Industry News

Funeral Directors Gather at Annual OGR Conference

AUSTIN, TEXAS – The International Order of the Golden Rule, the world’s leading professional association dedicated to making independent funeral homes exceptional, held its 2013 Annual Conference and Supplier Showcase on April 25-28 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn, according to a news release. The home of the blues and birthplace of rock ‘n roll served as the exciting backdrop for more than 150 OGR members and suppliers to come together for education, networking and social events.

Attendees picked up information and tips relating to their profession throughout the conference and had some fun too. The conference opened with an introduction to Memphis music and history by the talented guitarist Memphis Jones. Interior designer Martha O’Hara gave funeral professionals helpful tips on how to make families more comfortable by updating their funeral home facilities’ décor and furnishings. Consultant Scott Newton discussed proper telephone etiquette and advised funeral directors how to present a full range of options to price sensitive families while Larry Oxenham shared how funeral professionals can reduce liabilities that can result in higher costs for families. Technology experts Jason Truesdell and Matt Dugas offered innovative technologies that enable families to participate in memorialization in more ways than ever, and funeral directors George and Gregory Darte shared how participating in study groups can lead to better service and connection with families. The educational sessions ended with an experts’ panel comprised of David Nixon, Michael Quinn, and Mike Nicodemus who explored how funeral professionals can accommodate a new generation of funeral service trends. Throughout the conference, attendees also participated in breakout sessions as well as idea exchanges where they brainstormed with colleagues about ways to increase the benefits of memorialization.

The conference concluded with a rooftop cocktail reception and the Annual Banquet which showcased a photo booth and the 1-900 Band. New board members Charles Castiglia of Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home, Hamburg, N. Y., and Adam Martin of Miles T. Martin Funeral Home, Mt. Morris, Mich., were installed during the Annual Banquet. David Fry of Fry Funeral Home, Tipton, Iowa, was sworn in as president; Wayne “Bud” Wieting of Wieting Family Funeral Home, Chilton, Wis., was installed as president-elect; and William “Bill” Brock of Vander Plaat Funeral Home, Wyckoff, N. J. was installed as secretary/treasurer.

OGR’s highest award, the Golden Light Award, was presented to Jeffrey Wages of Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, Lawrenceville, Ga. A past president of OGR, Wages was recognized for his lifetime contributions to the association, his profession and his community.

Newly elected OGR President David Fry noted, “There is no other group of funeral professionals that is as dedicated to providing families who have lost a loved one with the most meaningful tribute possible and the resources to help them cope with that loss. I’m very proud to be associated with an organization of such compassionate individuals.”

Posted May 3, 2013


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