Afternoon Edition

Weekend edition: Wilbert Vault fire, Bukala retiring, SCI increases dividend and more

Foundation Partners why I partnered

As we head into the weekend we thought we would catch you up with some information that is both of interest to our readers, but sometimes hard to catch as you are busy in your daily work and don’t have time to check out death care information as we do. . . . but that is our goal here — to bring you information in a click so that you don’t have to search for it.

This article, with photos, and video news story from WQAD 8 ABC from the Quad Cities will bring you information about a fire last weekend that severely damaged a building in Milan, Illinois, that housed two businesses — Moore Monument & Granite and Wilbert Burial Vaults.  According to another article from the Muscatine Journal that you can read here, “multiple Illinois Quad Cities’ departments responded to the blaze.

The Blackhawk Area Fire Department reported that they used over 1 million gallons of water in fighting the blaze.


On Wednesday, Foundation Partners Group (FPG) issued a press release announcing that Chief Executive Officer Bob Bukala will be retiring effective December 31, 2020.  Bukala will remain vice chairman of the company’s board of directors and Kent Robertson, named president of the company in September, will lead the company on a day to day basis.

The release stated that that Bukala “joined Foundation Partners in 2012 and was named CEO in 2016.  Under his leadership the company has grown from 250 team members serving 5,000 families in 38 locations to 1,200 team members serving nearly 65,000 families in 150 funeral homes and cemeteries in 20 states.”

Foundation Partners Group considers itself “one of the industry’s most innovative providers of funeral services”.  According to the press release the company now owns and operates a network of more than 150 funeral homes, cremation centers and cemeteries across 20 states.

Foundation Partners Group is owned by Access Holdings, a Baltimore, Maryland, based private equity firm.  You can learn about them from their website here.

For more information on Foundation Partners Group you can access their website here.


North  America’s largest purveyor of funeral services, Service Corporation International (SCI) announced on Wednesday that they will be increasing the dividend paid on their common stock to shareholders of record on December 15.  The dividend which will be paid on December 31, will increase from $ 0.19 per share to $ 0.21 per share on a quarterly basis.

Going forward, that assumes that a dividend of $ 0.84 per share will be paid per year.  As of the writing of this article on Thursday, November 12, SCI stock was trading at $ 48.80 per share.  A dividend of $ 0.84 would work out to a yield of 1.72% on an annual basis.



The National Funeral Directors Association has some valuable information for our readers also including a new podcast in their series, information on a free webinar with CEU implications, and an offer through the Funeral Service Foundation of a free self-help book for funeral professionals.

Podcast:  “Caring for our Fallen Heroes”.  This podcast is a Veterans’ Day week podcast featuring Danielle Wilk, who is described as a mortuary specialist at Dover Air Force Base.  According to the flyer on the podcast Ms. Wilk “provides insight into the process of caring for our fallen heroes from the battlefield to the final committal.”

Webinar:  “Supporting survivors of suicide loss:  A guide for funeral directors”.  This one hour free event is for NFDA members and will accrue one CEU Hour.  It will be presented by  Cheri Andes, Director of Grief Support Services for Samaritan, Inc. ; Larry Berkowitz, the Director and co-founder of riverside Trauma; and Emily Johnson, a licensed Funeral Director and Certified Cremation Arranger.

The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, November 18.

Self-Help Book:  “Caring for families & caring for yourself”.  The Funeral Service Foundation commissioned the handbook through the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund.

More news from the world of Death Care:

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