CFSA Lifetime Recognition Awards Presented at Fall Conference

The CFSA Board of Directors, upon the recommendation of the Lifetime Recognition Awards Committee, recently conferred Lifetime Recognition Awards to David A. Hazelett of Astral Industries and Bob McCabe of W&M Manufacturing. The awards were presented at the President’s Reception on Monday, November 14, 2016, during the Fall Conference & Trade Show in Indianapolis. CFSA President Pete Galletly presented the awards.

The Lifetime Recognition Awards Committee – chaired by CFSA Past President Bob Galletly of Tiedemann-Bevs Industries – included Tom Fretwell (Freeman Metal Products); CFSA Past President Tina Houck (Schuylkill Haven Casket Company); and, Rodney Robinson (Southern Craft Manufacturing, CFSA Treasurer.) The excerpts below were distributed to all attendees at the event, and we print it here so that all CFSA members can share in the celebration of Dave’s and Bob’s remarkable lifetime achievements.

David A. Hazelett,
Astral Industries

David (Dave) Hazelett was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Shortly after graduation, he fulfilled a four-year obligation by volunteering to go to Vietnam. During his basic training, he was schooled in resistance, survival and escape, counterinsurgency and interdiction, hand-to-hand combat, and special operations. He was stationed in South Vietnam on the rivers that ran along Saigon into Cambodia. Dave received one Purple Heart and one Silver Star for his service to our country. He is continuing to serve by speaking at various high schools and other organizations about his experiences in Vietnam.

While in Vietnam, Dave realized the importance of an education. When he returned to Indiana, he enrolled in the Humanics program at Indiana Central (currently University of Indianapolis). During this time he sold industrial paint to pay for his education. One of his customers was Charles Shaw, owner of Indiana Metallic and Astral Industries. Mr. Shaw offered Dave a job upon his graduation. . . . that was 44 years ago. He was hired as a Sales Manager, but also did purchasing, human resources, and even loaded trucks! He learned all facets of the company. In 1991, he was appointed President of Astral Industries.

In 1992-93, Dave served as the last President of the Casket Manufacturers Association (CMA) before it became the Casket & Funeral Supply Association of America. He also presented CMA’s “Ideas in Merchandising” seminar for three consecutive years at the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) annual convention from 1990-1992. He served on various CFSA committees, the Board of Directors, and enjoyed being a moderator for the Industry Leaders’ Forum for several years at the CFSA winter seminars.

On a personal level, Dave married Laura Fields in 1977 and adopted her two sons, Jason and Jeff. He was and is a devoted dad to both boys, always present in their lives and their interests. He now is blessed with seven grandchildren (four grand-daughters and three grandsons) ranging in age from 11 to 19. They are the joy of his life. He and Laura live in a log home near Richmond, Indiana. In their free time, they enjoy the quiet life by spending time with family and friends.

Bob McCabe
W&M Manufacturing

“All of us at W&M Manufacturing were thrilled to learn that Bob McCabe will become a 2016 CFSA Lifetime Recognition Award recipient! “ Those were the thoughts of Jim Hiester, former CFSA Board member and current President of W&M Manufacturing Company in Portland, Indiana, a CFSA-member company since 1976. “He is very deserving of this honor, and we couldn’t be happier for him. His lifetime contributions to our company are the stuff of legend, only surpassed by what he has done for our entire industry.”

After Bob learned of his selection for this prestigious award, he 

humbly deflected the recognition. But with a bit of time to reflect, here are Bob’s thoughts in his own words…

Thank you for honoring me with this award. This is a very important event in my life.

Although we were a small company, we rose through the ranks with innovation and perseverance. And lots of luck!

When my Dad started W &M Manufacturing in 1962, with partner Ted Willhoit, I was in high school. After graduating from Eastern Illinois University, my Dad asked me to come and work with him. I said, “You know, Dad, this will shock you, but I have had some job offers.” But I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to work with my father, my best friend.

I have always given my Dad a lot of credit for allowing Jerry and I to expand and grow our business and remain progressive. We first broke into the vacuum metalizing business in the 1970’s, and then followed National Metal into the future of plastics. Jerry Pierce, my brother-in-law, left Ford Motor Co. to become my partner in Pier Mac Plastics. The rest is history.

Jerry and I had been in business for a little over a year when old W&M burned to the ground. The first guy at our family farm was Dave Hazelett, bringing enough food to feed Geneva. Next came Charlie Shaw, with a steady hand and lots of well-needed advice. With the help of our friends in the industry, we were on our way.

You cannot name another industry where your customers and competitors would help you in so many ways. Other industries do not have the Charlie Shaws, Dave Hazeletts, Tom Fretwells, Larry Millers, and many others in their industry.  I offer my sincerest gratitude to the dozens of my employees, and to Jim Hiester, who bought our company and carried on the torch. Finally, in closing, my business philosophy was “my customers are my friends, and don’t upset my friends.”

So, to Dave Hazelett and Bob McCabe, from the CFSA officers, board, staff, and entire membership, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to you both for receiving your 2016 Lifetime Recognition Awards.