A Cemetery Should Be Forever

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9780966580129: A Cemetery Should Be Forever
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The CEO of Southern California's Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks and Mortuaries explains why cemeteries are important and the unique management challenges faced by those responsible for them.

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From the Publisher:

This is an unusual insider's look at an industry that few people understand. John Llewellyn is one of the most respected executives in the cemetery field and in this book he clearly sets forth the need for cemetery senior managers and members of boards of directors to understand the long-term impact of decisions as well as to achieve economic survival in the short-term. This should be considered must reading for not just those employed in the cemetery industry, but also for consumers, regulators, and those who want to gain a better understanding of cemeteries.

From the Author:

After being exposed to a subject for a long time, it is easy to forget that the knowledge about it didn't come easily or overnight. I grew up in the shadow of Forest Lawn(r)-all my life I've been steeped in the cemetery industry. Because of that, I sometimes forget that it takes time and exposure to understand the cemetery industry and to fully appreciate the complexity and challenge of managing cemeteries. I've come to realize that cemeteries are often not well understood by those who use them as customers or by those who are new to the cemetery industry in management positions or as members of governing boards.

As I've talked with other cemetery executives, I realized that nothing was available to help new directors or members of management understand cemeteries. Many people I talked to brought up the challenge of helping others understand the cemetery industry. Several cemetery CEOs told me of attempts to educate board members by sending them to trade association meetings. While there is often a lot of good information at these meetings, the meetings don't provide an overview of cemeteries or the industry. Also, they found little in print that helped develop a broad understanding of cemeteries. Trade periodicals offered information that was often too detailed and operations oriented to be of much value to new directors.

The cemetery industry is a specialized area of knowledge. I don't claim that I know everything about cemeteries, but I grew up with much of our family conversation dominated by Forest Lawn. At the age of twenty-four, I started working for Forest Lawn and have been there ever since. I followed my father, Frederick Llewellyn, as CEO of Forest Lawn, when he decided to step down in 1987. He had served as president of the National Association of Cemeteries, now the International Cemetery and Funeral Association (ICFA), and the Interment Association of California, as well as serving as a member of the California Cemetery Board. In 1966, he succeeded his uncle, Dr. Hubert Eaton, as CEO. Eaton was the man responsible for building Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks and for such innovations as the memorial-park plan and putting the first mortuary in a cemetery. I must credit my father and Hubert Eaton with setting the example and living the vision that a cemetery has a long-term responsibility that is unlike that of any other business.

Not only have I been steeped in cemeteries, I married into a cemetery family. My wife, Linda, has cemetery in her blood. Her family lived in a cemetery when she was born and her father, Bob Garrison, is a past president of the American Cemetery Association (now the ICFA) and is the respected president of Toledo Memorial Park in Ohio. Her grandfather, Stacy Leech, was also a president of the American Cemetery Association.

In the end, each cemetery must find its own way of operating and adapting. I hope this book helps readers understand cemeteries-an appreciation of why cemeteries are different from other businesses and a perspective of the special challenges and rewards of being involved in the cemetery industry.

I have a very protective view of cemeteries. I am committed to the responsibility cemeteries have to families through successive generations, and I believe cemeteries continue to have a valuable role in our changing society. In addition, I feel that those responsible for cemeteries should be held to high standards in managing those cemeteries-because a cemetery should be forever.

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Llewellyn, John F.
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Llewellyn, John F.
Published by Tropico Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0966580125 ISBN 13: 9780966580129
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