Michael C. Wise, Owner / Director
Michael was born and raised in Hastings. He 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 along with his wife Mary. In 2001 Michael moved back home to Hastings to own and operate the Thomas Ellis Funeral Home, known today as Wise Family Funeral & Cremation Services.
Michael and his wife Mary have been married since 1998 and have two children, Grace and Griffin. He has been very active in the Hastings community having served on many boards such as Augustana Nursing Home and Park Ridge Communities, and the Knights of Columbus. He is the past President of the United Way of Hastings, Oak Ridge Manor Board and past chair of the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce. Michael currently serves on the Board of Directors for the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Cemetery and is a member of the Regina Foundation Board of Directors serving as chairman of the Business Relations Committee.
His free time is spent with his family where he enjoys cheering on his son in hockey and lacrosse and they enjoy snowboarding together. He is equally as busy with his daughter as he cheers her on in her many gymnastics meets. Michael also enjoys traveling, running, working out, golfing and playing hockey.
Mary Wise, Owner / Vice President
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, over the years, to understand 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.
When the opportunity came along to purchase the Thomas Ellis Funeral Home, Michael and Mary were thrilled. The opportunity to buy a funeral home in the community where Michael grew up and that he loved was a dream come true for both of them. They purchased the business in May of 2001 and moved their family from Minneapolis to Hastings. Their new business venture allowed them to continue doing what they loved and for Mary to be home with their children.
Along with working at the funeral home and carpooling her active children to various activities, Mary is very blessed to be able to volunteer her time in the Hastings community. Some of those wonderful opportunities are delivering Meals on Wheels, Holiday Assistance Program & the Back to School Program at Hastings Family Service and Sharing and Caring Hands.
Sarah Wise- Schwieger, Advanced Planning Consultant/ Office Manager
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. She spent most of her career with the Target Corporation in Minneapolis, before starting a family with her husband Ben Schwieger, also of Hastings. They have three small children, Matthew, Laney and Beckett. After starting a family she wanted to have a more flexible career and started working with her brother at the Wise Family 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. Sarah also enjoys volunteering at Sharing and Caring Hands. She is very active in volunteering at her children's school, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School . She co-chairs the Spring Fling Committee which is the largest fundraiser for the school.
Melissa Stevens, Community Outreach Director
Melissa Stevens joined our team as our new Community Outreach Director in May of 2017 to help us to continue to connect with and care for our community, along with the families and individuals we serve each day. Melissa is excited to develop care programs and educational opportunities, create relationships within the Hastings community and beyond, and build trusted resource relationships that continue to serve others even after our services have completed.
As an accountability partner in our business, Melissa knows that we are not just about conducting “business as usual”. We believe that each individual and family we serve has unique needs. Melissa is dedicated to comforting, encouraging, guiding, and empowering those we serve while integrating and honoring our core values of FAMILY, COMPASSION, EMPATHY & KINDNESS in everything we do. We know Melissa will continue to help us treat each person like they are truly a member of our family, building trusted relationships for the years to come.
Melissa is also a Respecting Choices First Steps Advanced Care Planning (ACP) Certified Facilitator. An ACP Facilitator is specifically trained to hold ACP conversations with individuals and loved ones. Melissa leads conversations that are person-centered and aid in the exploration and understanding of advanced care planning, by discussing experiences and discovering what living well means to each person. Advanced Care Planning is for ALL adults, in case of unexpected injury or illness, or a status change making one unable to communicate their own desires and wishes. The process aids in clear objectives, creating awareness of goals, values and beliefs and sharing them with the people who are chosen to make decisions for you, if ever needed.
Melissa loves to spend her free time learning, gardening, traveling, spending time with her fiancé and his two children, cooking, and engaging in community service. She is the mother of two adult children and enjoys traveling to see them in Milwaukee, WI and Chicago, IL.
Ryan Koch, Licensed Funeral Director
Ryan was raised in Savage, MN where he learned about funeral service at a young age from his father, a funeral director in Minneapolis. During his summer vacations in high school, Ryan worked long hours with his friends at Valleyfair as a games supervisor.
After graduating from Bloomington Jefferson high school in 2011, he enrolled at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN to pursue a degree in finance. Ryan’s highlight from his time at Bethany was leading the men’s tennis team as their captain during his junior and senior seasons. While completing his degree, Ryan opted to follow his father’s footsteps to work in funeral service. After graduating from Bethany with a BA in Business Finance 2015, Ryan continued his schooling at the University of Minnesota where he would graduate with a BS in Mortuary Science in the summer of 2016. While at the University of Minnesota, Ryan worked for several funeral homes to complete his practicum. After finishing school he was offered to join the staff at Wise Family Funeral & Cremation Services.
Ryan enjoys spending his time off waterskiing, playing tennis, taking summer road-trips, and cheering on the Timberwolves.
Dick Wise, Funeral Director's Assistant
Dick and his wife Darliss have lived in Hastings for over 40 years. Dick retired in 2007 when he sold his floor covering business in Edina. Dick is an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church and enjoys volunteering at Sharing & Caring Hands. Dick and Darliss have three married children, Kristin and her husband Kyle, Michael and his wife Mary, Sarah and her husband Ben. They also have 11 grandchildren. In 2003, Dick and Darliss lost their oldest daughter, Stacy, to cancer. Dick enjoys golfing, traveling to Florida, spending time at the cabin in Lake City and working for his son Michael at the Wise Family Funeral Home.
Darliss Wise, Funeral Director's Assistant
Darliss and her husband Dick have lived in Hastings for over 40 years. Darliss is very active in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church with the Be Our Guest program as well as bringing up monthly meals to Sharing & Caring Hands. She is also very busy with her 11 grandchildren and cheering them on at their activities. Darliss and Dick have three married children, Kristin and her husband Kyle, Michael and his wife Mary, Sarah and her husband Ben. Darliss enjoys yoga, walking, traveling to Florida, spending time at the cabin in Lake City and working for her son Michael at the Wise Family Funeral Home.