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Staff

At Glende-Nilson Funeral Home & Cremation Service, we are honored to have earned the trust and confidence placed in us by those that we serve. We pledge to offer respectful and dignified professional service, service that a family should expect, service that a family deserves. From the time the first phone call is received, throughout the service and beyond, each staff member at our funeral home contributes in an important way. We are very proud of our staff, and hope that you will take the time to learn more about them and their families.

Rick Mekalson, Doug Nelson, Chris Carlson, Todd Ukkelberg
Andrew Yaggie, Bruce Nilson, Luke Johnson

 Bruce Nilson

Licensed Funeral Director

Bruce Nilson was born and raised in Alcester, South Dakota where his grandfather and father owned and operated the Nilson Funeral Home. After serving in the Korean War, Mr. Nilson graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Mortuary Science Program. In 1961, Bruce purchased the Nilson Funeral Home, formerly the Gerhards Funeral Home, in Fergus Falls, with chapels in Battle Lake, Ashby and Evansville. 

In 1995, Mr. Nilson partnered with Glende-Johnson-Nelson Funeral Home. He now enjoys being an active part of funeral service, while still having the opportunity to hunt and fish and spend time with his three children and seven grandchildren. Bruce is a member of First Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, a member of the VFW in Fergus Falls and of the Ashby American Legion.


 Doug Nelson

Licensed Funeral Director 

Doug also comes from a funeral service background, where both his grandfather and father were active in the business in Brooten, Minnesota. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Doug served his apprenticeship at the Hoplin Funeral Home in Glenwood. 

Following his service in the United States Army, Doug moved to Fergus Falls where he worked as a licensed director at the Glende-Johnson Funeral Home. Doug eventually purchased the Funeral Home which he continues to manage today. Doug and his wife Virginia live in Fergus Falls and have two married daughters. Doug and his wife are active members of Bethel Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls. He is also a member of the Otter Risers Kiwanis, the VFW and the Ashby American Legion.


 Rick Mekalson

Licensed Funeral Director 

Rick was born and raised in Battle Lake, Minnesota. He graduated from the Fergus Falls Community College and then the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. After graduating from the U of M he was employed with funeral homes in Virginia, Minnesota, as well as the Bertha area. In 1995, Rick joined the staff at Glende-Nilson Funeral Home and Cremation Service. 

Rick attends the Battle Lake Alliance Church and is a member of the Battle Lake Lions Club. Rick and his wife Ann live on their farm by Battle Lake. They have three sons, seven grandsons and enjoy riding horseback riding and camping.


 Chris Carlson

Licensed Funeral Director

Chris comes from a funeral service background as well. He grew up and attended school in Page, North Dakota, where his father owned and operated the Lindsey-Carlson Funeral Home. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he worked at funeral homes in Starbuck and Morris, Minnesota. In 2004, Chris moved to Fergus Falls, and joined the staff at Glende-Nilson Funeral Home & Cremation Service.

Chris and his wife Brenda live in Fergus Falls and have two daughters and one son. He is a member of the Fergus Falls noon Kiwanis.


 Andrew Yaggie

Licensed Funeral Director / Certified Funeral Celebrant

A native of Thief River Falls, MN, Andrew joined the staff of Glende-Nilson in June of 2011. Even though he comes from a farming background, Andrew has always had an interest in funeral service. 

After graduating from high school, Andrew attended North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, graduating with a B.S. in Business Management, in 2009. He went on to earn a B.S. in Mortuary Science from the University of Minnesota in 2010, serving his apprenticeship with Mueller Mortuaries in St. Paul/White Bear Lake, MN. 

Outside of the funeral home, Andrew still enjoys helping out on the family farms in Breckenridge and around the Thief River Falls area. He also enjoys weekends at the family lake cabin on Ottertail Lake, golfing, flying, and is a talented musician, playing the piano and organ. 

Andrew is a member of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, Fergus Falls Noon Kiwanis, Lakes Area Pilots Association, Fergus Falls chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and the Lake Region Healthcare Foundation Board of Directors. 

In addition to serving families as a Licensed Funeral Director, Andrew is also a Certified Funeral Celebrant.  A Funeral Celebrant serves by providing a funeral service, memorial service or tribute that is personalized and individualized to reflect the personality and life-style of the deceased.

 Luke Johnson

Licensed Funeral Director

Luke Johnson joined the staff of Glende-Nilson Funeral Homes in August 2014, though has lived in the Fergus Falls community for numerous years, having been employed at the former Boschert-Norman and Faith and Hope Funeral Home. 

He grew up and attended school in Lake Park, graduating from Lake Park/Audubon High School in 2000. Luke then went on to attend Minnesota State University Moorhead from 2000 -2004. After his generals he then continued his education at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in Ohio. While there he served as a lab assistant where he worked closely with the University Of Cincinnati and their body donation program. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mortuary Science in 2007, graduating Magna Cum Laude. 

In his spare time he enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with his family and friends at the Lake. Luke is a Licensed Funeral Director in Minnesota and North Dakota and also holds his insurance license. Luke is honored and looks forward to serving the Fergus Falls community and surrounding areas.

 Gwen Brutlag

Certified Funeral Celebrant

Gwen Brutlag has been a Certified Funeral Celebrant for over a decade, most recently completing further training through the Insight Institute in January of 2013. Gwen is also a Licensed Psychologist, operating a private practice in Fergus Falls. In addition to working with people on an individual basis, Gwen serves as an executive coach in business settings, a consultant in long term care, and is a highly sought after public speaker. 

Gwen and her husband Paul live on a farm near Wendell, Minnesota, and are proud parents of two grown children. Gwen enjoys volunteering in the community and is currently active with hospice, Friends of the Library, and the Lion’s radio reading program. 

With over ten years of experience as a certified celebrant, Gwen looks forward to being available to assist families in creating a truly personalized tribute for their loved one.

For more information on Funeral Celebrants, we have put together a page focusing on this valuable service we are able to provide.

 Karen Holte

Office Manager

Having had Glende-Nilson Funeral Homes serve her family for decades, Karen Holte joined the staff as office manager in March of 2010. She brings with her years of experience in the business sector as well as an associate business degree from Minnesota State Community and Technical College. 

Originally from Evansville, Karen and her husband David have lived on a grain and livestock farm near Wendell since 1993. They have two grown sons, Kyle and Kerby.

During her personal time, Karen enjoys driving motorcycle, quilting, family gatherings and volunteering.

Karen is an active member of the Rock Prairie Church, rural Wendell, and Quilts of Valor. She also finds time to volunteer at Lakeland Hospice.

 Todd Ukkelberg

 Pre-arrangement Funeral Specialist 

Todd has lived near Battle Lake his entire life and grew up on a farm. He dairy farmed until 1993 and then worked as a sales representative for a breeding company. He also worked as a substitute mail carrier. Prior to joining the staff at Glende-Nilson Funeral Homes, Todd was a real estate agent for 11 years. His experience in helping people and his positive attitude make him a valuable asset to the funeral home staff. He is looking forward to assisting families with the preplanning process and ensuring that all of their needs are met. 

Todd and his wife, Liz, live near Battle Lake. They have three sons and a daughter. He is a member of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Battle Lake. 


 

Photographs by Janssen Photography

 

301 Washington Ave. E.
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
218-736-7064
107 Main Street
Ashby, MN 56309
218-747-2019
102 Lincoln Ave.
Battle Lake, MN 56515
218-864-5278
115 State Street
Evansville, MN 56326
218-948-2239
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Owner: Thomas Vertin