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Vol. 13


No. 4


August 1998

Did You Notice Our New Logo? A modern new logo was approved by the NCBVA membership at the Association's Annual Meeting at the close of the 1998 convention in St. Louis. It replaces the old "pyramid" style logo that was designed in 1960 when the association's main purpose focused internally on the edu-




cation of its membership. As the association's focus has broadened to emphasize and include the external aspects affecting the burial vault industry, members looked for a new image to reflect the change and growth.

NCBVA conference attendee is a good sport and becomes part of the show at Miss Kitty's Dinner Theater during NCB VA's dinner and evening at Six Flags Theme Park, St. Louis. The outing kicked off the 1998 Annual Convention. (More photos page 5)

Meet Your New President

A Journey From Pots and Pans to Vaults In June of this year I was elected president of the NCBVA. This is in recognition of a long family tradition of involvement in the burial vault business. Two of my brothers also served as presidents of NCBVARaymond in 1964 and Jim in the 1980s. My father Hubert was a vault Hugh McQuestion manufacturer and organized our busi-

ness as well as helped found the Doric Association. He started in the vault business in 1911 in Kenosha and sold the first concrete Lake Shore burial vault to the Hansen Funeral Home in Kenosha. My parents lived in Kenosha and had all nine children in that small Wisconsin town. I was the second youngest child. We moved to Milwaukee in 1938, lock, stock, and vaults. Things weren't easy in those war years with a large family and trying to start a new business. I grew up surrounded by brothers and sisters and the love of my parents, Helen and Hubert. I followed several brothers to Loras High School in Dubuque, Iowa and graduated in

1956. I entered St. Francis Seminary and attended Marquette University from 1956 until 1958 when I enlisted in the U.S. army and served in Germany for three years. Summer vacations and weekends, when I was young, were always spent helping at the vault company and in the plant. I knew my interests were more in the sales area than in the plant production aspect of operations. I sold many things door to door, from pots and pans to encyclopedias. Television sales and life insurance sales were two lasting influences on my career. Finally in 1962 I joined Lake Shore as a full time sales representaContinued on page 8

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August 1998 National Concrete Burial Vault Association, Inc. 926 Great Pond Drive Suite 1002 Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714 (800) 538-1423 Fax: (407) 774-6751 President Hugh McQuestion Lake Shore Burial Vault Co., Inc. Brookfield, WI President-Elect and Director, District 2 Warren Chandler Master Grave Services, Inc. Bogart, GA Secretary/Treasurer Timothy Brutsche Brutsche Concrete Products Battle Creek, MI Immediate Past President Jim Wiens Doric Concrete Vaults, Inc. Newton, KS Directors, District 1 Paul Cooper Cooper Wilbert Vault Co., Inc. Barrington, NJ Robert Hardy Hardy Doric, Inc. Chelmsford, MA Director, District 2 Dan Hicks Carlton Wilbert Vault, Inc. Miami, FL Directors, District 3 Bob DonateIli Baumgardner Products Co. Akron, OH


President's Message By Hugh McQuestion NCBVA President Thank you to all who attended the annual NCBVA convention in St. Louis. A special thank you for the confidence you have expressed in me by electing me the 1998-99 president for NCBVA. Our gratitude to Jim Wiens for his outstanding efforts over the past year of dedicated service as NCBVA president. Under his direction and leadership our association is in a positive financial situation for the first time in several years. We will work hard to try to ensure ever increasing growth and stability to this fine organization. The DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center in St. Louis, where the convention was held this past June, was very accommodating to the needs of our group. The many families that attended found something for everyone to do, from the youngest and newest members to the most seasoned conventioneers. As the scorching sun poured down outside and temperatures reached into the 90s and beyond, we were all inclined to remain inside and enjoy the air conditioning. The programs, breakout sessions and invited guest speakers were well attended and led to spirited conversations. Thank you again to all who participated. The business meeting was spirited and did accomplish several things on the agenda. The NCBVA logo will be changed, while the name will remain the same. The Baxter family has invited us to hold the annual convention in Cincinnati next year and their generous offer was accepted. Hope to see everyone there. Our agenda for this year will be to closely monitor the organization to insure continued financial stability. We also would like to increase the membership. To this end we are looking into the possibility of a four-day cruise for the year 2000. More information will be sent to you as it becomes available. We also hope to improve communication between members and the board of directors. Another big thank you to all who attended the convention and to all who helped make it a success. We did enjoy seeing old friends and meeting new members. Start planning now to attend the 1999 convention in Cincinnati. We will see you there!

Holly Baxter Bridgers Baxter Burial Vault Service Cincinnati, OH Directors, District 4 Timothy Brutsche Brutsche Concrete Products Battle Creek, MI Jack Swihart Saginaw Wilbert Vault Corp Saginaw, MI Director, District 5 Richard Cooper Central Burial Vaults, Inc. Tulsa, OK J.C. Clifton Quality Burial Vault Co. Houston, TX Executive Director Thomas A. Monahan, CAE Certified Association Management Company Altamonte Springs, FL Legal Counsel J. Scott Calkins Calkins & Campbell Harrisburg, PA


New President Hugh Mc Question presents plaque of appreciation to outgoing president, Jim Wiens at the Annual Installation Banquet



August 1998

Know Your Laws and Protect Yourself When Involved In "Moving Grandma" Editor's note: The following is a synopsis of Rob Hardy 's presentation at the NCB VA Annual Convention in St. Louis: "Let's Move Grandma: Opportunities/Problems Associated with Increasing Disinterment Requests."

By Rob Hardy Increasing requests for disinterment provide some special opportunites for the vault manufacturer. First, is the opportunity to provide a service to your funeral director and a chance to "showcase" your products. How many of you have a skeptical customer? It also gives you a chance to show your customer how vaults are placed and the work involved, as well as the time it takes to do so. Some funeral directors come and go from the cemetery and never know what it takes to handle such a heavy burial vault in such a confined area. This is another opportunity to give your funeral director a first-hand look at your procedure and a better knowledge of your company. Laws governing removals Laws vary from state to state. I will be quoting the most common familiar to me. I STRONGLY suggest you check your own state's laws. Make sure that the immediate family knows what is taking place (not just the lot owner). Sometimes, the lot owner and the immediate family are not the same person. I have copies of a standard release form that I received from Scott Calkins our legal advisor that I would be happy to share with any of our members. Be sure to have the release form completed before your proceed! In Massachusetts, a licensed funeral director must be present when any disinterment is taking place. If it is leaving cemetery grounds, the funeral director must accompany the remains. They must have a transfer permit as well as a disinterment permit with them. (Make sure you see it before you proceed off the cemetery grounds.) My father likes to take the funeral director in the truck with him. He feels it is a good "one-on-one" time.

Our release forms are signed by the cemetery superintendent or funeral director, family member, and/or lot owner and signed by a notary public. (You might consider becoming a notary yourself.) In Massachusetts, all remains leaving a cemetery must be in a hermetically sealed unit such as a concrete burial vault or a ziegler case. Proper Equipment If using a chain fall, be sure its capacity meets or surpasses the weight of the vault you are handling. If your truck is equipped with a hydraulic arm, do not over extend the pulling weight. The most important tool is the sling. A good square two-inch beam and 5/8 cable sling is what I find works best. I have seen some firms use link chain instead of cable, but I've also seen chain roll and slip when too much weight is being lifted. I feel that cable is easier to monitor for the wear. When moving remains from one container to another, you should have rubber gloves, protective glasses, coal filtered mask, long sleeved shirt, long pants, boots and— bubble gum! Your mouth has pores just like the rest of your body and if any odor gets through the mask, the bubble gum will absorb it. When you are finished, spit it out. Manufacturer's Warranties As you know, some vaults have manufacturer's warranties. These warranties state that if the vault is not handled by their personnel, the warranty becomes null and void, or if they are not notified within a specific period of time to allow a representative

to observe the disinterment. If you are requested to remove another manufacturer's vault, I suggest you contact that company to see how they would like to proceed. In the past, we have had manufacturer's representatives observe—we have had occasions when that company insisted on handling the removal themselves. When the other company simply says "go ahead with the removal and report back if any malfunctions occur." In a situation like this, I carry a camera to photograph the procedure. Recently, we removed three vaults manufactured by a friendly competitor. I contacted them before proceeding and was given the "go ahead." Through no fault of the vault company, one of the vaults failed. I took pictures and contacted them. The company replaced the vault, of course, and very much appreciated the pictures so they could see what transpired. When removing any other manufacturer's products, protect yourself, your funeral director, and the families. Going out of state When transporting out of state, it is a good idea to contact a local area funeral director to ask him about the laws regarding disinterments in that state/city. Call the nearest vault manufacturer for assistance. This makes things go smoother because the local cemeterians are usually more comfortable with the local vault dealer who is familiar with their idiosyncrasies. The local vault company can also provide additional equipment if needed. Should the family be present? Many folks believe that their loved one is the same as when they were interred and get very emotional. Be aware of their feelings and treat that vault as a most valued possession. Always be as professional and courteous as possible.

Rob Hardy is vice president of Hardy Doric, Inc. in Chelmsford, MA. He is a District I Director of NCB VA..

August 1998


1998 Convention St. Louis Gateway to the Future . . . 2000 and Beyond" New officers (from left - back row): Jim Wiens, Past President; Paul Cooper, Hugh Mc Question, Warren Chandler; (front row from left): IC. Clifton, Jack Swihart, Rob Hardy and Bob Donatelli

Ed Bruns hosted members on the plant tour of his new facility in St. Louis. The group then enjoyed a barbecue.

Mark Minnick talks with Fred Watson of the National Cemetery System, Washington, DC




Plant Inspection Is Real Value For NCBVA Member Firms


By Earl J. Brutsche I was at a meeting recently and six of us were talking together during a break between speakers. I was introduced to two vault men whom I had not met before. It was only a minute or two before the subject of plant inspections and certifications came up. (Two of the group had had inspections and spoke highly of the results and what they had learned as a result). Another said his field man did the job for him every now and then. And another had heard of the program and considered having it done, but thought the cost was a little high. He felt he could use the money on something else. For those who aren't aware, the cost of the plant inspection and certification has been reduced from $1,000 to $750 for member firms. This was established by your Board of Directors and offers a REAL VALUE to manufacturers. This certification is for a five year period and the cost averages out to $.41 per day over the span of five years. I am scheduling inspections for the coming months. If you are considering having your plant inspected, please call the NCBVA office at 1-800-538-1423 or call me at 1-616-963-1554.


August 1998

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The VAULT-MASTER has variable speed hydraulic drive, hydraulicly raised and lowered front steering axle, roll-back CraneWay beam with adjustable support legs, and an 9,000 lb. hydraulic vault lifting hoist. Will handle straight or cross grave settings. The Crane-Way beam is a 5" I-Beam and is 14' long with heavy-duty, adjustable support legs. The beam is carried on large flat rollers with heavy duty bearings. There is a hand crank system to roll beam back and forth. The vault lifting winch is swivel-mounted to the beam trolley. This prevents trolley wheel binding due to sideways shifts of the load. Hand operated back winch at the rear of the Crane-Way beam allows safe loading of a vault from a truck or trailer bed onto the Vault Handling Trailer. Rear hydraulic leveling jacks enable easy leveling of the whole machine on almost any terrain They make off-loading a vault from a truck bed easier and safer. We have a long list of options and will do custom options. For more information contact.. Don Long Long Machine Co. 519N Main Ave. Maiden, NC 28650 (Ph) 704-428-2648 (Fax) 704-428-8606

August 1998


Wilbert Introduces New Service Standards Wilbert® Funeral Services, Inc., manufacturer of burial vaults and urns, recently introduced The Wilbert Basic Service Specification program. The program was designed to ensure uniform service standards are met by all Wilbert licensees nationwide. Wilbert wanted to create service standards that were equally as high as its standards for product quality. Sean Schwartz, Director of Technical Services for Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. said, "We looked at how licensees across the country addressed customer service and saw an opportunity to implement a set of company-wide service standards. This program identifies the standards to which all Wilbert licensees are expected to adhere and will create consistency in service." Chris Lorenc, President and Chief Operating Officer, Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc., said, "Our licensees are excited about the new program. These guidelines can only improve our existing service to funeral directors. There are two categories of specifications: general and district specific. General specifications are those standards to which all Wilbert licensees will be held, regardless of territory. General areas highlighted in the program are customer service representative training, product availability and territory service call maintenance. Customer service representatives will be given new guidelines for training, product knowledge and personal appearance. From the complete vault, urn vault and urn lines, a list of "core products" was created that every licensee will have available. This allows funeral homes to order the same products from anywhere in North America. To ensure funeral directors are informed of the latest Wilbert products, each licensee is now required to make service calls to all new and existing funeral homes in their territory on a regular and timely basis. Recognizing that geographic variances exist affecting the graveside set-up procedures, district specifications are established by region. These guidelines include the proper use of tents, greens, chairs, casket lowering devices and the WilbertWay® vault lowering devices. Again, specifications have attempted to take into consideration conditions, customs and practices in the different markets which exist across the country. Compliance with the new service standards is measurable. A rating system will be employed to measure compliance or non-compliance for each service element. A report will be issued to licensees after random inspections of graveside settings by Wilbert Field Engineers, Regional Sales Managers and corporate staff.

NCBVA Welcomes New Members Rick Vanden Boomen

Wayne Middleton

President Vanden Boomen Burial Vaults, 1894 Forsyth Rd. Mosinee, WI 54455

President Southern Vault Services, Inc 401 South Church St. Blakely, GA 31723-2051


Many Thanks to our generous sponsors for their support of the 1998 Annual Convention in St. Louis: Wilbert, Inc. Done, Inc. Edgmont Metallic Pigment Co. Trigard/Greenwood Plastics Co. Forta Corporation

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Life's Too Short To Sweat The Small Stuff So many of us live our lives as if the secret purpose is to somehow get everything done. We stay up late, get up early, avoid having fun, and keep our loved ones waiting. The nature of your" in basket" is that it's meant to have items to be completed in it—it's not meant to be empty. There will always be phone calls that need to be made projects to complete, and work to be done. Regardless of who you are or what you do, however, remember that nothing is more important than your own sense of happiness and inner peace and that of your loved ones. If you're obsessed with getting everything done, you'll never have a sense of well-being. In reality, almost everything can wait. Very little in our work lives truly falls into the "emergency" category. If you stay focused on your work, it will all get done in due time. This advise is reprinted from Don't Sweat the Small Stuff—And It's All Small Stuff Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. Copyrighte 1997 by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. Published by Hyperion.

Meet the New President

Continued from page 1 tive. This was just a short time before my father died. In 1964, I accepted the position of secretary/treasurer of Lake Shore and have remained in that position ever since. In 1963 Patricia Hetzel and I married and in rapid order we had five wonderful children. We live on a farm just west of Milwaukee. This year we celebrate 35 years of wedded bliss and will be ringing in the next 35 years with the addition of not one, but two grandchildren. Our first grandchild will arrive around August 22 and the second is expected about December 31. I have been secretary/treasurer of the Wisconsin Burial Vault Association since 1967. At present I am a member of the board of directors at Doric, Inc. Amidst all of these activities I still have some time for my favorite sport – golfing. My wife and I have lately acquired an interest in antiqueing. Other things of special interest to me are the functioning of our government today and historically speaking. I am teaching myself computer skills with the aid of our youngest son, Dirk. I also try to keep current on the stock market wanderings and the latest Tom Clancy novels.

Bulletin 1998 August  
Bulletin 1998 August