A Fresh Take on Funeral Service: Interview with Funeral Leader Nicole Krause


By Leader Editor Kara Apel

As a Funeral Director and a Celebrant, Nicole Krause has a clear vision of how today’s families have different needs.

Krause spoke with Leader Editor Kara Apel at MKJ Marketing’s 2021 Marketing Summit in Naples, FL, about how the profession is changing.

“The sky is the limit at this point — with all of the technology we have readily available at our fingerprints and all of these sharp minds that are going through the mortuary programs,” she said.

Krause is the manager of the Brown Deer location of her family’s fourth-generation firm, Krause Funeral Homes & Cremation Service, Inc. in Milwaukee. She became a Licensed Funeral Director in 2019.

Krause graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor of Business Administration and an associate degree in the arts. From there, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Funeral Service at the University of Central Oklahoma.

As part of The Leader’s Mortuary School Spirit Contest, we’ve been speaking with funeral directors from across the country about what their schools mean to them. Krause shared what makes the University of Central Oklahoma’s funeral service program so unique.

“The big reason I wanted to go there is because I felt that the program had a lot to offer, as far as different classes. You have anatomy and pathology and everything you need to have, but you also have an amazing staff there,” she said.

Krause said it was especially helpful to learn from women in the industry, including Glenda Stansbury and Lucia Dickinson.

Glenda Stansbury is the leader in celebrant services — to have her as a professor to really explain contemporary funeral service practices and explain the value of funeral service itself was invaluable,” she said.

She said Dickinson taught her a lot about funeral home management and how to serve families of different religions.

“Even though it was a bachelor’s program, it was a smaller program that was very interactive. You were able to get one-on-one feedback and have conversations with your professors and your colleagues and really have a voice in the classroom rather than just being a number,” she said.

Krause is also a Certified Celebrant, which helps their firm provide even more options to Milwaukee-area families.

“I just knew that it was something we needed to offer families — being current and understanding what people need before you even know what that is. A lot of times, families come in, and they don’t have a religious home. They don’t have a church home, they don’t really practice as much, but they want to have a service of some sort. Going to a Catholic Mass isn’t really meaningful to them, so having an alternative to that is extremely important — and that’s where celebrants come in.”

As a Celebrant, Krause is passionate about consistently brainstorming innovative and personalized options for families.

“You’re able to have that professional sit-down with the family and really talk to them, get a flavor of that person’s life and put together a story with songs and with candle lightings and with people speaking and even religious aspects too. There’s no right or wrong. There are no limits when it comes to what you can put together with a celebrant service,” she said.

Krause also had powerful advice to share for recent mortuary school graduates and for women in funeral service (be sure to watch the full video of the interview to hear more).

“Your voice matters. You’re able to really make a difference with these families. The future is so bright for anybody who wants to have the opportunity to have a really resounding, wonderful career,” Krause said.

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