Maple Crest Funeral Home was established in June of 2006. The funeral home was founded by two women, Jacci M. Koch and Dawn (Hess) Young. They had a dream to come back home and serve their community.

They have been featured in numerous publications, including the Appleton Post Crescent , Women’s Magazine, Marketplace Magazine and American Funeral Director.

Maple Crest Funeral Home was also nominated for the Project Facelift Award in 2006 by the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce. The funeral home was nominated for use of a great location and the beautiful building contributing to the aesthetics of the community.

About Us:

A Place of Their Own: Two women follow their calling by building a funeral home
By: Maureen Wallenfang, Post-Crescent staff writer

Click on a question below to read Jacci and Dawn's answers

Q: Is it unusual to see women in this field?
Dawn: It was when I first went into it.

Jacci: It’s not so unusual anymore. Now, at least half are women.
Q: But it must be unusual for two young women to open their own funeral home.
Dawn: I don’t think it’s been done before.

Jacci: (Funeral homes) are mostly family owned, so when you see someone younger, it’s because it has been passed down in the family.
Q: I understand neither of you have family members in the business. So why go into this unconventional line of work?
Jacci: It’s very fulfilling to help people the worst times of their lives. It’s a very rewarding career.
Q: You two met while working in the same local funeral home. What made you decide to start your own place?
Dawn: We enjoyed working together. We said we could do this.

Jacci: We chose to go to Waupaca because we’re from that area. The community is growing and they needed choices and alternatives.

Dawn: There’s one funeral home. They have a wonderful reputation and we don’t have anything bad to say about them. We think competition is a wonderful thing. We’d like to go back and help the families that we grew up with and we know and provide them with some savings as well.
Q: How much do funerals cost?
Dawn: The national average is about $6,000.

Jacci: We’re going to be around that average.
Q: You new Maple Crest Funeral Home is scheduled for a spring 2006 opening. How much will it cost to get this up and running? It sounds expensive.
Dawn: It is. It’s right around $1 million. The bank that we’re working with has been very welcoming and has done a nice job.

Jacci: They recently opened a branch in Waupaca as well, so I think we’re helping each other out.
Q: How big is Maple Crest going to be?
Dawn: It’s 7,900 square feet. We’re going to have two chapels and a lounge where there can be community meetings.
Q: How did you prepare for the business side of this?
Dawn: We hired people who know what they’re doing, like accountants. That’s their expertise. We focus on our expertise. We worked with a consultant who specializes in opening funeral homes. He puts together a business plan and looks at the area. He looks at the death rate in the area, what the competitor is doing for business and finds out if we’ll be able to have a market share. We took his advice.
Q: Death doesn’t take a holiday, so that means you’re always on call. You probably work very long hours.
Dawn: When we start out, we’re not going to be able to hire people to do the cleaning and the secretarial work. It will just be the two of us. We have to be jack-of-all-trades. It’s typical to work evenings and weekends. I remember working multiple times on Christmas Eves and turning the phones at 8 a.m. over Christmas morning to Jacci.
Q: Is it typical to have a lot of people pass away during the holidays?
Dawn: A lot of people say ‘I can wait until Christmas.’ They will themselves to live until then. That might add to the numbers.
Q: Statistically do you have more around the holidays?
Dawn: You can’t really say that. One year you might have nothing and the next you might have five.

Jacci: It always seems we have funerals on Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends.
Q: What do you do to combat the stress of this job?
Dawn: I have a little boy, so I enjoy coming home and playing with him. I also do a lot of cross-stitching.

Jacci: I do a lot of word puzzles. My grandma gets me a new book every week. I visit relatives. I play the violin and that’s always relaxing.
Q: What kind of reaction do you get then you tell people what you do?
Jacci: It’s mixed. It’s the people who don’t understand our field give us crazy looks and crazy comments. But once they learn, they realize there’s a need for us. Someone’s got to do it.

Jacci: The families that have just been through it really appreciate us. My dad has been out in the community and he tells me he’s heard nothing but positive comments. Everyone’s so glad that Dawn and Jacci are coming back to the community.