Staff

Staff

Our dedicated staff are here to provide support, compassion, and information to help you through your journey of grief and the celebration of your loved one’s life.

Starkson Family Life Celebration Chapel

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Jesse Starkson Owner & MN and WI Licensed Mortician jesses@hastingsmnfuneral.com

Phone: 651-437-9419

Jesse was born and raised in Faribault, and graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Program of Mortuary Science.  Jesse began his career in funeral service in Faribault and their sister chapels in Waseca and Janesville.  He and his wife, Katie, later moved to Hastings where he worked at Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home until purchasing the business from Steve Smidt in the fall of 2016.  Since then, he also acquired the Wise Family Funeral & Cremation Service from Michael and Mary Wise, and have merged the two business and renamed it to Starkson Family Life Celebration Chapel of Hastings. He’s proud to carry the history of both funeral homes forward as they provide excellent care to the Hastings and surrounding communities. 

Jesse is married to Katie (Monahan) Starkson, and they have two children, Declan and Charlotte "Charli".  In his free time, Jesse enjoys spending time with his family Up North, flying, and spending time outdoors.  He also enjoys being active with the Regina Medical Center’s Advisory Board, Program of Mortuary Science Advisory Board, Hastings Public Safety Advisory Board, as well as other various community focus groups. Jesse and his family are members of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Vermillion.

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Katie Starkson Office Manager & Owner office@hastingsmnfuneral.com

Katie was born and raised in Waseca, Minnesota, the oldest of 3 children. She graduated from Waseca high School and Concordia University-St. Paul. 

Katie married Jesse Starkson in 2013  and they have two children, Declan and Charlotte, who reside in Hastings. 

She enjoys a good latte, traveling, attending community events, helping friends & family with design projects and planning events, taking drives in the Model A, and trying new restaurants.

As a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Vermillion, Katie and Jesse volunteer their time and talents at church and St. John's school. Katie is also active in the Hastings community serving on the board of directors at TLC of Hastings. 

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Michael Wise MN and WI Licensed Mortician michaelw@hastingsmnfuneral.com

Phone: 651-437-9419

Born and raised in Hastings, Michael Wise graduated from Hastings High school in 1990 before attending his first two years of college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When deciding on a career in funeral service, he transferred to the University of Minnesota where he graduated with a BS degree in Mortuary Science in 1994. After graduation, he worked for a family-owned funeral home in Minneapolis/Edina where he managed their Edina Chapel. It is there that he met his wife, Mary

Michael and his wife Mary have been married since 1998 and have two children, Grace and Griffin. In 2001 Michael & Mary moved back home to Hastings to own and operate the Wise Family Funeral Home & Crematory (formerly Ellis Wise Funeral Home.) As of August 17, 2018, Michael & his wife, Mary collaboratively joined forces with Caturia, Smidt & Starkson Funeral Home. The Starksons took ownership of the Wise Family Funeral Home and Michael & Mary, along with their staff, joined the team at Caturia, Smidt & Starkson Funeral Home. Both couples are excited for a very long-lasting, collaborative effort in serving families the Hastings community.

Michael has been very active in the Hastings community having served on many boards and volunteer roles including the Augustana Nursing Home, Park Ridge Communities, Knights of Columbus and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Cemetery Board. He served as a past President of the United Way of Hastings, Oak Ridge Manor Board, Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Council. Michael currently serves as a member of the Regina Foundation Board of Directors.

Michael also enjoys spending time with his daughter, Grace, and son, Griffin. Family matters most to Michael & Mary, so any chance to travel with them is time well spent. He also enjoys working out at Hastings Cross Fit and golfing.

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Kara Cease Bowman MN Funeral Director Intern & WI Licensed Director karab@hastingsmnfuneral.com

Kara was raised on a farm in a small town near Bemidji, Minnesota. She grew up in a funeral service family and is a fourth-generation funeral director after gaining her inspiration from her grandfather. She attended the University of Minnesota, Duluth before transferring to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities where she earned a BS degree in Mortuary Science.

Kara enjoys spending time with her family, watching and participating in various sports, hunting, fishing, and being outdoors. She is honored to be able to help and serve the Hastings community.

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Elise Schumacher MN Funeral Director, Monument Specialist, Pre-Planning Specialist elise@wisconsinfuneral.com

Elise was raised in Richfield and Elysian, Minnesota, with an older brother, sister, and many foster siblings. At an extraordinarily young age, she and her parents knew she was going to be a funeral director, she best describes it as God’s calling for her life. She graduated high school from the Academy of Holy Angels, and went on to graduate from the University of Minnesota’s Program of Mortuary Science in 2014. She has worked in a number of roles in the funeral profession, as a licensed funeral director, pre-planning specialist, and also specializes and enjoys creating personalized cemetery memorials for families. Her proudest moment in funeral service has been creating a special memorial garden in New Ulm City Cemetery for parents and families who have lost an infant, either unborn or earthside, a cause which is very dear to Elise. She is honored now to be partners with Halos of the St Croix Valley to provide cemetery memorials for the families which they serve.

 

In 2020, Elise married her husband Craig Schumacher, who is originally from Baldwin, Wisconsin. They are doting parents to their two springerdoodles, Porter and Maggie Jo. Elise enjoys spending her free time with Craig fishing on the lake with their families, bird hunting, doing makeup artistry, attending the college basketball games that Craig officiates, and volunteering with the special needs community. 

 

Elise and Craig will be managing Starkson Family's new funeral home and monument company in Prescott, Wisconsin, and are honored to be able to serve these wonderful communities for many years to come. 

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Steven Smidt Minnesota Licensed Mortician steves@hastingsmnfuneral.com

Phone: 651-437-9419

Steve was born and raised in Iowa, the oldest of 4 children. At an early age he became interested in the funeral profession. He had first hand exposure to how funeral directors care for families through a relative and also from part time employment at a funeral home in high school.

Steve attended the University of Minnesota Program of Mortuary Science, graduating with distinction in 1980. After a brief time working in funeral homes in Minneapolis and northern Minnesota, he took a position with Bob Caturia at Caturia Funeral Home in Hastings in 1981.

Steve worked with Bob for 16 years, and in 1997 purchased the business from Bob and continued to run the the funeral home as Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home until October of 2016 when he sold to Jesse Starkson and wife, Katie. Steve is very proud of the over 75 year tradition of caring, family owned, personal service to Hastings area families, which has been a hallmark of the Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home since 1942. Steve is active in the community, is a past president of the Hastings Rotary Club, a board member of United Way of Hastings & Hastings Family Service.

Steve is married to Kim, a retired Hastings elementary school teacher, and has two adult children, Adam Smidt and Allison, who is married to Derek Preble, and 3 grandchildren, Brynnlee, Kylee and Croix. He enjoys following the Minnesota Twins and Vikings, taking his classic Camaro to area car shows and is also an avid NASCAR fan.
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Steve is proud that all of the staff members are an integral part of the Hastings community and all are honored for the opportunity to serve families in their time of greatest need. Steve and Kim are excited that Jesse is taking a larger role in the operation of the funeral home and with the addition of the new facility, are confident he will continue to serve the communities with the same focus on family service which the local families have become accustomed to. Steve plans on continuing to work with the staff at Starkson on a part time basis.

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Robert Caturia Minnesota Licensed Mortician office@hastingsmnfuneral.com

Phone: 651-437-9419

Bob Caturia began his career working for his father Clinton Caturia, the founder of our funeral home. Bob is a Hastings native and graduate of Hastings High School in 1958 and the University of Minnesota School of Mortuary Science in 1962. Bob took over ownership of Caturia Funeral Home in 1970 and for many years served the families around Hastings. He sold the funeral business to Steve Smidt in 1997 and after a couple more years he retired to his lake home near Brainerd, MN. Bob and his wife Gayle recently returned to Hastings to be nearer family and Bob has returned to work on a part time basis for Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home.

Jesse Starkson

Owner & MN and WI Licensed Mortician
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Phone: 651-437-9419

Jesse was born and raised in Faribault, and graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Program of Mortuary Science.  Jesse began his career in funeral service in Faribault and their sister chapels in Waseca and Janesville.  He and his wife, Katie, later moved to Hastings where he worked at Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home until purchasing the business from Steve Smidt in the fall of 2016.  Since then, he also acquired the Wise Family Funeral & Cremation Service from Michael and Mary Wise, and have merged the two business and renamed it to Starkson Family Life Celebration Chapel of Hastings. He’s proud to carry the history of both funeral homes forward as they provide excellent care to the Hastings and surrounding communities. 

Jesse is married to Katie (Monahan) Starkson, and they have two children, Declan and Charlotte "Charli".  In his free time, Jesse enjoys spending time with his family Up North, flying, and spending time outdoors.  He also enjoys being active with the Regina Medical Center’s Advisory Board, Program of Mortuary Science Advisory Board, Hastings Public Safety Advisory Board, as well as other various community focus groups. Jesse and his family are members of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Vermillion.

Katie Starkson

Office Manager & Owner
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Katie was born and raised in Waseca, Minnesota, the oldest of 3 children. She graduated from Waseca high School and Concordia University-St. Paul. 

Katie married Jesse Starkson in 2013  and they have two children, Declan and Charlotte, who reside in Hastings. 

She enjoys a good latte, traveling, attending community events, helping friends & family with design projects and planning events, taking drives in the Model A, and trying new restaurants.

As a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Vermillion, Katie and Jesse volunteer their time and talents at church and St. John's school. Katie is also active in the Hastings community serving on the board of directors at TLC of Hastings. 

Michael Wise

MN and WI Licensed Mortician
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Phone: 651-437-9419

Born and raised in Hastings, Michael Wise graduated from Hastings High school in 1990 before attending his first two years of college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When deciding on a career in funeral service, he transferred to the University of Minnesota where he graduated with a BS degree in Mortuary Science in 1994. After graduation, he worked for a family-owned funeral home in Minneapolis/Edina where he managed their Edina Chapel. It is there that he met his wife, Mary

Michael and his wife Mary have been married since 1998 and have two children, Grace and Griffin. In 2001 Michael & Mary moved back home to Hastings to own and operate the Wise Family Funeral Home & Crematory (formerly Ellis Wise Funeral Home.) As of August 17, 2018, Michael & his wife, Mary collaboratively joined forces with Caturia, Smidt & Starkson Funeral Home. The Starksons took ownership of the Wise Family Funeral Home and Michael & Mary, along with their staff, joined the team at Caturia, Smidt & Starkson Funeral Home. Both couples are excited for a very long-lasting, collaborative effort in serving families the Hastings community.

Michael has been very active in the Hastings community having served on many boards and volunteer roles including the Augustana Nursing Home, Park Ridge Communities, Knights of Columbus and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Cemetery Board. He served as a past President of the United Way of Hastings, Oak Ridge Manor Board, Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Council. Michael currently serves as a member of the Regina Foundation Board of Directors.

Michael also enjoys spending time with his daughter, Grace, and son, Griffin. Family matters most to Michael & Mary, so any chance to travel with them is time well spent. He also enjoys working out at Hastings Cross Fit and golfing.

Kara Cease Bowman

MN Funeral Director Intern & WI Licensed Director
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Kara was raised on a farm in a small town near Bemidji, Minnesota. She grew up in a funeral service family and is a fourth-generation funeral director after gaining her inspiration from her grandfather. She attended the University of Minnesota, Duluth before transferring to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities where she earned a BS degree in Mortuary Science.

Kara enjoys spending time with her family, watching and participating in various sports, hunting, fishing, and being outdoors. She is honored to be able to help and serve the Hastings community.

Elise Schumacher

MN Funeral Director, Monument Specialist, Pre-Planning Specialist
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Elise was raised in Richfield and Elysian, Minnesota, with an older brother, sister, and many foster siblings. At an extraordinarily young age, she and her parents knew she was going to be a funeral director, she best describes it as God’s calling for her life. She graduated high school from the Academy of Holy Angels, and went on to graduate from the University of Minnesota’s Program of Mortuary Science in 2014. She has worked in a number of roles in the funeral profession, as a licensed funeral director, pre-planning specialist, and also specializes and enjoys creating personalized cemetery memorials for families. Her proudest moment in funeral service has been creating a special memorial garden in New Ulm City Cemetery for parents and families who have lost an infant, either unborn or earthside, a cause which is very dear to Elise. She is honored now to be partners with Halos of the St Croix Valley to provide cemetery memorials for the families which they serve.

 

In 2020, Elise married her husband Craig Schumacher, who is originally from Baldwin, Wisconsin. They are doting parents to their two springerdoodles, Porter and Maggie Jo. Elise enjoys spending her free time with Craig fishing on the lake with their families, bird hunting, doing makeup artistry, attending the college basketball games that Craig officiates, and volunteering with the special needs community. 

 

Elise and Craig will be managing Starkson Family's new funeral home and monument company in Prescott, Wisconsin, and are honored to be able to serve these wonderful communities for many years to come. 

Steven Smidt

Minnesota Licensed Mortician
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Phone: 651-437-9419

Steve was born and raised in Iowa, the oldest of 4 children. At an early age he became interested in the funeral profession. He had first hand exposure to how funeral directors care for families through a relative and also from part time employment at a funeral home in high school.

Steve attended the University of Minnesota Program of Mortuary Science, graduating with distinction in 1980. After a brief time working in funeral homes in Minneapolis and northern Minnesota, he took a position with Bob Caturia at Caturia Funeral Home in Hastings in 1981.

Steve worked with Bob for 16 years, and in 1997 purchased the business from Bob and continued to run the the funeral home as Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home until October of 2016 when he sold to Jesse Starkson and wife, Katie. Steve is very proud of the over 75 year tradition of caring, family owned, personal service to Hastings area families, which has been a hallmark of the Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home since 1942. Steve is active in the community, is a past president of the Hastings Rotary Club, a board member of United Way of Hastings & Hastings Family Service.

Steve is married to Kim, a retired Hastings elementary school teacher, and has two adult children, Adam Smidt and Allison, who is married to Derek Preble, and 3 grandchildren, Brynnlee, Kylee and Croix. He enjoys following the Minnesota Twins and Vikings, taking his classic Camaro to area car shows and is also an avid NASCAR fan.
is
Steve is proud that all of the staff members are an integral part of the Hastings community and all are honored for the opportunity to serve families in their time of greatest need. Steve and Kim are excited that Jesse is taking a larger role in the operation of the funeral home and with the addition of the new facility, are confident he will continue to serve the communities with the same focus on family service which the local families have become accustomed to. Steve plans on continuing to work with the staff at Starkson on a part time basis.

Robert Caturia

Minnesota Licensed Mortician
photo

Phone: 651-437-9419

Bob Caturia began his career working for his father Clinton Caturia, the founder of our funeral home. Bob is a Hastings native and graduate of Hastings High School in 1958 and the University of Minnesota School of Mortuary Science in 1962. Bob took over ownership of Caturia Funeral Home in 1970 and for many years served the families around Hastings. He sold the funeral business to Steve Smidt in 1997 and after a couple more years he retired to his lake home near Brainerd, MN. Bob and his wife Gayle recently returned to Hastings to be nearer family and Bob has returned to work on a part time basis for Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home.

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