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How to Operate a Back Hoe in a Cemetery
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Albuquerque, NM
Friday, August 6, 2021


Operating a Back Hoe – Not as Easy as You’d Think

Ever operated a back hoe in a cemetery? I recently attended ICCFA University, the summer continuing education event of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association. Since I’m the president of Historic Fairview Cemetery in Albuquerque, NM, among other roles, I attended the College of Land Management & Grounds Operations on a scholarship. I call it cemetery summer camp. What a great learning experience!

One morning was spent learning to safely operate a back hoe, training both the spotters giving directions and operators working the controls. Gino Merendino, Dean of the College of Land Management & Grounds Operations, is “Chief Gardener” at Merendino Cemetery Care. In this video, he provides an overview of the hand signals used to communicate between the spotter and the back hoe operator. I also interviewed Chad Eubanks, General Manager of Arlington Memorial Gardens in Sandy Springs, Georgia. The cemetery hosted this practice session in an undeveloped area and gave the students a tour of the grounds.

About ICCFA University

ICCFA University is held for five days each July. Undergraduate students enroll in one of the University’s seven colleges and spend the entire five days learning about that area of the profession. Students who complete four colleges become ICCFAU graduates, but attending four years is not required for enrollment. Some students enroll for one or two years, attending just those colleges that are most relevant to their jobs. But many students do choose to go on to study for four years or more as a way of broadening the scope of their knowledge.

The topics covered in the ICCFA University College of Land Management & Grounds Operations classes included:

  • Exceptional Cemetery Maintenance – Experience the Difference!
  • Creating a Committal Service that Everybody Talks About
  • Using Job Hazard Analysis for OSHA Compliance
  • Applying Technology to Cemetery Operations
  • Cemetery Sustainable Practices
  • Creative Cemetery Use
  • Healing Grief
  • Arlington National Cemetery: Restoring Honor
  • Transforming Death Care Education
  • Modern Cemetery Development
  • Cremation: Changing the Face of Traditional Memorialization
  • OSHA and Graveside Safety
  • Cemetery Liability Issues
  • Internal Relationships

About Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist

Gail Rubin, CT, puts the “fun” in funeral planning while connecting organizations with potential customers. The Doyenne of Death®, she was one of the first people to host a Death Cafe in the United States and is a leading advocate for planning ahead. An award-winning TEDx speaker, she’s the author of three books on end-of-life issues, including A GOOD GOODBYE: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die and KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

She is also coordinating the fifth annual Before I Die New Mexico Festival, October 30 to November 2, 2021. Two of the four days will feature in-person events in Albuquerque, pandemic conditions permitting. A host of events are being scheduled. Join the email list at the website to be kept apprised of developments!

Gail Rubin, CT, is author and host of the award-winning book and television series, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips, and KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist (that's a death educator) and a popular speaker who uses humor and films to get the end-of-life and funeral planning conversation started. She "knocked 'em dead" with her TEDx talk, A Good Goodbye. She provides continuing education credit classes for attorneys, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice workers, financial planners, funeral directors and other professionals. She's a Certified Funeral Celebrant and funeral planning consultant who has been interviewed in national and local print, broadcast and online media.

Known as The Doyenne of Death®, she is the event coordinator of the Before I Die NM Festival. She also hosts A Good Goodbye Internet radio show and produces Mortality Minute radio and online video spots. Her YouTube Channel features more than 450 videos!

Rubin is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association New Mexico Chapter. Her speaking profile is available at eSpeakers.com.

Gail Rubin has been interviewed about funeral planning issues in national and local broadcast, print and online media. Outlets include The Huffington Post, Money Magazine, Kiplinger, CBS Radio News, WGN-TV,  and local affiliates for NPR, PBS, FOX, ABC-TV, CBS-TV and NBC-TV. Albuquerque Business First named her as one of their 2019 Women of Influence.

Sign up for a free planning form and occasional informative newsletter at her website, AGoodGoodbye.com.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Gail Rubin
Group: A Good Goodbye
Dateline: Albuquerque, NM United States
Direct Phone: 505-265-7215
Cell Phone: 505-363-7514
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