eNews June 2024


Any Personnel Changes for the Directory or eNews Subscription?

Kindly report any changes in your Licensee information to Susan Barry at sbarry@wilbert.com or call Susan at 708-865-1600 at your first opportunity when changes occur.  Thank you!

2024 Convention Calendar 

August 3-7, 2024
Gaylord Hotel, 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, Maryland 20745 www.nfdma.com
CANA Annual Convention
September 11-13, 2024, 
Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, 200 N Columbus Dr., Chicago, IL 60601 www.cremationassociation.org
WMA Annual Meeting
September 15-18, 2024, Amelia Island, FL  www.wilbertwma.com
October 20-23, 2024, New Orleans, LA. www.nfda.org
CCC - Catholic Cemetery Conference Convention & Exposition

September 30 - October 3, Providence, RI
Omni Providence Hotel at 1 West Exchange Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903

Quality Control School
October 6-9, 2024, Piedmont Precast Atlanta, GA.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta Galleria Hotel, 2815 Akers Mill Road SE, Atlanta, GA 30339
October 20-23, 2024, New Orleans, LA

Wilbert Recognizes Families of Fallen Officers

For many people, the month of May signifies the beginning of spring, but for the law enforcement community it means remembering their brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their life.  May 15th is Peace Officers Memorial Day, a day in which our nation honors peace officers killed in the line of duty from the previous year.  A special remembrance ceremony is held in Washington, DC, on the west lawn of the Capitol. 

In the week leading up to the remembrance ceremony, tens of thousands of peace officers from across the United States converge on Washington to honor and remember the fallen officers. Since 2006, Wilbert has participated in this annual remembrance by presenting framed personalized lithographs to families who lost a loved one in the line of duty. This year from May 11th thru May 13th, Wilbert honored 222 fallen officers. The number of deaths seems shockingly high; however, when compared to the COVID years of 2021 (563 deaths) and 2022 (443 deaths), the number is receding to more historic levels.

During 19 years of participating in police week, Wilbert has presented 3,992 framed personalized lithographs to families whose officer’s name is etched into the wall at the law enforcement memorial. Year after year families share their appreciation of Wilbert with statements such as, “you have no idea how much this picture means to us. I was not prepared for this … thank you for this beautiful gift.” During the presentation it is common for family members to also reflect and reminisce about the Stainless Steel Triune® burial vault that Wilbert donated to honor their loved one, and when they do, their eyes widen as they recall the artwork on the carapace all while sharing their appreciation for Wilbert’s generosity.

The decision Wilbert made 19 years ago to participate in police week coupled with the support the Wilbert Licensee network has provided through the First Responders program, hits at the core of who Wilbert Licensees are … caring, compassionate, dedicated, committed, supportive, and respectful. It is our hope that we continue our participation in police week for many more years to come.

Below is a picture of a framed personalized lithograph of Deputy Shane Detwiler.  Artist Ryan Keller made some enhancements to the painting for this year.    


Quality Control School to Return this October!

Royden and the team are setting the stage for the return of QC School this year in Atlanta, Georgia from October 6-9. Piedmont Pre-Cast has graciously offered to host the event in their state-of-the-art plant located a short drive from the hotel!  This year, the school will focus on the important points of manufacturing Wilbert burial vaults. We will cover concrete and aggregate, batching onsite or ready mix, chemical additives, seal application, vibrating, stippling, Unidex®, and butyl tape, to name a few. Throw in how to properly maintain your forms, proper lowering device maintenance, practice good housekeeping techniques daily, and more to round out the school. Hotel arrangements have been made with the Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta Galleria Hotel, 2815 Akers Mill Road SE Atlanta, GA 30339 (770.984.9300). The nightly rooming rate is $169.00, including a full breakfast buffet and daily nightly reception. They have also reduced the parking rate to $15.00. We are excited to bring back QC School in 2024 because there is so much to share and learn. Watch this corner and your email for information on the agenda and cost of the meeting.

Hotel: Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta Galleria Hotel, 2815 Akers Mill Road SE Atlanta, GA 30339 (770.984.9300) Reservation link:

Available Rooms - Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta Galleria

Place: Piedmont Precast 4750 Bakers Ferry Road, SW Atlanta, GA 30336

Dates:  Arrival on Sunday October 6, 2024, for the opening reception and departure Wednesday October 9, 2024

Mini Meeting Anyone?

Royden and Dale will take the show on the road in the next few months, revitalizing the mini meetings that were a popular gathering of local licensees and their salespeople. These meetings will allow WFSI to share information on what is going on in our respective markets as we gather to discuss any new resources being developed, have meaningful dialogue about what you are looking for from WFSI, and most importantly, the opportunity to network with your neighboring licensees. We are working on the first meeting, which will take place at Bickes Inc. in Decatur, Illinois, this August.  Information on this event will be available in the next few weeks. If anyone else might be interested in offering their training room for a day or two to help host one of these meetings, please reach out to Royden rwood@wilbert.com or Dale dcameron@wilbert.com.  


Rose Hill Burial Park Memorial Project

Cross_1Wilbert's work exemplifies the seamless collaboration of a dedicated team and the meticulous artistry of skilled craftsmanship.

Wilbert Memorial Monuments Special Projects East, under the supervision of Project Supervisor Bill Wolgamott, recently completed a significant project at the Rose Hill Burial Park in Oklahoma City. The project involved the installation of a custom base for the Cross feature on the Swisher Family Lot, along with the placement of laser-etched markers for family members already laid to rest. Daniel Griffith and Nick Okerson from the Tulsa Wilbert plant played a pivotal role in the physical installation work. They meticulously installed three individual markers with granite foundations, a double marker with a granite foundation, and two custom benches, all on granite foundations. Additionally, they expertly arranged the custom-cut pieces for the family memorial around the stainless-steel cross. This intricate and labor-intensive project was a heartfelt endeavor to honor the wishes of the Swisher Family. The team's dedication and craftsmanship are truly commendable, and the results are nothing short of outstanding. Well done, Gentlemen!






Cross_2 Cross_7

Cross_6 Cross_5


Mountain Meadows Memorial Park Project

The demand for cemetery niches has surged in popularity throughout North America.

Here are a couple of photos from the installation Mickelson & Ray did last week at Mountain Meadows Memorial Park in Payson, Arizona, of two new 72-niche Hexagons. The customer purchased their first hexagon from us in August 2017 (pictured in the far back) and has now purchased two more, with the intention of purchasing one more by year-end. These units will replace the 20+ year-old niche bank (pictured in the center) of this cremation area.

Micelson___Ray_1 Micelson___Ray_2

Hexagons installed by Mickelson & Ray

The Heart & Soul of a Wilbert Licensee

Zach Yates, owner of Yates Wilbert Vault Co., Inc. played a crucial role in ensuring that two fallen officers received dignified burials by providing SST Triune® burial vaults and overseeing graveside services. The two officers were among four killed as a warrant was being served to a convicted felon in Charlotte, NC.  Zach suggested to the funeral director that he could personalize both the interior of the vaults and the carapaces. The funeral director, Erin Amelung, was deeply moved and supported the idea. 

For Police Officer Joshua Eyer, Zach placed a cherished photograph of Officer Eyer holding his infant son, on the interior of the vault at the head end. The carapace was personalized with Officer Eyer’s name, dates of birth & death, and the image of Officer Eyer and his infant son. Zach’s team set four tents, 80 chairs, and utilized numerous sets of greens.

For Investigator Samuel Poloche, Zach placed a family photo on the interior of the vault at the head end, and the carapace was personalized with Investigator Poloche’s name and badge. Zach’s team set four tents, 80 chairs, and utilized numerous sets of greens.

The families and friends were astonished and grateful for the tremendous effort made to honor their loved ones. The cemetery personnel were equally impressed by the appearance and professionalism of Zach’s CSRs. 


Image of Officer Eyer with his infant son.


Image of Investigator Samuel Poloche with his wife and two children.

Zach’s father, uncle,and grandfather previously owned YATES WILBERT VAULT CO., INC. Zach took over the business and is doing a phenomenal job. His passion for the First Responders' program has never wavered and has flourished under the direction of Zach. His team beams with pride and adoration when they speak of Zach, and we are grateful for Zach’s teamwork with Wilbert Funeral Services in Broadview, IL.

Lastly, while speaking with one of Zach’s team members, we learned of a four-year-old child who very recently drowned. When Zach found out about this tragic event, he provided the family with a burial vault at his expense. 

Wilbert® is on Facebook!

Don't miss out on the latest products and services the Wilbert Funeral Services Inc. licensee network offers. Follow us on our Facebook page to stay updated and in the know. You won't regret it! And while you're at it, click the "Like" button to help spread the word at: https://www.facebook.com/wilbertfuneralservice

WilbertEDU QR Code!


Is your state convention coming up? Looking for a way to promote the upcoming WilbertEDU Sessions? The WilbertEDU team is pleased to offer this QR Code that you can display in the booth to keep you customers updated!  It will take them directly to www.wilbertedu.com for the most up to date details on dates, presenters and subjects.  






WilbertEDU® Webinar Recordings Available to Licensees

Webinar recordings are available to the Wilbert Licensee Network on Wilbert.com. This is a great opportunity to meet with customers and share videos either in person or remotely. WilbertEDU Educational Series


WilbertEDU® Updates

WilbertEDU continues to be a huge success! Thanks to all of you and your outreach to funeral professionals, we continue to see our webinar attendance rise each session and to date have seen almost 30,000 attendees since we began in November, 2020. We continued to have informative industry experts last month and look forward to more successful webinars in 2024.  


WilbertEDU® Upcoming Sessions



NancyJune 13 | Aftercare: Programs that Heal Families (& Put You Miles Ahead of the Competition) with Nancy Weil

This webinar explores the benefits of aftercare, how it can create loyalty, opportunities, and positive publicity for funeral homes.
MichelleJune 27 | Introduction to Advanced Reconstructive Surgery Techniques with Michelle Johnston
The webinar will help attendees gain confidence in the embalming room with major trauma cases.
MarkJuly 11 | Ethics in Funeral Service and Avoiding Regulatory Fines with Mark Harrison and Ebone Bukes

This webinar addresses ethical situations faced by funeral directors and provides essential ethical guidelines for running a successful funeral home to avoid regulatory fines. 



AntonioJuly 25 | Bridging the Generational Divide in the Workplace with Antonio Green
This webinar provides an understanding of the generational landscape, discusses challenges in managing a multigenerational workforce, and provides strategies for bridging the generational gap.

To register for upcoming webinars, visit www.wilbert.com/wilbertedu



WilbertEDU® May Recap


On May 2, we welcomed first-time presenter Charlie Hunter to the WilbertEDU® stage. Charlie has 20 years of experience in death investigations, forensics, and disaster response. He was born and raised on the Gulf Coast in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, which has been devastated by hurricanes Rita, Katrina, and Laura. In his presentation, “Teamwork Through Crisis”, Charlie shared his first-hand account of Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 hurricane that hit Cameron, Louisiana, at 1 am on August 27, 2020, with sustained winds of 150 mph. Charlie shared pictures of the destruction caused by the hurricane, which resulted in 46,000 destroyed or damaged homes, 81 deaths, and $23.3 billion in damage. Hurricane Laura knocked out power to hundreds of thousands and tore off roofs. Charlie’s presentation focused on the aftermath of the hurricane and how the community came together to care for the deceased and begin to rebuild. It was a cautionary tale for anyone dealing with a mass fatality event: the best disaster response plan can be derailed by catastrophic damage that destroys or makes inaccessible all available local resources, which was the case with Laura. Charlie shared how a network of resources from outside the area was called upon to assist with caring for the deceased with dignity and how, in extreme situations, it is necessary to adapt and overcome.

On May 16, Doug Gober returned to the WilbertEDU stage to share insights gleaned from nationwide, statistically relevant research studies done by The Foresight Companies in the spring of each of the last four years. He shared consumer perceptions of the funeral profession and funeral professionals and consumer behaviors related to online activities, product education, and cremation. This information provided a snapshot of consumer attitudes and behaviors that define the future business model for funeral service. 
Key takeaways from the presentation included consumer expectations of funeral home websites. Survey respondents indicated they sought pricing information when visiting a funeral home website. Doug urged the audience to make this information easy to find and understand. A poll question about online pricing availability revealed that 40% of attendees do not have pricing on their website. Funeral home reviews also play a significant role in consumer decisions, with 60% of consumers saying they plan to read online reviews about funeral homes and that reviews increase trust in a company. 
The study revealed that consumers are not getting the basic education about burial options, casket options, cremated remains memorialization, keepsakes options, cremation options and urn options. Roughly four in ten consumers said they don’t know enough about funeral home and cemetery products and services to make an informed decision. 
Cremation continues to trend upward, as does the opportunity to address memorialization needs. 53% of respondents indicated they are more likely to select cremation than they were a few years ago, and 42% prefer to have cremated remains memorialized. 
Finally, Doug shared that while consumers have an improved opinion of the funeral profession, funeral professionals don’t seem to share this same optimism. Areas where respondents felt the profession is lacking included meeting budgets, providing technology, and providing a modern environment.

On May 30, first-time speaker Jack Lechner presented “A National Shrine – Arlington National Cemetery”. Mr. Lechner spent five years as the Superintendent at Arlington National Cemetery, and he shared many anecdotes from his tenure and provided a brief history of this national shrine. Jack shared how presidents are honored, the eligibility requirements for burial and inurnment, and the military honors process. He spoke about distinguished visitors and public wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, Memorial Day “Flags-In” honoring the fallen at Arlington, the cemetery expansion project, and ANC Explorer, an app for users to locate gravesites and other points of interest throughout the cemetery. By the end of the webinar, the audience praised the speaker and presentation as one of the best WilbertEDU sessions ever!


Remember, WilbertEDU webinars are available to Licensees via the WilbertEDU Resources page at Wilbert.com/Wilbert-resources. A login is required.


Commemorating First Responder Investigator John Hampton Coddou, III



Houston, TX –Investigator John Coddou was struck and killed while helping at the scene of a vehicle crash.

He passed away on April 23, 2024. He was 50 years old.

Investigator Coddou responded to a minor collision near the Cumberland Ridge Drive intersection. He parked on the center median with his lights activated. A truck traveling north swerved to avoid hitting the patrol vehicle and struck Investigator Coddou in the median.

He was transported by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Investigator Coddou was a United States Army veteran and had served with the Harris County Sheriff's Office for 20 years. He is survived by his wife and mother.




Services were entrusted to the care of Memorial Oaks Funeral Home, Houston, TX.

Wilbert Vaults of Houston, LLC, Houston, TX. was honored to provide the family with a
Stainless Steel Triune® burial vault with a Treasured Tribute image and a graveside service.



Commemorating First Responder Investigator Samuel Poloche



Raleigh, NC - Investigator Sam Poloche and Investigator Alden Elliott of the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction, Police Officer Joshua Eyer of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and Deputy U.S. Marshal Thomas Weeks were shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant. Investigator Poloche passed away on Monday, April 29, 2024. He was 42 years old.
At 1:30 p.m., members of the U.S. Marshals Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force attempted to serve a felony warrant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The wanted subject ambushed them with a high-powered rifle and engaged them in a prolonged gun battle.
Investigator Poloche, Investigator Elliott, and Deputy U.S. Marshal Thomas Weeks were killed at the scene. Officer Joshua Eyer succumbed to his wounds several hours later. Three officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and a second Deputy United States Marshal were also wounded.
The wanted subject was shot and killed, and two subjects were taken into custody for questioning.
Investigator Poloche had served with the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction for 14 years and was assigned to the Special Operations and Intelligence Unit. He is survived by his wife and two children. 

A casket for Investigator Sam Poloche of the N.C. Department of Adult Correction enters
First Baptist Church in Charlotte for a memorial service.

Services were entrusted to the care of McEwen Funeral Services, Charlotte, NC.

Yates Wilbert Vault, LLC, Charlotte, N.C. was honored to provide the family with a
Stainless Steel Triune® burial vault with a graveside service.

Inside the Wilbert burial vault, a touching image captures the love between Samuel and his family.


Commemorating First Responder Police Officer Joshua Eyer



Charlotte, NC –Police Officer Joshua Eyer succumbed to gunshot wounds he sustained while assisting in serving a warrant on a convicted felon in east Charlotte. He passed away on Monday, April 29, 2024.  He was 31 years old.

Investigator Sam Poloche, Investigator Alden Elliott, and Deputy U.S. Marshal Thomas Weeks were killed at the scene. Officer Eyer succumbed to his wounds several hours later. 








Joshua’s 3-year-old son waves to his father’s image during the funeral service.

Services were entrusted to the care of McEwen Funeral Services, Charlotte, NC.

Yates Wilbert Vault, LLC, Charlotte, N.C. was honored to provide the family with a
Stainless Steel Triune
® burial vault and a graveside service.


Inside the Wilbert burial vault, a touching image captures Joshua and his son
in their tender moments together when the child was just an infant.


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