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Our Staff

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.

John Delaporte

John Delaporte

Managing Funeral Director, Certified Crematory Operator

"Charles Helke gave me my start in funeral service in 1977.  I knew I wanted a career that helped people and Mr. Helke offered me an apprenticeship to experience funeral service first hand.  During my apprenticeship I was able to see the directors professionalism, guidance, respect and how to organize the hundreds of details needed to provide a meaningful funeral ceremony.  In 1979, I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mortuary Science.  

Some people say this is a morbid business and ask how I can do what I do.  But, I’ve discovered that funeral service is not about the business.  It’s about the people I have met (both deceased and living), the stories and history that families have shared and the strangers who are now friends.

Helke Funeral Home has been serving Wausau area families for over 142 years.  What a beautiful testimony to the service that the many funeral directors and staff have provided over these past years."

Email: johnd@helke.com


Dean Welker

Dean Welker

Funeral Director

"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."


Adam Holzschuh

Adam Holzschuh

Funeral Director, Certified Crematory Operator

"I grew up in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, and attended Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, before graduating from the University of Minnesota Program of Mortuary Science.  I joined the staff of Helke Funeral Home in 2010.

Moving to Wausau was not only the next stage in my career, but a chance to live in and serve families in a community that I like and want to be a part of.  I enjoy volunteering through many community organizations at events in the Wausau area. 

It is truly a privilege to be entrusted with helping families memorialize and remember their loved ones through many different and often difficult circumstances." 

Email: adamh@helke.com


Jeff Krcil

Jeff Krcil

Funeral Director, Certified Crematory Operator

"I joined Helke Funeral Home in 2007 after working in Minnesota.  I am a graduate of the Carl Sandburg College Mortuary Science program and also have a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Northern Iowa.  In 2016, I earned my Certified Crematory Operator certification and completed training to become a Certified Celebrant.

I entered funeral service with the desire to help families through some of the most difficult days that they will ever have.  My view of funeral service is being attentive to their needs and offering options to best suit those needs.  With that, I am interested in the technological innovations that can assist us in funeral service;  utilizing DVD creation programs for making memorial DVDs, offering webcasting services and the expanded use of internet services to connect and communicate with family that is spread across the world."

Email: jeff@helke.com


Sarah Zuelke

Sarah Zuelke

Funeral Director

"I 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, I discovered that my heart was somewhere else.  Much to my family’s surprise, I changed my major to Mortuary Science and received my degree from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 2009.


I have 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 more fulfilling then I ever thought possible."


Email: sarah@helke.com


Kelly Lang

Kelly Lang

Administrative Assistant

"During the hardest moments of a person’s life, we can see the best and worst emerge in people.  It is important to know that what you are doing is meaningful to those you are serving and I welcome the challenge that comes along with it. 

When a loved ones funeral needs to happen, there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be put in place, so if it is working with the death certificates, social security, insurance companies, printing memorial products, or doing one of the many other items, I want to be there to make these hardest moments run smooth. I want to be there for the family, so they can be there for each other."

Email: kelly@helke.com


Shelly Becker

Shelly Becker

Preplanning Specialist

"I am the Preplanning Specialist at Helke Funeral Home and a Wisconsin licensed insurance intermediary with National Guardian Life.  I help families plan for the future and mentor them through the Advanced Planning process, helping people create the right plan for them.

I love helping people take care of their families.  My main objective is to know that the families I work with are comfortable with their decisions and have the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that the future is taken care of. 

I am honored to be a member of the Helke family.  It is very rewarding for me to serve families.   I see so much value to planning in advance and I have seen many sighs of relief from this gift.  It would be my pleasure to share this journey of preplanning with you and your family."

Email: shelly@helke.com


Lisa Zahrt

Lisa Zahrt

Family Care Coordinator

"I have always had an interest in helping people.  I now provide that help at a very emotional and challenging time for people, after the loss of someone very special.  Through personal visits and phone calls I provide support to families following the death of a loved one.  Grief does not end when the funeral service ends, that is why I am here to support the family.  I want to walk with them through their grief.  Our funeral home has a lending library of books and also a large selection of support materials.  I coordinate a local support group called “Friends” that meets once or twice a month at various places. The group allows those who are grieving a chance to make connections with others who are experiencing the same feelings, while they enjoy visiting some special sites in our community.

I truly enjoy spending time with families and hearing the stories that make their eyes sparkle with love.”  ~Lisa

Email: lisa@helke.com


Dick Knudson

Dick Knudson

Funeral Assistant

“I am a Wausau native who left Wausau in 1961 to wear my country’s uniform, first at West Point and then the Army, until I retired in 1990. I then eventually returned to Wausau and worked at the Marathon County Chapter of The American Red Cross until 2003. In 2004, I joined my long time Kiwanis friend, John DeLaporte at Helke Funeral Home as an assistant. It is a job that involves a wide variety of tasks, which I enjoy. Additionally I get to work with a great group of people.”

Dick has been married to Marianne since 1968, and they have a son and a daughter who have blessed them with six wonderful grandsons.


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."


Paul Bruss

Paul Bruss

Funeral Assistant

“I grew up on a farm in rural Denmark, WI just southeast of Green Bay, so I have been a Packer fan all my life.  I attended Bethany Junior College and Mankato State in MN graduating with an education degree.  My life path took me down Retail Management for 42 years starting with Mills Fleet Farm and ending my career at Petco.  My wife Pauline and I have 3 children and 6 grandchildren.  I enjoy golfing and watching high school, college and professional sports.  I have enjoyed working with the courteous and caring staff at Helke’s as well as the families they serve.”


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