Industry News

Iowa Funeral Directors Association Fills Hilton Coliseum With Exhibits at Annual Convention

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – The 2013 Annual IFDA Convention in May drew the attention of exhibitors nationwide this year at the Iowa State Center and Gateway Hotel in Ames, Iowa. Attendees gain a continuing education hour for attending the exhibit hall to view all the new and valuable products and services the exhibitors offer. Attendees had a chance to obtain up to 15 hours of high quality preapproved continuing education hours.

This year’s Annual IFDA Convention featured highly regarded local and national funeral service speakers who presented current information on bereavement education, business and management practices, regulatory updates, technical skills and training and additional topics related to the funeral service profession. The Annual IFDA Convention provides funeral directors with a forum to receive and exchange information so they may return home with new ideas that will allow them to better serve the families in their communities.

The opening ceremonies featured Governor Branstad’s Iowa Funeral Directors Week proclamation. Keynote Speaker Nate Stewart, Vice President of Hy-Vee Marketing & Advertising, followed with his inspiring and informative “Building Customer Loyalty in Iowa Communities” program.

Following the keynote presentation, a panel of experts on stillbirths and SIDS educated attendees on the ways funeral directors can help those grieving the loss of infants. The annual IFDA Business Meeting was the last morning session at Scheman before the Wilbert Luncheon, which was during the Exhibit Hall Grand Opening in Hilton Coliseum.

The Exhibit Hall opened with a welcoming luncheon followed by an afternoon of cocktails and networking. Nearly 60 exhibitors presented everything new and improved in funeral service while funeral directors researched the exhibitors and navigated the hall with the Guidebook app on their smartphones.

There was also a Celebration of Life honoring IFDA members and their family who passed away within the last year. Representatives of the deceased were presented with a memorial candle and ornament and enjoyed a sermon and slideshow. Following that was the Presidential Banquet and Awards Ceremony, which highlighted the “IFDA: Your Beacon for Success” theme and honored the achievements of IFDA members throughout 2012. Those honored included scholarship recipients, 40-, 50-, and 60-year licensees, and Award of Excellence recipients. New officers and governors for the 2012-2013 term were inducted as well.

Below is an updated list of the IFDA Officers and District Governors after the inductions at the Presidential Banquet:


President: Michael P. Jones / Pauley Jones Funeral Home / Harlan

President-Elect: Jayme E. Lentz / Lentz Funeral Homes / Algona

Secretary-Treasurer: Martin A. Rieken / Rieken Vieth Funeral Home / Oakland

Policy Board Representative: Lynn E. Ochiltree / Ochiltree Funeral Service & Aftercare / Winterset

Immediate Past President: Douglas D. Carlsen / Carlsen Funeral Home / LeMars


District 1 Patrick A. Leonard / Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory / Dubuque

District 2 David M. Fry / Fry Funeral Home / Tipton

District 3 Dirk R. De Jong / De Jong’s Funeral Home, Inc. / Keokuk

District 4 Vacant

District 5 Paul A. Fouts / Fouts Funeral Home / Woodbine

District 6 Justin P. Hillman / Van Dyk-Duven Funeral Home / Pella

District 7 Chad Schuchert / Schuchert Funeral Home / Spirit Lake

District 8 James M. Fullerton / Fullerton Funeral Home / Mason City

The second day included continuing education seminars and the final day of exhibits. The seminars moved to Gateway for the evening to conclude a day full of educational opportunities, and the highly anticipated “The New Normal Case: Embalming 2013” seminar from Jeffrey Chancellor, CFSP brought the 2013 IFDA Convention to a close.


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