eNews October 2022


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!


The New Cremation Choices Catalog Vol. 10 is Now Available!

Exciting news – the new Vol 10 version of the Cremation Choices Catalog is now available to order. You can orderPicture1 through Inside Sales or WilbertDirect.

The digital flipbook version is also available by logging onto Wilbert.com > Marketing> Print > Brochures & Catalogs > Scroll down to Cremation Choices Catalog Vol 10.
As mentioned in previous communications, we are proud to introduce 80 new urns and mementos to the existing line of over 300 cremation products. Our goal is to give our licensee network and the funeral home customers you serve the best quality, diversity of choice, and value anywhere in the funeral industry.
Some of the new products include hand-turned artisan wood urns, handcrafted the old school way to the highest standards, exposing the beauty of the wood. These are the Craftsman Ambrosia Maple, Heritage American Cherry, and Classic Black Walnut.

Another product line Wilbert is proud to offer is a new exclusive glass line named Infinity Collection by famed glass designer Karine Bouchard. There are four new colors – Purple, Turquoise, Sky Blue, and Forest Green in Urn, Memento, and Paperweight styles.



Additional products include affordable high quality, high eye appeal metal urns in brass and enamel, which include the new Purity line, Memory Tree, Statesman, and Floral Essence to name a few. Also, there is a beautiful new inlaid Mother of Pearl – the Hummingbird, along with hand painted aluminum Lakeside and Fisherman scenes.



Lastly, beautiful intricate colors and patterns of marble and onyx round out the new urn line with the Carpel Onyx Pink, Purple Embrace, and Embrace Light Onyx.




The Piped Piper of Castro - Hal Wilkes, Christy Vault

As many mourned the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, our friend Hal Wilkes of Christy Vault honored her with bagpipes from the roof of his home in San Francisco’s Castro District. Hal was featured in a story that aired on SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO). Many of you may remember that Hal played on his rooftop in San Francisco for more than 100 days straight during the pandemic and became a beloved fixture in his neighborhood during the height of the crisis. People would wait nightly for the sound of Hal’s bagpipes, and many would applaud after each session had ended. Hal, who loves to travel to England, has his home decorated like the interior of an English country home and felt that by playing the bagpipes, he would be honoring her. Many did not know that the Queen awoke each day to the sound of bagpipes when she was at her beloved Balmoral Castle. The link to the story is here: Queen Elizabeth II


Baxter Burial Vault Receives Award

Congratulations go out to Baxter Burial Vault in Cincinnati as they were recently awarded one of the 2022 Family and Private Business Awards from the University of Cincinnati’s Goering Center. As “essential workers” during the pandemic, Baxter Burial Vault created their own “Great Reliance!” The team at Baxter continued to work through the pandemic by relying on each other because their customers relied on them. The leadership team, Holly, Darren, and Trevor, worked alongside other employees to provide product and support to the customers and the families they were serving every day. The link below is from the University of Cincinnati and a similar article recognizing their award appeared in the Cincinnati Business Courier. Congratulations Baxter Burial Vault on a well-deserved award.

In difficult times, Baxter Burial Vault embodies the Great Reliance | University of Cincinnati (uc.edu)


Funeral Protocol Training for Police Officers

Dan “Axel” Foley recently completed another training class on funeral protocol for police officers. He began hosting this school in 2006 in Wyandotte, Michigan, and continued until his retirement from the department in 2011. From 2011 thru this year, the school has been transferred to the state memorial team (Sheriff's and Municipal Memorial Assistance Response Team: SMMART) and is now held in Alpena, Michigan. Dan says that “we have been beyond blessed with an overwhelming interest from first responders to attend this training each year.” The class is limited to 60 students, but frequently gets over booked, and this year was no exception with 62 students participating. If there is a need, Dan and the team have access to 25 agencies and 55 additional student spaces on standby (enough to run a second complete class). The class is open to all first responders (first come first served) and if an agency from another state would like to attend, they are more than welcome.

In setting up the classroom for his annual training, he features a display table for the attendees to see. This table, which he named the “Table of Knowledge,” showcases the miniature First Responder SST burial vault with a Treasured Tribute custom carapace, and features Dan and his K9. As the students enter the classroom, they see on display a mini–SST Triune with a custom carapace, along with information and an explanation of the First Responders program. In addition, he displays product information, specification sheets, information on the burial process, examples of vaults, and other Wilbert facts. He incorporates several Wilbert DVD’s highlighting the manufacturing process of a burial vault. Many attendees are unfamiliar with the reasons for having a burial vault, the difference between a burial vault and an outer burial container, and the wonderful First Responder program.

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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 18,000+ attendees since we began in November, 2020. We continued to have informative industry experts in September and look forward to more successful webinars in 2022.  


WilbertEDU® Upcoming Sessions


Join us on October 13 when Jennifer Werthman, Director of Education for the Cremation Association of North America, will present on our WilbertEDU webinar platform. Jennifer, a former high school science teacher, began working for the American Foundry Society in 2005 after receiving her master’s degree in Education. She was responsible for the administration and operations of the AFS Institute’s programs and facilities, and initiated a complete redesign of Institute programming, including both classroom and online courses. A Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP), Jennifer brings to CANA a wealth of experience in best practices for workplace learning and, as the Director of Education, she helps to develop curriculum that expands one’s knowledge of best funeral practices, especially as it relates to cremation.

In this session, Jennifer will talk about the latest CANA research. This research on Cremation Memorialization Trends and Insights will help to answer questions such as: How many households have cremated remains in them? What are their plans for permanent placement? What are the barriers to making decisions? Jennifer will provide the attendees with additional insights into cremation consumer behavior and decision-making. Join this webinar to hear the results of this ground-breaking research and participate in a spirited question and answer session.

On October 27, the team at Rosenacker and Associates in Cincinnati, Ohio will enlighten attendees on Estate and Succession Planning. The team is made up of Frank Rosenacker, who grew up in a funeral home. His funeral service career spans almost 60 years. Frank is a funeral director, embalmer, attorney, and served 4 ½ years as an Air Force JAG Officer and in the Ohio National Guard. His company (R&A) is a consulting business and law practice, both of which are dedicated to the death care profession, specializing in legal, accounting, tax, management, and succession planning. Sue Gilkey is a licensed attorney who returned to law school after a career as a social worker within the court system. She is a partner at Frank B. Rosenacker Co., LPA, and concentrates her practice in funeral services, succession and estate planning, business organization, transactions, and probate. Ann Rosenacker is the President and COO of R&A and is dedicated to the death care profession, having worked with the company for over 25 years. She attended the University of Cincinnati and is an Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Ann holds a preneed insurance license and previously worked part-time in preneed sales until later devoting 100% (and then some) of her time to R&A.

This webinar, Estate and Succession Planning, will have you asking yourself these important questions: When should a funeral homeowner start thinking about his/her succession plan? Who is the successor? Will the successor be a relative, employee, competitor, or corporation? Bring your questions to this informative webinar and hear Frank, Sue, and Ann share important basic estate planning tools and how to transfer a business.


WilbertEDU® Recapping the September Sessions

The Wolf’s Curse: Grief in Children’s Literature

Wilbert kicked off September with a most unique WilbertEDU webinar. On September 1, Columbia MBA-wielding writer, Jessica Vitalis, who’s passion is to specialize in middle-grade literature, instructed all webinar attendees how to incorporate wonderful children’s literature into the grief process and helping kids to deal with their emotions during a difficult time. Jessica records fascinating book talks for Magic in the Middle and has written a book entitled The Wolf’s Curse, which was published in 2021. A companion novel, The Rabbit's Gift, will make its debut in October. In this WilbertEDU session, Jessica discussed grief in children’s literature and how she came to write The Wolf’s Curse, chronicling the journey of a 12-year-old apprentice named Gauge. Many funeral directors and industry professionals commented how appropriate the books would be in their own businesses.

The State of Pre-Need

On September 15, popular WilbertEDU speaker Don Ferfolia helped us all understand the vast complexities of funeral pre-need. Everyone sells pre-need today and each state has its own laws, rules, and regulations. With Don’s help, the webinar let participants consider various scenarios involving pre-need law and how to deal with these scenarios within their framework. He discussed scenarios, along with some consideration of the issues and offer potential answers. It was a highly informative hour for those in attendance.


Important News Regarding the NFDA Convention in Baltimore, MD. October 9-13

For NFDA’s Convention, we are providing a link that will let you know what is happening every day of the convention which includes workshops and events that will be happening throughout the convention. Please visit NFDA International Convention & Expo to learn about all thing’s convention. If you are interested in attending the festivities in Baltimore, please email Kathleen Berry (kberry@wilbert.com) to add your name to the list. The charge for a badge this year is $70.00.

Hotel rooms may still be available in the Baltimore Inner Harbor area, but the Wilbert Group room block is sold out.


Catholic Cemetery Conference - Palm Springs, CA


Craig Neal and Mike Forbes represented The Wilbert Group at the Catholic Cemetery Conference in Palm Springs. The conference was held in a beautiful setting with a collection of outstanding speakers.  Booth traffic was like previous post-Covid conventions with happy people ready to get back to normal and discussing the necessity of building inventory in their cemeteries.  With over 110 Cemeterians in attendance, Mike and Craig enjoyed the opportunities given to discuss columbarium and memorial projects and mausoleum protection.  


Commemorating First Responder Firefighter Malcolm Willis


MalcolmHouston Fire Department Firefighter/EMT Malcolm Willis suffered a fatal heart attack on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, resulting in a line of duty death. He was 24 years old.

Malcolm joined the Houston Fire Department on November 16, 2020, where he loved serving and working as a firefighter. Malcolm worked tirelessly at many stations throughout the Houston area. He loved his second family (HFD) and his 48D brothers. He served faithfully.

Wilbert Vaults of Houston, Houston, TX 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 Sergeant Robert Swartz


RobertBobby Swartz was shot and killed at about 1:15 pm on Monday, August 22, 2022, as he and another deputy served eviction paperwork at a home.

During the eviction, a male subject opened fire, wounding one of the deputies. The second deputy returned fire and attempted to pull the wounded deputy to safety when he was also shot. The male subject fled in a pickup truck and was pursued by officers from the Oklahoma City Police Department.   The subject shot at pursuing officers with a semi-automatic rifle during the pursuit. The subject drove to the main gate of Tinker Air Force Base where he was taken into custody.

Sergeant Swartz was a U.S Army veteran and had served with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office for almost 25 years. He was 58 years old.

Wilbert Funeral Services, Oklahoma City, 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 Deputy Sheriff Jonathan Koleski


JonathanDeputy Sheriff Jonathan Koleski was shot and killed on Thursday, September 8, 2022, while serving a felony theft warrant.

Deputy Sheriff Koleski and another deputy were taking the subject into custody when another subject inside the home confronted them with a firearm. Both deputies gave commands for the man to drop the firearm before an exchange of shots. Deputy Sheriff Koleski suffered fatal wounds. The wanted subject and the shooter both barricaded themselves in the home but were both taken into custody later in the night.

Piedmont Precast, Atlanta, GA, 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 Chief William Halstead, Sr.


WilliamWilliam Halstead, Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Chief and Newtown's Director of Emergency Management, died Friday, July 8, 2022, at his home after responding to a motor vehicle accident and an automatic alarm.

Despite the efforts of EMS responders, Chief Halstead passed away from an apparent heart attack. He was 73 years old.

During his tenure, Halstead led the department's response at the 2012 elementary school shooting in which 20 children and six adults were killed.

Wilbert Funeral Services, 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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