Newsletter Section Archive

2019 Spring Newsletter

2019 Spring Newsletter

2018 Fall Newsletter

2018 Fall Newsletter

Death’s Summer Coat: The Natural Death Handbook

Dr. Brandy Schillace, PhD, writes at the intersections of medicine, history, and literature. In her blog, she gives insight to her perspective on death: I was not afraid of death, […]

End-of-Life Doulas

There is a growing movement of volunteers and professionals who are pushing for greater compassion and companionship for people who are dying. Borrowing language from the birthing world, they’re called […]

DIY Coffin-Building Workshop Reviving Dying Art Of Casket-Making

by Carla Howarth, Australian Broadcasting Corporation A coffin-making community group has popped up in Tasmania’s northwest, allowing people to make their caskets dirt cheap. The Community Coffin Club meets once […]

CMS Price Survey

Have you visited our price survey? It’s at You can compare “apples to apples” prices for any of about 100 funeral homes in the Northeast Ohio area. As a […]

Speakers Are Available

We need you to help your Memorial Society find speaking engagements in order to inform more people about the services we provide. How about your AARP group? Your retirement crowd? […]

Burial alternatives

Excerpted from an article by Emanuela Campanella Multimedia Journalist Global News As life moves so quickly, people are often thinking about new ways of living, if it be new adventures […]

Annual Meeting September 24

Featured Speaker: Brandy Shillace,  author of Death’s Summer Coat Sunday, September 24 2:00 pm  Location to be announced. be sure to visit our website and look for the august newsletter […]

Death Cafe

At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat, drink, and discuss death. At these gatherings, now happening around the world, people meet to share refreshments and discuss death […]

What if I die Out of Town or in another Country?

What If I Die Out Of Town Your survivors/travel companions should look online or in a telephone book for the nearest Memorial Society. A list of all societies is at […]

Are you familiar with “Green Burial”?

Or natural burial is a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker […]

Dear Family

Does your family know what you’ve done?  While you have made an informed decision to take care of your end-of-life plans by becoming a CMS member, it’s imperative you share […]

Coffins (or not)!

Seattle based company Artful Ashes ( is helping loved ones during the grieving process by creating unique ashes glass art memorials for those who have passed away. Through the use […]

End of Life Considerations and Resources 

I’ve developed a keen interest in the way our country regards human life as we approach the end of it. This is one of the reasons I’m so interested in […]

View from the President’s Chair

We are pleased to welcome our new board members; John Barber, Mary Dietzen, Chip Joseph, Jill Koch-Johnston, Roland Moore, and Kate Smith. We look forward to some exciting new ideas […]

Book Reviews

Mark Binnig Death on Earth: Adventures in Evolution and Mortality by Jules Howard.  Bloomsbury Books, 2016, 288 pages List  price: $27.00 Although he begins with trying to explain to his […]

Good Grief at London’s Highgate Cemetery

The third and final evening  (9/16/2016) of the Architecture Foundation’s residency in Highgate Cemetery is a conversation on the culture of memorialisation.  The event offers a last opportunity to see […]

Election of Officers and Trustees

At the Annual Meeting there will be an election of officers and trustees. The Nominating Committee, Cheryl Hanger, Kathleen Binnig, and Jackie Stimpert, recommend the following slate: President – Jane […]

Maureen Kundtz

We are very sad to report that Maureen Kundtz, a member of our current Board has died.  Maureen had been a cheerful presence at our meetings since 2011 and has […]

CMS at the City Club

The Society has formed a relationship with the City Club of Cleveland, the nation’s oldest forum of free speech. We will be sponsoring a table at a series of four […]

Annual Meeting Speaker

We are delighted to announce that the speaker at our annual meeting (November 13 at 2:00 at First Unitarian Church in Shaker Heights) will be celebrity mortician, Caitlin Doughty, author […]

Doulas for the Dying

When I tell people that I am an end-of-life doula, their first question is: what is that? The second question is why? The “what” is simple to answer: it is […]

Minutes of the 2015 Annual Meeting

The meeting was called to order by President Bill McCullam at 2:05 p.m. at the West Shore Unitarian Church in Rocky River. Printed copies of the minutes were made available […]

FCA Biennial Conference

FCA Will Hold Its Biennial National Conference in Atlanta June 24-25, 2016 Every two years the Funeral Consumers Alliance hosts a conference for all affiliates. This year Atlanta has been chosen, […]

CMS at the City Club

The Society has formed a relationship with the City Club of Cleveland, the nation’s oldest forum of free speech. We will be sponsoring a table at a series of four […]

Speaker for Annual Meeting

Our annual meeting will be on Sunday, November 13 at 2:00pm, at the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, 21600 Shaker Blvd, Shaker Heights. We are delighted to announce that the […]

Election of Officers

The nominating committee, Jackie Stimpert, Cheryl Hanger, and Kathleen Binnig, recommend the following slate: President – Bill McCullam Vice-President – Jane McCullam Secretary – Mark Binnig Treasurer – Don Stimpert […]

What’s a Death Midwife?

From funeral cooperatives to green burials, here’s a kinder, gentler, less expensive way to die Char Barrett walked into a quaint cafe in Seattle with business in mind. Over the […]

Oregon’s Death with Dignity Law

Oregon’s law was crafted and initially voted into law in 1994. However, due to legal challenges, implementation was delayed until 1998, following a second vote in 1997 in which it […]

Home Funeral Rights

Having the law on your side is sometimes only half the battle when it comes to carrying out after-death care without hiring a professional. Chances are good that a person […]

Price Survey

We have updated our area price survey on our website, where a direct comparison can be made among several funeral directors. Since our last published results a year ago we […]

Speakers for Annual Meeting

Our guest speaker this year will be David R. Mitchell, who has been manager of the City of Cleveland’s twelve cemeteries for more than 25 years. The oldest of these […]

Book Reviews

We’ve been reading new books, three of which may be of interest to our members. Dr. Atul Gawande has written three previous books, memoirs of becoming a surgeon and about […]

Urban Death Project

Katrina Spade, a young Seattle architect, has proposed a new form of natural burial, composting. She was inspired by the use of ‘nurse’ logs in the forest which provide habitat […]


The concept of promession (an environmentally friendly way to dispose of waste) was developed by Swedish biologist Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak, who derived the name from Italian word for “promise” (promessa). She […]

What If I Die In Another Country

First, take some simple steps before you leave home. Leave a copy of your passport at home. Pack your reduced-size documents, a note stating what you want done with your […]

Annual Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order by President Bill McCullam at 2:05 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland.  Printed copies of the minutes were made available to members.  […]

Thank you Linda

With the exception of a few years off for good behavior, Linda Betzer has spent the last 29 years serving on the Board of the Cleveland Memorial Society—four years as […]

Election of officers

The nominating committee, Roger Peckinpaugh, Iris Bishop, and Flo Marcinko, recommend the following slate: President – Bill McCullam Vice-President – Jane McCullam Secretary – Mark Binnig Treasurer – Don Stimpert […]

Organize your memorial service

Enjoy the leftover Halloween candy and get busy. Or, better yet, pour a glass of wine, put out the chips, invite friends and/or family over and plan your Memorial Service. […]

Welcome to our family

We are pleased to announce that two funeral directors will be joining  us in offering services to our members.              Mr. Gary Best of Best Funeral Home in Middlefield, Ohio […]

El Dia de Muertos

Halloween, a contraction of All Hallows Eve, is on Friday this year. This holiday originated in Germany during the Middle Ages when boarding students at various universities took to the […]

Dividing cremation remains and scattering

Several years ago, Dear Abby published a letter from parents who said that their son was killed on a skiing trip. A friend asked for some of the son’s ashes […]

Cremation rates rise nationally

The rate of families choosing cremation continues to rise across the country, according to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA). CANA statistics on cremation are regarded as the most […]

Who are we?

The next time someone asks you what the Cleveland Memorial Society is, tell them the Cleveland Memorial Society is a non-sectarian, non-profit group of diverse people who unite in the […]

Volunteer Pallbearer Services

Four hundred sixty-eight students from St. Ignatius High School volunteer with the Pallbearer Program to provide service for those who have died indigent, alone, or with few remaining family or […]

Reporting the Death of a Federal Annuitant

The National Association of Retired Federal Employees reports that there are three ways to contact OPM (Office of Personnel Management) to report the death of a federal employee or annuitant […]

Memorial Options

How to memorialize the life of a loved one? The cemetery salespeople would like you to purchase a grave or a niche. What if that is not what your loved […]

Famous Last Words

Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel. Who: George Appel, executed by electric chair in 1928 But how the devil do you think this could harm me? […]

Executors’ Deadlocks

hank my aunt for this tip. She has 12 children and has named one from each age group to be her Executors. What happens when there is a deadlock in […]

Price Survey Results

Periodically, The Society conducts a price survey of funeral directors in our service area. This information is available on our website, where a direct comparison can be made among several […]

Vanessa Niekamp will be our annual meeting speaker

Our guest speaker this year will be Vanessa Niekamp, Executive Director of the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. She will give us an inside look at how her […]

Digital Assets

Although I have been practicing law for over a decade, my background is in the field of communications including an undergraduate degree in telecommunications. During my junior year at Bowling […]

New Website

If you haven’t visited our web site since February, we encourage you to take a look at  The web site name (URL) is the same, but the content is […]

Celebrations of Life

It seems there are two types of death – sudden or slow.  We Memorial Society members should have filled out our paperwork, discussed our wishes with our loved ones and […]

Medical Devices

Regulations in the US prohibit the recycling of implanted medical devices after their owners die, but Frank Swain on the BBC reports that there’s “a growing trend to recover them […]

Green Burial

Those of you who attended our 2012 Annual Meeting will remember that one of our featured speakers was Sara Starr of the Foxfield Preserve in Wilmot, Ohio. At that time, […]

Letter from the President

By this time I hope all of you will have had a chance to visit our new website. If you do not have computer access, please do go to your […]

Funeral Consumers Alliance

The Funeral Consumers Alliance is our umbrella organization, that is, all of the Memorial Societies are members of and support its mission. FCA does what no one Memorial Society can […]

Things To Do

Do you have a “To Do” list? I do, and every day I check things off – and add things! Here are suggestions to add to your “To Do” list. […]

Revised Constitution of the Cleveland Memorial Society

Following election of officers and trustees, there will be a vote on adoption of a new constitution. The following is the new constitution proposed by the board: CONSTITUTION OF THE […]

From the President

What could be more scintillating than a re-write of our Constitution? Well, here it is. You, the members, must approve these changes. Most are simply wording changes; i.e., take out […]


There will be an election of officers and trustees. The nominating committee, Maureen Kundtz, Iris Bishop, and Bob Murphy, recommend the following slate: President – Bill McCullam Vice-President – Jane […]

Right of Disposition Form

You have the right under Ohio law to designate one person to have authority to make the decision of what to do with your body at the time of death. […]

Kevin O’Brien will be our annual meeting speaker

Kevin is a Certified Celebrant. After studying various religious traditions, he came to know the importance of ritual. He was trained by Doug Manning and the Insight Institute and then […]

Home Funerals

Home births, home schooling, home hospice care, now there is growing interest in home funerals. Of course this is not a new idea. In the past, people cared for the […]

Funerals in The News

Funeral planning has been on the Big Stage lately.  The November and December issues of Money Magazine have a series of articles called “The High Cost of Saying Goodbye.” The […]

Write Your Own Obituary

A fellow in Massachusetts wrote to Dear Abby to ask whether or not he should write his own obituary. He mentioned that he learned a lot about the life of […]

History of Cremation

Cremation is not an alternative to funerals, it is an alternative to ground burial, sea burial, or the ancient Zoroastrian practice (5th century B.C.) of exposure on top of specially […]

Message from the President

Add to Ben Franklin’s maxim, “ . . . nothing is certain but death and taxes,” the wisdom of the Greek thinker Heraclitis who said, “There is nothing permanent except […]

Estate Planning Considerations in Light of Changes in Federal and Ohio Tax Laws

As you know by now, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) was signed by President Obama on January 2, 2013. The word “relief” in the title of that […]

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