History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

Our Story

Robert Candlish moved to Rosendale in the spring of 1892. He had been living in the Town of Black Wolf, just south of Oshkosh, where he was employed as a superintendent at the Oshkosh Furniture Company, later known as the Buckstaff Company.It was in Rosendale that he established his undertaking business. He operated a livery stable, and had rooms available for rent above the business for travelers. As he was a skilled cabinetmaker, it was logical to open a furniture store. In addition, he was a skilled cheese and butter maker. His butter won third place at the world's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago.In 1899, Robert's oldest son, William, went into business with his father, and in 1904, they decided to move to Fond du Lac, locating their funeral business at 160 S. Main Street. In 1909, they moved their business to 147 S. Main Street, where the firm remained for the next 31 years. Robert died tragically in 1923 from injuries he sustained from a car which struck him as he was crossing a street in Chicago. In 1940, his sons, Frank and William, had constructed Fond du Lac's first dedicated mortuary facility at 31 E. Division Street, in Georgian architechtural style, naming it the Candlish Funeral Chapel. In 1937, William's son, David, joined the firm. In 1944, Frank's daughter, Carol, became associated with the business and a year later, his son, Robert C., joined the staff. In 1948, William retired and Frank formed a corporation with his two children, Carol and Robert. In 1954, Robert G. Mach joined Candlish Funeral Chapel, and in 1985, Bob and his son, Bruce W. Mach, purchased the business. Bob continued to help at Mach Funeral Chapel & Crematory until his health declined, he died in June 2014. In May 2015, Donald R. Kurki joined the staff. Don brought to the business over 31 years of experience. On September 16, 2015, Bruce Mach retired and Don purchased the business from Bruce. The name changed to Kurki-Mach Funeral Chapel & Crematory. 

On January 1, 2020, as Don entered his 5th year of owning Kurki-Mach Funeral Chapel & Crematory, he had changed the business name to Kurki Funeral Chapel & Crematory.  

Kurki Funeral Chapel & Crematory will continue the tradition of sincere and compassionate service to all families we serve.

Our Valued Staff

  • Donald  Kurki

    Donald Kurki Funeral Director/Owner

    Donald "Don" Kurki has been a licensed funeral director for over 35 years. Prior to purchasing Mach Funeral Chapel, Don worked with Steve Uecker at Uecker-Witt Funeral Home for 31 years. He enjoys serving the community and surrounding area with kindness and compassion he feels every family deserves. Don is married to Barb Kurki and has a son and daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. He is very active in the community and service organizations.

  • Barb  Kurki

    Barb Kurki Co-owner

    Don and I have been married for over 30 years. I have watched Don through those years as he cared for people. He is a very loving and caring man who will take care of you whether it is to listen, talk about ideas, set up preplans, or take care of you and your loved one at the time of need.

  • Tracy Goeglein

    Tracy Goeglein Office Manager

    Tracy Goeglein was born and raised in Fond du Lac. She joined Kurki Funeral Chapel in August 2017 as the Office Manager. She enjoys watching different sporting events, listening to music, exploring other cities, and spending time with her friends and family. Tracy is married and has three children. Tracy looks forward to working with members of the community and surrounding areas. Her compassion and care for people will make everyone feel welcomed.

  • Christopher  Kurki

    Christopher Kurki Funeral Assistant

    Chris was born in Fond du Lac. He has been employed with J.F. Ahern for the past ten years as a mechanical welder.Chris enjoys hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.Chris is married to Laura and they have two sons.

  • Brian Bartelt

    Brian Bartelt Funeral Assistant

    Brian was born and raised in Fond du Lac. He is married to his wife Corky and has two married children and three granddaughters.Brian had worked for over 33 years for the Fond du Lac Police Department. In addition to assisting at Kurki Funeral Chapel, Brian delivers Meals on Wheels and officiates basketball.Brian looks forward to continuing to serve the greater Fond du Lac community with all the wonderful staff from Kurki Funeral Chapel.

  • Bob Johnson

    Bob Johnson Funeral Assistant

    Bob joined the Kurki Funeral Chapel team in February 2018. He grew up in Fond du Lac and is a graduate of St. Mary Springs Academy. Bob enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren. During his spare time you can either find him at the YMCA or if weather permits, out on a golf course.His outgoing personality and thoughtfulness make him a great addition to the Kurki Funeral Chapel family.

  • Sharon  Kollman

    Sharon Kollman PrePlanning Consultant

    Sharon Kollman grew up on a farm west of Fond du Lac and graduated from Oakfield High School. She worked 30 years as a licensed insurance agent, earning both the AAI and CIC designation.Sharon currently serves on the Board of the Oakfield Public Library, Kiwanis Club of Fabulous Fond du Lac, and Avoca Cemetery. In the past, she served on the board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and was a co-founder and charter member of the Fond du Lac Area Insurance Association. She is a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Oakfield.Sharon has one daughter and two grandchildren. She enjoys traveling, sewing, reading, and spending time at the family cottage in Montello.

  • John Colwin

    John Colwin Pre-Planning Consultant

    I am pleased to announce that I am joining the staff at Kurki Funeral Chapel and Crematory, with an eye toward becoming part of the Pre-Planning Team.I have known Don for more than 30 years through our involvement in Kiwanis, and I can sincerely say that I know no more humble, sincere and gracious person than Mr. Kurki. That is why I enthusiastically agreed to come on board!I grew up in Fond du Lac, the eighth of nine children. Following graduation from UW-Oshkosh, I married my wife Julie in 1985, and we were blessed with two sons. I retired from the Fond du Lac School District after 23 years, where I spent 15 years as the Principal at Pier Elementary School.I look forward to serving families at Kurki Funeral Chapel in the days to come.

  • Ben  Koenen

    Ben Koenen Funeral Assistant

    Ben Koenen was born and raised in the Fond du Lac area. After high school graduation, Ben served six years in the U.S. Navy.Ben is married to Jean Nelson. They have two daughters and seven grandchildren.Ben retired from USF Holland in 2004.Ben is a member of Holy Family Parish, Knights of Columbus Council #664, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8092.

  • Karen Kraus

    Karen Kraus Outreach Chaplain

    I am pleased to announce I’m serving as Outreach Chaplain at Kurki Funeral Chapel & Crematory, having known Don and the wonderful services offered.I have served as Outreach Chaplain at Hospice Home of Hope at Agnesian SSM. My background as a Lay-Chaplain is founded with a B.S. in Adult Education and M.S. from UW-Milwaukee in Administrative Leadership and Supervision in Education, and coursework at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. My faith tradition is ELCA Lutheran.As a non-denominational outreach chaplain, I serve all faiths and traditions. I have a love for people and a firm belief life has purpose and meaning for everyone. I love to hear whatever people like to tell me.I am widowed, have two adult children, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. I design and make art jewelry in my spare time, going to art shows and museums.

  • Dave  Olson

    Dave Olson Funeral Assistant

    Dave Olson was born and raised in Hibbing, Minnesota, attended college at Michigan Tech in Houghton, Michigan, graduating with a degree in electrical engineering. He worked for IBM for 30 years and then for Mercury Marine's IT Department for 15 years.Dave has been married to Sharon for 50 years. They have two children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.Dave is a member of Covenant United Methodist Church, Fond du Lac and currently the Chairman of Trustees. He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity, and the Tripoli Shriners in Milwaukee.

  • Ed Wiegert

    Ed Wiegert Funeral Assistant

    Ed Wiegert grew up in the Eldorado area and attended Rosendale High School. After graduating he joined the U.S. Army and served for 3 years. Ed worked for Mercury Marine for 31 years. In 1996 he started another career opportunity as an insurance agent for Rural Insurance Company until retiring. Ed resides in Fond du Lac with his wife, Mary. They have one son and three grandsons. He enjoys his family, church and opportunity to serve people with Kurki Funeral Chapel.

  • David Nell

    David Nell Funeral Assistant

    I was born and raised in Algoma, WI. I attended Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN and served as a teacher and school principal in Dakota, MN for eight years before moving to Fond du Lac, where I served as teacher and principal for 35 years. After retirement in 2015 I looked for ways to continue helping people. I am thankful to Don Kurki for giving me an opportunity to serve as a funeral assistant.I have been married to Mary for over 47 years. We have three children and nine grandchildren, whom we enjoy visiting and observing their activities. I enjoy being outdoors and doing lawn care as well as spending time in my woodshop.

  • Dave Bernthal

    Dave Bernthal Funeral Assistant

    Dave Bernthal was born and raised in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. He attended Immanuel Lutheran High School & College in Eau Claire, WI, as well as UWEC receiving a BS in elementary education with a social studies minor.He served as principal and teacher in Christian day schools in Minnesota, Washington, Michigan, and Wisconsin.Dave married Kim in 1985 and they have seven grown children and thirteen grandchildren.In his free time Dave enjoys reading and writing, genealogy research, helping with church activities, and spending time with family.

  • Dan Lichtenwald

    Dan Lichtenwald Funeral Assistant

    We are pleased to add Dan Lichtenwald to our team as a funeral assistant. We asked Dan to introduce himself to the community and here’s what he wrote.Having retired from the restaurant business after 40 plus years I was interested in finding a way to continue to serve others. I have known Don for many years and share his compassion for people and I’m impressed with his staff, who are all deeply committed to serving families dealing with grief and honoring loved ones.My wife Sandy and I belong to Faith Lutheran Church and have 3 children and 7 grandkids.We enjoy all things Packers, Badgers, Bucks as well as Door County sunsets.