eNews May 2021


Any Personnel Changes for the Directory or eNews Subscription?

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


Licensee Acquisitions

On April 8th, Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. acquired Maki Family Precast Concrete Businesses of Oxford and West Barnstable, Massachusetts.  The company consists of two precast operations and two burial vault operations.  The two burial vault operations, Flagg-Palmer Vault Company and Century Vault Company were Wilbert® vault distributors for Norwalk Vault prior to 2008.  In addition to being Wilbert distributors, they also manufactured Doric® and Eagle® burial vaults.  The acquisition of these two burial vault companies enables WFSI to convert the competitive product to Wilbert vaults, all within the existing footprint of our internal licensed territory.

On January 15th, Fred Sannipoli sold Whited Cemetery Service in Menifee, CA, to Matthews International’s Memorialization division.  Fred’s son, Freddie, will oversee the vault operation for Matthews in Menifee.  The name of the company will remain Whited Cemetery Service.


Wilbert Hosts Informative Webinars on COVID-19 Financial Assistance for FEMA

On April 12, 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began offering funeral assistance to families who lost loved ones due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance to families for up to $9,000 for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020, until September 2025. 

To provide this information to the Wilbert Licensee Network, Mike Nash, Mark Bates, Ken Moore, and Terry Whitlock hosted a webinar Wednesday, April 14, and provided a presentation to the attendees about the omnibus Covid relief bill. The hosts outlined eligibility requirements, items needed by an applicant(s) to receive benefits, what funeral expenses are covered for reimbursement, and how the Wilbert Licensee Network can help provide this information to their funeral customer base. 

This presentation was well-received by the Licensee Network. Many webinar participants felt it would be best to send this same message to their customer bases as a non-credited WilbertEDU session; therefore, Wilbert made a similar presentation to several hundred funeral-home customers Tuesday, April 20. There were multiple comments from these attendees who did not know this benefit was being made available to families. Because of this, they found the webinar very informative and now will help those families who qualify for these benefits.

A letter for Licensees to send to funeral-home customers has been made available, which describes in detail this program. Additionally, fillable PDFs for funeral homes to send to their impacted families are also available. This information, a replay of the WilbertEDU session for funeral professionals, and other helpful resources may be found on the Wilbert website: https://www.wilbert.com/funeral-professionals/tools-resources/fema-funeral-assistance-program/


Granite Choices reports that there were two installations completed last month

Eric Green with Wilbert Memorials in Joplin, MO provided a custom 48 Niche Maple with Mahogany Shutters columbarium featuring a pitched roof and fluting on the end walls to the Smithville, MO City Cemetery.  They chose this custom unit as it was not the plain, boxy appearance that so many cemeteries install. 

This installation will provide on-going cemetery lettering business for Wilbert Funeral Services in St. Joseph, MO.

Tim Raker with Turner Vault provided Ney Cemetery in Ney, Ohio a custom 24 niche gray with black shutters unit which will eventually have a companion unit installed once the first one is half sold.  The unique design provides six companion niches across the bottom two rows by omitting some of the vertical score lines and 12 standard niches across the top two rows.


WilbertEDU™ Updates

WilbertEDU continues to be a huge success! Thanks to all of you and your outreach to funeral professionals, we again broke our record for registrations to our webinar with David Kessler, Death by Suicide. If you missed it, please head to the resource page to watch the recording because David is the highest rated speaker to date. Death by suicide is one of the most devastating losses that families face. Yet old beliefs are being replaced by new information on mental illness and brain science. David shared some helpful information on how to help families deal with the why of suicide as well as techniques to help families cope with all the “what ifs” and “if only’s.” He talked about how we can understand ways to test if consoling techniques will help after this type of loss as well as help us learn new ways to understand mental health. David Kessler is the world’s foremost expert on grief and loss. His experience with thousands of people on the edge of life and death has taught him the secrets to living a happy and fulfilled life, even after life’s tragedies. He is the author of six books, including the new bestselling book, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. He coauthored two books with Elisabeth Kubler Ross, including On Grief and Grieving updated her five stages for grief. His first book, The Needs of The Dying received praise from Saint (Mother) Teresa. He will be making two more appearances with the next one in July discussing “When a Child Dies.” 

Presenting on April 22nd, Wayne Stellmach of Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. presented on “Better Communications with Families”. Currently a marketing consultant for Wilbert, many of you know Wayne from his time with Wilbert as Director of Marketing where he provided marketing and communications to the various Wilbert Group organizations. He also has written articles published in funeral service publications and served on the boards of the International Memorialization Supply Association (IMSA) and the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC), chairing the marketing committees of both. His presentation outlined the challenges of communicating with families during arrangement conferences, including the emotional state of families, distractions that are ever-present, and the different learning styles of family members. This course presents research on families’ knowledge of OBCs; three basic learning styles that people have; how people evaluate major purchases; and how to engage and communicate with all the learning styles in the presentation of burial vault information.

If you have any ideas on subjects or presenters for WilbertEDU, please feel free to reach out to Kathleen Berry at kberry@wilbert.com.


Upcoming WilbertEDU™ Sessions

May 6th, Mark Panciera, CEO and Partner of the Pacific Institute and fellow funeral professional will present, Mindset Matters; The Performance Mindset for Funeral Professionals (by a Funeral Professional). His dynamic presentation will provide proven insights to learning how your mindset impacts results – both positively and negatively. He will give you insights to accept the fact that your mindset impacts the client-families you serve, and how you can change it for the better. Mark will help to uncover your ‘blind spots’ that are holding you back – and fix them, so you can become your best-self and provide the best service and more!

Mark Panciera is an accomplished business owner, community leader, executive and entrepreneur. Applying his personal formula for professional success. Mark has distinguished himself as an advisor to a diversified group of clients in a variety of industries. As the CEO and Partner of The Pacific Institute, Mark focuses his efforts on driving the growth and performance of organizations, teams, and individuals, working with Fortune 1,000 companies, government agencies, healthcare systems, educational institutions, athletic teams, and non-profit organizations. Mark is very proud of his funeral service tradition as the owner of Boyd-Panciera Family Funeral Homes, led by his wife Tiffany and son Mark Anthony, the fourth-generation caregiver in the business.

On May 20, David Hicks returns by popular demand with another Embalming Course, Post Embalming Technique. David will look at the procedures and techniques that are done after the embalming machine has been turned off. It may not be an all-inclusive list or in the order that every embalmer performs them, but a listing of 90 separate tasks or procedures makes for an interesting talk. From feature building to casketing and many others in between the topic is sure to spark discussion and best practices among the attendees. Plan to join David for this important session.

June 3rd, Mark Bartel, Chaplain Manager, Spiritual Care at the Arnold Palmer Medical Center will address the topic, Grief Work of Children and guide us on a discussion of the Reconciliation needs of a grieving child. This session will focus on the initial nurturing around the funeral phase by discussing six needs that can be helped along with a good funeral process.

June 17th, Lance Ray will address the topic of Ethics, with his presentation Good People, Unethical Choices. In this WilbertEDU session, Lance will review why ethics are so important to the funeral profession, the three parts of bad choices and why we all have to work to keep ethics high in our business. The discussion will share situations and ethical choices funeral professionals have had to make or have heard of others making in and out of the prep room.

Watch this corner for additional WilbertEDU webinars and take advantage of the WilbertEDU Licensee Resources page (www.wilbert.com/wilbertedu-resources) for collateral which you can use to promote WilbertEDU sessions to your customers. Also, on this page you will be able to access recordings of previous presentations.



ICCFA has gone Virtual!

The ICCFA Annual Convention and Expo has gone online for 2021! Join deathcare professionals from across the globe this May 17th-21st. Tune in for ICCFA’s 25+ hours of educational sessions, an exhibit hall packed with new and innovative products from suppliers, and numerous networking opportunities. The Wilbert Group has a booth that will virtually showcase Wilbert Funeral Services and Cremation, Signet Supply and Astral Caskets, Pierce Chemical, Granite Choices, and Kryprotek. 

For more information, please contact Kathleen Berry at kberry@wilbert.com, or click on the ICCFA provided link.  ICCFA - Annual


New offering for Funeral Professionals

Our staff led webinars, “Back to Basics” with Dan Welzenbach and Mike Nash and “Better Communications with Families” presented by Wayne Stellmach, are being requested for playback daily.  After careful consideration, we have made the decision to add them to Wilbert.com under the Funeral Professional tab to allow funeral professionals to view these webinars beginning July 1, 2021.  Although we cannot offer any CEU with these, we feel these informative webinars are a powerful learning tool and want to make them available.

Please remember that 99% of the WilbertEDU webinars are available for you, the licensees, to use with your customers.  Located on the WilbertEDU Resource page, several licensees are using these replays to visit customers and offer in person CEU’s.  This is a great promotional tool!

For more information, please contact Kathleen Berry or Kat Williams.


Commemorating First Responder Deputy Sheriff Christopher Knight

Deputy Sheriff Christopher Knight, 30, of the Bibb County Sheriff's Office died April 6, 2021. Deputy Knight, along with another deputy, was moving a prisoner to an observation area after the inmate made suicidal comments. The prisoner was able to grab Deputy Knight’s knife and stabbed both deputies. Deputy Knight had served with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office since 2018.

Mr. Knight leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter, his parents, and a host of relatives and friends.

Public visitation was held Monday, April 12, 2021 at the Richard R. Robinson Funeral Home in Macon, GA. A Celebration of Life took place at the Macon City Auditorium on April 13, followed by interment at Macon Memorial Park Cemetery. 

Piedmont Precast in Atlanta, GA was honored to provide the family a stainless steel triune burial vault with a Treasured Tribute image, as well as a graveside service with Ovation setup.


Commemorating First Responder Corporal Kyle Davis

Corporal Kyle Davis, 38, of the Washington County OK Sheriff's Office, died of a ruptured aorta after being assaulted inside the Correctional Facility while booking a prisoner. He began his career in law enforcement with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in 2008 and was promoted to Deputy Sheriff in 2010.

Mr. Davis is survived by his wife, two children, his parents, his sister, two grandmothers, a nephew, and his brothers and sisters of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Wilbert Funeral Services in Tulsa, OK, was honored to provide the family a Stainless Steel Triune burial vault with a Treasured Tribute image, along with a graveside service.



Commemorating First Responder State Trooper Joseph Gallagher

NY State Trooper Joseph Gallagher, 38, died on March 26, 2021 from injuries he received in 2017 when he was struck by a vehicle during a stop to assist a motorist whose vehicle had broken down on the Long Island Expressway. He had served with the State police since 2014. Before his career with State Police Troop L, he earned a degree in marine engineering at the SUNY Maritime College. He then became a US Coast Guard pilot, flying helicopters on patrol and rescue missions throughout the Great Lakes.

Trooper Gallagher is survived by his wife, two children, parents, sister, and brothers.

Visitation was held on Wednesday, March 31 at Bruggemann Funeral Home in East Northport, NY, and then again along with full honors on April 6 and 7 in Orchard Park, NY, at Cannan Funeral Home. Trooper Gallagher was laid to rest at Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica in Buffalo.

Wilbert Funeral Services in Lancaster, NY, was honored to provide the family a Stainless Steel Triune burial vault with a Treasured Tribute image, along with a graveside service.


Commemorating First Responder Volunteer Firefighter Jared Lloyd

Spring Valley, NY volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd, 35, died March 23, 2021 while fighting a fire at an assisted living facility. He and the other heroes on Columbian Fire Engine Company No. 1 safely evacuated 112 residents that day before Jared sent a mayday call from the 3rd floor of the building. Jared had served the Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Department since 2006, rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

Mr. Lloyd is survived by two young children, his mother and stepfather, his father, his longtime companion, grandmother, two aunts, an uncle, many cousins, and his CFEC family.

Escorted by the Rockland County Police Emerald Society Pipes & Drums Band, Jared Lloyd was given full fire department honors during the service held April 3, 2021 at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona, NY. A procession past the Columbian Firehouse led to his burial and rest at Brick Church Cemetery in Spring Valley, NY. Wanamaker & Carlough Funeral Home assisted his family with arrangements.

Wilbert Funeral Services in Oakville, CT was honored to provide the family a stainless steel triune burial vault with a Treasured Tribute image, along with a graveside service.

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