One of the great blessings in my life is that by guess or by golly, by accident and certainly not by design, and to my own amazement and surprise I have been fortunate to work with thousands of funeral directors across the globe in my career, which is now long (and has not been totally uneventful). I have to confess that I have not found a more wonderful group of people to work with than funeral directors. This profession is more rewarding than I could have ever imagined, and I’m thankful for every experience, conversation or meeting that has led me to where I am today.
Age 57 of Eagan. Only 57, Tammy died very unexpectedly at home on a Thursday morning from end-stage liver disease. She was loved very deeply by her husband Dan, her extended Sullivan/Gregerson family, her many friends and her beloved cat. As was her wish there will be no viewing or funeral service. Instead her husband, family and friends will plan a happy picnic when they're not so grief stricken probably next spring. We'll celebrate each other and the life we all shared with dear Tammy. In lieu of flowers and cards, Tammy would have wanted memorial donations to go to ASPCA or Greenpeace. (Published in the Star Tribune on October 18, 2017)
You were probably asked to deliver a eulogy because of your close relationship to the deceased, and because the family trusts you to honor his or her memory on behalf of family and friends. The family doesn't want to make you feel uncomfortable, foolish or as though your grief is on display. It's an honor they've bestowed upon you. Helping others say goodbye may turn out to be a rewarding experience. Don't worry about making mistakes. "A eulogy comes from the heart of the deliverer. I can't see how a mistake could be made as long as it [the eulogy] is honest and true," says Andrea Traunero of Hannay-Traunero Funeral Home in Tiffin, Ohio.
If you're worried about choking up or breaking down in the middle of your eulogy, you can take a moment to compose yourself, then carry on, as Schaeffer recommends, or you can have a back up person ready to step in. Stockham recommends you give a copy of your eulogy to the minister or funeral director so that person can finish the eulogy if you're unable to continue.
We have the capacity to build a trusting relationship with a stranger.
When was the last time you went to Wal-Mart, café, or dentist and the clerk or waiter, or hygienists referred to you as their “family”? I believe funeral service is probably the only career where total strangers to the funeral director can consistently expect such treatment. This is a blessing to our communities.
Age 95 of Columbia Heights, MN, gently left this world after living a long, loving, meaningful life. She was born on November 25th, 1918 in Bristol, SD to Karl and Magda Karlson. She grew up in Bristol, and graduated from high school in 1938. Martha moved to Minneapolis, MN in 1939 where she worked at the Bemis Bag company. She met her loving husband of 60 years at a dance at Norway Hall in 1941. After WWll they married and lived in South Minneapolis before buying a house in Columbia Heights in 1956, where they raised their 3 children, Ronald, Janice and Larry. She worked part time as a cook at Nelson elementary school before becoming a fulltime homemaker and a part time sales person of Stanley cleaning products. She was an involved member of First Lutheran Church and a musician in the Uffda Band. Cooking holiday meals, Swedish meatballs, rice pudding and cinnamon bread for friends and family brought her happiness. And she would always put on a pot of coffee and serve her home made cookies for any one who stopped by for a visit. She was the loving Grand- mother to granddaughters Julie and Sarah and grandsons Brent, Jay, Sean, Kristopher and a devoted Great Grandmother to Michaela, Micah, Connor, Amanda, Madeline, Abby and Ellie. Preceded in death by husband Joseph and daughter Janice, parents Karl and Magda Karlson, brothers Karl, Kenneth and Phillip. She is survived by her sons, Ronald Moen (Roberta), Larry Moen (Diane), and son-in-law, Michael Hancock. Funeral service will be at First Lutheran Church, 1555 40th Ave. NE, Columbia Heights on Thursday, April 24th at 11 AM with a visitation one hour prior. Interment at Ft. Snelling. In lieu of flowers, memorials to First Lutheran Church of Columbia Heights or The Janice Hancock Nursing Memorial Scholarship at North Hennepin Community College 7411 85th Avenue N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445. .
Age 52 of Minneapolis. Ty is survived by his father and mother, William and Margarette Reider; his children, Katherine Deshesky and her husband George Deshesky, Taylor Reider, Skylar Reider, and Brady Reider; grandson Conner Deshesky; sister, Tracey Roberts and husband Michael Roberts; brother, Randall Reider; and dear friend Mary Vandrovec. Funeral arrangements are private. In Ty’s memory, donations can be made to: Fairview Foundation () or – 2344 Energy Park Drive, St. Paul, MN 55108.
Age 60 of Bloomington, MN, died August 16, 2015 after battling cancer for the last year. He was welcomed into the V.I.P. Room by dad Michael and beautiful angel, niece Lauren, among others. Survived by constant companion, Auggie doggie; mom, Linnea McDougall; siblings, Marueen (Marston) Pearson, Tim (Susie), Mike (Marion), Colleen Schamber (Rod Crooks) and Angela (Scott) Wibbens; nieces and nephews, Kelly (Catalin) Dima, Phillip "Flip" (Kimmie) Pearson, Ryan McDougall, Kasey Wibbens, Karlee, Krissy, Kimmy, and Kassidy Schamber; and life long friends, Brad and John. Scott was a hardworking, multi-talented ball of fire who lived hard, didn't ask for much and complained very little. He made sure to have a personal connection with each family member. He loved his dogs, refinishing beautiful guitars, woodworking and was a superb mechanic for 30 years. There will be no funeral as Scott requested. The family will host a memorial gathering at a later date as there are so many stories to share. Memorials can be directed to Our Lady of Peace Hospice, 2076 St. Anthony Ave., St. Paul, MN 55104 or a "no kill" animal rescue of your choice. (Published in the Star Tribune on August 21, 2015)
Age 55 of Stillwater, died peacefully on Sunday, August 30 after a 2-year fight with cancer. John was a talented builder of homes. He loved fishing and traveling, but what was most important to John was his family. He was a devoted husband, father, son, brother, uncle, grandfather & friend. John is preceded in death by daughter, Breana Taylor, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. He is survived by his parents, James and Darlene Nelson of Mahtomedi, wife Michelle LaBrosse Nelson, daughter Jessy, brothers James and Peter, sister, Connie, son-in-law Seth Taylor, grandson, Jack, several nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. All who loved him dearly and who will miss his spirited, happy presence. He will never be forgotten as our memories are seasoned with his infectious love of life. Memorial Service is Saturday, September 19 @ 1:00 in the Annex of St Andrew's Lutheran Church, 900 Stillwater Road, Mahtomedi. (Published in Pioneer Press on Sept. 13, 2015)
Age 93 of Eden Prairie, retired Minneapolis/St. Paul executive, died on June 7th at his home in Eden Prairie, MN. Mathews was president of Quality Park Box Company, Quality Park Envelope Company, and Century Envelope Company. These Twin Cities companies were merged during his tenure into Quality Park, Inc., later a division of Alco Standard Corp. He initiated the expansion of these operations to become a major national manufacturer and distributor of office supplies. He later served as Vice President and General Manager of the Consumer Products and Business Services Groups of Standard Packaging Corp; NY, and from 1965 to 1969 as president of Brown & Bigelow, St. Paul, MN. Upon acquisition of these companies by Saxon Industries, Mathews resigned and assumed the presidency of Shedd Brown, Inc., Minneapolis, MN and Eau Claire, WI retiring in 1980. Mathews was born in Cleveland, OH, a descendant of a pioneer family in Ohio's Western Reserve, his great-great-grand-father having been Ohio's 3rd Governor whose uncle, representing the Connecticut Colony, served as a member of the 2nd Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence and later was Governor of Connecticut. His great-grandfather, Dr. John H. Mathews and his grandfather, Dr. Samuel Huntington Mathews practiced medicine in Painesville, OH, the latter's practice interrupted for three years by a trip to the California goldfields by wagon train in 1849. Mathews graduated from Shaker Heights High School and from Case Institute of Technology with a BS degree in Metallurgical Engineering, and was employed by Bethlehem Steel Corporation as an open hearth metallurgist. During WWII he served in the Navy, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander. His last active duty station was in the Twin Cities as acting Naval Inspector of Ordnance and Inspector of Naval Material for the Ninth Naval District. Mathews was involved with many Twin Cities community activities, serving on the Board of several civic and charitable organizations. He was a member of the Executive Board of both the Indianhead Council and the Viking Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and received the Silver Beaver Award from the latter. Involved with youth athletic affairs, he was a director, coach and team sponsor of the original Edina Little League, director of the first Edina Youth Hockey League, and an organizer of community support for construction of Edina's Braemar Ice Arena. In connection with his business activities, he served as a Director of several corporations, as well as of the National Paper Box Manufacturers Association, the Envelope Manufacturers Association, and the Rotary Club of Minneapolis. He was a member of the Governor's Advisory Commission to the Department of Economic Development during Wendell Anderson's term as Governor, a member of the Rotary Club of St. Paul, honorary member of the Rotary Club of Huntsville, Ontario, and a member of the Young Presidents Organization. Mathews was Chairman of the Board of the Specialty Advertising Association International, and was honored as Man of the Year by the industry in 1981, and elected to its Hall of Fame in 1982. As an avid reader, writer, gardener and outdoorsman, he enjoyed summers at his home on the Lake of Bays in Ontario where, in later years, he was involved with the measurement and study of acid precipitation. With his wife Betty he wintered at his home in Arizona, removing his residence to Rio Verde in 1994. There he served as an officer and director of the Rio Verde Community Association and as editor and publisher of the community newspaper for several years. In 2005 he resumed Minnesota residence in Eden Prairie. He was a member of the Episcopal Church of St. Stephen the Martyr, the Minikahda Club, the Rio Verde Country Club, Ham & Eggs Club, Skylight Club and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Preceded in death by his wife of 71 years, Betty, he is survived by his son Dean C. Mathews III of Edina, MN; daughter Elizabeth M. Gross of Bellingham, WA; daughter Deborah M. Johnson of Greenfield, MN; daughter Ann of Cloquet, MN; 8 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Memorials are suggested to: University of MN Arboretum 3675 Arboretum Drive Chanhassen, MN Greater Minneapolis Animal Humane Society.
Age 86, of St. Paul died unexpectedly on February 24, 2016. Preceded in death by sister, Jeanne Christiansen; and granddaughter, Olivia. Survived by wife of 59 years, Joan; children, Bob (Nancy), Jeanne (Rich) Rothaupt, Mary Jo (Fernando) Partida, David (Cheryl), Susan (Dave) Mondry; grandchildren, Andrea, Lacy, Jenna, Michael, Kristin, Daniel, Luke, Grant, Allison, Tony; great-grandchildren, Callum, Grayson, Maya; sisters, Roberta (Harold) Nilles, and Verna (Jack) Nilles. Wayne was born in Humboldt, Iowa on September 11, 1929. At age 9, he lost his father due to an accident. He graduated from Humboldt HS and joined the US Navy during the Korean War. Upon his discharge, he went to Mankato State Teachers College where he graduated with a degree in political science. He later earned a Master's degree from the University of Minnesota in Counseling Psychology. He spent 37 years with the State of Minnesota as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for Services for the Blind and was a tireless advocate for persons with disabilities. He married Joan Spence in 1956, and raised their 5 children on the eastside of St. Paul. Wayne was both a man of faith and a lifelong community activist. He was an ordained Catholic Deacon and served at Sacred Heart Parish in St. Paul from 1984 until his death. His passion for social justice and world peace led him to Central and South America, where he took frequent trips to monitor free democratic elections and advocate for human rights. Wayne served on the St. Paul School Board and was a founding member and chair of the St. Paul Community Education Advisory Council. He was a respected leader for numerous local, state and national organizations including, but not limited to the DFL party, St. Paul Labor, Veterans for Peace, Labor's Community Services Committee, St. Paul's Police Civilian Review Commission and the United Way. Wayne's greatest passions included his love of family, his commitment to the labor movement and world peace. He held firm to his belief that one voice can make a difference. He was unapologetic and consistent to his causes, regardless of popular opinion. He touched many lives and made a true difference in his community. He will be greatly missed. Celebration of Life 4-7pm Sunday February 28 at the St. Paul Labor Federation Hall, 353 W 7th St., St. Paul (note corrected address from Friday's notice). Funeral Mass 10am Monday February 29 at Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel, 1884 Randolph Ave., St. Paul with visitation 1 hour prior and 9am. Interment at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Veterans for Peace-Chapter 27 or LSRC Wayne Wittman EA Fund. (Published in Pioneer Press on Feb. 26, 2016)