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I had a marvelous trip last week. After an absence of about a decade I was cordially invited to give a seminar to the Indiana Funeral Directors Association annual convention in Indianapolis.
Over the past three decades I have enjoyed cordial and fruitful relationships with basically all the state associations. Oh, yes, here and there I encountered people who didn’t like me and I didn’t like them – but hell, that is just part of life. Overall, in general the state associations are wonderful, and what make them wonderful are the people who make up the organizations. I have always enjoyed the Indiana group – just a group of mighty fine people, and highly dedicated to their beloved profession.
Of course their somewhat “new” executive director, Curt Rostad, has been a longtime buddy of mine. We traversed the Loewen days together, and actually I believe we both emerged with our mental health still in place – although I think Curt has done better in that department than I.
The seminar was devoted to basically the good news about funeral service, and no matter what the bothersome and annoying and irritating anti-funeral people say, there is good news about our profession – say like the Gallup poll once again ranked funeral directors in the top ten most ethical professions in the United States. Anyway the anti-funeral people really just repeat the same old stuff year after year, but the funeral as an experience and the funeral director as a professional person are really beyond their grasp. They just don’t get it, and can’t have it.
Indianapolis is a great city. Great funeral homes and great people. I had lunch at the old trusty Columbia Club with another old buddy, David Ring – who has to be one of the most intelligent people I have ever crossed paths with. I always learn something in conversation with David, and we also have something else in common we attended the same college in Boston in another life.
Indianapolis however always ranks high in my funeral estimation simply because it is home ground for the world famous Crown Hill Cemetery. Basically, and there are exceptions, but basically anybody who is or was anybody is or was buried in Crown Hill.
A president of the United States, four or five vice presidents, a bunch of congressmen, senators, and not just a few mayors of Indianapolis are resting within the gates of this marvelous testimony to the idea of reverence for the dead. Even notorious John Dillinger calls Crown Hill his final resting place, but from all accounts I get the picture that Mr. Dillinger has not rested that much in peace.
What impressed me most, and inspired me the greatest on this trip, was the spirit and panache that I saw in the eyes of the funeral professionals who attended this seminar. I basically told the same old stories, and in the end really probably did not do that well, but the people made me feel great, the good people of Indiana, the great funeral directors of Indiana, made this old burned out undertaker feel good.
Thank you to the Hoosier State. I was proud to participate. Thank you.
Anyway that’s one old undertaker’s opinion. TVB