Our Strongest Team Yet

Mary Thompson Funeral Director at Mueller Memorial Funeral Home

Mary Thompson, Funeral Director

We are always excited when we have the opportunity to grow our team and improve our services. We’ve already received amazing feedback on our additional Funeral Director, Mary Thompson, whom we brought on board recently to improve efficiency, allow for additional personal attention and, in turn, provide even better care to the families we serve.

Mary has an incredible 30 years of experience, and is very well-connected with the White Bear Lake community, living and raising her children just north in Hugo.

She shares our vision for the dynamic future of our funeral home and is wholly committed to providing attentive, heart-centered service to everyone who comes through our doors.

Jessie Siiter Office Manager at Mueller Funeral and Cremation Services

Jessie Siiter, Office Manager

We’re also happy to welcome Jessie Siiter, our new Office Manager, who has been doing an outstanding job of juggling all the behind the scenes details that go into every funeral or memorial service we arrange.

Jessie is a fantastic fit for our team and if you come to our office in St. Paul, Jessie will be the one at the front desk holding a Dr. Who mug.

The impact these new talents are already making in the profession and the lives of our clients is huge, and we can’t wait to see where their ingenuity takes us.

Memorial Day: Minnesota Events and Services for 2016

Memorial Day 2016 MN

image via Minnesota Historical Society

Military History Living Timeline
Historic Fort Snelling | 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111
10am-5pm
Travel through the past with a special living timeline of military life through history during this special day honoring America’s soldiers. Costumed staff and reenactors will interpret different eras of military history through uniform and equipment displays as well as weapons demonstrations. See large-scale military demonstrations throughout the day, play children’s games, and explore Minnesota’s oldest military post. More info, www.mnhs.org/event/715 or 612-726-1171.

Fort Snelling National Cemetery – Memorial Day Service
Ft Snelling National Cemetery | 7601 34th Avenue, 
Minneapolis, MN 55450
Ceremony at 10:00 a.m.
They do expect many people, so plan to arrive early if you would like to secure a seat. You are also welcome to bring your own lawn chair if you would like to arrive later. For more information call (612) 726-1127.

Additional St. Paul Cemeteries Offering Memorial Day Services:

Calvary Cemetery, 753 Front Ave., Saint Paul, Minnesota, Service at 10am

Elmhurst Cemetery, 1510 Dale St N., St Paul, Minnesota, Service at 9am

Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 1800 Edgerton St., Maplewood, Minnesota, Service at 11 am

Oakland Cemetery, 927 Jackson Street, St. Paul, Minnesota, Service at 10am. Civil War Tour at 12pm, a walking tour visiting the historic figures interred at Oakland, guided by Pat Hill for this, his 20th and final year.

Resurrection Cemetery, 2101 Lexington Ave S., Mendota Heights, Minnesota Service at 10am

Roselawn Cemetery, 803 Larpenteur Ave W, Roseville, Minnesota, Service at 10am. Organ Concert and Refreshments 11am-1pm

St. Mary of the Lake Cemetery, 1709 Stillwater St, White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Service at 9am

Union Cemetery, 2505 Minnehaha Ave E., St Paul, Minnesota, Service at 10am

Wishing you a safe and pleasant Memorial Day Weekend.

A Memorial Built on Relationships

Kenneth & Sandy Knutson

Ken and Sandy Knutson

During an especially restless night after the loss of her husband, Ken Knutson, Sandy Knutson came upon the idea of having the pallbearers usher her husband’s urn into the church while wearing Mortenson hard hats. For over 30 years, Ken had worked for M.A. Mortenson Co., a local construction company well-known for taking on major projects, including, most recently, U.S. Bank Stadium — the future home of the Minnesota Vikings.

Before his retirement roughly 15 years ago, Knutson served as a superintendent for major projects including work at the Children’s Theater, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and the Wells Fargo Center in Minneapolis. According to Sandy, Ken’s wife of 56 years, the superintendent oversees the entire job and the subcontractors, making sure everything stays on time.

Ken’s commitment to his work and to Mortenson did not go unnoticed. After Sandy’s son Greg made the call to the company requesting the hats, Mortenson had them delivered within an hour.

Ken’s ashes were appropriately inurned in a black Stack-On toolbox, and on September 23, 2015, Ken’s funeral mass was held at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church in White Bear Lake.

M.A. Mortensen provided hard hats for the funeral of Kenneth Knutson

Michael Krohn, Ryan Bruns, Sean Bruns, Kenny Knutson, and Christopher Knutson ushered their grandpa’s urn into the church. (photo courtesy of Sandy Knutson)

Using Mueller’s custom urn carrier, his five grandsons were allowed the great honor of acting as his pallbearers. Michael Krohn, Ryan Bruns, Sean Bruns, Kenny Knutson, and Christopher Knutson ushered their grandpa’s urn into the church, all wearing a version of the Mortenson hardhat that Ken had donned for so many years.

When Sandy spoke to Mortenson Company Chairman Emeritus, M.A. “Mort” Mortenson Jr., he let her know that he got “teary eyed” when he saw the young men with the hard hats on.

In a time when people and companies so infrequently create long-term relationships, Mortenson Co.’s investment in Ken Knutson was apparent through their support of Sandy’s idea and lending their name to Ken’s personal and meaningful memorial. The Knutson Family saw the company for which Ken had worked as such an impressive part of his personality that it played an important role in memorializing him that day.

New GriefShare Group Beginning Jan 23rd

From the desk of Taelor Johnson, Director of Community Relations at Mueller Memorial

Hello There,

I was about to send out the brochures for our next GriefShare group, when the thought occurred to me that I’ve sent them out before, and though all the information is there, it doesn’t really tell you what GriefShare means to someone who has gone through the program. So here’s my story.GriefShare-logo-2015 no background

This past summer I lost someone who has been a life-long friend. Though his absence wasn’t something at the forefront of my mind every waking second, I found I was in a funk that I couldn’t seem to shake.

Normally I’m a pretty vibrant person and it seemed that I couldn’t get my spirits up like they usually were. I was having trouble concentrating and began forgetting things, like tasks and appointments, which is just not like me.

That September we were forming a new GriefShare group at Mueller Memorial, so I decided to join and see if that would help me feel…honestly, a little less nuts, or lost, or foggy.

I was a bit nervous as the first session started, but Cindy and Sue have such an easy and approachable way about them that they make you feel welcome and very comfortable. They’ve lead these groups before and have experienced loss in their own lives, so they’re excellent guides through the GriefShare program.

And I cannot say enough about the quality of the program! I admit that my expectations for the quality of the content were low, but I was so wrong. The beautifully shot videos are full of insightful and immediately useful content that connects to the issues in the workbook, which connect to the topics of open discussion.

Discussion was my favorite part. Though all of the group members were experiencing a different loss, together we connected, commiserated, sometimes laughed—and yes, cried—over our losses.

Most importantly, we talked openly about what life is like after someone you love dies. And there are not many places you can feel really comfortable doing that.

GriefShare isn’t a cure, but it’s just a little bit of help to get you closer to understanding your grief and make it all a little less confusing.

If you have any questions about my experience, or the program in general, please call me.

I hope you’ll give GriefShare a try on Saturday, January 23rd  8-10 a.m. at Mueller Memorial in White Bear Lake.

All My Best,
Taelor Johnson
Mueller Funeral Home Logo

 

 

Mueller Memorial Sponsors 2015 Summer Fest Concert

Mueller Memorial presents SummerFest

See you at Summer Fest, August 22 2015

What: Summer Fest featuring Martin Zellar & the Hardways

When: Saturday, August 22 at 6:15 p.m. (gates open at 5:30)

Where: St. Mary of the Lake School Ball Field, White Bear Lake

In support of our community, local music, and fun in general, Mueller Memorial is a proud sponsor of Summer Fest, featuring Martin Zellar & The Hardways. Come out to St. Mary of the Lake School Ball Field and enjoy an evening of great music!

Martin Zellar is from Austin, Minnesota, and has played in bands since he was still in high school. The singer/ songwriter is a local legend, and his band Gear Daddies enjoyed success with their hit song “(I Wanna Drive the) Zamboni” and “Stupid Boy.” When Gear Daddies broke up, Zellar began playing with various musicians in a band that would be called Martin Zellar & The Hardways.

Come hungry and stay a while, as there will be an assortment of delicious food, hot dogs, hamburgers, and brats available for purchase along with soft drinks, wine, and beer from our neighbors at Big Wood Brewery. Another local favorite, Cup and Cone, will be selling ice cream treats, and a popcorn wagon will offer snacks to concertgoers.

Martin Zellar VIP badge

Get your complimentary Mueller Memorial VIP ticket

It’s BOYC (bring your own chair) if you’re going to need a place to rest your dancing feet.

Tickets are available in advance or at the gates for $15 each, and kids 12 and under get in for free. Bring the whole family!

Mueller Memorial has a limited number of free tickets to offer our friends and neighbors. The offer is limited to two tickets per person and you can claim yours at MuellerMemorial.com/concert.html

Stronger Than Steel – Relationships Endure Years After 35W Bridge Collapse

Saturday, August 1st will mark eight years since the I-35W bridge collapse, an event that impacted so many in the Twin Cities area. And for some, the entire trajectory of their life was transformed in that one, terrifying instant.

In the aftermath, otherwise unrelated individuals were brought together through the accident and were able to make room in their lives to support one another.

We recently held a memorial for one such individual. Brent Olson was a survivor of the bridge collapse, and remained a big part of the survivor support community in the area until his death. As evidenced by the people who attended his service, he made a tremendous impression on those around him.

35W Bridge Collapse Survivor

Chris and Brent Olson (Image via The Olson Family)

Brent Olson was part of a Survivor Resources group that met for two-and-a-half years following the bridge collapse; many of the members remain close friends to this day. Their mutual understanding and desire to connect with and help one another in the years following the disaster has endured, and many people came to pay respect to Brent, and to show their appreciation for the advocacy work he did for bridge survivors and their families.

One of the most meaningful and challenging things the Olsons were able to accomplish was making sure those closely impacted by the event were able to claim a piece of the steel from the bridge, in order to gain closure and to forever remember the events of that fateful day.

For Brent Olson and his wife Chris, their concern for others was evident immediately following the incident. Brent and Chris were crossing the bridge on their way to celebrate their anniversary at a Twin’s game when it collapsed around them. Uninjured, the couple was soon able to take action, settling at the Red Cross to be with the children who were in the school bus that narrowly escaped a tragic fate.

Though grateful to be alive, the Olsons were very aware of the traumatic impact of the bridge collapse. They sought support from Survivor Resources, a community organization for those affected by violent and unexpected deaths, including homicide, accidental deaths, and suicide. Brent was a regular attendee of meetings, and had strong connections with the other members of the group, who became his close friends.

35W Bridge lit purple for Alzheimer's advocate

The new 35W Bridge was lit purple on Father’s Day in Brent’s honor. (via Instagram @kaseyvesel)

For Brent and his family, the bridge collapse became a new life challenge in reaching out and finding support, but also in giving back and ensuring that other survivors and their families were taken care of. For that reason, and also for his work for the Alzheimer’s Association, the new 35W bridge was lit purple in his honor on Father’s Day.

Sometimes, unexpected circumstances reveal a purpose that we never anticipated. That calling, however it manifests itself in our lives, has the potential to greatly affect the people around us, as it did for the people around Brent Olson.

For more information, or if you need support after the traumatic death of a friend or family member, visit http://www.survivorresources.org.

7 Ways to Remember Dad on Father’s Day

If for you Father’s Day is a reminder of loss rather than a celebration, here are some things you can plan for Sunday that allow you to take more control of the emotions of the day. Planning an activity to honor or acknowledge your dad helps to confront feelings related to the loss in a way that may be better anticipated and more predictable for you.

1) Tell a Story About Him

Some people believe that a person doesn’t really die until the last living person who knew them dies as well. But sharing stories about your dad, especially to the younger generations who may not have know him, allows his legend to live on.

2) Drag Out Your Box of Childhood Memorabilia

Somewhere in your house, it’s probably there–that box of stuff that’s like a time capsule of your childhood. It’s possible that there isn’t one thing in that box that specifically connects to your dad, but immersing yourself in the sights, scents, and feel of items from your youth are sure to bring back family memories that included your dad.

 

3) Share Something Your Dad Taught You with Someone New

If your dad taught you how to tie a tie, maybe teach your son to do the same on Father’s Day. If your dad showed you how to change a flat tire, pass that along to your niece. You could also tell a friend one of your dad’s favorite jokes. Dads are full of useful stuff and Father’s Day is a good time to pass some of it along to others.

4) Try an Activity That He Loved That You’ve Never Attempted

If your dad was an avid golfer but you never learned to play, try going to the driving range for the first time. Did your dad love a good single-malt Scotch, but you’ve never touched the stuff? Give it a try! Not only does this connect you to something your dad loved, but trying new things is good for your brain health. (Okay, maybe Scotch isn’t so much.)

Bill Hamor5) Watch Old Home Movies

This one is especially good if your dad has been gone for a long time. When a younger person loses their dad, often over time, that person gets used to seeing their dad as a 2-dimensional still-life photograph. Movies are a live-action reminder of the way a smile would gradually spread across Dad’s face before he broke into laughter, or the way he carried himself when he walked. Videos remind us of the little idiosyncrasies of movement that get lost in our memory over time.

6) Eat Like a Dad

If your dad’s favorite food in the world was fried chicken, go enjoy some in his honor. If he loved your mom’s meatloaf, get the recipe and make it for your family (don’t forget to invite mom too). It can be as simple as having a scoop of his favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream.

 

7) Talk to Your Dad

If you have any unresolved feelings (negative or positive) toward your dad, or if you just have something you want to say to him, write it down. You could put it in a Father’s Day card. (For some people, the process of finding a card that is perfect for their dad is the part of this activity they most enjoy.) Take your card or a piece of paper, grab a pen, and say whatever you want to say to your dad. If you’re feeling especially symbolic, you could even set that letter or card on a campfire that night and very literally sent it up into the world.

Big Changes in White Bear Lake

If you have passed by recently, you may have noticed that our funeral home in White Bear Lake is looking a little differently these days. This winter we are undertaking a major renovation in order to give the people we serve exactly what they want from our funeral services.

Mueller Funeral and Cremation Services

Large windows will add natural light to the Mueller funeral home

In early 2012, Mueller Memorial, in conjunction with the Funeral Service Foundation, helped to fund a research project in an effort to understand the public’s perception of the funeral profession.

Olson Zaltman Associates, a Pittsburg-based marketing and research firm, implemented its patented ZMET research method to draw out the “unconscious metaphors and cultural archetypes that people associate with funeral homes and their products and services.” The Funeral Foundation ZMET study‘s very comprehensive results revealed, and in many cases, affirmed, the public’s changing demands within the profession.

As the only funeral home to participate in sponsoring this study, Mueller Memorial received early access to the research findings and has carefully considered what we could do to meet the changing needs of the families we serve.

One of the most frequently expressed concerns of those surveyed involved the funeral home buildings themselves.

In the past the inner chapel of a funeral home was intentionally built without windows. This served a specific function because bright, natural light generally did not create the most favorable appearance for an open-casket visitation. So, most funeral home chapels or reception rooms were built without windows as a way to accommodate the desired lighting, but left visitors feeling confined, some in the ZMET study even describing it as “tomb-like.”

In response, we are taking down walls and adding many tall windows, as well as an expanded reception area to create a bright, open space for visitors to comfortably chat and commiserate.

If you have ever talked with a Baby Boomer about what they want for their own funeral it is likely that you have heard, “I just want it to be a party.” The ZMET study confirmed that this is a very common wish.

We kept that idea in mind when planning our reception area and have included a large, open space for banquet and high-top tables, a kitchen to accommodate caterers, and we will even have a built in bar for those who want to host beverage service.

Of course we will always be able to meet the needs of families who want a more traditional service, but now we will be able to provide the people we serve with expanded options for making their funeral service a unique experience that reflects the life and personality of their family member or friend.

The renovation is being completed in stages to allow services to be held in White Bear Lake without interruption during construction. Remodeling is scheduled to be complete in May and we hope that you will stop by to see how pleasant a funeral home can be.

Homeless St. Paul Veteran to Be Laid to Rest

This past week Mueller Memorial was contacted by Pastor Brian Scoles from Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church regarding the death of one of his parishioners, Jerry Jackson.

St. Paul veteran Jerry Jackson

Jerry Jackson (Photo courtesy Union Gospel Mission via Pioneer Press)

Mueller Memorial is a funeral home in St. Paul, so calls of this nature are not unusual, however, this call was unique because the staff had just been talking about the case of Jerry Jackson in their East Side office.

Everyday a copy of the Pioneer Press arrives at Mueller’s doorstep on the corner of Johnson Parkway and East 7th Street, and one of their funeral directors, Alex Hacker, had read the story of a homeless veteran who had died in Indian Mounds Park, just a few miles from their location, and it had sparked a conversation.

“When Pastor Scoles contacted us that day we immediately started figuring out how we could help,” said Scott Mueller, owner of Mueller Memorial, “There’s a lot that we do in the background, logistically, for planning a funeral, and it becomes even more complicated when we have limited vital information about the person who has died. But we knew we had to help.”

Pastor Scoles connected Mueller with Jerry’s next of kin, a brother who lives outstate, and was able to gain permission to proceed with planning Jerry’s funeral.

Federal Cemetery

Jackson will be laid to rest with military honors at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery on March 12th 2015.

Mueller’s staff set to work. Thorough some investigating, and with the help of federal and county veteran’s associations, they were able to secure Jackson’s interment in Fort Snelling National Cemetery with military honors.

From the moment Mueller began planning, he knew he would be offering the full services of his company, equipment, and staff at no charge.

When asked why he is doing this Mueller said, “Jerry’s story could be seen as emblematic for the way we treat our veterans and the way they all too often slip through the cracks, but Jerry wasn’t an emblem, he was a person—a veteran—he was someone who served his country and someone who mattered to the people of our neighborhood. We just couldn’t let that go unrecognized. It was…it was just the right thing to do.”

Services for Jerome William “Jerry” Jackson will be held at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church on Thursday, March 12th. Visitation at 12:30pm, Memorial Service at 1:00pm. He will be interred at Fort Snelling National Cemetery the same day, with full military honors, at 2:30pm.

More information can be found, and condolences offered here.

New Year’s Resolutions for Grief

 

Despite what some people may tell you, happiness, healing, and hope when facing grief are not just things that happen with time, it does take some resolve.

Your life is made up of the small decisions you make every day. Where you go, what you say, how you react, who you choose to be around, and what information you expose yourself to are some of the choices that determine how you’re living your life, every day.
 So when you’re faced with those small decisions it’s best to be prepared.

Take some time at the beginning of this new year and really think about what you want for yourself in realistic, practical goals. Here’s how to map your resolve…

  • Write a list of your goals in the positive. Rather than saying, “Don’t be sad,” say, “Do things that make me happy, like…” “Don’t be sad” is abstract and difficult to accomplish, but coming up with specific things you can do which bring you joy can be scheduled and practiced.
  • Focus on gratitude. Gratitude shouldn’t just be relegated to one Thursday in November. Regularly spend some time considering the things in your life you’re thankful for, and even better, write them down.
  • Try something new. One thing. Give yourself 365 days to try one new thing. This certainly doesn’t need to be skydiving, but getting out of your comfort zone or learning something new is good physically and psychologically.
  • Volunteer. Studies have found that helping other people may be an abundant source of vitality and well-being. Find a cause that means something to you, and possibly the person you lost, then lend a helping hand. If you’re not ready for a recurring commitment, you can offer to help for a single event.
  • Connect. Consider positive people in your life that you wish you had more interaction with and commit to contacting them in this year. A text, an email, or a hand-written letter may reopen a neglected line of communication.
  • Write it down. Thoughts come and go, but lists are tangible. Setting your goals or thoughts to paper gives you a guide to follow and acts as a reminder that your intentions are real and attainable. As a bonus, as you tick things off your list, you can revel in your accomplishments.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. This is a big one, and pretty much everybody struggles with it. All of the things on this list require varying degrees of vulnerability on your part. It’s very possible that one or some of them won’t work out the way you hoped. Do not let that deter you. There are countless moguls, musicians, actors, and entrepreneurs that will tell you of the mountain of failures they encountered before finding their way to great success, this is the same thing on a smaller scale. If you reach out to someone and they don’t respond, connect with someone else. If a volunteering experience didn’t fit for you, go somewhere else. The key is to persistently pursue your goal of finding happiness.

We wish you much happiness in 2015 and the years to come!