New York State Funeral Directors Association

Jeff Jennings CFSPOctober was an emotional, busy month for NYSFDA, our members and officers. The month greeted us with the terrible news out of Schoharie of the limousine accident.

Twenty people killed in a senseless accident that left us all asking how and why.
My sincere sympathies go out to the families and communities affected by this tragedy. My sympathies, admiration and respect to my colleagues who had to assist these families while dealing with their own sense of loss. Every funeral director knows the pain of dealing with a family we know personally and the funeral professionals dealing with this tragedy certainly showed our profession in a proud light.
Shortly after learning of this tragedy I had the honor of attending a meeting of The Bridge Commission. They’re a group of newly licensed funeral directors who gather regularly to discuss issues affecting our profession and their ideas to deal with these issues. What a wonderful group with great ideas who strengthened my faith in the future of our profession.
The day after this meeting several of your officers and some staff traveled to Salt Lake City for the National Funeral Directors Association’s annual convention. A large gathering of funeral directors from across the country and around the world gathered to attend workshops and see new ideas associated with funeral service.


One of the workshops presented was the Opioid program put together by our NYS Tribute Foundation. This program was presented by our very own Marianne Schrom and Kelly Deitz. These two professionals represented NYSFDA in a great light and I was very proud to see them present on the national level.

Your officers also met with high-level representatives from the Cuomo administration to discuss issues still facing us with regard to EDRS. I feel they heard our concerns and they promised to follow up with us soon. More to come on this in the future.

As I write this message, Mike Lanotte, President-elect Rich Sullivan, NFDA Policy Board Representative Bea Lewanduski, and I are getting ready to meet with the Executive Directors, Vice Presidents and Presidents of the New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania FDAs in an effort to discuss collaboration between our state associations on issues affecting our profession. This newly-formed “Northeast Funeral Service Partnership” will help strengthen all of our associations for future concerns.

October also brought the first meeting of our newly formed NYSFDA task force, Funeral Service 2020. Their charge is to discuss issues that will be important to funeral service in the future. Some of these include professional development for seasoned funeral directors, support for employers and residents, shared employees and the possibility of exploring a para professional program for funeral directors similar to a paralegal or physician assistant program.

As you can see, October was a full month. I hope to be able to start getting around the state to local meetings to meet many of you.

Until then,

Peace, Love and Mickey Mouse . . .

Jeffrey A. Jennings, CFSP