The Illinois Funeral Directors Association is living out its own version of A Christmas Carol, with the Ghost of Yet to Come having painted a fate similar to that of Scrooge.

The court decision reported by the Memorial Business Journal* has all but sealed the fate of the Association. While the attorneys can continue to maneuver (and file appeals), the IFDA’s future is dependent upon how its board responds. But, the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Present offer little hope for the Association’s members. Everything rests on whether the IFDA Board can change course and demonstrate the leadership required to win back the trust of its current (and past) members.

If the situation in Illinois is like that seen in other states (including Missouri), the IFDA board must confront the frustration of larger operators who have felt ignored for years. Unlike Scrooge’s nephew Fred, many of these operators are neither paupers nor inclined to extend hospitality to an ailing, dysfunctional organization. But these are difficult times for the funeral industry, and operators must begin to search for common ground. The demise of an association will result in a vacuum that will be difficult to fill as reform picks up speed.

*Reprinted with permission from the December 16, 2010 issue of the Memorial Business Journal. To subscribe please call 609-815-8145.