July 2022

Page A18 JULY 2022 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A www.vischerfuneralsupplies.com Funeral Directors Research,Inc. AMRA INSTRUMENT, LLC 623 N. Tower (P.O. Box 359) Centralia, WA 98531 “the shorter the supply line the better off you are” WEB DIRECT GIFT & PRICING TM ® www.amrainstruments.com www.preproomdirect.com “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The words are famous and they made history. But those words were almost never spoken. In his wonderful history book, Rick Beyer shares how that line stayed in the speech and impacted the world. So, how did it come about that President Ronald Reagan on June 12, 1987 said those historic words at the Berlin wall? It all started at a dinner party. Ingeborg Elz from Berlin hosted a dinner party for White House speechwriter Peter Robinson. At the time, Robinson was researching the speech that he was assigned to write for President Reagan’s address in Berlin. In the midst of the conversation that evening, Ingeborg mentioned to Robinson that if Gorbachev really wanted to show that he cared about perestroika then he should just get rid of the wall separating East Berlin from West Berlin. Perestroika is a term that literally means “restructuring” but usually refers to political reform that was taking place in the Soviet Union during the 1980’s. Ingeborg’s words gave Robinson some ideas. But all the words that he put together as he wrote President Reagan’s speech didn’t seem to fit. He had writer’s block. After trying different word combinations, it finally came to him. He decided to be straightforward, blunt, and to the point. The result was the immortal words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Robinson had felt that he had hit the right tone for the speech. Unfortunately, he was about the only one in the West Wing who felt that way. Secretary of State George Schultz hated the line and National Security Advisor, General Colin Powell felt that the line had too much of an edge to it. Powell’s fear was that it could provoke the Soviets into making a rash decision. But there was one other person in the West Wing who loved the line. That person was Ronald Reagan. President Reagan’s inner circle began to work on him to Bright Ideas for Funeral Directors with Mark Bowser The Boldness of the Lion’s Roar change hismind.They told the President that it could cause tensions and hurt relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. But President Reagan understood that change usually won’t happen without some form of tension. Tension doesn’t have to be a negative thing. He also understood that sometimes you have to take a hard stand. The debate about that sentence went on for days. Finally, the president had an exchange with Deputy White House Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein. The President said, “I’m the President, aren’t I?” “Yes sir, Mr. President,” said Duberstein.” We’re clear about that.” “So, I get to decide whether the line about tearing down the wall stays in?” said Reagan in more of a statement than a question. “That’s right, sir. It’s your decision.” “Then it stays in,” said Reagan. So, the President stood firm for his beliefs and convictions. What does history show? That he was right. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin wall came down. And finally, once again Germany began to unite West and East into peaceful unity. Sometimes it takes boldness of communication in order to make change happen. Strong communication is like a lion’s roar … it can be heard for miles. Let us lead our teams and communities, not only with courage and wisdom, but with the boldness of the lion’s roar. F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columnsonline at Mark Bowser grew up in the funeral industry and knows the challenges and rewards of running a small business. Mark has been a Professional Speaker since 1993 and is one of America’s premier Sales and Success speakers today. He is the author of several books including Sales Success with Zig Ziglar. He is the host of the popular podcast “Let Me Tell You a Story with Mark Bowser.” To book him to speak at your next event then contact him at www.MarkBowser.com or email info@MarkBowser.com. SOUTHFIELD,MI—Sarah Brown-Derbah, manager and director at Haley Funeral Directors, has started a petition for Mattel to create a funeral director Barbie doll. “I’d like to get at least 2000 signatures, but I’m going to collect as many signatures as I can. I would love to exceed that 2000 mark,” says Sarah. She adds that people can leave comments on the petition about why they’d like to see a funeral director Barbie, and that’s very helpful to her cause. Petition for a Funeral Director Barbie By Laurie Esposito-Harley Sarah’s family is Southern Baptist, and all the funerals she had been to when younger were in the church. Then in high school, she was dating a guy who asked her to join him at the funeral of a family friend. She went to the visitation, and that was the first funeral home she had ever seen. Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – it was a bad experience, which made Sarah realize that she could provide better service if she were a funeral director. “I didn’t think they were welcoming. They didn’t greet us,” she says. “I thought, ‘Maybe this is an idea of being a funeral director and bringing the quality of service that I think should be there.’ I didn’t know anything it entailed, but I could learn. I could do better.” Both of Sarah’s parents were public school teachers. They were divorced. “My mother’s main concern was that I had a job that would enable me to take care of myself,” Sarah says. She was interested in becoming a funeral director, but her mother didn’t feel that the career was stable. She paid for Sarah to go to college, if she majored in education. She felt that was a stable career choice and told Sarah if she wanted to go back to school for something else after, she could. After she graduated from college, Sarah got married, had a baby, and became a housewife. But she still yearned for something more. Her husband knew she wanted to go to mortuary school and encouraged her to follow that dream. She wanted to go to Wayne State University, but was told that she needed two accounting classes as a prerequisite to enrolling in the program. So, Sarah enrolled at Mary Grove College in Detroit. Since she couldn’t get a loan for two classes and her mother wasn’t paying for college anymore, she entered into the forensic science program and took the two accounting classes that she needed as well. She finished her degree in 2005 and went to mortuary school in 2007, graduating in 2009. Sarah now works for Haley Funeral Directors as the only full-time director on staff. After twelve years of being a licensed funeral director and nearly five years of funeral home management she looks forward to one day owning her own facility. In the meantime she is committed to serving families and being of service to her community. While Sarah has an interest in Barbie dolls, she doesn’t consider herself a collector. “I’m not obsessed with a room full of Barbies,” she says. Her mom would buy her a Barbie for each year she graduated. She has one in a cap and gown from 1997 and one from 2002 when she got her first degree. She got one for when she graduated mortuary school. Sarah was able to acquire the Alpha Kappa Alpha Barbie doll, which came out in 2008, since she is a member of that sorority. She’s collected other Barbies through the years, particularly ones that are meaningful or significant or ones that will increase in value over time. She has several dolls from the Inspiring Women series, including Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, Catherine Johnson (the human calculator), and Ella Fitzgerald. For ten years, Sarah has been looking for a funeral director Barbie. She noticed that the career line has expanded. There’s an OBGYN, zoologist, pediatrician, police officer, and firefighter, among others. But no funeral director. “I thought the pandemic would have brought her out,” says Sarah. Funeral homes were bombarded with death and trying to serve people with the death rate skyrocketing. Funeral directors were identified as front line and essential workers. But still no funeral director Barbie. Women have been involved in funeral service for a long time, Sarah explains how women often prepared the dead. “Look at Jesus,” she adds. It wasn’t until we became industrialists and men made caskets before they took over the funeral industry. Even now 60-70% of students in mortuary science are women. Sarah asks, “Why are we being overlooked?” Sarah feels as if there are numerous good reasons for Mattel to create a funeral director Barbie. Firstly, it will inspire the next generation of little girls. “Women don’t think of this as a career. Barbie’s already talking about careers; add funeral director to the mix,” says Sarah. All the careers that Barbie represents have a role in the community, help people, and care. Funeral director fits that framework. Secondly, it would be a tribute to women in the funeral industry. “We’ve been in the shadows for a long time,” Sarah says, adding that many women collect meaningful Barbies and would be interested in one that represents their career. Continued on page A26 Sarah Brown-Derbah