CUBA CITY—Helping others in the Cuba City community was the drive for Mitch McNett to explore a profession in funeral services. He was recently hired for a full-time position at Casey Funeral Home.
McNett has worked with the Casey family since he was 16. His father, Mike, works there and asked Mitch to help out occasionally over the years.
“I opened doors, cleaned and helped during funerals and wakes,” McNett said. “I continued to help out over the years during school vacations.”
McNett is a 2010 graduate of Cuba City High School. He graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in biology. He returned to Cuba City and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He was working at Cuba City Family Dental and Casey Funeral Home and decided to pursue a profession in funeral services.
He has completed the one-year mortuary school at Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, Ill., and is finishing his apprenticeship at funeral homes throughout the area. When he was in school, he would attend classes Monday through Thursday and then spend Friday through Sunday working at Casey Funeral Home.
Kevin Casey, the owner of Casey Funeral Home, said when he went to mortuary school, he learned the embalming at larger funeral homes.
“Mitch found out that the larger funeral homes weren’t going to allow students to be involved in the embalming process,” Casey said. “At that point he thought it was much smarter for him to come back here and learn from me and some of the other area funeral directors on the weekends.”
During his apprenticeship, McNett gets to do the same tasks the funeral director would do, just under the supervision of the funeral director.
“I want Mitch to not just know how I do things, but to know how other funeral homes do things,” Casey said. “Sometimes you run into problems in the embalming room and there are different ways to solve different problems. It’s good for him to see all of the different ways to solve a problem. Funeral homes all handle a funeral a little differently.”
McNett said he has taught some new techniques to Casey as well.“He [Casey] is really good at what he does, but he is open to learning, too,” McNett said. “He doesn’t want to be old fashioned; he is pretty up to date on everything.”
“I’m open to learning,” Casey said. “I always want to be on the cutting edge of funeral service; I always want to be learning.”
Casey’s wife, Diane, helps teach McNett the business side of the funeral service. She goes over bookwork with him.
“I’m glad Mitch is here,” Casey said. “I see Mitch as a great young man who will make my job easier. I’m not going anywhere. I plan on being involved in the funeral home forever. I do see Mitch as someone who would want to take over the business some day, but I’m not going anywhere yet.”
Casey said rural funeral directors give up a lot to help others. When they get the call in the middle of the night, they have to respond right away; there isn’t a morgue for the body to wait in.
“Growing up, I always knew I wanted to help people,” McNett said. “I was one of those kids that would volunteer for everything; I enjoyed volunteering. I had a bad accident on the farm when I was 12 and a lot of people helped me out then.
I always wanted to help people the way some helped me. Being around here, I could see that Kevin gets to do a lot of good for people and he gets to help people a lot. That is something I always wanted to do.”
When he isn’t at the funeral home, McNett enjoys working on his family’s farm, which has been in the family more than 200 years, and coaching football.
“I love Cuba City,” McNett said. “I will always be here.”