Jesse Starkson, Owner / MN Licensed Mortician
Jesse is a 2007 graduate of Faribault Senior High School and a 2010 graduate of the Program of Mortuary Science at the University of Minnesota. While attending the program, Jesse was the President of the Mortuary Science Student Association and was also the recipient of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association Past President Scholarship. He originally began working with a funeral home in Faribault in 2003 and also worked in their Waseca and Janesville funeral homes until joining our firm in September of 2014.
Jesse enjoys being involved in the University of Minnesota Program of Mortuary Science Board of Directors, the Rivertown Lions Club, the Minnesota Funeral Director's Association, and along with his wife Katie, is a member of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. They also enjoy being actively involved throughout the Hastings and surrounding communities.
On September 30, 2016, Jesse and his wife, Katie, and his business partner, Samuel Steffel and wife, Tara, purchased Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home & Cremation Services from Steve and Kim Smidt, and are honored to continue the legacy the funeral home has offered for many, many years. They have also purchased the funeral homes that Jesse worked at in Waseca and Janesville prior to joining the staff at Caturia-Smidt. Along with that, they also purchased their own crematory, meaning your loved one never leaves our professional care. Jesse and his wife, Katie, live in Hastings and oversee the day-to-day roles for Caturia-Smidt and Sam, and his wife, Tara, live in Waseca to manage those locations.
As of August 17, 2018, Jesse & Katie Starkson collaboratively joined forces with Wise Family Funeral Home in Hastings, MN. The Starksons purchased of the Wise Family Funeral Home and Michael & Mary Wise and 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 C. Wise, Funeral 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.) As of August 17, 2018, Michael sold the Wise Family Funeral Home to Jesse Starkson from Caturia, Smidt & Starkson 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, Funeral Director's Assistant
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.
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.
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 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.
Melissa Stevens, Community Outreach Director
Melissa Stevens joined our team as a part of the collaborative merger of the Wise Family Funeral Home with Caturia, Smidt & Starkson Funeral Home. As our Community Outreach Director, Melissa will 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.
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.
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.