IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter
A few weeks ago, I was with my father as we directed a funeral, and he pro-
posed a question that has had me thinking. The question was, “Where do you
think funeral service is headed?” This type of question is usually how some of
our conversations begin and so, as we discussed our opinions, it became clear
an to me, that the future is something we have to make happen, not wait for it to
happen to us.
Idaho Funeral With that thought, I have visited with some of you and have had some interest-
ing discussions. Each of us posses strengths and weaknesses with which we indi-
Service Association vidually find different successes and challenges. It is up to each of us to find ways
to improve the way we work each day to serve the families that ask for our help in
Quarterly Publication their time of need.
We are an association that has been organized for the very purpose of support-
ing each member, helping to provide a place to find and share needed informa-
February 3, 2010 tion. We, as an association, have for many years had educational opportunities in
by the IFSA offices the state that address the needs of members. Are we taking advantage of the
education that is available to us?
Kenneth L. Mallea
In the near future, we will have continuing education as part of our license re-
newal. The requirements proposed by the Board of Morticians will not be a diffi-
Ph (208) 888-2730 cult task for any of us to accomplish. We, as members, have the opportunity to
Fax (208) 888-2789 give input to the trustees of each district the needs we have as far as educational
needs which will allow them to bring information to the association and we can
P.O. Box 820 plan these meetings accordingly. This will give our leadership the guidance that
they need to bring educational opportunities to our conventions and district meet-
ings. It is very important that we look at continuing education as a way to pro-
email: email@example.com gress with knowledge, not as a drudgery that will keep us from learning and pro-
web: www.ifsa.us gressing.
Newsletter Editor: I look forward to our convention to be held June 20 – 22, 2010 at Snow King
Leisa Hiatt Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The convention is set to have plenty of educa-
tional opportunity. Our NFDA President William C. Wappner, will be in atten-
dance and address us, as well as other NFDA Leadership. Our Policy Board Mem-
bers from the three states will be in attendance. They need to hear from us so
In This Issue they can direct the NFDA executive board in the direction we want them to take.
We are planning to have Thomas Lynch as our main speaker. He has always been
Continuing Education 3 very informative and knowledgeable. I feel this will be a great opportunity to asso-
ciate with each other and perhaps, find answers to our questions and concerns.
Tri-State Convention 4 Each of us in this business serve people with different views, opinions, beliefs
NFDA Spotlight 6-7 and values, and we each have our own differences as well. As the families we
serve have varied differences, we need to have the ability to help with the re-
Funeral Consumer Myths 8-9 quests that come to us each day. I have confidence that as we strive to be pro-
gressive with our daily learning, we will find our chosen line of work to be person-
ASCAP Music Licensing 10 ally rewarding and beneficial to the families we serve, the communities we are
Broadcasting Funerals 10 part of, and the State and National Associations.
The upcoming NFDA 2010 Advocacy Summit March 8-10 in Washington, D.C.
NFDA Compliance Connect 11 will be a great way to contact the members of Congress. Each time I have been
has been very informative and enjoyable. We will visit with each of the Members
In Case you Missed It 12 of Congress and Senate from Idaho and ask for them to support the FTC regula-
In Remembrance 13 tion of Cemeteries and all third party sellers (H.R. 3655), protecting the consumer’s
ability to pay or prepay for funeral expenses (H.R. 1352/S. 427), and receive infor-
INSERT: mation regarding new TSA screening requirements. We have always been well
received and our visits have been informative. I look forward to representing you
Twin Falls Coroner Letter in this important role representing Idaho.
Thank you for being in funeral service.
IFSA Board President
Information contained in this newsletter is obtained from various sources and may not represent all available data or be complete statements. An attorney or accountant
should be consulted on any legal or tax matters. Content/advertisements do not necessarily reflect the opinion or endorsement of the Idaho Funeral Service Association.
Page 2 IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter
2009-2010 IFSA Officers
The 2009-2010 officers were elected and sworn in by Michael R. St. Pierre, NFDA Representative at the 2009 Annual
IFSA Convention in McCall, Idaho June 28-30, 2009.
President Second Vice President
Laine Eckersell Steve Gordon
(208) 745-6604 (208) 376-5400
First Vice President Past President
Kevin Rosenau Doug Webb
(208) 316-7171 (208) 852-0531
Coeur d’Alene District South Central District
Eli Yates (‘09-’14) Kerry Morrison (‘08-’13)
(208) 664-3151 (208) 436-1800
Eastern District Treasure Valley District
Craig Geary (‘07-’10) John Buck (‘09-’12)
(208) 357-3231 (208) 365-4491
Lewis & Clark District Trustee At Large
Bill Malcom (‘08-’11) John Yraguen
(208) 743-4578 (208) 442-8171
NFDA Advocacy Summit
March 8-10, 2010
Renaissance Mayflower Hotel
IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter Page 3
The NFDA Policy Board met in Boston just prior to the NFDA Annual Con-
Board vention. NFDA Legal Counsel, Scott Gilligan gave an overview of three items
slated for consideration by the House of Delegates in Boston: (1) a resolution to
issue a state charter to the Arizona Funeral, Cemetery and Crematory Associa-
tion; (2) a proposed amendment to the resolution to issue a state charter to the
Arizona Funeral, Cemetery and Crematory Association; and (3) a proposed
amendment to the NFDA Constitution that would create a new allied member-
ship category. NFDA Director of Political Affairs Lesley Witter reported the final tabulations from
the “Battle of the Board.” At-large Representative Mike Krill’s “Bears” raised the most money for
the PAC. Together, the four teams raised a totalof $82,895.
Continuing Education at NFDA
Advance Planning ▪ Business Management and Operations ▪ Cemetery Opera-
tions ▪ Community Relations ▪ Compliance ▪ Cremation ▪ Diversity ▪ Finances ▪ Grief
and Bereavement ▪ Human Resources ▪ Meaningful Funerals ▪ Personal Develop-
ment ▪ Preneed ▪ Public Relations and Marketing ▪ Technical Skills
Live Teleconferences and Web Seminars
More than 20 interactive options each year presented by the top-rated experts in
Over 15 interactive customized courses for funeral directors and embalmers plus
8 management courses for members only. Download podcasts for CE to your PC,
iPod or MP3 player.
50+ courses on topics by the experts you trust in the formats you prefer - select
from books, audtiotapes, CDs, CD-ROMs, and DVDs.
Download to your computer or portable media player.
NFDA also has a newsletter subscription to receive e-mail updates for your con-
tinuing education needs. That sign-up web address is: http://www.nfda.org/
All NFDA educational programs and courses are approved for continuing educa-
tion by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice (APFSP) and most state
licensing boards. Check each course for CE information or contact NFDA or your
state licensing board for specific state CE information. NFDA Online, Podcast, and
Home Study courses are accredited through December 31 of the year of purchase.
State CE approval varies.
Did you know?? NFDA and Idaho Funeral Service Association have a state partnership
for distance learning participation. IFSA is reimbursed $6/main location by NFDA when
your membership dues are submitted on or before March 1, 2010; and $3 reimbursement
for dues submitted to NFDA by March 31, 2010. IFSA is also given distance learning participa-
tion dollars for each member firm that purchases an NFDA Online Learning course ($5 per pur-
chase), or participates in an NFDA Teleconference and/or Web Seminar ($10 per participant) dur-
ing the calendar year. IFSA received a total reimbursement of $187 for 2009.
Page 4 IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter
2010 Three State Funeral Conference
of the Northern Rockies
Sponsored by Idaho, Montana and Wyoming
June 20-22, 2010 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
• Supplier Meet & Greet Social Evening
• Golf Tournament
• President’s Banquet
• Top Notch Speakers
• Free Time for local activities
The Snow King Resort located in the heart of Wyoming ski
country, offers comfortable Jackson Hole lodging. Only
oming soon! 6 blocks from downtown Jackson, our resort is close to
shopping, restaurants and nightlife while surrounded
ion infor by the Bridger Teton National Forest. Jackson Hole is
the year round gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone
National Parks. Room Reservations: 800-522-5464—
mention Three State Convention to get our great rates!
Visit their web site at snowking.com.
IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter Page 5
IFSA Thanks Our Allied Members
Who Support IFSA & Idaho’s Finest Funeral Directors!
A.J. Distribution, Inc. (800) 426-6555
Terry & Linda Porter
Aurora Casket Company (801) 485-5802
John & Dixie Platt
Community Tissue Services (208) 389-2194
Deaton Kennedy (360) 576-7820
Federated Insurance Co. (800) 527-5999
Funeral Recording.com (801) 866-1780
Great Western Insurance Co. (800) 621-5688
Chad Iverson (801) 557-4094
Hillcrest Memorial Gardens (208) 459-4949
Kelco Supply Company (800) 328-7720
Lincoln Heritage Funeral Planning (208) 629-6754
Dennis D. Beverlin firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthews Cremation Division (800) 327-2831
Guy Esposito x 142
Memorial Monuments & Vaults (208) 888-2665
Robert L. Chandler
Midwest Casket Company (801) 328-9849
National Hall of Records (888) 667-6467
Ric’s Capital City Florist (208) 377-0120
SinoSource, International (801) 589-0222
Jess Hunsaker email@example.com
The Dodge Company (866) 646-5428
Larry Whitaker Bill Martin (425) 432-6438
Twin Rocks Memorial (888) 608-3707
Rick and Kris Young
United Heritage Life Ins. Co. (208) 475-0970
Wells Fargo Master Trust (208) 393-5449
WMS Financial Group (303) 843-0782
Page 6 IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter
NFDA, CANA & NFD&MA Reach Historic Agreement to Third Party Providers—NFDA Guidelines
Lobby Congress Together in 2010 `Walmart and Costco are currently in the casket supplier business
Washington, D.C. – On November 18, 2009, representatives of with Amazon.com expecting to add caskets to their line of funeral
the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the Cremation merchandise already available sometime in 2010. There are a
Association of North America (CANA) and the National Funeral number of issues surrounding the handling of third-party caskets
Directors & Morticians Association (NFD&MA) met in the nation's by funeral homes. Because the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
capital to establish a unified position on key federal issues that will Funeral rule does not specifically address many of these issues,
serve as the focus of joint congressional visits during NFDA's an- funeral directors may be uncertain of their precise obligations in
nual Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C., this year. handling third-party merchandise. Adding to the confusion is the
Skip Mikell, chair of the NFD&MA Legislative Committee, facili- flurry of unfounded claims being made by third-party casket sellers
tated the daylong meeting, during which the group identified and their organization, the National Casket Retailer Association.
more than 15 issues facing funeral service at the federal and/or To assist NFDA members in knowing their rights and obligations
state levels. After unanimous agreement on the top-five critical regarding third-party caskets, NFDA has prepared guidelines to
federal issues facing the funeral service profession, the three asso- help members deal with families using third-party caskets and
ciations prioritized those according to importance and relevance with suppliers of third-party caskets. In addition, we have pro-
to current congressional activities: Codification of the Supplemen- vided a guideline on permissible pricing methods involving third-
tal Security Income/Medicaid funeral/burial exclusion; the Be- party caskets.
reaved Consumer Bill of Rights Act of 2009; reform of the federal Dealing with Families Using Third-Party Caskets
estate tax; affordable healthcare; and a tax deduction for indigent Providing Services
funeral/burial costs. A funeral home should never refuse to service a family be-
NFDA, CANA and NFD&MA representatives also agreed that cause they indicate they will be using a third-party casket. The
focusing on a maximum of three issues would prove most effec- funeral home may not discriminate in any manner against the
tive during the upcoming joint congressional visits. Recognizing family in the level or type of service provided. Do not attempt to
that the current session of Congress might also complete some of dissuade a family from utilizing a third-party casket by disparaging
these issues, the group will therefore determine which three top the quality of the casket. Of course, a funeral home may try to
issues their collective members will discuss with their elected offi- persuade a family to purchase a casket from the funeral home by
cials closer to the Advocacy Summit in March 2010. comparing prices and the quality of products offered.
In advance of NFDA's Advocacy Summit, March 8-10, the three Delivery of Casket
associations will coordinate and set up state-based delegations A funeral home may not require the family to be present
across their respective memberships and schedule meetings with when the third-party casket is delivered to the funeral home. The
members of Congress. Thus, for the first time, members of three funeral home may, however, request the family to sign a form
national funeral service associations will lobby members of the authorizing the funeral home to accept the casket on the con-
U.S. House and U.S. Senate together and provide a powerful, uni- sumer's behalf. We recommend using the NFDA form titled "Use
fied voice on the key issues impacting funeral service. of Third-Party Merchandise." This form authorizes the funeral
CANA President Bill McQueen, CFSP, said: "The Cremation As- home to accept the third-party casket and relieves the funeral
sociation of North America is pleased to participate in the NFDA home from any obligation to inspect the casket.
Advocacy Summit and to work with NFDA and NFD&MA to de- Defective or Damaged Casket
velop a united voice on issues before the funeral service industry. If the third-party casket is defective or damaged in any respect
Coordinating our positions on legislative and regulatory issues when delivered, the funeral home should point out the defect or
serves the industry and the public." damage to the third-party supplier (see next section). In addition,
Skip Mikell, chair of the NFD&MA Legislative Committee, said: the funeral director should immediately alert the family to the
"The NFDA Advocacy Summit provides an opportunity to see, defect or damage noticed. When discussing the condition of the
firsthand, how our national government works and have a casket with the family, do not disparage the quality of the casket.
chance to participate in the process. This year, the attendees will Rather, the funeral director should objectively point out the de-
represent the united voice of funeral service in America." fects or the damage.
Inspection of the Casket
Business Information on Demand: NFDA's FaxBack System Prior to the visitation or a funeral service where the body will
NFDA FaxBack is a free, 24/7 document service for NFDA be present within the casket, the funeral home should have the
members offering a comprehensive library of legal forms and in- family inspect the casket in order to verify that it is the casket they
formation for funeral home owners, managers and employees to purchased from the third-party supplier. If the casket has any de-
help you succeed in today's competitive business environment. (If fects or damage that the funeral home has not previously pointed
you are an NFDA member, be sure to log in above for full access out to the family, do so at this time. Again, do not disparage the
to the documents.) quality of the casket or the third-party supplier. Rather, in a very
Information is added and updated routinely - visit this page objective manner, the funeral director should indicate any defects
frequently or call to check out the latest legal forms and informa- or damage to the casket.
IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter Page 7
Indemnification Forms Inspection of the Third-Party Casket
When a family indicates it will utilize a third-party casket, NFDA As stated in the "Use of Third-Party Merchandise" form pre-
advises funeral directors to request the family sign NFDA's form sented to the family and the "Receipt of Third-Party Merchandise"
titled "Use of Third-Party Merchandise" or a similar indemnification form presented to the supplier, the funeral director is under no
form. While the funeral home may request the family to sign the duty to inspect the third-party casket when it is delivered. Never-
form, it may not require that the family sign the form as a condi- theless, to protect the funeral home from claims that it damaged
tion of accepting the casket. In other words, never inform or sug- the casket after delivery to the funeral home, it is recommended
gest to the family that they are required to sign the indemnifica- that the funeral home make an inspection of the casket upon de-
tion form. If the family refuses to sign the form, the funeral home livery and note any visible defects. "The Receipt of Third-Party Mer-
must still service the third-party casket without discriminating chandise" form may be used for this purpose.
against the family in any manner. Upon the refusal of a family to Pricing Practices
sign the indemnification form, the funeral director should provide No Handling Fees
them with a copy of the unsigned form and should note on an- The funeral home may not charge any type of fee for handling
other copy of the form the date and time that it was provided to a third-party casket. There should not be an inspection fee, deliv-
the family and the fact that the family declined to sign the form. ery fee, casket set-up fee or any type of charge imposed against
Rejection of Casket the family who elects to bring a casket to the funeral home.
If, in the objective opinion of the funeral director, the third- Discount Packages
party casket is not structurally sound to hold and transport the In order to encourage families to purchase the casket from the
body, or if it presents a safety risk to pallbearers or funeral home funeral home, a funeral home may offer discount packages to
personnel, the casket may be rejected. However, because the de- consumers who purchase a casket from the funeral home. Some
cision by the funeral home to reject a third-party casket will un- third-party casket sellers have claimed that restricting discount
doubtedly draw scrutiny from the FTC and state officials, funeral package offerings to families who purchase a casket from the fu-
directors are strongly advised to be cautious in rejecting any third- neral home constitutes an unlawful sham discount. However, the
party casket. Prior to declining to use the casket, the funeral direc- United States Court of Appeals passed on this very issue when it
tor should consult with the family and point out why the casket is distinguished a direct casket handling fee from a discount pack-
defective and the risk it poses. age that was only available to families who purchase a casket
Dealing with Third-Party Casket Suppliers from the funeral home. In that regard, the Court found the latter
Delivery of Caskets pricing scheme to be legal. The Court ruled as follows:
When arranging to take delivery of a third-party casket, the "...the FTC distinguishes direct casket handling fees from offering
funeral home may not impose on the third-party supplier any spe- discounts to people who buy caskets from the funeral home. The
cial restrictions on the time or manner of delivery. As a rule of former is an anti-competitive penalty (the fee) and the latter is a
thumb, NFDA advises that the funeral home should treat the method used to deal with competition from the third-party casket
third-party supplier as it treats its wholesale supplier of caskets. If sellers which is pro-competitive. The fee essentially requires con-
the funeral home assists its wholesale casket supplier in unloading sumers to buy their caskets from funeral homes, or pay for it any-
caskets, it should extend the same courtesy to third-party suppli- way. The other methods (e.g., discounts) represents a way to en-
ers. However, no special concessions need be extended to third- courage consumers to buy their caskets from funeral homes."
party suppliers. For example, if the funeral home accepts delivery It is clear from the ruling that limiting discounted packages to
of caskets from its wholesale suppliers only during normal busi- consumers who purchase caskets from the funeral home is a le-
ness hours, it can impose the same restriction on third-party sup- gitimate competitive method against third-party casket sellers.
pliers. Prohibition Against Discounting the Non-Declinable Service Fee
Receipt of Third-Party Caskets While funeral directors are free to offer discount packages to
When the funeral home receives the third-party casket, NFDA families who purchase a casket from the funeral home, they
recommends it provide the supplier with the NFDA form titled should not offer to discount only the non-declinable basic service
"Receipt of Third-Party Merchandise." On this form, the funeral fee for those families who buy a casket from the funeral home.
home acknowledges receipt of the third-party casket and explains This is one discount that the FTC would challenge as an unlawful
to the supplier that receipt of the casket does not constitute legal reverse handling fee. Therefore, the non-declinable basic service
acceptance of the casket. Only the family may accept the casket in fee should be the same for consumers who buy caskets from the
the legal sense since the contract of purchase is directly between funeral home, as well as consumers who use a third-party casket.
the supplier and the family. "The Receipt of Third-Party Merchan- Unreasonable Discounts
dise" form also provides the funeral director with the opportunity While funeral homes are free to offer discounted packages to
to record any visible defects in the casket at delivery. While the encourage selection of a casket from the funeral home, they may
funeral home cannot require the third-party supplier to sign the not make the discounts unreasonable. For example, if a funeral
form, it should provide the supplier with the form that has been home raised its itemized prices for a typical funeral to $10,000 and
signed by the funeral home. A copy of the form should be main- then offered a $3,000 funeral package to consumers purchasing a
tained in the funeral home files. casket from the funeral home, it would open itself up to a claim
that it is employing sham discounts. The amount of the discount
should have a reasonable relationship to the net income the fu-
neral home expects to earn on the sale of the casket.
Page 8 IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter
Formaldehyde Best Management Practices
Funeral Consumer Myths: “funerals are one of life’s most expensive purchases”
A local pastor walked in the front door of the funeral home about a year ago, wondering if I had heard the most recent airing of
the “Mark Johnson Show,” a popular call in radio talk show of long standing with a huge listening audience in central Vermont. The
president of the Vermont Chapter of the Funeral consumers Alliance had been a guest and spent an hour lambasting funeral direc-
tors. The pastor was visibly upset, and was wondering why funeral directors never respond to this type of public criticism, which he
felt was grossly unfair. Since I had not heard the show, I listened to a podcast version on the radio station’s Web site. What I heard
that day launched me on what has become my ongoing crusade to publicly stand up for our profession in the media every chance I
Mark had begun the show by asking Dave, who was at that time the president of the Vermont chapter of FCA, why he had be-
come involved in this type f organization, to which he replied that he felt there were widespread abuses of grieving people by our
profession. Mark appropriately asked Dave if he could give some examples. He replied that he could not give any specific examples,
that it was “just a general feeling that I have.” the importance of that comment was not lost on me, or on Mark or the listening audi-
ence either, as I later found out. Here we have the president of Lisa Carlson’s home chapter of FCA, the man who answers their
phones, who out of anyone in the world would have had the most exposure to this type of complaint in our state, and he could not
give one single example. It didn’t stop there. He also stated that funeral directors frequently try to increase their sales by talking down
inexpensive caskets and vaults in front of the family but was again unable to come up with a credible example in our state. His an-
swers to phoned-in questions were often vague and abrasive.
After hearing the entire recording, I contacted mark to see if I could appear on his show to give a different side to the story. He
told me that he was very uncomfortable with how that interview had gone and would welcome my appearance. Three weeks later I
was a guest on his show, which ended up being a huge success. Time ran out with the switchboard totally jammed with callers who
could not get through. Those who did get through were friendly and had excellent questions requiring thoughtful responses.
The pastor was correct when he stated that funeral directors rarely stand up to defend themselves publicly. I believe that this is
because most of us know that in our respective communities, our reputations are solid. Our successful businesses are proof that the
general public for the most part does not share those negative views. So we blow it all off, not wanting to draw attention to ourselves.
But in doing so, we have allowed organizations like the FCA to become the spokespersons for our industry, which can leave the public
wondering if their accusations are true, given that we seem to prefer not to respond to them. I hope that my experiences and talking
points will motivate funeral directors across the country to become public defenders of our profession.
I have found the public to be most appreciative of my efforts. Because funeral consumer groups like to talk about “funeral myths”
(those things we apparently say and do to mislead the public), I offer for you now, some “funeral consumer advocate myths,” and my
public responses to them. Please feel free to use any of this material that you find helpful. I’ll begin with what I believe is one of the
most common misconceptions regarding our profession, which is often referred to by our critics: “A funeral is one of life’s most expen-
sive purchases, and is often arranged for at a time when we are least able to make a rational decision.”
It is true that funerals are expensive. No one denies that. But unlike most other things that happen for or to us in our lifetimes, we
only get one of these. Unfortunately, the bill comes all at once which makes it seem large. However, there are many other difficult
purchases that “vulnerable” people make repeatedly and in smaller amounts over the course of their lives that when totaled make
funeral costs pale by comparison.
I’ll use my own 80-year-old mother as an example. I liver in Vermont and she lives in Oregon. I call her every Sunday night, and
most weeks I hear about some expense that she has encountered, all on her own, that arranging for is just as (if not more) difficult
than funeral planning fr a very important reason that I’ll address in a moment. One week I called, and she had purchased $4,000
worth of hearing aids, which at last report weren’t working well, and were sitting on a shelf. One time she went to the auto repair
garage for an oil change and was confronted with $800 worth of repairs that her car needed. She was also put on a medication by
her physician that costs her more than $400 per month, and according to her, doesn’t seem to be helping much. I could go on.
I’m not implying that any of these folks are dishonest, or that my mother made bad choices. That’s not the point. These are just
examples of emotionally charged decisions that she faces on a weekly basis, on her own. In less than a year, these purchases added
up to substantially more than the cost of my father’s funeral. Dad was placed in a solid pecan casket, which after the funeral was
placed into a mausoleum. We didn’t scrimp. But here’s the point. The funeral bill only came once. Those other purchases I described
never end. I wish that I could hop on a plane and fly across the country to be at her side when she faces those other decisions, but
that is not practical.
However, and this is the important part, when a death occurs, relative like me drop what we are doing, buy horribly expensive last-
minute plane tickets, or drive hours on end to join the next of kin and help with the funeral arrangements. Unlike those other pur-
chases I described, funeral arrangements are almost always a group decision, with the person most affected by the death completely
IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter Page 9
— by Randy Garner
surrounded by concerned family members. The more emotional or difficult the death (such as a child or young adult), the more rela-
tive show up for the arrangement conference. I do believe that some consumer advocate types fail to give the general public much
credit for being able to responsibly make funeral arrangements on their own, and I’m not afraid to say that in public, on the air or in
front of a crowd.
With 30 years of funeral arranging experience, I feel qualified to say that I don’t believe that folks ever lose their ability to grasp
how much $1,000, $2,000, $6,000 or $10,000 is, even when making difficult funeral plans. I have yet to experience someone saying,
“Randy, I don’t care what this costs, I want the best.” If I suspect that this is on their mind, which is rare, I counsel them that emotional
overspending only adds to the difficulty of death. I want folks to be happy with their choices weeks later when the dust settles. I don’t
want them wondering around town, or at senior center luncheons telling everyone how I took advantage of them. The loss of even
one family’s future business because they left my establishment feeling taken advantage of has a personal financial impact for me that
grows larger with each passing year, and each member of that family and their friends who go elsewhere for service. I know and live
among most of the folks I serve and I value my reputation. To summarize, here is the reality regarding consumers emotionally over-
spending on funerals. First of all, while the percentage varies from firm to firm, roughly one-fourth to one-third of our funeral arrange-
ments are preplanned, leaving none of these difficult financial decision to be made at the time of death. Secondly, a very large per-
centage of the remaining arrangements are for folks who have lived long, happy lives. Their deaths, while sad, are not accompanied
by gut-wrenching emotional distress. Often the mood during these arrangement conferences is light, and even jovial, as everyone is
relieved that the person’s end of life struggles, whatever they were, are over. These arrangement conferences lack any air of mindless,
emotional overspending. And finally when someone dies, the death often has a financial impact on those left behind.
Roughly half of the arrangements we make have a surviving spouse who might be seeing a paycheck or pension disappear, or
Social Security payment decrease due to the death of their partner. These worries are already on the minds of folks, including the chil-
dren of surviving spouses, by the time they arrive at the funeral home. It would be all but impossible for them not to be worrying
about these matters as they consider funeral options. Yet, according to many funeral consumer advocates, folks somehow put these
financial realities out of their minds and walk through our doors with blank checks ready to spend like there is not tomorrow. Those of
us who do this for a living know that this just isn’t true. When you combine the folks who preplanned their funerals those who are
arranging a funeral for someone whose death is not devastating to them and those who have imminent financial worries on their
minds, you are left with a very small segment of our clients who are at risk for overspending. This is the group who comprise the sad-
dest funerals we arrange. It’s difficult to believe that this world is filled with funeral directors who could approach that small remaining
group, ignore their obvious overwhelming grief, and attempt to steer them down a financially devastating path.
If this profession only dealt with folks like that who are wrestling with min-numbing grief from and untimely death, I doubt that
anyone would be able to handle the emotional burden of this job. During those thankfully infrequent times, I lose sleep at night think-
ing about the death, while worrying about the poor family and my responsibility for putting together what in most cases will be a very
large and emotional funeral. I do not sit around thinking about the profit margins to be derived from these unfortunate folks. In fact,
when a young person dies, I often discount their charges, and I never charge for infants. Ignoring all of this, consumer advocates
characterize all f our clients as being so overwhelmed by grief that they are rendered incapable of making rational decisions. Thank-
fully, that is just not the case, and therefore, neither are claims of rampant emotional overspending on funerals.
I want to encourage you to stand up and say something when those who have made it their life business to badmouth us, do so.
Whether in print, in public presentations or on radio or television, as a profession, we have to do a better job of countering negative
attacks on our reputations.
In the past year, following my appearance on Mark Johnson’s radio show, I have conducted three television interviews with the
local Fox and CBS networks, including a three-minute “Dollars and Sense” segment that appeared during the news, during which I
was the sole source of information. Our association provides popular “Ask the Director” panel discussions for our statewide hospice
conference. Newspapers are now calling. Don’t think for a moment that the public doesn’t enjoy hearing from us. Every effort I have
made has been met with great appreciation from members of the public, who have included lay state board members and even and
FCA member! Remember how high our profession ranks in the annual Gallup poll rating honesty by professions. Think abut the repu-
tation you have built in you community. You have nothing to fear. Speak frankly and openly.
While the newspaper article or television interview may not always come out exactly as you had hoped, it will always be better
than allowing those other folks to be the spokespersons for our profession. Take off the suit coat, loosen u p and don’t be afraid. The
media will love it and invite you back. In short order, they will begin to recognize you as the one to call when funeral issues arise, and
the public will reward you for your efforts.
Reprinted with permission “American Funeral Director”
Page 10 IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter
ASCAP Music Licensing
A funeral home in a small town in South Dakota recently opened the door to an unwelcome visitor during a funeral
service - an ASCAP inspector who was checking up on funeral homes that do not have music licenses. ASCAP, along with
BMI and SESAC, are the three music-licensing organizations in the United States.
After determining that the South Dakota funeral home was allowing copyrighted music to be performed during the
funeral service, the ASCAP inspector gave the funeral home a choice: pay for an ASCAP license for 2009 or face a copy-
right infringement suit with penalties of up to $30,000. The funeral home had no choice but to pay for the ASCAP license
for the final four months of 2009.
When NFDA contacted ASCAP officials about the inspection, ASCAP verified that it has targeted funeral service for
enforcement after discovering significant numbers of funeral home locations that were not licensed. Several NFDA mem-
bers have also reported receiving letters from ASCAP regarding federal copyright law and the music license requirement.
If a member has all of its locations licensed through NFDA, they should disregard the letter; if they are not licensed
through NFDA, they should contact NFDA immediately to renew their license.
Members of NFDA are eligible to purchase a comprehensive music license covering all three music-licensing organi-
zations, ASCAP, SESAC and BMI, for $223 - the lowest price available anywhere. A license must be purchased annually for
each funeral home location in order for the business to be properly licensed and comply with federal copyright law.
To learn more about music licensing or to purchase a license, please visit www.nfda.org/about-nfda/membership-
information or call NFDA at 800-228-6332.
by T. Scott Gilligan
Striving to be on the cutting edge of technology in order to better serve families, and NFDA-member funeral home recently
installed an Internet broadcasting system that allows it to stream live or taped video of funeral services on the Internet. Friends
and family unable to attend the funeral service can view the ceremony on the funeral home’s website. Of course, the webcasts
are only undertaken with the permission of the family and only show the public funeral proceedings.
The funeral home believed that as long as the family gave permission for the Internet broadcast, no other consents were
necessary. And so the funeral home was surprised when its attorney advised that it should obtain written consent from every
attendee who would appear in the broadcast who did not want his or her image shown over the Internet, or they could sue the
funeral home for misappropriation of his or her image. Rather than pass out consent forms to every person attending the fu-
neral, this NFDA member simple elected to not to offer the service in the future.
Was the attorney correct? For the most part, the answer is no. The law does allow persons whose names or likenesses are
misappropriated to sue. However, the misappropriation does not automatically occur simply because that person’s name or like-
ness is broadcast with out permission. In most cases, for a plaintiff to be successful in his or her lawsuit, it will be necessary to
show not only that his or her name or likeness was broadcast without permission but also that the broadcast was part of an ad-
vertisement or promotion.
The key to a misappropriation case is showing that the defendant received commercial value from the person’s identity. For
example, a successful misappropriation case could be brought against a funeral home that broadcast a funeral and then used
that broadcast in an advertisement to promote its Internet broadcasting capabilities. If a person’s image was used in that adver-
tisement without his or her permission, he or she could bring an action against the funeral home for misappropriation. The mere
showing of that person’s image while broadcasting the funeral, however, would not be actionable.
While these observations would hold true in nearly every case, there are some important caveats a funeral home should
heed when broadcasting funeral services. First, the broadcast should be undertaken only with the explicit written consent of the
person holding the right of disposition. Additionally, only funeral services open to the public should be broadcast. Even if the
family grants permission, I would recommend against a broadcast of a private funeral service since those attending might have a
greater expectation of privacy than those who attend a funeral that is open to the public.
Another concern the funeral home should be aware of is broadcasting speeches or musical performances conducted at the
service. For example, a soloist whose entire performance was broadcast over the Internet could claim that the funeral home had
unlawfully appropriated his other professional property. While it would probably be a difficult case for the soloist to win, there is
a risk to the funeral home that could be avoided by the use of a consent form. Therefore, funeral homes that broadcast funeral
service might want to employ the consent form NFDA has prepared. Members with questions regarding this article can contact
NFDA General Counsel T. Scott Gilligan at 513-871-6332.
IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter Page 11
NFDA Compliance Connection
By T. Scott Gilligan / NFDA General Counsel
Question: We recently conducted a visitation and a funeral where one of the immediate family members of the decedent was deaf.
The deaf family member had an interpreter who used sign language during the visitation and the funeral ceremony. We were later
told by the interpreter that she would bill us for her services and that it was our obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”) to pay her bill. Could you explain what the obligations of the funeral home are in this situation?
Answer: The regulations that were issued by the Department of Justice to carry out the Americans with Disabilities Act requires a pub-
lic accommodation, such as a funeral home, to take such steps as may be necessary to insure that no individual with a disability is ex-
cluded, denied serviced, segregated, or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids
and services, unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that taking such steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the
goods, services, facilities, or accommodations being offered or would result in an undue burden.
In explaining how this regulation would be carried out, the Department of justice indicated that public accommodations would be
required to secure the services of a qualified interpreter in certain situations unless an undue burden would result. While the Justice
Department did indicate that sometimes communication to a deaf individual could be accomplished by a notepad and written materi-
als, it also explained that in certain situations that would be insufficient. Certainly, a funeral ceremony would probably fit as one of
those situations where the use of a notepad would be insufficient and an interpreter would be required.
Unfortunately for public accommodations, the cost of compliance may not be financed by surcharges imposed against particular
individuals with disabilities. In other words, the funeral home may not pass on the charge for the interpreter of the disabled individual
or the family paying for the funeral. This would have to be paid by the funeral home as a part of doing business in today’s society.
Question: does the funeral home have to print its price lists in Braille so that we are able to make arrangements with an individual
who is blind?
Answer: While a public accommodation is required to take steps to insure that no individual with a disability is excluded or denied
services, it is not required to provide specific auxiliary aids and services. If the funeral home can effectively communicate its prices to a
blind individual by having someone read from the price lists, it would not be necessary to have the price lists printed in Braille. If a
blind individual wished to have the General Price list to take home, the funeral home could make a recording of an individual reading
the price list so that the blind individual would have a method of reviewing the prices outside of the funeral home setting.
Question: What type of assistive listening devices, if any, does a funeral home have to provide for visitations and the funeral ceremo-
nies that are held on site?
Answer: If the chapel or other assemble area in the funeral home (a) has fixed seating and (b) can accommodate at least fifty (50)
persons or has an audio-amplification system, it must have a permanently installed assistive listening system. If the chapel or assemble
are does not meet both of the two requirements set forth above, it may have a portable assistive listening device.
The funeral home should have enough assistive listening devices to provide for 4% of the total number of seats in the chapel. For
example, if the chapel would seat 200 people, the funeral home should provide eight assistive listening devices. Regardless of the
number of seats, the minimum number of listening devices is two.
The ADA regulations do not prescribe the type of assistive listening system that must be used. It does suggest three systems which
would be acceptable, including the induction loop, fm, and infra red.
If you have any questions regarding your compliance responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please call NFDA Legal
Counsel T. Scott Gilligan at (513) 871-632.
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Page 12 IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter
In Case you Missed it….
More Dead Left Unburied
An August 7, 2009 article on Time.com revealed that there is an unprecedented increase in the number of unclaimed
deceased. Apparently a significant part of the growing number is attributed to loved ones who simply can not afford to
bury or cremate the deceased. Cities specifically listed in the article included Detroit, Michigan, Los Angeles, California,
Wayne County in Michigan, and Clark County, Nevada (which includes Las Vegas). Each reported a surge in the number
of bodies not claimed, therefore, increasing costs for local governments, which then have to dispose of the bodies.
Virginia Court Says Funeral Protests are Protected
A federal appeals court in Virginia has thrown out a $5 million verdict against protesters who picketed the funeral of
a Marine killed in Iraq, the New York Times reported. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of appeals for the
Lawsuit against Batesville Casket denied
Fourth circuit ruled that the First Amendment protected the protesters’ actions, overturning a Baltimore jury’s decision to
award damages for emotional distress and invasion of privacy to the Marine’s father. The 2006 funeral was one of many
military funerals picketed by Baptist Church members across the country, carrying signs that read, “Thank God for Dead
Soldiers” and “Got Hates the Marine Corps.” The family’s attorney plans to appeal the ruling.
Cremation Rates Exceed 10 Percent in All States
For the first time, confirmed cremation rates have exceeded 10 percent in every state in the United States, the
Cremation Association of North America (CANA) reported. The organization estimates that the national rate for 2008
will come in at 36.02 percent, up from 34.89 percent in 2007.
States with the nation’s greatest number of cremations per total deaths include Nevada, Oregon, Washington and
Hawaii. In terms of numbers California, Florida, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania rank as the states with the highest
volume. Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and Louisiana are the states with the lowest rates.
Funeral Home Sued After Brain Is Found In Personal Items Bag
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A funeral home is being sued by a New Mexico family who said they found a brain in a bag
of their loved one’s personal effects, according to a report by The Associated Press.
The family of a woman who died in a car accident discovered the finding after receiving the bag from the DeVargas
Funeral Home and Crematory of the Espanola Valley. Richard Valle, an attorney for the plaintiffs, is quoted in the report
as stating of the matter, “This is just a sad tragedy… This almost feels like something you’d read about in a Stephen King
An additional funeral home based in Utah, which transported the body, Serenicare Funeral Home in Draper, has also
been named as a defendant in the case.
Second Family Dealing with Body Mix-up
A second family is trying to move forward after a mix-up at a Denver mortuary.
Relatives of Imogene Jackson were shocked when they attended an open-casket viewing at Pipkin Mortuary, only to
find the woman in the casket was not Jackson.
Viewing hours were called off; and it was not until a few hours before the funeral that Jackson’s body was found.
Th body in Jackson’s casket was tha of Evelyn Lucille Jackson. Her funeral had taken place and her family presumed
she had been buried. Instead Imogene had been buried in her place. Evelyn Jackson’s son, Jerry Twigg says Pipkin
Mortuary notified him the woman buried when his family gathered Jan 21 was not his mother. Twigg said his sister and
his mother’s friend had commented during the viewing that Evelyn Jackson looked different. When notified of the mix-
up, Twigg gave the mortuary permission to exhume the body of Imogene Jackson.
When the owner pf Pipkin Mortuary, Mark Pipkin commented by phone, he would only say, “Yes, we did dress the
wrong body. But all is rectified.”
IFSA 2010 First Quarter Newsletter Page 13
Our condolences go out to the family members of Edward O’Reilly. Edward is the father of Shawn O’Reilly of the
Salmon River funeral Chapel.
Edward M. O’Reilly, 75, a former Great Falls resident and Montana Air National Guard veteran, died of natural causes
Oct. 26 , 2010 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Ed was born May 23, 1934, to Jerry and Hortense O’Reilly. He graduated from
Great Falls High School and served in the Montana Air National Guard during the Korean War. He married Phyllis Rad-
cliffe on March 21, 1953, in Great Falls. Ed worked at Brack Motor Supply in Great Falls and was owner of Brack Motor
Supply in Helena. He moved his family to Spokane in 1958 and worked at Carburetor & Electric in Spokane for 13 years.
Ed graduated from Whitworth College in Spokane in 1969. He went to work for Nissan Motors in 1969 and then was
promoted and moved his family to Portland, Ore., in 1971. He worked for 10 years as western regional sales manager.
He went to work in 1981 as a teacher at Chemeketa College in Salem, Ore., until his retirement in 1997. Ed loved his
family and enjoyed racing cars, skiing, boating and traveling. He was a member of the National Ski Patrol for many years.
Ed is survived by his wife of 56 years, Phyllis of Post Falls, Idaho; three sons, Mark (Debbie) O’Reilly of Wenatchee, Wash.,
Shawn (Dale) O’Reilly of Salmon, Idaho, and Terry O’Reilly of Post Falls, Idaho; three grandsons, Joey O’Reilly, Andrew
O’Reilly, and T.C. O’Reilly; brothers Tom O’Reilly of Great Falls, Dick O’Reilly of Havre and David O’Reilly of Crested Butte,
Colo.; and sister Marion Kaldore of White Sulphur Springs.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Jerry O’Reilly; and a nephew, Mike O’Reilly.
Ralph M. Wood
Our condolences go out to the family members of Ralph Wood. Ralph co-owned Wood Funeral Home in Idaho Falls.
Ralph Marlowe Wood, 82, returned to his Heavenly Father on January 12, 2010. He endured his cancer with amaz-
ing patience, a positive attitude and faith. He was an amazing example to all who knew him, especially his family.
He was born July 22, 1927 in Idaho Falls, Idaho to Blanche Pearl Jenkins and John Albert (Jack) Wood, the second of
4 children. He grew up and attended schools in the area, graduating from Idaho Falls High School. He served in the U.S.
Navy as a Seaman First Class during World War II and was stationed in Guam. Following his discharge from the military,
he attended Brigham Young University and then the College of Mortuary Science in San Francisco.
He married Margaret Catherine Packer on September 6, 1950, in the Idaho Falls Temple. They had 9 children and
one foster son. Ralph was a successful businessman and was co-owner of Wood Funeral Home until his retirement in
1994. He continued, however, to help at funeral services when requested. He served as President of the Idaho Falls and
Idaho State Funeral Directors Association, was a member of the Idaho Falls City Council for 20 years, and was active in
the Lions Club, serving as President.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret; children, Cathie (Sid) Lanham of Sandy, UT; Marlowe (DeAnne) Wood of Mem-
phis, TN; Debbie (Pat) Martin of Idaho Falls; Walt (Lori) Wood of Mesa, AZ; Von (Michelle) Wood of Bountiful, UT; Matt
(Kim) Wood of Hillsboro, OR; Mark (Cristie) Wood of Lindon, UT; Charlotte (Derek) Jensen of American Fork, UT; and Paul
(Shaunna) Wood of Ammon; foster son, Dewey (Diane) Not Help Him of Ceres, CA; 56 grandchildren; 40 great grand-
children; a sister, Annette Wood of Idaho Falls, ID and a brother, Robert S. Wood of Belmont, MA. He was preceded in
death by his parents; a brother, Jack Albert Wood; and two grandsons, Spencer Wood and Chris Martin.
Misc Funeral Home Items: As you may know Bell Funeral Home has closed its doors effective January 22, 2010. Please
contact Mike or Sara at at firstname.lastname@example.org or Michael's cell 208-871-6787 for a list of items for sale. Items
currently listed include a hearse, urns, folder stock, rental casket and misc furniture, prep room items, etc.
Older Funeral Vehicles Wanted: If you have any older funeral vehicles for sale, please contact Jon Wurn 651-755-2701.
Feb 15, 2010......................................President’s Day
March 8-10, 2010............................ NFDA Advocacy Summit ............................................................................................................Washington, D.C.
March 10-13, 2010...........................ICCFA Annual Convention .............................................................................................................. San Antonio, TX
March 17, 2010.................................St. Patrick’s Day
April 4, 2010 ......................................Easter
April 8-10 ......................................... NFDA Professional Women’s Conference ...................................................................................Savannah, GA
April 12-13, 2010 ............................ NFDA Family Business Conference....................................................................................................Phoenix, AZ
April 15 ................................................Tax Day
June 20-22, 2010 ............................ Three State Funeral Service Conference—Idaho, Montana, Wyoming.......................... Jackson Hole, WY
July 4, 2010 ........................................Independence Day
July 11-14, 2010.............................. NFDA Leadership Conference .....................................................................................................Cambridge, MD
( Please let IFSA know of events you’d like to see added to the calendar )
Idaho Funeral Service Association
P.O. Box 820
Meridian, ID 83680-0820