A Brief History
The Funeral Consumers Alliance of Princeton (formerly the Princeton Memorial Association) is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It is administered by a volunteer board of trustees elected by the membership at the annual meeting. First incorporated in 1956 as the Princeton Memorial Association, it is New Jersey’s oldest and largest funeral society.
It was formed by a small group of individuals who had been discussing the ceremonies of baptism, weddings and funerals. Durinda Putnam contacted some of the then only 7 funeral societies that existed around the country. Deciding to form a Princeton association, they received encouragement from the local ministers with whom they spoke. A group was formed consisting of both ministers and lay people.
The PMA was incorporated Sept. 21, 1956, and the first annual meeting, was held Oct. 4 at the First Presbyterian Church. Although it was attended by only four members of the fledgling Princeton Memorial Association and four members of the press, the PMA was launched.
Initially the founders thought that this was to be a cremation society. From their discussions with local clergy, they realized that this could be far more than a society concerned only with economical funerals. Rather it would be dedicated to planning ahead. Several years before the publication of Jessica Mitford’s expose of the funeral industry, the Princeton Memorial Association was disseminating information and helping to prepare informed consumers.
The association joined the Continental Association of Funeral and Memorial Societies, which was founded in 1963. This later became the Funeral and Memorial Societies of America and more recently the Funeral Consumers Alliance.
The name of our Princeton organization was changed at the 2003 Annual Meeting to Funeral Consumers Alliance of Princeton, to more closely express the role of the association and to identify its relationship to the Funeral Consumers Alliance, the federation of nonprofit consumer information societies, to which we belong.