In 1936, R. Victor Landig opened the Landig College of Mortuary Science in Houston, Texas. Landig saw a need in Southeast Texas for a college of mortuary science to train men and women as embalmers and funeral directors.
Landig, truly a pioneer in funeral service education, was able to attract to his faculty some of the leading experts in embalming and restorative art in the country, including A.O. Spriggs, author of “The Art and Science of Embalming” and “Champion’s Textbook on Restorative Art” (who eventually became the director of research for the Champion Embalming Fluid Co.).

In 1955, the school was renamed the Commonwealth College of Science, reflecting Landig’s plan to move his college to Commonwealth Street in downtown Houston. However, personal health problems stopped Landig’s plans, and as a result, he sold his interests in the college to Tex Garton, a popular and respected funeral director in the Houston area. Garton operated the college until 1966, when the Pierce Organization purchased it and built a new college on Barren Springs Drive in north Houston.

In the late 1980s, an extensive feasibility study was conducted by a team of the nation’s top funeral service executives, practitioners and funeral service educators. The goal was to provide the finest contemporary funeral service education, including a curriculum that emphasized hands-on experience in embalming and restorative art; computer science; and funeral directing and management skills. In 1988, the “Institute of Funeral Service” was chartered as a Texas non-profit 501(C3) corporation and instruction began on August 29, 1988. In 1990, The Institute of Funeral Service acquired the Commonwealth College of Funeral Service and changed its name to the Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service (CIFS).

Over the years, the college has expanded and now offers the finest in educational facilities and faculty in the United States. Today, Commonwealth has a state-of-the-art embalming facility, a new restorative art laboratory, a casket display room and a learning resource center.

Philosophy of Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service

The philosophy of education and learning at the Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service is grounded in the Socratic ideal of “education simply for the sake of education.” The faculty and administration of Commonwealth endorse this philosophy and to that end, view all course work and laboratory experiences as of equal value and importance, in order to maintain an ongoing level of accomplishment as to the Institute’s mission, purpose and objectives. Primary to the philosophical foundation of the Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service is a genuine love of the funeral profession. It is the academic ideal of the Commonwealth Institute through dedicated work, devotion, and commitment to our students that this philosophy is communicated.

Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service ·