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In This Issue
Lake Wa Tech Funeral Program Accredited
Cemetery Within a Cemetery
ICCFA University
Dog's Ashes in Space?
Pet Burial Trends
The Real Point of Memorial Day
Fame, Fortune Offer Cautionary Tales
Civil War Vet Laid to Rest
Death stats for 2009 & 2010
Paul Elvig Student Convention Scholarship
Assorted Useful Links
Suppliers: Interested in advertising?
Bulletin Board

Vol. I, Issue IV

Long dead, not forgotten

18 new headstones will mark graves

of Civil War veterans in Everett 


Behind a shed in Evergreen Cemetery sat a stack of three rows of concrete headstones wrapped in paper.


These eighteen headstones are to be set on burial sites for men who lived and died here nearly a century ago. For decades, the men lay in unmarked graves due to their families' inability to pay for headstones.


About ten years ago, James Shipman, the cemetery manager and a Civil War buff, discovered a list of Civil War veterans in the records.

Jim Shipman looks at headstones for Civil War veterans at Evergreen Cemetery


Over the years, and now retired, Shipman put biographies to men's names. The end result are the new headstones.


"Any veteran should not lay to rest forgotten," Shipman said. "The Civil War was the most critical in American history. The ones that settled here had their dream, lived here, then died here."


The markers will be installed within the next two months, just before the cemetery's annual Blue and Grey Civil War reenactment July 14.


Shipman and his associates, Bruce Smith and Karyn Westre, requested the federal government provide headstones for those veterans who never had one. They also asked for replacements for missing or damaged headstones.


Altogether, 150 Civil War vets are buried there.


Evergreen Cemetery is placing the headstones on the burial sites at no cost. Until that happens, visitors can see them  lined up on the west side of the mausoleum.


Those being remembered with the new headstones are men including George Johnson, who fought in the Battle of Antietam; Theophilus Rock, who fathered twelve children; and William Laroe, who fought at Gettysburg.


Remembering these men is important for future generations, Shipman said. "It is part of Evergreen Cemetery to preserve our history of Everett, and of Snohomish County."


If you would like to see the headstones and read about each of the veterans, click here.


article by Winonna Sari for the Everett Herald May 28, 2012 reprinted in its entirety with permission.


Premier 2-29-2012 


It's less than 3 months until our Annual Convention!
We are featuring a lineup of HUGELY in-demand speakers
(10 hours of programming) including:
  • Doug Gober, International-Favorite Death-Care speaker
  • Mark Krause, ICCFA past president, Funeral Innovator Extraordinaire
  • Keith Lee, the "Google Guy"
  • Ron Salvatore, Matthews Cremation Expert
  • Succession Planning, speaker TBA
  • ICCFA officer
  • Pat Lynch, NFDA Immediate Past President
  • T.K. Bentler, WSFDA/WCCFA Lobbyist


  • Trade show
  • Annual Golf Tournament
  • Cocktail hour and lake cruise
  • Annual costume party and banquet
  • Elections to the Board of Directors

Read below, and click here for the complete registration flyer.


Registrations must be received by August 2. For instructions on how to register see the flyer.


Reserve your hotel room at the Coeur d'Alene Resort by July 8 to ensure a place to stay. Our room block will be released and there's no guarantee any space will be available. You must reserve by telephone at 800-688-5253. You cannot register online.

Registration page 4


Funeral Services Program

at Kirkland's LWIT

Receives Full Accreditation


The accreditation comes after the Kirkland school's first graduating funeral services class was reviewed -- and all of those students are now working.


Lake Washington Tech's Funeral Services Education Program - the only accredited one in Washington - has received full accreditation after graduating its first class.

The program received initial accreditation when it began its funeral services program in 2009. After that first class graduated in March of 2011, the American Board of Funeral Service Education could perform a review, and earlier this month granted the program full accreditation.

All of those graduates have found work in the funeral services industry, which typically pays $40,000-$50,000 to start, said Jen Boyer LWIT spokeswoman.

"We worked hard for this distinction and are very excited, not only to be accredited, but also for the feedback we received from the accreditors who visited our school," Erin Wilcox, director of the program, said in an LWIT press release. "They commented that our facilities were arguably the best in the country. In fact, many other schools don't have labs on campus where our program is fully in-house."


LWIT's Funeral Services Program is one of only 60 with accreditation in the United States.

"A great deal goes into this education, from learning the physical skills of embalming and business management, to an understanding of the psychology of grief and customer service with compassion," Wilcox said. "This program attracts people with business and planning sense who have a strong calling to help families during a very difficult time. It is a very rewarding career."
LWIT's facilities include a full three-table embalming lab, a nine-body cooler with an additional two-body cooler in the receiving area, and a display room complete with caskets, vaults, headstones, and other funeral items. Graduates of its intensive seven-quarter program receive an associate of applied science degree and must pass national and state board exams to graduate.

The program uses human bodies through its Gifted Body program, in which families with limited financial resources or those wishing to contribute to education donate the body of a loved one. Transportation and cremation services are provided at no charge to the family. For more information, call 425-739-8385.


supplier notice

Every day, You support the members of the WCCFA.

It's time to take a few bows!

Our Annual Suppliers' Edition of the Insider newsletter will feature your articles, ads, photos, whatever you want to share.

Tell the readers why your services and products

are just what they need to ensure their successful future!

Please supply either a story OR half-page advertisement

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Send all graphics digitally by email to info@wcfa.us, or on disk by post to 16212 Bothell-Everett Highway, F183, Mill Creek, WA 98012

Call 425-345-6186 with questions!

Last year's SUPPLIERS' EDITION is attached here

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Patrick Hollick, General Manager for the Richland Cemetery Association received a donated statue from a family that is very supportive of the Association's cemetery, Sunset Memorial Gardens. The statuary sat in the lobby of the cemetery office and received hundreds of compliments.


During this time Pat began to visualize a softer and more intimate setting for families that choose cremation and ultimately created a "cemetery within a cemetery." The statue became the inspiration for the Garden of Remembrance and provides options with equal value for the cremation consumer in the same manner that cemeteries have provided for those who choose casket burial.


It is past time for cemeterians to accept the fact that the future is here. The truth is cremation opens a whole world of opportunity for cemetery owners to be creative and fill the needs of a generation that is rejecting the old traditions of the past.


We simply cannot wait to let the ever increasing number of cremation consumers walk away without permanent memorialization. It became clear to us listening to the customer that they wanted to do something; they were not finding value in what was offered. Helping families find value in the cemetery is our only chance to survive into the future.



We placed this new garden near the funeral home, thus every family drives by the waterfall and the bronze statue of the playful children sitting in front of it. The garden is surrounded by a rolling wrought-iron ornamental fence that resembles the rolling mountains and hills in the local area. "We tried to eliminate as many right angles as possible, and in doing so I think we've softened the entire feeling of the garden both physically and emotionally. With the natural stone work, meandering pathway and perennial landscaping we have created an EXPERIENCE," Pat said.    


The Garden of Remembrance has proven itself a winner. Sales from three months after its opening have returned half of the construction cost. We were bold in our pricing, with companion niches ranging in prices from $2,500 to $4,500 and boulders ranging from $6,000 to $13,000. For those inclined to scatter we created a scattering garden with a cenotaph wall to enable them to memorialize their family.



All those months of discussion, planning and construction have been worthwhile as we watch our families find value in what we had envisioned, a "cemetery within a cemetery."


By Mike Grace  


ICCFA gears up for

the 2012 University

July 20-25 in Memphis, Tennessee


Live. Learn. Lead.


Ernie Heffner, Chancellor of ICCFAU

Yes, 2011 saw a record attendance at ICCFA University, and yes, many of us would love to see another record-breaking attendance this year. Yes, ICCFAU is a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity and yes, the consistent, heartfelt accolades from attendees are gratifying. Yes, thousands of people have already enriched themselves with the experience of attending ICCFAU, but here are some reasons to avoid the six curriculums:


J. Asher Neel College of Sales & Marketing

  • I have too many sales already and can't possibly handle more income.
  • Dean Gary O'Sullivan is well respected, constantly applauded and the most sought-after sales trainer in the industry. I wouldn't want to expose myself or my associate sales counselors to him.

College of Land Management & Grounds Operations

  • Just because Dean Gino Merendino successfully runs a multi-state company providing cemetery maintenance services doesn't mean he might know something I don't know.
  • There can't be anything new or a more efficient way to do things in a cemetery.

 College of Funeral Home Management

  • Just because Dean Todd Van Beck wrote the book on operating a funeral home doesn't mean there's anything there that my daddy didn't teach me.
  • I want to know how to get the shaving cream back into the can, turn the time dial back to 1965 and have a reaffirmation of how to operate a funeral home, just like my daddy and granddaddy before me. I sure don't want to hear that there might be new or better ways to operate.

College of Cremation Service 

  • Just because Dean Jim Starks is an experienced cremation compliance guy doesn't mean there is anything in the curriculum for me or my staff to learn about cremation.
  • I don't care about being a Certified Crematory Operator or Certified Crematory Administrator and certainly not about becoming a Certified Cremation Arranger. Our customers might spend more money, be better satisfied and we might earn more profit. I wouldn't want that!

College of Leadership, Management & Administration

  • I'm already a leader and I know this because the title on my business card indicates I'm in charge so I must be as good as it gets.
  • Just because Co-Dean Nancy Lohman has her name on the sign of the company and exemplifies how to master community marketing of a family business, and Co-Dean Gary Freytag earned his MBA with distinction from Harvard and is in charge of one of the largest, most historic and prestigious combination properties in the country, doesn't mean I or my staff could pick up any tidbits of knowledge from this program.

College of 21st Century Services

  • Just because Doug Manning literally wrote the book on celebrant ceremonies and he and Glenda Stansbury have trained more than 1,600 certified celebrants, I refuse to try to better meet the needs of un-churched consumers (37 percent according to a recent USA Today article) and I sure wouldn't want more families calling my firm in their time of need just because we offer something they can't get from the competition.
  • Just because Dr. Alan Wolfelt is the leading expert on the psychology of death and dying, I don't care how people feel or care to better understand them and their needs.


There you have it. Twelve tortured excuses for ignoring the ICCFA University, the ultimate industry educational opportunity. Please email if you would like curriculum referrals or wish to speak with any of the deans. If you feel these excuses are ludicrous, the deans and I will look forward to seeing you and/or your associates in Memphis in July. - Ernie Heffner, ICCFAU Chancellor


Wilbert Precast PNG 


Did dog go to space with Scotty?


A Monroe police dog's ashes likely were put on the same rocket that carried the "Star Trek" actor's remains.


MONROE - Bismarck may be the first police dog in space.


The dog's ashes apparently were blasted into orbit Tuesday [May 22] on the same rocket that carried the ashes of "Star Trek" actor James Doohan, who played Scotty, according to Monroe police.


The privately owned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The flight was considered historic because it was the first time a commercial spacecraft was sent to the International Space Station.

Dog in space 

The ashes of more than 300 people, including those of a Monroe woman, made the flight.


Bismarck likely was a stowaway.


Bismarck "Biz" Von Charnock, a German shepherd, served with the Monroe Police Department for nearly a decade, until his death in 2008.


The dog's body was cremated, and the ashes were given to his handler, now a police officer in California, Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said Wednesday.


PCM 1/2 page Late last week, the officer, Tom Osendorf, notified Monroe Police Chief Tim Quenzer that the dog's ashes were scheduled to be aboard the rocket.


Osendorf also told the chief that a Monroe-area man who helped arrange Bismarck's flight would be coming by the police station to drop off a commemorative patch.


"We knew that this was the son whose mom's remains were also on the flight," Willis said.


You can link here to read the entire story in the Everett Herald. 



Pet Burial Trends

Looking Back & Going Forward


As I prepared to write this article on pet cemeteries and how these beautiful final resting places for our beloved pets would continue on, I felt that I had to do a bit of research in order to understand where pet cemeteries started in this country, and why. So, I turned to the oldest pet cemetery in the united States, Hartsdale Pet Cemetery and Crematory in Hartsdale, N.Y., to learn more about its history. While I don't usually draw a lot of "website verbatim" into my articles, I found this snippet (from the cemetery's website) really interesting and definitely worth sharing.


The Hartsdale Canine Cemetery was founded by Samuel Johnson, a veterinarian. It so happened that Johnson had arranged for himself a style of life common to many people today - he worked in New York City where he maintained a flourishing practice, and he had a retreat in t he country in the middle of an apple orchard in the hamlet of Hartsdale, in the town of Greenburgh, Westchester County, N.Y.


One day in 1896, a distressed client of Johnson's paid a call to his office with an urgent problem. Her dog had just died and she wanted to give it a p roper burial, but there was no way for this to be accomplished legally in the city of New York. The woman had contemplated trying to find a vacant piece of ground in which to bury the dog, but this would have involved a great deal of subterfuge, even if it had not been against health department laws. And besides, the land would most surely have been built on sooner or later, for the concrete and steel metropolis was burgeoning in all directions.


After considering the problem, the compassionate doctor came up with a solution. If the woman wanted to make the trip up to Hartsdale, he would be pleased to allow her to bury the animal in his apple orchard. The distraught woman gratefully accepted and made the sad journey to the little hamlet in Westchester.

This burial was not intended to be the beginning of a pet cemetery, but a short time later Johnson innocently gave impetus to the idea.


One day, while having lunch with a reporter friend, the doctor casually told the story of the woman's plight and the dog's burial. Within a few days, much to Johnson's surprise, the story appeared in print. And to his further surprise, he soon found himself being contacted by many people who were looking for a place to bury their beloved pets. It was almost as if he had found a cure for a dreaded disease; this was something people deeply wanted and needed - and greeted with great relief. Before long, Johnson had set aside a 3-acre section of the apple orchard and it began to take the look of a cemetery, dotted with markers and flower arrangements identifying the graves of pets.


By 1905, Johnson's orchard had gained enough recognition to be written about in The New York Times. On Sept. 3, 1905, a feature story appeared in the paper under the headline "A Canine Cemetery of Three Acres in Which Score of Pets Are Interred - Hundreds of Dollars Spent on Graves and Graves by Their Sorrowing Owners."


This article spoke of dogs being "laid away with deepest regret and strong affection." It also reported that, while the cemetery had started with the burial of dogs, and indeed had - and still has - the word "canine" as part of its name, it was open to cats and other animals.


On May 14, 1914, Johnson - to the great relief of those who had pets at Hartsdale - incorporated the Hartsdale Canine Cemetery. Until that time, there were no guarantees that the cemetery would remain in existence, and whatever attention the graves got depended upon each individual owner. Incorporation meant that burial deeds were issued, and perpetual care and services of a full-time caretaker were provided. It meant that the land would be protected forever as a resting place for the nearly 1,000 pets already there, and for the thousands that would join them in the future.


Today, more than a century later, this beautiful hillside location, known as "The Peaceable Kingdom," is the final resting place for nearly 70,000 pets, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and even a lion cub. And although some of the world's most renowned people - from Diana Ross and Mariah Carey to the late Robert Merrill and Kate Smith - have their pets buried at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, pet lovers from every station of life had had pets buried and cremated there, too. The common thread is that all were special and loved. Generations of pet owners have embraced these pet animals and made them part of their families.


To read the entire article link here.


by Coleen Ellis for American Cemetery magazine March 2012 reprinted in its entirety with permission.






Advocates for veterans say

three-day weekend

may be missing the point

of Memorial Day


Last week, Hope Cropley headed out for a long camping trip. In that, she was like countless other Oregonians on this first holiday weekend of the season.


But that's where the similarities end. The 94-year-old Cropley and 65 or so friends and family members weren't headed to just any old campground, but rather for the Grandview Cemetery in central Oregon.


For five decades, the family has gathered at this old burial ground for an annual labor of love: to clean, weed, rake and pay their respects.


Sound like an odd way to recreate? Maybe today. But there was a time when that's what families did on Memorial Day.


Originally proclaimed Decoration Day in 1868, it was a day set aside to honor the dead Union soldiers from the Civil War. After World War II, the name was changed to Memorial Day.


"Back in the early 1900s, before the highway, people would come out by boat and barge and spend the day picnicking in the cemetery and cleaning the family plot, cutting out the brush and trimming it up and making sure the stones were still visible," says Mike Leamy, a member of the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries and owner of Greenwood Cemetery. "That was the purpose of Decoration Day."

Cropley Family
Cropley Family burial plots


That all changed in 1968 when Memorial Day was shifted to a Monday, making for a three-day weekend.


"In the 30 years since we've been here, there's just gotten to be more of a casual focus on remembering, and the greater focus on vacationing," says Leamy. "When we first came here, there were still some family groups that would get together and make an annual pilgrimage to the cemeteries where they have loved ones buried. Now, people run by on the way out of town to throw flowers on the grave so they can enjoy the three-day weekend."

matthews 3-2-12  

The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization has been pushing for a return to the old days when Memorial Day fell on May 30 rather than the last Monday of May. 


"We advocate uncoupling Memorial Day from the three-day weekend because it's totally lost its meaning to the great majority of Americans," says Joe Davis, Washington D.C., VFW spokesman. "To them, it's the first day of summer, the pool is open, let's go to the beach. It has nothing to do with the 1 million Americans who died in uniform."


But there are still a few families out there that Leamy calls the "diehards."


"Even if I have gone there with a weed-eater and carefully cleared around the stone, they will get out their tools and spend time touching it up just so they will have that personal involvement, that personal memory time."


And so you'll find the Cropleys working likewise in Grandview Cemetery, near the former towns of Grandview and Geneva in Jefferson County.


The tradition started in 1962 when Cropley's aunt wanted to visit her sister - Cropley's mother's - grave. She'd been dead since 1923, but her grave remained unmarked. So, Cropley and her siblings purchased a headstone for their aunt's visit and cleaned up the grave.


"It became an annual thing after that," Cropley says. "We'd go in on Wednesday or Thursday, come home on Monday or Tuesday. Friday we decorate and help do the graves and Saturday we decorate and clean. Sunday is the potluck and everyone is invited. One year, we had 63 people from five states."

Pontem 4-2012  

Cropley counts 21 relatives buried at the cemetery, including a son, a daughter-in-law, two husbands, three brothers, a sister and two cousins. She's already purchased her headstone, too.


"It's sad, but we have the grandest time and everybody marvels at our get-togethers," Cropley says. "We're all going to be there together when we're gone. That means we were together living and we'll be together dead. That's the way we all look at it."


By Lori Tobias, The Oregonian, published May 25, 2012


Celebrities' fame, fortune

offer cautionary tales


We are including this article as a good talking point for your prearrangement sales people on the importance of getting one's affairs in order.


Like so many others, I was stunned to hear about Whitney Houston's death at age 48. You just can't overlook the pleasure Houston's music brought into the lives of so many. Several of her songs could immediately make me tear up with joy.


Every time I hear her sing "The Greatest Love of All" and "I Will Always Love You," I think of two of my greatest loves, my children and my husband.


I hope, despite however she died, we'll focus on that part of her legacy. I also hope a few takeaways from Houston's death will serve to help others avoid her failings.


For one thing, how can someone with so much talent, success and wealth be so unhappy? She seemingly had it all.


But her life and her internal battles that often led to her admitted drug use are yet another example that fame and fortune aren't an automatic pass to contentment.

Wilbert 4-2012  

Yet how many times have you wished you could be in the brand-name shoes of a celebrity, earning millions, living the high life? How many times have you dreamed that more money would solve your problems?


As I think of Houston, I wonder what happens next. What financial legacy did she leave? Did she save enough or put money away to help the less fortunate? Will her estate be plagued by lawsuits like so many other celebrity estates?


I hope that when things get settled, Houston won't have left behind confusion, as so many celebrities have done. I hope she put her affairs in order, making it easier for her only child, Bobbi Kristin Brown, to mourn without worrying about money.


When we see celebrities who had the financial means waste the money or fail to handle their money well, it provides high-profile reminders of how important it is to have a good financial and estate plan. Privately, many of us have seen the financial wreckage people leave behind. We've been witness to or participated in family feuds because a relative's death left a mess that often has to be settled in court.


When the "Godfather of Soul" James Brown died in 2006 he left an estate in debt and relatives fighting over his money. Some of Brown's belongings were auctioned for $850,000 to help pay his debts.


The fighting over money started even before he was buried. One of the problems was that Brown hadn't updated his will to reflect changes in his life, including the birth of a son, James Brown II. Things got so bad, the attorney general for South Carolina got involved to help broker a settlement. Three years after his death, a South Caroline judge approved the agreement that would divide Brown's money among a charitable trust, his widow and youngest son, and his adult children. However, despite the settlement and millions in attorney fees, the legal battles continue.

Koppenberg 1/4 page  

When Jimi Hendrix died he didn't leave a will. Stieg Larsson, the Swedish author who wrote "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy, died in 2004 without a will. Larsson died before his books became worldwide best-sellers. Without a will, his girlfriend of 30 years was left with nothing. Larsson's brother and father inherited everything.


Before Houston died there were reports of her having financial trouble. Despite having as estimated $100 million record deal, two of her homes, one in Georgia and another in New Jersey, were at one point slated for foreclosure. In a 2002 interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Houston tried to avoid talking about a lawsuit her father filed against her for $100 million. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed after her father died.


"They will never get $100 million out of me," Houston said in the interview. "I know that."


Houston went on to say, "The bad part about it is, it's about money, and that really sucks. That hurts more than anything."


As you mourn Houston's death, think about what we can learn from it. Remember that money can't buy happiness; ask yourself if your estate is in order or if you are putting money ahead of your relationship with family.


In that interview, Sawyer asked: "Ten years from now, give me the perfect life for Whitney Houston."


A decade later, Houston's response and Sawyer's follow-up observation are pretty haunting.


Houston said she saw herself "Retired. Sitting, looking at my daughter grow up, become a great woman of God, grandchildren."


Sawyer reflected: "And perhaps, some measure of peace for Whitney Houston, a woman whose ethereal talent is matched only by the undertainties of her all too human life."


By Michelle Singletary for the Washington Post, reprinted in its entirety from the Everett Herald for 2/16/2012 with permission.

Bernie Flyer Alert reader Lindsay Fisher wants to share this with you!
If you haven't heard of the new movie "Bernie," you will. It's the true story of a small-town funeral director who committed an unlikely murder.
It's billed as somewhat controversial but blackly comedic.
Click here to read the recent New York Times review.

Civil War veteran laid to rest


PORTLAND - A Civil War veteran whose ashes sat for decades forgotten in storage could someday be remembered as the final soldier buried from that war.


Peter Jones Knapp, who fought for the Union in many famous battles and survived the dreaded Andersonville prison camp in Georgia, was laid to rest Friday afternoon in Willamette National Cemetery, the first Civil War veteran to be buried in Oregon's largest military graveyard.

Knapp, whose cremated remains were discovered by a woman tracing her husband's family tree, received full military honors from the Oregon National Guard on the anniversary of his 1924 death. The funeral also fell on the 151st anniversary of the Confederate victory at Fort Sumter, S.C., which ignited the Civil War.


The burial attracted a mix of veterans, historians, Civil War re-enactors and people simply curious. The 19th and 21st centuries collided as cellphone and video cameras recorded men and women dressed as Union soldiers and civilians. There was not a Confederate in sight. Brig. Gen. Eric C. Bush of the Oregon National Guard was among the speakers who addressed the audience.


"It has definitely become a bigger thing than we could have ever imagined," said Ruth Knapp-Vallejos, 52, of Alameda, Calif., whose grandfather was Peter Knapp's nephew. "Usually our family funerals are very small affairs."


It was Knapp-Vallejos' sister-in-law, Alice Knapp, of Nehalem, Ore.,who discovered the ashes, with the unwitting help of an Oregon newspaper.


Alice Knapp, who enjoys genealogy, was investigating her husband's roots when she learned of a 2009 article featuring Peter Knapp in the Medford Mail-Tribune. The story by Bill Miller looked back at a news item from 1921 in which a Confederate veteran named Willis Meadows literally coughed up a bullet during a violent spasm.


Meadows was shot in the eye during the war, and the bullet remained near his brain until it flew from his mouth almost 60 years later. Peter Knapp, by this time an old man in Kelso, Wash., read details from an article that made national news in 1921 and concluded he was the soldier who shot Meadows at Vicksburg, Miss.


He sent a letter to the one-eyed Meadows and the two connected.


"As young mortal enemies they had tried to kill each other, but now, as aging veterans, they would spend their last few years as friends, exchanging photographs and wishing each other good health," Miller wrote.


After reading the Mail Tribune article, Alice Knapp wanted to know where Peter Knapp was buried. She found his obituary from the Kelsonian newspaper, which said final services had been held at a Portland crematorium.

civil war 5 

She made a few calls and was stunned to hear that Pete Knapp's ashes were sitting on a storage shelf, unclaimed. She later inquired about Knapp's wife, Georgianna, who died in 1930. She was there, too.


"I felt the ashes had to be buried or at least scattered somewhere," Alice Knapp said. "Not sitting in some storage locker."


The reason why nobody ever scattered or buried the ashes at the time has probably been lost to history. A family friend, Debbie Peevyhouse of the California Medal of Honor Project, arranged to have them placed in the national cemetery.


The hearse carrying the twin gold boxes containing the ashes arrived on a road lined with Patriot Riders holding American flags. The speakers largely focused on what Peter Knapp endured as a soldier, his incredible reunion with the man he shot and his commitment to his wife of more than 53 years.


"May we all be inspired by his example of loyalty and fidelity," said D.H. Shearer, an Oregon pastor who, on this day, was a Union chaplain.


The Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War performed a ritual for the dead based on a Grand Army of the Republic ceremony from 1873. The funeral also included a bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace," a bugler who performed "Taps," and the laying of wreaths. Following a musket salute, a folded U.S. flag was presented to Alice Knapp.


According to his 1924 obituary, Peter Knapp enlisted with Company H, 5th Infantry, Iowa Volunteers, in July 1861 and fought in numerous battles, including Iuka, Shiloh and Vicksburg. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Missionary Ridge and sent to Andersonville, where almost 13,000 Union soldiers died.


He married Georgianna Pearson in Muskegon, Mich., in 1870 and moved to Washington state in 1887. He was elected justice of the peace after his retirement from the sawmill business.


Much less is known about his wife.

civil war 2


"The veterans in the world know your wife or your spouse is a companion that really helps you make the adjustment back to the world," Ruth Knapp said. "I'm sure there was more than one night when he woke up screaming, and she would have had to have been there to soothe him. I would think she was a very important reason he was able to keep it togther."


Article by Steven Dubois for the AP, reprinted in its entirety with permission from the Seattle PI online.

Death statistics available for 2009 and 2010
The Washington State Department of Health has provided 2009 and 2010 death statistics. They include:
  • Autopsy and Burial Occurrence
  • Autopsy and Burial Residence
  • Death Occurrence Counts by Funeral Home

2009 statistics can be viewed here


2010 statistics can be viewed here  


WCCFA offers The PAUL ELVIG Student

Convention Scholarship 

for current mortuary college students


For the last three years, the board of the WCCFA has presentedElvig an all-expenses-paid scholarship to our annual convention to a WCCFA member who has not attended one.


At its November 2011 meeting, the board voted to rename the scholarship The Paul Elvig Student Convention Scholarship in honor of the man who has had such huge impact on so many people in our profession from here in Washington state to Washington, D.C. 

Batesville ad    

The scholarship will henceforth be awarded based on entries submitted by those who are current mortuary college students and have never attended a WCCFA convention.


The Seattle area is fortunate to have two excellent mortuary colleges, including Pima Medical Institute School of Mortuary Sciences and the Lake Washington Tech School of Funeral Service.


This year's convention will be held at the Coeur d'Alene Resort August 9-11.


Students can click here for the scholarship application.


Assorted Useful Links


Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board


WSFDA: Washington State Funeral Directors Association


ICCFA: International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association


CANA: Cremation Association of North America


NFDA: National Funeral Directors Association


CAO: Cemetery Association of Oregon


OFDA: Oregon Funeral Directors Association


MBNA: Monument Builders of North America


PNMBA: Pacific Northwest Monument Builders Association 



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Advertising is available only to WCCFA Supplier members. Link here for a membership application form. It's only $275 annually!


Link here for all you need to know about advertising with us. If you don't see what you need, send us an email here

Bulletin Board

Do you have a job opening you need to fill? A piece of equipment to sell? Text advertisements are FREE in the Insider. Just click on the Bulletin Board logo to email your ad to the WCCFA and watch for it in our next Insider.
16212 Bothell-Everett Highway, F183, Mill Creek, WA 98012 
P: 360-668-2120 or 888-522-7637 F: 360-282-6535 

THE WCCFA INSIDERis published by and for the members of the Washington Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association. News articles and press releases are welcome and are published on a space-available and suitability basis.


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