August 2019

Page A12 AUGUST 2019 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS S ec t i on A XL industries inc. Call: 406-449-4100 • Visit: Available Through Quality Suppliers Ladder Racks with adjustable shelves Portable Folding Register Stands Made in USA Quality & Value - Built Just for Funeral Homes! Providing the Best-Designed Tools for Your Services Since 1926. Dozens of products that give you years of service and store compactly when not in use. Lightweight and easy to take to gravesides or churches. Portable Folding Display Table Deluxe Combo Stand Greg Leesman (L) and Bruce Leesman (R) of Leesman Funeral Homes in Dupo, IL, are shown taking delivery of their new 2019 Cadillac Hearse, purchased from John Muster (C), of Muster Coaches. Leesman funeral homes Muster Coaches 1-800-274-3619 Calhoun, KY Page 82 states, “Human remains are never to be stacked.” The Cremation Association of North America (CANA)’s Cremation Certification Manual (1986) states, “Cremation containers and remains should never be stacked on top of one another or on the floor.” The Defense contended that the CANA statement was a guide, not a regulation. Saguaro Valley’s Responsible Cremationist Jessie Welsh-Alex- is was asked by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Rainie: “Would it surprise you if I told you that there were 210 dispo- sitions that disposition-transit permits in the summer of 2015 for cremations you guys did that were – listed different crema- tories?” She answered: “Would it surprise me? No. Because as I men- tioned, it is not one of the things I pay as much attention to.” In March 2018, Lambert filed a complaint against three Phoenix area funeral homes for stacking. One was a crematory, on the grounds of a cemetery, privately owned with multi-loca- tion funeral homes. The owner is well respected, served on the state board for many years, served in the state legislature and is nationally recognized as an example of ethical, progressive fu- neral service professional. The other two are customers of his crematory. Complainant Lambert said he saw stacking in the van of the crematory removal van. The owner showed his lift mechanism in these vans that allows the transportation of four containers. Stacking another on top is impossible in his vehi- cles. Complainant Lambert stated that he had supporting pho- tographs but did not produce them. The case was dismissed. In February 2017, Saguaro Valley Crematory Services asked for a rehearing. The motion was denied. The board was in- formed on April 30, 2019 that the Arizona Supreme Court had affirmed the State Board’s decision on May 20, 2019. The licenses were revoked on May 21, 2019 and the thirty- day suspension of the crematory started on May 25, 2019. “When family members entrusted their loved ones to you, they expected them to be treated with dignity and care. They could not have imagined that you would let their loved ones rot like spoiled meat in the heat.” —Former Arizona State Board of Funeral Directors President Katherine Schindel on the former All State Crematory conditions Observations The Subject of Stacking “Your honor, this is a case of a crematory, and it’s employees who put profit before principle.” —Arizona Attorney General Thomas Rainie Stacking was not a word common to the Arizona Board of Fu- neral Directors and Embalmers before 2011 until a complaint against All State Crematory in Mesa, Arizona was made. Franklin Lambert, owner, was caught by ABC 15 News, in 2011, after a windshield replacement technician complained that the windshield on a van he replaced, on the All State premises, was stacked with cardboard containers with an odor. They moni- tored the business and saw filled cremation containers in a van out- side the business. They saw Lambert drive a van that he had taken home the evening before containing stacked cremation containers with decedents inside. There was evidence of maggots on the floor under cremation containers in the crematory facility. After the proper hearings, Lambert lost his funeral director’s li- cense and All State Crematory lost its license to cremate. All State Crematory became Saguaro Valley Cremation Servic- es and Jonathan Woods, Franklin Lambert’s brother-in-law, be- came the owner. Franklin Lambert was now the manager. Then a funeral establishment, a cremation client of Saguaro Valley’s, filed a complaint in September 2015. The stacking of containers, with decedents inside, truly bothered the owner. Judith Stapley, now the executive director of the Arizona State Board of Funeral Directors, was serving as an investigator as she learned the funeral industry. She visited Saguaro Valley Cremation Services and spoke with employee Phillip Scott Warner, a licensed cremationist. Arizona requires those who perform cremations have a cremationist’s li- cense. According to Ms. Stapley’s public deposition, she noted that one gurney had two cremation containers, another also had two and a third gurney had one. “Scott, you can’t stack bodies like that,” Ms. Stapley told the cremationist. Scott Warner replied that Mr. Lambert told him he could and that there was air space between the human remains in the box and with the lid of the boxes. She asked to see the refrigerated area where decedents are stored. There was only one deceased person in the cooler unit and plenty of space for others. By Steven Palmer Steven Palmer entered funeral service in 1971. He is an honors graduate of the New England Institute of Applied Arts & Sciences. He has been licensed on both coasts, he owned the Westcott Funeral Homes of Cottonwood and Camp Verde, AZ, where he remains ac- tive in operations. Steve offers his observations on current funeral ser- vice issues. He may be reached by mail at PO Box 352, Cottonwood, AZ 86326, by phone at (928)634-9566, by fax at (928)634-5156, by e-mail at or through his website at or on Facebook. Funeral Home & Cemetery News Contributors share insights and exchange ideas. B logs The complaints were first heard October 2015. The board decid- ed more information was needed. In December 2016 the Arizona State Board meeting defined their penalties: the revocation of manager Franklin Lambert’s funeral di- rector license, the revocation of Jessie Alexis-Welsh’s funeral director license and her cremationist’s license, the revocation of Phillip Scott Warner’s cremationist license and a thirty-day suspension of Sagua- ro Valley Cremations Services’ license to operate. The attorney for Saguaro Valley Cremation Services appealed the penalties. In September 2016, the case was heard before the Office of Administrative Hearings of the Arizona Supreme Court. Both sides were able to state their cases. Defense Attorney Charles Buri laid out the allegations and their justifications: 1. Stacked containers held in a transport vehicle. When circum- stances required there was always a barrier between these con- tainers. This is a common practice in the funeral industry. 2. Stacked containers in the crematory.This only happened when the refrigeration unit was being organized. 3. Decedents not in refrigeration. This was only when decedents were about to be placed in the retort. 4. Stacked cooling trays of cremated remains: The trays have feet so it keeps the trays separated. 5. The crematory accepted remains with disposition-transit per- mits issued to other facilities. This is not the crematory’s fault. The funeral director and funeral home are responsible for this. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Rainie stated the two major issues, “One, one is never supposed to stack bodies on top of each other. Two, bodies are supposed to be refrigerated before crema- tion.” Other witnesses included Ruth Bennet, the executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Arizona. She has inspected be- tween 18 and 24 funeral homes that might be recommended fu- neral homes for FCA. She stated in her testimony that she has never seen stacked cremation cases containing decedents. “I would say that what a family expects when a loved one dies, is that the deceased is taken care of with dignity and respect. And stacking bodies, one on top of another, in cardboard boxes is not in alignment with anyone I have ever spoken to.” Arizona FCA Director Bennett was asked: “Have you ever had occasion to ask anyone who is being served by a funeral home or crematory how they feel about stacking containers holding human remains?” She answered: “The idea is so abhorrent to me that it would never have crossed my mind to ask that question, any more I than would ask, are you concerned about a body being abused in a crematory or funeral home?” Another witness was Donna Backhaus, the coordinator of the Chandler-Gilbert College Mortuary Science program. She introduced two texts that are taught in the Mortuary Science program. One is from the Cremation Equipment Operators Train- ing Program by Matthews Cremations Group. Ramsey Wallace Funeral Home Formula caskets on the market as well as a 55” monitor to show all that they have to offer, as well as their state of the art web- site also hosted by Batesville. The waiting area has been up- dated with pleasing couches and chairs to wait comfortably until they can be seen by either Dr. Wallace himself or one of his devoted arrangement counselors. New signs have been put up to give the funeral home maximum visibility leading families straight to the front doors. For the year 2019 quality and class is their formula and it is showing in every aspect. Ramsey Wallace Funeral Home is also keeping up to date with the new age of technology by providing every fam- ily with an easy to use Ramsey Wallace Funeral Home app that can be downloaded to any device. The app features many helpful tools the family can utilize to try to ease their stress and anxiety for the weeks ahead including upload- ing the obituary, adding pictures of their loved one, freez- ing credit, closing online accounts and subscriptions, for- warding mail, and finding life insurance policies across the United States, along with many other helpful features. Ramsey Wallace Funeral Home finds it very important to cover every aspect and help in as many ways as possible. New Signs Although the funeral home has a general price list with packages, Dr. Wallace will tailor a dignified funeral for every family based on their budget. They do everything in their power to make sure every family and their loved one is taken care of with the upmost respect no matter their background. Dr. Wal- lace also works closely with preneed insurance agen- cies to make sure families are covered before a trag- edy occurs. By providing grief counseling to the fam- ilies to help cope with their tragic loss they are able to put their specific expertise to use beyond the funeral. They take their love for the business even further by keeping in close contact with the families after the funeral with their aftercare program that sends out heartwarming anniversa- ry, birthday and holiday cards to each family’s doorstep. As an individually owned business in Sacramento they stay closely connected and integrated with the Sacramen- to community organizations: The Woman’s Empower- ment Leadership and Learning (WELL) program, where Dr. Wallace plays a key role mentoring on how to manage mental health issues; The Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation, The NAACP as well as the Mutual Assis- tance program that is specifically designed to help fami- lies when a tragedy occurs that they are not prepared for. In the near future Ramsey Wallace Funeral Home will continue to learn and grow as a business and make more updates to better help their community. They have plans for the future that will ensure our success as a major player in the death care industry. Stay tuned for workshop and luncheons that will be hosted at Ramsey Wallace Funer- al Home: 1831 Howe Ave, Sacramento CA. They are ex- tremely grateful to those who have helped them get to where they are today and will continue to grow with Sacra- mento. They are the home that service built. Continued from Page A10 L i k e Us On Facebook!