The Caregiver's Soapbox

Volume 17    www. thedead-beat.com    Issue 4

Behind the Back Fence

Behind the Back Fence

By Lowell

If in a very idle moment you wondered how THE DEAD BEAT was begun, it was like this…..

Joanne and I were killing time one day when we had three services scheduled and she says to me …. “Let’s start an undertaker’s newsletter.”  “Fine.” I say, “Get started.”

Well, maybe, perhaps that is not even close……

In the 1980’s while we were still operating the family retail business which was older than the funeral business, I wrote several management oriented articles for two different hardware trade journals.

Many of the ideas I was writing about were common in most businesses.  So I reworked my copy for funeral services and it was well received by publishers.

Joanne joined our firm in 1992.  Her educational and prior work experience was ideal for research and publishing.  During the mid to late ‘90’s we researched and wrote a dozen articles on grief issues and they were usually reprinted in five funeral service magazines. 

Our most noteworthy project during this period was a study on grief in the workplace.  This study morphed into several professional essays and a continuing education course that was approved by 21 funeral service boards.  Before we published, “Grief Resolution for Co-Workers,” Dr. Kenneth Doka graciously reviewed the manuscript.  I had met Dr. Doka in 1996 at the National foundation of Funeral Service’s “Counseling Seminar”  in Chicago. 

Though we no longer market this book for CE credit, it is excellent material for after loss care and service club presentations.  (There is an order blank on page 31 if you’d like to get copies at $12.99/copy including shipping and handling.)

Dates are fuzzy in my mind, but colleague Bob Knell, Knell Mortuary, Carthage, Missouri became ill.  For about 30 years Bob had been publishing “The Missouri Bulletin” which he started when he was MFDEA executive director.   Joanne offered to help Bob get his next issue to press but Bob bounced back and got the “Bulletin” in the mail.  But it was his last issue because he died.  We thought perhaps, Rob Knell, Bob’s son would continue the paper, but he chose not to continue.  After checking with Rob we decided to start our own publication.  We were a little slow getting out of the gate and could not decide on a name.  We experimented with about 30 different mastheads when Claude, Joanne’s husband suggested ——The Dead Beat.

Though we initially started for Missouri funeral directors like Bob had done, we added more states due to requests from our advertisers.  We have grown to over 3900 funeral homes and subscribers in 11 states in addition to providing current and past editions on our website.  Funeral homes have received our bi-monthly magazine for over 18 years at no cost from the gracious advertisers that have supported our publication over the years.

During the years we have evolved into a publication for the funeral consumer as well as the funeral provider.  Judging from the number of obituaries we run and the comments we receive we appear to have more readers than most national membership or association magazines.  In the largest state we bulk mail to more than 1,000 more firms than the state association.

The Dead Beat comes ready to read and share.  No envelope to open– black type on flat white paper or online without having a membership or wading through a mission statement.   

About the Author:

Lowell Pugh has had funeral director and embalmer licenses in Missouri and Texas.  He is publisher of The Dead Beat which began in 1999.  He can be contacted at The Dead Beat address and editor@thedead-beat.com

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