eNews November 2021


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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!


The Wilbert Group Travels to Nashville, Tennessee to Participate in the NFDA Convention


The Wilbert Group just returned from a very successful NFDA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, the first large in-person convention in over two years. The opening party set the tone for the convention and was held in the street between the Omni Hotel and the Convention Center. The entertainment for the evening was a concert performed by Runway June, an American country music group consisting of vocalists Naomi Cooke, Jennifer Wayne, and Natalie Stovall.

The booth represented the many facets of our family of products under The Wilbert® Group banner with areas allocated to Astral Industries, Granite Choices, Pierce Chemical, Loved and Cherished®, the Wilbert Foundation, WilbertEDU®, and was rounded out by Wilbert Funeral Services Burial Vaults and Cremation Choices®.

This year Wilbert was proud to feature Karine Bouchard and her son Nicolas, creators of the beautiful and exclusive line of Wilbert products which began with the Sapphire Seasand now includes the Four Seasons Collection - Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn urns; and Wilbert Memorial Series®mementos offering families exquisite works of singular cremation art.

Wilbert showcased the many ways in which burial and cremation urn vaults can be personalized by using the Treasured Tribute™ program featuring beautifully customized images, two of which carried a Nashville theme. Also on display were some of the newest cremation urns, jewelry pieces, and mementos.

The merchandising tower displayed four personalized burial vault samples; the 19-inch and 24-inch Loved and Cherished units and a section for the Wilbert Foundation Bertie Bear kits that are being purchased by donations from attending the WilbertEDU sessions.

Displayed in the Granite Choices area was a columbarium design which had a high level of interest, along with inquiries for the Kryprotek® products. Many attendees work with a combination of properties and see tremendous revenue potential with these products.

Pierce featured their XHALE Odor Control System featuring three different products designed for body cooler, air odors, and surface treatment. Pierce also showcased the NecroMetics®Restorative Art Cosmetic Kit. The NecroMetics line was created by a licensed embalmer, SPFX cosmetics enthusiast, and restoration expert, exclusively for his restoration practice. After many inquiries, he decided to make these products and techniques available to funeral professionals everywhere. Two of these products are NecroDerm™, a wax replacement that cannot be disturbed by touch, and NecroPAX™, a sealing base that will cover ANY discoloration and will NOT rub off. Pierce has everything needed for flawless cosmetic work, even in cases of severe trauma.


Astral listened to its customers and invited all convention attendees to stop by the booth for a demonstration of their new custom bed design. The bed will accommodate the growing challenge of increased weight requirements while being virtually effortless to raise and lower. Astral also highlighted the brand new high-resolution custom head panel offering that is now available, as well as their newly designed custom catalogs. The new custom catalogs can be personalized for your funeral homes, directors, and pre-need staff in both a hard copy and a digital version at no cost to your firm whatsoever.

Wilbert enjoyed great conversations with those who stopped in the booth to visit. It was nice to be able to visit with all convention attendees in person!


WilbertEDU® Presenters Honored at NFDA in Nashville 

All the presenters from WilbertEDU 2020 and 2021 were invited to come to the booth in Nashville for a special thank you gift that was created by our artisan Karine Bouchard. The beautiful blue flame design for them was on display in the booth. As each presenter arrived, President and CEO Mark Bates personally thanked them for their participation in our educational platform as he presented the gift.  All were truly touched by the recognition.


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 over 12,000 attendees since we began in November 2020. We continued to have informative industry experts in October!


Recapping the Sessions Sponsored in October

October saw several Wilbert team members present, “The Three Omegas: Interment, Inurnment, and Entombment.” Michael Nash, Director of Sales & Customer Support for Wilbert Funeral Services; Mike Forbes, Vice President of Wilbert Memorials; and Craig Neal, Regional Vice President of Wilbert Funeral Services utilized three separate sessions that concentrated on educating the attendees about interment, inurnment, and entombment processes.

Nash talked about outer burial container terminology used daily by funeral professionals, as well as the importance of educating families about outer burial containers, and how that may factor into the overall satisfaction level they have with their selection.

Forbes talked about how more people choose cremation today and funeral professionals need to be prepared to provide and suggest options for final disposition. Rather than leave cremated remains to a surviving family member or friend, it is our duty to educate and help people make their wishes known so that cremains don’t end up on the closet shelf or left in a storage unit.  He spoke about the many choices available today and the benefits of these choices.

Finally, Neal talked about how cemeteries spend millions of dollars to construct community mausoleums with high-end materials such as granite and marble in community buildings, as well as in private estate mausoleums. He talked about what is being done to protect those buildings, their crypt spaces, cemetery employees, and the caskets of the beloved deceased that they hold in eternity. The attendees enjoyed this session which gave so much great information that can be useful in working with families today.

Pierce’s Rick Rork presented the webinar, “Embalming the Jaundice Case.” Rick works with Pierce serving the states of Missouri and Illinois and has served as a guest lecturer for many states, national, and international funeral service organizations, as well as several mortuary colleges throughout the U.S. and South America. In the realm of embalming cases classified as “difficult,” jaundice certainly ranks near the top. During this seminar, Rork discussed health conditions in which jaundice is commonly seen, possible safety concerns and misconceptions regarding “jaundice fluids,” embalming technique, solution volume, the importance of proper drainage, and the use of pre-injection chemicals and cosmetic dyes. He shared some great insight and helpful techniques when working to successfully overcome the effects of jaundice.


WilbertEDU® Sessions for November


On November 4, join the WilbertEDU webinar series and hear Pat Lynch CFSP, Funeral Director, President, and Co-Founder of the Lynch and Sons Funeral Home in Clawson, Michigan. This is one of several funeral homes owned and operated by the Lynch family.

Pat will be speaking on The Importance of the Graveside Service. In our transient, mobile society where many families live apart from one another, those times when we come back together are treasured. This includes when a loved one dies, and family and friends gather to mourn the passing and commemorate the life. One of the most meaningful ceremonies is a graveside service, where you go the distance, accompany your loved one to the grave, to say your final goodbyes.

Pat, born and raised in Michigan, is an active member of many funeral service associations, and served as President of both the Michigan Funeral Directors Association and the National Funeral Directors Association from 2010-2011. One of his focuses in association work has been consumer protection and as president of the Michigan association, he helped to pass landmark consumer protection legislation and he is a founding member of the Preneed with Integrity Task Force of the National Funeral Directors Association.

Pat and the Lynch family were instrumental in the filming of the Frontline PBS Documentary, The Undertaking! Cameras were allowed into Lynch and Sons to give the audience a rare, behind-the-scenes look at life as a funeral director.

The film takes you on a journey starting with the initial call, through the funeral, and concluding with accompanying the deceased to the final place of rest. If you have not seen this documentary, you need to! Pat knows that while difficult, the graveside committal service is a most rewarding experience. Families value the graveside service at the cemetery “as important as” or “more important than” the service conducted at the funeral home or chapel.

As a final gesture, many families opt to stay until the vault is sealed and lowered into the grave, perhaps even taking a shovel of earth and placing it into the grave. Pat will share his insight into this most important part of the funeral and why you should encourage your families to go to the graveside to say goodbye. Pat always emphasizes the importance of accompanying the deceased from their place of death to their place of final rest, the gravesite. He will share how you can make the graveside committal service more meaningful to the families you serve as they say their final goodbye.

This webinar is one you should not miss!

On November 18, Linda Stuart joins the WilbertEDU stage again for Self-Connect to Re-Connect.

Funeral Professionals spend their careers catering to the tender needs of others. They are a beacon of light who serve all day long, and likely go home to rinse and repeat. By being everything for everyone else, their wells dry up, their oxygen runs out and over time, they can slowly lose themselves. Linda is a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, a Reinvention Life Coach, Writer, and Speaker who is passionate about creating transformational experiences. She has crafted many ceremonies to celebrate life, mourn death, mark milestones, and cross thresholds. Since childhood, she has been immersed in the bereavement sector through her father’s business and realizes that as caregivers, we are so plugged into others that we can lose the ability to assess and access our own needs and desires. This combination of living on autopilot and disconnection from self can result in feelings of isolation, emptiness, and confusion. And no, the answers are not floating in a large glass of wine or hiding in a tub of Ben & Jerry's.

Linda teaches us to make ourselves a priority by listening to the wisdom within us, exploring our inner world, and honoring our own needs, we can restore balance and connection to who we are and live a more passionate, authentic, and joyful life.

Poul Lemasters rejoins the WilbertEDU Stage on December 2, to talk about a very a popular topic, Funeral Ethics, and Law for the Deathcare Provider. Poul’s professional career covers both funeral service and law. He has worked in the funeral profession for over 25 years and holds both a funeral director’s license and embalmer’s license in Ohio and West Virginia. His deathcare experience includes managing both small and large funeral homes and working with both independent and corporately owned funeral homes. He remains active in local, state, and national funeral and cemetery associations.

As an attorney, Poul is admitted to practice law in both Ohio and Kentucky. His focus in deathcare began as Corporate Counsel for Alderwoods, where he advised on the various funeral home, cemetery, and crematory issues, including regulatory, licensing, and litigation. He currently works with funeral homeowners, funeral directors, embalmers, cemeteries, cemeterians, cremationists, and crematory owners. He assists in areas of legal, compliance, regulatory, litigation, and operational issues. Poul also serves in various roles with national groups, knowing that as deathcare providers, we are trained to help. Sometimes when we focus on helping, we can unwillingly create problems. Unfortunately, what we perceive as good intentions cannot protect us when it comes to the law. In today’s world, ethical dilemmas are becoming a common problem that ultimately becomes public, which can alter the definitions of what is ethical and what is not.

Poul details real-life scenarios, how ethics can break a company, then will demonstrate how to develop ethical guidelines for success. Let Poul help you, your business, your employees, understand how ethics can build or break any company. Ethics aren't simply subjective thoughts; they are objective baselines that must be measured. Join us as Poul educates the audience on the world of ethics in funeral service today!


National Police Week 2021

Since May of 2006, Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. has represented the Licensee network in Washington, D.C. at the National Peace Officers Memorial week honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty from the previous calendar year. Normally held in May, this year due to COVID-19, the ceremonies were held in October. Representing Wilbert were Terry Whitlock, Kathleen Berry, Royden and Kris Wood, and Ryan Keller and crew represented Compco and Captured Moments Art.

Because the pandemic canceled the ceremonies in 2020 and pushed back the 2021 event to October, we had 491 personalized lithographs to present to families who had lost a first responder. Included in this number were officers who died of cancer that developed from search and rescue efforts at the World Trade Center site following the events of September 11, 2001, and this year they also included first responders who had died from COVID-19.

The Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) organization assists in organizing the week-long event. In our first appearance at National Police Week in 2006, families were extremely emotional as we presented them with framed lithographs of their loved ones. COPS volunteers quickly realized they needed to provide emotional support to the families, so they assigned volunteers to escort families to receive their lithographs. This year we had a group of volunteers from Indiana who were assigned to escort the families to the table while explaining the print and what they would be receiving. Each year the profound impact that these personalized lithographs have on families is tremendous. A few years back one of the volunteers who meets with dozens of families attending Police Week months after the event told us that the families tell him that the various activities they participate in during their visit to Washington make Police Week a blur. The one takeaway they receive which they truly treasure is the framed lithograph from Wilbert. He told us that Wilbert has filled a void that COPS did not realize existed.

While presenting a lithograph to a family who received a burial vault or cremation product, we remind them of Wilbert's donation, and they are overcome with emotion as they recall the beautiful, personalized images on the vault cover. Our goal continues to be strengthening our relationship with the First Responder community, and our presence at Police Week reinforces the lasting memories that you all make for the family at the gravesite. Thank you for your continued support of the Commemorating First Responders program.


Thank You, David Becker, Welcome Edgar Espinoza

David Becker, WFSI’s engineer/draftsman is retiring after a successful 23-year career at Wilbert. David was hired in 1998 as a draftsman creating 2-dimensional and/or 3-dimensional drawings for every product we manufacture and component we purchase. In 2012, an engineering position opened, and David filled that role. He routinely tested new product submissions to ensure they met our quality standards, assisted Licensees with questions on cemetery loads and product performance, and was involved in new product development.  David has agreed to stay on until year-end and help in the transition of the position to our newest partner, Edgar Espinoza.


Edgar joined the Wilbert team on October 18th, and we are excited about the potential he brings to Wilbert.  In 2015, Edgar graduated from Marquette University with a master's degree in mechanical engineering.  For the past six years, Edgar has been involved in product design utilizing computer-aided design (CAD) software and finite element modeling (FEM) software. He also has experience as a process engineer responsible for improving workflows between departments.  When you have an opportunity to speak with Edgar, please welcome him to the Wilbert family.     



Commemorating First Responder Sergeant James Nicholas "Nick" Risner

Sergeant James Nicholas “Nick” Risner, age 40, of Florence, Alabama, passed away October 2, 2021 after succumbing to gunshot wounds. He was critically wounded during a shootout with an auto theft suspect in Muscle Shoals. Sergeant Risner served eight years in the Army National Guard and then became an officer with the Sheffield Police Department in 2012 and was currently a K-9 sergeant.

Sgt. Risner is survived by his parents, grandparents, wife, daughter, brothers, nieces and nephews who adored “Uncle Nick,” numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins, and his best friend and faithful partner “K-9 WISKE.”

More than 100 law enforcement vehicles from across North Alabama escorted the body of Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner in his return to the Shoals. Thousands of solemn residents lined the streets and highways, several people deep.  Sgt. Risner was the true definition of a hero and continues to be through organ donation with Legacy of Hope.

A private graveside service was held for family and fellow officers on Friday, October 8th, 2021.

Spry Williams Funeral Home in Florence, AL assisted the family with the arrangements.

Lawrenceburg Burial Vault Co. in Lawrenceburg, TN was honored to provide the family a Stainless Steel Triune® burial vault with a Treasured Tribute image, along with a graveside service.



Holiday Hours and Inventory Dates

With the holidays and year-end physical inventory fast approaching, we want you to be aware of the following schedule so that you can plan your orders and deliveries accordingly. Please be sure to have your liner load scheduled with the following dates in mind so you have the material necessary to meet your production needs.



Nov. 25th



Dec. 2nd



Dec. 9th

Until 10am



Dec. 10th
Until 10am




Dec. 24th

New Year's Day



Dec. 31st

Broadview Closed Open Closed Open at 10 Closed Closed
Charlotte Closed Closed Open Open Closed Closed


For Christmas and New Year’s weeks, we strongly suggest that you plan to have deliveries made by the previous Wednesday rather than the day before the Holiday to ensure receipt of products.

If you have any questions related to the schedule outlined above, please contact Eileen Murray, Inside Sales Manager, or Terry Whitlock, SVP Licensee Products & Services.


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