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Mortuary Science Minutes
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Graduates — Fall 2014 Semester Cohort
Front row: Shirley Wagner, Cristy Long, Ranée Martin
Middle: Bailey McGill, Marlys McGuire, Anabel Gilbert, Allison Slipsky, Denice Portillo, Kelsey Katsanis
Back: Noah Schlabach, Erika Collaros, Ted Tucker
Fall 2014 Commencement Ceremony for CCMS' first-ever semester cohort

CCMS celebrated the commencement of the first semester cohort ever in the College's 132 year history on Saturday, Dec. 13. The transition from quarter academic structure to semesters occurred over the past year, with these graduates being the first to complete the restructured AAS semester curriculum.

Commencement exercises were held in the CCMS Theater Auditorium. Twelve graduates, along with their families and friends, were welcomed to a formal, yet intimate ceremony to recognize the accomplishments of the Associate of Applied Science candidates. Leading the ceremony was Mr. John Gay, Chairperson of The Cincinnati Foundation for Mortuary Education Board of Trustees. We were privileged to also welcome the Rev. Dr. Clarence Glover as commencement speaker, who delivered a heartfelt and inspirational message of "Where we've been, where we are, and where we are going." The message was well-received and a necessary reminder that we, as funeral professionals, are leaders who must never cease to learn. It is through active listening, the desire to continue our learning and the willingness to compromise that we progress as well rounded, productive, inspirational individuals. CCMS presented The Rev. Dr. Glover with an award for his overall contributions.

The Commission of the Funeral Service Practitioner was administered by CCMS faculty member John Vinnedge, and the graduates were presented by CCMS faculty member Teresa Dutko. Candidates to receive the Associate of Applied Science are:

Collaros, Erika of Steubenville, Ohio
Gilbert, Anabel of Clinton, Michigan (Class President)
Katsanis, Kelsey of Batavia, Ohio (Class Representative)
Long, Cristy of Cincinnati, Ohio
Martin, Ranée of Cincinnati, Ohio
McGill, Bailey of Urbana, Ohio (Class Secretary/Treasurer)
McGuire, Marlys of Wheatland, Wyoming
Portillo, Denice of Fontana, California (Class Representative)
Schlabach, Noah of Shreve, Ohio
Slipsky, Allison of Dublin, Ohio (Class Vice President)
Tucker, Ted of Sylvania, Ohio
Wagner, Shirley of Bryan, Ohio

Half of the graduates will continue on to complete the Bachelor of Mortuary Science Diploma in 2015 and participate in the final semester Co-Op Program working in funeral homes and receiving mentorship from exceptional, licensed funeral professionals. These licensed professionals volunteer their time as preceptors in support of this program and overall excellence in learning.

Announcing Open House dates for 2015

CCMS will open its campus for three Open House dates in 2015 where prospective students and their families are invited to visit with college faculty, staff, and current students. Open Houses are always open to Alumni and are the only time throughout the year where we can guarantee tours of the campus clinical laboratory environment to prospective students.

To speak with us about Open House, please contact Pam Donlon at (513) 618-1927 or click here.

You may register to attend Open House by clicking on the preferred date below and providing your name and preferred contact phone:

Saturday, March 7, 10 a.m. - Noon
Thursday, June 25, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m. - Noon

A funeral director's impact on a mother's grief: A tribute to the National Day of Remembrance for murder victims
By: Shirley Wagner, Fall 2014 Graduate

I had the privilege to introduce the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims on the CCMS campus on Sept. 25. I was supplied with a display of pamphlets and literature, a remembrance candle and cookies to share with everyone on campus to shine light upon this day when we, together as a nation, can come together in remembrance of those taken from us suddenly and tragically by the hands of another. It was a privilege to shed light upon this day as a tribute dedicated to the memory of those who have fallen victim to murder. How I came to learn of this tribute is an interesting story, as well as a respectful recognition of how our commitment to service as funeral directors can have an impact so much greater than we may ever recognize. This is a story of two mothers who intersect in life, but end up connecting in a way neither expected.

One of those mothers is me, mom to three young children and recent CCMS graduate. The other mother, Donna Heid, was the teacher to my preschool aged son. What we naturally share in common is the beauty of motherhood. What we did not naturally share in common was the grief and loss of losing a child to murder. Donna Heid, suddenly and tragically lost her 22-year-old son, Paul Matthew Heid, to the hands of another in 2004. Paul was shot to death by a stranger who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia while working at a local department store.

In telling me her story, Donna explained to me, with tears in her eyes, how compassionate the funeral director was who took care of her family during her son's final arrangements. He had prepared her for the possibility that she may not have the opportunity to see her son in his normal recognizable state due to the trauma he had suffered. As difficult as that was to hear, he maintained an empathetic honesty with her. The thought of not seeing her son one final time made it that much more impossible to grasp the reality that he was gone, a reality the funeral director understood. Because of the extraordinary care and efforts of the funeral director, Donna was given the gift of seeing her son one last time.

Not only did the funeral director restore her son to a recognizable state, he was viewable for public visitation so that his friends could have the closure they needed through viewing. He had given Donna the gift of sitting next to her son, looking at his face one last time. He gave her the gift of "a little more time" to say her goodbyes in her own way, in her own time. To her, Paul looked so similar to the way he would have looked any other day. She said it appeared as if the trauma he endured during the final moments of his life were not evident to her. She was left with a peaceful visual memory of her child in death. Donna's ability to view her son one last time heavily and positively impacted how she processed and subsequently grieved his sudden death. The gift given by a caring funeral director was not one that could be measured.

In fact, it was an immeasurable gift.

Having never given much thought to what a funeral director does, she had never considered that one day she would hand her son over helplessly to the care of one. As a result, she is forever grateful and appreciative of the services funeral directors provide to grieving families.

When I initially chose a career as a mortician and decided to attend the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, my main motivation was to help grieving families. It has always been my goal to care for, guide and aid the recently bereaved. However, as I am going through the program and trying to learn the rules and regulations to become a licensed funeral director and embalmer, it has become obvious to me how easily one can lose sight of the personal impact that we can have on the families we serve. Tests, quizzes, seminars, deadlines and projects can draw any student's attention away from the most important reason why we do what we do. I can easily understand how a funeral director can get lost in "the daily grind" of scheduling, meeting with families, and other daily tasks, causing them to unknowingly lose sight of what their efforts accomplish in the lives of the families they serve. Ms. Heid told me that she was so happy that there were people in the world like me that could be involved in the funeral business. She has always been extremely supportive and motivating to me during this rigorous program, which is why I felt the need give back and support Donna and the memory of her son.

The National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims is Sept. 25 of every year. Ms. Heid is a strong advocate for this day of remembrance, and is part of a support group called "Parents of Murdered Children." She does not want any families that have suffered from this kind of loss to feel alone. To help Donna get the word out about the support group that meets in Mason, Ohio, please see Beth Williams at the front desk, who will direct you to the handouts that you may distribute to local funeral homes as a resource to further help those whom we serve.

Restorative arts lab in need of donated items (old or new)

With each class, there are those who would benefit immensely from having certain items available to them as they complete the finishing touches on their restorative art wax armatures. If you have extra accessory items such as wigs and eyeglasses piling up or that you are looking to get rid of, please consider donating them to our students in restorative arts!

Contact CCMS Faculty Wanda Lee at wlee@ccms.edu or mail donations to CCMS, 645 W. North Bend Rd., Cincinnati, Ohio, 45224.

Graduates display excellence in restorative arts

Historically, CCMS Students have proven to excel in their restorative art abilities. Some students begin their curriculum as having what could be coined "natural ability," whereas others begin having no experience or "natural ability" whatsoever. Students who may lack artistic experience have proven to build the necessary confidence along the way that is reflected in the completed projects. Through instruction, technique training, and individual growth, the efforts of each class consistently results in outstanding overall workmanship. The following people have been chosen to have their projects displayed in the entryway showcase (in alphabetical order):

Marlys McGuire:Liam Neeson, Irish actor
Anabel Gilbert:Stan Lee, comic writer and co-creator of Spider Man
Ted Tucker:Mike Tyson, American professional boxer
Bailey McGill:Jonathan Goldsmith, actor

The likeness of Liam Neeson, actor
The likeness of Jonathan Goldsmith, actor
The likeness of Mike Tyson, professional boxer / The likeness of Stan Lee, writer

To see more student armature project images and read an interesting article about what mortuary science students do, visit the Confessions of a Funeral Director link here:


Tomes from the tomb
Featured CCMS Library Books

Contributor: Molly Jones, Library Director
  • The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses by Paul Koudounaris 2011, Thames & Hudson
    Art historian Paul Koudounaris researched and photographed roughly seventy ossuaries on four continents for this unique history of “bone houses.” From the Catacombs of Paris to the famed Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic, charnel houses are indicative of a mindset very different from the modern one, one in which communication between the living and the dead was an integral part of human existence. Empire has gained a cult following since its publication in 2011, and rightly so, as it is an "essential memento mori for our modern age." An online supplement to the book can be found at http://empiredelamort.com/.

  • Stories in the Grove by Phillip Nuxhall, 2014, Orange Frazer Press
    Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum in Cincinnati is the second largest cemetery in the United States and arguably one of the most beautiful. In Stories, Nuxhall relates the little-known narratives about the people buried within its grounds. Learn about the woman who was buried like an Egyptian, where Superman was buried, and why Spring Grove is possibly the only cemetery that is not haunted. Stories is Nuxhall's follow-up to his successful photography book Beauty in the Grove: Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum.

Licensees, save the date!

CCMS will host The Dodge Company technical seminar on campus April 15-16, 2015. Seminar and con ed details will be available in January and can be found at both www.dodgeco.com and www.ccms.edu. Don't miss it!

Safe handling of Ebola for hospitals and mortuaries — A CDC resource link

Ebola is a frightening thing and we should be prepared before presented with a case. The CDC offers guidance in safe handling procedures through the link below:


Thank you to everyone who is helping to support Molly Jones in her breast cancer treatment

CCMS Library Director Molly Jones' recent diagnosis with aggressive breast cancer was shocking to say the least. A young woman in seemingly perfect health had her world flipped upside down after finding a small lump in her breast. A couple weeks following diagnosis, Molly under went mastectomy surgery and began chemotherapy. Thankfully, her diligence in seeking treatment for a small lump resulted in early detection. Because of that, she is doing well. She hasn't lost one ounce of her humor! Molly's experience is an eye-opener for all women ... and for the men who love them!

Each of us, Molly included, is humbled at the support received from our students, funeral professionals and local businesses. It is difficult to find the words to express how thankful we are for both the emotional and financial support!

It is this support that has helped us achieve the first part of our goal to raise money through benefit events to assist in covering Molly's current year medical deductible expense. We now embark on part two of our goal where we hope to raise enough to assist with the impending year's medical deductible and other out of pocket expenses which will be incurred through an additional surgery and further chemotherapy treatments.

Molly is continuing to work despite the challenges and fatigue she is facing ... and doing so with optimism! Anyone interested in offering support or donation, please contact Leslie Boehm at lboehm@ccms.edu or consider purchasing Molly's "Stop the war on her rack" benefit tee for $20 (or any amount desired) will certainly be of great help as we work towards our goal for our Molly girl!

Coming early 2015 — CCMS' new website!

CCMS is working with Cincinnati-based U.S. Digital Partners to create an all-new website! CCMS staff, faculty and board are excited about the new website as it will greatly improve the user experience and content, making key tasks easier to accomplish. For example:
  • Funeral homes will be able to post apprenticeships and licensee jobs
  • Students will be able to search for apprenticeships and licensee jobs
  • Potential students will be treated to our interactive admissions process and virtual tour
  • Improved Alumni services
  • Continuing education resources for licensees
  • Consumer resources for the public

5 ways funeral directors help others during the holidays

In our society, we sometimes forget that "the most wonderful time of the year" can be an extremely painful time for others. Whether grieving over the loss of a loved one, spending Christmas serving overseas, or trying to make ends meet, many people struggle to get through the holidays. Funeral Directors understand that for a lot of people, Christmas can be a difficult event. Understanding that families need support, many funeral directors search for ways to give back to others during this time of year.


Introducing our new peer tutor & library assistant!

Chelsea Force is CCMS's newly hired peer student tutor/library assistant. An Arizona native, Chelsea enrolled in CCMS this past August, and has already proven herself to be hardworking and reliable, with a great sense of humor. As a tutor, Chelsea's goal is to help her fellow students achieve their academic goals through better understanding of class material, assistance with assignments and exam preparation. She is currently organizing a jeopardy-style study session to host next semester.

As the library assistant, Chelsea assists the Director of Library & IT, Molly Jones, with whatever tasks are needed. Molly notes that Chelsea is excellent with technology, often helping students with computer and printer issues, and that she has a natural love of libraries.

Chelsea earned a 4.0 GPA her first term at CCMS and will begin her second term in January 2015. We are so happy to have her as a student and as a student employee!

What's In This Issue?

Staff & Students

Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science
Board of Trustees
John Gay – Chair
David Kolbe – Vice Chair
Frank Rosenacker – Treasurer
Jan Borgman – Secretary
Duane Hedrick – Trustee
Tim King – Trustee
Arlene Lawrence - Trustee
Mark Merz – Trustee
Bill Peoples – Trustee
Mike Ryan – Trustee
Kathy Shaffer – Trustee
Bill Smith – Trustee
Dennis Stanley - Trustee
Nicole Wiedeman – Trustee
CCMS Staff
Visit www.ccms.edu for Staff Bios
Gene Kramer
Gene Kramer
Leslie Boehm
Leslie Boehm
Bursar/Business Manager
Dr. Blanche Kabengele
Dr. Blanche Kabengele
Admissions Director/Registrar
Beth Williams
Beth Williams
Administration Coordinator &
Student/Alumni Relations
Molly Jones
Molly Jones
Director of Library &
Information Technology
Pamela Donlon
Pamela Donlon
Enrollment Coordinator
CCMS Faculty
Visit www.ccms.edu for Staff Bios
Teresa Dutko
Teresa Dutko
Wanda Lee
Wanda Lee
Faculty/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
Adam Kallmeyer, PhD.
Martin Molony
Holly Sauerbrunn
Tim Schmidt
Robert Shank

Fall 2014 Graduate Latin Honors
CCMS is proud to recognize the following graduates for academic achievement as Latin Honor Recipients:
Summa Cum Laude:
Anabel Gilbert
Bailey McGill
Denice Portillo

Magna Cum Laude:
Erika Collaros
Ted Tucker

Cum Laude:
Kelsey Katsanis
Noah Schlabach
Shirley Wagner

Fall 2014 Graduate Awards
Special recognition is given to members of the graduating class who have demonstrated outstanding characteristics of motivation, aptitude, skill, and commitment.
In recognition of elected class President for vigilance in representing the class and volunteering.

Anabel Gilbert

In recognition of overall highest scholastic standing and exemplary student citizenship.

Anabel Gilbert

In recognition of overall second highest scholastic standing and exemplary student citizenship.

Denice Portillo

In recognition of outstanding achievement in the combined theory and practice of embalming.

Bailey McGill

In recognition of outstanding achievement in the combined theory and practice of embalming.

Ted Tucker

In recognition of outstanding achievement in the practice of embalming.

Noah Schlabach

In recognition of exceptional advancement in the art of embalming.

Denice Portillo

In recognition of your support to academic excellence and overall achievement of the student body.

Anabel Gilbert

In recognition of administrative support and contribution to the college's daily operations.

Bailey McGill

In recognition of your dedicated service to the clinical program.

Anabel Gilbert and Shirley Wagner

In recognition of scholastic achievement and potential for outstanding business and management skills.

Denice Portillo

In recognition of outstanding achievement in the combined theory and practice of restorative art.

Ted Tucker

In recognition of outstanding artistic competence in Restorative Art.

Marlys McGuire

In recognition of outstanding potential for excellence in ethical and compassionate service, community relations and personal and professional development in accordance with the highest standards of funeral service practice.

Ted Tucker

In recognition of student display of exemplary leadership qualities and abilities.

Anabel Gilbert

Mortuary Sciences Monthly

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

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