1 MFDA Journal Summer 2013 Issue 2 Mississippi Funeral Directors Association The Caring Professionals MFDA Board of Directors President Beth Rosson Waller Funeral Home Oxford, MS President-Elect Ladd Pulliam Jones and Son Funeral Home Richton, MS First Vice President Greg Pegues W.E. Pegues Funeral Directors Tupelo, MS Second Vice President Kippy Lang Bradford-O Keefe Funeral Homes Gulfport, MS Secretary-Treasurer Sandra Chancellor Chancellor Funeral Home Byram, MS Past President Bill Chancellor Chancellor Funeral Home Florence, MS Northern District Governors Sammy Reed Lee Memorial Funeral Home Verona, MS Kenneth Williams Cleveland Funeral Home Cleveland, MS Central District Governors John Wise Boone Funeral Home Greenville, MS Ellis Wright, II Wright & Ferguson Funeral Home Louisville, MS Southern District Governors Joe Hutchins Saulters-Moore Funeral Homes, Inc. Prentiss, MS Jeff Riemann Riemann Funeral Home Gulfport, MS NFDA Policy Board Representative A. Wendell Stringer Stringer Family Funeral Services Crystal Springs, MS A Message from the MFDA President By Beth Rosson Hi Everyone, I m Beth Rosson, newly installed president of MFDA. Along with my family, I work at Waller Funeral Home in Oxford. Our funeral home was established in 1977 by my father, Don Waller, and my late mother, Patsy Waller. Today, my husband, Bob, and I are joined at the funeral home by our children, Brett Rosson and Sally Kate Walker. In early June we attended the annual Mississippi Funeral Directors Association Convention at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Ridgeland, MS. Funeral directors and funeral service suppliers from all over the state enjoyed three days of education and fellowship. The Mississippi Sales Club filled the exhibit hall and overflowed into the hallway with the latest in funeral merchandise and the newest and most innovative ideas in funeral service. Among the many activities and programs available Tara E. Mauk Arthur, PHR with Superior Funeral and Life Insurance Company gave an interesting and timely program on the many ways social media is affecting the funeral industry. During our membership luncheon we were inspired and entertained by political and social cartoonist Marshall Ramsey. The ladies enjoyed a lovely luncheon at Anjou Restaurant and a really fun afternoon painting at Easely Amused. All of the lectures, receptions, meals, and the hospitality suite were sponsored by our amazing Sales Club who came through in a big way to ensure the success of the convention. Plans are already underway for the 2014 convention to be held on the Gulf Coast. so watch for upcoming details. This is an exciting time to be a member of MFDA. Our association continues to grow in membership with a wide range of ages and new leaders emerging. Things are changing at a rapid pace in our industry and what a blessing it is to be a member of MFDA and take advantage of the services offered by our association. Just being able to talk with other funeral directors at convention, winter seminar and district meetings is educational on its own. As a member for over 25 years, I find myself in awe of the enthusiasm and energy within the association. This month it was my honor to represent Mississippi at the National Funeral Directors Association Leadership Seminar held in Park City, Utah. It is wonderful to learning from our peers across the nation and hope to bring back even more new and interesting ways to improve the services we provide. The MFDA board recently voted to renew our contract for two more years with Affinity Resource Group. ARG has been our management company for the past year; Jean Weiss, Bertinna Dubra and Mary Lea Nations are doing an outstanding job for the association as well as the MFDA Trust. I am honored to serve as your president and encourage you to let me know of any concerns you may have about MFDA. Blessings, Editor Jean A. Weiss MFDA Account Executive
2 Your New MFDA Board Installation of Officers and Board members was held at the MFDA Convention on June 4, The MFDA encourages you to reach out to your new board members to share ideas and concerns about MFDA and the funeral industry. Contact information can be found on the MFDA website: or by contacting the office at: or Sitting from left to right Ladd Pulliam (MFDA President-elect) Beth Rosson (MFDA President) Bill Chancellor (MFDA Past President) Standing from left to right Jeff Riemann (Southern District Governor) Joe Hutchins (Southern District Governor) A.Wendell Stringer (NFDA Policy Board Rep) Sandra Chancellor (Secretary-Treasurer) Kippy Lang (Second Vice President) Greg Pegues (First Vice President) Sammy Reed (Northern District Governor) Kenny Williams (Northern District Governor) John Wise (Central District Governor) Ellis Wright, II (Central District Governor)
3 MFDA Convention More Photos Photos from from MFDA s the Exhibit Mid-Winter Hall Seminar Some of the very happy Exhibit Hall Raffle Prize Winners To see all the MFDA Convention photos, go to:
4 Left: Brook Williams, Manager of Family Services for the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency. Above: Greg Merchant with the Mississippi Mortuary Response Team and President of the MS Coroner s Association
5 MFDA Elects First Woman President in its107 Year History PLATINUM LEVEL SPONSORS GOLD LEVEL SPONSORS SILVER LEVEL SPONSORS Ambulance & Coach Sales Aurora Casket Company Doric Burial Vault, Inc. Superior Funeral and Life Insurance Company BRONZE LEVEL SPONSORS Allied Funeral Associates Insurance Company Bass-Mollett Batesville Casket Co. Gulf Wilbert Vault Co., Inc. Matthews Casket Division Mississippi Funeral Supply Sales Club Vantage Products Corp. Congratulations to the recipients of the Gale M. Galloway Memorial 2013 Student of the Year Winners! Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Pamela Blaylock East Mississippi Community College Wesley Clark Northwest Mississippi Community College Troy W. Smith Holmes Community College Janet W. Spitchley The Mississippi Funeral Directors Association (MFDA) is proud to announce the election and installation of Beth Waller Rosson as the new MFDA President and the first woman president of the Association in its 107 year history. The Mississippi Funeral Directors Association was formed in 1906 to cultivate and promote the art and science of funeral direction and services, to evaluate and sustain the professional character and education of the funeral directors and embalmers, to encourage among them mutual improvement, social interaction and good will, and to the necessity and desirability of enacting and enforcing proper trust and uniform laws pertaining to funeral direction and embalming in the State of Mississippi. Beth is an Oxford native and attended the University of Mississippi where she met and married her husband Robert T. (Bob) Rosson, Jr., CFSP, CPS. She and Bob moved out of state, but returned in 1983 when her parents, Don and the late Patsy Waller, established Waller Funeral Home in Oxford, and invited her and Bob to return home to help run the family business. She worked in many aspects of the funeral home and became a licensed funeral director in In a very unique, historical situation, Bob is currently serving as the first president from Mississippi of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). This is the first time that an NFDA President has served at the same time as their spouse is serving as a statewide president. Bob and Beth have represented Mississippi on a statewide and national scale through their many years of volunteer professional service to MFDA and NFDA. Beth has served on the MFDA board for seven years holding a number of board and executive positions. She looks to her own mother, Patsy Waller, as her inspiration. Patsy was the first female secretary/treasurer of MFDA but had to give the position up in 1985 due to health problems. She was proud that she was in line to become the first female president of MFDA and very disappointed when she had to step down. When Beth was elected secretary treasurer of MFDA, her mother was so proud and excited (there had not been another woman since her) that Beth would carry out what she had tried to do. She died in 2009 while Beth was serving on the executive board. Beth s goals for MFDA are to continue pursuing legislation requiring continuing education for funeral directors; increase membership and member benefits; offer more funeral and preparation room specific educational presentations; recruit membership from the younger up and coming pool of funeral directors and place them on committees and in roles of leadership; market the MFDA Trust; and build a better working relationship and communication with the State Board of Funeral Service. The Rosson s have been members of Oxford-University United Methodist Church since 1983, and Beth has served in numerous positions including the Administrative Board, Staff Parrish Relations Committee, and Finance Committee. She is also a Charter member of Oxford Junior Auxiliary. Beth and Bob are proud parents of two children who work with them at Waller Funeral Home: Brett Waller Rosson, who is a funeral director/embalmer and Sally Kate Walker who is a funeral director. They also have four grandchildren, Barron Waller Rosson, Southerlin Campbell Rosson, Thomas Harrison Walker, and Rosson Eli Walker.
6 MFDA MEMBER ANNOUNCEMENTS & NEWS Tommy Conn, Jr. Gulf Guaranty Life Insurance Company announces the birth of his daughter, Harley Grace Conn on She weighed 6 pounds and 14 oz. and was 19.5 inches. She is ready to start calling on funeral homes with her daddy. Congratulations to Lisa Frye-Bush, President of Frye Funeral Home in Leland, MS who was elected to the Board of Aldermen in the City of Leland on Tuesday, June 4th! If you have news you would like to share with the membership, please send to: CFSP Designation Recognition Whitney Dickens Lang, CFSP (left), of Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Homes, Gulfport, MS and Ladd Pulliam, CFSP (middle) of Jones & Son Funeral Home, Richton, MS were recognized by NFDA Board Member, Bob Arrington (right) at the MFDA Convention for earning the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP), by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice. To initially receive this award, the practitioner must complete a 180 hour program of continuing education activities and events. In addition, the practitioner is required to accumulate 20 hours per year to recertify. Credits are awarded by the Academy for work leading to personal and/or professional growth in four areas: Academic Activities Professional Activities Career Review (for retroactive credit) Community and Civic Activities
8 More MFDA Convention Photos Years of Dedicated Service! MFDA recognized two individuals for 50 years of dedicated service in the funeral home industry. MFDA s outgoing President Bill Chancellor presented a 50 year Service plaque to Wendell Stringer (left photo) of Stringer Family Funeral Services in Crystal Springs, and to Joe Hutchins (right photo), of Saulters-Moore Funeral Homes, Inc., Prentiss, MS Funeral Director of the Year Award In recognition of his dedication, leadership, and service, Bill Chancellor of Chancellor Funeral Home in Florence, was presented the Funeral Director of the Year Award by past president, David Ainsworth. Service of Remembrance Special Recognition Sandra Chancellor (left) of Chancellor Funeral Home in Byram was recognized by incoming President Beth Rosson (right) for her special service to MFDA. Sandra volunteered countless hours to keep the MFDA Office operating smoothly during transition to new management. Ladies Luncheon Speaker: Barbie Bassett Dinner at The Islander President s Reception Painting at Easely Amused