2009 KIP Award Winners

This year’s contest drew 27 entries from across the United States and abroad. Communications and marketing professionals from outside the cemetery and funeral service profession performed the judging.

The ICCFA congratulates the winners and all who entered the 2009 KIP Awards. The winners are as follows:

First Place & Grand Prize Winner
Miller-Jones Mortuary & Crematory
Sun City, California
When Betty Billings, beloved wife and mother and admirer of the work of painter Thomas Kinkade, passed away suddenly, her family turned to Miller-Jones Mortuary & Crematory to arrange a meaningful celebration of her life. They said that they will “always remember her in her favorite La-Z-Boy chair adorned with Kinkade art, with her Kinkade blanket, Kinkade painting and personal bedside poem.” Miller-Jones arranged for all of these things to be transported to the mortuary and included in the viewing presentation, with Billings lain out in her favorite chair instead of a casket, with her blanket and other favorite artwork near her. The family was comforted by the innovative idea and appreciated the opportunity to create a final family photo in this setting.

Honorable Mention
Reichmuth Funeral Homes
Elkhorn, Nebraska

Jack Rittenhouse was 38-year-old man whose heritage was deeply rooted in rural life, farming and volunteer firefighting. To memorialize him, Reichmuth Funeral Homes incorporated ears of corn, fire department emblems and miniature farm implements into the bouquets and decorations. Reichmuth also coordinated with various fire departments from around the state, and 23 fire apparatus vehicles led the procession from the funeral home to the cemetery. Rittenhouse’s local fire department formed a corridor for the walk to the grave, and more than 100 guest firemen formed an honor guard near the grave. The Nebraska Fire Fighters Response Team provided a burial flag, which was folded by six members of the Waterloo Fire Department; two bagpipers played “Amazing Grace;” and the local 911 center issued a “last call” over the entire system commemorating his death.


First Place
Eternal Hills Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home
Klamath Falls, Oregon

In an effort to personalize services for every family they serve, Eternal Hills created an extensive interview guide to find out the life history, special events and important details that lead to a more personalized service. A service arranger along with an arrangement counselor plan and coordinate all personalization and order of service with the celebrant after he/she meets with the family. Eternal Hills uses an extensive interview that focuses on six areas of life: family, work/profession, community involvement/clubs, hobbies, church/religion, and vacations/special activities. After this information is gathered, a meeting is arranged with the clergy or celebrant to parlay the specific details. The service director is the master of ceremony introducing all participants, the order of service, and the wow factor—the special personalization planned for each service. In addition, Eternal Hills requires each service arranger to be a certified celebrant.

Honorable Mention
Kranz Funeral Home
Cass City, Michigan

Kranz Funeral Home provides a personalized blanket with the deceased’s name and dates and a custom-embroidered design specially chosen for each person. Kranz hires an embroiderer who goes online to the funeral home’s Web site and reads the obituary to decide on the design. Each one is displayed on a quilt rack during visitation. Families tell them time and again that the design is right on target in capturing the spirit of the deceased.


First Place
Speaks Family Legacy Chapels
Independence, Missouri

Speaks Family Legacy Chapels hosted its Fourth Annual “Lest They Be Forgotten” Veterans Program at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. The program featured the premiere of “Vietnam—Remembered” by documentary filmmaker Larry Cappetto; a recounting of the heroic actions of two Vietnam War Congressional Medal of Honor recipients; a firsthand account of the war and homecoming of the founder of the Heart of America Stand Down Foundation; and a Huey helicopter that was shot down four times during the war. Speaks Chapels also sponsored a movie presentation on public television, a one-hour discussion on public radio, and presenting the Cappetto movie at nursing home veterans programs.

Honorable Mention
Fu Shou Yuan Cemetery
Shanghai, China

The Shanghai Cancer Rehabilitation Club holds an annual Commemoration Day in their “Forest of Hope and Love” that they built in 2005 in the Fu Shou Yuan Cemetery. The April 16, 2009, event attracted more than 900 members to remember those who have passed away. There was also a “Baptism of Life” celebration for 50 club members to remember their five years of “rebirth” since their cancer went into remission.

Honorable Mention
Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services
White Plains, New York

Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services held a special seminar with speaker, therapist, life coach and author Ron Villano titled “Embrace the Power of Change.” The event was free and open to the public. The funeral home garnered attention via social networking and through an article in the local newspaper about the upcoming event. MKJ Marketing created a newspaper ad, community poster and Web site banner ad. About 130 people attended and learned how to work through change and cope with the loss of a loved one.


First Place
Heartsong Memory Beads
San Diego, California

Heartsong Memory Beads creates custom jewelry with cremated remains infused in glass beads. Customers say they find comfort in feeling that their loved one is always with them.

Honorable Mention
Shine on Brightly
Asheville, North Carolina

Founded in 2008, Shine on Brightly is a group of 25 affiliated artists who create personalized memorial art for humans and pets in such mediums as memorial urns, jewelry, paintings, handmade books, glass objects, poetry, pottery, textiles and more.

Honorable Mention
Hainsworth USA
Glenwood, Maryland

Hainsworth USA’s line of The Natural Legacy caskets and presenters are made in the United States from British wool. They may be used for traditional vaulted burials, cremations and green burials, and are acceptable for Christian, Jewish Orthodox and Muslim burials. The caskets and presenters are available in natural or brown wool and there are options on the embroidered plates for personalization such as decorations, designs or religious symbols.


Grand prize winner Miller-Jones Mortuary & Crematory receives a free registration to the ICCFA 2010 Annual Convention & Exposition, March 10-13, at the San Antonio Convention Center & The Grand Hyatt San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas.

All first place and honorable mention winners will be recognized at the Convention, in ICCFA Magazine and are being provided promotional news releases to submit to their local media.