125th Anniversary

ICCFA Celebrates 125 Years of Uniting Our Industry

The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association marked 125 years of service during its 2012 Convention & Exposition, March 19-22, 2012, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The first annual convention of the Association of American Cemetery Superintendents convened on October 19, 1887, at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio, with representatives from 21 cemeteries. The organization has since undergone one merger (with the National Association of Cemeteries in 1981) and four name changes to reflect its current position as an international organization representing every aspect of the cemetery, cremation and funeral service profession. 

Among the educational questions discussed during the inaugural convention were: "Are cobblestone gutters essential to cemetery roads, and if so, what is the best method of keeping them clean?" and "What is the best method of producing a good sward [an old English term for 'grassy area']?"

At the 2012 Convention & Exposition, topics included how to market via the Internet and smartphones, how to digitize the arrangement presentation and how one funeral home has incorporated alkaline hydrolysis into its disposition offerings.

"We had a great time celebrating the storied history of the ICCFA and to continuing to demonstrate why we are the association that will take this profession into the next 125 years," said ICCFA President Kenneth E. Varner, CCFE. "In many ways, this association is the same as it ever was, dedicated to providing answers to members’ practical questions on how to better serve their communities. It is the questions that have changed, and the ICCFA continues to be the best source for education, innovation and inspiration for every area of our profession—cemetery, funeral service and cremation."

The 2012 ICCFA Convention & Exposition included more than 50 educational sessions and more than 450 supplier booths, as well as numerous receptions and networking events. A wealth of memorabilia from ICCFA's archives was displayed at the entrance to the expo hall and general session area (as seen in the photo to the right). Some of the documents that were on display are available below.


  • A feature article from the December 1999 issue of International Cemetery & Funeral Management spotlighting "100 Years of Change."
  • Reproduction of the Proceedings of the First Annual Convention of the Association of American Cemetery Superintendents in 1887.
  • The front page of The Association of American Cemetery Superintendents Bulletin in August 1942. In this edition it was announced that at the request of President Roosevelt, the Annual Convention would be turned into a “Business Conference” to discuss how the organization could play its part in the war effort.
  • The Articles of Association for the National Memorial Parks Association, June 1929.
  • The monument built in Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum in Cincinnati, OH, to commemorate the American Cemetery Association’s 100th anniversary in 1987. Cincinnati played host to the association’s first annual meeting in 1887.
  • A document showing the association’s name change from the American Cemetery Owners Association to the National Cemetery Association, July 31, 1975.
  • A certificate allowing the National Cemetery Association to conduct business in the Commonwealth of Virginia, December 13, 1981, where ICCFA's headquarters are located.
  • A two-page spread about the merger of the National Association of Cemeteries and the American Cemetery Association in Cemetery Management, September 1980.
  • A look back at the various logos used by the association in the September 1996 issue of International Cemetery & Funeral Management Magazine.
  • A look at one of the old sales presentation sheets (circa 1960) called "The Right Way," which encourages pre-need arrangements.



100yearsofchange.pdf2.15 MB
1942.pdf281.36 KB
1980merger.pdf256.37 KB
firstproceedings.pdf594.96 KB
logos.pdf210.89 KB
NCA-VA.pdf80.89 KB
NMPAincorporation.pdf417.25 KB
springhill100memorial.pdf691.7 KB
therightway.pdf108.43 KB