March 2023

NEWS MARCH 2023 Family Owned and Operated Since 1974 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY P O BOX 5 1 5 9 , YO U N G S T OWN, OH I O 4 4 5 1 4 1 - 8 0 0 - 3 2 1 - 7 4 7 9 WWW. NO M I SPU B L I C AT I O N S. C O M P r e v i o u s l y P u b l i s h e d a s t h e YB News • S t i l l t h e P l a c e f o r Yo u r N ew s ! Scan QR for our website 1-888-792-9315 • Folding Dressing Tables MODEL #FS1-0034 Oversized Hydraulic Embalming Table MODEL #FS1-1001 Ships Fully Assembled AMC N W IN STOCK READY TO SHIP STANDARD $799.00 OVERSIZED $929.00 $3,523 Gilpatric-VanVliet Funeral Home Celebrates 10 Years Paak Funeral Home Offers Services for the Muslim Community Paak Funeral Home NewYork Location Paak Funeral Home New Jersey Location RIDGEWOOD, NY— Paak Funeral Home offers those in the Muslim Community a place where traditions and customs can easily be found and followed during their time of mourning after losing a loved one. Aisha Qureshi was a foreign medical doctor. After a death in the family, she realized that religious and professional service was lacking in the Muslim community. It was at that point that she changed her profession and enrolled in the mortuary school in Nassau Community College. She completed her courses with a 4.0 GPA. In 2011, Aisha arranged an established funeral home and redesigned the layout according to the needs of the community. This gave Paak Funeral Home the opportunity to serve the Muslim community independently. At the time, it was Continued on page A24 Continued on page A2 ESOPUS,NY— Gilpatric-VanVliet Funeral Home recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its location in Ulster Park, a waterfront hamlet in the Town of Esopus, NY. “In 2012, we moved the firm from its location in the city of Kingston, where it continuously operated since 1872,” says Harry VanVliet IV, owner and funeral director of Gilpatric-VanVliet Funeral Home. By Laurie Esposito Harley The Deathcare Collective: from a Book Club to Much More See Page A19 See Page A16 Musings with Marika By Marika McMeans Our Newest Monthly Column: Professional Women’s Conference Growing Stronger, Together See Page A27 Vera Jones will empower attendees with her presentation Girls Don’t Whistle? @Nomis.Publications Like Classified Ads Shipping Directory Index of Advertisers

Page A2 march 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A Published monthly by: Nomis Publications, Inc. PO Box 5159, Youngstown, OH 44514 1-800-321-7479 • fax 1-800-321-9040 Subscription: United States $30.00 - Canada/Mexico $60.00 - Outside North America $75.00 Circulation 21,000 per issue. Deadline for Press Releases: 5th of the Previous month. Advertising: Display Ad rates sent upon request. Classified and Shipping Directory rates published in each issue. All advertising must be received by the 5th of the previous month. Due to the vast amount of sources, the publisher is not responsible for the content of any news articles or advertisements. Nor is the publisher responsible for any loss of revenue by failure to insert an advertisement. The contents of any advertisement submitted for publication are only the publisher’s responsibility if the error ismade by the publisher’s typesetting department, and then only to the extent of the typesetting charges. Advertisers are responsible for adhering to individual state regulations regarding advertising. The contents of any news article submitted for publication is subject to editing and is published at the sole discretion of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse any news article or advertisement. The contents of this publicationmay not be reproduced, in whole or part, without the exclusive consent of Nomis Publications, Inc. Editor: Margaret (Peggy) Rouzzo © 2023 by Nomis Publications, Inc. ISSN 1944-1126 Funeral Home & Cemetery News online at Online Directories US & International Funeral Homes • Supply Companies Cemeteries • Pet Memorialization Companies Trade Associations • Plus Much More... NOTICE The FUNERAL HOME AND CEMETERY NEWS is sent in two parts. Section A, which includes pages A1-A36 and Section B, which contains the Classified Advertising and consists of pages B1-B24. If you do not receive both sections please call 1-800-321-7479 or email Like @Nomis.Publications FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS 800 - 321 - 7479 ~ www. Nom i sPu b l i c at i on s. com S E N D U S Y O U R N E W S W e w e l c o m e n e w s o f t h e i n d u s t r y Send us information on your firm today! FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Need Help Putting Your Press Release Together? Call Peggy at 800-321-7479 ext. 220 email Peggy@Nomi sPubl i cat i fax 1-800-321-9040 mail PO Box 5159, Youngstown, OH 44514 Send us any press release related to your firm which would be of interest to your fellow industry professionals. All press releases are published free of charge and at the discretion of the publisher. Be sure to include any photographs. Staff additions. . . Staff promotions. . . Anniversaries. . . Apprenticeships. . . Remodel ing. . . Moving. . . New Ideas. . . Community Service Projects. . . Graduates. . . Obituaries. . . etc. Columns Aftercare by Linda Findlay. .............................................................................. A8 Embalming 101 by Wally Hooker.................................................................... A16 HearseHub by Mike Jamar................................................................................ B6 Memoires des choix des Jacque by Kate Frediani-Gorman.......................... A30 Museum Corner............................................................................................... A32 Musings with Marika by Marika McMeans...................................................... A18 Observations by Steven Palmer..................................................................... A12 Powerhouse Marketing With Welton by Welton Hong..................................... A6 Random Musings by Nancy Weil...................................................................... A4 Rest In Peace Mr President by Todd Van Beck.............................................. A22 Working With Widowers by Fred Colby.......................................................... A20 Monthly Features Association News. ......................................................................................... A27 Educational News.......................................................................................... A32 Death Notices. ............................................................................................... A34 Suppliers News................................................................................................B1 Calendar of Events........................................................................................ B2 Shipping Directory........................................................................................ B14 Classified Ads. .............................................................................................. B17 Continued from Front Page Harry VanVliet IV Ulter County Sherrif’s Department Honor Guard Attendees at the ribbon cutting hosted by the Ulster Regional Chamber of Commerce included Harry’s family, elected officials of the Town of Esopus, members of the Chamber of Commerce, and the manager of the Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union which assisted Harry in the planning and the financing for construction of the century-old firm into its new location. “A ribbon was cut in the front yard of the funeral home in recognition of successful operation in the town of Esopus, my lifelong hometown,” Harry says. Over the term of our 10 years in Esopus, we have experienced a 200% increase in call volume to date. Harry is a 1998 honors graduate of the Mortuary Science Program at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY and the recipient of the Mortuary Gilpatric-VanVliet Continued on page A10 A ribbon was cut in the front yard of the funeral home in recognition of ten years in Esopus. Science Award for Leadership and Professionalism, earning his New York State license to practice funeral directing in 2005. He later earned the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner and is a Certified Celebrant. Before becoming a funeral director, Harry served his community for more than 30 years as a deputy sheriff with the Ulster County Sheriff. He retired in 2007 at the rank of Captain. He is a life-member and former secretary of the Ulster County Chiefs of Police Association. “I am often asked, ‘What made you go from a cop to funeral director?’” Harry says. “My answer is simple: as a deputy sheriff, I was exposed to many death scenes where the funeral director who arrived for the decedent always seemed to have such a powerful presence of relief for the grieving family.” He adds, “Toward the end of my police career, knowing I would soon retire and still having the strong desire to serve my community, I decided to go back to college to earn my license to practice as a New York State funeral director.” Harry is a proud and loyal supporter of the Esopus-Kingston area veterans and holds the honor of past Grand Marshal of Town of Esopus American Legion Post 1298 Memorial Day Parade (2017). He is a longtime member of the New York State Funeral Directors Association, the DutchessPutnam-Ulster Funeral Directors Association, and is a very active community member in the Town of Esopus. Harry acquired the firm in 2009, known then as the Gilpatric-Murphy Funeral Home, from the late James F. Gilpatric. Jim’s great-grandfather, John J. Murphy, founded the firm in 1872. The firm was recognized in 2022 by the New York State Funeral Directors Association at their annual convention for 150 years of continuous service to the community. Harry operated in Kingston for about three years before moving to his hometown in Esopus. “Recognizing that at the time of my acquisition of the small firm,

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Page A4 march 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A Call: 661-250-1507 • Visit: Available Through Quality Suppliers Ladder Racks with adjustable shelves Portable Folding Register Stands Made in USA Quality & Value - Built Just for Funeral Homes! Providing the Best-Designed Tools for Your Services Since 1926. Dozens of products that give you years of service and store compactly when not in use. Lightweight and easy to take to gravesides or churches. Portable Folding Display Table Deluxe Combo Stand By NancyWeil My aunt died. It was fast and unexpected and only a year after her husband, my uncle died. They left behind two adult children, who are my cousins. The funeral was being held graveside in my hometown. I no longer live nearby, so I had hoped to be able to attend the service virtually. When my uncle died the funeral home had a live stream and it allowed me to be there in some way, instead of no way. This time was different. There was to be no live stream. I had to ask my brother, with my cousin’s permission, to FaceTime with me so I could be there and be a part of their farewell. At some point they plan to have a memorial service with their parents; friends and others, and I will be able to be there in person for that. However, this time I was at home – on FaceTime – and witnessed something I have never seen before and pray never will again. This is where the story takes an interesting turn of events. The open grave where the casket sat on the lowering device was covered in greens. It was only when the formal service was over, and the cemetery field staff realized that the family planned to witness the burial, that the greens were removed. This revealed that a wall of the grave had collapsed. This happens, especially during the winter when the ground is wet. It is how the situation is dealt with that can make the difference between a funeral “gone wrong, then right again” and one “gone wrong, then appallingly wrong, then (sort of ) right again.” So begins my tale of one funeral – two views… When something like this happens, you have to move the casket in order to clear out the grave. There are a few options to doing this. One would be to place it on the church truck, but in this case, there wasn’t one. You could take the casket back to the hearse until the grave was fully opened again, but this grave was quite a way from the road. You could also carefully place the casket onto the greens next to the grave. Random Musings Serving as Member Resources Director at the International Order of the Golden Rule, Nancy Weil brings her years of experience working in the funeral industry to funeral directors across the globe. Her professional experience includes serving as Director of Grief Support and Community Outreach at Veterans Funeral Care in Clearwater, FL and at eleven cemeteries inWestern NewYork. Nancy travels throughout the country offering presentations on how to reduce stress, combat compassion fatigue and offer support for thosewho are grieving through her company, The Laugh Academy. With certifications as a Grief Services Provider and Grief Management Specialist, Funeral Celebrant, Soul Injury Ambassador and Laughter Leader, Nancy is uniquely qualified to bring new perspectives into how to best meet the needs of the families you serve. For more information on how Nancy can help you and your company grow, visit her website: www.TheLaughAcademy.comor email F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columnsonline at funny and fitting, laughing at the absurdity of watching a stranger descend into their mom’s grave only to scramble out a short time later. She said that it gave them the comic relief they needed to break the intense grief they were feeling at the time. She thought that her momwould find the humor in it all, and they were grateful for the short moment of comedy. They never noticed the way their mom’s casket was placed, at a skewed angle and with lack of care. To me, it was like the casket was just an impediment to solving the problem (the collapsed grave wall) and it was carelessly tossed to the side to gain access to the issue. To my cousins, it was just a ridiculous scene playing out in front of them. The man went into the grave with his shovel and later was helped to climb out of it. I still wonder if the funeral director should have stepped in and had the casket moved to a more suitable spot. But perhaps this would have only called attention to how it was placed. I don’t know, maybe doing nothing was the best option. This is not something you train for. To funeral professionals and those who work in the cemeteries, all I can say is to remain aware of the dignity of your work. Remember that what you do – and the optics of how you do it – makes a difference to the family. Not all families will be like my cousins. For some this could have been devastating. So, my advice is to prepare for the unexpected and always, always, respond with the family in mind. One Funeral – Two Views The cemetery field staff chose none of these options. Instead, they picked up my aunt’s casket, laid it partially on the greens and partially on the lowering device, leaving her casket at a precarious angle. It was at this point that I began to fume. “This is so disrespectful,” I thought. “She is shifting in that casket right now.” Another thought I had was “I hope they sealed the casket correctly so that she does not roll out.” Into the grave one of the field personnel went, with shovel in hand. He moved the dirt around until he was satisfied that the grave could fit the casket. He then attempted to clamber out, but found he needed help with this. The son-in-law had to help pull this man carefully out of his beloved mother-in-law’s grave. With this the burial began again and all went smoothly. I sat at home on FaceTime, stunned by what I had just witnessed. I wondered how what I saw had impacted her children and son-in-law. I wondered what – if anything – the funeral director could have done to bring some dignity and decorum to the situation. Following the funeral, my cousin posted on Facebook about her mom’s service, only referencing an “interesting thing happened that I will share another day.” I immediately messaged her privately and gingerly asked her how she felt about her mom’s funeral (fearing she would soon be in therapy after what occurred). Instead, she wrote back that she and her brother found it PEACHTREE CITY,GA— Rollings Funeral Service is excited to announce that since their podcast, A Grave Affair, was launched in 2021, they have been able to reach over 2,000 listeners. The podcast is hosted by Rollings Funeral Service’s director of social media and strategic communications Umberto Putrino and currently has 25 episodes. “When I pitched the idea of the podcast to Greg [Rollings], my goal was to tap into the vast network of funeral directors and their experiences within funeral service in order to educate listeners on everything and anything funeral and death related,” Putrino said. “I’m so happy that we’ve been able to reach over 2,000 listeners since our launch and that our lisRollings Funeral Service’s Podcast Reaches Over 2,000 Listeners Since Launch Umberto Putrino teners continue to grow. The feedback has been great on the content too,” Putrino also said. Throughout the 25 episodes so far, Putrino has interviewed a number of guests both inside and outside funeral service to get their views on various subjects. Ranging from discussing a funeral director’s most memorable services to acting out what happens when a family plans a funeral, the goal is for the listeners to be more comfortable around death and funeral homes. To date, the most popular episodes include a legal roundtable on cremation liability, learning more about death doulas, and getting outsiders’ perspective on death and funerals. “I’m so glad we’ve been able to share more about our industry with everyone and to help push death care forward in a positive direction with A Grave Affair,” said Greg Rollings, president and CEO of Rollings Funeral Service. “We’ve had some incredible episodes and covered some really informative topics and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the podcast,” Rollings also said. A Grave Affair releases episodes monthly on their Apple Podcasts and Spotify channels, and at http:// With 90 locations, Rollings Funeral Service is one of the largest private funeral home owners in the eastern United States. With each of their firms operated on the local level, their managers work directly with Rollings Funeral Service to establish budgets, pricing, and best practices. They also pride themselves on being a great alternative to selling to a publicly traded company and they continue to search for firms that will be a great fit to their growing family funeral of funeral homes. Your first portrait is FREE Custom Portraits from ANY photo

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Page A6 march 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A Caver Funeral Home, Detroit MI, recently took delivery of a 2022 Platinum Master Coach and Limousine from American Coach Sales of Cleveland, OH. Pictured are Linda Thompson and Johnell Caver Sr. Mr. Caver is the owner of Caver Memorial Funeral Home in Detroit and Johnell Caver Your Home for Funeral in Lake Wales, FL. Both funeral homes are active in their state’s funeral director’s association and believe each family deserves professional service with a personal touch. 888-321-6613 Connect with Baby Boomers on End-of-Life Issues with the Before I Die Festival in a Box™ Gail Rubin ALBUQUERQUE,NM— Funeral directors and cemeterians who want to generate pre-need sales can learn how to hold an end-of-life conversation-starting event with the Before I Die Festival in a Box™ by Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist and The Doyenne of Death®. The book and additional materials will be released March 15, 2023. “Before I Die Festivals provide unique and innovative ways to entertain while educating about end-of-life issues, to get people to plan for our 100% mortality rate,” said Rubin. Using behind-the-scenes tours, activities, games, speakers, and other outside-the-box activities, Before I Die Festivals offer thought-provoking content within memorable and life-affirming events. The Before I Die Festival in a Box shows how to draw potential clients to a funeral home or cemetery without having to experience the death of a loved one. The book’s contents offer ways a go; A four-DVD set of the TV interview series hosted by Rubin, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die; Death Cafe ground rules and information sheet for participants; Bare Bones Checklist to help collect information for an Upon My Death letter; Plus, one hour of consulting time with author Gail Rubin, who has coordinated multiple Before I Die Festivals. The Before I Die Festival in a Box package is available only at The paperback book alone (ISBN 979-8-9868388-0-9), as well as an eBook version (ISBN 979-89868388-1-6), will be available separately through online retailers. The publisher is Light Tree Press. Author Gail Rubin, CT, is a pioneering death educator who uses humor, film clips and outside-the-box activities to prompt people to plan for end-of-life issues. She is a Certified Funeral Celebrant, an award-winning author and speaker, funeral industry journalist, and host of a podcast and TV series. She was one of the first people to hold a Death Cafe in the United States and has coordinated Before I Die Festivals for many years. Learn more at festival can help connect with boomers and younger generations, get positive local news coverage, and sell services before a family needs them. The book includes: how to find festival sponsors and partners; a step-by-step marketing plan for your festival; ways to generate publicity and draw event attendees; entertaining movies and TV programs that also educate about pre-need planning; and how to collect warm leads from festival attendees. The Before I Die Festival in a Box includes these conversation-starting tools in addition to the book: Newly-Dead® The Game playing cards and instructions for Couples and Singles, as well as Newly-Dead Bin- @Nomis.Publications Like us on Like ByWelton Hong Going into the new year with an out-of-date website is bad for deathcare digital marketing performance. It’s not just a faux pas, like wearing last season’s pants this winter. It’s a costly error that could leave you without potential clientele as consumers find your competition online before they find you. Stay competitive online in 2023 by taking some time to update your deathcare or funeral home website. If you keep up with your site and spend some time updating it each quarter, this type of maintenance isn’t even a huge resource draw. Start with some of these tips: Ensure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly By now, you should have a mobile-friendly website. It’s been almost four years since Google announced its mobile-first indexing initiative in 2019. This initiative, which Google still follows, uses the mobile version of websites when evaluating pages for ranking purposes. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it may not be indexed at all. Even if it is, your pages might not show up high in search results because Google is penalizing them for not working well for mobile users. How can you check that your site is mobile-friendly? Start by navigating to it on your own mobile device. How does it look? Can you easily move around the menus and pages, or do you have to resort to zoom shenanigans just to read the text or see the images? Those are your first signs that a site isn’t ideal for mobile users—consider checking your site on several types and sizes of screens to ensure it works well for most people. Look for Ways to Address Accessibility Your page must support more than traditional desktop and mobile users. Accessibility is a growing requirement for users and search engine ranking, so always consider how all people might interact with your pages. Some easy ways to make content on your site more accessible in 2023 include: • Adding alt text to images. Not everyone can see images in the same way (or at all). Adding alt text that describes the content of an image lets people read a text version or use screen readers to hear audio explanations of media on a page. • Create custom user experience options. When possible, make it easy for visitors to your site to change font size and other elements, such as background colors, to make things easier to engage with. • Take care with color and font choices. Consider the user-friendliness of your design choices. Dark fonts on a dark background are a nuisance for almost anyone, but red fonts on a green background can be especially difficult for those with color blindness, for example. Check All Links and Other Clickable Functions Do some regular housekeeping by checking that all the functions on your site actually work. If someone likes what they read about your preplanning services and clicks to make an appointment, they might not follow through if the link doesn’t work. Google “dead link checker” or “broken link checker” to find free tools that let you check all the links on your site with a few clicks of your mouse. You should also regularly What Should You Update on Your Deathcare Website? Powerhouse Marketing with Welton put contact us forms and other interactive elements on your site to the test. Have someone from your business try to use these forms in the same way potential clientele would, thus ensuring they work correctly. Update Your Content with New Keywords Keywords don’t hold the same SEO power forever. That’s because they’re based on trends related to how people are searching for information at a specific time. For something like funeral preplanning services, the keywords probably won’t change drastically from year to year. However, new keyword research can uncover tweaks you might make to the keywords for optimal performance. It can also help you understand how searcher intent may have changed since you wrote a blog post or landing page and whether there are new common questions you can answer in your content. Welton Hong is the founder of Ring Ring Marketing® and a leading expert in creating case generation from online to the phone line. He is the author of Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Funeral Homes. For more information, visit F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columnsonline at

Page A7 march 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A The Director’s Assistant™ Single Source Solutions Provider All state and federal forms included The INDUSTRY’S FIRST AND OLDEST CONTACT 1-800-240-1016 FOR MORE INFORMATION OR VISITWWW.CONTINENTALCOMPUTERS.COM Accurate real time accounting Accounts Receivable Accounts Payable Payroll General Ledger Inventory End user customizable interface E-Signatures, inventory, customer feedback surveys

Page A8 march 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A nior Vice President for The Neptune Society during a significant growth period. Before that, from 1987 to 2003, he held several leadership positions with Service Corporation International including COO of SCI Australia and Regional President in both Kansas City and Indianapolis. Lee added, “Jim has been working with Capstone over the last year in an advisory capacity and has been a tremendous help in bringing the location operations together, so we decided he needed to be here full time and keep all the positive changes moving forward.” Capstone Services Group is an owner and operator of twenty-seven quality funeral homes and cemeteries with locations in Florida, Virginia, West Virginia, Louisiana and Oregon. Capstone Services Group is fortunate to be in a financial position where they do not have to borrow from banks or other lending institutions and are completely debt free. This allows them to continue to invest in the businesses they own and more so in the staff and employees who are the key to each location’s success. By Linda Findlay Aftercare tion. I shared that grief has no time limit or time frame. It is more about how we get through that time and what we do with that time. That is the “work” of grief. She said she felt relieved! The widows in the group talked about how they had lost their one true love and there would never be another. They shared about how hard their daily upkeep of themselves and their homes had been. They were lonely. One lady whose husband died two years before, said that this is the very first time she had addressed her grief. Before attending the group, she never spoke of how she was really handling things. Her entire family figured she was fine, and she did not want to tell them otherwise and upset them. She said she should have joined a group much sooner! Another widow was tired! Her husband had died seven years before. Coming to the group had livened her up and she finally was not too tired to come out at night! Most widows shared about how wonderful their husbands were and how happily they were married for the number of years that they each were married. We got to know each other’s loved ones over the course of six weeks. The widowed ladies had started to meet for lunch and were planning to continue meeting with their new friends regularly. One of the widowers came to the first two meetings and did not return. I had taken him aside and told him it was great that he was joining us. I told him that I hoped he would keep returning. I know from experience that men may need a little more convincing, and I try to persuade them to at least come to three meetings before they decide it is not for them. I don’t know why he did not return, but all we can do is extend the encouragement and hope he will come back. The two couples who had lost a child seemed to be a bit quieter than the others. Sometimes being in a “general grief ” support group cannot adequately meet the needs of bereaved parents. They seemed to listen, but they just did not share as much as I have seen in support groups that are specific to the loss of a child. One of these mothers told me that she just couldn’t relate to the ladies who experienced the house fire. She tried to be sympathetic, but it just couldn’t compare to the loss I just completed a series of support group sessions. My favorite part of facilitating a support group is hearing people’s personal stories of what their grief journey is and who their loved ones were. In this last series of sessions, there was a younger wife with her daughter who lost their dad/husband just three months before. There were seven other widows in the group and two widowers. Most of the other widows were older in comparison and were 2-10 years past the loss of their spouse. We also had two couples who had lost an older child, a lady whose neighbor lost her spouse (she wanted to learn how to best to support her friend), a young man who lost his mother seven years before but was only now grieving his loss due to recovery from drug addictions. Finally, there was another mother and daughter who lost everything to a house fire including a family pet. When we talk about loss and grief, there are many things that we grieve over in life. All of the groups that I coordinate and facilitate are specific to the loss of a loved one to death. I had been asked to help out and co-facilitate this particular group. I had no control over who joined and why. The participants of this group and their losses are typical of a general grief support group, except the ladies who experienced the devastating fire. Here is a summary of the six weeks. The younger mom and daughter were so close to their loss. Although I have had people join a support group as soon as one day after their loss, it is more likely that people decide to attend a group a few months down the road. The young mom expressed concern that she would be feeling the same way that she felt at three months after her loss when she was ten years down the road. She had heard or read something that talked about the longevity of grief. I assured her that although we will experience our grief for the rest of our lives, it will not disable us to a point where we can’t function. I shared that we always look at a person’s daily function in their life. If she feels bad enough to stay in bed all day, at this point, it is perfectly fine. However, if we were having the same concern a year from now, we would most definitely be having a different conversa- Linda Findlay is the founder of Mourning Discoveries, Grief Support Services. She is a 29-year career Aftercare Coordinator, a published author, and an advocate for bereaved families. She is the founder and co-creator of The Grief Cruises and managing partner with The International Grief Institute. Linda can be reached at 315-725-6132 or Visit, or F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columnsonline at Inside Look: A Grief Support Group of a child! I tell people all the time that “my grief is just as painful to me as your grief is to you.” I encourage people to not compare grief, etc. etc... However, with my dear funeral service friends, I must admit that I agree with the bereaved mother. It is very hard for bereaved parents to blend in with a general grief support group. Many people go into a grief fog for long periods, but it has been found that bereaved parents are still in a grief fog five to ten years past their loss! I am happy that the grieving parents kept coming to the sessions. We also referred them to a support group just for bereaved parents and I will keep track of them going forward. The young man who was grieving the loss of his mom came to only the first meeting. He said joining the group was part of his recovery plan. I hope he is continuing his treatment plan and working hard to overcome his addiction. The lady who came to learn and be more supportive of her friend was a very sweet lady. She came to every session and took more notes than I usually see. She wandered between the groups of losses and befriended everyone. She was not a distraction to the group – which can sometimes happen – and she did fit in well. As for the mother and daughter who experienced the house fire. They did not come back. You know how you can sometimes “feel” the room and level of emotion. Some of the expressions on the widows’ faces probably said more than words. The sponsor of the group told me that the mother had called and said they would not be coming back. She and her daughter felt so bad for the others, they felt it was not a good fit for them and their needs. He offered continued counseling with him as needed. I wanted to share these stories with you to illustrate where people are, months and years down the road, and how they really need the ongoing support. Support groups are a valuable and much needed resource for families. Please don’t shy away from considering offering a group. Today, more than ever, that personal touch and offer of help goes a long way! 1-888-792-9315 • Scan QR for our website Cots not included MODEL # TR3 Triple Cot Roll-In Mortuary Cooler AMC N W FAST SHIPPING AVAILABLE ON SELECT PRODUCTS Call 651-450-7727 to request a wholesale catalog, Our Extra-Large Cremains Bags (13”x 15”) are perfectly sized for the Standard Plastic Human Service Urn. or visit to order some bags. 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Ca l l today for you r FREE Samp l e K i t Gilpatric-VanVliet Funeral Home Continued from Page A2 there were too many funeral homes to compete with in the city of Kingston, I made the difficult decision to move the small firm, which was suffering from inactivity, into my lifelong hometown of Esopus, NY,” says Harry. “I had worked in two other funeral homes in the Kingston area before I took ownership of this firm. This allowed me to get an idea of what specific amenities might be missing for families to appreciate” states Harry. Multiple bathrooms, abundant on-site parking, one floor with handicap accessibility, and well-lit rooms painted in warm earthtone colors were a few of the essentials Harry knew he should include. The building itself has a Cape Cod style with a waterfront theme that gives it a relaxed and airy feel. When Harry renovated the building, all new construction (visitation room, prep room, etc.) was constructed in the back so that the new additions could not be seen from the busy state highway, and therefore the Cape Cod styling was not compromised. With all the additions to the back, visitors don’t expect such a big space when they walk in. In 2010 during the construction phase, some of Harry’s out-of-town funeral service mentors suggested he not build a casket showroom, considering cremation seemed to be on the rise. Harry took this advice and relied on using high resolution tablets instead. Although this decision was not viewed as popular with local peers back in 2012, it now appears to be their method. Harry was wonderful success using this method, with families expressing their appreciation in using the technology as opposed to entering a casket showroom. He’d like to believe they are progressive leaders in technology. They were first in their area to use Funeral Screen technology back in 2014. When asked about his success in the last decade, Harry is quick to respond. “My success can be attributed to several factors that have now come together like a puzzle: the VanVliet family has roots in the Town of Esopus that trace back to the 1700’s, my previous 30-year service to the community as a deputy sheriff, and now as a licensed funeral director since 2005. It is infrequent to find anyone in our community that doesn’t know the VanVliet family and our dedicated service to the community. Of course, our success must include our attention to the needs of every family that calls on our professional and skilled service.” The Gilpatric-VanVliet Funeral Home is also focused on educating the public about funeral service. They are located next door to a vocational school, which offers courses in the health occupational fields. Harry says, “We feel educating the public about who we are and what we do is an important element in our business. We proudly partner with the vocational school by opening our firm as a classroom several times a year and teach the collegebound students about funeral directing, funeral home management, cremation and the embalming process, the best received topic.” Harry feels that this partnership takes the mystery out of the funeral profession, promotes traditional funeral services, and helps to build relationships with the students and teachers. Additionally, as a former member of the Sheriff’s Honor Guard, he assists the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard with their training by providing the use of the funeral home, hearse, and equipment. Harry’s firm recently donated a steel casket, church truck and burial flag to the team for their training purposes. Also, several agencies throughout New York State have trained at their firm, all of which builds positive partnerships and hones the skill of these important honor teams. For more information on the Gilpatric-VanVliet Funeral Home, visit their website at SEND US YOUR NEWS!

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Page A12 march 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A “DUNCAN STUART TODD KNEWWHAT WE NEEDED.THEY MADE IT SIMPLE IN HAVINGTHE TOTAL PACKAGE.” -THEWOOD MORTUARY PREPARATION ROOM Design + Equipment 720 - 583 - 1 886 SINCE 1991 their house. For four days, ten pigs, twenty chickens and the family shared the second floor. Ships at sea were not spared from the storm. The Navy reported 90 ships were “sunk, wrecked or badly damaged” in Maryland and Virginia. Sailors were clinging to the icy masts, and ships floundered under the weight of the snow or were overturned by the waves. New England recorded 16 ships damaged. In New York and New Jersey waters, the storm damaged more than 24 ships. Overall, nine ships were declared missing and six abandoned. The blizzard finally ended on Wednesday March 14, 1888. Dedicated workers began to open roads and dig out tracks. Food, though at high prices, came to relieve the hungry multitudes. One store owner, frustrated that he could not find help to shovel in front of his business, put up a sign reading, “Important! Expensive diamond ring lost under snow drift! Finders keepers! Start digging!” The cost to New York City alone was between $2.5 to $3 million (approximately $760 million today). The most important cost was in human lives. The estimate was that 400 lives were lost, 200 of them in New York City, 100 were lost at sea. The bodies were taken to a morgue and had to be identified before being released for burial. By the Friday after the storm the burials had begun, and hundreds were laid to rest. The gridlock of elevated trains led to plans to build city subway systems. Plans had been developed for an underground railway system years earlier, but plans had been stymied by politics and funding. Many of those affected across the East Coast were shocked that the burgeoning modern inventions and conveniences were all stymied by weather. It became sheer survival in the storm, just as past generations had to contend with. This is a cogent lesson we can still learn 135 years later. “But lo…there comes a storm and there is no railroad, no telegraph, no horse car, no milk, no delivery of food at the door. We starve in the midst of plenty…It warns us to be discreet and temperate in our boasting. It is only a snowstorm, but it has downed us.” —Hartford Courant editorial Observations “They bought a snow shovel, and they said by God they’d get through. They got stuck in a big drift a mile from home. One of them got the horse out and got on his back and the other took hold of the horse’s tail. They hadn’t got very far this way when the horse dropped dead.” —Connecticut workers trying to get home during the Blizzard John J. Meisinger was a hardware buyer for the E. Ridley and Sons Department Store in New York City. He bought 3,000 wooden snow shovels for the usually snowy New York winter. A reporter had heard this and humorously wrote about this large purchase. The mild winter prompted the newspaperman to call it “Meisinger’s Folly” by “Snow shovel John.” But in March 1888 there were snow-bearing storms sweeping across the Midwest, coming down fromCanada, heading towards the Northeast. The Army Signal Corps (predecessor to the National Weather Service) was also watching a southern storm with heavy rains, to see if these two storms would meet. They did. Sunday, March 11, brought dark ominous clouds. Sunday afternoon brought torrential rains to New York City and the winds became strong. The temperature quickly dropped below freezing and all that water turned to ice. A streetcar slipped off its tracks, and all movement became treacherous. By 10:00 PM, the rain had become snow and fell heavily. A blizzard is usually defined when the temperature is below 20 degrees with winds over 35 miles per hour. This storm had temperatures below zero and winds of 75-85 miles per hour. And it paralyzed the East Coast from Virginia to Maine. The Northeast populace were not novices to snowstorms and diligent workers were not deterred. A New York milkman, William Brubacker, arose to at 1:30 AM to begin his dairy deliveries. He was determined to fight the elements to serve his customers. He ferried to New Jersey, came back with his load, and began his route on horse and wagon at 5 AM. He had to climb through snowbanks to walkways and porches and dig out the milk boxes. At 10 AM, cold and exhausted, he stopped by a saloon for a few shots of whisky to help him carry on. Shortly after resuming his route, he realized that navigating the street was almost impossible and cruel to the horse. He turned and went home, where he stayed for the next four days. By Steven Palmer A young Vermont teacher, unfazed by the early snow, arrived at the classroom for lessons, and students joined him. As the school day went on, the teacher realized the snow was getting deeper, and was over the heads of some of the students, so he dismissed class early. Knowing he was responsible for their safety, the teacher tied a rope around his waist, then the waists of each student, from the oldest right down to the youngest. They walked the streets together, delivering each student safely home. Former United States Senator Roscoe Conkling of New York walked 25 blocks to the Courthouse that morning. When he arrived, the courthouse was vacant, everyone else had wisely stayed home. Conkling refused the expense of a cab to take him home and struggled back to his house on foot. He collapsed at the New York Club and was taken inside. He temporarily recovered but died a month later. Richard C. Reilly, a reporter for the New York Eagle, was sent out in the storm to find out about a tidal wave at Coney Island. He took a train and then had to walk a mile in deep snow to get there. He found damage but no tidal wave. He found a horse and sleigh to try to get back. He was found in a snowbank and died before regaining consciousness. P. T. Barnum kept the circus going in Madison Square Garden, to an audience of 100 people. He bellowed to the assembled, “The storm may be a great show, but I still have the greatest show on earth!” On Monday night the storm left New York and headed north. The Big Apple thought they had said goodbye to the storm, but it turned and by Tuesday morning it was back with force. The blizzard would dump four feet of snow in Albany, NY and Bennington, VT. New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Baltimore were all victims of the blizzard. Horse drawn streetcars in cities couldn’t operate. The New York Stock Exchange closed for two days. Edward Leonard of Springfield, MA bent down to pick up a cap from a snowdrift and found a young girl beneath it. He dug her out with his bare hands and found a warm building nearby. She survived. In Northfield, VT, with 4-degree temperatures, hundreds of cows froze to death. In Tidewater, VA, a farmer’s family watched the banks of a nearby river overflow and flood the ground floor of “The Great White Hurricane” Steven Palmer entered funeral service in 1971. He is an honors graduate of the New England Institute of Applied Arts & Sciences. He has been licensed on both coasts, he owned the Westcott Funeral Homes of Cottonwood and Camp Verde, AZ, where he remains active in operations. Steve offers his observations on current funeral service issues. He may be reached by mail at PO Box 352, Cottonwood, AZ 86326, by phone at (928)634-9566, by fax at (928)634-5156, by e-mail at or through his website at or on Facebook. F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columnsonline at FORT COLLINS,CO— The Center for Loss and Life Transition has announced the locations of Dr. Alan Wolfelt’s 2023 educational workshops. The content of these workshops helps participants understand their own grief, learn how to companion others in their grief, understand the natural complications of grief, and recognize the significance of how when words are inadequate have meaningful ceremonies. Sponsors include hospices, hospitals, universities, funeral homes, and a variety of community agencies. Workshop locations include: March 1, Atlanta, GA (virtual); March 7-8, CoAnnouncing Dr. AlanWolfelt’s 2023 Speaking Schedule Dr. AlanWolfelt lumbus, OH; April 4-5, Indianapolis, IN; April 6, Dayton, OH; April 18, Fort Collins, CO; May 2-3, Rochester, NY; May 9-10, Calgary, AB; May 10-11 Edmonton, AB; July 27-28, Northbrook, IL; September 6-7, Cleveland, OH; September 11, Las Vegas, NV; September 26-27, Location TBA; October 3-4, Omaha, NE; October 10-12, Cedar Rapids, IA; November 8, Las Vegas, NV; and November 29, Pittsburgh, PA (virtual). Dr. Alan Wolfelt has been recognized as one of North America’s leading death educators and grief counselors. He is known around the world for his compassionate messages of hope and healing as well as his companioning philosophy of grief care. Dr. Wolfelt speaks on grief-related topics, offers trainings for caregivers, and has written many bestselling books and other resources on grief for both caregivers and grieving people. For more information about these workshops or to explore sponsoring a program virtually or in your community, visit, call 970-226-6050, or email