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Educational Trust Announces Recent Scholarship Winners


Funeral Director Hopefuls Receive Award to Continue Education

TrustLogoDEERFIELD, ILL. — August 10, 2011 — Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust has awarded its two most recent Second-Career Scholarships in the amount of $1,500 to Cynthia Wells of Viola, Ark., and Michael Smith of White Pigeon, Mich. The awards will help the recipients continue or complete their education at their respective colleges. The scholarship was created to meet the educational needs of the increasing number of second-career professionals entering the funeral industry seeking positions as funeral directors, a role traditionally filled from within families who have owned and operated funeral firms for decades if not generations.

Wells, a widowed mother of three, will be entering her final semester in the Funeral Science Program at ASU Mountain Home in Mountain Home, Ark. She recently became interested in the funeral home profession after a series of positive encounters with members of the funeral home industry.

“Receiving this scholarship means many things to me and my kids,” said Wells. “As I enter my final semester, this scholarship will assist with helping ease the financial burden of being a single mother and going to school. In addition, it has put a smile on my face because of the recognition and appreciation the Selected Educational Trust has shown for my hard work and gives me the courage to persevere. I am so appreciative and grateful.”

Wells is currently employed part-time at Kirby & Family Funeral and Cremation Services in Mountain Home, Ark. After graduation Wells hopes to turn her part-time position into a full-time job.

Smith, who began studying to become a funeral director in 2009, is currently attending Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, Ill. Having been personally affected by the current economic crisis, Smith understands the importance of family businesses.

“First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Selected Independent Funeral Home Educational Trust for the confidence they have placed in me,” Smith said. “By awarding me this distinguished honor, I have been able to further my education, and, having chosen the funeral profession as my second career, will use my life experiences to develop an enhanced sense of devotion, compassion and maturity, which I feel are essential to better meet the needs and expectations of bereaved families.”

Smith recently completed a 12 month internship at the Farrand Funeral Home in White Pigeon, Mich., and has worked atN.H. Scott & Hanekamp Funeral Home in Glenview, Ill., as a student employee. Upon completion of his studies, Smith hopes to demonstrate the values and traditions that were passed on to him by the funeral directors with whom he has worked.

Since the award was created last year, The Board of Trustees has increased the number of scholarships to be awarded to up to four $1,500 scholarships each year; two in July and two in December. Additionally, all applications must include at least one letter of recommendation from either a faculty member of the Mortuary Science program being attended or an owner of an independently owned funeral firm.

The Second-Career Scholarship is one of several programs of the Selected Educational Trust which was founded by Selected Independent Funeral Homes, a worldwide professional association of independent, locally-owned funeral homes founded in 1917. In order to be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must not be related to an owner of a funeral firm currently in operation and must be currently enrolled in a Mortuary Science program at an accredited school. By creating the program, the Trust hopes to attract and assist future practitioners interested in entering the profession.

The Selected Educational Trust was established in 1982 as a charitable organization to develop and present educational programs on business management, counseling, personnel management and other topics of interest to the membership of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. Since then, it has expanded its role and funding opportunities to benefit the entire funeral home profession. More information on the Selected Educational Trust and its activities can be found at


For more information or photos of the recepients please contact Lisa Gunggoll at

Date : 10/10/2011

What people are saying about Selected members

"We cannot say enough about how wonderful they were. We worked with Dave. He was truly understanding of our needs during out time of grief. He explained all of our options and didn't give us any pressure to make choices. He was patient and kind. It was as if he was a part of the family throughout the process. "

– Lisa Bass., Rochester, NY
Served by member firm Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home

Read more quotes from people Selected members have served.