TIMELINE

One hundred years ago, a handful of respected and innovative funeral professionals from across the country had a vision. Since the creation of National Selected Morticians in 1917 to this centennial milestone of what is now Selected Independent Funeral Homes, there has been a rich history of events and highlights that are depicted in this historical timeline. The history of this association is filled with the hard work and dedication of forward-thinking funeral service professionals who have consistently faced challenges and turned them into opportunities. The accomplishments of the past are the foundation of the future. Selected Independent Funeral Homes is committed to continued growth, delivering innovative and pertinent resources, solutions and ongoing support necessary for enduring excellence to our international network of independently-owned death-care providers.

First Organizational Meeting

First Organizational Meeting
1916

First organizational meeting of NSM was On October 12, 1916. A committee of Beryl Boyer, Toledo, OH; Harry Cumerford, Peoria, IL; W.A. Rushton, Plainfield, IN; H.S. Eckels, Philadelphia, PA; Ramsay Burton, Erie, PA; W.D. Farley, Battle Creek, MI; George Brewer, Dallas, TX; H.L. McCray, Worcester, MA; Glenn Myers, Columbus, OH; and Frank Flanner, Indianapolis, IN met in Columbus, OH at the Deshler Hotel to talk over the formation of an ideal association that would be National Selected Morticians.

Telegram regarding Toledo Meeting

Telegram regarding Toledo Meeting
1917

Telegram from Beryl Boyer to Frank Fairchild in Brooklyn, NY regarding a planned meeting in Toledo, OH.

The first official meeting of National Selected Morticians

The first official meeting of National Selected Morticians
1917

The meeting that was to launch the finest organization of funeral service professionals in the world, National Selected Morticians on September 16, 1917. Beryl Boyer and Harry Cumerford, joined by George Olinger, Denver, CO; Paul Buchanan, Indianapolis, IN; E.E. Fisher, Columbus, OH; F.L. Foust and C.C. Pray, Bryan, OH; John Renshler, Findlay, OH; L.M. Weiner, Rochester, NY, and Frank Fairchild, Brooklyn, NY gathered in Toledo, OH for the organizational meeting of the new association named The National Selected Morticians.

First issue of The Bulletin

First issue of The Bulletin
1917

The first issue of The Bulletin was released November 3, 1917. It was one of the key methods for sharing news and information with the membership. NSM had no duplicating equipment at that time, so The Bulletin was simply typed on legal size paper with carbon copies.

Third official meeting

Third official meeting
1918

One of the earliest NSM photographs known to exist is this of the third official meeting in Brooklyn, NY. (April 23-24, 1918) While NY was under consideration as the national headquarters, Robert D. Dripps was elected as Executive Secretary and new headquarters were established at 1417 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Camp Meeting at Morrison, CO

Camp Meeting at Morrison, CO
1919

Members were treated to something unusual at the 1919 meeting held outdoors in the foothills of Morrison, CO. Tents were set up for the daily sessions and members slept in a small hotel in Morrison. “It was the most wonderful set-up,” said NSM Secretary, Beryl Boyer.

Headquarters Move

1919

While NY was under consideration as the national headquarters, Robert D. Dripps was elected as Executive Secretary and new headquarters were established as 1417 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA.

The Why Book

1919

NSM’s first printed booklet as issued known simply as The Why Book. It was published in the early 1920s. It’s intended use was prospecting for new members and as an introductory piece to newly-invited member firms. It was not exactly a model of modesty.

First Breakfast Conference

1920

First “Breakfast Conference” (later to become known as “Early Bird” sessions) held during the 3rd Annual Convention in 1920 held in Cincinnati, OH was the first time members voluntarily met at 6:30 am for further discussion and interchange before the regular session commenced. The “Early Bird” session was a big success and continues to be part of the Selected Annual Meeting tradition.

Headquarters Move

Headquarters Move
1921

Harry Samson, NSM’s second president requests a headquarters move to 803 Renshaw Building, Pittsburgh, PA.

Headquarters Move

1924

Fred Wilbur became Secretary-Treasurer and as a matter of convenience, Headquarters moved to Marshalltown, IA.

NSM Conventions become NSM Annual Meetings

NSM Conventions become NSM Annual Meetings
1924

To further emphasize the working nature of the assembly, the annual events changed from “conventions” to “meetings”. Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago, IL became the regular home for NSM annual meetings until the late 1960s.

A Service Book first published

A Service Book first published
1925

A Service Book, created as a funeral manual for clergy, is published for the first time.

Headquarters Move

Headquarters Move
1926

For nearly two years, NSM was without paid leadership and committee rule took over in the form of  28 committees. Headquarters moved to Room 1014 of the Fischer Building at Dearborn and Van Buren, Chicago, IL.

Code of Good Ethics announced to the public

Code of Good Ethics announced to the public
1927

Ethics Committee appointed to develop the Code of Good Ethics, adopted by the Board of Control on January 1, 1926. President Jack Matthews shares the code in this letter dated March 31, 1926 requiring a two-thirds vote approval by the membership. The Code of Good Ethics outlines the founding principles that all NSM members agree to uphold as part of their membership.

Wilber M. Krieger serves as Executive Secretary

1928

Wilber M. Krieger (who became known as “Mr. Funeral Service” and “Mr. NSM”) serves as Executive Secretary of NSM and in 1947 elevated to the newly created post of Managing Director.

“For 16% increase in rental we are able to secure 8% more space and 200% more natural light,” Bill Krieger

1929

NSM offices moved to the McGraw-Hill Building, 520 North Michigan Ave, Chicago. (1929-1951)

Members Gather

Members Gather
1930

Members gather at the Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, CO.

NSM Insignias

NSM Insignias
1935

Early NSM insignias created for consistent branding of communications, both internally and externally.

National Institute of Funeral Service

1937

National Institute of Funeral Service becomes a reality.

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1940

Personnel & Procedures Book published

Personnel & Procedures Book published
1941

An inclusive study revealing functions and procedures, management responsibilities and sound methods was presented in this publication to help members.

25th Annual Meeting

25th Annual Meeting
1942

NSM celebrates its 25th Annual Meeting at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago, IL.

National Foundation of Funeral Service established

National Foundation of Funeral Service established
1944

National Foundation of Funeral Service was created independently of NSM and was open to all.

Annual Meeting Suspended

Annual Meeting Suspended
1945

What would have been the 28th Annual Meeting was suspended due to World War II.

NFFS School of Management

1948

The first class of the NFFS School of Management occurred in June 1948, conducted at Wieboldt Hall of Northwestern University, on the Chicago campus.

Model casket display used for education

Model casket display used for education
1950

A fascinating educational innovation in the 1950s was NSM’s creation of model casket displays. More than forty miniature caskets were hand-crafted from wood, finished to resemble actual merchandise and used to simulate various display set-ups. Each miniature measured about six inches in length.

NSM Cuts

NSM Cuts
1950

NSM insignia cuts were used to print and brand member materials.

First Provisional Membership Limit

1950

Membership capped at 500 and there is a waiting list!

Headquarters Move

Headquarters Move
1951

On August 13, 1950, ground breaking began for the new building at 1600-1628 Central Street, Evanston, IL which would become the home of NSM Headquarters for 40 years.

Successful Funeral Service Management published

1951

Krieger publishes Successful Funeral Service Management.

Advertising controversy

1951

State boards set limits on size of advertisements.

The NSM Golden Pyramid

The NSM Golden Pyramid
1953

The twelve layers of the golden NSM pyramid described by the President from 1953 were hand-crafted to fit together to form a structure over four feet tall.

The NSM Associate launched

1954

The NSM Associate was launched and directed toward the employees of NSM members. A special supplement called the Public Relations Newsletter appeared in 1965 and discussed advertising, booklets and literature as part of the program aimed at keeping the public informed about funeral service.

New Publications

New Publications
1956

Several new publications created:

NSM At Your Service was designed to explain NSM both to members and prospective members. The High Cost of Doing Nothing emphasized the importance of sound estate planning and What Every Woman Should Know featured key information on funeral service, updated throughout the years and now is called Toward Tomorrow.

Membership Limits Removed

1960

President Ray Porter voiced the decision that there should be no numerical limit to membership.

Management Comparative Program Launched

Management Comparative  Program Launched
1960

The mid-sixties saw the advent of a computerized Management Comparative program which gives each member the opportunity to compare his or her firm with other NSM member firms in key financial and management areas.

NSM advertising campaign launched

NSM advertising campaign launched
1960

Ads were placed in several consumer magazines including Ladies Home Journal, Time Magazine & U.S. News and World Report, demonstrating an effort to reach public with the value of funeral message.

New Insignia by Design Dynamics

New Insignia by Design Dynamics
1961

New insignia created by Design Dynamics

Record Meeting Attendance

1961

1480 people attended the Annual Meeting at the Americana Hotel in Bal Harbour, FL.

Wilber Krieger Dies

Wilber Krieger Dies
1964

Wilber Krieger dies on December 4, 1964 after 36 remarkable years as the primary motivational force behind NSM.

The Mitford Case

The Mitford Case
1964

Jessica Mitford’s expose “The American Way of Death” created an upsurge in criticism for funeral service. Krieger offered Trade Practice Rules . These voluntary rules were applauded by the Federal Trade Commission.

William L. Bustard Named Executive Secretary

William L. Bustard Named Executive Secretary
1965

In a special meeting in June 1965 the NSM Board named William L. Bustard Executive Secretary.  In 1969 Bustard wrote  the new NSM constitution, by-laws and a modern version of the Code of Good Funeral Practice. Also, a vote was taken to keep NSM an association composed entirely of privately owned, independently-operated funeral firms.

Code of Good Practice Announced

1965

When the Code of Good Practice was announced to the public at a press conference in August 1965, it met with enormous acceptance from the clergy, government and all segments of the country.

50th Anniversary Meeting

50th Anniversary Meeting
1967

Published to coincide with the golden anniversary of NSM, the book was written primarily for funeral directors and particularly for members of NSM regarding the formation and history of the association.

Pyramid Builders Book published

1967

Published to coincide with the golden anniversary of NSM, the book was written primarily for funeral directors and particularly for members of NSM regarding the formation and history of the association.

FTC Rulings

FTC Rulings
1970

Federal Trade Commission visited NSM Headquarters in 1972 as part of a fact-finding mission concerning the presumed need for increased industry regulation. After the FTC Funeral Rule was finalized, Assistant Executive Director, Fred Bates and Educational Consultant, Dr. James Fruehling conducted eight seminars across the country to inform members about the provisions of the new rule and help them come into compliance.

NSM Magazine Advertising Campaign

NSM Magazine Advertising Campaign
1972

National campaign to reach consumers through magazines like Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, U.S. News & World Report and more.

First Scholarship Program Announced

First Scholarship Program Announced
1974

First scholarships ranging from $300-$400 awarded to 7 candidates. Candidates wrote an essay addressing “How to create public awareness of funeral service.”

Family Follow-Up Survey Reports

Family Follow-Up Survey Reports
1978

Feedback from families compiled and sent to members for review.

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1980

New Executive Director: Fred Bates

New Executive Director: Fred Bates
1984

Fred Bates becomes NSM’s 9th Executive Director. 1984-1996

NSM Resources Launched

NSM Resources Launched
1984

NSM Resources was created in 1986 as a for-profit subsidiary to offer specialized products and services to members. Today, Selected Resources successfully provides some of the finest literature, advertising materials and business services in the profession.

First Under 40 Seminar

First Under 40 Seminar
1985

First Under 35 Roundtable Meeting held, followed by the first Under 40 Meeting series.

Management Assistance Program Started

1987

Management Assistance Program (MAP) started as a source for guidance and answers to members’ business and financial concerns.

Good Ideas Program Launched

Good Ideas Program Launched
1989

The “Good Ideas” Program was the precursor to today’s Best Practices, with members sharing innovative ideas for improving their service and business.

The Pyramid System Launched

1990

The Pyramid System Mortuary computer software unveiled.

NSM Educational Trust Established

NSM Educational Trust Established
1990

Established for the purpose of underwriting a variety of educational programs for NSM.

NFFS moves, Foundation building sold

NFFS moves, Foundation building sold
1991

NSM received news that the National Foundation of Funeral Services (NFFS) had sold the Foundation Building to an outside interest. The Foundation moved to a new facility in Des Plaines, IL. A search was started for a new location.

NSM Resources Creates Video

NSM Resources Creates Video
1992

In January 1992, NSM released a 30-minute video on Death, Grief and Funerals in North America.

75th Annual Meeting

75th Annual Meeting
1992

Selected celebrates its 75th Annual Meeting in October at the Loews Anatole Hotel in Dallas, TX.

Headquarters Move

Headquarters Move
1993

Headquarters move to 5 Revere Drive, Northbrook, IL.

NSM Good Idea Winner Announced

NSM Good Idea Winner Announced
1993

Howe-Peterson wins the first Good Idea Award at the 1993 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

“Our Town” Program Debuts

“Our Town” Program Debuts
1995

“Our Town” Program enhances members’ community relations activities and makes its debut on Sept. 24-28, 1995 at the 78th Annual Meeting.

New Executive Director: George Clarke

New Executive Director: George Clarke
1996

Announced in The Bulletin, George Clarke replaces Fred Bates as Executive Director.(1996-2007)

NSM changes to Selected Independent Funeral Homes

NSM changes to Selected Independent Funeral Homes
2000

By-law amendment approved to change name to Selected Independent Funeral Homes.

84th Annual Meeting Cancelled

84th Annual Meeting Cancelled
2001

The 84th Annual Meeting, scheduled for Denver, CO, is cancelled due to the terrorist attack in the U.S. on September 11.

Headquarters Move

Headquarters Move
2002

Headquarters move to 500 Lake Cook Rd, Ste. 205 Deerfield, IL.

New Executive Director: Rob Paterkiewicz

New Executive Director: Rob Paterkiewicz
2007

Rob Paterkiewicz is named the new Executive Director of Selected.

Group Reorganization

Group Reorganization
2007

Reorganization of membership Groups changed from twelve to six.

NextGen Program Launched

NextGen Program Launched
2008

Selected’s Under Forty Program becomes the NextGen Program.

Selected Study Groups Program Launched

Selected Study Groups Program Launched
2010

Selected begins the Selected Study Groups Program, bringing together owners, future owners and officers to share real-world best practices and insightful analysis to help each other improve their businesses and lives.

First Educational Trust Fundraising Gala

2010

At 92nd Annual Meeting in Lake Buena Vista, FL, the Educational Trust hosts its inaugural formal fundraising Gala on October 1.

Selected’s First Spring Management Summit

Selected’s First Spring Management Summit
2011

The first Spring Management Summit meeting was held in May 2011 in Indianapolis, IN, where members convened to connect and enhance their management skills.

Selected Transfer Services Program Launched

Selected Transfer Services Program Launched
2011

Selected launches the Selected Transfer Services Program to create a network of members who provide timely, cost-effective and efficient transfers. There are currently more than 260 members participating.

Preferred Partner Program Launched

Preferred Partner Program Launched
2012

In February, 2011  Selected launched the Preferred Partner Program, which connected membership with funeral service consultants and vendors that offer preferred services and product discounts to members.

NextGen Professional of the Year Award

NextGen Professional of the Year Award
2011

The NextGen Professional of the Year Award Program began. The recipient continues to be announced at each annual NextGen Seminar.

600 by 2020 by 1 Membership Growth Initiative launched

600 by 2020 by 1 Membership Growth Initiative launched
2014

In September 2014, a campaign is established with the ultimate goal to have 600 total North American members by the year 2020, gained 1 member at a time.

The Funeral Home/Cemetery Management Program Launched

The Funeral Home/Cemetery Management Program Launched
2015

The Funeral Home/Cemetery Management program is developed.

First Selected Women’s Group Roundtable

First Selected Women’s Group Roundtable
2016

In July 2016, the first Women’s Group Roundtable was hosted by Group 4 at Selected member firm Baue Funeral Home in St. Louis, MO offering programming specific to female funeral directors.

Selected Celebrates a Century of Excellence

Selected Celebrates a Century of Excellence
2017

100th Year celebration occurs in conjunction with the 99th Annual Meeting at the Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago, IL. As a nod to the 100 year milestone, the same dates are used to reflect those of the first Annual Convention.