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New Beginnings!

Jack E. Lechner, Jr. President
Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, signals the unofficial beginning of summer. In many places, it is the beginning of a whole summer's worth of outdoor activities. Lawns and flowers are in full bloom, which is exactly why Major Gen. John A. Logan, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, wanted to decorate the graves of his fallen fellow civil war veterans with flowers. In his General Order No. 11, dated May 5, 1868, first G.A.R. Commander-in-Chief, General Logan declared May 30 as Decoration Day. Five years after MG Logan started the practice of decorating the graves of civil war veterans at Arlington National Cemetery, the ceremony was drawing over 25,000 widows and orphans, more than the total population of Washington D.C., to hear the President of the United States speak and decorate the graves.

Over the years, Congress moved the date to the last Monday in May and changed the name from Decoration Day to Memorial Day. But the intent has remained the same – it is a time for all of us to stop to honor the men and women of the United States military who have given their lives in service to our nation. The flag is flown at half-staff until noon, the President of the United States places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and then the flag is raised back to its position of honor at the top of flag poles across the nation.

That simple ceremony speaks louder than words. It demonstrates that a nation still remembers and still cares for her fallen. It provides an opportunity for Americans everywhere to participate in the National Memorial Day Observance by watching the presidential wreath laying or by conducting ceremonies of their own.

I'm astonished that 148 years after that first Decoration Day that our nation still conducts ceremonies demonstrating how sacred life is to Americans. William Gladstone said "show me the manner in which a nation or a community cares for its dead and I will measure exactly the sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals." As funeral service professionals, we are fortunate to be the custodians of the manner in which we as a nation care for our dead. It is a sacred responsibility with which we are entrusted; we shall act accordingly.


College Board of Trustees Announce Retirement of Longtime Chair, John Gay

After a decade of commitment and leadership, serving three terms as a Trustee and a final term as an officer holding the Vice-Chair and subsequently the Chair appointment on the Board of CCMS, Mr. John Gay announced his retirement. With the college having experienced a period of difficultly, Mr. Gay has been through the ups and downs. We are grateful for his time, effort, and contribution to the prosperous path which has been laid.

Mr. Frank Rosenacker has been appointed as Chair to the Board of Trustees, having previously served as Vice Chair and Trustee. Mike Ryan, formerly Treasurer, has been appointed as Vice Chair. Bill Smith, formerly a Trustee, has been appointed as Treasurer.

CCMS is confident that with the seating of new President Jack Lechner, and the reorganization of its Board of Trustees, the future will see many advancements and improvements to student learning, continuing education, alumni outreach and support and financial prosperity.

Foundation for Mortuary Education Annual Meeting

The Board of Trustees and foundation member meeting was hosted at the Hilton Easton in Columbus, Ohio, on May 19. Thank you to members who attended and contributed input to the future direction and governance of the foundation.

Join the Foundation online

For information please contact foundation@ccms.edu or contact alumni relations at 513-761-2020.

Notes from the Business Office

In July 2016, we will be converting to a state of the art security system here at CCMS.

We will have an ID badge controlled entry system installed which can be programmed to limit the wearer access to certain areas of the campus. Each student, faculty and staff member will be issued an ID badge which will identify them and allow them access to specified areas.

New security cameras will be installed in strategic areas of the campus to ensure additional security. When visitors come to the campus, they will be buzzed in by either the receptionist or the Business Manager as the campus will remain locked at all times.

This security system will be integrated with local police and fire departments, so response times can be shortened significantly.

We are very excited about this upgrade and grateful to the Board of Trustees for approving this expenditure.

Open House!

CCMS just hosted the second Open House of 2016 with a great turn out. If you know someone interested in seeing why CCMS is First in Funeral Service Education or you would like to visit our campus with full accessibility to classrooms and labs, we have one more Open House scheduled in 2016 on October 8th.

Register to join us Oct 8th 10am-noon.


Amanda Jones, 2016 Alumna, Receives OEA Scholarship Award

Amanda Jones, Recipient
Congratulations to Amanda Jones, recent graduate selected by the Ohio Embalmer's Association as the recipient of the Don Lawrence OEA Scholarship award during her final term. The scholarship is available to students who are registered in a professionally accredited mortuary science program and who intend to become licensed or register their apprenticeship in Ohio. The award is issued during the final term of the student's degree program.

Jones is also a 2015 recipient of the Dodge Award in recognition of exceptional advancement in the art of embalming. She is currently serving her apprenticeship with Tufts Schildmeyer Funeral Home in Loveland, Ohio.

Congratulations to Jones for her accomplishments and to OEA for their support of mortuary science education. Click here for more information on this OEA scholarship opportunity or to apply.

Student Kyle Eveland Receives Schaefer & Busby Scholarship and SCI Awards

Mr. Dave Danner with Kyle Eveland
Congratulations to CCMS student Kyle Eveland, pictured with Mr. David Danner, who was selected as the recipient of the Schaefer & Busby Scholarship award. This scholarship was established by Mr. Danner, retired owner, as a way to give back to CCMS and honor the Schaefer & Busby Funeral Home that was a part of so many students' lives over the years.

This scholarship is awarded to a CCMS student who exhibits the best practical ability to handle all aspects of funeral service from the first call to arrangements with the family, and also how well the student applies the items within the curriculum while maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50 or better. Monies awarded from this scholarship are paid in the recipient's third semester.

Kyle is also one of 30 finalists from across the nation selected as a recipient of the Service Corporation International Scholarship which is available to students who are enrolled in an accredited mortuary science program and who meet the submission requirements.

Kyle is a third semester honor student at CCMS and works as a funeral attendant with a funeral home in Lebanon, Ohio. He plans to return to his hometown of Roseville, Ohio to serve his apprenticeship.

For more information on SCI Scholarship opportunities or to apply, please visit Service Corporation International's Scholarship page.

2016 Alumna Recognized for Her Artistic Talent
Originally Published by ASD

Miranda Benge Robinson is an apprentice embalmer and funeral director at Milward Funeral Directors in Lexington, Kentucky, who enjoys working on restorative art whenever possible. This crucial embalming skill requires focus, excellent eye-hand coordination and attention to detail.

"Restorative art is an important part of the embalming process, and can help families have better memory pictures of their loved ones," Miranda says.

The origin of funeral directing in America began with artistry. Furniture builders, woodworkers and other craftsmen were called upon to build coffins for our nation's fallen after the Civil War. As the death toll began to rise, skilled tradesmen, who often worked under the title, "Furniture Maker and Undertaker," were often needed to measure the deceased, prepare the body for viewing and assist with the burial. It was these artisans that laid the foundation for the funeral profession.

The artistic spirit of our nation's first undertakers lives on in the creative pursuits of funeral directors today. In the past, we have interviewed many funeral director artisans about their artistic talents. This month, we are pleased to share this spotlight interview with Miranda Benge Robinson about restorative art and embalming.

When did you first become interested in restorative art?
Restorative art and embalming go hand in hand. When I first became interested in mortuary science it was because of the science aspect, especially anatomy, but also the art that is involved. Restorative art can be as simple as applying cosmetics, and as complex as recreating a face or even a hand.

Can you tell me a little more about the purpose of restorative art and how it can help families?
Restorative art is such an important part of am embalmers duty, not only for respect of the deceased, but to help families have a final memory picture of their loved one. Families are able to grieve better if they are able to see their loved one in a more peaceful state, and restorative art is what does this. Embalming treats the body, such as sanitizing and temporary preservation, restorative art is responsible for restoring the decedent to a more natural look. For a family to be able to see a loved one after something tragic has happened to their appearance, and for them to look 'normal' again, is such a rewarding experience for me.

Can you share any projects you have been working on recently?
I recently completed a project called Portraying Betty Page. Here are some photos:

How long did this project take you from inception to completion?
This project took a total of 10-12 hours to complete. A complete restoration of a human head/face is much more time consuming than an individual part of the face. Even a small part, such as an ear, can take an hour or two to complete to perfection.

Do you have any tips you could share with others who are interested in this type of work?
Patience in learning this art is key, because you're not going to make a perfect ear the first time trying, trust me. Having an art background helps, but it is not impossible to practice restorative art if you don't. My advice to doing good restorative art is to put on your favorite music, take your time, and don't get frustrated if you mess up a few times before getting it right.


Remembering Charles O. Dhonau

Charles O. Dhonau
March 23, 1886 – April 10, 1976
President 1909-1970

April 10, 2016 marked a significant historical milestone as we commemorated the 40th anniversary of the death of Charles O. Dhonau.

In 1909, Mr. Dhonau was entrusted by founder Joseph H. Clarke as successor of ownership in the then Clarke School of Embalming. Over the course of the next six decades, Mr. Dhonau’s commitment to the expansion of funeral service education, coupled with strong leadership initiatives, leaves us with a rich heritage and continuing reputation of excellence as the First in Funeral Service Education.

Our alumni, whether recent or established, share an appreciation for the college’s rich history and in the contribution of those who have dedicated a combined 135 years to achieve excellence of funeral service education. It is the same fundamental foundation in which we govern today, more than a century later, because it works. The mission remains constant, honoring the accomplishments of our predecessors as we strive to ensure the success of every CCMS graduate and service professional through advancement in education and continued learning.

Alumni Relations Director Beth Williams, along with Clinical Director Wanda Lee, have spent months compiling a historical timeline of CCMS through historical documents. With the recent anniversary of Mr. Dhonau’s death, it is with respect and appreciation that we share a brief look into his legacy over the last century.
  • Mr. Dhonau decided early on to pursue a career in funeral service, going to work in his father’s funeral home at Knowlton’s corner in his early twenties, receiving a two-week period of instruction which he found insufficient in length and depth of embalming curriculum
  • In the belief that mortuary education should be improved and expanded upon, he pursued a career in education, subsequently under the mentorship and encouragement of Joseph H. Clarke, founder of Clarke School of Embalming, est. 1882
  • The relationship between Mr. Clarke and Mr. Dhonau would prove instrumental in the history of Clarke School through the transfer of ownership to Mr. Dhonau in 1909. It was at this time Mr. Dhonau renamed the school Cincinnati College of Embalming
  • 1909 Mr. Dhonau, concerned about the licensing system, began to change the curriculum to teach “…suitable thinking instrumentalities (where) one may more intelligently apply what one has learned to know and has developed the ability to do.”
  • 1910 CCE education requirements expand to 8 week and 12 week programs
  • 1913 CCE education requirements expanded to 6 month programs and State Board Examinations became required
  • 1914 Mr. Dhonau moved to General Hospital to improve learning opportunities and experience
  • 1915 CCE adds Restorative Arts curriculum
  • 1920’s CCE adds Mortuary Business Law curriculum and established a prerequisite of high school graduation to enroll
  • 1930’s Mr. Dhonau moves CCE to Reading Road to accommodate continued increasing class sizes, adds Restorative Art Studio Programs and Life Modeling curriculum, and expands education requirements to 9 months and 12 months
  • 1940-50’s Mr. Dhonau continues his focus on program development
  • 1960-70’s Mr. Dhonau maintains a cooperative academic program with the University of Cincinnati. This relationship flourishes to this day through the U.C. Anatomical Donor Program
  • Mr. Dhonau, with the help of Mortuary Law author and attorney Thomas Stueve, form the tax-exempt Foundation for Mortuary Education, transferring all assets in 1970 to achieve broader support before his retirement and appointment of Dr. George M. Sleichter as Director of CCMS
Charles O. Dhonau died at Bethesda Hospital, Montgomery, Ohio on April 10, 1976. Funeral services were held at the college’s Reading Rd. campus April 14th with Officiating Clergyman Rev. Carlton K. Gamble and Rev. Karl Bernard Kollath.

As a faculty and staff of the nation’s leading mortuary science educators, we honor Mr. Dhonau’s heritage. Furthermore, we are confident that through six decades of successful contribution, Mr. Dhonau has earned our recognition and respect as having established the foundation in which we govern upon to this day. We leave you with an aspiring message as delivered by Mr. Dhonau during the August 27, 1954 commencement address...

"Our service aspires to rank as a profession ... we should think of that ideal, "Service before Self." It is assumed under the man-made laws, under which we serve, that it is the service itself which is most important… It is expected that our monetary reward will come in due time so that we may live and serve and be of value individually and as a group to the mourning people of our communities. Then we shall achieve that rank we so much desire. It will reside in the hearts of men."

By Charles O. Dhonau
Cincinnati College of Embalming
Commencement Message
August 27, 1954

View more at the history page.

Historical Casket Shipping Container Donated to CCMS

This historical artifact served to encase the casketed remains of a fallen 19-year-old U.S. soldier for return to his home in Cincinnati (Wyoming, Ohio) following World War II.

Killed in action during the Battle of Anzio on May 21, 1944, the young soldier was temporarily buried in Italy until his disinterment and return to his place of final rest in Spring Grove Cemetery in 1948.

This piece of history is one of only three known casket shipping containers from WWII to still be in existence. The other two are located in The National WWII Museum, New Orleans, displayed in their Libertarian Gallery and in The Motts Military Museum, Groveport, Ohio.

This iconic piece encompasses not only the history of the United States military and losses suffered for the sake of freedom, but also that of funeral service history. The soldier's father had been unable to part with the container which held the remains of his son. We are told that it brought him comfort during his lifelong process of grief. Upon the father's death, the successor owner of the property located the container and contacted the Vorhis Funeral Home, who had cared for the family nearly seven decades earlier. Wanting to ensure that this piece of history was not simply destroyed, the funeral home contacted CCMS to arrange for donation.

CCMS was privileged to have had the opportunity to showcase this significant piece of funeral service alongside similar artifacts of military history during the Tufts Schildmeyer Funeral Home Memorial Day event.

Funeral home staff dedicates a great amount of time to the transformation of the funeral home into a historical remembrance in honor of our fallen men and women. The use of historical artifacts and veteran curators makes this an amazing experience.

The Schildmeyer family and staff are commended for their efforts and dedication in paying homage to the history and loss of life which affords us the freedoms we enjoy today.

Prospective Student Visits From Puerto Rico

Prospective student Jailee Pagan points to the photo of her good friend and 1994 alumnus José Lopez Moa. Jailee has long awaited the opportunity to pursue her dream of serving the funeral profession. She took the recommendation of her good friend and alumnus José to entrust CCMS with her education. Both reside in Puerto Rico.

Tomes From The Tomb
Selections from the CCMS Library

The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains

By Thomas W. Laqueur

The Greek philosopher Diogenes said that when he died his body should be tossed over the city walls for beasts to scavenge. Why should he or anyone else care what became of his corpse? In The Work of the Dead, acclaimed cultural historian Thomas Laqueur examines why humanity has universally rejected Diogenes's argument. No culture has been indifferent to mortal remains. Even in our supposedly disenchanted scientific age, the dead body still matters — for individuals, communities, and nations. A remarkably ambitious history, The Work of the Dead offers a compelling and richly detailed account of how and why the living have cared for the dead, from antiquity to the twentieth century. See this book in the CCMS library catalog

The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife

By Erik Hornung

You have probably heard of The Egyptian Book of the Dead, but did you know that text is just one of several so-called “Books of the Afterlife”? Author Erik Hornung, the world’s leading authority on these religious writings, takes us on a journey through The Pyramid Texts, The New Kingdom Books of the Netherworld, and The Books of the Sky, among others. Along the way we learn about various spells designed to assist the deceased in navigating the dangers of the underworld and ensure a good afterlife. Also described is the complex nocturnal journey of the sun god, which was thought to bring about the solar rebirth each morning. See this book in the CCMS library catalog


President Lechner Officially Relocates To Cincinnati

A warm welcome to Ohio to Mr. and Mrs. Lechner, who have officially settled into their new Cincinnati home. Mr. Lechner had spent the past six months flying from the family’s Virginia home every other week so he could be on campus leading the college. We are certainly glad the move and transition to Ohio went smoothly for the Lechners and would like to say "welcome home!"

Shop CCMS Online Store

We will be adding additional CCMS trademark merchandise to our new online store in the coming weeks. Be sure to stop in to the online CCMS Store for your favorite soon-to-come alma mater drinkware, window clings, and more!

Shop CCMS online.

Publications Featuring CCMS

Recent publications and broadcasts featuring CCMS may be accessed through the links below or via our website Media page.

Back at his Alma Mater, American Funeral Director May 2016

From Funeral Service to the Army to the Pentagon and Back Again, The Director April 2016

ASD Funeral Director Artist Spotlight, Featuring Alumna Miranda Robinson

NFDA Memorial Business Journal February 11, 2016, Volume 7, Issue 6

Live Radio Broadcast on 91.71 WVXU: CCMS Has Trained Funeral Professionals for More Than 130 Years

American Funeral Director, March 2016 (Kates-Boylston Publications)

Thank You For Your Feedback!

In the last issue we asked you to take a survey to let us know what we're doing right and how we can improve the website. Thank you for sharing your input! We’ll be taking your comments into consideration as we begin the process of making the new website even more user friendly.



Erika Furey Joins Schoedinger Team

Erika Furey, a 2015 CCMS alumna, has joined the Schoedinger team as a full-time funeral director and embalmer at Midtown in March. Ms. Furey was attending Shawnee State University majoring in biology when she realized her calling to funeral service. After completing her studies at Shawnee, she relocated to Cincinnati to attend CCMS, working for a trade service. After completing her B.M.S., she earned her license out of state, but has returned to where she calls home and has accepted a position with Schoedinger in Columbus, Ohio.

Tufts Schildmeyer Unveils Monument to Service

On Memorial Day 2016, the Tufts Schildmeyer Funeral Home unveiled a monument to servicemen and women and first responders.

Read the Loveland Magazine article and watch the unveiling video.

J.C. Battle & Sons Funeral Home Honors Their Heritage with Replica Hearse from 1933 – Riding in History and In Style

As it traveled through Cincinnati streets, heads turned, smiles erupted as people pointed and cell phone camera worked overtime to capture the newest addition to the J.C. Battle and Sons Funeral Home Service Fleet as it passed by. Christened "Chariot 1", the Rosewood Grand O'Vale hearse is the Trifecta of automotive opulences inspired by the rich and famous during the Thirties. It boasts the Rolls Royce styling ques of the 1930 Rolls Royce front grill, the Packard front hood and the Duesenberg fenders.

"Chariot 1" is a direct connection to the Battle family past as it is an expanded replica of the first hearse owned in 1933 by funeral home founder, J.C. Battle, Sr. and his wife Theresa. Known as "The Family Morticians", J.C. Battle & Sons Funeral Home always seeks to offer a meaningful funeral experience tailored to each family's needs. "We wish to restore and convey the honor and the grandeur of our heritage, by honoring our families' loved one with this stunning and unforgettable automotive tribute," says J.C. Battle, III.

Designed and manufactured by Rosewood Classic Coach in Morrilton, Arkansas, grandson J.C. Battle, III, ordered the black and burgundy hearse with classic white walls and gold leaf trim 18 months ago and thoughtfully designed every element from the concealed storage components to a state-of-the-art sound system for graveside services. "We were extremely pleased to have this historical tribute delivered in time for Black History Month. We are truly riding in history and style," says Battle.

J.C. Battle Funeral Home has been located at 543 Rockdale Ave. in Avondale since 1959. Today's J.C. Battle & Sons Funeral Home is operated by the third generation, J.C. Battle III and Lynwood Battle Jr. For more information, call 513.281.4330.

CCMS Has Your Continuing Education Needs Covered in 2016

The college's 2016 calendar can be seen on the right sidebar of this publication or viewed on our events page.
  • July 13 NFDA Certified Crematory Operator Training with Mike Nicodemus at CCMS
    7 CEUs available.
    Did you know 18 states now require certification? The list will continue to grow – why not get yours now? Certification is a distinction that sets you apart from others. Join us for a very informative program from 8am-4pm. Register here.
  • September 30 / October 1 OFDA Development seminar at CCMS
    CEUs and details are pending and will be posted to our events page when finalized.
  • November 4 British Institute of Embalmers Professional Development Seminar at CCMS
    6 CEUs pending approval.
    Speaker lineup is being developed – but we expect it will be a program you will not want to miss!

Thinking About Hiring a Student or Apprentice in 2016? Let Us Help You!

View our enrollment calendar for key dates through 2018!

Looking for a student employee?
New student orientation is Aug. 25. Prospective employers working in funeral homes are welcome to join us during orientation as a chance to meet new students. You can get a head start on finding a new student employee by submitting a student job posting on our job resources page.

Looking for an apprentice?
AAS graduates will become available in August.
BMS graduates will become available in December.
Post an apprentice job opening on our job resources page.



Ben Dollarhide Incorporates Funeral Service Training with the Calling to Priesthood

Ben is a third semester student at CCMS working toward fulfilling a two-part calling he recollects has existed since the third grade. He has always felt that he was called to be a Catholic priest, but later discovered the draw to funeral service. It was during his sophomore year of high school, after taking a personality/career test that he became enlightened to the thought of incorporating his calling to ministry with that of caring for those who are bereaved through becoming a funeral director. But, even then, funeral service was to be Ben’s “Plan B”, if he discerned that the priesthood wasn’t for him.

However, looking back, he notices that he has had a very special attraction to end of life and bereavement ministry. When Ben was in high school, he began volunteering his time at the Little Sisters of the Poor-Sacred Heart Home and Hospice of Northwest Ohio. At the Sacred Heart Home, he visited with and brought Holy Communion to the residents who were unable to attend Mass. At Hospice, he would devote his time simply sitting with terminal patients who had no one there to offer comfort and who were approaching the final stage of death. Sometimes he would speak with them, other times he would walk into the room, take their hand, not say a word, and silently pray for the individual and their family until they passed. Ben never wanted people to be alone in their suffering.

It was this desire that drove him to enter seminary for the Diocese of Toledo just after high school. After two and a half years, Ben realized the pull to funeral service was still in the back of his mind. Knowing that there were a great number of people supporting him in his discernment, he decided to take a Leave of Absence from seminary formation in order to fully explore his “Plan B”. It was soon after leaving formation that Ben realized his calling to ministry was more powerful than his pull to funeral service. Nonetheless, he decided to seize the opportunity and achieve his goal of obtaining the B.M.S. degree from CCMS.

Ben is currently in his third semester at CCMS, preparing for graduation with his classmates, where he will be awarded the A.A.S. degree. Then, he will continue on to receive the B.M.S. degree. Upon completion of the program, Ben will return to seminary formation and, God Willing, will one day be ordained a Catholic priest.

Looking back at his time at CCMS, Ben often reflects on the wonderful skills he has gained and how they will aid him in his ministry. He has learned how to enter into people’s lives and to provide pastoral care for them when they experience a loss. Whether that takes the form of guidance in the funeral planning process or actually ministering to the bereaved.

Ben looks forward to being a priest and being able to fully minister to people of all walks of life. Most importantly, with the freedom of the priesthood, he looks forward to being alone, so that those who are lonely and suffering will never have to be.


Student Council is in Full Swing Designing Class Tees

Each class comes together and gets creative through creating a t-shirt design that best represents their personality. Take a peek at the latest creative class t-shirt design!


Honor Guard Presents Military Funeral Honors Program to Students

Twice each year instructor Melissa Kloss, CFSP, offers Management II students the opportunity to learn first-hand the formal protocols of our military and USAF Honor Guard in the final disposition military honors of veterans. The dedicated men and women of the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Honor Guard take time to spend the afternoon speaking and interacting with the students. In addition, the Honor Guard aids in teaching the history and protocol of military honors that are instrumental knowledge of our future funeral service professionals in the final disposition of our nation’s veterans. The students also view proper flag-folding techniques and practice with the members of the Honor Guard.

Students learn the ins and outs of communicating with their Veteran Affairs Office and the resources available to the families they serve in honoring those who have served in the Armed Forces, including the filing of various documents including VA Forms 40-1330, 27-2008, 21-530 and 40-0247. In addition, the students are instructed how to perform these honors (in the absence of an Honor Guard) and also how to properly fold and display the American flag according to the family’s service preference. This is not only a required component of the course, but it is also a very unique and industry-specific way to network within the Veteran community.

“This is truly an invaluable exercise for our students. Veterans all have a face and a name and should be honored in their communities by funeral professionals who may not always be aware of resources available to them, or how to connect with them. This is, very simply put, another facet in the continuum of care for families that CCMS instills in our students” said Melissa Kloss.

On behalf of the entire college, we extend our sincere thanks to the following men and women of the Honor Guard for your visit to CCMS in May and for your overall commitment to student learning:
  • TSgt Keith Watson
  • TSgt Shawn McKellop (CCMS Alum)
  • SrA Nyree Plaza
  • SrA Andrae Manuel

Students Attended OFDA Feature Seminar with 'Little Miss Funeral' Lauren LeRoy

Students were invited to attend the OFDA 136th annual convention feature seminar “A Talk with Little Miss Funeral” (Lauren K. LeRoy), a seminar aimed at young professionals including mortuary students, apprentices, and young funeral directors. Lauren K. LeRoy spoke on her personal experiences as a “young female funeral director” discussing the trials and tribulations young funeral professionals are faced with during their first five years. With examples from Lauren’s own career and advice on how to overcome these obstacles, she also spoke about what can be gained from a career in funeral service and why being a funeral director is the best decision she’s ever made.

Lauren is a licensed funeral director in New York State. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Lauren began blogging under her pseudonym “Little Miss Funeral.” She has written for and been featured in numerous funeral publications including funeralOne, ASD and most recently, the BBC.

The Little Miss Funeral seminar was generously sponsored by Swigart-Easterling Funeral Home, Inc.Transportation, food and beverages for students provided by American Coach, Messenger and Cincinnati Equitable Life Insurance Company, OFDA District 1, OFDA District 16, CCMS and PIMS.



Richard 'Dick' Fox, 1966 Alumnus, Visits CCMS

Richard Fox, 1966 alumnus and
Jack E. Lechner, Jr. President

It is not every day we have an RV roll up into our campus lot, but this certainly was a welcome visit! 1966 alumnus, Richard "Dick" Fox, made a special stop along his five-month excursion cross country to visit his alma mater.

Alumni Relations Director Beth Williams was privileged to greet Mr. Fox during his first visit to our campus at W. North Bend Rd. At the time of his attendance in 1965-66, the college was located on Reading Rd. and under the leadership of Charles Dhonau. He shared a bit of history about the Reading Rd. days and his great experience with Cincinnati College of Embalming, which was renamed Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science just following his graduate year in 1966. After graduating, Mr. Fox earned his New York funeral director's license and purchased the family business from his father, also a CCE alumnus. He continued to own and operate the family business for the next 30 years. He has since sold the business, but remains active in different professional organizations and as a member of the SCI scholarship judging committee (which he encourages more CCMS students to apply for!)

He and his wife, who lived in Florida, had made plans to enjoy their retirement traveling the United States. Sadly, his wife fell ill and he remained steadfast at her side during those difficult final months until her death 18 months ago. Through his grieving process, he is finding comfort in honoring the plans he and she had made to travel across the country.

Mr. Fox, a retired Army captain, is a soft-spoken, genuine, engaging man whose brief visit to CCMS has left us with a genuine feeling of respect and friendship. We have asked him to keep us updated on his journey so we can share "Part II" in the September issue, mapping his journey. We wish Mr. Fox safe travels and healing along this venture.

"The level of respect we possess for our alumni and service professionals never tops out! Maybe it's that we share a passion for the calling, maybe it's that CCMS attracts men and women of true, humble character. Either way, it is always exciting to connect with a piece of the college's history," says Beth Williams, Alumni Relations Director.

CCMS Connects with Its Distinguished Alumni During OFDA Convention

It was a pleasure to see college alumni during convention week at the CCMS exhibitor booth. Thank you to those who took the time to stop by! This was a great opportunity for President Jack Lechner to connect with alumni, whether at the CCMS booth or while walking the exhibit floor.

Thank you to the below faculty, staff, and alumni volunteers who joined Mr. Lechner to make the CCMS exhibitor booth fun and successful. Each enjoyed connecting with so many alumni and business colleagues.
  • Melissa Kloss, Instructor/Clinical Faculty
  • Beth Williams, Alumni Relations Director
  • Dr. Blanche Kabengele, Admissions Director
  • Rusty Williams, Alumnus 1992
  • Ashley Thacker, Alumna 2015


"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."A.A. Milne

The CCMS family exists indefinitely, making it always difficult to say goodbye. We share in the grief, paying tribute to the life of those we have lost. We share the death announcements which have recently been reported to CCMS.

Cooke, Frederick “Freddie” N., 1951 alumnus, of Nitro, WV passed away Saturday, May 7, 2016 at CAMC Memorial Hospital at age 86. After graduating from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1951 he became a licensed funeral director and embalmer and continued to work in the family business, Cooke Funeral Homes in Nitro and Cedar Grove, WV. He was a past president of the WV Funeral Directors Association and member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Freddie was preceded in death by his wife Wilma, parents Fred and Lillian, and his brother Brent. He is survived by his daughter Dorothea of Denver, CO, brother Roger A. Cooke of Nitro, and sister Cheryle Painter. A Celebration of Life was held May 13, 2016 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church with Rev. Mark Smith officiating. Burial in Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans. Memorial contributions to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, PO Box 278, Nitro, WV 25143. Cooke Funeral Home and Crematorium is in charge of arrangements and you may express on-line condolences at www.cookefuneralhome.com.

Henson, “Charlie” Charles David, 1962 alumnus and U.S. Army Veteran, of Huntington, W.Va. passed away on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at age 79. He was the founder of Henson & Kitchen Mortuary, established 1972. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Loretta Sue Cottrell Henson in 2002. He was a graduate of Marshall University and the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He became a licensed funeral director and embalmer in 1962 and practices for 54 years serving the Huntington, Barboursville and Milton areas. He was an avid Marshall University Football, Basketball and a Cincinnati Reds Baseball fan. He was a member of The West Virginia Funeral Directors Association and the National Funeral Directors Association as well as a member of Lewis Memorial Baptist Church and previously Barboursville Baptist Church. He was one of the original donors making the Emogene Dolin Jones Hospice House in Huntington, W.Va. possible by providing a room dedicated in honor of his late wife, Loretta Henson. He was a member of Minerva Lodge #13 AF & AM Masonic Lodge, Barboursville Lions Club and supported many community events including golf tournaments and youth. . He is survived by his children, Amy Henson Smith and David Henson; his sister, Dorothy Jean Henson Strader: and his dear friend “Becky”. Services were held May 18, 2016 at Lewis Memorial Baptist Church followed by entombment in Ridgelawn Memorial Park, Huntington, W.Va. Memorials were requested in Charlie’s honor to Hospice of Huntington. Online condolences and memories may be shared with the family by visiting www.hensonandkitchen.com.


Thank you to the following visitors, volunteers, and donors for your time and student mentorship!


Mike Gedert, Cincinnati Equitable and Disaster Response Team
David Hicks, Pierce Chemical Company
David Kolbe, Messenger
Randy Schoedinger, Schoedinger Funeral Homes
Paul Bauman, Champion Company (along with his lovely wife)

Kayla Craig, 2014 alumna
Erika Furey, 2014 alumna
Josh Martin, 2014 alumnus
Eli Mullins, 2015 alumnus
Kyle Kight, 2015 alumnus

Leigh Matchison, 2016 alumna, joined Restorative Art Lab adjunct Beth Williams as a guest instructor.


OFDA Exhibitor Booth Volunteers
Thank you to the following for your time and support volunteering at the CCMS exhibitor booth during OFDA Convention in Columbus. We appreciate your commitment in representing your alma mater during this annual event!
  • Ashley Thacker, 2016 alumna
  • Rusty Williams, 1992 alumni
Open House Panel
Thank you to our wonderful student mentor volunteers for making the June open house a success! We appreciate your commitment and willingness to spend your evening greeting visitors and sharing your knowledge and CCMS experience during the Q&A session!

Bob Brehm
Angie Carter
Jessica Cornist
Jacob Eldridge
Kyle Eveland
Teresa Givan
Quinaia Kellogg
Samantha Lambert
Timothy Moquin
Laura Shadoan
Melissa Spears


Cincinnati Equitable (Mike Gedert) donated 100% of the CE registration fees to the Cincinnati Foundation for Mortuary Education. Thank you for your effort and loyal support to the foundation.

Ebony Jackson, 2016 alumna, donated a professional wardrobe to students and to capstone.

Anonymous Alumnus donated two dozen heavy duty head blocks to the clinical lab.

Greater Cincinnati Funeral Service Association made a financial donation to the clinical lab.

Frank Rosenacker, Board Chair and 1973 alumnus, made a financial donation to the foundation.

Gwen Mooney Funeral Home donated embalming fluids to the clinical lab.

Mike Ryan, Board Vice-Chair and alumnus, donated a vehicle to the college.

Returning Foundation Members - Thank you to the many returning members who support the foundation and college through annual membership dues.

New Foundation Members - A special welcome to the newest members Bert Haskell and Ryan Summers - thank you for your support through membership!

What's In This Issue?

New Beginnings!

Retirement of Longtime Chair, John Gay
Foundation for Annual Meeting
Notes from the Business Office
Open House!

Amanda Jones Receives OEA Scholarship
Kyle Eveland Receives Scholarship & Awards
2016 Alumna Recognized for Her Artistic Talent

Remembering Charles O. Dhonau
Historical Casket Shipping Container Donated
A Visit From Puerto Rico
Tomes From The Tomb

President Lechner Relocates to Cincinnati
Shop CCMS Online Store
Publications Featuring CCMS
Thank You For Your Feedback


Erika Furey Joins Schoedinger Team
Schildmeyer Unveils Monument to Service
J.C. Battle & Sons Honors Heritage
CCMS Has Continuing Ed Need Covered
Thinking About Hiring in 2016? Let Us Help


Ben Dollarhide Brings Priesthood to CCMS

Student Council Designing Class Tees

Military Funeral Honors Program
Students Attend 'Little Miss Funeral' Seminar


Dick Fox Visits CCMS
CCMS Connects Alumni at OFDA

In Loving Memory

Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science
Board of Trustees
CCMS Staff
CCMS Faculty
Adjunct Faculty
Accreditation Statements
Job Classifieds
2016 CCMS Calendar

Board of Trustees
Frank Rosenacker – Chair (2016)
Mike Ryan – Vice Chair (2016)
Bill Smith – Treasurer (2016)
Jan Borgman – Secretary
Duane Hedrick
Tim King
Arlene Lawrence
Mark Merz
Bill Peoples
Kathleen Shaffer
Dennis Stanley
Nicole Wiedeman
Leadership and Staff
Jack E. Lechner, Jr.
Jack E. Lechner, Jr.
Dr. Blanche Kabengele
Dr. Blanche Kabengele
Admissions Director & Registrar
Leslie Boehm
Leslie Boehm
Business Manager
Pamela Donlon
Pam Donlon
Articulation Specialist
Molly Jones
Molly Jones
Director of Library
& IT
Beth Williams
Beth Williams
Assistant to President & Alumni Relations
Teresa Dutko
Teresa Dutko
Academic Chair
Wanda Lee
Wanda Lee
Clinical Director
Melissa Kloss
Melissa Kloss
John Vinnedge
John Vinnedge
Adjunct Faculty
(not pictured)
Robert Campbell
Adam Dwyer
Senta Folds
Mike Gedert
Joe Getts
Keith Hughes, PhD.
Mark Ivey
Pete Minges
Martin Molony
Holly Sauerbrunn
Tim Schmidt
Robert Shank
Accreditation Statements
The Mortuary Science degree programs at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science are accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), 3414 Ashland Avenue, Suite G, St. Joseph, Missouri 64506 (816) 233-3747. Web: www.abfse.org.
The Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500 , Chicago, IL 60604 (800) 621-7440 Web: www.hlcommission.org

Job Classifieds
Visit the CCMS Professionals page of our site to Search and Post Jobs, it's that easy!

Search job openings

Post a job opening

2016 Calendar
Jan. 1: Holiday Closure
Jan. 7: New Student Orientation
Jan. 11: Spring semester starts
Jan. 18: Holiday Closure


MARCH 2016
Mar 28-Apr 1: Spring Break

APRIL 2016
Apr 4: Classes Resume
Apr 29: Term Ends

MAY 2016
May 9: Term Starts
May 25: On-Site Con. Ed. (tbd)
May 30: Holiday Closure

JUNE 2016
June 16: Open House
June 21: On-Site GCFSA OSHA Con.Ed.

JULY 2016
July 4: Holiday Closure
July 13: On-Site NFDA CCO Con. Ed.

Aug 12: Term Ends
Aug 13: Commencement (@ St. Xavier)
Aug 25: New Student Orientation
Aug 29: Term Start

Sept 5: Holiday Closure
Sept 30/Oct 1: On-Site OFDA Con.Ed. (tbd)

Oct 8: Open House
Oct 31: Student Co-op Begins

Nov 4: On-Site BIE Con.Ed. (tbd)
Nov 21-25: Fall Break
Nov 23-25: Holiday Closure
Nov 28: Classes Resume

Dec 16: Term Ends
Dec 17: Commencement (@ CCMS)

Mortuary Science Minutes

Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science
645 West North Bend Rd
Cincinnati, Ohio 45224

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