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Our staff is comprised of dedicated and licensed professionals with the experience to answer all your questions regarding our services. Please feel free to contact any of our staff members at any time.

Anna Winningham

Anna Winningham

General Manager

Anna grew up in Cumberland, Wisconsin and graduated from Growing Lights Christian Academy in Barron, Wisconsin in 1998. She then attended Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Rice Lake, Wisconsin for nursing studies. She graduated from Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, WI from the Surgical Technologist program and went on to work for the next 10 years in surgery. She was employed by the Mayo Clinic Health System for the last 5 years of that time. 

In order to pursue her desire to be a funeral director, she attended and graduated from the Arapahoe Mortuary Science program in Colorado. Anna began her career in funeral service because she feels that she can help and support others in their time of need. 

As a member of the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice, she is committed to life-long learning and excellence in funeral service. 

Anna and her husband, Jeremy, reside in Merrill, Wisconsin. She is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church. They enjoy spending time with their two wonderful daughters, Kaitlyn and Courtney. As a family, they love to go fishing, bear hunting and deer hunting.  


Shannon Dunn

Shannon Dunn

Funeral Director

Shannon served her apprenticeship at Brainard Funeral Home in 2000. A graduate of Milwaukee Area Technical School’s mortuary science program, Shannon has worked in funeral homes in Southern Wisconsin, Texas, and California.

Shannon enjoys spending her time with her dog, Lucky and 2 cats, Zepplin and Chestnut.  Shannon spends her free time walking, kayaking, hiking, road biking and participating in various local 5K's.   

She is happy to be in her hometown to help families arrange personalized services tailored to their loved one.

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Sarah Zuelke

Sarah Zuelke

Funeral Director

Sarah grew up in Tomahawk, Wisconsin with aspirations of being an Athletic Trainer.  After attending college at UW Eau Claire for Athletic Training for four years, she discovered that her heart was somewhere else.  Much to her family’s surprise, she changed her major to Mortuary Science and received her degree from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 2009.


Sarah has been serving families in the Wausau area since then, and what a pleasure it has been.  Being able to meet so many wonderful people and helping them at one of the most difficult times in their lives has been very fulfilling.


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Carrie Hartleben

Carrie Hartleben

Funeral Director

Carrie graduated from Arkansas State University with her degree in Mortuary Science in 1998.  She then returned to Wisconsin and attained her funeral director’s license in 2001.  After working in funeral service for 20 years in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, she returned to serve the Wausau area communities.

Carrie feels that being in funeral service is a calling and that it is an honor to help families in difficult times.  She is a mother to one son, Grayson, and wife to Kane Niswander.  Her family resides in Wittenberg, where she attended high school.  In her free time, she enjoys camping, playing guitar, and snuggling with her dogs.

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Carly Gaytan-Kiser

Carly Gaytan-Kiser

Funeral Director

Carly graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Mortuary Science Program in 2015. She spent the last five and a half years serving families in central Minnesota before moving to the Wausau area. She enjoys spending time with her two cats, Mischief and Plague. Carly spends her free time reading, traveling, hiking, trail running, and volunteering with various grief organizations.

After having a poor experience when her dad died, Carly chose funeral service with hopes to create meaningful goodbyes and healing experiences for those facing the loss of a loved one. She especially enjoys bringing the small details out into the service.


Amanda Duncan

Amanda Duncan

Funeral Director Apprentice

Amanda began working as a Funeral Assistant and discovered a passion for funeral service, which led her to become a Licensed Funeral Director Apprentice. In pursuit of becoming a Licensed Funeral Director, she is currently enrolled at Northcentral Technical College to complete her general studies.

Amanda lives in Weston, WI, with her significant other, Brandon, her daughter, Evelyn, and her 3 dogs. She enjoys traveling and going on cruises. Her favorite place that she has visited is St. Lucia, where she recommends visiting the Pitons and the sulfur mud bath. Amanda also enjoys reading, playing softball, and crocheting blankets in her spare time.


Dean Welker

Dean Welker

Funeral Director Emeritus

"In 1961, I graduated from the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science in Milwaukee.  The first funeral home I worked at was Ritter and Deutsch Funeral Home in Wausau. In 1963, I began my career at Helke Funeral Home.  One of my primary responsibilities was making sure that the preparation, cosmetics and casketing of each decedent was absolutely perfect, every time.  The last viewing of the deceased is a very important part of the grieving process.

I have made more friends, shared more stories and become part of the lives of more families than I could have ever imagined in my 57 years as a funeral director.  Even though I am "retired", I am honored when families ask if I can help with their loved one's funeral. I still always try to be there for them."


Lisa Lanier

Lisa Lanier

Advance Funeral Planner

Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Lisa moved to Wausau in 2002. She graduated from of the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in business. Before joining Helke, Lisa worked in commercial real estate management, consultive sales, marketing, and business for more than thirty years.

In her free time, Lisa enjoys genealogy, art, spending time with family, and volunteering with a number of non-profit groups and organizations.


Le-Ann Albee

Le-Ann Albee

Office Manager

Le-Ann graduated from Globe University with an associate degree in veterinary science. She spends much of her free time with her family and animals, and she enjoys painting, crafting, fishing, and camping. Le-Ann also enjoys interacting with the community and is an Event Manager for The Grand Theater. She is most likely the voice you will hear when you call Helke Funeral Home and Cremation Service.


Steve Jeske

Steve Jeske

Cremation Technician

Steve was born in Fond du Lac, WI, and moved to Merrill when he was three months old. He grew up there with his mom and five brothers. Following his graduation from Merrill Senior High in 1975, Steve joined the Army and went on to serve the Wisconsin National Guards as an Armor Crewman (Tank). He attended Northland Baptist Bible College and earned a degree in biblical studies. While in college, Steve met his wife, and they were married on August 2, 1980.

Later, Steve went to North Central Technical College for nursing assistant training and then to Globe University, earning an associate degree as a Certified Medical Assistant. He spent five years working in Outpatient Psychiatry at North Central Health Care. Steve and his wife have two children, Caitlin and Jonathan, and four grandchildren.


Ed Jensen

Ed Jensen

Funeral Assistant

"I was a barber in Wausau for 45 years.  I served in the Army Reserves and am currently a commissioner on the Rib Mountain Sanitary Board.  I am a member of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church.  My wife, Martha and I have been married 53 years and have three children and one grandson.  For relaxation, I enjoy woodworking, reading and taking long walks.  At Helkes, I like working with the families and the variety of the job."


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