Changes in the Funeral Home Industry

FCRC member and owner of Vessey Funeral Services, Steve Vessey’s  presentation was entitled “50 Years of the  Funeral Home Industry 1969-2019”.

His contrast of 1969 and 2019 was both informative and entertaining, and, like so many things, showed how much things have changed locally and nationally in the last 50 years. Some of this has been driven by the large population growth in Northern Colorado as well as the origin of those who have relocated to NOCO (California).

In 1969 the population of Ft Collins was 35,000 and the CSU student enrollment was 10,000.There were 4 funeral homes, all family owned and directors and their families all lived above their business. Funeral directors also doubled as ambulance drivers and deputy coroners with the ability to pronounce death. The obituary entry in the Coloradoan was free; compared to the current rate of $1.27 per word. Essentially all deceased had the same routine-100% embalming, casket, viewing and funeral service. The cremation rate was 3-6% and 95% were buried in our 2 local cemeteries.  Almost all deaths occurred at PVH or a nursing home.

Fast forward to 2019 (2018 figures) in Ft Collins - The population currently may be as high as 178,000. There are still 4 funeral homes but one is part of a large corporation (SCI). The cremation rate is 90%.  Cremains are buried, saved or scattered. All funeral homes have a crematorium. Some families do “direct cremation” (DIY). The term “Celebration of life” was first used in 2000 but now this is the title for the majority of services. The majority of deaths in NOCO occur at home. Hospice played a big role in this trend, and , the first, Pathways Hospice, started locally in 1979.

Finally, preplanning for that inevitable time was discussed as well as veteran’s death benefits.

Troy Mai Newest RCFC Rotarian
January 2, Past President Jeanne Fangman inducted Troy Mai as the newest member of Fort Collins oldest Rotary Club.  Mai is Vice President for Quality at Advanced Energy in Fort Collins, and is sponsored by Stacy Plemmons.  Please welcome Troy!
Top 10 Social Security Myths

Last week former Social security Administrator and syndicated Social Security columnist Tom Margenau presented a program called “The Top 10 Myths about Social Security” followed by the “real story” for each. He divides the myths into “political” (policy) and “program” (benefits and figures).

He presented 6 policy myths and 4-5 program myths. The policy myths will be listed; unfortunately the program myths were presented in the last 2-3 allotted minutes and the rapid-fire presentation was too fast to be recorded by this reviewer. I’m sure they can be obtained for those interested at Tom’s email

The  Social Security program represents 25% of the US government spending, but is funded separately. Up until 2019 funds coming in have covered outgo. Potential problems with future funding primarily relate to the large numbers of Americans  (baby boomers) currently retiring.

Some policy myths

1)     “Social Security won’t be there when I retire” (it’s been around for 80 years and minor changes will keep it afloat indefinitely.)

2)     “Illegal immigrants steal benefits from US citizens” (on the contrary, these immigrants put an estimated 2 billion into the system without getting anything back)

3)     “Deadbeats on SS disability are draining funds” (it’s difficult to qualify for SS disability and it’s a separate fund from retirement anyway)

4)     “Social Security is welfare” (a small number of people get dependents or spousal survivors benefits who have not worked themselves )

5)     “Social Security’s money problems could be solved by eliminating waste” (This is a very efficient program with 0.7% administrative costs)

6)     “Congress has stolen money from Social Security reserves and used it for other programs” ( LBJ “merged the books” during the expensive Vietnam War and subsequent administrations have done the same but currently the reserves stand at $2.8 trillion)

 Finally, the most popular suggested  fixes for the SS Trust Fund were listed and the pros and cons of    each discussed. The conclusion was that relatively minor changes could keep this fund solvent for 100 years but, thus far, the political will to enact changes has been lacking.

This was a very informative talk by a very well informed speaker (see his credentials in last week’s Rotogear)

For the past 21 years, Tom Margenau has been a nationally-syndicated newspaper columnist who writes a weekly column about Social Security programs and policies.  He is a nationally-recognized expert on Social Security and gives speeches and does media interviews on the topic.  In 2005, he retired following a 32 year career with the Social Security Administration.  While with SSA, Margenau worked in a variety of positions at the agency’s headquarters in Baltimore where he served as the deputy press officer and as the speechwriter for the Commissioner of Social Security.  And for many years, he headed SSA’s public information office where he was the chief editor of all the agency’s informational pamphlets and brochures.  Prior to his headquarters’ assignments, he worked 12 years in agency field offices processing Social Security claims and managing local field offices.  Margenau is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.  He now lives with his wife Becky in Fort Collins, Colorado.  
Rotary Club of Fort Collins was chartered August 1, 1918, and this year celebrates 100 Years of Rotary In Fort Collins.  
Club Information
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802 West Drake Road
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Announcements Editor Bonnie Titley

The Investment Fellowship will meet immediately after the regular meeting in the foyer or side room.  Topic: “Our 2018 and 2019 Market Forecasts.”  We will see how accurate we were last year, and we will bravely submit our 2019 forecasts and guesses.  All are welcome

Past Announcements still valid:

Purple Pins for Polio is scheduled for January 27 at Chippers Lanes.  Please consider being a lane or event sponsor.  The Gates Foundation will match all gifts to Polio Plus.

Henry Weisser urged members to pick up an OSHER catalog.  

Rob Marschke asked members to support the 2019 Peach Festival by becoming a  Sponsor.  Forms were distributed.

Don Eversole asked interested members to join the newly established Peace Fellowship.  Remember—peace leads to solutions.

Sally Lee urged members to give King Soopers cards as gifts.  Talk to her if interested.

Bill Schaffter urges participation in Fort Collins Read Aloud.  For information, go to

Marty Bachman reminded all to report special occasions/events/illness that the Care and Recognition Committee should acknowledge.  Call Marty, Melanie Chamberlain, or Jeanne Fangman.

Upcoming Events
Boys and Girls Clubs of LC - Kaycee Headrick
Jan 23, 2019
Poudre Valley Fire Department - Tom DeMint
Jan 30, 2019
Photo Albums
01-02-2019 Meeting
12-19-18 Meeting Photos
12-5-2018 Regular Meeting
11-28-2018 Regular meeting
11-14-2018 Meeting
11-07-2018 Meeting
10-31-18 Meeting Photos
08-29-18 Steak Fry
10-24-2018 Regular Meeting
10-17-18 Meeting Photos
10-10-2018 Meeting
10-03-2018 Meeting
09-26-2018 Regular Meeting
09-19-2018 Meeting Photos
09-05-2018 Regular Meeting
8-29-18 Steak Fry
08-22-2018 Regular Meeting
08-18-2018 Peach Festival
08-08-2018 Regular Meeting
08-01-2018 Centennial Dinner
7-18-18 Meeting Photos
06-27-2018 Regular Meeting
6-20-18 Meeting Photos
2018-6-13 Meeting
May 30, 2018 Meeting
Meeting May 23, 2018
05-09-2018 Regular Meeting
05-02-2018 Regular Meeting
04-25-2018 Regular Meeting
03-28-2018 Regular Meeting
03-21-2018 After Hours Meeting
March 7, 2018 Meeting
02-28-2018 Meeting
02-14-2018 Meeting Photos
01-31-2018 Regular Meeting
Regular meeting 01-24-2018
1/10/2018 Meeting
1-3-2018 Meeting Photos
Wreath Building 12-4-2017
12-6-2017 Regular Program
12-13-17 Christmas Party
Bulletin Editor
Stacy Plemmons
Russell Hampton
National Awards Services Inc.
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