Top 20 Connecting Directors Stories of 2022

Funeral Industry News December 29, 2022
Connecting Directors Top 20 of 2022

Top 20 Connecting Directors Stories of 2022

So… How was your 2022? Here at Connecting Directors it feels like this year has been dominated by news of mergers and acquisitions and a fair share of litigation and legislation, with a few epic in-person deathcare conferences sprinkled in for good measure. If our list of the 20 most-read features of 2022 is any indication, that’s a rather accurate summary of the last 12 months. 

20. 2021 Cremation Rocks Awards: Winners Announced!

We started off the new year announcing the winners of Parting Stone’s inaugural Cremation Rocks Awards, recognizing the major influences and leaders of 2021 across eight deathcare categories. Re-reading this story makes us look forward to the big reveal by Parting Stone of the 2022 winners!

19. New Deathcare Legislation in Colorado, South Dakota and Nebraska

March was a big month for deathcare legislation on various topics in several states, including inspections in Colorado, disposition in South Dakota, and educational requirements in Nebraska. 

18. Funerals Continue in Ukraine Amid Fighting, But Russian Soldiers Aren’t So Lucky

Now in its 10th month, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths on both sides of the conflict. Just weeks after the conflict began, we shared stories of how Ukranian families were struggling to hold funerals for their dead amidst the fighting, while the disposition of deceased Russian soldiers was less than dignified.

17. Return Home: First Crowdfunded Funeral Home Envisions the Future of Deathcare

In April, when this story was published, you might not have heard of Return Home. Eight short months later, the first-ever crowdfunded funeral home has made quite a name for itself, winning numerous awards in addition to exceeding its funding expectations.

16. 5 Quick Questions (and Answers) About Queen Elizabeth’s Coffin

The entire world was saddened by the September 8 death of Queen Elizabeth and became fascinated with the 11-day process of mourning and final goodbyes. In this September article we answered five questions about the Queen’s storied coffin.

15. The Wilbert Group Continues to Double Down and Raise the Stakes Through Expansion, Innovation, and Acquisition

In October, Connecting Directors (figuratively) sat down with several members of The Wilbert Group team for a preview of what the 142-year-old deathcare conglomerate would be sharing at the 2022 NFDA International Convention & Expo. They definitely did not disappoint!

14. The Newest Urns On Display at CANA’s 104th Cremation Innovation Convention

Pretty much everyone who attended CANA’s Cremation Innovation Convention in Atlanta agreed that it was one of the best gatherings of the year, and it was *the* place to be if you wanted to see the latest and greatest urns the market has to offer.

13. StoneMor Has Merged with Axar Affiliate and Privatized

Speaking of surprises … Who could have predicted November’s merger of StoneMor with Axar Capital — and StoneMor going private? OK, so technically StoneMor announced its intentions to merge with Axar in May, but the November news caught plenty of folks off guard.

12. 2022 Deathcare Survey: The Results Are In!

It might have been curiosity about who won the three $100 gift cards we offered for taking our 2022 Connecting Directors Deathcare Survey, but we hope that this article made the top 12 on our most-popular list because of the fascinating stats as well! Watch for our 3rd annual survey, coming soon.

11. Is There a Funeral Home Reality Show Curse?

One of the most popular stories of 2021 was our coverage of the Netflix reality show Buried by the Bernards — and we all know how they turned out. If not, read this story about our theory that any starring in a TV reality show might not be the best idea for deathcare professionals.

10. 5 Reasons To NEVER Post Your Prices Online

We wrote this story in November in response to the bevy of headlines sharing the shocking news that funeral homes might actually have to post their prices on their websites. Gasp! Yes, it was tongue-in-cheek, but we do hope it helped to alleviate at least a few fears that the FTC will pass this update to the Funeral Rule.

9. A Brief History of Headstones

Just in time for Halloween, we shared this story of where headstones/tombstones/gravestones originated. Sometimes something becomes so commonplace that we forget to appreciate its rich history.

8. The History and Purpose of Mausoleums

Wow, you guys love digging into the history of different aspects of deathcare! Good thing, because so do we. This November article shared the history and purpose of another thing we often take for granted — mausoleums.

7. Is Batesville Going Off the Map?

The 250th episode of Funeral Nation was one for the books, as the boys offered their take on a variety of topics, including the future of Batesville, various funeral home brands, and the then-upcoming NFDA conference in Baltimore.

6. The 50 Oldest Funeral Homes in the U.S.

When we published the first list of the 10 Oldest Funeral Homes in the United States, we had no idea it would become an annual and ever-growing feature! But so many readers responded with funeral homes we’d left out (we promise it was not on purpose) that we expanded the list to 50 in May 2022. Just wait, though; our 2023 list might grow to 75, as once again we (inadvertently!) left out some wonderful old establishments.

5. Hillenbrand Announces Intention to Explore Strategic Alternatives for its Batesville Business

Like our #13 StoneMor story, the July announcement by Hillenbrand that it was “exploring strategic alternatives” for Batesville brand came as a shock to many deathcare professionals. It would only take five short months before this exploration was concluded, though. Stay tuned…

4. DOJ Sues Cremation Company for “Outrageous, Illegal” Funeral Rule & FTC Violations

This April article probably ranked so high on our 2022 list because readers were eager to hear that Heritage Cremation Provider or Legacy Cremation Services (or whatever name they were going by at the time) was finally, FINALLY cited at the federal level. 

3. Batesville To Be Acquired by Private Investment Firm LongRange Capital

Annnd … drumroll, please! This December 15 announcement from Hillenbrand resolved the burning question of what would happen to Batesville after its parent company completed its exploration of strategic alternatives, which was announced in July. (The answer was sell it to LongRange Capital, but you probably already knew that.)

2. Funeral Faker: The Shawnte Hardin Story

It’s not often (thankfully) that we come across a sad, sordid saga of true terribleness in deathcare like the ladies of Sunset Mesa and David Sconce. Shawnte Hardin was this year’s contribution to this list that no one wants to land on, as you read in our August account.

1. SCI Settles Neptune Society Lawsuit in Florida

The September news of Service Corporation International’s settlement of the 2020 lawsuit against its Neptune Society cremation division tops our list of the most-read stories of 2022. SCI agreed to pay up to $209 million in full refunds to any of the 87,000 Florida preneed customers who choose to cancel their contracts.

Wow. What a year! Who knows what 2023 will hold for deathcare? Whatever it is, you’ll read about it here first.