Article Category: SC29

Issue 29 Available Now

Posted Sunday, Sep 13
Southern Calls, Vol. 29, September 2020

Despite some virus-related delays slowing our print production, Issue 29 is hitting the post office and should arrive soon! We are proud to feature Christine Pepper “The CEO” at NFDA, as well as the physical prescence of the NFDA through the years, and reconstruction specialist Vernie Fountain — an all-around stellar collection of personalities and history you don’t want to miss.  Our photos are compelling, the stories are moving, and they’re all told from a Funeral Director’s Perspective. There’s only one place you can find inspiration like this, Southern Calls – The Journal of the Funeral Profession.

PEOPLE  | Christine Reichelt Pepper | By Luke Teague
At first glance, you might recognize Christine Reichelt Pepper from photos in The Director magazine, where she has been featured alongside an abundance of funeral directors past and present. Others may have become familiar with the longtime chief executive officer of the National Funeral Directors Association by hearing her speak at various conventions held around the world.

While funeral directors exclusively comprise the association’s executive board and its officers, with many becoming known nationally and recognizable among colleagues, Pepper’s role is accomplished largely behind the scenes.

Orchestrating annual conventions, overseeing advocacy initiatives, developing educational programs, along with supervising the funeral syndicate’s legal aid and public relations divisions, are a few of the wide-ranging administrative responsibilities she maintains.

PLACES | The NFDA Story | By Chris Raymond, Edward J. Defort, and Jessica Koth
Appearing beneath the title “Welcome!” in the June 1882 issue of The Casket, an early and influential trade magazine, this poem on opposite page by “G.H.” encouraged readers to attend a unique event: the first-ever “national funereal industrial exposition.”

To be held that same month, this proposed commingling of inventors, manufacturers and professionals in Rochester, New York, promised to provide practical instruction in the still-fledgling field of embalming. In addition, attendees could view “the most varied display of funereal equipments ever aggregated in the world,” as well as the “Old Coffin Shop” exhibit – a temporary display of “every oddity and ‘curiosity’ of the past and present relating to the funeral calling.” Finally, organizers planned to conclude this historic six-day gathering with a “grand complimentary fete and banquet” at Niagara Falls.

PASSIONS  | Vernie R. Fountain | By Todd Harra
The call came in from another state: an innocent bystander had been caught in the middle of a shootout. There would be reconstruction involved if there was to
be a viewing. The funeral director making the call said, “Vernie, the family has requested you.”

“You get the body and embalm it and I’ll be along shortly,” replied Vernie Fountain, the founder of Fountain National Academy of Professional Embalming Skills.

“No,” the funeral director persisted, “the family has asked that you to do all the prep work.”

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