altProfessional Service Awards

Golden Light Award | Community Service Award | Exemplary Service Award

By any measure, OGR members are stand-outs in terms of commitment to their profession, their families and their communities.

OGR's award and scholarship programs enable the association to acknowledge member achievements and support the career goals of promising mortuary science students. Winners are acknowledged in The Independent®, on the website and at the Annual Conference.

For questions, contact the Education Department, (800) 637-8030.

Golden Light Awardalt

In 2002, OGR instituted its most prestigious award, the Golden Light Award, to salute professional excellence exemplified by individual members who have inspired others by their commitment to service.

As an OGR member, you have opportunity each year to nominate a fellow member who has distinguished him- or herself in the funeral profession through OGR involvement, community service or volunteer activities that demonstrate "service measured not by gold, but by the Golden Rule." 

Current Golden Light Award Winner

OGR is privileged to bestow its 2017 Golden Light Award to George Darte.

About George Darte:

George is a very active member of his community and is always willing to give his time to a good cause. George is a past chair of the Breakthrough Healthcare Campaign, a founding member and past chair of the St. Catharines General Hospital Foundation, and a founding member of: The Bereavement Ontario Network, The Bereavement Resource Council of Niagara, Wellspring Niagara (a cancer support center) and the crisis response teams for the separate & public school boards. He is a member and past captain of the St. Catharines Rowing Club, a past member of the Salvation Army fund raising wing, Star of the Sea Parish, the Rotary Club of St. Catharines, Past President with International Order of the Golden Rule, a past president of the Niagara District Funeral Service Association as well as Ontario Funeral Service Association, is successfully chaired the Meridian Centre Fund Raising Committee.

OGR President, Charles Castiglia said, “George puts his heart and soul into his community. He has the curiosity to pick up new ideas everywhere he goes, and the intellect to apply those ideas to funeral service in ways that benefit the families he serves, his staff and his family”


Past Golden Light Award Winners

Glenn P. Taylor

Glenn Funeral Home & Crematory
Owensboro, Ky.
William Brock
Vander Plaat Funeral Home
Wyckoff, NJ
Bonnie Helweg-Campbell
Helweg Funeral Service
Jenkintown, Pa.
Robin Williams
R. Lee Williams & Son Funeral Home & Crematory
St. Petersburg, FL.
Billy K. Wages

Wages & Sons Funeral Home
Stone Mountain, Ga.
Guy Linnemann
Linnemann Funeral Homes
Erlanger, Ky.
Thomas P. Lynch

Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors
Milford, Mich.
Jeffrey S. Wages
Wages & Sons-Gwinnett Chapel
Lawrenceville, GA.
Michael G. Butler

Livingston-Butler-Volland Funeral Home &
Cremation Center
Hastings, Neb.
Randal Earl
Brintlinger and Earl Funeral Homes
Decatur, Ill.
Harold Lake

Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home
Arkansas City, Kan.
John Dallas Slack, CFSP
Slack Funeral Home, Ellicott City, MD
Charles Rader

LeRoy Rader Funeral Home
Longview, Texas

John Kreidler
Kreidler Funeral Home
McAllen, TX

Golden Rule Community Service Award

Launched in 2008, the Golden Rule Community Service Award singles out a member firm for outstanding service to the community performed during the calendar year.


2017 Winner:

Toland-Herzig Funeral Homes & Crematory in Dover, Ohio

Toand-Herzig Funeral Homes founded the Famous Endings Museum. The purpose of the museum is to make their funeral home a place that people are actually comfortable attending and (in many cases) for reasons other than a funeral. “All funeral homes are designed to honor and remember people in our families and communities who have died. We have taken it a step further in making it a place where we can honor and remember others who have been important during our lifetimes through the use of their God-given talents and strengths to make our world a better place”, said John Herzig.

The museum sheds a different light on death and they now have hundreds of visitors who enjoy the funeral home. Those who have visited have found the museum to be a history lesson by learning about people from all walks of life (entertainers, sports figures, religious leaders, civil rights, space travel, and inventors) who have lived their lives to make ours better.

Past Golden Rule Community Service Award Winners

2016 Martin Funeral, Cremation, & Tribute Services, Mt. Morris, Mich.

2015 Oliverie Funeral Home, Manchester Township, NJ

2014 Brunswick Memorial Home, East Brunswick, NJ

2013 Gardinier Funeral Home, Franklin, Penn.

2012 Joseph Pray, Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte, Mich.

2011 Miles T. Martin Funeral Home, Mt. Morris, Mich.

2010 Brunswick Funeral Home, East Brunswick, NJ

2009 Arnett & Steele Funeral Home, Pineville, Ky.

Exemplary Service Awards

The Exemplary Service Awards recognize Golden Rule firms that have displayed outstanding professionalism and exemplary service.

The Exemplary Service Award is given to the top three nominees every year chosen by OGR members and is based on feedback OGR receives through the Family Contact Program. The Family Contact Program is an exclusive OGR member benefit that gathers feedback from families that participants have done services for.

The criteria for receiving an Exemplary Service Award are 1) Your funeral home must be a current participant in OGR's Family Contact Program and 2) Your funeral home must have received a comment or comments that represent family satisfaction with your services and indicate that the funeral home performed in an exemplary manner going above and beyond the expected. Visit for more information about the Family Contact Program and how to join

Contact the Family Contact Program Manager  (800) 637-8030 with any questions.


2017 Winners

  • Faulmann and Walsh Golden Rule Funeral Home in Fraser, Michigan
  • Cassaday-Turkle Christian Funeral and Cremation Service in Alliance, Ohio
  • Graham Funeral Home in Chesapeake, Virginia

2016 Winners

  • Caldwell & Cowan Funeral Home, Covington, GA
  • Strunk Funeral Home, Vero Beach, FL
  • Ahlgrim Funeral Home, Elmhurst, IL

2015 Winners

  • Boone Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, West Jefferson, NC
  • Plummer Funeral Home, Litchfield, IL
  • Schuyler Hill Funeral Home, Bronx, NY