Helping area families in times of need
After following a long and winding road, Fairmont native Ann Erdmann now helps Faribault County and Martin County residents cope with the loss of their loved ones.
Starting her new job in August of last year, Erdmann, along with funeral directors Robert Broderick and Dominic Krezowski, rotate responsibilities between Spencer-Owen Funeral Home in Winnebago, Patton Funeral Home in Blue Earth, and Zaharia Family Funeral and Cremation Service in Truman. However, Erdmann primarily handles matters in the Truman area.
Once having dreams of becoming a veterinarian, Erdmann’s role as funeral director is a far cry from her originally intended career path. Interestingly enough, Erdmann says there are some similar aspects between the two professions.
“Even though it’s dealing with different anatomy, the science and technology involved in both jobs are pretty similar,” she explains. “Everything from viewing preparation, to embalming, to cosmetics and body restoration, all of those things deal with the science side of things.”
Erdmann says she first became intrigued with the idea of becoming a funeral director after experiencing a death in her family. At 15 years old, Erdmann’s grandfather had passed away.
Afterwards, funeral director Taya Schutt had the difficult assignment of guiding Erdmann and her three siblings through the grieving process. Schutt’s professionalism during this turbulent circumstance created a lasting impact on Erdmann.
“She was just so compassionate and caring,” Erdmann recalls. “It was the first time we had ever gone through something like that and she showed us what was going to happen and explained things on our level. I quickly realized I wanted to be a part of helping people like she was.”
Armed with a new purpose, Erdmann eventually enrolled in the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in Pennsylvania. The 12-month program consisted of 20 credit trimesters. After completing her course work, as well as an internship, Erdmann received her mortuary license and went to work in the Twin Cities in 2008.
As an employee of Service Corporation International, a company which operates more than 1,500 funeral homes in 43 states, the young practitioner chose to make two stops in Texas, and one in Washington D.C., before returning to Minnesota. Erdmann says the passing of her mother Lynn three years ago, was a motivating factor in returning to the North Star State.
“It’s been good to get back to family and slow down,” Erdmann says. “When my mom passed away, I really realized how important family is, so I started to try and get back home.
“This industry is emotionally taxing, so to find people to support you is so important. You can do any job anywhere, but if you don’t have the support, it can be difficult,” she adds.
Erdmann admits the time demands of her job can pose some challenges. For instance, taking phone calls regarding a death in the middle of the night is a regular occurrence for the busy funeral director. However, Erdmann takes pride in approaching each situation in a professional manner.
“I take those disruptions as a great honor to be there for someone at 3 a.m. or whatever the case is,” Erdmann explains.
With family spread out across Fairmont, Truman and Winnebago, Erdmann continues to build her career, while also enjoying the comfort of familiar surroundings. She says her ability to make a difference in the community makes all the sacrifices of her profession worthwhile.
“I think the most rewarding thing is walking into Walmart and people see you from across the aisle and say ‘Hey I remember you.’ The hugs you get from people and the instant relationships you build in a short period of time are very special to me.”