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Serving Dane County since 1922

Four generations of family, along with an excellent staff, Gunderson Funeral Home proudly serves your family with the same personal care and dedication that has been passed down from generation to generation. Since 1922, Gunderson Funeral Home has been Dane County’s longest serving single family funeral home. With seven convenient locations throughout south central Wisconsin, Gunderson Funeral Home has orchestrated compassionate, individualized life celebrations and funeral services in our communities.

Gunderson Funeral Home - Wisconsin

 

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PETER GUNDERSON President

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MIKE SMITS General Manager and Licensed Funeral Director

Mike is originally from Antigo, Wisconsin, graduating from Antigo High School in 1981. He has worked in  funeral service since 1983. Mike graduated from the funeral service program at Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1985, and has been part of the Gunderson Funeral Home since 1987.

Mike and his wife, Cindy, along with their three daughters, have made McFarland their home since 1988. He is very involved in the McFarland community, serving on the McFarland Education Foundation Board of Directors,  is a member of the McFarland Optimists Club, and a former member of McFarland Basketball Boosters  Board of Directors and Christ the King Catholic Church where he had served as an usher, Eucharistic Minister, and a religious education committee member and instructor. In addition, Mike has also been active in Stoughton; having served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, including two terms as president and the Stoughton Area Community Foundation Board of Directors.

In his free time, Mike enjoys spending time with his family,  running, golf, and Badgers football and basketball.

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DAN DEDERICH Manager and Licensed Funeral Director

Dan was raised in the Sauk Prairie area, and currently resides in Waunakee with his wife and two children. After earning his degree in mortuary science in 1982, Dan worked for the Winn Funeral Home in Waunakee, and later Slettten McKee Hanson Funeral Home in LaCrosse before joining Gunderson Funeral Home in 1990. He is a member of the Middleton Optimist Club and is involved with both the Middleton and Cross Plains Chambers of Commerce.

Dan says that trying to help people through the most challenging moment of their lives with the loss of a loved one and being able to make that difficult situation memorable and positive are what compel him to be a compassionate funeral director.

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JIM DUPOR Retired Funeral Director Emeritus

Jim graduated from Madison LaFollette High School in 1981. He later attended and graduated from Madison Area Technical College with a degree in mortuary science. Jim joined Gunderson Funeral home as an apprentice, and has now been a licensed funeral director since 1986. Jim and his family have resided in McFarland since 1988.

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STEPHANIE VONBEHREN Manager and Licensed Funeral Director

Stephanie is formerly of North Freedom, Wisconsin. She graduated from Baraboo High School in 1990 Stephanie continued her education at the UW-Baraboo/Sauk County campus, focusing her career on being a registered nurse.  Her career took a different direction after she experienced the loss of a close family member. The positive experience at a terrible time was made possible through her hometown funeral director. Stephanie went on to graduate from Milwaukee Area Technical College with an associate degree in mortuary science, and began working at Gunderson Funeral Home in 1998. Stephanie currently resides in DeForest with her husband, David, and their children, Jordan and Taylor.

On the beautiful, Wisconsin winter days, you can find Stephanie downhill skiing. When all the wonderful snow has melted away, Stephanie enjoys biking and hiking in the state parks.

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MARTHA PATON Administrative Manager

Martha was born and raised in Stoughton, Wisconsin.  For the past 13 years, she worked in the construction industry.  Upon leaving her position she spent time thinking about what she wanted to do with the rest of her career.  She knew that she wanted to find something outside the corporate world and when she heard about a position opening with Gunderson Funeral Homes, she jumped at the opportunity.  Martha is excited to combine both her business skills with her compassion for helping people.

In her spare time she enjoys golfing, exercising, reading, spending time with friends, family and her two Catahoula Leopard Dog rescues. 

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DAVID GOVE Licensed Funeral Director

David grew up in the Deforest area, graduating from Deforest High School. He attended University of Wisconsin- Madison in the school of education and graduated with honors from the Milwaukee Area Technical College Mortuary Science program. David has been a licensed funeral director since 1989.

In his spare time, he has been a licensed football, basketball, baseball and softball official for 40 years. Additionally, he is an avid Wisconsin Badger football fan who has held season tickets for the past 30 years. Like most Wisconsinites, David enjoys the Packers, Brewers and Bucks.

His family includes his wife, Janice; daughters, Megan (Phil) Reynolds and Rachel (Samuel) Orr; step-daughter, Shannon (Jason) Lebal; and grandchildren, Ewan, Emerson, Gabriel, Judah, Rainne and Ascher.

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DALE HOLZHUTER Licensed Funeral Director

Dale was born and raised on a farm near Deerfield, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Madison East High School, UW-Whitewater and Milwaukee Mortuary School. Dale served his apprenticeship with Gunderson Funeral Home in 1959 and became a licensed funeral director in 1964. For over 20 years, Dale co-owned funeral homes in Stoughton, McFarland and Deerfield, Wisconsin.  He has been with Gunderson Funeral Home since 2001.

Dale is married to the former Marian Christenson of Stoughton.  He and Marian enjoy all sports, but especially Wisconsin football and basketball.

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JEFF HRON Licensed Funeral Director

Jeff is a lifelong Madison area resident. He graduated from DeForest High School in 1990.  He continued his education, graduating from Madison Area Technical College in 1993, with an associate degree in marketing, and from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1996, with an associate degree in mortuary science. Jeff served his funeral service apprenticeship in Waukesha, Wisconsin and then joined Gunderson Funeral Home in November 1995.

Jeff has been an active member in the Monona Grove Optimist Club since 1999. He has served as club president and as a lieutenant governor for the Southern Wisconsin District. Jeff has been a lifelong member of Christ Lutheran Church in DeForest, where he has lived for many years.

He and his wife, Candi, have been married since 2000. Together they enjoy spending time with their three dogs, Bam Bam, Mr. Beanie and Pixie. Jeff likes camping, antique and collection cars, car shows, hiking and generally spending time outdoors.

“I love my job working as a funeral director because I feel I can be a helpful guide to families through some of the most difficult time in their life.”

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JOHN JACOBSEN Licensed Funeral Director

Having grown up in a Lutheran Minister’s family, John lived in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  A graduate of Portage Sr. High, Dana College and Worsham College of Mortuary Science,  John has been a Funeral Director in Madison since 2005.  In his first career, John worked for over 20 years  in community based services for persons with disabilities both in Nebraska and Wisconsin.  John and Lois are active in their church’s music ministry and are active volunteers with The Road Home in Madison. They enjoy Door County, kayaking in the UP with close friends, Devil’s Lake, and all things Wisconsin.  Having raised twin sons, they now live with Molly the Jack Russell and Libby the cat.

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KASEY WILSON Licensed Funeral Director

Kasey grew up in Necedah, Wisconsin.  She is married with two girls, age 3 years and 3 months, who keep her very busy.  Kasey enjoys spending time with family, especially outdoors; going on picnics, trips to the zoo, spending time boating, fishing, and going to the beach and water parks.  She takes pride in listening to people and being able to help them through the toughest time in their life.  Kasey is honored to guide families through the process and be there for them every step of the way.

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MARK LINDER Licensed Funeral Director

Orginally from Nebraska, Mark joined our funeral home in 2011. Becoming a funeral director was a lifelong dream for Mark.

He spent 20 years in the insurance industry serving as an agency owner and manager of a branch agency. Mark attended the University of Nebraska and graduated from the Milwaukee Area TEchnical College Funeral Science Program with an Associate's Degree in Applied Science. He has served as a Funeral Director in Marshfield, as well as the Philadelphia area.

Mark and his wife, Helen, have two children, son, Mark II, and his wife Erin, and daughter, Jennifer. They are proud grandparents of Violet and Avalo. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, camping, traveling, sports and spending time with his grandchildren. Mark and his wife reside in Oregon.

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SIERRA MELLO Licensed Funeral Director

Sierra is an Alaskan Native.  She joined the United States Army in 2001, was stationed in Germany and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom I & II.  Sierra earned her Bachelor of Science in Management and Masters in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix in Arizona.  Sierra earned her Associates in Funeral Service from Milwaukee Area Technical College.  Sierra loves spending time with her two young daughters; Serenity and Raina.  Sierra has fallen in love with Wisconsin’s culture, seasons and people.  “I’ve never lived or worked in a place where people care so much about one another.  Gunderson’s really exemplifies the Golden Rule towards both employees and the families served.”

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RACHEL WARTES Licensed Funeral Director

A recent Wisconsin transplant.  Rachel came to Madison by way of Chicago where she attended Worsham College of Mortuary Science.  Originally from Colorado, Rachel received her Bachelor’s Degree in 2010 from Metropolitan State University of Denver where she studied Sociology and Psychology.  She is an avid runner and enjoys hiking, biking and camping in her free time.  Rachel is thrilled to join the Gunderson team and call Madison home.

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MICHELLE RINEHART Licensed Funeral Director

Michelle was born and raised in Madison, and currently resides in her childhood home with her daughter, Samantha. She graduated from Madison East High School and went on to attend UW-Richland Center, majoring in sports medicine.  After her freshman year of college, Michelle’s grandfather died, which changed her career path. Michelle graduated from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1993, with an associate degree in mortuary science. She worked for Ward Funeral Home in Edgerton/Evansville for two and a half years, and for Joyce Ryan Funeral Home before settling in at Gunderson Funeral Home in February of 1996.

Michelle enjoys playing volleyball, watching men’s college basketball and watching her daughter’s sporting events. She is also active with her church, St. Bernard Catholic Church, the Women’s Group and is very involved with Girl Scouts.

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DANIELLE VAYRE Licensed Funeral Director

Danielle grew up in Michigan and is number 9 of 10 siblings. After high school, she moved to Arizona and received a bachelor of science degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. Danielle moved to Madison from Mexico City, Mexico after raising her 3 children.   She is bilingual and received her associate’s degree in Mortuary Science at MATC, Milwaukee. Her passions include cooking, family night dinners, and traveling with family and friends. Danielle is also active in softball and bowling leagues, and an American Legion Auxiliary Member in McFarland.

 

 

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RICHARD "RIC" VANDERHOEF Certified Pre-Planning Consultant

A life long Madison East Side/Cottage Grove resident, Ric came to Gunderson’s in the early 90's.  Beginning as a pre-need specialist,  Ric obtained The CPC (Certified Pre-Planning Consultant) designation from the National Funeral Directors Association with in a few years.  In his spare time Ric enjoys time with his family and fishing, while always having a home project underway.  

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NICOLE PERRIN Accountant

Nicole Perrin has been with the Gunderson Funeral Home since 1998. She is originally from Wauwatosa. Nicole graduated from Edgewood College with her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. In her free time, Nicole enjoys reading, crafts and spending time with family & friends.

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BRENDA LANG Accounting Assistant

Brenda was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin.  She worked over 30 years in the lumber industry before deciding to make a change and join Gunderson Funeral Homes in November of 2014. In her free time, Brenda enjoys reading and watching the Brewers, especially tailgating before games.  She also enjoys spending time with her family, especially her son.

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DEDE SIMON-KESSENICH Billing Specialist

DeDe was raised in Martinsville, Wisconsin and graduated from Middleton High School and has lived in the rural area of Middleton since 1976 with her husband, Dennis. Together they proudly raised three daughters. DeDe also has a son-in-law and three darling grandsons. DeDe loves any activity that involves her family and enjoys traveling, attending sporting events and is active in helping raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

When I came to Gunderson Funeral Home I knew it would be a perfect fit for me. To work with a group of people that are compassionate for the staff that works with them, and to see firsthand that each family Gunderson Funeral Home works with is handled with the upmost respect and provided with everything needed to get them through this devasting time.

DeDe comes to us with an extensive background in insurance, billing and customer service and is enjoying putting her experience to work here at Gunderson Funeral Home.

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KAREN KICMOL NELSON Executive Assistant

Karen started working for Gunderson’s in June 1999. Karen was born and raised on the East Side of Madison, graduated from LaFollette High School and attended Madison Area Technical College. She moved to Monona in 1977. Karen previously worked as a medical assistant for Dr. J.P. Keepman, M.D. for 10 years and as a lead dispatcher at Monona Police Department for 20 years. She was a charter member of Monona Emergency Medical Service, the first female EMT in Monona, and received her State of Wisconsin and National Registry certificates in 1978. Karen was a volunteer for 10 years with Monona EMS.  Her husband, Bob Nelson, is the assistant fire chief in the City of Monona and has been a volunteer firefighter with Monona for more than 40 years. Karen says that they are “very proud to live and work in our beautiful community. We really enjoy being able to help our friends, neighbors and families in their time of need.” When Karen and Bob are not working, their favorite place to be is at their cabin in Phillips.

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BETTY DAUCK Administrative Assistant

After working for Gunderson Funeral Home for over 10 years, Betty thought that it was her time to retire. She soon realized how much she missed greeting the public and helping families in difficult times and returned working part time at the Gunderson West location.

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TANYA DUPOR Administrative Assistant

Tanya grew up in McFarland graduating from McFarland High School in 2006. Tanya has been working with Gunderson Funeral Home since May 2008. She is the fourth member of the Dupor family to work at Gunderson Funeral Home.

Tanya enjoys running in local 5k races with her grandfather (who sadly she has yet to beat), attempting beginner's quilting projects and golfing with her family and friends. Lately though, she has been spending most days training her year old English Springer puppy, Memphis, in hopes he won't attack her two cats, Mallory and Charlie.

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LAUREN GUNDERSON Administrative Assistant

Lauren grew up in Middleton, graduating from Middleton High School in 2008.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Consumer Affairs along with a Certificate in Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012, while competing as a student-athlete on the women's soccer team.  Upon graduation, Lauren moved to London, England to work for more than a year before returning home to become involved in the family business.  In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time outdoors, playing soccer, traveling, and baking.

 

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JOAN LAUFENBERG Middleton Office Manager

Joan has been with the Gunderson Funeral Home since 1999, working in the Middleton location in a support role for the funeral directors. She says that customer service, care and compassion are important to her, and working at Gunderson Funeral Home gives her the opportunity to use these skills, along with family core values, to help families in their time of need.

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SARA PATON BARKENHAGEN Stoughton Administrative Assistant

Sara was born and raised in Stoughton.  For more than 30 years, her career has been as an administrative assistant in education.  Ready for a change, she was fortunate to be hired in a position where she is able to continue to interact with and help families. In her spare time, her favorite hobby is staying home.  Sara currently lives in Deerfield with her husband, Dennis Barkenhagen. She has three grown children, Luke Natvig; his wife Amanda; and their children, Sylas Natvig and Joe and Kendal Coleman all of Marshall, Peter Natvig of Stoughton, and Carly Natvig of Seattle, Washington.

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LISA KREBS Administrative Assistant

Lisa was born in Minnesota and currently lives in Sun Prairie. She recently received her associate’s degree in Business Management at Madison Area Technical College. Previous to being hired at Gunderson Funeral Home, Lisa worked at UW Hospital for 5 ½ years. She is thrilled to be able to work in a position where she is able to utilize her skills and knowledge, along with remaining in an environment where care and compassion is a big part of the job. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys cooking, reading, working out and spending time with her cat, boyfriend, friends and family.

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JANELLE LAFROMBOIS Fitchburg Administrative Assistant

Janelle grew up in Brooklyn, WI and graduated from Oregon High School in 1987.  She continued her education graduating from MATC in 1990 with an Associate’s Degree in Dietetics and from the UW-Madison in 1999 with a B.S. in Rehabilitation Psychology.  Before joining Gunderson, Janelle worked for 24 years at the Edgerton Care Center serving the residents as a Dietetic Technician Registered.  She is married to Dan and they reside in Stoughton with their 2 children, Zach and Brynn.  Janelle loves spending time with her family and friends.

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KIRSTEN GUNDERSON Administrative Assistant

Kirsten grew up in Middleton, graduating from Middleton High School in 2012. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Biology. Upon graduation in December 2014, Kirsten looks forward to medical school and pursuing her career in the medical field. Kirsten is passionate about helping others and is involved with a number of organizations on the UW campus. She enjoys volunteering with Agrace HospiceCare and coaching with the Middleton girls’ varsity soccer team. In her spare time, Kirsten enjoys hiking, horseback riding, playing soccer and spending time with family.

 

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PATTY SEILER Lodi Office Manager and Funeral Assistant

Patty started working for Gunderson Funeral Home in March of 2012 after retiring from the Veterans Administration Hospital with almost 35 years of service. She works as a family service assistant and adminstrative assistant to the funeral director.

Patty is a life-long resident of Lodi and has two children, Becky and Garret. She loves spending time with her family, especially her grandson, Ty. Patty can be seen everyday in Lodi being walked by her two German Shepherds, Chubbs and Dixie.

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DEBBIE STUDT Administrative Assistant

Debbie was born and raised in Monroe, WI. She moved to Madison in 2000 and spent most of her career in the building business. After losing her father to cancer in 1999, Debbie realized what comfort it was to have HospiceCare walk her and her family through the end stages of his life. It was shortly thereafter that she became an inpatient Hospice volunteer and most recently a vigil volunteer. It was through her volunteering that lead her to a position with Gunderson Funeral  Home. Debbie is proud to be part of a team who is dedicated to compassionately serving families in need with integrity and respect. Each day her life is touched by someone else’s sadness.  Debbie feels the deepest experiences of life are impacted by those around us that guide us through them.  She truly believes pain does not always have to be private. 

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DINA A. OPSAHL Social Media and Web Manager

Dina grew up in DeForest, Wisconsin. She was a graduate of DeForest High School. She lived in Green Bay for 18 years, where she became involved in Funeral Service. She moved back to her roots, and now resides in Deforest with her husband, Mark, and children, Kali, Arianna, and Pryce. Dina loves to spend time with her family at her children's sporting events, down-hill skiing, snowmobiling, boating, fishing and hunting.

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LINDA COLLETTI Grief Counselor and Aftercare Specialist

Linda is an aftercare specialist who seeks to comfort those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Drawing from personal experiences and those of others, she has a deep understanding of the challenges of grief.  Linda has been a grief counselor for over 20 years, and believes we all have the resiliency and wisdom to find our way on the journey.

Linda resides in Belleville with her husband, Wayne, and a very cute and spoiled Cocker Spaniel. She has two grown sons, two daughters-in-law, and a step daughter. Linda loves being a grandma to three year old Evan. She says, “If I would have known being a grandma was so much fun, I would have done that first!”

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KATE FORD ROBERTS Grief Counselor and Aftercare Specialist

Kate has been with Gunderson Funeral Home since 1991. She is the co-founder of the Center for Life and Loss Integration at San Damiano, a grief-counseling center in Madison. She was involved in starting the University Hospital and Clinics Palliative Care Program in 1999. Her education has also earned her End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) certification, and is certified in Hospice and Palliative and Nursing (CHPN). She has a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's degree in psychology-palliative care and bereavement.

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JUDY KOEPPL Grief Counselor and Aftercare Specialist

Judy has been a grief counselor and aftercare specialist at Gunderson Funeral Home since 1990. Prior to joining Gunderson Funeral Home, Judy developed the bereavement program at HospiceCare, Inc. of Madison and served as the program director for numerous years. Judy is the co-founder and director of the Center for Life and Loss Integration at San Damiano, a grief-counseling center in Madison.

Judy feels it is a great privilege to work with and support individuals and families as they go through difficult times in their lives.  She is a member of the Academy of Credentialed Social Workers and is a certified thanantologist. Judy also holds a master's degree in social work, and is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She is a Red Cross volunteer in the Disaster Mental Health field and was able to work with the Red Cross to help surviving family members of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Judy loves the outdoors, and among some of the more active trips she and her husband and family have taken, she has especially enjoyed backpack canoe trips in Quetico, hiking in the Grand Canyon, and sea kayaking in the Apostle Islands. Other less active pursuits include travel, a love of books, and spending time with family and friends.

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BRAD HOMAN Funeral Director Apprentice

Brad Homan grew up in the Madison area and graduated from Madison Memorial High School.  He went on to become a pastor and served for nearly 27 years at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Madison’s east side.  Early in 2014 he retired from the ministry and went to work for Gunderson Funeral Homes.  Brad enjoys his role as one who is still able to help those in their time of need.  He also enjoys working with his friends at Gundersons.

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BEAU CORNELL Funeral Director Apprentice

Beau was born and raised in Stoughton, Wisconsin and graduated from Stoughton High School in 2013. He attended UW-Platteville for a year studying Criminal Justice before transferring to Madison College. He started as a Funeral Director Apprentice with Gunderson Funeral Homes in March 2015.  In his spare time, Beau enjoys drawing, playing sports, hanging out with friends and family and watching Badger football/basketball and the Green Bay Packers.

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SAMANTHA RINEHART Funeral Director Apprentice

Samantha is a 2009 graduate of Madison East High School. After high school she went to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she earned her bachelor’s degree in social work. Despite being in her 20’s, Samantha enjoys reading, crocheting, and playing bingo in her free time. She also enjoys playing volleyball and going on motorcycle rides. 

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MYKAL JENSEN Funeral Director Apprentice

Mykal was born in Southern Oregon and raised throughout the state, briefly in the United Arab Emirates, Pinedale, Wyoming and Gallup, New Mexico. Living in these places has exposed her to a diversity of cultures and people. She attended University of New Mexico where she studied Psychology. After a career change from a veterinary assistant, she came to the Midwest via Chicago and graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 2016. Mykal is an avid equestrian, an animal lover and adventure seeker. She enjoys volunteering, attending church and being active outside. Mykal has found her calling in funeral service and is enthusiastic about working with the Gunderson team within the Madison community. 

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MATT GUNDERSON Funeral Director Apprentice

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SHARON AMBROSE Beautician

Sharon is from Madison, Wisconsin. She graduated From LaFollette High School, and earned her degree at Madison Area Technical College in cosmetology in 1967.  Sharon worked and managed a salon in Madison for 16 years.  She then worked with the elderly in a salon at a nursing home for over 14 years. Sharon now has a salon in Madison for the last several years. She started working at Gunderson Funeral Home while working at the nursing home. Families would ask her to do their loved ones hair after passing. They felt more comfortable with someone that was familiar with them.  Sharon says she feels that she can best serve the families and their loved ones by making a pleasant lasting memory for the family.

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JOY GUNDERSON Hair Designer

Joy Gunderson was born and raised in Madison.  She currently resides in Stoughton with her husband Jeff and their two boys, Zander and Skyler.  As a hair designer, Joy owned and operated her own business for over 20 years, mainly within Monona.  She takes pride in her job and receives a real sense of satisfaction; whether it's working on her own clients, or those at the Gunderson Funeral Home.

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KEN BERG Vital Statistics Coordinator

Ken is from LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He is a 1960 graduate of La Crosse Central High School. Ken served on active duty in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1963. He graduated from Madison Business College in 1966. Ken enjoys fishing, card playing, and is a fan of the Packers and the Badgers. He is a member of McFarland Lutheran Church. Ken and his wife, Jane have three children and six grandchildren.

Ken has served as the vital statistics coordinator at Gunderson Funeral Home since 1998. He says, “It is a honor to work with great staff that share the same feelings in serving families, to work together towards a common goal.”

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GREG DAHMEN Funeral Service Associate

Greg has been with Gunderson Funeral Home since 1990. After working in the retail management field for his entire career, Greg says that he was happy to use his customer services skills in such an rewarding way. “Meeting and assisting the many wonderful families has been a privilege and I look forward to continuing to be there in their time of need.”

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DEAN "DON" DENSON Funeral Service Associate

Don is a lifelong resident of Middleton. After working in the concrete business for 45 years, he retired in 1997. Don joined Gunderson Funeral Home in 2005, and says that he enjoys working with people and helping families in any way that he can.

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JAMES "JIM" GREEN Funeral Service Associate

Jim, a lifelong Madisonian, resides in Fitchburg with his wife, Suzanne.  They have an adult daughter that also lives in the area.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, Jim has owned and operated three different businesses in the consumer products industry.  In his retirement he continues to participate in various sporting activities, in addition to being a fan of all major sports.

Jim takes great pride in being a part of the Gunderson team; a group of caring professionals dedicated to addressing the needs of families in difficult times.

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HERBERT GUNDLACH Funeral Service Associate

Herb is originally from Oregon, Wisconsin. He was drafted into the Army in 1955. Herb returned home, and played in a dance band for 43 years. He currently resides in Fitchburg with his wife. They are members at Holy Mother of Consolation Catholic Church, where he has played the organ and been a member since 1946.

Herb says that he has always had an interest in the funeral business since he retired from a repair and maintenance business in 1993. He has been with Gunderson Funeral Home since 1993.

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JOE KELLERMAN Funeral Service Associate

Joe is originally from Watertown , Wisconsin . He attended St. Lawrence Seminary, Watertown High School and earned a graphic arts degree from Madison College . Before joining Gunderson Funeral Home, he worked 49 years at Webcrafters Printing Company as an IT manager.

Before moving to Madison , Joe and his wife, Joan, lived in McFarland where they raised four children.  Joe is a member of Christ the King Catholic Church in McFarland were he served on the finance committee, was a member of the Men’s Club, taught religious education and volunteered at Luke House. He was on the board of directors of the Madison Jaycees, was the charter president of the McFarland Jaycees, and was the past presidents of the McFarland Music Boosters and the Blackhawk Home Owners Association.  He delivered meals for Meals on Wheels for many years and served as a volunteer for United Way.

In his free time Joe enjoys spending time with his 10 grandchildren, watching their sporting events, music performances and drama productions.  He is an avid Badger basketball fan, a Packer fan and a Brewers fan.

Joe feels very fortunate to work with a team of dedicated caring individuals committed to helping families at a very difficult time in their lives.

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LYLE MEEKER Funeral Service Associate

Lyle is formerly of Richland Center, Wisconsin. He graduated from Richland Center High School in 1959, and from Richland County Teachers College in 1961, and spent the next five years in the teaching profession. In 1966, Lyle joined the New York Life Insurance Company and retired after 37 years in 2003. 

Lyle has resided in Middleton since 1969; he is very active in the community and his church. He enjoys sports of all kinds and has participated in bowling and golf for many years. Since retiring, Lyle volunteers at St. Mary’s Hospital. He has always been a people person and gets a great deal of satisfaction by helping others, especially in a time of need.

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BOB KLEINSCHMIDT Funeral Service Associate

Bob grew up in Wauwatosa and moved to Middleton in 1997.  He retired in 2014 after more than 30 years in the financial service industry.  Bob missed the personal contact with clients and so jumped at the chance to be of service at Gunderson Funeral Homes.  He has been married to Becky for 37 years and has raised two sons. He also has two grandsons to be proud of.

When Bob is not helping families at Gundersons, he enjoys spending time with family, watching University of Wisconsin and Green Bay sports, flying RC airplanes, and working on genealogy.

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RICHARD E. "DICK" PETERSON Funeral Service Associate

Dick Peterson was born on September 22nd  in Viroqua, WI.  He was a member of the U.S. Army during the Korean War.  Dick received his Funeral Director’s license on January 1, 1963.  He joined the staff at Gunderson Funeral & Cremation Centers in the Spring of 1976.

Some organizations, memberships and activities Dick is involved with include a 45 year member and past Grand Knight of KC Council #4586; 40 year Honorary Life Member of the Bishop Wm. P. O’Connor 4th Degree Assembly Knights of Columbus; 41 year Life Member of the Madison Elks Lodge No. 410; 33 year member of the East Madison/Monona Optimist Club, and currently serving as their President for the year 2008-2009.

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RICHARD "DICK" RINEHART Funeral Service Associate

Dick moved to Madison after graduating high school in 1965.  He and his wife, Jan, have been married for over 40 years. Together they have a daughter, Michelle, and a granddaughter, Samantha. Dick spent 36 years with the Madison Police Department, retiring in 2001. He worked as a cadet officer, police officer, sergeant and lieutenant. Dick had the opportunity to work a patrol beat, work in communications, special operations, and served as a district lieutenant for both the Central and North Police Districts. During his years as a lieutenant, he also coordinated the field training of all police recruit officers.

Dick has been a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1997. He has served two terms as grand knight of Council 9082.  Dick has also served as faithful navigator for Bishop O’Connor 4th Degree Assembly 1200, and recently served three years as district deputy for the five Madison Knights of Columbus Councils. He is a past president of the Board of Directors for the ATTIC Correctional Facility on Madison’s east side, and is a former big brother with Big Brother Big Sisters of Dane County. Dick is a current member of Saint Bernard Catholic Church and is active in numerous parish ministries and events. He has been a staff member since 2001, serving as the director of volunteers.

Dick finds his work at Gunderson Funeral Home very rewarding. He says that he has found several similarities to his career in police work, allowing him to continue to offer help, compassion and comfort to individuals and families during a difficult time.

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PAUL SELBO Certified Crematory Specialist and Funeral Service Associate

Paul has been with Gunderson Funeral Home since 2003. He is a graduate of Stoughton High School and UW-LaCrosse. Paul is a member of Stoughton Village Players, the Honorary “S” Club, Christ Lutheran Church, Stoughton Festival Choir and the Stoughton Hall of fame Committee.

Paul and his wife, Sue, have two sons, Dan and Tom. He enjoys running, golf, motorcycling, theater and small town festivals.

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JIM STOKER Certified Crematory Specialist

Jim grew up in Monona Wisconsin.  He was an auto mechanic for 32 years and then worked at Highland Memory Gardens for 8 years prior to joining Gunderson.  His work as a mechanic built in him a very strong work ethic and a positive mental attitude.  Jim and his wife, Leanne love to take their boat out onto Lake Mendota and let the world go by.  He enjoys the outdoors; hunting and fishing, and watching his grandkids do anything.  

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PETE THORPE Funeral Service Associate

Pete grew up on the east side of Madison and Monona, graduating from Monona Grove High School in 1964. He and his wife, JoAnn have been married for 46 years and have three daughters and nine grandchildren all in the area.

He worked for the City of Monona as a Police Officer for 31 years, with the last 16 years in the investigative division where he attained the rank of Lieutenant, retiring in 2000. Pete then worked in the Dane County Coroners Office for 10 years, before coming to work for Gundersons.

Having worked in law enforcement and the Coroners Office taught him to be able to deal with people in crisis situations and with grieving the death of someone close to them.

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TOM ULLSVIK Funeral Service Associate

Growing-up on Madison's Eastside, Tom worked at his family's Scandinavian market while attending East High School and UW-Madison. A Viet Nam vet, Tom returned to Madison and a banking career lasting 40 years. Long-time members of Bethel Lutheran Church, Tom and his wife Sue live in Middleton where they raised a son and two daughters and now are delighted to have seven grandchildren, all in this area. Tom joined Gunderson Funeral Homes in September of 2011 and has been honored to serve many families, some of which he has known for decades.

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CLARENCE "BOB" BYRNE

Bob Byrne farmed all his life, until 2002.  He is now retired from farming and currently takes care of the lawn work and flowers at Gunderson Funeral Home.  He also enjoys traveling.

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JOHN SIMON

John was raised in Martinsville and comes from a family of seven sisters and four brothers. He graduated from Middleton High School and then started working for Feiner Furniture. He worked for Feiner for 38 years, learning numerous skills that includes, but not limited to, furniture repair, floor coving installation and repair and general maintence. He joined Gunderson Funeral Home in March of 2012

John lives in Cross Plains with his wife Katie. Together they raised three children, that were very active in sports. Lots of time was spent at the ball fields! For many years John coached and for the past five years he has been the business manager for the Cross Plains Home Talent Baseball Team.

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PETER GUNDERSON

President
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MIKE SMITS

General Manager and Licensed Funeral Director

Mike is originally from Antigo, Wisconsin, graduating from Antigo High School in 1981. He has worked in  funeral service since 1983. Mike graduated from the funeral service program at Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1985, and has been part of the Gunderson Funeral Home since 1987.

Mike and his wife, Cindy, along with their three daughters, have made McFarland their home since 1988. He is very involved in the McFarland community, serving on the McFarland Education Foundation Board of Directors,  is a member of the McFarland Optimists Club, and a former member of McFarland Basketball Boosters  Board of Directors and Christ the King Catholic Church where he had served as an usher, Eucharistic Minister, and a religious education committee member and instructor. In addition, Mike has also been active in Stoughton; having served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, including two terms as president and the Stoughton Area Community Foundation Board of Directors.

In his free time, Mike enjoys spending time with his family,  running, golf, and Badgers football and basketball.

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DAN DEDERICH

Manager and Licensed Funeral Director

Dan was raised in the Sauk Prairie area, and currently resides in Waunakee with his wife and two children. After earning his degree in mortuary science in 1982, Dan worked for the Winn Funeral Home in Waunakee, and later Slettten McKee Hanson Funeral Home in LaCrosse before joining Gunderson Funeral Home in 1990. He is a member of the Middleton Optimist Club and is involved with both the Middleton and Cross Plains Chambers of Commerce.

Dan says that trying to help people through the most challenging moment of their lives with the loss of a loved one and being able to make that difficult situation memorable and positive are what compel him to be a compassionate funeral director.

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JIM DUPOR

Retired Funeral Director Emeritus

Jim graduated from Madison LaFollette High School in 1981. He later attended and graduated from Madison Area Technical College with a degree in mortuary science. Jim joined Gunderson Funeral home as an apprentice, and has now been a licensed funeral director since 1986. Jim and his family have resided in McFarland since 1988.

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STEPHANIE VONBEHREN

Manager and Licensed Funeral Director

Stephanie is formerly of North Freedom, Wisconsin. She graduated from Baraboo High School in 1990 Stephanie continued her education at the UW-Baraboo/Sauk County campus, focusing her career on being a registered nurse.  Her career took a different direction after she experienced the loss of a close family member. The positive experience at a terrible time was made possible through her hometown funeral director. Stephanie went on to graduate from Milwaukee Area Technical College with an associate degree in mortuary science, and began working at Gunderson Funeral Home in 1998. Stephanie currently resides in DeForest with her husband, David, and their children, Jordan and Taylor.

On the beautiful, Wisconsin winter days, you can find Stephanie downhill skiing. When all the wonderful snow has melted away, Stephanie enjoys biking and hiking in the state parks.

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MARTHA PATON

Administrative Manager

Martha was born and raised in Stoughton, Wisconsin.  For the past 13 years, she worked in the construction industry.  Upon leaving her position she spent time thinking about what she wanted to do with the rest of her career.  She knew that she wanted to find something outside the corporate world and when she heard about a position opening with Gunderson Funeral Homes, she jumped at the opportunity.  Martha is excited to combine both her business skills with her compassion for helping people.

In her spare time she enjoys golfing, exercising, reading, spending time with friends, family and her two Catahoula Leopard Dog rescues. 

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DAVID GOVE

Licensed Funeral Director

David grew up in the Deforest area, graduating from Deforest High School. He attended University of Wisconsin- Madison in the school of education and graduated with honors from the Milwaukee Area Technical College Mortuary Science program. David has been a licensed funeral director since 1989.

In his spare time, he has been a licensed football, basketball, baseball and softball official for 40 years. Additionally, he is an avid Wisconsin Badger football fan who has held season tickets for the past 30 years. Like most Wisconsinites, David enjoys the Packers, Brewers and Bucks.

His family includes his wife, Janice; daughters, Megan (Phil) Reynolds and Rachel (Samuel) Orr; step-daughter, Shannon (Jason) Lebal; and grandchildren, Ewan, Emerson, Gabriel, Judah, Rainne and Ascher.

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DALE HOLZHUTER

Licensed Funeral Director

Dale was born and raised on a farm near Deerfield, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Madison East High School, UW-Whitewater and Milwaukee Mortuary School. Dale served his apprenticeship with Gunderson Funeral Home in 1959 and became a licensed funeral director in 1964. For over 20 years, Dale co-owned funeral homes in Stoughton, McFarland and Deerfield, Wisconsin.  He has been with Gunderson Funeral Home since 2001.

Dale is married to the former Marian Christenson of Stoughton.  He and Marian enjoy all sports, but especially Wisconsin football and basketball.

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JEFF HRON

Licensed Funeral Director

Jeff is a lifelong Madison area resident. He graduated from DeForest High School in 1990.  He continued his education, graduating from Madison Area Technical College in 1993, with an associate degree in marketing, and from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1996, with an associate degree in mortuary science. Jeff served his funeral service apprenticeship in Waukesha, Wisconsin and then joined Gunderson Funeral Home in November 1995.

Jeff has been an active member in the Monona Grove Optimist Club since 1999. He has served as club president and as a lieutenant governor for the Southern Wisconsin District. Jeff has been a lifelong member of Christ Lutheran Church in DeForest, where he has lived for many years.

He and his wife, Candi, have been married since 2000. Together they enjoy spending time with their three dogs, Bam Bam, Mr. Beanie and Pixie. Jeff likes camping, antique and collection cars, car shows, hiking and generally spending time outdoors.

“I love my job working as a funeral director because I feel I can be a helpful guide to families through some of the most difficult time in their life.”

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JOHN JACOBSEN

Licensed Funeral Director

Having grown up in a Lutheran Minister’s family, John lived in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  A graduate of Portage Sr. High, Dana College and Worsham College of Mortuary Science,  John has been a Funeral Director in Madison since 2005.  In his first career, John worked for over 20 years  in community based services for persons with disabilities both in Nebraska and Wisconsin.  John and Lois are active in their church’s music ministry and are active volunteers with The Road Home in Madison. They enjoy Door County, kayaking in the UP with close friends, Devil’s Lake, and all things Wisconsin.  Having raised twin sons, they now live with Molly the Jack Russell and Libby the cat.

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KASEY WILSON

Licensed Funeral Director

Kasey grew up in Necedah, Wisconsin.  She is married with two girls, age 3 years and 3 months, who keep her very busy.  Kasey enjoys spending time with family, especially outdoors; going on picnics, trips to the zoo, spending time boating, fishing, and going to the beach and water parks.  She takes pride in listening to people and being able to help them through the toughest time in their life.  Kasey is honored to guide families through the process and be there for them every step of the way.

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MARK LINDER

Licensed Funeral Director

Orginally from Nebraska, Mark joined our funeral home in 2011. Becoming a funeral director was a lifelong dream for Mark.

He spent 20 years in the insurance industry serving as an agency owner and manager of a branch agency. Mark attended the University of Nebraska and graduated from the Milwaukee Area TEchnical College Funeral Science Program with an Associate's Degree in Applied Science. He has served as a Funeral Director in Marshfield, as well as the Philadelphia area.

Mark and his wife, Helen, have two children, son, Mark II, and his wife Erin, and daughter, Jennifer. They are proud grandparents of Violet and Avalo. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, camping, traveling, sports and spending time with his grandchildren. Mark and his wife reside in Oregon.

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SIERRA MELLO

Licensed Funeral Director

Sierra is an Alaskan Native.  She joined the United States Army in 2001, was stationed in Germany and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom I & II.  Sierra earned her Bachelor of Science in Management and Masters in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix in Arizona.  Sierra earned her Associates in Funeral Service from Milwaukee Area Technical College.  Sierra loves spending time with her two young daughters; Serenity and Raina.  Sierra has fallen in love with Wisconsin’s culture, seasons and people.  “I’ve never lived or worked in a place where people care so much about one another.  Gunderson’s really exemplifies the Golden Rule towards both employees and the families served.”

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RACHEL WARTES

Licensed Funeral Director

A recent Wisconsin transplant.  Rachel came to Madison by way of Chicago where she attended Worsham College of Mortuary Science.  Originally from Colorado, Rachel received her Bachelor’s Degree in 2010 from Metropolitan State University of Denver where she studied Sociology and Psychology.  She is an avid runner and enjoys hiking, biking and camping in her free time.  Rachel is thrilled to join the Gunderson team and call Madison home.

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MICHELLE RINEHART

Licensed Funeral Director

Michelle was born and raised in Madison, and currently resides in her childhood home with her daughter, Samantha. She graduated from Madison East High School and went on to attend UW-Richland Center, majoring in sports medicine.  After her freshman year of college, Michelle’s grandfather died, which changed her career path. Michelle graduated from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1993, with an associate degree in mortuary science. She worked for Ward Funeral Home in Edgerton/Evansville for two and a half years, and for Joyce Ryan Funeral Home before settling in at Gunderson Funeral Home in February of 1996.

Michelle enjoys playing volleyball, watching men’s college basketball and watching her daughter’s sporting events. She is also active with her church, St. Bernard Catholic Church, the Women’s Group and is very involved with Girl Scouts.

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DANIELLE VAYRE

Licensed Funeral Director

Danielle grew up in Michigan and is number 9 of 10 siblings. After high school, she moved to Arizona and received a bachelor of science degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. Danielle moved to Madison from Mexico City, Mexico after raising her 3 children.   She is bilingual and received her associate’s degree in Mortuary Science at MATC, Milwaukee. Her passions include cooking, family night dinners, and traveling with family and friends. Danielle is also active in softball and bowling leagues, and an American Legion Auxiliary Member in McFarland.

 

 

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RICHARD "RIC" VANDERHOEF

Certified Pre-Planning Consultant

A life long Madison East Side/Cottage Grove resident, Ric came to Gunderson’s in the early 90's.  Beginning as a pre-need specialist,  Ric obtained The CPC (Certified Pre-Planning Consultant) designation from the National Funeral Directors Association with in a few years.  In his spare time Ric enjoys time with his family and fishing, while always having a home project underway.  

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NICOLE PERRIN

Accountant

Nicole Perrin has been with the Gunderson Funeral Home since 1998. She is originally from Wauwatosa. Nicole graduated from Edgewood College with her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. In her free time, Nicole enjoys reading, crafts and spending time with family & friends.

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BRENDA LANG

Accounting Assistant

Brenda was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin.  She worked over 30 years in the lumber industry before deciding to make a change and join Gunderson Funeral Homes in November of 2014. In her free time, Brenda enjoys reading and watching the Brewers, especially tailgating before games.  She also enjoys spending time with her family, especially her son.

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DEDE SIMON-KESSENICH

Billing Specialist

DeDe was raised in Martinsville, Wisconsin and graduated from Middleton High School and has lived in the rural area of Middleton since 1976 with her husband, Dennis. Together they proudly raised three daughters. DeDe also has a son-in-law and three darling grandsons. DeDe loves any activity that involves her family and enjoys traveling, attending sporting events and is active in helping raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

When I came to Gunderson Funeral Home I knew it would be a perfect fit for me. To work with a group of people that are compassionate for the staff that works with them, and to see firsthand that each family Gunderson Funeral Home works with is handled with the upmost respect and provided with everything needed to get them through this devasting time.

DeDe comes to us with an extensive background in insurance, billing and customer service and is enjoying putting her experience to work here at Gunderson Funeral Home.

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KAREN KICMOL NELSON

Executive Assistant

Karen started working for Gunderson’s in June 1999. Karen was born and raised on the East Side of Madison, graduated from LaFollette High School and attended Madison Area Technical College. She moved to Monona in 1977. Karen previously worked as a medical assistant for Dr. J.P. Keepman, M.D. for 10 years and as a lead dispatcher at Monona Police Department for 20 years. She was a charter member of Monona Emergency Medical Service, the first female EMT in Monona, and received her State of Wisconsin and National Registry certificates in 1978. Karen was a volunteer for 10 years with Monona EMS.  Her husband, Bob Nelson, is the assistant fire chief in the City of Monona and has been a volunteer firefighter with Monona for more than 40 years. Karen says that they are “very proud to live and work in our beautiful community. We really enjoy being able to help our friends, neighbors and families in their time of need.” When Karen and Bob are not working, their favorite place to be is at their cabin in Phillips.

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BETTY DAUCK

Administrative Assistant

After working for Gunderson Funeral Home for over 10 years, Betty thought that it was her time to retire. She soon realized how much she missed greeting the public and helping families in difficult times and returned working part time at the Gunderson West location.

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TANYA DUPOR

Administrative Assistant

Tanya grew up in McFarland graduating from McFarland High School in 2006. Tanya has been working with Gunderson Funeral Home since May 2008. She is the fourth member of the Dupor family to work at Gunderson Funeral Home.

Tanya enjoys running in local 5k races with her grandfather (who sadly she has yet to beat), attempting beginner's quilting projects and golfing with her family and friends. Lately though, she has been spending most days training her year old English Springer puppy, Memphis, in hopes he won't attack her two cats, Mallory and Charlie.

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LAUREN GUNDERSON

Administrative Assistant

Lauren grew up in Middleton, graduating from Middleton High School in 2008.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Consumer Affairs along with a Certificate in Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012, while competing as a student-athlete on the women's soccer team.  Upon graduation, Lauren moved to London, England to work for more than a year before returning home to become involved in the family business.  In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time outdoors, playing soccer, traveling, and baking.

 

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JOAN LAUFENBERG

Middleton Office Manager

Joan has been with the Gunderson Funeral Home since 1999, working in the Middleton location in a support role for the funeral directors. She says that customer service, care and compassion are important to her, and working at Gunderson Funeral Home gives her the opportunity to use these skills, along with family core values, to help families in their time of need.

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SARA PATON BARKENHAGEN

Stoughton Administrative Assistant

Sara was born and raised in Stoughton.  For more than 30 years, her career has been as an administrative assistant in education.  Ready for a change, she was fortunate to be hired in a position where she is able to continue to interact with and help families. In her spare time, her favorite hobby is staying home.  Sara currently lives in Deerfield with her husband, Dennis Barkenhagen. She has three grown children, Luke Natvig; his wife Amanda; and their children, Sylas Natvig and Joe and Kendal Coleman all of Marshall, Peter Natvig of Stoughton, and Carly Natvig of Seattle, Washington.

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LISA KREBS

Administrative Assistant

Lisa was born in Minnesota and currently lives in Sun Prairie. She recently received her associate’s degree in Business Management at Madison Area Technical College. Previous to being hired at Gunderson Funeral Home, Lisa worked at UW Hospital for 5 ½ years. She is thrilled to be able to work in a position where she is able to utilize her skills and knowledge, along with remaining in an environment where care and compassion is a big part of the job. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys cooking, reading, working out and spending time with her cat, boyfriend, friends and family.

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JANELLE LAFROMBOIS

Fitchburg Administrative Assistant

Janelle grew up in Brooklyn, WI and graduated from Oregon High School in 1987.  She continued her education graduating from MATC in 1990 with an Associate’s Degree in Dietetics and from the UW-Madison in 1999 with a B.S. in Rehabilitation Psychology.  Before joining Gunderson, Janelle worked for 24 years at the Edgerton Care Center serving the residents as a Dietetic Technician Registered.  She is married to Dan and they reside in Stoughton with their 2 children, Zach and Brynn.  Janelle loves spending time with her family and friends.

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KIRSTEN GUNDERSON

Administrative Assistant

Kirsten grew up in Middleton, graduating from Middleton High School in 2012. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Biology. Upon graduation in December 2014, Kirsten looks forward to medical school and pursuing her career in the medical field. Kirsten is passionate about helping others and is involved with a number of organizations on the UW campus. She enjoys volunteering with Agrace HospiceCare and coaching with the Middleton girls’ varsity soccer team. In her spare time, Kirsten enjoys hiking, horseback riding, playing soccer and spending time with family.

 

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PATTY SEILER

Lodi Office Manager and Funeral Assistant

Patty started working for Gunderson Funeral Home in March of 2012 after retiring from the Veterans Administration Hospital with almost 35 years of service. She works as a family service assistant and adminstrative assistant to the funeral director.

Patty is a life-long resident of Lodi and has two children, Becky and Garret. She loves spending time with her family, especially her grandson, Ty. Patty can be seen everyday in Lodi being walked by her two German Shepherds, Chubbs and Dixie.

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DEBBIE STUDT

Administrative Assistant

Debbie was born and raised in Monroe, WI. She moved to Madison in 2000 and spent most of her career in the building business. After losing her father to cancer in 1999, Debbie realized what comfort it was to have HospiceCare walk her and her family through the end stages of his life. It was shortly thereafter that she became an inpatient Hospice volunteer and most recently a vigil volunteer. It was through her volunteering that lead her to a position with Gunderson Funeral  Home. Debbie is proud to be part of a team who is dedicated to compassionately serving families in need with integrity and respect. Each day her life is touched by someone else’s sadness.  Debbie feels the deepest experiences of life are impacted by those around us that guide us through them.  She truly believes pain does not always have to be private. 

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DINA A. OPSAHL

Social Media and Web Manager

Dina grew up in DeForest, Wisconsin. She was a graduate of DeForest High School. She lived in Green Bay for 18 years, where she became involved in Funeral Service. She moved back to her roots, and now resides in Deforest with her husband, Mark, and children, Kali, Arianna, and Pryce. Dina loves to spend time with her family at her children's sporting events, down-hill skiing, snowmobiling, boating, fishing and hunting.

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LINDA COLLETTI

Grief Counselor and Aftercare Specialist

Linda is an aftercare specialist who seeks to comfort those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Drawing from personal experiences and those of others, she has a deep understanding of the challenges of grief.  Linda has been a grief counselor for over 20 years, and believes we all have the resiliency and wisdom to find our way on the journey.

Linda resides in Belleville with her husband, Wayne, and a very cute and spoiled Cocker Spaniel. She has two grown sons, two daughters-in-law, and a step daughter. Linda loves being a grandma to three year old Evan. She says, “If I would have known being a grandma was so much fun, I would have done that first!”

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KATE FORD ROBERTS

Grief Counselor and Aftercare Specialist

Kate has been with Gunderson Funeral Home since 1991. She is the co-founder of the Center for Life and Loss Integration at San Damiano, a grief-counseling center in Madison. She was involved in starting the University Hospital and Clinics Palliative Care Program in 1999. Her education has also earned her End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) certification, and is certified in Hospice and Palliative and Nursing (CHPN). She has a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's degree in psychology-palliative care and bereavement.

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JUDY KOEPPL

Grief Counselor and Aftercare Specialist

Judy has been a grief counselor and aftercare specialist at Gunderson Funeral Home since 1990. Prior to joining Gunderson Funeral Home, Judy developed the bereavement program at HospiceCare, Inc. of Madison and served as the program director for numerous years. Judy is the co-founder and director of the Center for Life and Loss Integration at San Damiano, a grief-counseling center in Madison.

Judy feels it is a great privilege to work with and support individuals and families as they go through difficult times in their lives.  She is a member of the Academy of Credentialed Social Workers and is a certified thanantologist. Judy also holds a master's degree in social work, and is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She is a Red Cross volunteer in the Disaster Mental Health field and was able to work with the Red Cross to help surviving family members of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Judy loves the outdoors, and among some of the more active trips she and her husband and family have taken, she has especially enjoyed backpack canoe trips in Quetico, hiking in the Grand Canyon, and sea kayaking in the Apostle Islands. Other less active pursuits include travel, a love of books, and spending time with family and friends.

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BRAD HOMAN

Funeral Director Apprentice

Brad Homan grew up in the Madison area and graduated from Madison Memorial High School.  He went on to become a pastor and served for nearly 27 years at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Madison’s east side.  Early in 2014 he retired from the ministry and went to work for Gunderson Funeral Homes.  Brad enjoys his role as one who is still able to help those in their time of need.  He also enjoys working with his friends at Gundersons.

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BEAU CORNELL

Funeral Director Apprentice

Beau was born and raised in Stoughton, Wisconsin and graduated from Stoughton High School in 2013. He attended UW-Platteville for a year studying Criminal Justice before transferring to Madison College. He started as a Funeral Director Apprentice with Gunderson Funeral Homes in March 2015.  In his spare time, Beau enjoys drawing, playing sports, hanging out with friends and family and watching Badger football/basketball and the Green Bay Packers.

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SAMANTHA RINEHART

Funeral Director Apprentice

Samantha is a 2009 graduate of Madison East High School. After high school she went to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she earned her bachelor’s degree in social work. Despite being in her 20’s, Samantha enjoys reading, crocheting, and playing bingo in her free time. She also enjoys playing volleyball and going on motorcycle rides. 

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MYKAL JENSEN

Funeral Director Apprentice

Mykal was born in Southern Oregon and raised throughout the state, briefly in the United Arab Emirates, Pinedale, Wyoming and Gallup, New Mexico. Living in these places has exposed her to a diversity of cultures and people. She attended University of New Mexico where she studied Psychology. After a career change from a veterinary assistant, she came to the Midwest via Chicago and graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 2016. Mykal is an avid equestrian, an animal lover and adventure seeker. She enjoys volunteering, attending church and being active outside. Mykal has found her calling in funeral service and is enthusiastic about working with the Gunderson team within the Madison community. 

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MATT GUNDERSON

Funeral Director Apprentice
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SHARON AMBROSE

Beautician

Sharon is from Madison, Wisconsin. She graduated From LaFollette High School, and earned her degree at Madison Area Technical College in cosmetology in 1967.  Sharon worked and managed a salon in Madison for 16 years.  She then worked with the elderly in a salon at a nursing home for over 14 years. Sharon now has a salon in Madison for the last several years. She started working at Gunderson Funeral Home while working at the nursing home. Families would ask her to do their loved ones hair after passing. They felt more comfortable with someone that was familiar with them.  Sharon says she feels that she can best serve the families and their loved ones by making a pleasant lasting memory for the family.

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JOY GUNDERSON

Hair Designer

Joy Gunderson was born and raised in Madison.  She currently resides in Stoughton with her husband Jeff and their two boys, Zander and Skyler.  As a hair designer, Joy owned and operated her own business for over 20 years, mainly within Monona.  She takes pride in her job and receives a real sense of satisfaction; whether it's working on her own clients, or those at the Gunderson Funeral Home.

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KEN BERG

Vital Statistics Coordinator

Ken is from LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He is a 1960 graduate of La Crosse Central High School. Ken served on active duty in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1963. He graduated from Madison Business College in 1966. Ken enjoys fishing, card playing, and is a fan of the Packers and the Badgers. He is a member of McFarland Lutheran Church. Ken and his wife, Jane have three children and six grandchildren.

Ken has served as the vital statistics coordinator at Gunderson Funeral Home since 1998. He says, “It is a honor to work with great staff that share the same feelings in serving families, to work together towards a common goal.”

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GREG DAHMEN

Funeral Service Associate

Greg has been with Gunderson Funeral Home since 1990. After working in the retail management field for his entire career, Greg says that he was happy to use his customer services skills in such an rewarding way. “Meeting and assisting the many wonderful families has been a privilege and I look forward to continuing to be there in their time of need.”

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DEAN "DON" DENSON

Funeral Service Associate

Don is a lifelong resident of Middleton. After working in the concrete business for 45 years, he retired in 1997. Don joined Gunderson Funeral Home in 2005, and says that he enjoys working with people and helping families in any way that he can.

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JAMES "JIM" GREEN

Funeral Service Associate

Jim, a lifelong Madisonian, resides in Fitchburg with his wife, Suzanne.  They have an adult daughter that also lives in the area.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, Jim has owned and operated three different businesses in the consumer products industry.  In his retirement he continues to participate in various sporting activities, in addition to being a fan of all major sports.

Jim takes great pride in being a part of the Gunderson team; a group of caring professionals dedicated to addressing the needs of families in difficult times.

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HERBERT GUNDLACH

Funeral Service Associate

Herb is originally from Oregon, Wisconsin. He was drafted into the Army in 1955. Herb returned home, and played in a dance band for 43 years. He currently resides in Fitchburg with his wife. They are members at Holy Mother of Consolation Catholic Church, where he has played the organ and been a member since 1946.

Herb says that he has always had an interest in the funeral business since he retired from a repair and maintenance business in 1993. He has been with Gunderson Funeral Home since 1993.

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JOE KELLERMAN

Funeral Service Associate

Joe is originally from Watertown , Wisconsin . He attended St. Lawrence Seminary, Watertown High School and earned a graphic arts degree from Madison College . Before joining Gunderson Funeral Home, he worked 49 years at Webcrafters Printing Company as an IT manager.

Before moving to Madison , Joe and his wife, Joan, lived in McFarland where they raised four children.  Joe is a member of Christ the King Catholic Church in McFarland were he served on the finance committee, was a member of the Men’s Club, taught religious education and volunteered at Luke House. He was on the board of directors of the Madison Jaycees, was the charter president of the McFarland Jaycees, and was the past presidents of the McFarland Music Boosters and the Blackhawk Home Owners Association.  He delivered meals for Meals on Wheels for many years and served as a volunteer for United Way.

In his free time Joe enjoys spending time with his 10 grandchildren, watching their sporting events, music performances and drama productions.  He is an avid Badger basketball fan, a Packer fan and a Brewers fan.

Joe feels very fortunate to work with a team of dedicated caring individuals committed to helping families at a very difficult time in their lives.

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LYLE MEEKER

Funeral Service Associate

Lyle is formerly of Richland Center, Wisconsin. He graduated from Richland Center High School in 1959, and from Richland County Teachers College in 1961, and spent the next five years in the teaching profession. In 1966, Lyle joined the New York Life Insurance Company and retired after 37 years in 2003. 

Lyle has resided in Middleton since 1969; he is very active in the community and his church. He enjoys sports of all kinds and has participated in bowling and golf for many years. Since retiring, Lyle volunteers at St. Mary’s Hospital. He has always been a people person and gets a great deal of satisfaction by helping others, especially in a time of need.

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BOB KLEINSCHMIDT

Funeral Service Associate

Bob grew up in Wauwatosa and moved to Middleton in 1997.  He retired in 2014 after more than 30 years in the financial service industry.  Bob missed the personal contact with clients and so jumped at the chance to be of service at Gunderson Funeral Homes.  He has been married to Becky for 37 years and has raised two sons. He also has two grandsons to be proud of.

When Bob is not helping families at Gundersons, he enjoys spending time with family, watching University of Wisconsin and Green Bay sports, flying RC airplanes, and working on genealogy.

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RICHARD E. "DICK" PETERSON

Funeral Service Associate

Dick Peterson was born on September 22nd  in Viroqua, WI.  He was a member of the U.S. Army during the Korean War.  Dick received his Funeral Director’s license on January 1, 1963.  He joined the staff at Gunderson Funeral & Cremation Centers in the Spring of 1976.

Some organizations, memberships and activities Dick is involved with include a 45 year member and past Grand Knight of KC Council #4586; 40 year Honorary Life Member of the Bishop Wm. P. O’Connor 4th Degree Assembly Knights of Columbus; 41 year Life Member of the Madison Elks Lodge No. 410; 33 year member of the East Madison/Monona Optimist Club, and currently serving as their President for the year 2008-2009.

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RICHARD "DICK" RINEHART

Funeral Service Associate

Dick moved to Madison after graduating high school in 1965.  He and his wife, Jan, have been married for over 40 years. Together they have a daughter, Michelle, and a granddaughter, Samantha. Dick spent 36 years with the Madison Police Department, retiring in 2001. He worked as a cadet officer, police officer, sergeant and lieutenant. Dick had the opportunity to work a patrol beat, work in communications, special operations, and served as a district lieutenant for both the Central and North Police Districts. During his years as a lieutenant, he also coordinated the field training of all police recruit officers.

Dick has been a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1997. He has served two terms as grand knight of Council 9082.  Dick has also served as faithful navigator for Bishop O’Connor 4th Degree Assembly 1200, and recently served three years as district deputy for the five Madison Knights of Columbus Councils. He is a past president of the Board of Directors for the ATTIC Correctional Facility on Madison’s east side, and is a former big brother with Big Brother Big Sisters of Dane County. Dick is a current member of Saint Bernard Catholic Church and is active in numerous parish ministries and events. He has been a staff member since 2001, serving as the director of volunteers.

Dick finds his work at Gunderson Funeral Home very rewarding. He says that he has found several similarities to his career in police work, allowing him to continue to offer help, compassion and comfort to individuals and families during a difficult time.

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PAUL SELBO

Certified Crematory Specialist and Funeral Service Associate

Paul has been with Gunderson Funeral Home since 2003. He is a graduate of Stoughton High School and UW-LaCrosse. Paul is a member of Stoughton Village Players, the Honorary “S” Club, Christ Lutheran Church, Stoughton Festival Choir and the Stoughton Hall of fame Committee.

Paul and his wife, Sue, have two sons, Dan and Tom. He enjoys running, golf, motorcycling, theater and small town festivals.

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JIM STOKER

Certified Crematory Specialist

Jim grew up in Monona Wisconsin.  He was an auto mechanic for 32 years and then worked at Highland Memory Gardens for 8 years prior to joining Gunderson.  His work as a mechanic built in him a very strong work ethic and a positive mental attitude.  Jim and his wife, Leanne love to take their boat out onto Lake Mendota and let the world go by.  He enjoys the outdoors; hunting and fishing, and watching his grandkids do anything.  

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PETE THORPE

Funeral Service Associate

Pete grew up on the east side of Madison and Monona, graduating from Monona Grove High School in 1964. He and his wife, JoAnn have been married for 46 years and have three daughters and nine grandchildren all in the area.

He worked for the City of Monona as a Police Officer for 31 years, with the last 16 years in the investigative division where he attained the rank of Lieutenant, retiring in 2000. Pete then worked in the Dane County Coroners Office for 10 years, before coming to work for Gundersons.

Having worked in law enforcement and the Coroners Office taught him to be able to deal with people in crisis situations and with grieving the death of someone close to them.

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TOM ULLSVIK

Funeral Service Associate

Growing-up on Madison's Eastside, Tom worked at his family's Scandinavian market while attending East High School and UW-Madison. A Viet Nam vet, Tom returned to Madison and a banking career lasting 40 years. Long-time members of Bethel Lutheran Church, Tom and his wife Sue live in Middleton where they raised a son and two daughters and now are delighted to have seven grandchildren, all in this area. Tom joined Gunderson Funeral Homes in September of 2011 and has been honored to serve many families, some of which he has known for decades.

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CLARENCE "BOB" BYRNE

Bob Byrne farmed all his life, until 2002.  He is now retired from farming and currently takes care of the lawn work and flowers at Gunderson Funeral Home.  He also enjoys traveling.

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JOHN SIMON

John was raised in Martinsville and comes from a family of seven sisters and four brothers. He graduated from Middleton High School and then started working for Feiner Furniture. He worked for Feiner for 38 years, learning numerous skills that includes, but not limited to, furniture repair, floor coving installation and repair and general maintence. He joined Gunderson Funeral Home in March of 2012

John lives in Cross Plains with his wife Katie. Together they raised three children, that were very active in sports. Lots of time was spent at the ball fields! For many years John coached and for the past five years he has been the business manager for the Cross Plains Home Talent Baseball Team.