Students Awarded Memorial Classic Golf Tournament Scholarships to Pursue Careers in Funeral Service

BROOKFIELD, Wis. — The Funeral Service Foundation (FSF) has awarded Memorial Classic scholarships worth a total of $2,000 to Lisa Jacobson and Lauren Nelson to help with educational resources as they pursue mortuary science degrees.

Lisa Jacobson, of Washington, D.C., is slated to complete her Associate of Applied Science degree in Mortuary Science from the University of the District of Columbia Community College next year. “The desire to be of service to others has always been at the center of my career decisions,” said Jacobson. “But after the deaths of two loved ones within weeks of each other, I realized that it was the grieving process and the role which the funeral professionals played that planted the seed of a second career in funeral service. I have faith that wherever my path leads, I will always be able to find the funeral service profession personally fulfilling.”

Lauren Nelson, of Hancock, Minn., is a fourth-year student at the University of Minnesota in its Program of Mortuary Science. Nelson has planned on a career in the funeral service profession since high school, after several positive experiences with her hometown funeral director. “I feel like it is such a great responsibility to be taking care of someone’s loved one,” said Nelson. “And I have held several jobs that have helped prepare me for what I believe I have been called to do.”

Both Nelson and Jacobson were chosen from a field of several dozen applicants because of their commitment to the funeral service profession and deep interest in pioneering new ways to assist families with the memorialization of a loved one.

“Scholarships are an important recruiting tool to attract and support the best and brightest talent in our field,” said Kathy Wisnefski, executive director of the Funeral Service Foundation. “The Foundation is honored to award the first of many Memorial Golf Classic Scholarships to two deserving women who undoubtedly are committed to making a difference in the profession and in the lives of those they will serve.”

“We are thrilled the Funeral Service Foundation has awarded the Memorial Classic Golf Tournament Scholarships to students who show an unwavering dedication to the profession in the same manner that this year’s honorees, Dave Hirt, Bill Bischoff and Joe Weatherford did before them,” said Jake Johnson, Memorial Classic Golf Tournament Representative and Foundation Trustee. “We look forward to working with the Foundation to continue to honor those who have blazed a trail in the profession by awarding scholarships to students of funeral service who are sure to do the same in the years to come.”

FSF currently supports five scholarship programs; four available to current students pursuing a career in the profession, and one geared at providing professional development opportunities for women in funeral service.

Along with providing scholarships, the Foundation proactively explores relevant and innovative funding opportunities that will enhance the deathcare profession, benefit funeral directors and allied professionals, thus making a timely impact on local communities.

About the Scholarship:
The Memorial Classic Golf Tournament Scholarships, established in 2010 by the Board of Trustees of the Funeral Service Foundation, was created to honor those who have blazed a trail in the profession. This year’s scholarships honor the memory of three of the profession’s greats: Dave Hirt, Bill Bischoff and Joe Weatherford.

Each year the Memorial Classic Golf Tournament, hosted by Johnson Consulting Group, raises money to honor the memory of an individual whose contribution to the profession has made a lasting impact.

Memorial Classic Golf Tournament Scholarships will be awarded annually to selected students in a mortuary science program accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE).

About Dave Hirt:
Dave Hirt had a life-long commitment to funeral service. He spent 33 years as a part of Batesville Casket Company, starting as a member of the sales department and, at the time of his retirement, President and CEO. He played a major role in the development of Johnson Consulting Group. He was a past board member of the Funeral Service Foundation.

About Bill Bischoff:
Bill Bischoff was a longtime leader in the profession, serving as Vice President of Sales for Hillenbrand Industries for 20 years, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Aurora Casket Company for 10 years, and a consultant to Homesteaders Life Insurance Company and Johnson Consulting Group.

About Joe Weatherford:
Joe Weatherford’s commitment to the profession spanned nearly six decades. Throughout his career as a funeral director, Weatherford owned funeral homes in Oklahoma, Florida and Arkansas. Weatherford served as President of the Oklahoma Funeral Directors Association from 1970-1971 and was also appointed to the Oklahoma Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.

About the Foundation:
The Funeral Service Foundation is the leading public foundation dedicated in perpetuity to serve the deathcare profession. The Foundation funds innovative research, programs and professional development, administers scholarships and assists communities in crisis. For more information, visit


Lauren Nelson, 2013 Memorial Classic Golf Tournament Scholarship recipient


Lisa Jacobson, 2013 Memorial Classic Golf Tournament Scholarship recipient

Funeral Service Foundation




Media Contact: Kelly Manion, 262-814-1574
December 2013