Mortuary Musing
a mortuary science student's perspective on the study of the dead

The 130th Annual IFDA Convention

The Illinois Funeral Directors Association held their 130th annual convention in Peoria, Illinois on June 22-24, 2010 at the Hotel Pere Marquette and the Peoria Civic Center. This is the first year I have ever attended an IFDA convention so I did not know what to expect. There were various speakers attending the event giving presentations such as Robert T. Rosson, Jr.’s topic, “For the Life of Your Business,” or Linda Wellman’s presentation on “Funeral Directors Broadcast Daily Death Notices on TV as a Free Public Service.”

Besides listening to the speakers, this convention also gave current funeral directors a chance to earn credits for their continuing education as a funeral director. There is some down time such as Tuesday night’s “Wine and Cheese Party,” or Wednesday night’s “Presidential Reception at the Cotillion Ballroom” at the Hotel Pere Marquette. I did find it however, as a current mortuary science student, to find it more economical feasible to just buy yourself a nice bottle of red wine than purchasing wine in small plastic cups at the event. Personally, I never drink wine out of a plastic or paper cup.

On each day there were various businesses with booths at the exhibits. Originally I believe that most of the people representing the business would not want to talk with me since I was only merely a mortuary science student, but I was wrong. The exhibits gave everyone a chance to learn some information about businesses who you might be working with in your future. Everyone I spoke with was pleasant and more than happy to talk to me. There was however one exception of one certain casket company whom when one of the representatives found out I was only a student he turned around and started chatting with some of his co-workers. (Sorry Batesville, I hear you have a great company but you were unfortunately represented by someone at the event that reminded me of a used-car salesman. Sometimes it is unfortunate that first impressions are the impression that last the longest.)

The only recommendation I do have for the IFDA for their next convention is to make sure to list the room number(s) of the rooms or locations you might be using for the IFDA convention inside the IFDA convention brochure. On Tuesday I spent more time than I wanted trying to find the room where the presentations were being held. I asked quite a few people who weren’t actually sure where they were supposed to go either. Some individuals gave me the wrong information, while others just did not simply know. I spent almost two hours trying to find out where I was supposed to be at. That part of the convention I can honestly say was not fun.

I attended this event with my girlfriend and I thought personally it is a great learning experience for people who are interested in entering this field. Of course if you live in another state there will not be an IFDA, but most (or all) states should have their own state association for funeral directors. I highly recommend for any person who is planning to enter this field, or anyone who is currently employed in this field, to attend these events. Obtaining more knowledge never hurts a person.


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