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.

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Jesse Starkson Owner & MN Licensed Mortician Jesses@hastingsmnfuneral.com

Phone: 651-437-9419
Cell Phone: 651-319-1237

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 Catuira-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 one child Declan.  In his free time, Jesse enjoys spending time with his family on the North Shore, 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, Katie, and Declan are members of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Vermillion.

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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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Steven Smidt MN and WI 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, and business partner, Sam Steffel and wife, Tara. 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.

Steve is proud that all of the staff at Caturia, Smidt & Starkson Funeral Home and Crematory 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 and Sam are taking a larger role in the operation of the funeral homes and with the addition of the new facility, are confident they 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 Caturia, Smidt & Starkson on a part time basis.

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Robert Caturia MN 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.

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Sarah Wise-Schwieger Licensed Pre-planning Advisor Sarahs@hastingsmnfuneral.com

Sarah was born and raised in Hastings, MN. She is Michael Wise's "little sister." She is a 1996 graduate of Hastings High School and attended Bethel College.

Sarah and her husband, Ben, have three small children, Matthew, Laney, and Beckett. After starting a family, Sarah started working in the funeral business at her brother's funeral home in 2006. She loves working with families to help personalize services for their loved ones. In 2016, Sarah took on an additional role as the Advanced Planning Consultant. She loves meeting with members of the community to educate them on options to pre-plan their funerals. As of August 2018, Sarah joined the staff at Caturia, Smidt & Starkson Funeral Home , now Starkson Family Life Celebration Chapel, as a part of the collaborative effort to merge the two Hastings funeral homes.

Sarah enjoys volunteering at Sharing and Caring Hands and is also actively engaged with her children's school, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School. She has been a co-chair of the Spring Fling Committee, which is the largest, annual fundraiser for the school. Sarah currently serves as the Vice President of the Hastings Catholic Education Foundation Board.

In her free time, Sarah enjoys traveling and attending her children’s sporting events, along with cooking and reading and relaxing by the pool.

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Mary Wise Funeral Director's Assistant office@hastingsmnfuneral.com

Phone: 651-437-9419

Mary was 18 when she started working in the funeral business at a family-owned funeral home in South Minneapolis. The years she worked at that funeral home, they served over 2,000 families each year. While working there, she gained a great deal of knowledge about the funeral industry. At such a young age, she was exposed to many different situations which helped her to understand the need for personalized service. Mary knows firsthand how every family and every situation is unique.

While working at the funeral home she met Michael, and they were married 2 years later. Together, they managed a funeral home in Edina for 2 years. When they decided to start a family, she stayed home with their two children, Grace and Griffin. Michael and Mary moved back to Hastings, MN in 2001 and were the owners of Wise Family Funeral Home, until August of 2018 when they sold their funeral home to Jesse & Katie Starkson.

Along with working at the funeral home and being an active participant in her children’s’ busy schedules, Mary loves to volunteer her time in the Hastings community. Some of those wonderful opportunities to give back have been the Holiday Assistance Program, the Back to School Program at Hastings Family Service, and Sharing and Caring Hands. Mary currently delivers Meal on Wheels in the local community.

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Laura Lauber Office Manager office@hastingsmnfuneral.com

Laura is a Kansas native and attended Wichita State University until marrying her husband Kason, who was serving in the U.S. Air Force. Together they have three children, Luke, Khloe and Liam.

Laura and her family moved to Minnesota in 2015 when her husband's job at Flint Hills Refinery promoted him to Pine Bend Terminal manager and asked him to relocate. Laura and her family were attracted to Hastings for it's small town charm and beautiful views of the Mississippi River. They have embraced all that Minnesota and Hastings have to offer. They are active members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic church, where Laura is a member of the bell-choir, lectors and leads a women's small group. In her free time, Laura enjoys working out, skiing and playing volleyball.

Laura has also been a part of TLC of Hastings. First by serving on their board-of-directors, and then joining their staff as the client services coordinator. Working with women in crisis, helped Laura to develop compassion and empathy for those experiencing trauma, grief, and uncertainty.

While mainly a fixture in the office, Laura enjoys meeting families and being a listening ear. She is excited to be a part of Starkson Family Life Celebration Chapel and learning more about this unique industry.

Jesse Starkson

Owner & MN Licensed Mortician
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Phone: 651-437-9419
Cell Phone: 651-319-1237

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 Catuira-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 one child Declan.  In his free time, Jesse enjoys spending time with his family on the North Shore, 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, Katie, and Declan are members of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Vermillion.

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.

Steven Smidt

MN and WI 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, and business partner, Sam Steffel and wife, Tara. 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.

Steve is proud that all of the staff at Caturia, Smidt & Starkson Funeral Home and Crematory 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 and Sam are taking a larger role in the operation of the funeral homes and with the addition of the new facility, are confident they 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 Caturia, Smidt & Starkson on a part time basis.

Robert Caturia

MN Licensed Mortician
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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.

Sarah Wise-Schwieger

Licensed Pre-planning Advisor
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Sarah was born and raised in Hastings, MN. She is Michael Wise's "little sister." She is a 1996 graduate of Hastings High School and attended Bethel College.

Sarah and her husband, Ben, have three small children, Matthew, Laney, and Beckett. After starting a family, Sarah started working in the funeral business at her brother's funeral home in 2006. She loves working with families to help personalize services for their loved ones. In 2016, Sarah took on an additional role as the Advanced Planning Consultant. She loves meeting with members of the community to educate them on options to pre-plan their funerals. As of August 2018, Sarah joined the staff at Caturia, Smidt & Starkson Funeral Home , now Starkson Family Life Celebration Chapel, as a part of the collaborative effort to merge the two Hastings funeral homes.

Sarah enjoys volunteering at Sharing and Caring Hands and is also actively engaged with her children's school, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School. She has been a co-chair of the Spring Fling Committee, which is the largest, annual fundraiser for the school. Sarah currently serves as the Vice President of the Hastings Catholic Education Foundation Board.

In her free time, Sarah enjoys traveling and attending her children’s sporting events, along with cooking and reading and relaxing by the pool.

Mary Wise

Funeral Director's Assistant
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Phone: 651-437-9419

Mary was 18 when she started working in the funeral business at a family-owned funeral home in South Minneapolis. The years she worked at that funeral home, they served over 2,000 families each year. While working there, she gained a great deal of knowledge about the funeral industry. At such a young age, she was exposed to many different situations which helped her to understand the need for personalized service. Mary knows firsthand how every family and every situation is unique.

While working at the funeral home she met Michael, and they were married 2 years later. Together, they managed a funeral home in Edina for 2 years. When they decided to start a family, she stayed home with their two children, Grace and Griffin. Michael and Mary moved back to Hastings, MN in 2001 and were the owners of Wise Family Funeral Home, until August of 2018 when they sold their funeral home to Jesse & Katie Starkson.

Along with working at the funeral home and being an active participant in her children’s’ busy schedules, Mary loves to volunteer her time in the Hastings community. Some of those wonderful opportunities to give back have been the Holiday Assistance Program, the Back to School Program at Hastings Family Service, and Sharing and Caring Hands. Mary currently delivers Meal on Wheels in the local community.

Laura Lauber

Office Manager
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Laura is a Kansas native and attended Wichita State University until marrying her husband Kason, who was serving in the U.S. Air Force. Together they have three children, Luke, Khloe and Liam.

Laura and her family moved to Minnesota in 2015 when her husband's job at Flint Hills Refinery promoted him to Pine Bend Terminal manager and asked him to relocate. Laura and her family were attracted to Hastings for it's small town charm and beautiful views of the Mississippi River. They have embraced all that Minnesota and Hastings have to offer. They are active members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic church, where Laura is a member of the bell-choir, lectors and leads a women's small group. In her free time, Laura enjoys working out, skiing and playing volleyball.

Laura has also been a part of TLC of Hastings. First by serving on their board-of-directors, and then joining their staff as the client services coordinator. Working with women in crisis, helped Laura to develop compassion and empathy for those experiencing trauma, grief, and uncertainty.

While mainly a fixture in the office, Laura enjoys meeting families and being a listening ear. She is excited to be a part of Starkson Family Life Celebration Chapel and learning more about this unique industry.

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