Fall 2005


Beth Rosson and Bob Rosson, CFSP, CPC, accept Waller Funeral Home’s National Funeral Directors Association Pursuit of Excellence Golden Eagle Award presented by Doggett Whitaker, CFSP, President of the National Funeral Directors Association (left), at the 2005 National Funeral Directors Convention and Expo in Chicago, Illinois, October 2-5.

For the fourth consecutive year, Waller Funeral Home has been awarded the National Funeral Directors Association Pursuit of Excellence Award. Waller Funeral Home was one of 27 funeral homes in the United States receiving the Pursuit of Excellence Golden Eagle award during the 2005 National Funeral Directors Convention and Expo in Chicago, Illinois, October 2-5. No other funeral home in Mississippi has ever received this award.

The award honors funeral homes for their outstanding service to families, community involvement, technical abilities, and professional integrity.

“Pursuit of Excellence funeral homes are committed to the highest level of service to families,” said NFDA Chief Executive Officer Christine Pepper, CAE. “In addition, they demonstrate quality community relations programs and leadership within the funeral service profession.

To receive the Pursuit of Excellence award requires that a funeral home meet strict quality service criteria in nine categories of achievement including education, compassionate service technical skills, community and professional service, library or media resources professional development, in-house staff training, and public and community relations.

The Waller Funeral Home staff worked diligently to compile exhibits documenting the requirements for this award. Satisfying the specific and exacting requirements provide an excellent opportunity for self-evaluation and improvement.

NFDA is the leading funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and other countries. From its headquarters in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and its Advocacy Office in Washington,D.C., NFDA provides advocacy, education, information, products, programs, and services to help members enhance the quality of service to families.

Thanks to each person who took part in the effort organized by Wailer Funeral Home to help get emergency supplies to Hurricane Katrina victims! I wish you could have felt firsthand, as we did, the gratitude expressed by the words and faces of those receiving these supplies.

As the details of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina became known, the staff at Waller Funeral Home felt a strong desire to help our fellow Mississippians in south Mississippi.

Our first opportunity was provided by a call from the Mississippi Funeral Directors office in Jackson asking for help for the funeral homes in Gulfport and Biloxi. Our son Brett (licensed funeral director and Waller Funeral Home staff member) met other funeral directors from north Mississippi in Jackson, and they proceeded to the coast, where they supplied much needed help with a wide variety of tasks for the two largest funeral homes in the area.

Meanwhile, hearing the need for emergency supplies, we decided to become a drop-off point for supplies to take to the coast.

The local response to help with this project was overwhelming. The Oxford Eagle and Super Talk Radio 105.5 provided free publicity, with 105.5 carrying a remote broadcast from the Funeral Home. People immediately began bringing supplies and offering help in gathering, packing, and loading. We were able to fill the largest U-Haul truck (which Terry Warren provided at no cost) about two-thirds full with necessities such as water, Gatorade food, batteries, pet supplies, baby products, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Other drives were also going on in Oxford.

With the help of volunteers, the truck was loaded and Brett and I headed to the coast. (Brett had returned the night before from four days of helping funeral homes in Biloxi and Gulfport.)

The first thing we noticed when we hit the interstate was that we were part of a huge movement heading south. Law enforcement, disaster groups, military personnel, trucks with heavy equipment, and other volunteers from everywhere were headed to the coast. We saw groups of rv’s and campers, sometimes five in a row, and trucks loaded with supplies. On the sides of the road we saw electric and telephone company personnel working in extreme heat to restore downed power. ON I-55 you could guess the destination of the vehicles, but, after passing Hattiesburg and getting on Highway 49, you could tell for sure where everybody was headed. Being a part of this huge endeavor brought a special feeling—hard to describe but energizing and satisfying.

We got to the coast about eleven o clock Tuesday night and were glad to have a place to sleep on the floor of Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home.

The two largest funeral homes on the coast lost entire buildings in the storm,and many of their employees’ homes were destroyed or damaged. But these same employees were at the funeral homes, putting aside their own problems to help others in need. When we arrived, other funeral directors from Georgia and Mississippi were already there giving assistance where needed. Friends in funeral service from Georgia as well as Mississippi stepped up to help in a big way.

We got out and started at daylight the next morning. When we reached 1-10 and Highway 49, we found a distribution center had been set up and operating for some time. We were glad to see that their distribution process was working smoothly especially after the bad press on television.

The damage was beyond belief! Besides the horrendous wind damage, some houses had had water surges higher than the houses. In many places only a slab of concrete remained where a home had been; the house, clothing, personal belongings, and other contents of the house were nowhere around. Some houses had taken high water but the houses remalned; those families had much work to do. Because the water surge was salty, everything was ruined. The mold and smell were already bad only six days after the storm. Families were taking everything in their house and stacking it outside in the front yard to be hauled away. I mean everything. Cars left at home in the storm were ruined; they might not even be in the neighborhood; they might be upside down in a neighbor’s den. It was a strange, strange sight to see every house in a neighborhood with all belongings out in the front yard. (Can you imagine this in your own neighborhood?)

Further, many jobs as well as homes were gone. The storm ruined businesses as well as homes. Many people were left homeless and jobless to start their lives over. Many to start elsewhere.

Our plan was to go to neighborhoods and help people who did not have transportation to a distribution station. Because Brett had already been to the coast helping, he had ideas about where we could find people needing help. We drove through neighborhoods around the Gulfport and Biloxi areas. We would find people outside and ask if they needed supplies, and they would call out neighbors. Different people had different needs, and we had many items to offer. It took most of the day to unload the truck, but it was a very satisfying experience to see the appreciation of the people. Some people would not accept anything from us, but most did. Times were hard and people needed help and were thankful.

We were proud of the part funeral directors played in the relief effort. Calls for help started at local levels were answered and passed on at district, state, and national levels. Doggett Whitaker, who was completing his term as president of the National Funeral Directors Association, and his wife Christie, and Bob Biggens, who then began his term as president of the Association, came to the coast and worked hard in relief efforts. The staff of the National Funeral Directors Association in Brookfieid, Wisconsin, volunteered their time and spent their television. Labor Day holiday weekend working at the office in Brookfield manning the phones and organizing help in every way they could.

Nothing, however, surpasses our gratitude and pride in our local folks who reached out with enthusiasm to help in this effort. We appreciate you and are honored to have been the vehicle for extending your helping hearts and hands to our fellow Mississippians.

—Bob Rosson

Bob Rosson, CPC, was recently recertified with the Certified Preplanning Consultant (CPC) designation. Certified Preplanning Consultants are required to apply for recertification every four years.

According to Colleen Murphy Klein, who coordinates the program for the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), “The CPC designation means that families who are planning funeral services in advance are receiving the highest quality of funeral service possible. Those who have earned the CPC designation are uniquely qualified to help families plan appropriate and sensitive services while also dealing with critical ethical, contractual, funding, and consumer service and
protection issues."

Certified Preplanning Consultants pledge to abide by the following commitments that identify the ethical standards of their profession:

  • I will make no representation, written or oral, that may be false or misleading.
  • I will treat the information shared with me during the preplanning interview with confidentiality and integrity.
  • I will maintain the standards and philosophy of the funeral home that I represent.
  • I will provide my client with detailed price lists of services and merchandise before he or she selects services or merchandise, and at the conclusion of the funeral arrangement conference will provide a written statement listing all of the services and merchandise that have been purchased.
  • I will answer any questions the client may have pertaining to the preneed agreement, including any guarantees and representations in the agreement, and will ~attempt t&r~Iv~ - any problems efficiently and fairly and with due consideration given to the views and concerns of the client.
  • I will maintain my accountability to the client by continuing to observe local, state, and federal regulations and standards regarding funeral preplanning and trust and insurance funding for prepaid funerals.
  • I will abide by the provisions of the NFDA CPC Statement of Use regarding the appropriate and responsible use of the CPC designation.
  • I will continue my professional education in this field.
  • I further pledge to conduct myself at all times in a manner that deserves the public trust and to abide by the CPC Statement of Use.

The insight of little children often brings us up abruptly. So it is with the children in this Family Circus.

After last Christmas I realized I had allowed myself to become too involved with shopping, decorating, sending cards, cooking, etc. I vowed that I would never again let that happen. I plan to observe this Holy Season with a more rested body and a quieter spirit as I express love to others and worship our God who gave us reason to rejoice and praise Him. I challenge you to do the same.

—Patsy WaIler

The Waller Funeral Home family wish you and your family a holiday season filled with joy, love, hope, and peace. We have special concern for those who have lost a loved one recently, and we will send grief helps for the holiday season to those families we have served since last Christmas. We will gladly share copies of these helps with anyone else who requests them for themselves or for others they think might find them helpful.

As an expression of our good will, we again have inspirational and dashboard calendars available at the Funeral Home.

Thank you for the privilege of serving you. We strive to provide the very best professional, compassionate service to the community we love.

—WaIler Funeral Home Staff

Each of us has our memories of Thanksgiving days of the past. I have already in Seasons shared some of our family’s traditions which have made this holiday memorable. Since its beginning, feasting has been a part of this holiday, and we look forward to sharing a big meal of traditional dishes. After that meal, our family reads together the words of Edward Winslow, written in 1621 about the first Thanksgiving:

Our harvest being gotten in, our Govenour sent foure men fowling, so that we might after a more special manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labours, they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time, amongst other Recreations we exercized our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest King Massasoyt with some ninetie men whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere which they brought to the Plantacion and bestowed on our Govenour and upon the Cap tame, and others.

But certainly we want Thanksgiving to be about more than feasting. On this day we have serious thoughts about the blessings we enjoy. The warm feeling of being with family and friends on this day and throughout the year tops the list. We are also thankful for our forefathers who endured hardships to establish homes in this great land of ours. As part of our family tradition, we read together The Mayflower Compact in its original form as quoted below:

In the name of God Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord King James by the grace of God, of great Britaine, Franc, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, &c.

Haveing undertaken for the glorie of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant the first colonie in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly & mutualy in the presence of God, and one another, covenant & combine our selves togeather her into a civill body politick; for our better ordering, & preservation & furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by vertue hereof to enacte, constitute, and frame shuch just & equall lawes, ordinances, Acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete & convenient for the generall good of the Colonie: unto which we promise all due submission
and obedience.

In witnes whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cap-Codd the 11 of November, in the year of the raign of our soveraigne Lord King James of England, France, & Ireland, the eighteenth and of Scotland the fiftie fourth. An.Dom. 1620.

The Compact was signed by 51 of the male passengers of the Mayflower, which had sailed across the Atlantic carrying 102 passengers who intended to settle in territory controlled by the Virginia Company of London. When they landed a good distance north at what is now Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on land beyond the borders controlled by their countrymen, they agreed to sign a covenant guaranteeing government by law based on the consent of the governed.

The Mayflower Compact established self-rule for what would be known as the Plymouth Colony. A third of the Mayflower~s passengers were members of the English separatist group called Pilgrims; others came seeking new opportunities and new life in America. In time all the colonists became known as Pilgrims., and their courage and perseverance became a cherished and celebrated part of our American heritage.

As we observe this Thanksgiving, may memories and traditions of past Thanksgivings, appreciation of our national heritage, and thankfulness for present blessings make this observance meaningful and memorable to each of us.

—Sincerely Patsy

Small embroidered red heart stick-ons are now provided to family members of the deceased to wear during visitations and funeral services. The people who gather to express respect for the deceased and sympathy for the family often do not know all of the family; this little marker helps direct them to family members.

We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from August 19, 2005 through November 9, 2005.

Mrs. Ruby Thweatt King / August 19, 2005
Mr. Eugene J. “Gene” Oxnam / August 21, 2005
Mr. Paul Delalne Ward, Sr / August 26, 2005
Ms. Sherie Lee Hale McCullar / August 26, 2005
Mrs. Wilma Lautaln Pierce / August 27, 2005
Mrs. LaVerne Houston Roy / August 27, 2005
Ms. Gladys Dorothy Scott / August 31, 2005
Mr. Roger Lee Galns / September 2, 2005
Mr. Hillard Earl DePriest / September 2, 2005
Ms. Diane Lee McLarty / September 3, 2005
Mrs. Verta Short Lublanezki / September 4, 2005
Mrs. Bettye King Rikard / September 4, 2005
Mrs. Lessie Upton Hinchey / September 9, 2005
Mrs. Patricia "Pat" Brunner / September 12, 2005
Mrs. Lillian Glenn Payne / September 22, 2005
Mr. James Bobby Bundren / October 2, 2005
Mr. Farris E. Dendy / October 9, 2005
Matthew Dale Klepzig / October 10, 2005
Mr. Claudie H. Jackson, Jr. / October 15, 2005
Mr. Frank Shull Peddle, Jr. / October 15, 2005
Mr. Walter Ness Turnbull / October 15, 2005
Mr. Archie K. Miller / October 19, 2005
Mrs. Luna Lovelle Starnes / October 20, 2005
Mrs. Ivadell Mize Ptak / October 20, 2005
Mr. Robert Herman McCain, Jr. / October 21, 2005
Mrs. Lynda Franklin Willard / October 22, 2005
Mrs. Mary Ruth Shaw Presley / October 24, 2005
Mr. Claude “Al” Alonzo / October 27, 2005
Dr. Wilbur Marvin Davis / October 27, 2005
Mr. Louis Ralph Havens / October 29, 2005
Mr. Aubrey Kevin ‘Sarge” Knight / November 1, 2005
Mr. John Carl Milhouse, Jr. / November 2, 2005
Mr. Jimmy Thomas Mize / November 4, 2005
Mrs. Charlotte Heston Bruening / November 8, 2005
Mr. John Joseph Gordon / November 9, 2005

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