CFDA Home pagePresident’s Message

Edward J. Sheehy's address at his Installation on December 7, 2017

Edward J. Sheehy's address at his InstallationI am so honored and excited to have been chosen to be representing our fine organization as President.  Just like all of you, I love our profession. I love being a funeral director. I love everything about it.

To follow in the footsteps of those who came before me is truly humbling.  I, along with our colleagues on this board, will do everything we can to keep watch over our profession and, whenever possible, continue to shape it for the betterment of our industry.

Thank you, John Cascio. Anyone who has stood here knows how much effort he puts in to make everything happen today and through the year.

I really want to thank each and everyone in this room for attending today events and for staying tonight. I know this is a long day and I truly appreciate the support you give to CFDA, as well as to myself and the incoming Board.

Father Ciprian, I am truly blessed by your presence, the invocation and all you have done for my family during this year, thank you.

To all my coworkers, I know I'm biased, but I would not change our team for anyone. Thank you for following your passion and being present in this day, every day, and just in case I don't say it enough, good job guys!

My mom and dad, my mom always said to me, "Whatever you do in life, do it to the best of your ability, no matter what." Thank you both for showing me that hard work really does pay off and for giving me the solid roots that allowed me to grow.

I am appreciative of my sister, who has to put up with me every day at work, my brother, who stood in one place for what must of seemed like forever, to allowed me to learn how to tie a tie and to my uncle and aunts for making the effort to attend tonight.

In the early years of my career, my Uncle Joe Pagliaro - who started the Riverview Funeral Home in 1968 - he and I would have long conversations about the future of the business. I joined the firm full time a little less than two decades later when I was 20 years old- which seems like only a few years ago - My uncle would tell me that he thought it was harder to carry on a business - any business - started by someone else than to build a new one from scratch. He told me that I would need to work harder and shine brighter and be better than he was, because in addition to being compared to other funeral homes, I always would be compared to him…and he said that even after he was gone, people would continue to compare me to him….until I made my mark.  I always told him that I looked forward to and wanted the challenge.  I know now he was just preparing me for the future and pushing me to make my own mark.

As the years went by, He and I turned those talks to how the funeral service business was changing and how we would need to Evolve in Service to continue to be leaders in our community and to give our clients the best service possible to meet their changing needs.

We all evolve in life and, as we evolve, we hope to grow into a person who creates a path to allow others to follow and learn from us.  As a funeral director, I try to make my path wide enough, yet defined, as to help our clients to grieve, remember and, one day to heal.
So Uncle Joe, I'm sure you can see this wonderful ceremony from heaven, and hope you are proud.  As you always said to me, "Work hard to build your own legacy, by doing so you will honor and continue the work I have started." 

I am a super proud dad and here tonight I have my daughter, Emily, and her husband Brian Nentwick. They just got married in May and, as a father, I could not ask for a better partner for Emily.

My youngest daughter, Rebecca, could not be here tonight as she is studying to become a Dr. of Veterinary Medicine. But her fiancĂ©, Ryan Zahornowsky, has the task of not only attending in her place, and holding the phone to skype her in from college but putting up with my golf game and lying to me about how good I am. 

Emily and Rebecca I am so proud of the women you have become, of course, mainly because of your mother. But I want to thank both of you for understanding when dad was 10 minutes late for everything because he took one more phone call. And for waiting on Christmas morning to open up presents until I came back from house calls. And for having to explain to any new friend you brought to dinner exactly what I did, just in case I started to talk to mom about work, forgetting that we were eating with someone new.  I also want to finally explain to my daughters (most of you can relate to this statement) that when I was coaching your sports teams and ran on the field right after work, I was not trying to change the dress code for coaches to a black suit….even though that's what everyone was probably thinking at the time, I was just trying to be on time.

Finally, my wife, my rock, my sidekick, my best friend.  Jodi, you are my inspiration.

What you have accomplished this summer is simply amazing. You have always fought for us and for our life to be as normal as possible in this 24-hour a day business. You have kept your head when we were faced with tragedy in our family in 2004, and you guided me like I guide our clients.  You were always right beside me when I needed you.

And, more importantly, when I didn't realize I needed help, you carried me without me even knowing it.

I am so glad that in 2018 we will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.  You being by my side makes this evening even more incredible.  As funeral directors living a super busy life, we sometimes forget everything that gets done for us, so we can have a normal life.

Here tonight, I just want to tell you that I know everything you have done for me, for our girls, and for my family, and we would not be where we are without you.  I love you.

Once again, thank you all for being here this evening to support all of us.  There are a lot of you here tonight that has helped me along the way to follow my dream, reach my goals, to succeed to where I am today and make my mark in this world.  It might just have been one conversation or many but everyone has definitely had an impact. If anyone would like to chat with me about any ideas, I would love to hear from you.

For all of you who know me, you are aware that I cannot guarantee that our conversation will be short, but I will listen before I bend your ear.

I hope my friends I have met over the years will stay and say, "hello," and those of you I have not met will stay to introduce yourselves.

Tonight I feel like the luckiest man alive. No tonight I know I am the luckiest man alive.  I am fortunate to get up every day to do what I love, be with who I love, and be surrounded and supported by all of you, my loving family, great friends and my esteem colleagues.

Thank you, and enjoy the rest of the evening.

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