Alumni of the Year

submenu

2016 Alumnus of the Year Recipient — Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson - 2016 Alumnus of the YearThis year our Alumni committee asked for letters of recommendation to assist in the selection of our 2016 Alumnus of the Year.  This award is in recognition as well as our expression of appreciation for the many personally creative ways an alumnus has made to the profession of funeral service.  A senior student who is also the daughter of our nominee submitted an exceptional letter that drew the attention of our committee.    

On behalf of the alumni society and the Program of Mortuary Science faculty and staff it is a great pleasure to announce that Mr. Chris Anderson has been chosen as our 2016 Alumnus of the Year.

Chris is a 1980 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Program of Mortuary Science. When asked how he became interested in funeral service, he said he observed the ministry that his family provided to the community during their most difficult times and knew he needed to be part of this.  Chris started working at the family funeral home while a 9th grader.  Chris and his brother Keith, also an Alum, are third generation owners and directors.  They acquired the family business in 1995 from their father.  Chris’s daughter will be the fourth generation.  Their family funeral business is located in Escanaba and Gladstone, Michigan.  When it was time for Chris to attend Mortuary School his personal investigation concluded that our Program here at the University of Minnesota is the best in the country.

Chris has a very impressive resume of professional, educational, civic, social, and religious organizations he is or has been affiliated with and supported.  To name a few he is currently an active board member of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association and the National Funeral Directors Association, serving as Policy Board Representative.  He is past board member of the Michigan Department of Mortuary Science, past president of Michigan Funeral Directors Association and the list goes on.

As for Chris’s personal life, he and his wife Kim have two daughters, Laura and Christina and when time permits Chris enjoys hunting, fishing and traveling.

This award is a means of recognizing the outstanding contributions that he has made as a funeral service professional since graduating from our program in 1980. 

It is for these efforts and so many more that likely have gone without recognition that the Program and its alumni committee members wish to honor Chris as our 2016 Alumnus of the year.

On behalf of the Alumni Committee, the program faculty and staff and students, we congratulate Chris and are deeply grateful for his noteworthy accomplishments in support of the profession, the Program and his community.

2015 Alumnus of the Year Recipient — Dan Delmore

2015 alumni of the yearThe Program of Mortuary Science Alumni Society Board has proudly selected Dan Delmore as their Alumnus of the Year 2015. The Alumni Society enjoys recognizing alumni for their contributions to the profession, their community and the Program of Mortuary Science.

Dan received this honor at the University of Minnesota, Program of Mortuary Science graduation ceremony held on Friday, May 15, 2015.

Dan is a 1976 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Program of Mortuary Science. When I asked him how he became interested in funeral service, he said “I was raised by a funeral director”, his dad Bob Delmore is a 1941 graduate of the program. Dan shared with me that as a little boy he would ask his dad every day “what went on at the funeral home today” and he never missed an opportunity to go with his dad on Saturdays and Sundays to the funeral home. All through his youth and upon graduating from high school he wanted to be a funeral director. Dan chose the University of Minnesota’s, Program of Mortuary Science because it is thee premier funeral program in the country and he was honored to have classmates from around the United States. Dan began his career at Gearty-Delmore on June 6, 1976. And may I say “no grass has grown under Dan’s feet”.

He has been an active man which includes assuming the ownership and operation of the firm in the mid 1990’s. Please take a look at Gearty-Delmore’s website; you will be impressed.

Outside of the funeral business Dan is involved with a number of organizations in the Catholic church, including a board member of the Archdiocese Catholic Cemeteries and board chairman of the St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Maple Grove. He also is a board member of the Citizen’s Independent Bank of St. Louis Park. Over the years Dan has been active in a variety of civic organizations, including Optimists, Rotary, Sierra Club, Chamber of Commerce, and community festivals.

Dan and his wife Mary have two children, a son Hugh who is a High School Senior and a daughter Clare who is in the ninth grade. They are members of The Church of St. Bartholomew in Wayzata. Dan’s leisure time is spent with his children and their activities.

This award is a means of recognizing the outstanding contributions that you have made to the profession of funeral service since graduating from our program in 1976.

In selecting you as Alumnus of the Year, the Alumni Society Committee members expressed their admiration that you have always served your families with great care and compassion, noting in particular your dedicated service to members of your community who have no means to cover the burial expenses of their loved ones. Likewise, faculty and staff of the program are especially grateful to you for your many years of exceptional service as a student mentor and clinical preceptor, as well as your faithful and dedicated work on both the Program’s Advisory Board and American Board of Funeral Service Education re-accreditation site visit activities.

It is for these efforts and so many more that we are certain have gone without recognition, that the Program and its alumni committee members wish to honor you as our 2015 Alumnus of the year. On behalf of the Alumni Committee, program faculty and staff and students, we congratulate you and we are deeply grateful for your noteworthy accomplishments in support of the profession, the Program and your community. Thank you!

Following the plaque presentation Dan shared with the Class of 2015, guests and faculty his appreciation for the award.

2014 Alumni of the Year Recipients — Rich and Sharon Purcell

2014 alumni of the yearThe Program of Mortuary Science Alumni Society Board has proudly selected Rich and Sharon Purcell as their Alumni of the Year 2014. The Alumni Society enjoys recognizing alumni for their contributions to the profession, their community and the Program of Mortuary Science.

Rich and Sharon received this honor at the University of Minnesota, Program of Mortuary Science graduation ceremony held on Friday, May 16, 2014.

Rich is a 1982 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Program of Mortuary Science. Since graduation Rich has spent his funeral service career at Holcomb-Henry-Boom-Purcell located in St. Paul and Shoreview. Sharon is a 1983 graduate of the Program and following her graduation worked at Borthwick Mortuary in Honolulu, Hawaii for a year before returning to Minnesota and working at the Burnsville Funeral Home. Sharon’s career path included ten years in the computer industry while raising their family. In 1995 she returned to funeral service and began working at Holcomb-Henry-Boom-Purcell with Rich. In 1999 they became the owners of this funeral home, hence the funeral home name.

Asking Rich why he chose funeral service, he shared with me that as a teenager he had experienced an unexpected death of a relative and had been impressed by the compassion and service extended his family by the funeral director.

And for Sharon it was a Death, Dying and Will Writing” class she took her senior year of high school. An assignment in the class was to interview a funeral director. She thought she would be there just a short time but was there for a couple of hours. The director, Randy Hartquist, made her see the personal side of the funeral profession.

While a student Rich worked for Washburn-McReavy and he directed and coordinated the efforts of fellow students in the tasks of setting up and dismantling the Exhibit Hall during the Minnesota Funeral Directors Convention. He continued to coordinate the students for the convention following graduation.

The Program of Mortuary Science is grateful for your willingness to serve as clinical preceptors, as well as your faithful and dedicated work on both the Program’s Advisory and Alumni Boards. Rich first served on the Alumni board in 1986 and he and Sharon are both current members of the board. Rich and Sharon are Life members of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association and season Gopher Football ticket subscribers.

Outside of the funeral business Rich is very active in the Masonic Blue Lodge in Roseville and the Osman Shrine, where he serves as an elected official and will be President in 2017. They are members of St. Odilia Catholic Church in Shoreview.

When they have an opportunity to relax in Maui they enjoy swimming, snorkeling and boogie boarding in the ocean and, like all of us a little down-time is always appreciated.

Rich and Sharon have been married for 28 years and are blessed with four daughter, Holly, Sarah, Natalie, and Courtney and in June will add a son-in-law, Bobby.

On behalf of the Alumni Board, whose members include funeral service practitioners, program faculty, and students, we congratulate you and we are deeply grateful for your accomplishments in support of the profession, the Program and your community. Thank you!

Following the plaque presentation Rich and Sharon shared with the Class of 2014, guests and faculty their appreciation for the award.

2013 Alumnus of the Year Recipient — Timothy Koch

2013 alumni of the yearThe Program of Mortuary Science Alumni Society Board has proudly selected Tim Koch as their Alumni of the Year 2013. The Alumni Society enjoys recognizing alumni for their contributions to the profession, their community and the Program of Mortuary Science.

Tim received this honor at the University of Minnesota, Program of Mortuary Science graduation ceremony held on Friday, May 17, 2013.

Tim is a 1982 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Program of Mortuary Science. For the ten years following graduation Tim worked as a staff mortician and manager at several funeral homes located in Wisconsin, Minneapolis and Mankato. He also owned and operated Buckman-Shierts-Koch Funeral Home in Wabasha, Minnesota. In 1992 Tim began a career with the Minnesota Department of Health, Mortuary Science Section as an Investigator and more recently Manager. His career with Minnesota Health Department spanned over 20 years. He is now owner and operator of Metro First Call, a business he started in early 2013.

When I ask Tim why he chose funeral service he told me his hometown funeral director was the person most influential in directing him to funeral service and he chose the University of Minnesota for its’ excellent program.

Tim has been active in various aspects of funeral service, which includes a District 6 Representative to the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Board (District 6 encompasses several adjoining states), and from 1999 until recently Tim was the Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Health “Disaster Mortuary Emergency Response Team” and he supervised the Disaster Portable Morgue Unit, and for years the Program of Mortuary Science has had the privilege of Tim speaking to students on the Rules and Regulations of Funeral Service. Tim has been involved in civic organizations such as Lions and Rotary Clubs.

As for Tim’s personal life he is an avid runner, completing 3 Twin Cities Marathons and most recently ran Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado; in addition, he is an enthusiastic photographer. Tim and his wife Mary, also a U of MN graduate (1983), have three children Nick, Kelsey and Ryan who have distinguished themselves in an ambitious pursuit of higher education and promising careers. The Koch’s are members of Bloomington Lutheran Church.

Following the plaque presentation Tim shared with the Class of 2013, guests and faculty his appreciation for the award and his work in funeral service.

2012 Alumnus of the Year Recipient — Timothy Hoff of Hoff Funeral Homes

timothy hoffThe Program of Mortuary Science Alumni Society Board has proudly selected Tim Hoff as their Alumni of the Year 2012. The Alumni Society enjoys recognizing alumni for their contributions to the profession, their community and the Program of Mortuary Science.

Tim received this honor at the University of Minnesota, Program of Mortuary Science graduation ceremony held on Friday, May 11, 2012.

Tim is a 1980 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Program of Mortuary Science. He is president of Hoff Funeral Homes representing five locations. Hoff Funeral Homes is now in its’ third generation, which includes Tim’s daughter Ashley a 2008 graduate of the Program.

Tim has an amazing record for supporting the profession of funeral service. He was President of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association 2001-2002. He co-founded the Children’s Grief Connection of Minnesota and has served as board chair from 2002-2010. Other offices at MFDA include secretary, treasurer and vice-president and he currently serves on MFDA’s Service Corporation Board. Tim is also a member of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA). He currently serves on their Sales and Marketing Committee, the At-Need Arrangement ADHOC Committee and, is serving as Co-Chair of their Wide World of Sales event in January of 2013.

Tim is also active in his local communities, co-chairing the capital fund drive for the construction of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, serving twice as president of Lewiston Lions Club and serving on the Board of Directors for St. Charles Foundation for Academic Excellence.

Recently Tim along with his wife Jenny became Certified Funeral Celebrants.

And here on campus Tim supports the Program of Mortuary Science in many ways. This past semester he spoke to the students during their class on funeral practice about the importance of becoming involved in professional organizations. And you will surely see Tim on campus this fall as he is a Gopher Football Season ticket holder and a member of the Goal Line Club.

Following the plaque presentation Tim shared with the Class of 2012, guests and faculty his appreciation for the award and his work in funeral service.