ImageOur favorite raconteur, Bob Peterson, regaled us with tales of his career with his “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Cemetery,” presentation August 19.  Bob provided insight into the complex management of Pacific Crest Cemetery. Lest you think his topic was too grave (!), here’s a sampling of his less-serious admissions:

“We learned early on that we had to be careful of our vocabulary. Among the things one never says in a cemetery setting are, ‘I was scared to death,’ or, ‘That paper? Oh, it’s buried around here somewhere.’ and, of course, never utter, ‘I thought I’d die!’”

Halloween is particularly trying for cemeteries due to the prankster nature of teens, but Bob found ways to stave off the unwelcome ghouls, er, guests. But we also learned that the manager of a cemetery must be an expert in lawn management, Italian marble, acreage development and a whole host of different functions. Of course, Bob emphasized that one of the key qualities of a good manager is people skills: knowing what to say to grieving families and when; explaining about burial and gravesite planning to potential customers; and training employees in the same skills.

One of the many changes Bob made in his 21-year stint at Pacific Crest was to change the name of the Office to Information Center, to make it sound more welcoming.