Branding 28
topThe Insider
News for Death Care Professionals
Vol. II - X
Update on WCCFA Web site
Our Web site is now actively undergoing a complete re-design and re-branding using our new logos and colors. It will also be written in newer more user-friendly code that will make it much more
dynamic. We are exploring the best way to list members for ease of contact by the public, and are investigating offering a supplier-of-the-month ad marquee program that could bring in a little more revenue.
If any of you are technically inclined and would like to volunteer as a "Web master" for the WCCFA please contact us at

A Cemeterian's Best Friend,
Part Four 

By Paul Elvig, Cemetery Law Expert-at-Large



RCW 68.32.110 Order of interment - General.

About this article In a family plot one right of interment may be used for the owner's interment and one for the owner's surviving spouse or state registered domestic partner, if any. Any unoccupied spaces may then be used by the remaining parents and children of the deceased owner, if any, then to the spouse or state registered domestic partner of any child of the owner, then to the heirs at law of the owner, in the order of death.

In the last issue of The Insider we discussed the definition of "Family Plot" and its evolved meaning ... evolved over the last 12 decades. Now we are looking at the Order of Interment offered in the RCW as it relates to a "Family Plot." The content of RCW 68.32.110 (above) for all purposes is divided into two levels of use, (1) Owner's use and that of the surviving spouse/registered domestic partner and, (2) Other family members, i.e. children, parents, heirs at law.

Let's say the owner of a Family Plot purchased six graves in all. Obviously the owner and spouse (or registered domestic partner) are the ones entitled to use any of the six they wish. They may even wish to pre-purchase related goods and services including a memorial. RCW 68.32.110 makes it clear they can do as they wish, all within your rules and regulations of course. Comes now the second part, "in order of death," which dictates other uses. Included in such are the remaining parents of the owner (not often the case), children and their spouse or registered domestic partner and the "heirs at law." (We discussed heirs at law in the August 5th issue of The Insider.)  

Comes now the big question ... or should we say big headache ... If "in order of death" be the lawful case, how can those so listed pre-purchase goods and services assigning such to a specific grave within that Family Plot? Another big question concerns the spouse of the child just buried who is still living; how can that surviving spouse be assured that he/she will get to use the grave next to their deceased spouse? Considering how many persons could line up for use at the time of death you might face a real knock-down-drag-out in following the details of RCW 68.32.110 . Is there an answer to the questions just asked? Unfortunately the referenced statue does not answer this question.

Dealing with the unanswered questions offered might just best be dealt within the cemetery's rules and regulations. While the law doesn't say you can deal with such via rules and regulations, it doesn't say you can't. Thus using your head (my favorite approach) I would turn to writing rules to cover a child's spouse next-to arrangements. One might even consider using rules and regulations to cover the pre-purchase of goods and services for those still living who plan to use the unoccupied graves in question. Your rules might want to spell out how agreements between those entitled to use graves "in order of death" be worked out in advance. It's safe to say RCW 68.32.110 leaves a big hole in application of its wording. Don't you just love reading law?!


We'll be back in the Insider soon with even more scintillating cemetery selections from Title 68 RCW.  


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How to become your own lobbyist in Washington in 10 easy steps


How can normal people with businesses to run and family lives to enjoy find the time to navigate the muddy waters of Washington politics, legislation and regulation? I addressed this topic in my presentation at the CANA Annual Convention, held in Washington, D.C. Since government is the No. 1 business in this city, it seemed appropriate to offer some pointers for people who want to make their opinions heard in Washington but aren't sure of the best way to do it.


I have to thank ICCFA Government and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Irwin Shipper for giving me the idea of urging members to become their own lobbyists, as he talked about in the August-September issue of our magazine.


On Capitol Hill, nobody cares that your organization represents, say, 100,000 people. the politicians just want to know how many of those people are their constituents. This means that lobbying for the ICCFA is not a spectator sport. The more individual members who make themselves known to their Congressional delegation, the more effective our efforts on Capitol Hill will be.


With that goal in mind, here are 10 easy steps to take to prepare yourself to be a lobbyist for your own business and for the ICCFA, too.


1. Become qualified. This is perhaps the simplest of the 10 points. There are no qualifications to become a lobbyist in our nation's capitol. You become a lobbyist because you say you are. Let's move on.


2. Don't rely on the news media. Despite the presence of 24/7 news today, do not rely on the news media for your data in support of or opposition to pending legislation or a proposed regulation from a federal agency. The media often misstates the purpose of a bill or omits important information that could change your opinion on the proposal.


3. Bookmark This is your gateway for finding bill numbers, the text of bills, bill summaries, names of bill sponsors and Congressional committee action on each bill. It's also free.


4. Learn what a bill actually says before expressing your opinion. Despite Rep. Nancy Pelosi's famous remark, "But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what's in it," it is best to learn the provisions of a bill prior to lobbying for or against it. Read the actual text of the bill or at least an official summary before coming to an opinion on it. And to repeat No. 2, don't depend on the news media to do your homework for you.


5. Establish your credibility by using actual bill numbers. Everyone you may contact on Capitol Hill will ask you for the bill number of the legislation you are talking about. If you don't know it, you won't have credibility with the people you are trying to influence, no matter how much enthusiasm you show.


6. Bookmark You can easily locate your House representative by entering your zip code, and you will be linked directly to his or her website containing email and phone contacts, and a list of the representative's committee assignments.


7. Bookmark You can easily locate your two senators by state, and you will be linked directly to his or her website containing email and phone contacts, and a list of the senator's committee assignments.


8. Bookmark This free tool states, "Easily track the activities of Congress" and they aren't kidding. Great tool!


9. Cross-check your representative/senators' committee assignments with the committee(s) to which the bill you're interested in has been referred. If your representative or senator is on that committee, voice your opinion right away, before the committee vote.


10. Keep on top of your Congressional representatives' overall voting records. Want to know how liberal or conservative the members of your Congressional delegation really are? That's easy to check, and often very enlightening. For the liberal rating, go to and click on "Voting Record." For the conservative rating, go to and click on "Legislative ratings." You may be surprised to discover that some of your representatives in Congress don't vote the way they talk.


Article by ICCFA General Counsel Robert M. Fells, Esq, sourced from ICCFA Magazine for Nov. 2013.


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Saying Goodbye to a Deer Friend 


When Ella the deer was discovered in Elmwood Cemetery in 2011, no one expected her to touch as many hearts as she did in her tragically short life.


"Somewhere beyond the sink hole, past the magnolia, under the live oaks, a boy and a yearling run side by side, and are gone forever." - Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, "The Yearling"


What a gift.


It's a statement John Weilert, president of The Elmwood Cemetery Society board of trustees, says over and over again.


What other word could be used to describe a deer that found her way into an inner-city cemetery in Kansas City, Mo., made it her home, and in her short life touched countless lives?


"At this point, I don't think you can think about Elmwood without thinking about Ella," Weilert said. "They are interwoven...she was our special gift."


A gift that was lost far too soon.


On Aug. 4, Ella was found dead, shot once through the right shoulder. Her body was found lying near Armour Chapel, the place where Ella could often be found holding vigil as weddings and funerals were performed inside. The person responsible is still at-large.


"I cried when I heard the was such a terrible blow to us," Weilert said. "She was such a gentle creature. It's hard to fathom why anyone would do something like that."


From the start, Ella was an improbable gift to the cemetery. Born Memorial Day weekend 2011, the newborn was discovered curled up in the courtyard of a family mausoleum. Her mother had wandered into Elmwood and given birth to the doe.


Although the mother deer was killed outside the cemetery several months later, Ella (who was given her name by two young girls) remained on the grounds, quickly becoming the "official greeter" of the 43-acre cemetery.


"It didn't seem possible... a deer calling an inner-city cemetery home, but that's exactly what happened," Weilert said. "Ella became an integral part of Elmwood."

Initially shy, it didn't take long before Ella began taking an interest in people. "In the beginning she'd stand at a distance... when we moved about the grounds, she'd follow," Weilert recalled. "We let her take it at her own pace, and the distance she kept began to shorten."


Ella was falling in love with people... and people were falling in love with Ella. It didn't take long for news of this special cemetery deer to spread, and young and old alike started visiting Elmwood for a chance to see, take photos and for a lucky few, touch Ella. Art5 classes sought her out as a subject for paintings and drawings.


Ella basked in that glow of attention. "She was a great ambassador for the cemetery," Weilert said. "People read or heard about Ella and wanted to come see our very special resident."


There was no question that Ella was intuitive, that she knew when she was needed. On numerous occasions she would appear at gravesites to comfort the bereaved. She would be there with military honor guards at veterans' burials. And there was nary a wedding or funeral she would miss at Armour Chapel. "She brought so much light-not just to the cemetery but to all she came in contact with," Weilert said.


News of Ella's death quickly spread. It wasn't just Elmwood Cemetery that felt the loss-as one local media report described it, the city was mourning the loss of a favoriate friend. "The outpouring was immediate," Weilert said. "We heard from so m any people who shared their stories about Ella... she touched so many people's lives in such a short time."


The investigation into Ella's death is ongoing. In addition, two national protection organizations are offering rewards totaling $6,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.


Plans are underway for a special memorial service for Ella, Weilert explained. Amond those who will be invited to the small, private event will be children who attended the summer camp program sponsored by the Great Plains SPCA. The children, Weilert explained, wrote poignant sympathy cards that were delivered to the cemetery. "What we want to do is have the children come and read their cards and then focus on wildlife and loss, death and compassion. At the end, we'll bury Ella's urn."


There will also be a monument erected in Ella's memory. "She was our gift... and she will never be forgotten," Weilert said. "I knew her virtually from the time she was born. Obviously I loved her, but I also admired her. It was with a sense of wonderment that I watched her ability to connect with people. Her life was filled with teachable moments... that was her gift to us."


Additional information about Ella and her monument is available by contacting John Weilert at


Source: Article by Patti Martin Bartsche for American Cemetery magazine September 2013.


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National Prearranged Funeral crooks

finally get prison sentence


 Six people who turned a prepaid funeral company into "an enormous Ponzi scheme" that cost victims more than $450 million were sentenced here Thursday to prison terms from 18 months to 10 years.


The owner of National Prearranged Services Inc., James "Doug" Cassity, 67, along with his son, Brent Cassity, 46, and former chief financial officer Randall K. Sutton, 68, all could have faced life terms under federal sentencing guidelines.


But they and two others struck plea deals in June and July that guaranteed less time in prison. As it was, the Cassitys, of Clayton, and Sutton, of Chesterfield, were sentenced to the top of the range specified in their agreements. Doug Cassity received nine years and seven months; Brent Cassity got five years; and Sutton got seven years.


A company lawyer, Howard Wittner, 75, of Chesterfield, faced up to five years and received three. Longtime employee Sharon Nekol Provice, 69, of Ballwin, faced three years and got 18 months.


The only defendant to go to trial, former investment adviser David Wulf, 61, of St. Louis County, was convicted at trial in August on 18 counts, including bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. Had he pleaded guilty, he would have faced five years or less. U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton gave him 10 years.


Hamilton ordered the Cassitys, Sutton, Wulf and Province to pay restitution of $435 million, the balance of the loss after assets were forfeited. Wittner was ordered to repay $10.5 million. The prospect of significant repayments to the more than 97,000 victims appears remote. A civil suit is pending. The losses fall upon funeral plan customers, funeral homes, insurers and financial institutions. Some testified at Thursday's sentencing hearings - in a courtroom overflowing with victims, investigators, court staff and families and friends of the defendants.


Marty Meyers, of the Meyers Funeral Chapel in Blue Springs, Mo., walked slowly forward, pinning each defendant with an angry glare on the way. Meyers said the scam "devastated our family." He explained that his funeral home was one of the most damaged, with losses of $3.2 million to $4 million. "All the partying and carrying on that they did ... that was our money," he said.


The Cassitys pleaded guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and other charges. Sutton pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and insurance fraud.


Wittner pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements intended to deceive insurance regulators, and to willfully permitting a felon to engage in the insurance business. That refers to Doug Cassity's past conviction for investment fraud. Wittner admitted lying to state regulators and concealing the source of money used to buy a medical malpractice insurer.


Province pleaded guilty to six counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and misappropriation of insurance premiums.


At times, the feeling in the courtroom was tense, with victims and defendants in close proximity.


Link here for the full article.



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Not Sharing Bottom-Line Costs with Staff

Can Cost 


While employees don't need to see P&L statements, they do need to know what it costs to keep the firm's doors open per day.


The reality is that after interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization have been accounted, the average funeral home is only making about five percent. For the size of investment most owners have in their firm, that number is not a large return on investment.


Take your firm's total expenses from last year's P&L and divide it by 365 to determine your daily cost of operations.


Do your employees know how your firm's pricing works?


Do they actually know what your firm's overhead is, or do they think the firm is making large amounts of money?


Without knowing the true cost of running the business, arrangement staff may have a difficult time explaining pricing to the clients. While arrangers should not disclose confidential information that has been shared with them by the firm, knowing the cost of running a business helps them better explain the cost of operations.


Today's consumer is more financially savvy than that of years ago. They want to know they are not overcharged. This factor is even more critical for business if there are discount or low-end funeral providers nearby.


And employees want to help those consumers. A frequent problem arises when an employee making $45,000 per year is working with a family spending more than 25 percent of that on a funeral. That's a lot of money! Many arrangers are caregivers and not money driven. And they will often, albeit subconsciously, keep the services and merchandise lower than the consumer is actually willing to spend.

 Sightlife 6-2013

The challenge comes in training and ensuring staff understands that the cost of services selected is justified and necessary to keep the firm moving forward. When staff realizes and understands that the fees charged are fair and justified, they will convey that to the consumer. The problem arises when the staff believes the fees are too high. That belief can even transfer through verbal and nonverbal cues to the customer.


The problem arises when the staff believes the fees are too high.


In locations with multiple arrangers, certain arrangers normally have higher averages. Why? Because they understand the pricing and are not timid to present the different options to the consumer.


Training is different at every firm. One could have a staff meeting, use a train-the-trainer method or have different staff members mentor others. There is no turnkey system to staff training. But training to make sure staff understands the pricing enables them to better serve the consumer and maintain profitability for their firm.


Article by Jim Starks, CFuE, CCrE sourced from Funeral and Cemetery News for December 2013. The author is president of J. Starks Consulting in Lutz, FL, and a nationally-recognized trainer on funeral home and crematory risk management. For information contact Jim at 813-765-9844 or 


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DOL Funeral/Cemetery Board met Dec. 10 


Link here to a draft copy of the Dec. 10, 2013 meeting minutes.


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North Carolina funeral service board

misspends money


The North Carolina Board of Funeral Service wants more money-a lot more-in the form of fees on funeral homes that may be passed on to consumers. But a state audit and an analysis by the INDY suggest the board has plenty of money but mismanages it-a finding that could force the fee increases to undergo legislative review.


The funeral service board has given double-digit raises to many of its staff, including the wife of the head of a North Carolina funeral industry trade group. This is according to documents obtained by the INDY and public comments from former board staff and a director submitted to a legislative committee.


The funeral board also purchased a $1 million office condo in Raleigh, instead of leasing cheaper space, and spent excessive amounts of money on car allowances for funeral home and crematorium inspectors.


The funeral board's $1 million budget is pegged to fees it collects from funeral establishments, crematoriums, pre-need contracts and training examinations.


The financial situation emerged in May, after the state auditor found that inspectors were not adequately monitoring and following up on facilities with deficiencies. Too much time had lapsed between inspections; instead of two- and three-year cycles, some funeral homes had not been inspected in four to eight years.


In response, the funeral board used the audit findings to ask for "significantly" higher fees-as high as 87 percent-on the state's 751 licensed funeral establishments and 110 crematories. The money would ostensibly be used to hire a fourth inspector for $85,000-$134,000 a year.


Link for the complete article, originally published in the online news source Raleigh-Cary Durham-Chapel Hill INDY WEEK for 10/30/13. 


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Wilbert Precast PNG


10 Tips for Community Involvement:

Advice from Experts


Historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y., brings in more than 200,000 visitors a year, and the number is growing annually. Back in 1999, Green-Wood created a not-for-profit organization-The Green-Wood Historic Fund-to sponsor tours, host public programs and more. Lisa W. Alpert, director of development and marketing at Green-Wood, often hears from colleagues at other cemeteries who say, "If we give a tour or a book signing, no one will come. We have no idea how to get started." But, she said, you probably have a lot more tools than you think. Alpert shares these 10 tips for building community involvement in your cemetery.


1. KNOW THYSELF. Dig deep and ask why you want to build community involvement in the first place. Is it to increase sales? Is it to become a more well-known institution in the area? You would be surprised how many places just say, "Let's give tours" with really no clear idea of why they're doing it.


2. A WALKING TOUR IS AN EASY WAY TO START. People love learning about the "permanent residents" of your cemetery. Find someone on staff who knows a lot about them who can articulate the history to a group of interested people. Consider a tour on a Sunday afternoon. Is this something you want to do for free or might you charge a small fee of $10?


3. BUILDING AN AUDIENCE: LOOK IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD. Lot holders and families are an extremely important constituency. And you're already communicating with them about cemetery business. Do an audit of every piece of mail that goes out from your office over the course of a month. Each one is a marketing opportunity. Create a flier in-house about your tour or event, and make sure it goes out with every piece of mail. Put a stack in your reception area. Consider adding a message to your after-hours phone announcement.


4. CREATE YOUR OWN AMBASSADORS. Tell everyone who works there-from gravediggers to administrative assistants-what you're doing. Each one of them is an ambassador with friends and family. Let them help you expand your circle.premier 2013-2014 for web


5. THEN LOOK OUTSIDE YOUR OWN BACK YARD. Remember, your lot holders are also emissaries. There's a reason they selected your cemetery to memorialize their family members. Contact your local newspaper, micro news Internet sites and local blogs, and inform them of what you're doing. Most likely, you're already being blogged about. See what people are saying.


6. DON'T OFFEND. This is an important one. First and foremost, the role of a cemetery is to memorialize those who have died. Be sensitive, and do not plan events that will offend your lot holders.


7. COLLECT EMAIL ADDRESSES. Cemeteries rarely do this, and it's a mistake. At every occasion, from the first customer contact to payment receipts, ask for your customers' email addresses and make sure you can access them easily to promote tours or other community events.


8. ONE WORD: FACEBOOK. Do not underestimate the power of Facebook. Get a page up and running if you do not already have one and find someone on your staff to maintain it. Post information about your events and monitor for comments and questions.


9. ESTABLISH A VOICE. Often people can't imagine why they would interact with a cemetery unless someone has just died. Your job is to broaden their perspective. Show them that you respect and value the stories of your permanent residents. Demonstrate that there are friendly and accessible people who work there. When you post on Facebook, send letters or email messages, be welcoming. Cemetery employees can be respectful and fun at the same time.


10. ASK FOR VOLUNTEERS. Whether you need someone to pass out programs at an event or set up chairs for a concert, chances are there are people in the community who want to help. And who knows? They might have friends who are willing to do the same.


Sourced from American Cemetery Magazine for September 2013, reproduced in its entirety with permission


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PIMA hosting Matthews Cremation Certification Training January 15, 2014
Pima Medical Institute Department of Mortuary Science is hosting Matthews Cremation Certification Training  on January 15, 2014 at Wiggen and Sons Funeral Home, 2003 NW 57th, Seattle, WA 98107. Start time to be determined.
Those who wish to acquire certification may do for $150.00. Lunch will be included. Please contact Mark Huntsman at 425.314.4591 to get questions answered and to make arrangements for attendance.
Click here for the agenda.


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Pontem Software Integrates with webCEMETERIES.COM Memorials and Apps 


EATON RAPIDS, Mich. - A leading provider of software and mapping solutions to the cemetery industry since 1979, Pontem Software is pleased to announce its strategic partnership with which makes possible the integration of Pontem's Burial Data Manager, Online Burial Search, and GIS mapping features with's Living Memorials and suite of cemetery mobile applications.


This new partnership has been marked by the successful launch of a collaborative project for the City of Winter Park (FL) cemeteries. Pontem's Online Burial Search, hosted on the city's website now features a Living Memorial Page for each person where families can share memories, stories, photos and videos of their loved ones. Winter Park's branded mobile app allows visitors to search for an individual, receive GPS navigation to the grave, and view Living Memorial page information.


In addition to these public services, Pontem cemetery clients can also now leverage mobile technology for their field work. Using's integrated Field Office and Tree mobile applications, cemetery staff can use GPS navigation, view scanned documents, create work orders, upload inspection photos, view available inventory, survey trees and record tree maintenance issues all from the field.


The Winter Park project has been received with enthusiasm by cemetery visitors and garnered considerable positive news coverage from local media outlets including the Orlando Sentinel and the local Fox News TV affiliate.


To see the app in action, search for "WPC Explorer" on any Android or iPhone. The application also is accessible via any Android-based or iPad tablet device.


Based in Eaton Rapids, MI, Pontem Software ( provides a complete line of flexible, affordable, easy to use cemetery records management software solutions for more than 600 municipal, private and religious cemeteries large and small across North America. Products include a powerful data manager with integrated image and document management, integrated Standard or Esri (TM)-engineered GIS mapping, an online burial search with genealogical and location information, a self-serve kiosk option, data and mapping conversion services, and more. is based out of Virginville, PA. Over the past seven years the company has worked with hundreds of cemeteries across America, offering custom cemetery technology solutions including on-site document scanning, online GPS Living Memorials, and cemetery mobile applications. Learn more at 


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Welcome New Member:

Rainier Room, Hospitality Venue 


The Rainier Room at the Truitt Building is pleased to join the WCCFA community. We are a flexible and affordable venue that is a perfect site for memorials, wakes, and other related gatherings. We are located in South King County in downtown Auburn, minutes away from WA-18 and I-5.With breathtaking views of Mount Rainier on a clear day, our name suits us well.


We are a locally owned business which prides ourselves on catering to our guests' needs. Because of our flexibility, we can tailor events to customer needs, providing personal attention to both your staff and your clients. Our conscientious service allows our guests to relax and enjoy the comfort of family and friends.


For those that desire food service, The Rainier Room caters exclusively with Longhorn Barbecue or Oddfellas Pub & Eatery. We have several menus from which to choose, including special menus for our memorial service guests which makes for a simple and more relaxed planning process.Bar  services are also available.


The Rainier Room offers a unique floor plan that allows for flexibility and creativity. Our capacity is 225 seated guests. The room rental includes tables, chairs, linens, chair covers, coffee/water services, set-up and clean-up. We are handicapped accessible, air conditioned, and have wireless internet. Our audio-visual equipment includes a high-quality projector and screen, perfect for memorial presentations.


For more information, please visit our website at,or call us at (253) 804-3555.


Get your 2014 music license now! 


We have again joined forces with the International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association's Music Coalition. We are pleased to inform you that your membership in the Washington Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association now entitles your company to music licensing with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for only $258 for the 2014 calendar year. If you have not already purchased or renewed your Music License for 2012, simply complete the 2014 Music License Application and return it to ICCFA with payment, and your music license requirement for 2014 will be covered. Please note that the $258 price will be in effect until January 25, 2014. After January 25, the price increases to $270 per location.  


Click here for application form.


Music licensing is the law, and failure to obtain a license where one is required can be costly: Copyright law provides for damages similar to fines of up to $30,000 for each song that is infringed. If your cemetery, regardless of size, hosts performances of copyrighted music - whether the music is performed live or played from recordings - music copyright owners say you are legally required to pay an annual licensing fee.


Click here for application form.


As a partner in the Music License Coalition, WCCFA now provides our member companies the opportunity to be in full compliance with the law and ensure you are covered for any music a client family might request. Licensing directly with the agencies this year would cost nearly $600 per location, so the Coalition price, which requires no additional membership fee, is still the lowest available in the funeral industry.


Click here for application form.


The Music License Coalition is a partnership of numerous associations representing the cemetery, cremation and funeral service industry and administered by the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association. Its goal is simply to continue to attract more licensees, thereby increasing compliance within the profession and qualifying for even bigger volume discounts in the future - so your company can save even more money!


Click here for application form.


Please note that if you receive another 2014 Music License Coalition Renewal notice for $258 licensing from another Coalition organization, you only need to pay once and you can simply remit payment with whichever invoice you choose. Some cemeteries may be on more than one Music License Coalition partner membership list. As long as you pay the low $258 fee for each location where music is played, you can rest assured your company will be covered with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for 201 4.


Click here for application form.


If you have any questions, please call us at 360.668.2120. We look forward to your participation and support of the WCCFA/Music License Coalition program.


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The Future is Bright for

Independent Funeral Homes


Just when many owners are standing around wringing their hands, wondering if they will be able to stay afloat financially, or go under like the Titanic, some old undertaker from a one horse town in Maine comes along and makes this outlandish statement. Can he be taken seriously?


Tom Lord, author of the new book 101 battle tested P/R Strategies for Independent Funeral Homes says funeral directors have always been masters at adapting to radical change. Following the Civil War, they had to learn the art of embalming without any embalming colleges. Not long after that, they had to adjust to an entirely new and different concept: the funeral "home." Those who were not asleep prospered. Cement vaults and sealed metal caskets were not common until after WWII. A few years after that cremation gained a toehold. The FTC and OSHA caused many funeral directors to panic by imposing strict regulations on the industry. Honest funeral directors benefitted greatly. Others were forced to clean up their act. It was difficult, but independent operators adjusted to the conglomerates, retail casket stores and telemarketing. Currently, most funeral homes have a computer, website and email. They had to adapt, or "go under."


Credibility? As president of a small firm in a bedroom community, doing fifty some calls a year, the author's funeral home faced a constant life or death battle competing directly with seven top flight funeral homes and a branch chapel. These strategies helped propel that little firm to over two hundred calls a year by the time the partners retired. Any funeral director can do much better than that by applying the strategies spelled out in the book.


PCM 1/2 page The author introduces a unique approach to pre-planning funerals that could change the way they are conducted for years to come. Lord does not advocate sailing off into uncharted waters. Instead, he urges owners to "get to know the ropes" (understand basic P/R), then take a little different "tack" now and then. These guidelines are the result of years of plotting a course, marking the reefs and shoals, testing the waters, and perfecting the strategies.


A funeral business is built on one solid relationship at a time. The book suggests several effective ways to develop them exponentially. There are few opportunities for a funeral director to seize a competitive advantage and hold on to it for any length of time. Knowledge is power. By applying these strategies, an owner will be able to gain that edge in several different areas. The competition will be bewildered at what you are able to accomplish, and helpless to compete in any meaningful way. The status and prestige in your community will increase significantly.


Lord clings tenaciously to his claim that this is the most effective public relations program ever to be offered to the funeral profession and he reminds owners that many opportunities are sailing by their door while they snooze in front of the TV. Lord urges them to "wake up, don't miss the boat." There will be rough sailing ahead, but barring a total meltdown of the United States economy, independent funeral directors will be able to "batten down the hatches" and weather any storm. To learn more visit or email


Sourced from Funeral Home & Cemetery News for December 2013.



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Changing Lives Through Laughter:

What do you want to find under your Christmas tree? 


As the holidays quickly approach, our thoughts turn, not just to what we are going to give, but what is it that we want? While the old adage, "'tis better to give than to receive," may be true, it is in our nature to still act like six year olds making a mental list of the items we think would be wonderful to be given, even if they don't fit under our tree. A ticket to a far off exotic location, a new car in the driveway with a red bow tied around it or even a beautiful urn containing our loved one. What???? Who would ever consider this to be an appropriate gift? Yet this is exactly what one person had in mind when she called our office. Here is the gist of the conversation:


Customer: Do you sell urns?

Me: Floral or for cremated remains?

Customer: I need something to put part of my mother in. she died a few years ago and I still have her at home.

Me: Are you looking for a place to bury her?

Customer: No. She already has a grave with a marker next to my Dad, but I don't want to put her there.

Me: So what are thinking you would like to do?

Customer: I want to purchase a pretty urn and give some of her to my sister for her Christmas present.


After regaining my composure, I suggested that she come to our office to discuss this further. I also explained to her the reasons that final placement in her grave was the gift she sh LEES-4-2012 ould consider giving this year.


What has become of our society when the giving away of a loved one's remains is considered a "gift"? We have heard of people attending a funeral service being given portions of the cremated remains to "scatter where they think is appropriate." We have heard of children cleaning out parents' homes only to discover grandma or grandpa still reside in the back of the closet. We have even heard stories of people purchasing a pretty vase at a garage sale only to discover that the contents inside are not awaiting water and cut flowers.


It seems our disposable society has deemed it proper to look at the human remains as something that can be stored, distributed or dumped with no attachment to the idea that this is actually a part of a human body. It is part of their loved one's corporeal remains. Have we become so disassociated with death that cremation has opened the door to seeing cremains as something other than what they are?


What does this say about the job we are doing as an industry of educating our customers? Are we gladly accepting their direct cremation business without further discussion of final placement? Are we so happy to handle the funeral service that we put off worrying about if/ when the family is going to pick up the cremains or make arrangements with the family for burial? Are we willing to look the other way when another set of cremains (human or pet) is slipped into the casket prior to burial? Where are we when the situation calls upon us to explain to a family that cremation is not the end of the process? It is only upon final disposition in a permanent resting place that our job is truly done.


Let's vow not to let another person experience the heartache of having nowhere to go to pay respects because their loved one is being kept in another person's home. Let us never read another article that tells the tale of a home burglary where the "keepsake box" that was taken actually had the remains of their baby in it. Let us no t stand by silently while yet another family mistakes cremated remains for a party favor, a decorating Milne 2013accessory or a Christmas present.


I wish for each of you a very happy holiday season filled with the joy that being with family and friends can bring. Of a season devoted to service, faith and love. May all of the things on your "wish list" come true and may you find gifts that fulfill your spirit, as well as your "inner six year old" under your tree this year. As for me, I am looking forward to my trip to Bora Bora... hint, hint.


Article by Nancy Weil sourced from Funeral Home & Cemetery News for December 2013. The author has certifications as a Laughter Leader, Funeral Celebrant, Grief Services Provider and Grief Management Specialist. She is the author of several books on the therapeutic benefits of laughter and ways to reduce stress. See her website, or contact her at 


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Call for Speakers!

The 21st Annual Spring College will be held in March and we're looking for speakers and topics.
The College features three separate "tracks" of concurrent sessions which change hourly, allowing for up to 18 sessions in total. We cover cemetery operations, death-care issues, sales, governmental and legal affairs. We try to have all our presenters from within the association because who knows more about what we do than we do? 
Here are some of the requests and suggestions for topics and speakers from the last two years' worth of post-conference surveys. If you see a topic that's near and dear to your heart and would like to be a speaker, or have a speaker to suggest, please send email to
  • Panel of cemetery presidents and managers discussing their issues
  • Marker care
  • Office politics/inter-office drama
  • V.A. Benefits
  • How to work with TV and print news media - dos and don'ts
  • More from Elvig
  • Sales opportunities - 20 ideas in 20 minutes - door-knocking
  • Laws - rules - funeral director apprentices
  • Retired death-care employers
  • How media, public opinion, societal mores and government all contribute and dictate how one works in the profession
  • LGBT issues in family law in regards to next of kin rights of disposition
  • Burial at sea
  • Green funeral homes
  • OSHA, WISHA and funeral home standards
  • Celebrants
  • History of our profession
  • Mock legal setting
  • Cremation options
  • Marketing that works
  • Employee growth
  • More connection between funeral & cemeteries
  • More on governmental affairs & DOL
  • Embalming
  • Comparison between private and public cemeteries - different hoops

See you in the Spring!


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Washington state Department of Health releases 2012 mortality statistics 


The 2012 mortality data for Washington State has been finalized.  Attached you will find three reports:  1) counts by funeral home, 2) counts by autopsy and disposition by county of residence, and 3) counts by autopsy and disposition by county of occurrence.


Please feel free to contact me if your e-mail address has changed or if you would like to have anyone else from your facility or department receive these reports.  Also let me know if there is anything else I can assist you with.



Amy J. Poel


Center for Health Statistics

PO Box 47814

Olympia, WA 98504

Phone:  (360) 236-4326

Fax:  (360) 753-4135

Physical Location:  101 Israel Road SE (Town Center 1) Tumwater, WA


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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 




Do you have a job position to fill?

Cemetery or funeral home equipment to sell?

Are you looking for a job?

Classified ads for WCCFA members are FREE.

Send your information to the WCCFA at 





The White Eagle Memorial Preserve, a Green Burial Ground in South Central Washington near Goldendale, is seeking a cemetery manager who will oversee the legacy, the spirit, the business and the success of White Eagle Memorial Preserve. This role is vital to the future of the not-for-profit organization Sacred Earth Foundation, of which it is a part.


See the complete job description here.







Well-established leader in Cemetery, Funeral profession in need of self-motivated, caring individual that is willing to be trained for advancement in our sales department.


        Full-time career opportunity

        High income potential


        Excellent benefits

        Leads provided

        Flexible hours

        Local travel

        Comprehensive Training

        Complete support staff


If you have strong communication skills & dynamic personality and a Life Insurance License please e-mail resume to:



Lake Washington Institute of Technology is seeking a part-time embalming instructor.


Link here for complete information.

The WCCFA Insider is published ten times per year by and for the members of the Washington Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association. Portions of the information in this publication are taken from other sources which we believe to be reliable and which are not necessarily complete statements of all the available data. The services of an attorney or an accountant should be sought in connection with any legal or tax matter covered. Conclusions are based solely upon our best judgment and analysis of technical and industry information sources.

MAIL ONLY 16212 Bothell-Everett Highway, F183, Mill Creek, WA 98012

Phone 360.668.2120 or 888.522.7637 Fax 360.282.6535

News articles, editorials, press releases, commentary are all welcomed.

For information about membership, advertising or editorial policy,

contact Judy Faaberg, Executive Director.


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In This Issue
A Cemeterian's Best Friend
How to Become Your Own Lobbyist
Saying Goodbye to a Deer Friend
Crooks Finally Get Prison Sentence
Not Sharing Bottom Line Can Cost
Funeral/Cemetery Board Meets 9/10
NC Funeral Board Misspends
10 Tips for Community Involvement
PIMA Hosting Crematory Operator Training
Pontem Integrates with WebCemeteries
Welcome: Rainier Room
Get your 2014 music license now!
Are you ready for your closeup?
What Do You Want Under the Tree?
Call for Speakers
WA DOH releases 2012 mortality stats
Bulletin Board