funeral directors

Gut and Gumption – Young Professionals Have It All

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This article originally appeared in the winter issue of the Independent magazine.

Since 2016, OGR’s Young Professionals group has been meeting every spring for its annual event, but last fall they came together for the first time for a study group. OGR study groups consist of five to ten people who gather in a participant’s funeral home for “ongoing study of successful business practices.” Study group participants usually tour the host funeral home and provide constructive feedback on what they see. They also spend a day and a half exchanging ideas and working through challenges they’re facing.

OGR firm Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home hosted the first young professional study group this past September. Seven OGR firms sent staff members to attend, so we sat down with a few to hear more about their experience.

2018 YP study group at Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home in Hamburg, NY
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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Kindness: Member Spotlight

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Periodically, we’ll highlight one of OGR’s Golden Rule Funeral Homes and the amazing work they’re doing in their communities. This week’s spotlight is on John L. Ziegenhein & Sons (JLZ) in St. Louis, MO. The original article was featured in 2018 Fall edition of OGR’s magazine The Independent

John L. Ziegenhein & Sons, St. Louis, MO

John L. Ziegenhein, Sr., and his four brothers opened a new funeral home in South St. Louis in 1900— Ziegenhein Brothers Undertaking. In 1931, when John wanted to bring his wife and sons into the business, he started his own funeral home, John L. Ziegenhein & Sons (JLZ), at its present location in St. Louis City, MO. In 1995 a second location was opened in St. Louis County about 12 miles south of the original. After the passing of the last member of the Ziegenhein family, ownership was transferred to longtime employees. Roger Richie took ownership in 2006.

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How to Effectively Investigate Harassment Claims: 7 Key Steps

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Blog ImagesThis is part 2 of an article, which originally appeared in the Summer 2018 edition of OGR’s Independent magazine. Read Part 1 here.

It is important to realize upfront that investigating sexual harassment complaints is not easy. It tends to be an embarrassing situation for all parties involved or questioned. Not only are the employees involved in the investigation going to be uneasy, but the individual responsible for undertaking the investigation may be sensitive to how the outcome of the investigation may impact their relationship with employees or management. To facilitate this difficult process, funeral home owners/managers can follow several key steps:  Read the rest of this entry »

How to Effectively Investigate Harassment Claims: Policy and Procedure

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8.8.18 Harassment Policy Featured Image

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 edition of OGR’s Independent magazine.

Sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be a trending topic in the United States. While many would like to believe that harassment is not taking place in the funeral industry, in fact, this industry has not escaped these incidents. Various lawsuits have been filed against family-owned and international funeral businesses.

Many funeral businesses understand the need to have anti-harassment policies as well as formal procedures in place for employees to report any harassment. Most anticipate they are never likely to receive such a report. (For more on preventing workplace harassment, read part 1 and part 2 from our blog on this very topic.) However, the reality is that any funeral business may receive a complaint from an employee about experiencing sexual harassment while working.

Frequently, such complaints catch owners and managers completely off guard, and they stumble when they attempt to deal with the situation. This may put them at greater risk for a costly lawsuit. So how does a funeral home owner or manager handle a complaint of sexual harassment? Read the rest of this entry »

Funeral Directors Aren’t So Scary

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6.20.18 Funeral Directors Aren't Scary Blog - M. AllenThis post was first shared on Have the Talk of a Lifetime’s blog on May 4.

When I was in elementary school, I discovered that one of my classmates was the child of a funeral home owner. I pitied this attractive, popular girl for having a parent that my 8-year old brain imagined to be a beady-eyed, sallow-skinned man who lurked around a cobwebbed funeral home on dark and stormy nights. One day she invited me to a birthday party at her home. I accepted despite dreading the thought of meeting her creepy father. To my surprise, on the day of her party, a man resembling Will Ferrell, not Bela Lugosi, greeted me at the door. He was funny, charming and warm. This was a funeral director? I couldn’t believe that all those Hollywood movies got it so wrong. 
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Attitudes About Funeral Service: The Public vs. Funeral Directors, Part III–Cost of Funerals

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May, 2018 Posts - FD Vs. Public, Part 3

Most people don’t like paying for things they don’t want to buy. And most people don’t want to even think about their funerals let alone pay for one. That puzzles funeral directors. They know the great lengths they go to when putting details together for smooth-running ceremonies. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average funeral cost $7,360 in 2016. Compare that to an average price of $25,449 for a new car, $35,329 for a wedding and $352,500 for a new home, and funerals start looking like bargain. But not to John Q. Public as demonstrated in the following exchange:

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Attitudes About Funeral Service: The Public vs. Funeral Directors, Part II–Cremation

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May, 2018 Posts - FD Vs. Public, Part 2The percentage of Americans who were cremated reached an all-time high of 50 percent in 2016. Cremation opened the doors for people to hold funeral ceremonies in places that were meaningful to them and gave them more time to consider options. There’s just one problem, and it drives funeral directors crazy: the guest of honor is often conspicuously absent from his or her own funeral. With no body present, people have to imagine to whom they’re paying tribute.

A conversation between a member of the public and funeral director about cremation might go something like this:  Read the rest of this entry »