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. 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 of 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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