Our Caring Staff of Funeral Directors


   

Bruce Olson

  Bruce is the CEO and President of Olson Funeral & Cremation Services, serving as a fourth generation family owner. “I have been serving families with my family in the Rock River Valley for many years. ItBruce Olson gives me peace of mind knowing that our family has assisted so many others in one of their greatest times of need.” Bruce began his college education at Carthage College, completing it with degrees at the University of Minnesota. Bruce’s continuing education has been focused on complicated grief and children’s grief. It was as a student at the University of Minnesota that he met his wife. Upon receiving their degrees, they moved back to Rockford and began raising a family of four. Bruce was formerly a Staff Sergeant with the Army National Guard. He and his wife are members of Zion Lutheran Church. Bruce is extremely active in numerous organizations in the community, currently focusing on the Mid Town District and improving the Keith Creek corridor. He has been on the Board of Trustees at Scandinavian Cemetery for many years. Bruce is also a Visiting Nurses Association Board Member.  Bruce and his wife enjoy spending time on the Rock River, improving the ecosystem of their restored prairie, bird watching and spending time with their children and seven grandchildren.


   

 Scott Olson

  Scott is a native of Rockford and is the fifth generation of Olson’s to serve the area as a funeral director under the family’s ownership. “I think that it speaks for itself when you have a funeral homScott Olsone that has been serving a community for over 115 years. For me, the fact that we are one of the oldest family owned businesses in the area shows our families that in a pre-need situation or at the actual time of death, we are here for them and we will be here for them in the future.” After graduating from Denison University with a B.A. in Communication, Scott spent several years in Northwest Colorado where he was employed at a local fishing / skiing shop. He furthered his education at Worsham College of Mortuary Science and moved back to Rockford where he and his wife are raising two children.  Scott is active in the community serving on or having served on the boards of The First Tee of Greater Rockford, Keith Country Day School, Rockford Country Club, Northern Illinois Hospice and Grief Center and Patriots' Gateway Community Center.  He is a recent recipient of The Rockford Chamber of Commerce's 40 Under 40 Award.  He also volunteers with the Rock River Health Association and the Winnebago County Preparedness Committee. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing soccer, golfing, skiing, fishing, or “just about anything that gets me outside”.


   

 Kevin Wiklund

  Kevin is a native of Moline, Illinois where he attended Moline High School’s class of 1977. He Kevin Wiklundattended Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago after completing class work at Blackhawk Jr. College. Kevin began working with Olson’s in 1984 coming from Moline. “I’ve wanted to be a funeral director since I was in 8th grade. I see it as a calling where I am able to serve families at the most difficult time of their lives and help them begin the grieving process in a way that is meaningful to them.” Kevin, his wife and two children are charter members of Christ Lutheran Church in Belvidere where he is very active. He is a past member of Rockford East Cherry Valley Rotary. In his spare time, he enjoys golfing and watching the Rockford Ice Hogs take to the ice.


  

  Jim WeberJim Weber

  A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan and currently residing in Byron, Illinois with his wife and three children, James moved to Rockford at a young age and attended Guilford High School’s class of 1981. He graduated from the University of Wyoming and received his degree in Mortuary Science from the University of Minnesota. Jim has worked with the Olson family business since 1988. He is a member of St. Mary Catholic Church, the Elks Club, the University Club, and the Quiet Birdmen. His passions include flying, golfing, and fishing.


Joseph Laudicina

Joe was born and raised in Hackensack, New Jersey, now residing in Loves Park, Illinois. After serving in the United States Army during the Viet Nam War where he earned a Bronze Star, Joe attended theJoseph Laudicina University of New Mexico and Jersey State University. Joe is very active in the community where he is a member of St. Bridget Catholic Church in Loves Park, Past President of Rockford East / Cherry Valley Rotary, The American Legion, VFW, Charter Member of Viet-Now, Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America, Third Degree St. Rita Knights of Columbus, and a past board member of the American Cancer Society. Joe holds a Funeral Director’s License for both Illinois and Wisconsin. He is a member of the Wisconsin and Illinois Funeral Directors Associations. Joe has been through the death and grieving process with his parents and all of his siblings and has therefore made it his mission as a Funeral Director “to take the time to listen and hear the needs of the families we serve. If we do not do this, we may be making the most difficult time of their lives even more difficult.”


Clay Kloster

Clay is a resident of Sycamore, Illinois was born in Rockford and raised in Pecatonica. He graduated from Pecatonica High School, attended Rock Valley College, and graduated from Worsham CollClay Klosterege of Mortuary Science. After serving his internship in Rockford he has been with Quiram Funeral Chapels since 1999 which became a part of the Olson Funeral Chapels in 2008. He is a member of the Sycamore United Methodist Church, Sycamore Lions Club, and the Young Professionals Group of the Sycamore Chamber. “I knew from a young age that I was going to become a funeral director. My grandfather owned a funeral home in a small town and I saw the compassion and dedication he had for both the families and community he served. I saw this again when I started working at Countryman Funeral Home (Pecatonica) when I was in high school. They are service and community oriented people who inspired me to become the person I am today.” In his spare time he enjoys being with family, watching the Chicago White Sox, bike riding, traveling, being outdoors, and farming.


Jennifer Muraski

Jennifer is a Rockford native currently residing in the Rockford area. She attended Guilford High School and Rockford College continuing on to receive her degree in Mortuary Science from WorshamJennifer Muraski College of Mortuary Science and has been a part of the Olson family funeral home since graduation. Jen is a member of Selected Independent Funeral Homes, the Cremation Society of North America, the Illinois Funeral Director’s Association, and the North American Funeral Director’s Association. “The families that come to us and need our guidance in such a meaningful time are the most important to me. I continue to be awed by the courage and strength that I see in our families and if I can make one moment less painful or perhaps more meaningful, then I have done what I set out to do.” Jen is a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. Jen’s family is most important to her, but in her spare time, she enjoys reading, working in her yard, and putting miles on the Harley.


Steven WysongSteven Wysong

Steve was born and raised in Rockford, attending Auburn High School. After serving in the United States Army during the Viet Nam War, he attended Northern Illinois University. After working at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center as a Histologist, Steve continued his education at Worsham College of Mortuary Science. He joined the Olson family of funeral directors in February of 1979 where he takes great pride in “helping people when life comes full circle.” Steve enjoys spending time with his wife and family, listening to music, and improving the Zen-like atmosphere of his home.


Jennifer Burnell

Jennifer Burnell Jennifer was born, raised, and currently resides in the Rockford area. She attended Rock Valley College, and continued on to receive her degree in Mortuary Science from Worsham College in March 2009. As a Funeral Director my goal in the funeral business is to provide outstanding service, and ease the minds of the families that are going through such a difficult time. I never realized how much small gestures can mean to a person - whether it be someone holding your hand, sharing tears, or simply listening to their story... these are the things that have helped me get through difficult times - and I can only hope it does the same for the families I serve. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family and friends.


Our Caring Pre-Planning Staff

 

John Johnson


Born and raised in Rockford, Illinois, John attended East High School followed by Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He served in the Illinois Army National Guard for six years. John and his wife areJohn Johnson members of St. Paul Lutheran Church. After a career in life insurance and investments where he was a member of both the Rockford Association of Underwriters and a Fraternal Insurance Counselor, John joined the Olson staff as a pre-arrangement counselor. John became involved in funeral preplanning when he realized “the great deal of satisfaction that came from guiding families through the process.” He sees his role in funeral preplanning as “helping to encourage families to uncover their need for funeral planning and follow through by offering solutions and recommendations to fit their need.” His greatest satisfaction comes from the hugs that he gets from families after the process is complete.


Craig Anderson

Craig was born and raised in Rockford, attending Rockford West High School. Craig earned a B.S. in Accounting from Northern Illinois University, however he now assists families both as a funeral Craig Anderson director and pre-arrangement counselor. Craig served his country in the United States Army. He and his wife attend St. Bridget Catholic Church in Loves Park. In addition to professional organizations such as the Institute for Management Accountants and the Chamber Advantage Club, Craig is an active member of the Knights of Columbus, Loves Park Rotary, Loves Park Lions Club, and Business Network International (BNI). On a personal level, he enjoys music, golfing, and fishing. Craig sees his accounting skills help when he is “professionally organizing and coordinating the many details necessary to make the funeral a meaningful experience for the family and to somehow lighten their burden at the same time.”


Deborah Gaines


Deborah is a resident of Sycamore, was born in Rochelle, raised in Monroe Center and graduaDeb Gainested from Stillman Valley High School.  She received her degree in Mortuary Science and Funeral Service from Southern Illinois University and later went on to complete her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies.  Deborah is currently working as both a funeral director and a pre-need counselor and has been with the Olson family since 2001.  She is a member of Womanspace and the Unitarian Universalist Church. In addition to working in funeral service, Deborah recently received a M.F.A. in Writing and Consciousness from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her writing centers around life, death, and corn in the Midwest.