Funeral Industry News

Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust Selects Most Recent Scholarship Recipient

March 31, 2011

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Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust Selects Most Recent Scholarship Recipient

Selected Independent Funeral Homes Educational Trust has awarded its first Second-Career Scholarship of 2011 to Donald Bouchard of Chester, Conn., in the amount of $1,500. The award will be applied to his studies in the Mortuary Science Program at Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass., where he will graduate in the spring. The scholarship was created to meet the educational needs of the increasing number of second-career professionals entering the funeral industry seeking positions as funeral directors, a role traditionally filled by the second generation within families who have owned and operated funeral firms for decades if not generations.

Bouchard, a 59-year-old former business owner, has had a lifelong dream of becoming a funeral director. ?My interest in the profession started when I became acquainted with my eldest brother?s friend who was a funeral director,? he said. ?I would sit for hours listening to all his stories and envisioned myself helping people in need of kindness and compassion.?

Originally enrolled as a part-time student in the Mortuary Science Program at Briarwood College in 2008, he has since switched schools and now attends full-time classes at Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass. To coincide with his curriculum, Bouchard began applying for positions at local funeral homes and it did not take him long to find a job working alongside experienced funeral directors. Since April 2009 Bouchard has been a Professional Assistant at Selected member Carmon Community Funeral Homes in Windsor, Conn., working calling hours, graveside services and in other capacities as needed.

Bouchard believes the funeral industry is the perfect career for him. ?My innate kindness, caring and compassion for people, along with experiencing the professionalism with the Carmon family has reinforced my passion,? said Bouchard. ?There is no doubt I have made the right decision.?

?Donald clearly has a longstanding passion and the right disposition to become a caring and successful funeral director,? said Robert J. Paterkiewicz, Administrative Trustee for the Selected Educational Trust. ?I?m so pleased that he applied for and was awarded the scholarship so that he can complete his degree and achieve his goal.?

Bouchard is the third applicant to be awarded the Second-Career Scholarship since the program was created. The first winner, Robert Bogue of Frankfort, Ind., was announced last September followed by John Gawronski of Norwich, N.Y., announced last November.

Since the award was created last year, The Board of Trustees has increased the number of scholarships to be awarded to up to four $1,500 scholarships each year; two in July and two in December. Additionally, all applications must include at least one letter of recommendation from either a faculty member of the Mortuary Science program being attended or an owner of an independently owned funeral firm.

The Second-Career Scholarship is one of several programs of the Selected Educational Trust which was founded by Selected Independent Funeral Homes, a worldwide professional association of independent, locally-owned funeral homes founded in 1917. In order to be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must not be related to an owner of a funeral firm currently in operation and must be currently enrolled in a Mortuary Science program at an accredited school. By creating the program, the Trust hopes to attract and assist future practitioners interested in entering the profession.

The Selected Educational Trust was established in 1982 as a charitable organization to develop and present educational programs on business management, counseling, personnel management and other topics of interest to the membership of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. Since then, it has expanded its role and funding opportunities to benefit the entire funeral home profession. More information on the Selected Educational Trust and its activities can be found on its all-new website at