Michael C. Wise, Owner / Director
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.)
He 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.
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 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.
The opportunity came along to purchase the Thomas Ellis Funeral Home in 2001 and 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 them both. 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 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.
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, Sarah wanted to have a more flexible career and started working with her brother, Michael Wise, at the Wise Family Funeral Home & Crematory 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 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.
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 develops care programs and educational opportunities, create relationships within the Hastings community and beyond, and builds trusted resource relationships that continue to serve others even after our services have completed.
As an accountability partner in the 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.
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, Evan & Simone, 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.
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 in his father’s footsteps to work in funeral service. After graduating from Bethany with a BA in Business Finance in 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 Home & Crematory.
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, MN. 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, and Sarah and her husband, Ben. They also have 11 grandchildren.
In 2003, Dick and Darliss lost their oldest daughter, Stacy, to cancer. They both know the pain and heartache of losing a loved one, and also the blessing those serving the family can be during such a dark time.
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 & Crematory.
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 enjoys cheering them on at their activities. Darliss and Dick have three married children, Kristin and her husband, Kyle, Michael and his wife, Mary, and Sarah and her husband, Ben.
When Darliss and Dick lost their oldest daughter, Stacy in 2003 to cancer, they set out to make a difference for those families who are grieving. Darliss is quick to help with not only funeral services, but also the many details of preparation. You will likely see her out and about in the community serving at various church and social functions.
Darliss enjoys yoga, walking, traveling to Florida, spending time at their cabin in Lake City, and volunteering her time at Sharing & Caring Hands in Minneapolis.