of the National Concrete Burial Vault Association
The Plus-Size Challenge As People Get Larger Funeral Products Must Expand to Meet Their Final Needs
The Largest Cremation Equipment Service & Repair Team In The Country.
National Concrete Burial Vault Association, Inc.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
P.O. Box 917525 Longwood, Florida 32791 http://www.ncbva.org .#"6! s &AX President Stephen Hatﬁeld Hicks Industries, Inc. Mulberry, FL President-Elect Hubert McQuestion Lake Shore Burial Vault Co. Brookﬁeld, WI Secretary/Treasurer Michael Crummitt Crummitt & Son Vault Co. Martins Ferry, OH Immediate Past President Todd Swihart Saginaw Wilbert Vault Corp. Saginaw, MI Directors Wendy Bott Brown Mark H. Bott Co. Ogden, UT Doug Evans Carolina Doric, Inc. Florence, SC Steve Handley Handley Precast Systems, Inc. Glendale, AZ Dave Long Eagle Burial Vault Association Joliet, IL
Taxes, Cemetery Perversion & Picketing............................................ 4 by J. Scott Calkins, Esq. NCBVA Legal Counsel
Plus-size People A Weighty Challenge for the Deathcare Industry ............................... 8 By Sylvia Heidemann NCBVA Staff Writer
Is Your Company Located in a “Fat” State? .................................. 12 Membership Application ..................... 18 NCBVA Certiﬁed Plants ...................... 19 Industry News ’N Notes ...................... 22
Paul E. Cooper Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. Forest Park, IL Jerry Russell Southern Ohio Vault Co. Portsmouth, OH Dennis Schultz Doric Vault of Western N.Y., Inc. Buffalo, NY Blake Swinford Trigard Vaults / Greenwood Plastics Danville, IL Steve Vincent Doric Products, Inc. Marshall, IL Executive Director Thomas A. Monahan, CAE Certiﬁed Association Management Co. Longwood, FL
American Cemetery Supplies, Inc. .... 6 Accurate Wire & Strip Forming ........ 12 Axis Corporation.............................. 21 Crescent Bronze Powder Co.............. 7 D & C Supply Co., Inc........................ 7 Doric, Inc.......................................... 17 Edgmont Metallic Pigment Co.......... 17 Holland Supply Inc........................... 11 Long Machine Co............................. 16 Matthews Cremation.......................... 2 Mixer Systems ................................. 18 RoMix Chemical & Brush................. 13 Rostine Manufacturing & Supply ....... 4 Trigard Vaults ..................................... 5
Legal Counsel J. Scott Calkins, Esq. February 2011 l NCBVA.ORG
Taxes, Cemetery Perversion & Picketing By J. Scott Calkins, Esq. NCBVA Counsel 3INCE ) LAST COMMUNICATED WITH YOU IN THE $ECEMBER ISSUE MANY EVENTS HAVE taken place that have direct effect on your business. As could be expected, a number of signiďŹ cant events have come out of Washington.
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National & State Elections The elections resulted in a switch of power in Congress from one dominated by Democrats to one that is now equally divided, with the Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives. As a result of such division and based on previous splits of power, many â€œexpertsâ€? indicated a contentious and non-agreeable Congress. But the best news regarding Washington is that the business community will have a â€œseat at the tableâ€? and at least for the time being will not be legislated and regulated to an extreme with costly and non-business laws. One of the biggest business and individual beneďŹ ts that occurred in the lame-duck SESSION OF #ONGRESS WAS THE PASSAGE OF THE 4AX 2ELIEF AND *OB #REATION !CT OF SIGNED BY 0RESIDENT /BAMA ON $ECEMBER 4HE !CT INCLUDED THE RETENTION OF THE "USH TAX CUTS OF AND THAT HAD PROVIDED SIGNIlCANT TAX CUTS FOR INDIVIDUALS and business. A few of the new provisions of this Act for business are: (a) A cap on the immediate write-off of equipment and other business-related tanGIBLE PROPERTY IS RAISED TO FOR AND &IFTY PERCENT BONUS DEPRECIATION IS EXTENDED TO THE YEAR (b) General Business Credit Carryback may now be carried back ďŹ ve years instead of one for some small businesses. Also, such credit is not subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). (c) The holding period of S Corporation stock to escape the built-in gains tax (which IS GENERALLY YEARS IS REDUCED TO SEVEN TO lVE YEARS DEPENDING ON CIRCUMSTANCES (d) Cell phones provided to employees will be a tax-free fringe beneďŹ t. User logs were previously required to separate business and personal calls. It is important that owners of NCBVA ďŹ rms work with their professional advisers to reassess their existing status, both as individuals and as owners of businesses, under the current tax laws. Continued on page 7
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Calkins, continued from page 4
Customersâ€™ Cemetery Rights Eroded We all read various publications and articles regarding the deathcare industry. A few articles are provocative and some are very informative. One article in particular caught my eye recently, for it reafďŹ rmed things I have warned our industry about in the past. The reality is that traditional and personal burial customs are increasingly being replaced with corporate-style conformity in many modern cemeteries. According to a legal scholar from Wake Forest University, â€œThe American cemetery is becoming a reďŹ‚ection of the desires of the funeral services industry rather than the wishes of the American public. The irony is that the laws that once gave great deference to families regarding burial practices are now being used to institutionalize a commercial norm at the expense of individual choice, family custom and religious beliefs.â€? For much of American history, according to this scholar, there were few laws governing cemeteries other than those for land use, health and safety. In recent years, however, the cemetery industry has inďŹ‚uenced state legislatures to create laws (to the cemeteriesâ€™ beneďŹ t, of course) regulating the creation of new cemeteries. Today, the cost to build and maintain a cemetery is prohibitively expensive. As a result, in urban areas especially, large for-proďŹ t cemeteries dominate the competition. In Indianapolis, IN, for EXAMPLE ONE COMPANY CONTROLS PERCENT OF THE BURIALS Because these cemeteries set the rules, the scholar said, families and individuals are given little choice. Unfortunately, this trend is largely going unnoticed by the American public.
Cemetery Picketing You are no doubt aware of the picketing of veteransâ€™ funerals, especially at cemeteries, by an extremist religious group. (The Westboro Baptist Church - WBC - is prominent in current news stories involving picketing.) Several state legislatures have enacted new laws attempting to regulate such picketing. I recently received two calls, one from an attorney and the other from a member seeking to ďŹ nd out the current state of the law regarding such proposed regulation. Based on some research, I ascertained that the issue of free speech and the right to preserve the dignity and sanctity of memorial and funeral services is currently being considered by the Supreme Court of the U.S. in its review of the case of Snyder v. Phelps. Snyder is the father of a deceased soldier whose funeral was disrupted by members of the WBC. A lower court jury decision that was made in the fatherâ€™s favor was overturned by a Court of Appeals and is now before the Supreme Court. It is possible there may be a decision by the Supreme Court during the current term of the Court.
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Plus-size People: A Weighty Challenge for the Deathcare Industry They are classiďŹ ed as â€œthe morbidly obese.â€? They tip the scales at 400 or more pounds. In life, they are often discriminated against, made the object of jokes, or they are social outcasts because their excess weight conďŹ nes them to their homes. But they are real people with feelings and emotions, and when they die they deserve the same digniďŹ ed treatment and celebration of life that â€œaverage weightâ€? individuals receive. The challenges the obese face in life may often continue to follow them after death, however, and providing that digniďŹ ed treatmentâ€“â€“an appropriate celebration of lifeâ€“â€“can be a challenge for the deathcare industry. By Sylvia Heidemann NCBVA Staff Writer
hen it comes to dying, size does matter. The logistics involved in planning a traditional funeral are doubled or even tripled when an individual dies who WEIGHS OR MORE POUNDS The deathcare industry in general has made some progress in accommodating the special needs of families whose loved ones are overweight by anyoneâ€™s standards. For more than 15 years, as Americans have grown in girth, casket and burial vault manufacturers have offered â€œoversizeâ€? models, but yesterdayâ€™s deďŹ nition of â€œoversizeâ€? is now being stretched. Letâ€™s explore the world of caskets. It should come as no surprise that â€œoversizedâ€? caskets are available on line as well as from funeral homes. One company (Caskets By Design in the state of Idaho) features on its home page a celebrity endorsement by a famous actor. Richard Kiel, better known as â€œJawsâ€? in James Bond ďŹ lms, states â€œ. . . I realized with my unusual size I needed to make arrangements [for my funeral] well in advance so my lovely wife Diane would
NCBVA.ORG l February 2011
not be left with the added burden of ďŹ nding a going-away box that was big enough for me at the last minute.â€? His endorsement continues by saying that Caskets By Design created a beautiful casket and accommodated his size (heâ€™s 7-ft 2-in. tall) at an affordable price. Heâ€™s keeping the casket in storage until itâ€™s needed. What an endorsement! The COMPANY OFFERS CASKETS IN IN IN AND 38-in. widths, and can also custom-make larger sizes. The â€œstandardâ€? casket size is considered TO RANGE FROM TO INCHES WIDE )N ITS general description of â€œoversizedâ€? caskets, the website of well-known manufacturer Getting a good ďŹ t: Increased girth can be a problem in getting a good ďŹ t in a casket. The deceased used to be measured from elbow to elbow, but waist and thickness measurements are also taken on heavier individuals. The deeper the casket to accommodate thickness of the body, the deeper the burial vault must be.
Batesville Casket Company states that the caskets are available in most colors and finishes of standard caskets. Batesville describes its oversize product line as â€œA comfortable ďŹ t for your loved one.â€? The sizes of oversized caskets are not provided on line. There is a casket manufacturer whose founder (now deceased) and current owner believe that â€œbigger peopleâ€? need more selection in caskets, and that even a 38-inch width casket may not be large enough. As a result, that company is getting considerable attention in the funeral industry and in the media right now. Goliath Caskets of Lynn, IN began as a cottage industry in 1985 when its founder, Forrest Davis, who worked as a welder in a casket company, decided that it just wasnâ€™t right for â€œbigger peopleâ€? not to have quality-designed, appropriate-ďŹ tting caskets. He and his wife Mary began fabricating oversize caskets in a converted barn on their farm. At ďŹ rst, the couple offered only two sizes and one color, but business grew because they met a deďŹ nite need. The product line increased, offering sizes from
One option for an extremely oversized casket: Shown is a concrete unit that was manufactured by Lake Shore Burial Vault in a project to produce a concrete burial vault for the 52-inch-wide Goliath casket (left). The inside dimensions are 94 X 70.5 X 41 inches. A water vessel mold was used for the bottom of the vault. Although the unit was unlined, the cover was sealed with the material used to seal water vessels.
Photo courtesy of Goliath Casket
29 inches wide up to 52 inches, in a variety of colors. The Davisesâ€™ son Keith and his WIFE *ULANE JOINED THE BUSINESS IN AND took over ownership in 1998. The 52-inch â€œGoliathâ€? casket was ďŹ rst INTRODUCED IN THE MID S )T CAN HOLD SOMEONE WHO WEIGHS TO POUNDS Keith Davis says he sold 11 of those the ďŹ rst year, and now sells four to ďŹ ve of them a month. Other oversized caskets manufactured by Goliath are sold in widths of 29, AND INCHES If the concrete burial vault industry promotes the use of vaults for the protection of the casket and the loved one within, how is the industry responding to what has been labeled the â€œobesity epidemicâ€? in the U.S.? Larger caskets call for larger burial vaults. The additional size and weight required, however, add up to a weighty challenge.
â€œThe advanced chemical technology that is available today,â€? comments Brugger, â€œallows us to manufacture concrete that is much stronger and that reaches an acceptable state of curing much sooner. In my opinion, however, the available technology still does not allow us to make the products lighter in weight or with thinner sidewalls and covers.â€? Concrete Burial Vaults Some member companies that carry Wilbert, Doric, Trigard and Eagle have their OVERSIZE VAULTS IN THE hFATTESTv STATES own form-making shops or rely on a con- (as discussed on page 12) were contacted tracted supplier, according to David Brugger, regarding how large their â€œoversizeâ€? vaults NCBVAâ€™s Plant CertiďŹ cation Representative. ARE /NE MANUFACTURER SAID THAT A INCH Larger, custom-made forms can also be wide vault is the largest they produce. He made by independent mold manufacturers. also commented, â€œHandling an oversize But what about the weight of a concrete casket containing a heavy person is a major burial vault that would accommodate a cas- ordeal.â€? ket as large as the 52-inch Goliath? Brugger )N ANOTHER SOUTHERN STATE A INCH CONsays a typical, standard-size burial vault crete vault can be produced. The company WEIGHS TO POUNDS /VERSIZE IS ALSO ABLE TO OBTAIN INCH AND INCH VAULTS CAN WEIGH AS MUCH AS POUNDS metal vaults. With advances in concrete technology, is it A number of burial vault manufacturers possible to manufacture increasingly larger also produce concrete septic tanks. When vaults without having the weight go off the ďŹ rst questioned, one manufacturer said he charts?
CAN PROVIDE A INCH UNLINED CONCRETE BURIAL VAULT DIMENSIONS ARE X X INCHES He then added, â€œIf push comes to shove, we can go up to 58 inches on the inside, with THE OTHER DIMENSIONS BEING AND inches.â€? He continued to clarify even more. â€œActually, thatâ€™s the bottom half of a septic tank, and the biggest problem then becomes getting the necessary handling equipment into the cemetery. Many cemetery roads are narrow and not built to withstand use by heavy equipment.â€? (Septic tank bases can WEIGH POUNDS OR MORE NCBVA member company, Lake Shore Burial Vault in BrookďŹ eld, WI, has recently been involved in a project to manufacture a concrete burial vault for the 52-inch Goliath casket. According to Hubert McQuestion, President, the unit was poured from a mold for a water vessel. (See accompanying photo.) â€œWe were able to seal the top on the unit by using the same material we use to seal water vesselsâ€? says McQuestion, â€œbut weâ€™re still looking for a way to make a liner for something of that size.â€? Continued February 2011 l NCBVA.ORG
As concrete vault manufacturers know, if a burial vault (or any tank/vessel modiďŹ ed to serve as a burial vault) is unlined, it doesnâ€™t offer as much protection for the casket and its contents as does a lined and sealed burial vault. Its main function is merely the prevention of a cave-in of the grave. Sensitivity & Sympathy Jim Woods, co-owner and partner of Carolina-Doric in Florence, SC, agrees that thereâ€™s been an increase in â€œplus-sizeâ€? funerALS h/UR LARGEST CONCRETE BURIAL VAULT IS inches wide,â€? he says, â€œand our largest metal VAULT IS INCHES WIDE )F WE HAD A REQUEST to accommodate a casket thatâ€™s 52-inches wide or larger, weâ€™d probably have to fabricate a burial vault out of metal.â€? Sensitivity to the family is always a priority, Woods states, and when a familyâ€™s deceased loved one is very heavy, the funeral professional must be tactful in broaching some of the logistics that have to be considered. â€œAbout ďŹ ve years ago,â€? says Woods, â€œa funeral director asked us to use one of our trucks to bring the deceased to the church and then to the cemetery because the funeral homeâ€™s hearse just couldnâ€™t handle the weight. It was necessary to use our lift to get the casket into the burial vault at the gravesite. The family was very offended. I spoke with the family and tried to explain as delicately as possible why this approach was necessaryâ€“â€“that the funeral homeâ€™s equipment just couldnâ€™t handle the weight nor could this be done manually by pallbearersâ€“â€“and I assured them that our driver was very competent and would use extreme caution to give their loved one a digniďŹ ed last journey. While they ďŹ nally
Classic Metal Vaults (Doric Products) of Corbin, KY manufactures this oversize metal vault that will accommodate a 52-in.-wide Goliath Casket.
NCBVA.ORG l February 2011
mation equipment. Its website afďŹ rms its goal to â€œ. . . assist the cremationist with organization, efficient operation, safety, disease control, cremated remains removal and packaging.â€? Steve Schaal, Presidentâ€“â€“Matthews Cremation Divisionâ€“â€“North America, states that when education procedures are judiciously followed, even the companyâ€™s entry-level equipment can effectively cremate the reMAINS OF AN INDIVIDUAL WEIGHING UP TO What About Cremation? pounds. Yes, There Are Risks; â€œMost crematory operations get in Respect the Procedure The Bulletin has previously published re- trouble because they donâ€™t fully understand ports on the cremation trend (most recent: the procedures involved in handling obese /CTOBER ISSUE -ORE INDIVIDUALS ARE individuals. There is a signiďŹ cant amount of taking that option. In some of the articles ENERGY CONTENT IN FATTY TISSUE LBS OF FAT published in funeral industry magazines = 12 gal of Kerosene) and we must respect and on Internet sources, however, there are the introduction of heat and the potential for accounts of ďŹ res within the crematories and uncontrollable combustion,â€? says Schaal. â€œIn addition to the training we provide damage to the cremation equipment when attempts were made to cremate the remains when a burial vault manufacturer buys creOF INDIVIDUALS WHO WEIGHED MORE THAN mation equipment,â€? continues Schaal, â€œMatTHEWS MAINTAINS A HOUR CALL CENTER AND pounds. According to Matthews International, can literally hand-hold an operator through Cremation Division, an NCBVA Associate a challenging cremation process. Itâ€™s impormember, that kind of catastrophe is totally tant to have respect for the cremation proavoidable. Matthews insists on providing Continued on page 14 important training to purchasers of its creaccepted the reality of the situation, I donâ€™t think they were ever completely satisďŹ ed, unfortunately. Being sensitive to families always calls for diplomacyâ€“â€“weâ€™re all human and make comments or suggestions that can be misinterpreted by grieving families, but in cases where families have special needs, knowing the right thing to say or how to say it can be even more challenging.â€?
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NCBVA.ORG l February 2011
All across the U.S., people are living large and, eventually, dying large. With the exception of Oklahoma, southern states hold title to the â€œfattestâ€? in the land. In order to keep market share and accommodate heavier-than-â€œnormalâ€? individuals, the concrete burial vault industry must be gracious and prepared to make even more adjustments.
o one who keeps up with the news can escape the awareness of the so-called â€œobesity epidemicâ€? in the U.S. If youâ€™re skeptical about the seriousness of this epidemic, you might be convinced if you visit the website for the Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and click on â€œOâ€? for obesity information. The opening sentence on the â€œOverweight and Obesityâ€? topical page on the CDC website states â€œAmerican society has become â€˜obesogenic,â€™ characterized by environments that promote increased food intake, nonhealthy foods, and physical inactivity.â€? On a subsequent â€œdata and statistics page,â€? the abstract of the ďŹ rst reference cited reads: â€œOver the past decade, obesity has become recognized as a national health threat and a major public health CHALLENGE )N BASED ON MEAsured weights and heights, approximately 72.5 million adults in the United States were obese (CDC, unpublished data, /BESE ADULTS ARE AT INCREASED RISK for many serious health conditions, including coronary heart disease, hypertension,
stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and premature death. Adult obesity also is associated with reduced quality of life, social stigmatization, and discrimination. &ROM TO DISEASES associated with obesity accounted for 27 percent of the increases in U.S. medical COSTS &OR MEDICAL COSTS ASSOCIATED with obesity were estimated at as much AS BILLION DOLLARS AMONG all payers, obese persons had estimated MEDICAL COSTS THAT WERE HIGHER THAN persons of normal weight.â€? Hereâ€™s another interesting resource: There is a â€œpopulation clockâ€? on the U.S. Census Bureau website (www.census.gov/ population/popclockus.html) that continually updates and projects population GROWTH BASED ON CENSUS DATA 7HEN checked in the afternoon on January 13, THE CURRENT POPULATION IN THE 53 WAS AND IT WAS ESTIMATED ON that day that there is one birth every eight seconds and one death every 11 seconds. If approximately one-third of the U.S. population is by the CDCâ€™s deďŹ nition â€œobeseâ€? (having a Body Mass Index of MORE THAN THATS APPROXIMATELY deaths in one day that may call for â€œplussizeâ€? handling by the funeral industry.
More Than 20-Year Trend The obesity epidemic in the U.S. is targetED TO HAVE BEGUN IN THE EARLY S WHEN the fast food industry began competing for market share by offering more quantity for the customerâ€™s dollar. Soon the words â€œsupersize meâ€? inďŹ ltrated everyday speech and customers got used to eating larger quantities of food just to feel satisďŹ ed, thereby taking in more calories than they really neededâ€“â€“especially in the form of extra sugar (soft drinks of 32-ounces or more) and â€œbadâ€? fats. The predictable results have materialized. One of the statements in the abstract cited in the third paragraph on page 12 cries out to the deathcare industry: Adult obesity also is associated with reduced quality of life, social stigmatization, and discrimination. If the deathcare industry is all about the celebration and memorialization of life as all the associations that belong to the Funeral & Memorialization Information Council (FAMIC) claim, it must take care to avoid any appearance of social stigma or discrimination, and be prepared to meet special needs.
States By Obesity Ranking* â€œFattestâ€? States Mississippi (for 5th straight year) 33.8% !LABAMA TIE FOR ND 4ENNESSEE TIE FOR ND West Virginia 31.3 Louisiana 31.2 /KLAHOMA +ENTUCKY !RKANSAS S. Carolina 29.9 . #AROLINA
â€œThinnestâ€? States Colorado #ONNECTICUT District of Columbia /REGON !LASKA