Once the place of pastoral family gathering and community events, cemeteries lost their greenspace public personas. Thanks to its spooky portrayal in movies, many people see cemeteries as gloomy or even frightening places. Places to avoid that have little impact on their lives and the local area. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Cemeteries bring families together and offer us an insight into local history.

A Place of Historical Significance

Cemeteries have a deep historical connection to the local community. Beyond their functional value as an area in which to place people after they’ve passed, cemeteries can act as a place of memorial. They can become the host of ritual events for community events, allowing the community to gather in remembrance of Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Wreaths Across America, and other days important to the local and national cultures.

An Escape from Hectic Day-to-Day Life

Cemeteries are a place of serene remembrance; they allow us to enjoy time with loved ones without considering the daily responsibilities we’re facing or the activities we want to take on later in the day. It’s a quiet place in which we can sit with loved ones in peace and discuss our lives or to simply sit quietly and remember those that have passed. A cemetery is a separation from modern society, and acts as a calming influence on area residents.

A Connection Between Families

Cemeteries can also hold deep significance for families with loved ones buried in the area. Local cemeteries can help offer a space that brings comfort to families as they struggle with their grief while remembering loved ones. It can provide a serene environment in which to place flowers on important occasions and to spend time reflecting on a spiritual level with the person that has passed. It’s a deeply personal process that can have many psychological benefits for those who have suffered a recent death in their family.

A Memorial for the Deceased

Beyond their functional value as an area in which to place people after they’ve passed, cemeteries can act as a place of memorial. They can become the host of ritual events for families and post-funeral events, allowing the family to give their loved one a respectful and dignified burial process at the end of their life. in addition to the hearts of your loved ones today, where will your name be written, forever? That is the importance of a memorial to a family and your community.

When we were close to finalizing the acquisition of Life Remembered (formerly CMS East, LLC), Tim Kernan, a PCCFA board member for many years , advised me that it was important to be a member of PCCFA. He also recommended being a board member because it allows you to be in tune with regulatory and legal developments in the State. He also recommended supporting the PAC to ensure we had representation in the political arena.

Since joining the PCCFA, I have made friends and acquaintances that have given me advice and guidance. I feel like I’m part of a group of caring and supportive people who understand the day-to-day challenges of being in the funeral and cemetery industry.

Jude Abraham, Life Remembered

In 1999 PCCFA President Bill Moulton reached out to me and invited me to attend a PCCFA meeting. I learned so much and met so many experienced industry professionals at that meeting that I immediately became a member. PCCFA membership accelerated my industry knowledge through networking and educational opportunities and continues to add value to me every year. All cemeteries in Pennsylvania could benefit from joining.

Gary Buss, President, Arlington Cemetery and Funeral Home, Drexel Hill

As the operator of multiple cemeteries, funeral homes and crematories in the state, I am proud to be associated with the PCCFA. Despite being owned by SCI, the largest provider in the death care industry, PCCFA provides opportunities, networking and resources that cannot be found anywhere else. Since joining PCCFA, I have built a network of experts that help me to provide the best services to our respective communities. The membership is very willing to share methods and practices which help me to provide a safe, ethical and profitable business.

In addition, the PCCFA helps to raise a more collective voice when discussing legislative issues that arise. It has given me a forum where we can effectively discuss and guide legislative issues which have lasting impacts on the communities we serve and our ability to properly operate our business. I am very proud that the faces we see at our board meetings, conferences and committee meetings represents a very diverse range of people, just like the communities we serve.

The opportunities and benefits of being affiliated with the PCCFA have paid me back exponentially. I encourage anyone who is interested in joining to reach out and get involved.

Eric Wolverton, President, SCI, Pennsylvania Funeral Services, Inc.

I joined PCCFA because my father said I should. He believed our state organization accomplished four important missions: 1 – Education for our members to improve their performance in serving their public. 2- Ensuring our members were reminded of our obligation to perform the highest ethical standards when serving our public. 3- The political reality that we needed to defend ourselves from segments of competing businesses that would attempt to pass legislation that harmed our industry while benefiting theirs. 4 – The benefit of networking and social comradery that comes from meeting with fellow PCCFA members.

My father’s guidance has proven to be wise council time and time again in my 44 years in the industry. We do not grow, develop, improve to become the best we can be if we remain sheltered in our private little business world not participating in or exposed to what was happening in the larger business world. It does not matter if you are a Cemeterian, Funeral Director, Cremationist, or florist, if you are a part of the Death Care Industry in Pennsylvania you really should become a member of PCCFA.

Harry C. Neel, Jefferson Memorial Cemetery, Funeral Home, Crematory and Arboretum, Pittsburgh
I joined PCCFA because it’s my responsibility and duty to do so. As the President & CEO of two of the Commonwealth’s most historic cemeteries, being a member of PCCFA demonstrates my commitment to the industry and to ensuring that others adhere to the high ethical standards that we do at Laurel Hill. I joined because I believe there is tremendous need to educate others about the innovative and progressive nature of our industry and to advocate for advancements that will benefit all.

As someone relatively new to this field, I joined PCCFA to engage with my colleagues, learn from them, and add my unique perspectives and professional experience. I joined to work collaboratively for the benefit of all in Pennsylvania’s death care industry.

Nancy Goldenberg, President & CEO, Laurel Hill, Philadelphia