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Todd Van Beck, CFSP


Todd lives in Nashville, TN with his wife, Georgia. He received an honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters from Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service, Houston, TX, Master of Arts Degree in Pastoral Ministry from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Cincinnati, OH, Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Psychology and Philosophy from Mount Mercy College, Cedar Rapids, IA and Mortuary Arts and Sciences Diploma from New England Institute of Anatomy, Sanitary Science, Embalming and Funeral Directing, Boston, MA.

He formerly served as general manager of John B. Turner & Son Mortuary, Cedar Rapids, IA. Todd was an educator at Cincinnati College of Mortuary College of Mortuary Science, Hudson Valley College, New England Institute and Commonwealth Institute.

He is the  Past Dean of the College of Funeral Management at the University of Memphis. He is a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner and a member of the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice, a Certified Embalmer, the author of 4 books, 400 professional articles.  Currently Todd is the director of Education for John A. Gupton Mortuary College in Nashville Tennessee.

Todd W. Van Beck is one of the best known and most well regarded educators, writers and speakers in the funeral profession. His book, “Winning Ways,” and the articles he frequently contributes to trade magazines illustrate Van Beck’s seemingly limitless ability to come up with simple yet innovative ways to improve a funeral home and his knack for explaining good business practices in a down-to-earth, step-by-step way.

Want to feel good about the funeral profession? Go to a seminar where Todd Van Beck is speaking. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and most important, you’ll learn. His style is humorous and self-deprecating, his language often “colorful,” but what always shines through is his passion for and belief in the importance of funeral service.

During a recent trip to speak at a state funeral directors’ convention, Van Beck spent several hours talking to ICFM about his life and career and giving his opinions on a wide variety of topics, including today’s “Entertainment Tonight” funerals, industry critics, the key to success in the funeral business, the funeral vs. the cemetery side of the business, the increase in the number of women in funeral service and personalization.

But before the commentary comes the background — how Van Beck got into funeral service, the jobs he’s had and what he’s learned from them. These are the stories he tells on himself, the ones that make him seem approachable to even the most neophyte funeral director attending his or her first educational seminar.

Unlike many in the funeral and cemetery business, Van Beck was not born into it — at least not in the sense of having had parents who were funeral directors. But perhaps the most telling words uttered by a man of many, many words, the ones that should comprise the title of his autobiography, should he decide to write one, are these: “I came out of the womb an undertaker.”

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