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Our Staff

Meet the Staff of Brainard Funeral Home and Cremation Center

Each of our employees is hired based on their integrity, compassion, willingness to serve, competence, and professionalism. The quality of the individuals on our staff is second to none. Each of them takes great pride in being a member of the Brainard Funeral Home “Family.” Daily they exhibit enthusiasm and pride in serving families to the best of their abilities. Regularly our Funeral Home receives positive feedback in the form of comments and letters, highlighting instances of exemplary service and personal concern. Their commitment to the community and genuine compassion toward families are but a few of the characteristics that make them outstanding in their field. The professionalism and personal commitment provide for premier service we have to offer. We are proud to have each one of them on our team.

Carrie Hartleben

Carrie Hartleben

Licensed Funeral Director

    Carrie graduated from Arkansas State University with her degree in Mortuary Science in 1998.  She then returned to Wisconsin and began her apprenticeship at Brainard Funeral Home and attained her funeral director’s license in 2001.  After working in funeral service for 20 years in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, she returned to where it all began…. Brainard Funeral Home.

    Carrie feels that being in funeral service is a calling and that it is an honor to help families in difficult times.  She is a mother to one son, Grayson, and wife to Kane Niswander.  Her family resides in Wittenberg, where she attended high school.  In her free time, she enjoys camping, playing guitar, and snuggling with her dogs.

 

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Shannon Dunn

Shannon Dunn

Licensed Funeral Director, Certified Crematory Operator

    Shannon is pleased to return to Brainard Funeral Home, after serving her apprenticeship with us in 2000. A graduate of Milwaukee Area Technical School’s mortuary science program, Shannon has worked in funeral homes in Southern Wisconsin, Texas, and California. 

    Shannon enjoys spending her time with her dog, Lucky and 2 cats, Zepplin and Chestnut.  Shannon spends her free time walking, kayaking, hiking, road biking and participating in various local 5K's.   

    She is happy to return to her hometown and meet with the families we serve to help them arrange a personalized service tailored to their loved one.

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Sarah Zuelke

Sarah Zuelke

Licensed Funeral Director, Certified Crematory Operator

    Sarah grew up in Tomahawk, Wisconsin with aspirations of being an Athletic Trainer. After attending college at UW Eau Claire for Athletic Training for four years, she discovered that her heart was elsewhere. Much to her family’s surprise, she changed her major to Mortuary Science and received her degree from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 2009. Sarah has been serving families in the Wausau area since then. Being able to meet so many wonderful people and helping them at one of the most difficult times in their lives has been very fulfilling. 

    Sarah and her husband Nathan, a police officer with the Rothschild Police Department, live in Wausau with their three kids, Lianna, Will, and Drew.  They are members of The Village Church in Kronenwetter.

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Jeff Krcil

Jeff Krcil

Funeral Director, Certified Crematory Operator

"I began serving the families of Wausau in 2007 after working as a funeral director in Minnesota. I am a graduate of the Carl Sandburg College Mortuary Science program and also have a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Northern Iowa. In 2016, I earned my Certified Crematory Operator certification and completed training to become a Certified Celebrant." 

Jeff entered funeral service with the desire to help families through some of the most difficult days that they will ever have. His view of funeral service is being attentive to the needs of those we serve and offering options to best suit those needs. With that in mind, he uses his interest in technological innovations to further his work in funeral service; he utilizes DVD creation programs for making memorial DVDs, offers webcasting and livestreaming services and uses internet services to connect and communicate with family that is spread across the world.


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Cortney Drake-Heck

Cortney Drake-Heck

Funeral Director, Certified Crematory Operator

“I grew up in Wausau, Wisconsin and have spent my entire life here. I completed my apprenticeship, graduated from Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service and became a Licensed Funeral Director."

Cortney is honored to serve families here in her hometown. She knows that each death is difficult, and each life is unique. She believes special relationships are to be honored and she looks forward to helping each family celebrate their memories, and remember their loved one with a personalized and unique service.


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Scott Brainard

Scott Brainard

Funeral Assistant

    Scott was licensed as a Funeral Director in 1973. Today, he works alongside a staff dedicated to helping families honor their loved ones in the most respectful and loving way possible. Scott is an active member of the Wausau area community who has served as President of numerous organizations including: Wausau Area Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Exchange Club of Wausau, and Big Bull Falls Lions Club. Scott has an active personal life that includes downhill skiing, scuba diving, and motorcycles. He has two sons, one daughter-in-law, and a grandson and a granddaughter.


Debbie Maly

Debbie Maly

Advance Funeral Planner

    Debbie is happy to join the Brainard Funeral Home family and is committed to helping families plan for their future needs as our Advance Funeral Planner.

    She has two married sons and four beautiful grandchildren. An avid traveler, Debbie loves to fill her passport with new stamps by exploring new places and learning different cultures and traditions.

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Ryley Dunn

Ryley Dunn

Office Manager

    Ryley is the Office Manager in our Wausau Chapel. Ryley graduated from UW – Stout with a Bachelors degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. She lived in the Menomonie, Eau Claire area for 8 years after school before moving back to her hometown of Wausau. Ryley spends her free time with her friends, family and cats. She enjoys her interaction with the community on a daily basis and takes pride in assisting our funeral directors with the families who walk through our doors. She is most likely the voice you will hear when you call Brainard Funeral Home.

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Michelle Hartle

Michelle Hartle

Funeral Assistant

Michelle has joined Brainard as a Funeral Assistant and is dedicated to helping families celebrate the life of someone they love during one of the toughest times in life. As the newest member of our staff, please feel free to say "hello" when you see her!


Roger Kohn

Roger Kohn

Funeral Assistant

    Roger retired from Emmons Business Interiors after a career that spanned almost 46 years. Roger is married to Jan, and they have four daughters, four grand daughters, and one grandson. Roger served 4 ½ years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Jan & Roger are members of the Elks Club Lodge #248. He loves spending time with his family, traveling and fishing. When not working Roger is involved with his church, Church of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.


Mary Jarvis

Mary Jarvis

Funeral Assistant

    Mary is serving as a Funeral Assistant. She graduated from UW-Stout with degrees in Psychology and Counseling, along with a Master's Degree in Education from UW-Stevens Point. Mary is a retired educator from the Wausau School District after 35 years of service.

    Mary and her husband, Dick, enjoy sharing time with their two sons, one of whom lives in the Wausau area and the other in Denver, Colorado. They enjoy volunteering in the community with the Never Forgotten Honor Flight, their church-St. Andrew Lutheran Church, and various other volunteer opportunities. Their small hobby farm keeps them busy, but in Mary's spare time, she enjoys gardening and horseback riding.


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Your feedback

We are always interested in hearing from the families that we serve.  Please take a moment to let us know how well we served you in your time of need. We very much appreciate your feedback.

Sarah and Ryley,

Thank you so very much for all you did for us during this really difficult time. Your professionalism and kindness will always be remembered with gratitude.

S.K.
April 13, 2021

Carrie,
Thank you so very much for your kindness during our recent visit. You were so helpful and thoughtful. It was a pleasure to work with you. Thank you, too, for the wonderful celebration candle. It is so meaningful. Thank you, again, for everything.

B.V.
January 13, 2021

Shannon, thanks so much for everything and your patience. And for going out of your way to be super nice and accommodating, that has meant the world to me!

Jamie Learned
August 10, 2020

Hi Shannon - I want to thank you again for helping to release the burden that laid heavily on my heart. I thank God for you guys! I can't explain my level of gratitude right now.

Angelia Lewis
August 6, 2020

I wanted to personally thank you for everything you did for our family after the passing of my mom. Although we knew with my mom's cancer that we would eventually lose her, we still were not ready! Meeting with you put our minds at ease knowing that you saw our simple vision for remembering and honoring her. Brainard staff went above and beyond with our added requests on the day of her service. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for making this difficult time just a little easier!

Julie Litzer Family
April 25, 2019

My deepest thanks and gratitude to you for doing such a heartfelt task of taking care of all our needs for Carl's passing. I was so relieved, knowing he was in great hands- thanks for all you did.

Sue Purull-Stennett and Family
April 4, 2019

Our family wanted to express our deepest gratitude for all that you did for our father and his service. Your kindness meant so much to our family. Thank you so much!
In Christ's Love,

The Family of Don McMurtrie
March 1, 2019

The support this team gives families is un-explainable. My mom passed away very unexpectedly seven months ago, I was 25 and my sister was 18. We had no idea what we were doing or, where to begin. The funeral directors at the Wausau Location exceeded my expectations. We have received cards and letters the past seven months with supporting and motivational messages. Tonight I went to get our mail and, they sent us an ornament with my moms name, date of birth and date of death. What an amazing gift from a special team. Although the circumstances were obviously the worst and, my sister and I were clueless, I am so glad I chose to go with Brainard's. Thank you for all of the support from all of you. My family is forever thankful.

Katie Ulrick
December 15, 2018

Thanks for all your help. Especially for keeping in contact with me even after the funeral was done.

Alice, Donna & Steve
June 21, 2018

To all the staff of Brainard's:
I know it has been an entire month since we used your services for my Mother's Memorial and burial but I did not want one more day go by without taking the time to "Thank You" from our entire family! You all went above and beyond what we ever expected. It was a very sad day for all of us but you all did such a wonderful job that we came through it with good feelings and memories. Thank you so much for the caring and professional way you handled it to the very end. The police escort was the most impressive and everyone made comments on what a wonderful job you all did. My husband and I can't thank you enough to make that day so special! God bless you all.

Judy & Tom Chrest
August 29, 2017
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