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In This Issue
The Future of Graveyards
Dignity Memorial & Torchlight Parade
AWV Offers New Sales Training
A Haunting Mystery
Dogs Mourn, Too
Death stats for 2009 & 2010
Paul Elvig Student Convention Scholarship
Assorted Useful Links
Suppliers: Interested in advertising?
Bulletin Board

Vol. I, Issue VI

Suppliers logo  

Be sure to visit with all the exhibitors at the convention! We have a lot of great supplier members who support the WCCFA at our meetings and conventions, with advertising in our publications, and by providing unique products and services.  



Washington State Cemeteries Among Those Nationwide Who've "Got Engaged"


Information and digital technology has revolutionized the face and pace of the ways in which we communicate and do business. With an estimated 80%* of the U.S. population now online, consumers not only have the world at their fingertips, but rely on and expect "instant gratification" when it comes to staying in touch, finding information, and conducting personal business.


Cemeteries nationwide, including many in Washington state, are discovering just how important "being engaged" with the public can be.


For example, one Washington state cemetery using Pontem routinely generates a list and GIS map of veterans buried in its cemetery which is provided to a local American Legion Post. The group uses this information to help organize its annual Memorial Day decoration project. Not only do p ost members know how many flags are needed in advance, they can carry out the decoration project unassisted and in record time because of the resources the cemetery is able to provide.


Pontem 4-2012 

"Using Pontem, it takes just a few minutes for a cemetery manager to pull a list like that together, but the goodwill the task generates is immeasurable," says Sherry T. Hood, President of Pontem Software. "It's a win-win for all involved and the kind of engagement and responsiveness people expect today, including from their local cemetery."


The city of Walla Walla chose Pontem's flexible, affordable and easy to use Cemetery Management software to maintain its burial record databases and leverage the software's powerful features to make their burial records and plot maps accessible online.


"Fielding genealogy inquiries always has occupied a big part of my day," says Shelly Floch, Walla Walla Cemetery Clerk. "The fact family members can search for and find burial locations of their loved ones online (www.wallawalla.wa.govern.com) has been a huge benefit for us especially since the cemetery office is open limited hours and not open on weekends. It's freed me to handle other important tasks yet enables us to provide the public with information that's highly sought after and valued," she explains.


One of the unique features of Pontem's Online Burial Search (OBS) is the fact not only can genealogical information be tracked in a grave owner's or occupant's computer record and shared online, cemetery managers also have the option to invite the public to contribute additional family history information which the cemetery can then choose to publish or not on their OBS site making the cemetery's public service efforts even more valuable.


Pontem's Online Burial Search is just one of several software solutions Pontem offers cemetery managers. The Pontem Cemetery Management software line includes a powerful data manager, choice of basic or GIS integrated mapping, an image and document management module, and online services, which besides its popular OBS product, also includes a new self-serve, on-site visitor kiosk option which enables cemeteries to serve the public in even more and cost-efficient ways.


For more information about Pontem's Cemetery Management Software or to schedule a demonstration, call 888.742.2378 toll-free, email sales@pontem.com or visit www.pontem.com/movie to watch a short video which details what a difference Pontem Software can make for you.


*Pew Internet Research: www.pewinternet.org





Clients of ours will tell you that the name means quality, excellent service, innovative ideas and a unique sense of understanding the needs of our customers in the cemetery industry. These virtues have always been the philosophy of our company and are the driving force behind our management team.


We are now entering our 105st anniversary year in the business. The company is family owned and is now being run by the fourth generation of the Houk family.


The following is a list of services our Construction & Design Division can provide to help cemeteries improve their properties: 


Wilbert Precast also is the supplier of the "Wilbert" brand burial vaults and cremation products in the Inland Empire, which covers the areas of E. Washington, Northern Idaho and Western Montana.

I would like to extend an invitation to all members of the association who are contemplating cemetery improvements to contact Dan Terhaar at 1-800-888-4573 and let me explain how Wilbert Precast can help you with any upcoming projects. 

Wilbert PC 2012  


OM Glass Art  


Communicate to Improve Cremation Sales


"We have met the enemy and he is us," is a phrase made famous on an Earth Day poster designed by Walt Kelly. When it comes to cremation sales, I firmly believe we're the main obstacle in our way. As funeral professionals, if we were to treat cremation families without bias, we'd see a significantly smaller gap in revenue between cremation and burial families.


In case your mind is racing with thoughts like, "the economy is bad, families in my community only want the minimum and nothing more," let me tell you why I can make such a strong statement. Last year, I went to more than 150 funeral homes (with the permission of the owners/managers) and posed as a cremation family member ready to make arrangements. I visited funeral homes across the United States and Puerto Rico. I wanted to personally experience what it was like to sit across from a funeral director - without he or she knowing that I was in the funeral service industry myself - and plan a cremation.


Here's what I discovered:


1. I felt a lack of connection/rapport during the arrangement conference.

This was the most shocking experience. While everyone was incredibly professional and courteous, I felt they were very detached. It was as if, by choosing cremation, I became someone with whom they could no longer related. We walked through all the motions, and of course the paperwork, but no time was spent getting to know me or the deceased for whom i was making arrangements.


2. There is an urgent desire to save the family money.

Almost every funeral director I met with was almost apologizing for the cost of the cremation. It seemed they'd decided that because I'd chosen cremation for my loved one, I didn't want (or couldn't afford) to spend any money. When I asked about costs, all but a token few started with their direct cremation charge. When I mentioned I was interested in a service, some of them visibly winced and told me that would add as much as $1,000 or more to the bill - as if the only tangible way to show compassion was to save me money.


3. There was no clear agenda for the arragnement conference.

Many of the directors fumbled as they gathered the information needed. The entire presentation of available cremation options was confusing, because many kept jumping from one step to the next, with no clear roadmap as to where we were going. All seemed to assume I knew what was available, so there was no need to begin the conference with an overview of my options for cremation.


4. There is a pronounced lack of product and service knowledge.

There was much confusion around the functionality of urns and how many diffedrent forms of disposition are available (e.g. interment, niche, home or scattering(. Many were not familiar with the features available in cremation caskets and struggled to clearly articulate why I might need a casket/container or urn with cremation. Why should a family purchase an urn when they can take home a perfectly functioning and economical plastic box? With this approach, it's no wonder the temporary plastic container provided by the crematory has become the number one selling urn in the U.S.


Based on these insights and extensive research Options by Batesville has done, we've clearly identified a substantial gap in communication. And it's this gap between what we assume cremation families want and what they actually need from funeral professionals that's driving lower sales and revenues.


link to rest of the story


Batesville ad  


all for one logo  


Featuring a lineup of HUGELY

in-demand speakers

10 hours programming, including


Doug Gober, Sr. Loan Officer, Live Oak Bank, with Upping Your Game: What To Do When the Competition Levels the Playing Field (Special two-hour presentation)


You worked your tail off to create a marketable difference for your business and blazed a trail in your market. Now everyone in town is doing tribute videos, personalizing memorial folders and taking condolences from their websites. What's next? Hear from one of the funeral industry's leading evangelists about new opportunities to up your game and do more with the opportunities available in your market.


How can we take control of this crucial opportunity and make a real difference, both for families and for our businesses?


Gober will pull together a variety of key content examples and examine how they are applied directly to cemeteries, crematories, and funeral homes. He will evaluate the three sources of ceremony content and then delve into how each of these impacts the likelihood of a memorable event.


The presentation is loaded with real life examples and visuals. He has also video-interviewed clergy from many denominations and will share their responses about their role in service content. He will also tackle each area from the perspective of how to differentiate yourself in your marketplace.


Oliver and Mark Mark Krause, ICCFA past president and owner, Krause Funeral Homes and Cremation Services with What They Really Want: Modern Funeral Consumerism, Changing the Feel of the Funeral, and How to Reach Families with a Pet Funeral. Mark never fails to educate, enthuse and entertain his audience, which is why he's making his third appearance at our convention.


 Keith Lee, the "Google Guy" (Special two-hour presentation)

Keith Lee's company American Retail Supply dominates Google and other search engines which results in 250-300 new clients each month. Go to Google right now and search for "store supplies." Google will give you around 469,000,000 results and American Retail Supply will be #1 or #2 in the natural searches. Businesses are paying huge amounts of money to be in the shaded part of the top of the page. Keith will show exactly what to do to get to the top of the natural searches where you don't have to pay-per-click.


Also including...

  • Ron Salvatore, Matthews Cremation Expert
  • Steven Almanza, Federated Insurace: Succession Planning
  • Pat Lynch, NFDA Immediate Past President
  • Dennis McPhee, Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board


  • 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 Resortby 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.





The Future of Graveyards


If there's anything that hasn't changed all that much over the years, it's graveyards. Dig a hole six feet deep, throw in the casket, erect a monument, and you're done.


Given how emotional and intense this topic is, it's easy to understand the reluctance for fancy innovations. But owing to a number of pressures including dwindling land space and environmental concerns, cemeteries are increasingly finding they have no choice but to adapt. Here's how graveyards of the 21st Century are starting to change into something that barely resembles their previous incarnations.


Our death rituals are changing - and with them, the ways we choose to bury and remember our loved ones. As a result, modern day cemeteries are learning to adapt, experimenting with everything from environmentally friendly graveyards to interactive tombstones. Here aer some prime examples of how graveyards are changing and what they might look like a few years from now:


Natural burials


The Green Movement has caused a big rethink when it comes to lots of things, cemeteries not excluded. To that end, the enviro-conscious have started a new trend called "natural burials." The basic idea is that bodies should be returned to the earth in a more traditional and dignified way. Part of this sentiment is being driven by the perception that death has become sanitized, commercialized, and prohibitively expensive. Natural burials are an effort to rediscover and reconnect with our ancient death rituals - and it's an idea that's quickly taking off.


To read the rest of this story about natural burials, GPS-mapped cemeteries, virtual graveyards, high-rise cemeteries, QR chips, cryonics... click here.


sourced from io9.com


ColdSpring 2012 suppliers 

Dignity Memorial uses Seattle's Torchlight run to highlight Northwest's perception of funerals, memorials


Seattle, July 27, 2012 - When an expected 5,000 runners set out on Seattle's popular Seafair Torchlight run Saturday night, many will notice one group of runners, not because of their speed or running style but because they will be running while carrying an urn used to hold the ashes from a cremation nestled inside a full-sized sea kayak.


The group, comprised of representatives from Dignity Memorial - the region's largest provider of funeral, cremation and cemetery services - are running to highlight the Pacific Northwest's regional peculiarities when it comes to funeral, burials and memorial events.


"As we do in many aspects of our lives, those of us in the Pacific Northwest march to our own drummer when it comes to caring for loved ones when they pass away," said Keith Baumgardner, Dignity Memorial's Seattle representative. "Among other differences is our desire to use cremation over traditional burials."


According to a recent study published by a trade organization, Washington faqmilies use cremation for loved ones 63 percent of the time, the highest in the nation. The national average is 31 percent.


"At Dignity Memorial, we've been working with families to find ways to respect their cremation wishes while also allowing the families to celebrate the lives of their loved ones," said Baumgardner. "Our grief counseling experts have also found that by holding some form of celebration commemorating the individual's life significantly helps in the grieving process."


According to Baumgardner, those who simply scatter the ashes of a loved one sometimes regret not interring the remains to allow for a focal point for their loved one's life.

Polyguard 7-12   

"I think what gives us great satisfaction is finding creative ways to help families celebrate the life of a loved regardless of if it involves cremation or a traditional funeral," Baumgardner said.


One example of Dignity Memorial's work is the nation's first golf-themed memorial park, allowing individuals to inter the cremains [sic] of a loved one as part of golf green, sand trap or parlor.


"I would have had a hard time visualizing this level of creativity in meeting our families' needs 10 years ago," Baumgardner said. "I think our community event this weekend highlighting this level of creativity is a great example of the lengths we will go to servicing families' wishies."


In addition to the Kayak Runners, Dignity Memorial will be on site with a booth at the Seafair Torchlight Run on Saturday, July 28, to sign up attendees for complimentary emergency contact cards offered through their Family Emergency Response Program and take photos of attendees to hand out as race day souvenirs.


sourced from chron.com


Automatic Wilbert Vault Offers New Sales Training Courses with Continuing Education Credit


AWV logoThis year Automatic Wilbert Vault of Tacoma has added an additional commitment to all its funeral service customers. High-level service and product quality have always been our top priorities, and this will never change.


But in 2012 we have added another level of commitment to our customers: Education and Training. With many resources and the research available through Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. in Chicago, Automatic Wilbert Vault Company has created a series of classes for funeral service professionals both in pre-need and at-need sales.


Recent trends in funeral service have left many funeral directors and family service advisors at a loss for fresh presentation ideas. Our classes are designed to provide funeral directors and advisors with the sales tools, preparation, and practice to meet with families in many situations. The classes are not just about selling burial vaults, but about how to present families with the options for many kinds of services and unique memorial experiences for burial and cremation. Classes are designed to help owners and managers increase their bottom line and employees to increase their sales quotas and commissions. Classes include: 

  • Build a Better Service: Creating Personalized Services to Increase Sales and Commissions
  • The Basics: Educating Families and Increasing the Value of Committal Services

Each class offering provides three hours of continuing education credit for funeral directors, but is designed to address all areas of funeral service. Classes include Power Point-style presentations with interactive discussions, role play, handouts, plant tours, and other materials. Lunch is also provided.

2012 AWV supp-photo   

Class attendees will get an early look at Wilbert's new Display Animation Series and training on its use. Funeral Professionals know how challenging it can be to walk with a family through the many necessary decisions of a funeral. The video is designed to help educate families and simplify some of those otherwise stressful decisions.


The first two classes are scheduled for this fall. Both run from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm at our Tacoma location.

  • Wednesday September 12: Build a Better Service: Creating Personalized Services to Increase Sales and Commissions
  • Wednesday November 14: The Basics: Educating Families and Increasing the Value of Committal Services


Additional classes will take place in early 2013. For questions or to register for a class, please call us at 1-800-225-2539, or call Erik Fermstad at 253-606-5740.


We Teach. We Train. We Serve.

We are wilbert




Wilbert 4-2012  



In today's cost-conscious environment, every penny counts. GroupSource is a group purchasing organization (GPO), giving smaller companies an opportunity to compete when they can do business at aggressive price points.

Initially formed over 16 years ago to give small physician practices access to hospital pricing, GroupSource has since evolved to offer price discounts on goods and services to both medical and non-medical firms.

GroupSource has national contracts in place with corporate vendors, and is the only GPO in the country which audits those vendors. Popular categories experiencing savings include: Office Products, Medical/Surgical Supplies, Janitorial/Cleaning Supplies, Credit Card Processing, Health Insurance, Forms/Printing, Laundry/Linen Services, just to name a few.

Recent cost studies for funeral homes in Washington and Oregon show GroupSource savings of 35% on medical and cleaning products, 17% on office supplies and 10-20% on print and promotional items.

GroupSource offers a free cost-analysis service, giving a line-item detailed report on how our program can save you money. Please contact Laurie regarding categories you feel could use some "sharpening." As a new supplier member to WCCFA, our goal is to keep your funeral home profitable.


Laurie Fowlkes
GroupSource - Northwest Account Manager
T 503-277-3700     F 503-761-7083  


Pima ad 7-2012  


Man pleads guilty

to two of county's obit burglaries


EVERETT - A suspect in a series of break-ins that occurred when grieving families were at funerals pleaded guilty Thursday to several crimes related to the string of burglaries.

Tyler A. Chase, 32, admitted to breaking into two homes and possessing or trafficking goods stolen from four others.

Prosecutors believe he and other burglars would target family members of people who had recently died and whose funeral information appeared in obituaries.

Typically, the thieves would steal televisions, jewelry, firearms and "items that were easily and quickly disposed of on the black market," Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson wrote in court papers. "Approximately 10 residential burglaries were identified as being part of this scheme."

Four other people have been arrested for investigation of related allegations, such as possessing stolen property.

Chase on Thursday admitted to breaking into the home of a Snohomish couple when they were attending the March 12 funeral of the husband's mother and an Arlington area home of a man who was attending his wife's funeral March 18.

The Lake Stevens man also acknowledged that he possessed and sold property belonging
to John and Danutsia Burgy. The Marysville couple were attending a funeral for John Burgy's mother March 23 when someone broke into their home and stole two safes and valuables worth roughly $400,000.

Chase faces a standard sentencing range of up to 3 1/2 years in prison. Sentencing was set for Sept. 10.

Another defendant pleaded guilty to four felony counts related to the crimes.

Michelle Herrera, 33, admitted helping with a burglary and possessing and trafficking in stolen property.

The Marysville woman could face up to 2 1/2 years in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for next Tuesday.


sourced from heraldnet.com July 26, 2012



Matthews new 1-12-12        


A haunting mystery

Site of Lake Whatcom homesteaders' cemetery remains elusive


Henry Buchanan traveled to Colorado in the hope his tuberculosis would go away, but, as death drew near, he returned to his parents' farm above Lake Whatcom [Bellingham, Wash.].


With their 23-year-old son ailing, Joseph and Sophia Buchanan set aside part of their 160-acre homestead to bury Henry. The year was 1890, the beginning of Buchanan Cemetery, a family burial plot that soon became the final resting place for other settlers, too.


Henry Buchanan's brother William was buried there just two and a half years later. Only 21, William drowned while working on a log boom at a logging camp. Nobody saw it happen.


Their mother died in 1912 at the age of 75. She's been suffering from rheumatism.


The last person buried at the cemetery was Joseph Buchanan himself, in 1917. He passed away at his Silver Beach home. He was in his 80s and hadn't been feeling well, so some people wondered if he overdid it when he spent several hours digging potatoes the day he died.


Records list more than a dozen people buried at Buchanan Cemetery, but the number could be much larger. How many there are, no one is sure.


The lack of evidence above ground doesn't help. The cemetery's metal fence is long gone, as are any wooden or stone grave markers. Some people might have been buried without a marker.


To be sure, some neighbors and oldtimers have heard about the cemetery. Among them is former County Council member Ward Nelson, who grew up in the vicinity and still lives there.


"My dad had always talked about seeing a cemetery," he said. "I remember seeing headstones there."


But for now, the precise location of the cemetery remains a puzzle. 


Divine Guidance


Someone who is trying hard to locate the cemetery, and track down descendants of people buried there, is Phil Dyer, equal parts history buff and Whatcom County real estate agent.


Dyer became interested in the cemetery because he represents people who want to sell 93 wooded acres north and west of Agate Bay. The land includes part of the 160-acre homestead where the Buchanan family logged, farmed, and built a house and other buildings, starting in the 1880s.


link here for the rest of the story




CremationSales Improve Cremation Sales continued


The good news is we can fix it. We can make a sizeable impact on closing this revenue gap, and it won't take a significant financial investment or a Ph.D. in sales and marketing. It will, however, require a change in our behavior and our understanding of cremation families. In working with Batesville customers, I've seen immediate and positive results in funeral homes that have adopted a comprehensive approach such as the Options AC2T System.


The AC2T System (Acting on Cremation Challenges Together) is a proven method for funeral homes to deliver appropriate information to cremation consumers.


Here are some of the key elements you can start putting into practice today:


1. Learn to build rapport with your families.

Families won't care huw much you know - until they know how much you know. Take the time to get to know your cremation families. Welcome them into your funeral home, and offer them a tour of your facilities before going into the arrangement office. Help them visualize the service and understand the importance of a funeral. Fight for that service with all cremation families. Ask them about the life of the deceased, and in doing so help them remember what made their loved one special, what they want to make sure no one forgets.


2. Stop doing what you don't get thanked for.

Have you ever received a note from any of your families thanking you for saving them money on the service or products? Chances are you haven't. If you're like most funeral professionals, you get thanked for treating the family with dignity and making this difficult time a little easier. Let's stop doing what we don't get thanked for. Stop assuming families chose cremation because they're only interested in your most economical option. Go into every arrangement with the conviction that every family wants a full service, and let the family decide what they want to spend.


3. Ensure members of your staff are experts on the cremation products and services offered at the funeral home - all of them.

When was the last time you role-played the presentation of cremation offerings? Practice walking families through the variety of cremation options available, making sure you are truly connecting with the families as you explain the benefits of each.


4. Package your cremation offerings.

Packaging simplifies the family's decision process and ensures that all key elements available are presented each and every time. Work with your supplier to determine the best packaging solution for your firm and ensure you cover: services, casket selections, urns, jewelry/keepsakes and graphics for the selection room.


We've seen these basic suggestions make a significant difference in our customers' cremation business. On average, funeral homes using the AC2T system have seen a 15 percent improvement in revenue, with some experiencing gains of more than 100 percent.


You can close the revenue gap starting right now. Take a close look in the mirror and ask yourself: Am I letting them make the decision on their own? If the answer to any of these questions is "no," then I encourage you to make an honest assessment of your current practices, identify where you are falling short and make a decision to change.


Call Batesville or your supplier and ask for help in implementing the recommendations outlined here and watch as your cremation revenues grow. Good luck, and make sure you call me and let me know how your business has changed.


Author Nectar Ramirez is director of sales, Options by Batesville. This article is reprinted with the permission of Kates-Boylston publications.


Premier 2-29-2012  


BuchananA Haunting Memory continued


"They were loggers," Dyer said. "That's how they made their money."


Joseph and Sophia Buchanan were married in Illinois and moved to Nebraska before setting out for the Northwest. Joseph was a Civil War veteran, having served in the Indiana infantry.


When Dyer heard about an old cemetery on the property, he began searching records and contacting local historians. With scattered bits of information to guide him, he explored the property and came upon a flat area that's partially cleared, with a few old trees but mostly younger ones.


He pulled out a set of divining rods - L-shaped metal bars made from clothes hangers - and began walking the property. Dyer was introduced to divining, also called dowsing or witching, when he was in the U.S. Coast Guard.


When held in capable hands, the rods cross when the person holding them walks above soil that has been disturbed, Dyer explained. During a recent visit to the site, he demonstrated while walking where he believes up to 55 people may be buried. The rods crossed and uncrossed as he walked.


"When you get to where it is, they just cross," Dyer said. "Three foot, boom! Three feet, boom!"


Based on his dowsing, Dyer calculates there are several rows of graves, with seven to eight bodies per row.


In similar fashion, Dyer said he has divined the perimeter of the Buchanans' house, outbuildings and root cellar. He hasn't found any remnants of the buildings, but said a large hole in the earth could have been the entryway to the root cellar, and chunks of granite scattered on the ground nearby might be pieces of material used for grave markers.


Under state law, if evidence is found that confirms the location of the cemetery, then arrangements can be made to have the grounds cared for. Such cemeteries aren't required to receive formal care, but they must be left undisturbed, said Stephenie Kramer, assistant state archaeologist with the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.


Dyer hopes to find such evidence, but said the passage of time, plus the simple materials used for coffins a century ago, means any evidence may now be dust.


"You may find everything intact," he said. "You may find nothing."


article by Dean Kahn sourced from the Bellingham Herald 7/23/2012. 




Dogs may mourn as deeply as humans do 


FRIDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) - Jon Tumilson's dog, Hawkeye, was an important part of his life.

And, as it turns out, Tumilson was an important part of Hawkeye's life.


After the Navy SEAL was killed in Afghanistan last summer, more than a thousand friends and family attended the funeral in Rockford, Iowa, including his "son" Hawkeye, a black Labrador retriever who, with a heavy sigh, lay down in front of Tumilson's flag-draped casket. There, the loyal dog stayed for the entire service.


Hawkeye's reaction to his owner's death generated a lot of buzz online and in the media. But it's not unusual, according to pet experts, for some dogs to mourn the loss of a favorite person or animal housemate.


Grief is one of the basic emotions dogs experience, just like people, said Dr. Sophia Yin, a San Francisco-based veterinarian and applied animal behaviorist. Dogs also feel fear, happiness, sadness, anger, as well as possessiveness.


Dogs who mourn may show similar signs to when they're separated for long periods of time from the individual they're bonded to, she said. Of those signs, depression is the most common, in which dogs usually sleep more than normal, move slower, eat less and don't play as much.


The beginnings of such a strong inter-species bond between humans and dogs dates back some 15,000 years, when early man and the ancestor of today's dog roamed the Earth together.


Today, after thousands of years of friendship, there's a great deal of attunement between humans and dogs, not only in terms of comprehension of each other's gestures and body language but also emotionally, said Barbara King, a professor of anthropology at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.


It's not just evolutionary logic, or reading peer-reviewed science literature that's convinced King that dogs (as well as cats) feel deep grief. Interviews with astute pet owners for her upcoming book, How Animals Grieve, and the power of observation, has also led her to this conclusion.


Case in point: a grainy video posted on YouTube that captured the image of a scruffy terrier running onto a busy highway in Chile to rescue another dog, hit moments earlier, by a car. As vehicles whiz by the terrier, he instinctively wraps his paws around the injured dog, dragging him off the road to safety.


click here for the rest of the story

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  


DogDogs May Mourn continued


"When you look at that sort of example, again, you see that these dogs are thinking and feeling creatures, and that sets the stage for grief," she said.


Through her research, King has found that in households with two dogs who've lived together for a number of years, some owners report that when one dog dies, the other gets depressed. Skeptics might point to a change in daily routine as the cause of depression or, perhaps, because the owner is upset and grieving. But King feels differently


"The surviving dog is searching around the house for a lost companion - looking in favorite places, going to places that they spent with their friend, very pointed actions that tell you the dog is missing his friend," she said.


In an effort to understand what dogs are thinking, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta are conducting brain scans of dogs using functional MRI (fMRI).


Gregory Berns, director of the Emory Center for Neuropolicy and lead researcher on the project, hopes their work will reveal secrets of the dog-human relationship, from the dog's perspective.


Even with high-tech tools, though, determining whether canines experience grief would be tough, he admitted, because he believes it's unknown how grief looks in the human brain. If it were known, however, Berns said researchers could then look for this emotion in the dog but it would require showing pictures, perhaps movies, of the deceased human or canine.


"It would be fascinating to figure out," said Berns, who normally uses fMRI technology to study how the human mind works. "If I were to speculate, I would guess that, like people, some dogs mourn and others don't."


King agrees. After all, she said, dogs possess unique personalities and react differently, even in the same situation. Whether a dog grieves hinges on a dynamic mix of life experiences, added King, including how they were raised and what their people or animal housemates were like.


If a pet mopes around the house after the death of a canine or human companion, Yin suggests the best thing owners can do is to get their dog's mind off the loss by engaging their pet in fun activities such as a game of fetch, brisk walks and play dates with other pets. "The activity depends on what the dog historically likes," she said.


Don't expect a quick fix. It may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, pet experts believe, before a dog's spirits begin to lift.


sourced from yahoo.net news 

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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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


Position Title:  Mortuary Science Instructor              

Location: Seattle, WA


Salary Range: DOE



Pima Medical Institute, the largest independently owned, private allied health school in the United States, is seeking a Mortuary Science Instructor for the Seattle, WA location. 


The Mortuary Science Instructor will support the Mortuary Science program and assist in the education of students in accordance with the curriculum standards and objectives. Network in the professional community.



  • Teaching professional courses including Embalming, RA, Law, History, and Pathology.
  • Plan instruction to achieve specific objectives based upon student need and established curriculum.
  • Embalming of human remains.
  • Apply cosmetics and restorative art to the deceased, as required
  • Network with the Professional Community in the region.
  • Call on existing clinical sites and arrange for new clinical sites.
  • Make arrangements to assist families in the disposition of human remains.
  • Assist individuals and families through the death of a loved one.
  • Ensure appropriate authorization forms and documents are signed as necessary, by the proper authority.
  • Ensure death certificates are authenticated according to Washington State law and personally attain signature(s) of the proper authority.
  • Work with Medical Examiners/Coroners in obtaining human remains for the school


  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Graduate from an ABFSE accredited program.
  • Five (5) years of experience as a funeral director and embalmer in a firm involved in at least 150 full-service traditional calls per year.
  • Must be a Washington State licensed funeral director and embalmer or be able to qualify for Washington licenses.
  • Knowledge of federal, state and local laws and regulations regarding funeral services.
  • Valid driver's license required.
  • Must show evidence of auto insurance.
  • Must complete Masters Degree within five (5) years of employment.


Pima Medical Institute offers a competitive benefits and compensation package which includes:  

  • Competitive salaries.
  • A Paid Time-off (PTO) plan.
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan with a 20% employer match.
  • Education and licensure reimbursement.
  • Medical, Dental, Vision, Disability, and Life insurance.
  • An individual performance merit plan.


Qualified Applicants should submit resume in Word format to: jnorvell@pmi.edu


Pima Medical Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of race, national origin, creed, veteran status, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability. 




My name is Rebecca Emmert, I am a recent graduate of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, Class 143, where I served as the Student Senate President and graduated with a degree in Funeral Service Management. During my education at PIMS, I received my ICCFA Cremation Arranger Certification and the CANA Crematory Operator Certification. I have an extensive customer service and sales management background and am currently seeking an internship as a Funeral Director and Embalmer in the Seattle area.
Please contact me at Emmert.Rebecca@gmail.com or call 412-657-7811.



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