webinar will pick up the discussion and answer your questions about funeral home event planning and concierge services


OGR CEU Webinar— Unlock the mystery of how to make social media work for your funeral home

OGR leaders head to Capitol Hill to discuss funeral service legislative issues with members of Congress as part of NFDA’s Advocacy Summit

May in the Great Lakes Region (every13 Members one is welcomed to attend) will have direct

arship Program to support mortuary science students

18 | The Independent®

access to OGR’s Regional Workshop on ways to attract families that are slipping away from traditional funeral homes (also offered in Florida on Feb. 13)

Vi s i t w w w. ogr. or g f or all t he det ails . June CEU Webinar26 OGR Find out how your funeral home’s profitability compares to others and what you can do to improve it

Ju l y up tips for making your funeral home more 8 Pick profitable (OGR Regional Workshop—location TBA; also presented on Sept. 10 in Staten Island, N.Y.)

O ct ober year’s Fall Forum was so success10 - 11 Last ful that we rescued it from the chopping

block; join us in Nashville, Tenn. prior to NFDA’s convention on Oct. 12-15

28 homes during this free-to-members Roundtable Pick up marketing tips that work for funeral Discussion Webinar

November your knowledge of current funeral ser20 Update vice issues with OGR’s free-to-members Hot

Topics Webinar, a guided yet informal discussion forum

August CEU Webinar— Learn an innovative new 28 OGR way to reach out to your community Sep t e mb er miss this second chance to acquire new 10 Don’t ideas for funeral home profitability at OGR’s Regional Workshop on Staten Island, N.Y.


D ecember All Mont h Celebrate the season with generous contributions to charities that improve our world

Join OGR members for the 13th anniversary memorial service for 9-11 victims in New York City (watch for details)

The Independent® | Winter 2014 19

d e a d lin e s O G R &m in d e rs 2 0 1 4 re


F o r mor e deta ils on th e se and al l of OGR’s i m portant dat es , vi s i t w w w .og r .or g . Y ou will al so f i nd al l i nf ormat i on on educati on, m e etin g s a n d a ctiv itie s. See page 23 f or the com pl et e 2014 E d u ca tion Sch edu le.

J a nua r y 1 3 th : O GR ba llots f or t he 2014- 2015 B oard of Di rectors e l e c t i on t o be mailed 3 1 st: Dea dlin e to appl y f or OGR’s Com m uni t y Servi ce A w ar d 3 1 st: Dea dlin e to appl y f or OGR’s Aw ard s of Excel l enc e Sch olar sh ip

F eb r ua r y 3 r d: OGR Boa r d Bal l ot s due 6 th : O GR Boa r d of Di rectors conf erence cal l (open to m e m b e r s ) 1 7 th : O GR office cl osed f or Presi d ent ’s Day hol i d ay 2 1 st: Dea dlin e to reserve your room at t he Franci s Mar i on Hot e l for OGR ’ s A nnual Conf erence & Suppl i er Show cas e

M a r ch 1 st: Dea dlin e to subm i t Schol arshi p auct i on i tem s 4 -6 th : O GR r epr esentati on at NFDA’s Ad vocacy Summi t , Wash in g ton, DC 2 6 th : Boar d of Di rect ors Meet i ng, Charl est on, SC (op en to mem bers) 2 7 -2 9 th : O GR A n nual Conf erence & Suppl i er Show cas e , Ch a r leston, SC 2 9 th : A n n u a l Bu siness Meeti ng (vot e on B yl aw s change s dur i ng th e A n n u a l Conf erence & Suppl i er Show case

2 9 th : Boa r d & O ffi cer Inst al l at i on, Charl est on, SC 20 | The Independent®

A p ri l 1 8 t h : OGR office closed for Good Fri day hol i day

Ma y 2 6 t h : OGR office closed for Mem ori al Day hol i day

Jul y 1 st : D e adlin e for member s t o nom i nate candi d ates f or t he 2015 - 2 0 1 6 Boar d of Dir ectors (requi res 3- 5 members’ si gnat ures) 4 t h : O GR office closed for Independ ence Day hol i d ay 2 1 st : B oar d of Dir ector s Board Meeti ng, Dal l as, Texas (open t o member s)—date TB A

Sep te m b er 1 st : O G R office closed for L abor Day hol i d ay

Oc to b er 1 0 t h : O GR Boar d of Dir ectors Meet i ng, Nashvi l l e, Tenn. (open t o m emb er s) 1 0 - 1 1 t h : OGR F a ll F or u m, Mem phi s, Tenn

N ovem b er 2 7 - 2 8 t h : OGR office closed f or Thanksgi vi ng hol i day

D ecem b er 2 4 - 2 6 t h : OGR O ffice closed f or Chri stm as hol i day 3 1 st : O GR office closed or New Year’s Eve hol i d ay


The Independent® | Winter 2014 21


Skip Urban2013 Citizen of the Year

OGR member Skip Urban, of the Anton B. Urban Funeral Home was the recipient of the Lower Gwynedd Township’s 2013 Citizen of the Year Award presented by the Lower Gwynedd Township Supervisors at the Volunteer Appreciation Banquet. Skip was also named the Citizen of the Week in the December 8th issue of the Montgomery Newspaper’s Ambler Gazette.

Skip has passionately served as a volunteer for the Wissahickon Fire Company of Ambler for over 38 years. His desire to serve the community is evident in the many organizations both locally and nationally that benefited from Skip’s readiness to volunteer his services as both a firefighter, and professionally as a Funeral Director. “To recognize one is to recognize us all. We are a team. We are family.” said Skip. The Wissahickon Fire Company has many local men and women who proudly volunteer to protect the residence of Lower Gwynedd Township, the Borough of Ambler, and surrounding communities.

Toland-Herzig Funeral Home Chronicles Celebrities’ Final Chapters OGR member John Herzig started his collection of funeral memorabilia in 1996, almost by accident. He was collecting autographs at the time and was expecting an autographed photo of boxer Joe Louis in the mail. In addition to the photo, he also received a program from Louis’ 1981 funeral. “After that, I became infatuated with funeral programs,” said Herzig, Fast forward nearly two decades, and Herzig has amassed a collection of more than 2,000 items related to the funerals of famous people, from a decorated cookie with Rodney Dangerfield’s caricature on it to Vince Lombardi’s prayer card. Many of the items are displayed in cases at the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home in Dover, where Herzig operates his Famous Endings Museum. Visitors can study the death certificate of Elvis Presley’s mother and read a Detroit News article announcing the death of Thomas Edison. Share your stories of community involvement, dedication to the calling or recognition in projects for the greater good. E-mail to Scott McClure at 22 | The Independent®

- FREE to Members


- Education Credits

2014 Education Schedule

Hot topics Webinar: Highlight controversial or current events. An expert gives a 30 min. explanation of the topic & facilitates a discussion with participants. No CE credit. CE Credit Webinar: Open to members/nonmembers. Fee involved. Roundtable Discussion Webinar: A moderator facilitates discussion. No CE credit. Post-conference Webinar: Occurs one month after Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase. Conference speakers do a follow-up, informational session which reviews highlights, continues the discussion, and answers any questions. No CE credit.

Jan. 30 Hot Topics Webinar – “The Future of Your Business: How Federal Legislative and Regulatory Changes Could Impact You.” - 1:00 PM EST, John Fitch, NFDA. CEU

Feb. 13 Regional Workshop – “A Lifeline for Funerals: Attracting Families That Are Slipping Away” - Alan Creedy & Karl Jennings - Lady Lake, FL


Feb. 27 CE Webinar – “She Commerce: How Women Shop and What Motivates them to Buy”, Kizer & Bender. March 2-4 Study Group – Northeast and Great Lakes East regions – hosted by Charles Castiglia, Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home, Hamburg, NY March 18 Roundtable Discussion Webinar – “Value Added Propositions and Services for Firms”


March 27-29 Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase, Charleston, SC April 8 Post-Conference Webinar – Hospice April 10 Post-Conference Webinar – Event Planning & Concierge Services


April 24 CE Webinar – “Social Media: Innovative Approaches for Revitalizing Your Page”


May 13 Regional Workshop – “A Lifeline for Funerals: Attracting Families That Are Slipping Away” - Alan Creedy & Karl Jennings - St. Charles, IL


June 26 CE Webinar – “Maintaining Your Bottom Line”, Chris Kuhnen, Funeral Profit Protectors


July Regional Workshop – Chris Kuhnen – Funeral Profit Protectors


Aug. 28 CE Webinar – “Preneed Options: Trust vs. Insurance”


Sept. Regional Workshop – Chris Kuhnen – Funeral Profit Protectors


Oct. 10-11 Fall Forum, Nashville, TN – (NDA Expo, Oct. 12-15) Oct. 28 Roundtable Discussion Webinar – “Marketing for Your Firm” Nov. 20 - Hot Topics Webinar - TBD

The Independent® | Winter 2014 23

GSG Spotlight

There’s An

A ppforThat! T

he rise of smartphone technology has created all types of applications – ‘apps’ for short. There’s no limit to the apps being created every single day. A ‘Death Call’ app! There’s an app for that too? Exactly how would it work? To start, the purpose of a ‘death call’ app would be to get funeral directors more death calls. A ‘death call’ app should also reduce the work of funeral directors and it should give clients better customer service. To actually work, it would need three things: First, all apps have icons. Icons are the images on smartphones that users tap to open apps. So the ‘death call’ app would need one. Second, the ‘death call’ app would need to be able to contact the funeral director. To do that, the app would need a tap-to-call button, and/or a tap-to-go to website button, and/or a tap-to-email button. Third, the ‘death call’ app would need to be effortlessly loaded on the smarthphones of those in need of funeral services. Believe it or not, Mobits™ is actually the ‘death call’ app! Here’s how it gets funeral directors death calls: When Mobits™ are done, in addition to helping families reduce their stress by making it easier to notify friends, family and the community of a death, it also gives families the ability to put the deceased’s picture on their smartphones as an icon. Before the funeral, those concerned can tap the icon (picture) to get final arrangements information. After the funeral, they can tap the icon (picture) to view pictures and videos of the deceased. 24 | The Independent®

GSG Spotlight

Families can also use the text message that comes with Mobits™, to forward to people interested in knowing more about the deceased’s final arrangements. And those people can put the icon (picture) on their smartphones as well. One funeral can easily result in having a hundred or more smartphones with Mobits™ icons. So if a funeral director uses Mobits™ for their families, they will in effect, load their ‘death call’ app on literally thousands of smartphones in their market! Mobits™ have tap-to-call, e-mail, and go-towebsite buttons, making it the easiest way possible for those in need of funeral services to contact a funeral director. When the need for funeral services arise, people can simply tap the icon (picture) if they have a direct need, or forward the app to someone else they know in need. To do so, they just forward the text message that comes with Mobits™, or they can tap the app (picture) and then tell someone in need the funeral director’s number, website and/or email address. That’s how the ‘death call’ app gets funeral directors more calls! To reduce the work of funeral directors, Mobits™ accomplishes this in the following ways: Families wanting to save money on motorcycle escorts – with Mobits™, directors can tell families that as long as someone in each car has a smartphone, if they become separated from the motorcade, they can easily get to the location by using the Mobits™ mapping and navigation. For directors, it reduces negative feedback and emotions from family getting lost and/or disconnected from the motorcade. Bottom line: It reduces calls (and the length of calls!!) from family. Out-of-town families’ communications – Mobits™ gets the word out in the fastest way possible to family and friends, near and far. Bottom line: It reduces calls from out-of-town families.

Attending mourners – Mobits™ makes it easy for everyone to navigate! Bottom line: It reduces calls from attending mourners asking about directions. Arriving and/or delayed mourners – Mobits™ can be texted to a mourner’s cell phones rather than giving directions over-the-phone. Bottom line: It provides a good option for handling arriving and delayed mourners both in-person and over-the-phone. Arrangements’ information calls – Mobits™ reduces the need for mourners to call the funeral home for information. Bottom line: It reduces the general inquiries both in-person and over-the-phone. Families wanting to save money on newspaper obits – Mobits™ are significantly less costly than newspaper obituaries, reach farther, can be updated and can be marked up. Bottom line: Mobits™ serve families better than newspapers and generate income. Families wanting to save money on printing Mobits™ can reduce the need and/amount of printed programs and programs can be loaded on Mobits™. Bottom line: Mobits™ give families a lower cost option for programs. Reduce requests from family and mourners – Mobits™ have an optional tap-to-call family feature and can be used to send email messages between family and mourners. Mobits™ reduce the need to act as the go-between for family and mourners. Bottom line: Mobits™ reduce work. Newspaper obits changes, errors and timing – Mobits™ are ready in 4 hours and can be changed. Bottom line: Mobits™ do more than newspaper obits and a better job of notifying people of deaths. Get more first calls – Mobits™ put directors in better position to get first calls. Bottom line: Mobits™ get more first calls.

The Independent® | Winter 2014 25

Mobits™ greatly improves funeral director’s ability to expeditiously provide arrangement information to families and mourners. And unless the director already has it, every time someone calls the funeral home, the entrepreneurial director will always ask for a mobile phone number. The reason is the entrepreneurial director will want their funeral home’s information implanted or loaded on as many mobile devices as possible. Then, when the need for a funeral arises, that funeral home can be contacted more readily with just a few taps on a mobile phone. One funeral home may be in a family rep’s mind, and other funeral home may be in their mobile device. Of course, the goal is to be in both their mind and mobile device. But consider the situational dynamics of the family rep: Time is of the essence. They’re grieving. They’re stressed. And they have to make decisions fast. In that situation, some family reps will choose the most expeditious option. What if a funeral home is in the family rep’s mind, but is not the funeral home in their mobile device? Why risk missing out on any death calls simply because your funeral home wasn’t a family rep’s easiest option? Even though you offer the best service available? And even though the family rep knew of and liked your work?

Getting that first call is extremely important, and depends in part, on how easily family reps can reach funeral directors. Every time funeral directors get a mobile phone number, they or their staff member(s) can send it a text that will link back to the funeral home and even better, can put an icon on people’s mobile phones, putting that funeral home in the best position possible for getting future first calls. So the bottom line here is Mobits™ improves your customer satisfaction. Overall, Mobits™ improves customer satisfaction, it reduces unnecessary and unproductive calls (and the length of calls!!) to funeral directors and their staff, it reduces funeral directors’ work, it generates new income for funeral directors and it best positions funeral directors to get that critical first call! Mobits™ are the hardest working tools in the deathcare industry! j is a new OGR Business Member and Golden Services Group Supplier since 2013.

Your first call when you need a helping hand. Do you feel that there are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done? Well, help has arrived! Ask the OGR Concierge. Whether you need assistance finding a unique product, gathering information for price comparisons or coming up with the right service provider, simply ask the OGR Concierge. With member concierge services we can offer you problem-solving and time-saving solutions. Access this Exclusive Member service by calling Maureen Hayes at 800-637-8030. “With over 18 years of experience working directly with members and industry suppliers, I am always here and happy to help.” Maureen Hayes, Member Concierge 26

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

The Golden Rule Community Service Award recognizes a firm (not an individual) for outstanding service to the community during the 2013 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 Light

◊ 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 Website. 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

Golden Rule Community Service

Download the Awards Entry Form at

The Independent® | Fall 2013 27

New Members

Business Members: Funeral Technology Partners Wellesley Island, NY Mike Hepburn (613) 549-4567 Industry leading software company that offers technology solutions for the funeral home profession. They offer a diverse selection of products and services including MiMS™, CiMS™, and our their new cutting edge web site solutions. Member benefit: Receive 15 percent discount off any Funeral Tech product. Live Oak Bank Wilmington, NC Stephanie Dunn (847) 477-7546 Specializing in business loans for funeral home owners. Member benefit: Expertise in the death care industry to help you operate a successful business Mortuary Financial Services Richardson, TX Ray Hogue (972) 238-7700 Insurance assignment funding. Member benefit: Members will receive a service charge rate of 3 percent on individual claims and 4 percent on group claims.

NewBridge Group Atlanta, GA Tony Kumming (404) 249-9582 Providing business valuation, succession planning, and acquisition financing solely to independently owned funeral homes. NewBridge’s staff includes a CPA, three MBA’s, an attorney, and real estate appraiser who combined have more than 75 years of experience in the funeral industry. Member benefit: Members receive 15 discount off business valuations and 15 percent discount off all succession planning and acquisition financing consulting fees.

Funeral Home Members: Carrillo Funeral Homes of Dallas Primary Contact: Rick Carrillo 215 S. Buckner Blvd. Dallas, TX 75227 Phone: 214-388-3300 Fax: 214-388-3316 Affiliates:

Carrillo Funeral Homes of Fort Worth Primary Contact: Rick Carrillo 2301 Ephriham Avenue Fort Worth, TX 76164 Phone: 817-740-9091 Email: Website: Carrillo Funeral Homes of Grand Prairie Primary Contact: Rick Carrillo 800 S.W. 3rd Street Grand Prairie, TX 75050 Phone: 214-790-7700-email: Email: Website:

28 | The Independent®

Goodwin Family Funeral Home Primary Contact: Tim Goodwin 524 Broadway Vincennes, IN 47590 Phone: 812-882-5900 Fax: 812-882-9239 Affiliate: Gardner Brockman Funeral Home Primary Contact: Tim Goodwin 505 Main St. Vincennes, IN 47591 Phone: 812-882-1167 Fax: 812-882-9239 Website: Thielen Funeral Home and Crematory Primary Contact: Adam and Theresa Thielen 3940 Division Street Burlington, IA 52601 Phone: 319-752-2828 Fax: 319-752-2273

Remembering Family & Friends John C. “Jack” Vander Plaat, CFSP, went home to be with his Lord on Wednesday, December 18, 2013. Born in Garfield, Jack was a graduate of Eastern Academy, then served in the Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet during World War II. Following his service he went to McAllister College of Mortuary Science graduating in 1948, then received his NJ state license as a Funeral Director and Embalmer. He joined his father in the operation of the Vander Plaat Home in Garfield which his grandfather established in 1894. In 1952 Jack and his father opened a branch in Wyckoff. He is survived by his loving wife of 65 years Elizabeth, his beloved children Jay Vander Plaat of Huletts Landing, NY, Linda and her husband Bill Brock of Wyckoff, and Brenda and her husband Russ Hoeffs of Midland Park, his six grandchildren: Joseph, Tim, Robert, Jackie, Kelly and Matthew, and 12 great grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made in Jack’s name to the Holland Christian Home, 151 Graham Ave., North Haledon, NJ 07508.

Welcome New Membership Team: Esther Teller Membership Director, Ext. 101 Esther R. Teller joins OGR as the new Membership Director. Esther has worked in nonprofit as a public relations professional, development director, special event producer and grant-writer. She has reviewed grant proposals for the Bureau of Primary Healthcare in Washington, D.C. to determine funding merit for community health centers throughout the U.S. She graduated from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and is the proud mom of a teenaged daughter from China.

Diane Durbin Membership Coordinator, Ext. 100 Diane joins OGR as the new Membership Coordinator. She is from Sugar Land, Texas. She received degrees from both Texas A&M University and St. Edward’s University. With several years of experience in customer service and community relations, she is proud to work for an organization in which everyone involved has a huge heart and truly enjoys serving others. She will be assisting our current members with their needs as well as helping to recruit new members and grow our association. The Independent® | Winter 2014 29

2014-2015 candidates


Board of directors


GR Gold Level members will soon elect two candidates to serve two-year terms as Directors-at-Large terms on OGR’s 2014-2015 Board of Directors. OGR will mail official ballots to each voting member on January 13. Those who have multiple locations (branches) will receive a ballot for each location. The Nominating Committee is recommending four candidates who each offer fresh perspectives and have achieved smart funeral service goals. A profile of each candidate follows:

Thomas L. Hemmerle Owner, Barnett-Strother Funeral Home, Madisonville, Kentucky

Why he’s running for the Board: “I have grown personally and professionally with the OGR organization and I would love nothing more than to give back to the group that has served me. “ Background: Licensed funeral director since 1996 and a licensed embalmer since 2006. Career highlights: To accomplish his dream of owning his own funeral home and making it successful. Leadership skills: Working with others to solve problems.

Qualifications for Board service: He has worked on several OGR committees and with the Kentucky Funeral Directors Association to help educate and build the funeral profession. Family: Tom is married to Natalie and has three sons, Joey, Matthew and Nick.

Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, Kentucky Wildcat basketball and football, and traveling with his family.

30 | The Independent®

Dale Meyer

Co-owner, Meyer Brothers Colonial Chapel, Sioux City, Iowa

Why he’s for running for the Board: “OGR has provided us with good advice over the years and I hope to make OGR a stronger and better organization.” Background: Graduate of Wayne State College (Wayne, NE) with a B.S. Degree in Mortuary Science and from Indiana College of Mortuary Science.

Career highlights: Purchasing two SCI funeral homes in 2001; starting an active prearrangement program in 1985, which he still manages today, that has sold millions of dollars’ worth of preneed business. Leadership skills: Good management skills and good understanding of finances and budgeting.

Qualifications for Board service: Has served in all capacities of funeral service in the last 34 years and currently manages the day-to-day operations of his three funeral homes. Family: Dale is married to Lori and has two daughters, Kaitlynn and Shayli.

Hobbies: Family vacations, golf and boating.

Richard O’Hara

Chief Operating Officer/Co-owner, McAvoy O’Hara Company— Evergreen Mortuary, San Francisco, California Why he’s for running for the Board: “I want to contribute my time and energy to this organization because it has helped me grow as a professional and to better serve my community.” Background: Graduate of California College of Mortuary Science, Los Angeles, CA University of San Francisco, S.F., CA Business Administration.

Career highlights: Working in a mortuary with a 163-year old tradition of service and helping successfully navigate its course through a dramatically changing demographic base has been and is very rewarding. Past president of the Northern California Regional SIDS State Advisory Council. Leadership skills: Management ability and communication skills in a diverse work environment.

Qualifications for Board service: As a Funeral Director of 40 years and as a co-owner of a mortuary, has developed the management and interpersonal skills needed to run an effective organization. Family: Richard is married to Annie and has two daughters, Elizabeth and Rosanne. Hobbies: Sailing, golf, hiking, reading, playing with his grandson.

John Vincent Scalia

Owner, John Vincent Scalia Home for Funerals, Staten Island, New York

Why he’s running for the Board: “Because of our shared commitment, OGR is the organization I want to serve so I can help in guiding the strategic direction of the organization. As a Board member my main focus would be attracting membership while increasing participation and association value.” Background: Licensed funeral director (NY/NJ/ PA); graduate of American Academy of Funeral Services, Dodge Institute of Mortuary Science and New York School of Insurance.

Career highlights: Founded John Vincent Scalia Home for Funerals, New York Burial and Burial Center, Colonial-Pioneer Telephone Answering Service, National Anatomical Service, Bermuda Cremation Service, Family Florist, Historic Old Bermuda Inn, Family Limousine Service, Tradition and Trust Funeral Pre-Arrangement Program (cofounder), American Anatomical Transport; many community service activities and Board service; recipient of numerous community service awards. Leadership skills: Marketing expertise.

Qualifications for Board service: Started a currently 500+ funeral home from the ground up; understand the importance of mentoring; ability to share business experience, marketing and personal community involvement. Family: John is married to Cecilia and has two children, Cecilia and John, Jr.

Hobbies: Tennis; pilot; owner/lighthouse keeper of the Romer Shoal Shoal Lighthouse in New York Harbor.

OGR must receive all ballots by February 3. Ballots indicating more than two candidates or without the identification sections filled in will be disqualified. Members may submit ballots by postal mail, e-mail or fax as indicated on the ballot. Members may also vote online by visiting and clicking on the “BOD Ballot”. Contact Mark Allen, OGR Executive Director/CEO, at (800) 637-8030 or for additional information. The Independent® | Winter 2014 31

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 Winners Circle Exemplary Service Awards. Winners will be honored at the 2014 Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase. Comments submitted by families responding to Family Contact Surveys.

Cotrell Funeral Service | Poplar Bluff, MO We met that Monday at the funeral home and were first greeted at the door where they gave their respects. They talked and walked us through the process. They picked out a beautiful casket with praying hands and he looked so nice in it. They had him dressed in his Navy uniform and he looked like he was sleeping peacefully. I have told all of my friends and family about what a beautiful job Cotrell Funeral Services did; from the planning to the visitation, service and the cemetery. They did an outstanding job with the pictures and the posting in the paper. That Tuesday when the funeral home called and said they had my son ready for viewing and we could go see him, until that day, I just kept saying that I wanted to see him. My mind wouldn’t let me comprehend that my son was dead. Well, I walked into the viewing area and when I saw my son in the casket, I passed out. I had finally realized my baby was gone. Next thing I remember, the funeral director had come in with a wheel chair and helped me up and pushed me to see my son. God truly blessed us with them. George Irvin Green Funeral Home, Inc. | Munhall, PA Mike Sarraino is a man to be held in high esteem. His level of compassion and understanding is simply outstanding. No words can express our gratitude. Everyone was so kind down to the smallest details, such as keepsakes from the flower arrangements. No request was treated as silly, etc.—they made us feel like family. The facility is very warm, open, and 32 | The Independent®

inviting. There is a place to escape to eat, a place for children, and a beautiful outdoor space. They far exceeded my family members’ expectations. Your cremation services seem to be unequaled in our area. You made it feel like a traditional funeral while honoring the deceased’s wishes. Sperling Funeral Home, Inc. | Wexford, PA Emily and Jay were both available during the planning stages of the funeral. They offered suggestions without making me feel pressured. There was some conflict within our family. Emily and Jay were supportive and tried to offer solutions for resolution. The funeral home interior was immaculate and very tastefully decorated. The play room is a wonderful area where my grandson and other children could safely play. Our family was able to enjoy a meal in the dining area without feeling like we were at a restaurant. Emily frequently checked to make sure our needs were met. I have been in touch with Emily and Jay since the funeral. Even though time has passed, I feel comfortable contacting them with my questions. They do not make me feel like the funeral is over. R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home | Hampton, VA R. Hayden Smith was my rock during this time. My dad’s death was unexpected. R. Hayden and my dad were friends. Everyone was friendly, kind, professional, compassionate, understanding, and respectful during the worst time of my life. All ran smoothly. It was a busy, long night and the staff could not have been any more welcoming to our guests. R. Hayden

Exemplary Service

and Tim explained in detail all aspects of what was to come. They were patient as we picked out the casket and vault. There was no time limit while we were there. R. Hayden offered his arm to me and escorted me during the end of the funeral. It was such a difficult day and he eased the sadness and apprehension. They were a blessing to us all. Smith Funeral & Memorial Services | Warren, RI Both Alex and Cathy were so compassionate and they went over and above. My son, my baby, was handled with love and compassion. All of the staff treated us with compassion and dignity. It was perfect. They really made it all about my son. They are the best, and I couldn’t have asked for more. My son was 37 years old and loved music and they played background music of him. I never even asked for that. They are amazing. Citty Funeral Home | Reidsville, NC The funeral director made sure we had everything we needed and was always making sure we knew how everything was going. We told them what we wanted and they took care of calling the people we needed. We were having an honor guard from the Sheriff ’s Department since my mother was a past employee. The funeral director took care of getting in touch with them and worked it out for us. Because of my mother’s condition, they suggested another piece of clothing that would help hide something. We were not going to have an open casket, but after seeing her with the additional suggestion, we kept it open and we are glad we did. Linnemann Funeral Homes| Erlanger, KY While we were in the hospital with our stillborn, we had no idea what to do. A family member called Linnemann Funeral Home and they gave us the funeral director’s personal cell phone number. She was amazing and always available when we needed her. During our initial meeting, we were introduced to the entire staff. Everybody was supportive, caring and very helpful. During such a difficult time, everyone was willing to help. August passed on Thursday and we didn’t bury him until 9 days later. They were so respectful of giving us time. Also they gave great ideas and even lent us their own book to make the ceremo-

ny more “ours.” During 9 months of pregnancy, we prepared for everything except death. The Linnemann family graciously paid for our baby’s casket and took such great care of us. They made this hard transition easier. Kyger Funeral Home, Inc. | Elkton, VA Wayne was very good and understanding of our family’s needs. He made sure we were comfortable with our decisions and gave us ample time to plan the service due to family coming from out of state. All the staff treated us as if we were family and always made sure to keep us informed of the services and what to expect. My father passed away in 1996 and my mother always asked to have her service in the Elkton funeral home because she was so impressed with the facility. I was glad that the funeral home was able to get the same pastor as when my father passed. I was happy to know that the facility was able to find the music we asked for as well. Smith Funeral Home & Chapel | Hannibal, MO Brent Massie is one of the most generous, kind, outstanding persons I have ever met, and I met him at the most horrible time of my life. His personality and generosity and professional manner throughout my entire ordeal was truly incredibly remarkable. I can’t say enough about him, he is truly blessed with an extraordinary gift in his profession. The entire funeral staff was outstanding in their services, and their kindness brought such peace during this whole experience. With the experience I had with both Brent and the funeral home itself, I can honestly say I cannot possibly see how they could have done anything better than what they did. I was truly blessed to have these dedicated people with me during this devastating time in my life.

The Independent® | Fall 2013 33

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 | January 1959 Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home Big Spring, Texas

15 Years | February 1999 Garnard Funeral Home Garden City, Kansas

50 Years | January 1964 McMurrough Funeral Chapel, Ltd. Libertyville, Illinois

55 Years | March 1959 Rose & Quesenberry Funeral Home Beckley, West Virginia

40 Years | January 1974 Strunk Funeral Homes Vero Beach, Florida

55 Years | March 1959 George Irvin Green Funeral Home, Inc. Munhall, Pennsylvania

30 Years | January 1984 Olthof Funeral Home, Inc. Elmira, New York

40 Years | March 1974 Brust Funeral Home, LTD Lombard, Illinois

30 Years | January 1984 Farmer & Son Funeral Home, Inc. Geneva, Nebraska

40 Years | March 1974 Brust Funeral Home, Inc. Carol Stream, Illinois

55 Years | February 1959 Glenn Funeral Home & Crematory Owensboro, Kentucky

20 Years | March 1994 Pagenkopf Funeral Home Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

50 Years | February 1964 Bernard Suess Funeral Home, Inc. Perkasie, Pennsylvania

15 Years | March 1999 Ponders Funeral Home Dalton, Georgia

30 Years | February 1984 Butler Funeral Home, Inc. Edmonton, Kentucky

10 Years | March 2004 Davis Funeral Service, Inc. Monroe, North Carolina

15 Years | February 1999 Crosser Funeral Homes & Cremation Service Oak Harbor, Ohio

10 Years | March 2004 Crawshaw Funeral Home Murphysboro, Illinois

15 Years | February 1999 Ahlgrim Funeral Home Elmhurst, Illinois 34 | The Independent®

The Independent速 | Winter 2014 35

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2014 Annual Conference