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Meet the Experts

 

C. Jan Borgman
Yvonne Butler Clark

Jerrit Clayton
Stephen Dawson
Donald Douthit

Lance Larkin
Regina Lee
Steve Moeller
Karen E. Nilsen
Jon Roeder
  David Rush Shirley
Jack Springer
Kevin Stockham
Kelly Unruh
Sherry L. Williams
 

C. Jan Borgman

C. Jan Borgman, MSW, CGC, a certified grief counselor, has 20 years experience as a social worker and as a manager. As the coordinator of the Grief and Bereavement Institute, a program of Cancer Family Care, Jan has made over 75 presentations to community agencies, church groups, senior centers, and professional organizations.

In addition, she has been a featured speaker at the National Association of Death Education and Counselors conference, and at the Association of Oncology Social Workers in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Jan has her Master's Degree in social work from the University of Kentucky, and her undergraduate degree is also in social work. She is a certified grief counselor, licensed social worker, a member of LEAD Clermont Leadership Development, and an advanced toastmaster of Toastmaster's International.

Yvonne Butler Clark

Yvonne Butler Clark is the author of the It's Okay to Cry Guide Through Grief, a book and workbook designed to help children cope with their grief when they lose a loved one. When her two sons were 14 and 18, their father died, and Yvonne found only limited grief counseling resources through school counseling, literature, or religious ministries. Her younger son's struggles prompted her to return to college and earn her master's degree in counseling.

Her focus is helping parents help their children through their grief at the loss of any special person in their lives. Yvonne's book is excerpted on this site in the grief support section, and information on how to order the It's Okay to Cry set is also available here.

Funeral Planning Ask the Experts Panelist Jerrit Clayton
 

Jerrit Clayton

Jerrit Clayton, C.F.S.P., is Executive Vice President of Operations for Flanner & Buchanan Mortuaries and Cemeteries in Indianapolis, Indiana. He started his career in funeral service at age 15, working for McLanahan Funeral Home in Jasonville, Indiana.

After graduation from high school, he served his apprenticeship with Flummerfelt Funeral Home in Vincennes, Indiana and Bedino Chapels of Terre Haute, Indiana.

Mr. Clayton graduated from the Indiana College of Mortuary Science in 1966, and he worked as a student for the Usher Funeral Home. He then returned to Terre Haute, Indiana to attend Indiana State University and work as an embalmer for the Patrick J. Ryan Funeral Home.

In 1968, he joined Flanner & Buchanan Mortuaries as an embalmer and became a funeral director in 1970. In 1974, he became Manager of the Flanner & Buchanan Zionsville Mortuary, and then, in 1993, was appointed to his current position as Executive Vice President.

Stephen Dawson

Stephen is a sixth generation Franklin Parker. A 1977 graduate of East Leyden High School, Stephen went on to receive a B.A. from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois and graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 1982.

Stephen is President of Sax-Tiedemann Funeral Home and manages it with the help of his wife Tammi.

  Funeral Planning Ask the Experts Panelist Steve Dawson,  Professional Funeral Director

Stephen is currently President of the Funeral Directors Services Association of Greater Chicago, the Past President of the St. Paul's United Church of Christ Church Council, and a Thunder Soccer Coach. He is a member of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association, The Funeral Directors Services Association of Greater Chicago, and the National Funeral Directors Association.

 

Donald Douthit

Donald E. Douthit is President / Chief Executive Officer of Douthit Research Group, Inc. and serves as principal investigator and project manager on consulting assignments for attorneys, government, legal agencies and law-enforcement agencies, performs forensic research and serves as an expert witness in legal proceedings. Mr. Douthit is recognized nationally and internationally for his clinical expertise in forensic mortuary science investigations as well as expert knowledge of "gold standard of care" related to post-mortem care.

Mr. Douthit also serves as Director of Education and Program Development for the Ohio Valley Tissue and Skin Center in Cincinnati, a non-profit medical service tissue bank which supplies transplantable tissue to physicians, hospitals, and dentists throughout the country, and is closely affiliated with the Shriners Burn Hospital for Children, and the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati.

Mr. Douthit has 25 years experience in the field of mortuary science. For 17 years he held the position of Director of Research and full-time faculty of the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, working with researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institutes of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Mr. Douthit has developed over 25 educational programs, published over 40 articles in professional journals, performed over 250 lectures, and has served on American Association of Tissue Banks Musculoskeletal Committee, National Funeral Directors Association Infectious Disease Task Force, Ohio Funeral Directors Association Environmental Impact Committee, and the National Funeral Directors Association Government and Environmental Impact Committee. Mr. Douthit has served as the Scientific Advisor to the Cremation Association of North America for the past 10 years.

Mr. Douthit holds a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science degrees from Xavier University in Cincinnati, and a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.

 

Lance Larkin

Lance C. Larkin is Vice-President of Larkin Mortuary founded in 1885 by his great-grandfather. Lance graduated from the college of business at the University of Utah in 1979 in finance and accounting. The sixth generation of the Larkin family is currently employed in the family-owned floral shop.

Lance has been instrumental in developing a complete vertical integration in the death care industry for his family. He oversees 100 acres of cemetery properties, two mausoleums, a vault and headstone manufacturing company (Doric), a full service floral shop and three funeral homes.

Larkin retains over 100 employees in all of their businesses. They are currently developing a new 17,500 square foot funeral home on the Larkin Sunset Gardens cemetery along with a 3,000 square foot floral cottage.

Larkin has successfully developed the Larkin Senior's Club which provides their families with opportunity for after-care programs along with opportunities to socialize and travel with other members of the club. The club has had two very successful cruises, one to the California Baja, another one to the Carribean. A trip is planned to Branson, Missouri in December.

Regina Lee, Whole Body Donation author and Ask the Experts funeral planning panelist  

Regina Lee

Regina Lee (pen name), a freelance writer, is a former adult educator from Washington State University’s Cooperative Extension Service and the author of Anatomical Gift Whole Body Donation Guide.

As an adult educator, many of Ms. Lee’s programs concerned death and dying consumer topics for senior audiences, and their rights and responsibilities in the marketplace.

Having experienced the death of both parents as well as a daughter, and having conducted hundreds of hours of research in the death care industry, Ms. Lee feels she has a message to share with those in need of information about whole body donation or traditional funerals. For more information, please visit the Whole Body Donation website.

Steve Moeller

Steve Moeller is Director of Community Services and the Grief Recovery Outreach Program at Floral Haven Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. He is also the Mid-West Coordinator for The Grief Recovery Institute in California and travels around the country teaching people how to effectively set up and operate Grief Recovery programs.

 

Steve began working at a funeral home in 1975 while a journalism graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He discovered that working with people after a death was very emotionally satisfying, and attended mortuary school and become a licensed funeral director.

The need that he saw for aftercare led him to seek additional training in grief recovery. He has been leading grief recovery workshops for the last 18 years and has worked with thousands of grievers over that period of time. Steve has used the same
tools that he teaches in his program to recover from the deaths of his parents and many close friends over the years.

Steve joined Floral Haven in 1989 and assisted in designing their new funeral home. He served as manager until 2000 when he was promoted to the newly created position in community services. He serves in a variety of community organizations and is a member of the Oklahoma Funeral Directors Association, the National Funeral Directors Association and the Cremation Association of North America.


Karen E. Nilsen

Karen Nilsen is a registered nurse married to a funeral director. She developed the STAR class and has been teaching it at the Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel in Richfield, Minnesota for the past three years.

Parents, grandparents, clergy, and the staff, of the STAR class have lauded this program for children.

 

Children's Grief Expert Karen E. Nilsen

For more information about the STAR program you can contact Karen at: Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel, 6527 Portland Avenue South, Richfield, MN 55423 or call (612) 869-3226. Inquiries can also be made via e-mail.

 

Jon Roeder of Roeder Mortuary, Ask the Funeral Planning Experts panelist

 

Jon Roeder

Jon Roeder is a third generation funeral director at Roeder Mortuary, which has been locally family-owned since 1912.

Roeder Mortuary now serves Omaha, Nebraska from two locations.

In addition to being a licensed funeral director, Jon has a C.N.E., has done programming for small companies and teaches classes on Grief and Death and Dying at three of the local high schools.

Jon went to Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, NE and to the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science in Dallas, TX. He has served on the Omaha Funeral Directors Association and Nebraska Funeral Directors Association.

His hobbies (when time permits) include skiing, scuba diving, and building websites. You can learn more about the Roeder Mortuary on their website.

David Rush Shirley

David Rush Shirley is a fourth-generation funeral director with Shirley Brothers Mortuary and Crematory, a 102-year-old family-held firm with seven locations in central Indiana.

In addition to working with families in making and overseeing funeral arrangements, David is an advisor to independently-owned funeral service providers and holds a State of Indiana Embalmers and Funeral Directors License.

 

Professional Funeral Director and Ask the Experts Panelist David Rush Shirley of Shirley Brothers Mortuary and Crematory

David is active in the community, serving on the Marion County Commission on Youth Board and as a mentor in the Indiana University Good Friends program; he's also the former president of the Marion County Funeral Director's Association and the Castleton Optimist Club, and has served on the Indianapolis Zoning Board of Appeals, the Indianapolis Department of Transportation Board, and the Warren Township Arts and Education Foundation Board.

He holds a degree in communications from Indiana University and a degree from the Mid-America College of Mortuary Science.

Learn more about David and the Shirley Brothers Mortuary and Crematory on their website.

Jack Springer

Jack Springer has been the Executive Director of the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) since 1982. During that time, the cremation rates in both Canada and the US have gone from 20.3% and 11.7% respectively to 42.2% and 25.4%. Jack is a graduate of Northwestern University. He is married and has four children and four grandchildren. He lives in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.

Kelly Unruh

Kelly Unruh, CFSP is a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in the States of Kansas and Illinois, holds an Insurance Producers License in the State of Illinois and has been involved in funeral service for the past 20 years. He is currently affiliated with the Carlson-Holmquist-Sayles Funeral Home in Joliet, IL. Before joining the staff at Carlson-Holmquist-Sayles he was affiliated with Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. of Broadview, IL as a Regional Manager and Convention Exhibit/Forecast Manager.

 

Kelly Unruh

In his Regional Manager position he was responsible for Wilbert Licensees in the Midwest, the West Coast and the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada. While at Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc Kelly was involved numerous times with the interment of deceased veterans at Arlington National Cemetery. Most recently he arranged the donation, construction and personalization of The Wilbert Bronze® burial vault for the interment of the 184 victims of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon at a special memorial service held on September 12, 2002 at Arlington National Cemetery.

Kelly and his wife Laura currently resides in Plainfield, IL. He has an Associate in Arts degree in Mortuary Science from Kansas City Kansas Community College, has had extensive training in grief counseling at the Grief Recovery Institute in Beverly Hills, California, is a Dale Carnegie graduate and is a graduate of Dimensions of Professional Selling with Carew International. He has been a speaker for numerous organizations, including the National Funeral Directors Association, The National Foundation of Funeral Service and The Canadian Cemetery Association of British Columbia.

Sherry L. Williams, R.N., B.A.

Sherry L. Williams, RN, BA,GMS, GRS, is president and founder New Leaf Resources, a division of Sherry Williams Enterprises. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, New Leaf Resources specializes in grief resource materials and informational/educational services. The company has helped thousands of firms assess their internal systems, communities and resources to develop and manage good bereavement outreach programs.

  Grief and Loss experts Sherry L. Williams, Ask the Funeral Plannig Experts Panelist

Out of her personal loss experiences and need for information when she was grieving, Sherry founded ACCORD® Grief Management Services in 1984. She served as president through 2004 at which time she founded Sherry Williams Enterprises and New Leaf Resources.

She has an Associate Degree in nursing from the University of Kentucky Extension Program and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Bellarmine College in Louisville, KY. Sherry is a nationally certified grief management specialist, has received advanced certification as a bereavement facilitator from the American Academy of Bereavement and is certified by the Grief Recovery Institute as a Grief Recovery Specialist. She has devoted more than 20 years to the field of grief and bereavement service.

She is the editor of New Leaf E-Magazine found online at www.newleaf-magazine.com, formerly a quarterly printed publication for the bereaved. Additionally, she is a featured writer for In DeathCare Today and Yellow Book News. She is the author of Renewing Your Spirit®: A Guide for Holidays and Special Days, Beyond Goodbye: A Guide for your Journey through Grief) and is a contributing author to Every Woman’s Guide to Financial Security, When All the Friends Have Gone (A Manual for Aftercare) and What To Do When Someone Dies. She is listed in 2000 American Notable Women for outstanding service to community, state and nation.

Sherry served on the Board of Trustees for the National Catholic Ministry to the Bereaved, has co-chaired, the 1996 World Gathering on Bereavement and served as an advisor for the 2001 World Gathering. She has been a featured speaker for numerous organizations, including the National Funeral Directors Association, The Association for Death Education and Counseling, The National Catholic Ministry to the Bereaved, churches, support groups and state funeral associations across the United States.

Sherry is a guest lecturer at Bellarmine College School of Psychology, Kent School of Social Work and Expressive Therapies Department at the University of Louisville.

Kevin Stockham, professional funeral director and funeral planning expert panelist

 

Kevin Stockham

Kevin Stockham is a co-owner and licensed funeral director/embalmer of Stockham Family Funeral Home. He is a graduate of McPherson High School and Kansas City Kansas Community College and has lived in McPherson for nearly all his life.

He is the only Certified Funeral Service Practitioner in the area. He is married to Tammie and has three children; Kyle, Korina, and Stevie.

Kevin is an active member of Countryside Covenant Church and is involved in many community activities including Kiwanis and the McPherson Chamber of Commerce, serving on the Board of Directors for both organizations.

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