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rob treadway's picture

ICCFA Partners with CANA for 2014 Cremation Training


ICCFA Partners with CANA for 2014 Cremation Training
Both Cremation Arranger and Crematory Operations Certifications to be Offered

STERLING, VA (February 17, 2014)--The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) and the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) announced a new partnership to present cremation education at a variety of locations around the country. Together, ICCFA and CANA will offer two types of cremation training: the one-day ICCFA Cremation Arranger Certification Program and the one-day CANA Crematory Operations Certification Program™ (CANA COCP™). 

"Partnering with CANA allows members of both organizations to become well-rounded in the biggest emerging sector of our profession," said Poul Lemasters, Esq., ICCFA cremation programs coordinator. "This training is crucial to business growth and setting yourself apart from your competitors as a cremation specialist."

"Blending the art and the science of cremation, this combination of courses will certainly prove to be essential continuing education for the cremation industry," said Barbara Kemmis, Executive Director of CANA. "ICCFA's Cremation Arranger Certification Program will help deliver powerful information on the marketing, value and psychological dynamics of the cremation arrangement process. CANA's COCP is taught by industry experts with the technical, scientific, and legal knowledge to cover best policies, practices, and procedures that are essential to insuring the safety of employees and protecting business integrity."

The dates for the 2014 programs will be announced in the next month. More information and registration will be available on and

With the national cremation rate fast approaching 50 percent, personnel from every funeral home and crematory-owners, managers, funeral directors, and even support staff-can benefit from attending these valuable sessions.   


Founded in 1887, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) is the only international trade association representing all segments of the cemetery, cremation, funeral and memorialization industry. Its membership is composed of more than 7,500 rooftop locations and 15,000 professionals in the cemetery, funeral home and crematory industries, as well as memorial designers and related businesses worldwide. To learn more, please visit or connect with ICCFA on Facebook and Twitter.  

About CANA
The Cremation Association of North America's Crematory Operations Certification Program™ (COCP™) is the most comprehensive educational program in the industry, covering the best policies, practices, and procedures for dealing with the families who have chosen cremation as their method of memorialization and disposition. CANA has certified more than 2,000 professionals over the past five years.

Founded in 1913, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) is an International organization of over 1,300 members, composed of cremationists, funeral directors, funeral home operators and owners, cemeterians, industry suppliers and consultants. CANA members believe that cremation is preparation for memorialization. Website:

Todd Van Beck's picture

I met the future of our profession in Tennessee—and I liked what I saw


 It seems now, after many years of work, that I have spent most of my career writing, speaking, and teaching about most every aspect of funeral and cemetery service. I certainly did not intend that my life should take this course, but for a variety of good reasons this is precisely the route that my life experience took. At this time I am in daily funeral management work, which almost seems now to be coming full circle.

Today, however, I am inspired to write about an experience I had on February 5 with the John A. Gupton College and the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association in Nashville.

Bob Batson and Steve Spann invited me some months back to make a three-hour presentation to the association’s first ever mid-winter retreat. I immediately accepted. Being a Tennessee resident, I felt an obligation to be of service, and also I was hoping to meet some of my old funeral director buddies from the beautiful Volunteer State. Truth is, I have been one blessed funeral director simply because of all the great American funeral directors I have hobnobbed with over the last 40-plus years.

To say that I was impressed with the college and the association on that fateful day would be a terrible understatement. It seemed as if Gupton was just on top of the education game, and the spirit of the Tennessee Funeral Directors was contagious. Both the Gupton College and the licensed funeral directors of the TFDA were so welcoming and supportive that it made my job of holding the attention of the group very easy. So I say thank you to both organizations.

I have, however, saved the best for last.

In my travels, I hear veteran funeral directors grumbling about the state of the typical mortuary science student. Truth is, I suspect other veteran funeral directors (now long dead) were grumbling about TVB when I was 100 pounds lighter and had dark hair and no wrinkles. That is the way it is with all generations.

My readers, I am thinking, already know that I am no Pollyanna. I am not living in a rose-colored world concerning our beloved profession, so what I am about to share is not “pie in the sky” thinking.

Here is the best aspect of my trip: IT WAS THE STUDENTS.

I have operated several mortuary colleges in my career, and I was mighty discouraged at times by the lack of maturity, lack of appearance and lack of enthusiasm that I encountered on a regular basis with the “typical” student—if there are typical anythings these days.

However, at John A. Gupton’s, it was different, and the difference was palpable.

When I walked in, Mr. Spann, the highly competent president of John A. Gupton, told me that his students would be attending. Privately, in my soul, I was not excited.

Then about 8:30 a.m. the students from John A. Gupton began to arrive, and I was just so impressed. I had known for years that Ms. Bernadine Gupton had enforced a non-negotiable dress code, but I thought that this ancient standard had probably been abandoned years ago. I could not have been more wrong.

All of the students were dressed extremely professionally. Their hair was styled and groomed, there were no visible tattoos, no visible piercings, their shoes were polished, their clothing was pressed and neat and the students were polite—all of them.

I tried to introduce myself to as many of them as I could, and not one looked the other way with no eye contact. They all announced their names in an audible tone of voice, and most of them actually smiled—none of that “goth” appearance, with the constant expressionless face and blank stare. None of that, which was a great relief to me as the speaker, for it is a distraction when someone in the group looks like a prop from a Halloween party!

Then on top of all this great stuff, the students seemed interested and engaged, and they even asked questions, which made this old grumpy undertaker feel 30 years younger. It inspired me, and hence I gave them 1, 000 percent of my feeble efforts at public speaking.

I told some of my corny stories and jokes, and the students smiled and laughed. It was a great experience. Here in one room were veterans and novices all sharing their mutual love of our great profession. It was a good day!

I believe that no matter what, this is true: The future of our great and beloved profession rests on every breath that the students in the mortuary colleges in the world are taking right now. I know that I have a lot more years behind me than I have in front of me, so TVB is the past in funeral service.

I was looking at the future during my entire visit to TFDA headquarters and John A. Gupton College, and, my friends, after what I saw and, more importantly, experienced, I now believe that funeral service is in good hands, no matter what the grumblers say.

TFDA and John A. Gupton College, well, my friends, I take my hat off to both your leaders and your organizations. The dynamics been carved out in Nashville involve a synergy that is mighty attractive to the enhancement of our great profession.

Anyway, that’s one old undertaker’s opinion. TVB

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