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Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust Announces Most Recent Scholarship Winners

Trust recognizes two individuals who’ve made the funeral profession their career choice

DEERFIELD, ILL. — July 30, 2012 — Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust has announced two new recipients of the Second-Career Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each. The winners are Sheila Brisendine of Dallas, Texas, and Karl Wilson Sr. of Chicago, Ill. The purpose of the awards is to assist recipients in completion of their education in mortuary science. The scholarship was created to meet the educational needs of the increasing number of second-career professionals entering independent funeral service seeking positions as funeral directors and future leaders.

Brisendine attends Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, where she will graduate with her Associates in Applied Science in November of this year. It is through her own experience with the death of a loved one that she eventually realized her calling to the profession while working as a funeral service consultant at a Dallas-area funeral home.

“From my own personal experiences with loss, I feel I have something special to offer the funeral industry,” said Brisendine. “Upon graduation, my goal is to work toward owning a funeral home, since it is my heart and passion. I feel I truly belong when assisting families in their time of need and it’s what I plan to do with the rest of my life.”

Wilson is expected to graduate in September 2012 from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, Ill. As a pastor, mortuary chaplain, and former hospice chaplain, he plans to integrate these experiences into his career transition into mortuary science.

“My goal is to become a funeral director and embalmer whom individuals trust and respect, not only for my business and technical competence, but also for my demonstrated concern for their personal well-being,” said Wilson. “I see funeral service as an opportunity for me to continue ministry in a broader context – one that includes, but extends beyond organized religion.”

Wilson currently maintains membership in Pi Sigma Eta, the national mortuary science honors fraternity.

Both recipients have demonstrated financial need and outstanding personal references in applying for the scholarship. 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 full-time Mortuary Science program at an accredited school.

Since the award was first launched in late 2010, 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 two letters of recommendation one from a faculty member of the mortuary science program and the other from an owner of an independent funeral home or current or previous employer.

The official application for upcoming scholarships, as well as the complete list of previous winners, is available at The Second-Career Scholarship is one of several programs of the Selected Educational Trust which was founded by Selected Funeral Homes, a worldwide professional association of independent, locally-owned funeral homes founded in 1917. By creating the program, the Trust hopes to attract and assist future practitioners interested in entering the profession.

Established in 1982, the Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust strives to enrich the professionalism of the independent funeral practitioner through lifelong learning and is dedicated to funding the development and administration of research initiatives, assistance grants, award programs and the presentation of educational programs dealing with business management, counseling, personnel management and other topics of importance and interest to the members of Selected and independently owned and operated funeral home professionals. 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 : 7/30/2012

What people are saying about Selected members

"We want to take this opportunity to thank Horan and McConaty for the excellent job that was done at our mother's funeral. At the time the arrangements were made, our funeral director was extremely compassionate and efficient. Every detail we wanted at our mother's service was present. This type of OUTSTANDING employee is extremely rare to find in any type of business. Because of this excellent service, we will be making an appointment to pre-plan our funeral service."

– S.G.., Aurora, CO
Served by member firm Horan & McConaty Funeral Service/Cremation

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