About Us

Our Staff

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Joel & Shannon
Owners

On June 15, 1996, they were married in Madelia, Minnesota. Their marriage has been blessed with four children, Katrina, Kaleb, Karson and Keaton LaCanne. After getting married, they lived in Sauk Centre, Minnesota where Joel worked for Patton-Schad Funeral Service and Shannon worked at the St. Cloud Hospital in cardiac rehab. Joel then moved to a branch of Patton-Schad Funeral Service in Melrose where he was the manager. Pat Patton and Jon Coltvet where great mentors to Joel and were his first “teachers” out of school.

In October of 1998, Joel and Shannon moved to Windom to take a position with Anderson-Schmidt Funeral Home and to be closer to their families. It was a great move in that Joel knew Phil and Bill very well – they were like parents to him in their gentle guidance of how to continue to serve families with the utmost dedication. Their teachings have always been an inspiration to Joel. In 1999, Shannon took a position with the Windom Area Hospital in Windom where she is still currently the manager of two departments: Cardiac Rehab and The Wellness Center. On January of 2002, Bill sold Joel a minority interest in Anderson-Schmidt Funeral Home and on January of 2003, Joel and Shannon purchased the entire funeral home from Bill and Rita Schmidt. Since then, in April of 2003, Joel and Shannon began discussions with Miller Architects and Builders with building a new funeral home in Windom. Their guidance through the whole project was unbelievable in their insight into building and aesthetics of a building. On September 17, 2003, they broke ground on the new facility on the north edge of Windom, right off of Highway 71. On May 15 and 16, 2004 they held an open house for the new 7400 square foot building. Shannon and Joel feel so fortunate to have been able to do all they have for everyone that the funeral home serves.

Joel and Shannon are proud parents of four children, Katrina, Kaleb, Karson and Keaton LaCanne.


 

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Kari Hanson Office Manager

Kari and her husband of 25 years, Eric, moved to Windom in 1993. Kari worked for 17 years at Early Childhood Family Education where she taught at the Bridges Preschool Program as well as families of toddlers before joining the funeral home staff as the Office Manager in 2010.   Kari has three children, Zakery, Meegan and AnneMarie.  Kari and her family are members of the American Lutheran Church.

Some of Kari’s hobbies include spending time with her family, reading, creating hand-stamped cards and baking.

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Bill Schmidt Funeral Director and Former Owner

Bill is native of North Dakota and came to the Windom area where he joined Phil Anderson in the operation of Hanson-Witt Funeral Home, successor to three funeral homes from the community’s early years.

Anderson-Schmidt Funeral Homes of Windom, Storden, & Jeffers served the area for nearly three decades with Phil and Bill providing professional care when death occurs. Following Phil’s retirement, Joel LaCanne joined Bill in the operation of the firm until Joel purchased the corporation in 2003. Bill serves the company frequently with his professional services. “The Windom area is really home for us!” He has served most church offices and nearly every civic organization possible for all the years he lived here and raised their family.

A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Bill worked in funeral service since high school and during college in North Dakota. He managed Hoepner-Nelson Funeral Home in Morgan, MN for nine years prior to moving to Windom with Rita and their sons, Eric and Gregg.

Besides continuing service in Windom, Bill provides professional support to a funeral home in the Fargo-Moorhead area and is a representative for Nortwestern Casket company in ND and MN.

Rita and Bill live in Fargo, ND, where they are active in Bethel Church and it’s small group studies. “As children of God, Rita and I enjoy our family and church family so very much, and are blessed with three grandchild; Will, Micah, and Landon.” Bill still enjoys being an active pilot as well as participating in several different shooting sports.

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Tonya Mortensen Licensed Funeral Director

Tonya grew up in the Granada and East Chain area. She attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mortuary Science. After graduation she began working for the funeral home.

Tonya and her daughter, Brynlee, live in Fairmont, MN. In her free time, she enjoys shopping, puzzles, reading, sports, being out on the lake, spending time with family and friends, and having fun with Brynlee.

The funeral service business took on a whole new meaning to Tonya as her husband, Ryan, passed away in an automobile accident on October 10, 2015.

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Joseph "Joe" and Barb LaCanne Funeral Assistants

Joe and Barb LaCanne began helping at the funeral home when Joel first became the owner in 2003. Joe came to Windom in the fall of 1969 after earning an education degree in visual arts and art history from St. Ed’s in Texas, the Art Institute in Cleveland Ohio, Indiana State University at Terre Haute, the University of Notre Dame at South Bend, Indiana, and Mankato State University in Mankato, MN.

Barb came to Windom in the fall of 1970 after earning an education degree in elementary and special education at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD. They met while teaching in Windom and were married in 1972. They are the parents of three children: Joel (Shannon) LaCanne, Jeffrey (Jeanna) LaCanne, and Mary (Ray) Iliff. They also have six grandchildren.

Joe and Barb are both retired from teaching. Joe retired in May of 2001 after having taught 37 years and Barb retired in June of 2005 after 35 years of teaching. Joe continues to help at the funeral home and continues with his hobbies of stained glass artwork, and working in mixed media. Barb continues to do substitute teaching and fills in whenever needed at the funeral home. Both Joe and Barb enjoy spending time with their children and families and they both spend time volunteering in the church, school, and community.

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Eric Hanson Funeral Assistant

Eric grew up in Minnetonka, and graduated from Minnetonka High School. He went to college at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, obtaining a degree in English and later completing coursework to become an English Teacher. His first year of teaching was in Cincinnati, OH. Eric and his wife Kari then moved to Windom in 1993, when Eric was hired to teach English at Windom Area High School. He continues to teach English and also coaches football and softball. Eric’s family includes his wife Kari, and 3 children, Zak, Meegan and AnneMarie. Eric’s hobbies include participating in and watching sports of any type, movies, puzzles, and spending time with his family.

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Steve Fresk Funeral Assistant

Steve and his wife Laura have lived in Windom since 1982. Steve is “semi-retired” from 35 years of seed industry sales management, and now farms the Fresk family land near his hometown of Slayton. Steve also does farm product sales and consulting. Laura is employed at Good Samaritan Society, Windom. They have three adult children.

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Thomas Wickie Funeral Assistant

Tom is a native of Hallock, MN, teenage transplant to Colorado, and has been a Windom resident for 43 years. He completed training with a Masters degree in 1981 and worked in the field of speech/communication disorders for 31 years in SW Minnesota. Family members include Karen, his wife of 48 years, (retired from teaching), son Michael, Jill (Anderson) and Rachel of Sioux Falls, SD, daughter Susanne, Warren, Samuel and Joshua Cohen of Eagan. A US Air Force veteran, former Jaycee, member of the American Lutheran Church of Windom, Sons of Norway Stavanger Lodge #538, RSVP, and chairs the Cottonwood County Historical Society Board of Trustees. Enjoyments in life include family activities (especially the grand children), genealogy, reading, movies and theater, boating and volunteer work.

Kari Hanson

Office Manager
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Kari and her husband of 25 years, Eric, moved to Windom in 1993. Kari worked for 17 years at Early Childhood Family Education where she taught at the Bridges Preschool Program as well as families of toddlers before joining the funeral home staff as the Office Manager in 2010.   Kari has three children, Zakery, Meegan and AnneMarie.  Kari and her family are members of the American Lutheran Church.

Some of Kari’s hobbies include spending time with her family, reading, creating hand-stamped cards and baking.

Bill Schmidt

Funeral Director and Former Owner
photo

Bill is native of North Dakota and came to the Windom area where he joined Phil Anderson in the operation of Hanson-Witt Funeral Home, successor to three funeral homes from the community’s early years.

Anderson-Schmidt Funeral Homes of Windom, Storden, & Jeffers served the area for nearly three decades with Phil and Bill providing professional care when death occurs. Following Phil’s retirement, Joel LaCanne joined Bill in the operation of the firm until Joel purchased the corporation in 2003. Bill serves the company frequently with his professional services. “The Windom area is really home for us!” He has served most church offices and nearly every civic organization possible for all the years he lived here and raised their family.

A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Bill worked in funeral service since high school and during college in North Dakota. He managed Hoepner-Nelson Funeral Home in Morgan, MN for nine years prior to moving to Windom with Rita and their sons, Eric and Gregg.

Besides continuing service in Windom, Bill provides professional support to a funeral home in the Fargo-Moorhead area and is a representative for Nortwestern Casket company in ND and MN.

Rita and Bill live in Fargo, ND, where they are active in Bethel Church and it’s small group studies. “As children of God, Rita and I enjoy our family and church family so very much, and are blessed with three grandchild; Will, Micah, and Landon.” Bill still enjoys being an active pilot as well as participating in several different shooting sports.

Tonya Mortensen

Licensed Funeral Director
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Tonya grew up in the Granada and East Chain area. She attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mortuary Science. After graduation she began working for the funeral home.

Tonya and her daughter, Brynlee, live in Fairmont, MN. In her free time, she enjoys shopping, puzzles, reading, sports, being out on the lake, spending time with family and friends, and having fun with Brynlee.

The funeral service business took on a whole new meaning to Tonya as her husband, Ryan, passed away in an automobile accident on October 10, 2015.

Joseph "Joe" and Barb LaCanne

Funeral Assistants
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Joe and Barb LaCanne began helping at the funeral home when Joel first became the owner in 2003. Joe came to Windom in the fall of 1969 after earning an education degree in visual arts and art history from St. Ed’s in Texas, the Art Institute in Cleveland Ohio, Indiana State University at Terre Haute, the University of Notre Dame at South Bend, Indiana, and Mankato State University in Mankato, MN.

Barb came to Windom in the fall of 1970 after earning an education degree in elementary and special education at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD. They met while teaching in Windom and were married in 1972. They are the parents of three children: Joel (Shannon) LaCanne, Jeffrey (Jeanna) LaCanne, and Mary (Ray) Iliff. They also have six grandchildren.

Joe and Barb are both retired from teaching. Joe retired in May of 2001 after having taught 37 years and Barb retired in June of 2005 after 35 years of teaching. Joe continues to help at the funeral home and continues with his hobbies of stained glass artwork, and working in mixed media. Barb continues to do substitute teaching and fills in whenever needed at the funeral home. Both Joe and Barb enjoy spending time with their children and families and they both spend time volunteering in the church, school, and community.

Eric Hanson

Funeral Assistant
photo

Eric grew up in Minnetonka, and graduated from Minnetonka High School. He went to college at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, obtaining a degree in English and later completing coursework to become an English Teacher. His first year of teaching was in Cincinnati, OH. Eric and his wife Kari then moved to Windom in 1993, when Eric was hired to teach English at Windom Area High School. He continues to teach English and also coaches football and softball. Eric’s family includes his wife Kari, and 3 children, Zak, Meegan and AnneMarie. Eric’s hobbies include participating in and watching sports of any type, movies, puzzles, and spending time with his family.

Steve Fresk

Funeral Assistant
photo

Steve and his wife Laura have lived in Windom since 1982. Steve is “semi-retired” from 35 years of seed industry sales management, and now farms the Fresk family land near his hometown of Slayton. Steve also does farm product sales and consulting. Laura is employed at Good Samaritan Society, Windom. They have three adult children.

Thomas Wickie

Funeral Assistant
photo

Tom is a native of Hallock, MN, teenage transplant to Colorado, and has been a Windom resident for 43 years. He completed training with a Masters degree in 1981 and worked in the field of speech/communication disorders for 31 years in SW Minnesota. Family members include Karen, his wife of 48 years, (retired from teaching), son Michael, Jill (Anderson) and Rachel of Sioux Falls, SD, daughter Susanne, Warren, Samuel and Joshua Cohen of Eagan. A US Air Force veteran, former Jaycee, member of the American Lutheran Church of Windom, Sons of Norway Stavanger Lodge #538, RSVP, and chairs the Cottonwood County Historical Society Board of Trustees. Enjoyments in life include family activities (especially the grand children), genealogy, reading, movies and theater, boating and volunteer work.