Our Caring Staff Members

Funeral Directors

Scott Olson

President and Funeral Director

Scott is a native of Rockford and is the fifth generation of Olson's to serve the area as a funeral director under the family's ownership. "I think that it speaks for itself when you have a funeral home that has been serving a community for over 129 years. For me, the fact that we are one of the oldest family owned businesses in the area shows our families that in a pre-need situation or at the actual time of death, we are here for them and we will be here for them in the future." Scott takes a great deal of pride in knowing that he is helping to guide people through one of their more difficult times.

After graduating from Denison University with a B.A. in Communication, Scott spent several years in Northwest Colorado where he was employed at a local fishing & ski outfitter. He furthered his education at Worsham College of Mortuary Science and moved back to Rockford where he and his wife are raising two children.

Scott is active in the community having served on the boards of The First Tee of Greater Rockford, Keith Country Day School, Rockford Country Club, and Patriots' Gateway Community Center. Currently Scott is volunteering his time serving on the Northern Illinois Hospice Operating and Foundation Boards as Vice President and as a Commissioner for the Rockford Park District. He is a recipient of The Rockford Chamber of Commerce's 40 Under 40 Award and the Rockford Park District's Community Service Award. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, cycling, xc and telemark skiing, trail running, or just about anything that gets me outside.

Bruce Olson

Funeral Director

Bruce is serving the community as a fourth generation owner of Olsons. "I have been serving families with my family in the Rock River Valley for many years. It gives me peace of mind knowing that we have assisted so many others in one of their greatest times of need."

Bruce began his college education at Carthage College, completing it with degrees at the University of Minnesota. Bruce's continuing education has been focused on complicated grief and children's grief. It was as a student at the University of Minnesota that he met his wife. Upon receiving their degrees, they moved back to Rockford and began raising a family of four. Bruce was formerly a Staff Sergeant with the Army National Guard. He and his wife are members of Zion Lutheran Church.

Bruce is extremely active in numerous organizations in the community, currently focusing on the Mid Town District and improving the Keith Creek corridor. He has been on the Board of Trustees at Scandinavian Cemetery for many years. Bruce is also a Visiting Nurses Association Board Member. Bruce and his wife enjoy spending time on the Rock River, improving the ecosystem of their restored prairie, bird watching and spending time with their children and seven grandchildren.

Kevin Wiklund

Manager and Funeral Director

Kevin is a native of Moline, Illinois where he attended Moline High School's class of 1977. He attended Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago after completing class work at Blackhawk Jr. College. Kevin began working with Olson's in 1984 coming from Moline. "I've wanted to be a funeral director since I was in 8th grade. I see it as a calling where I am able to serve families at the most difficult time of their lives and help them begin the grieving process in a way that is meaningful to them."

Kevin, his wife and two children are charter members of Christ Lutheran Church in Belvidere where he is very active. He is a past member of Rockford East Cherry Valley Rotary. In his spare time, he enjoys golfing and watching the Rockford Ice Hogs take to the ice.

Jim Weber

Manager and Funeral Director

A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan and currently residing in Byron, Illinois with his wife and three children, Jim moved to Rockford at a young age and attended Guilford High School's class of 1981. He graduated from the University of Wyoming and received his degree in Mortuary Science from the University of Minnesota. Jim has worked with the Olson family business since 1988. He is a member of St. Mary Catholic Church, the Elks Club, the University Club, and the Quiet Birdmen. His passions include flying, golfing, and fishing.

Jennifer Burnell

Manager and Funeral Director

Jennifer was born, raised, and currently resides in the Rockford area. She attended Rock Valley College, and continued on to receive her degree in Mortuary Science from Worsham College in March 2009. "As a Funeral Director my goal in the funeral business is to provide outstanding service, and to ease the minds of the families that are going through such a difficult time."

"I never realized how much small gestures can mean to a person - whether it be someone holding your hand, sharing tears, or simply listening to their story... these are the things that have helped me get through difficult times - and I can only hope it does the same for the families I serve." Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Deborah Gaines

Funeral Director and Pre-Need Counselor

Deborah is a resident of Genoa, was born in Rochelle, raised in Monroe Center and graduated from Stillman Valley High School. She received her degree in Mortuary Science and Funeral Service from Southern Illinois University and later went on to complete her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Deborah is currently working as both a funeral director and a pre-need counselor and has been with the Olson family since 2001. She is a member of Womanspace and the Unitarian Universalist Church. In addition to working in funeral service, Deborah recently received a M.F.A. in Writing and Consciousness from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her writing centers around life, death, and corn in the Midwest.

Clay Kloster

Funeral Director

Clay is a resident of Sycamore, Illinois was born in Rockford and raised in Pecatonica. He graduated from Pecatonica High School, attended Rock Valley College, and graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science. After serving his internship in Rockford he has been with Quiram Funeral Directors since 1999 which became a part of the Olson Funeral and Cremation Services in 2008.

He is a member of the Sycamore United Methodist Church, Sycamore Lions Club, and the Young Professionals Group of the Sycamore Chamber. "I knew from a young age that I was going to become a funeral director. My grandfather owned a funeral home in a small town and I saw the compassion and dedication he had for both the families and community he served. I saw this again when I started working at Countryman Funeral Home (Pecatonica) when I was in high school. They are service and community oriented people who inspired me to become the person I am today."

In his spare time he enjoys being with family, watching the Chicago White Sox, bike riding, traveling, being outdoors, and farming.

Steven Wysong

Funeral Director

Steve was born and raised in Rockford, attending Auburn High School. After serving in the United States Army during the Viet Nam War, he attended Northern Illinois University. After working at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center as a Histologist, Steve continued his education at Worsham College of Mortuary Science.

He joined the Olson family of funeral directors in February of 1979 where he takes great pride in helping people when life comes full circle. Steve enjoys spending time with his wife and family, listening to music, and improving the Zen-like atmosphere of his home.

Craig Anderson

Funeral Director and Pre-Need Counselor

Craig was born and raised in Rockford, attending Rockford West High School. Craig earned a B.S. in Accounting from Northern Illinois University, however he now assists families both as a funeral director and pre-arrangement counselor.

Craig served his country in the United States Army. He and his wife attend St. Bridget Catholic Church in Loves Park. In addition to professional organizations such as the Institute for Management Accountants and the Chamber Advantage Club, Craig is an active member of the Knights of Columbus, Loves Park Rotary, Loves Park Lions Club, and Business Network International (BNI).

On a personal level, he enjoys music, golfing, and fishing. Craig sees his accounting skills help when he is professionally organizing and coordinating the many details necessary to make the funeral a meaningful experience for the family and to somehow lighten their burden at the same time.

Elizabeth Kenagy

Funeral Director

Beth was born and raised in Lake Zurich, IL. She graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, IA and then attended Worsham College. She moved to Rockford in 2007 to serve her funeral director apprenticeship with Olson’s and was hired as a full-time funeral director in 2008. Beth married a local cemeterian in 2011; they have three awesome children. They are members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Byron and enjoy being outside as much as possible.
Beth’s favorite part of funeral service is personal connection with the families she meets. She knows that a friendly smile and helpful gesture can go far in this world and loves to try to convey that to everyone she gets to work with.

Suzanne Anderson

Funeral Director

Katlin Hutchins

Apprentice Funeral Director/Embalmer

Katlin was born in Rockford and raised in Roscoe, IL. After graduating from Harlem High School she went on to further her education at Rock Valley College and Tricocci University, receiving her certificate in Esthetics. She spent several years in a small town in Ohio where she practiced skin care and cosmetic art. She is currently residing in the Rockford area, after realizing her true calling and completing her degree at Worsham College of Mortuary Science. “I had wanted to be a funeral director since I was a teen. I had taken a test in a career class that said this is what I should become, and it could not have been more correct!” She has been with Olson Funeral and Cremation Services since graduation. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening, taking walks with her dog, “Howard”, and cooking.

Pre-Planning Staff

Jane Burden

Family Care and Advanced Planning Advisor

Jane was born and raised in Rockford, attended our local schools and graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. She came to Olson's following 34 years as teacher and administrator at Keith Country Day School. Working with families to educate them on choices as they begin to consider making funeral plans for themselves or others, allows Jane to continue in her role as educator.

Helping families through the planning and perhaps also funding of funeral services is truly a process, which allows Jane to really get to know her families. Making decisions prior to the difficult time of grieving, following the loss of loved one, can truly make that challenging time so much easier. So often, folks have expressed that the prior planning was truly a "gift" given to them by the deceased, as their own minds were not clear to make good decisions.

Jane has always enjoyed making connections with people and that can be seen in her commitment throughout the community. She is a life-long member of Zion Lutheran Church in Rockford where she has served on numerous committees and boards and enjoys singing in the choir. Her love of music and the arts is reflective in her many years as a Board Member of the Coronado Concert Association. She has been elected for a number of terms to the North Suburban Library District Board of Trustees where she now serves as President. Her love of her Scandinavian Heritage keeps her busy and involved with the Swedish Historical Society as a Board member as well.

Jane and husband Bob live in Loves Park, where they both enjoy gardening, cooking, traveling and are dutiful staff for their two felines.

Olson Funeral Home Olson Funeral Home 8159636521