Our Mission

To provide exceptional education, networking, and legislative guidance and support of progressive cemetery, funeral and cremation professionals in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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Our Officers

PCCFA officers are nominated and elected at our annual meeting.

Dagny Neel Fitzpatrick

President

Ernest Petersen

1st Vice President

Paul Simms

Secretary

John Yeatman

Treasurer

See all PCCFA Board Members & Past Presidents

Background of the Pennsylvania Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association

Two cemetery organizations existed for many years in Pennsylvania. The oldest organization, the Cemetery Association of Pennsylvania (CAP), was comprised of superintendents with an interest in groundskeeping and maintenance and little, or no, interest in marketing and sales. Many of their members were the non-profit, fraternal, and religious cemeteries of the state. According to old records, it was founded in 1930’s. The second organization was the Keystone State Association of Cemeteries (KSAC). KSAC was started in the early 1950’s and incorporated in the early 1960’s. Made up of the new bronze (Memorial Park) type cemeteries and aggressive monument cemeteries, these cemeteries were focused on sales and marketing. One of these new concepts was selling packages of graves, vaults and markers before the need (also known as pre-need). A second was giving Pennsylvania families the ability to pay on an installment basis. This gave many families the opportunity to pre-arrange for a family member’s final expense. The leading cemetery owners in PA realized that merging with CAP would be a good thing and over several years in the 1970’s CAP was invited to KSAC conventions and eventually a merger was made consolidating both organizations going into the 1980’s when Aldrich Carpey was president. This union was known as the Pennsylvania Cemetery Association (PCA).

During this same time, and continuing to today, funeral directors have their own association (PFDA). There was a natural clash between funeral directors and cemeteries as cemeteries began selling vaults, a product that once was exclusively sold by funeral directors. Times change and today, cemeteries sell vaults and concrete liners to funeral directors wholesale who, in turn, sell them to their family’s at retail.

As the public companies like Service Corporation International (SCI) and StoneMor surfaced as the first owners of hundreds of cemeteries and funeral homes all over the country including locations here in Pennsylvania. The influence of these aggregators caused cemetery associations to begin to include funeral directors in their associations. Combining the impact of the increase in cremations with the increasing number of funeral directors joining the association, the new PA organization incorporated the letter F for funeral directors and the C for crematories in their current name.

Today, the association known as the Pennsylvania Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association serves Pennsylvania’s deathcare industry with knowledge, fraternity, and advocacy. Old non-profit cemeteries of all denominations all over the country continue to struggle due to the lack of perpetual care funds and cash flow from a diminished number of burials. Additionally, the increase in the number of cremations now account for 60+% of the dispositions in the U.S.

Influential cemetery owners continue to lobby legislators whenever new laws are created or old laws affecting cemeteries are to be amended. These require maintenance of relationships with legislators and meetings in Harrisburg. The late Samuel Saxton in Allentown was probably the most important cemetery owner in Pennsylvania during his long lifetime. He was 94 years old when he died over a year ago. He was a champion for Pennsylvania cemeteries, everyone’s friend, and a well-known figure in Harrisburg.

Member Directory

Are you looking to collaborate with a fellow member or assisting a family in finding services? Search for a PCCFA member here!

Supplier Directory

PCCFA Supplier Members can provide not only best practices, but materials, repairs, consumer products, recycling, legal assistance, and fully operating cremation units. Find a PCCFA Supplier now!

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

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

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

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

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.