History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
In 1898, Frank H. Mayer, native of Austin, began funeral service in the community as an employee of G. Fred Baird. After 17 years of service, Mr. Mayer founded his own establishment in 1915, maintaining quarters over the Austin Furniture Company (presently Brick Furniture) on Main Street. When these quarters were destroyed by a fire on February 3, 1923, Mayer Funeral Home leased the large home west of the Fox Hotel, at 106 W. Water Street, presently occupied by the Goodyear Service Store. This building was “Austin’s First Funeral Home”. After 10 years at this location Mr. Mayer purchased the former Bert Banfield residence at 604 Greenwich Street, now 600 2nd Street NW.
John F. Mayer, son of Frank H., graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Mortuary Science in 1931, and joined his father in the firm. John F. Mayer, Jr., grandson of the founder and a 1964 graduate of the University of Minnesota Mortuary Science School, joined his father in the firm in that year, becoming the third generation of the Mayer family in funeral service.
In September of 1970, Mayer Funeral Home moved into a beautiful new one story brick building, designed for modern funeral service needs, located alongside the old funeral home. Upon completion, the old home was removed and a large parking area was installed in its place.
In 1978, John "Jack" Koppa joined the Mayer Funeral Home. In 1995, after 17 years of working for the Mayer family, Jack had the opportunity to purchase the funeral home from John F. Mayer, Jr. Jack owned and operated the funeral home for 17 years until merging with Mahn Family Funeral Home in 2012. Jack continues to help out at the funeral home working funeral services.
In 2015, we celebrated 100 years of the finest funeral service. It has been a proud time for all of us at Mayer Funeral Home. During the last century, Mayer Funeral Home has lead the way in many innovations in funeral service and community customs. Among them are; “Austin’s First Funeral Home”, first motor funeral coach, first side-service funeral coach, first pressure injecting equipment for embalming, first electric organ, to the more recent, offering personalized, high quality video tributes of the life of the deceased.
One important thing has not changed at Mayer Funeral Home; striving to offer families the finest in funeral service. High Standards and personalized service have worked well for Mayer Funeral Home in the past and will continue to earn the trust of families in the future.
Our Valued Staff
John Koppa, Funeral Director
It was in 1995 when John "Jack" Koppa purchased the Mayer Funeral Home from John F. Mayer, Jr. Jack however had already worked for the Mayers for approximately 17 years, having joined the firm when he came to Austin in 1978 from Wisconsin, where he grew up.
Kathleen M. Dufault, Funeral Director
Kathy grew up in Silver Bay, Minnesota and graduated with honors from Wm. M. Kelley High School in 1992. She attended Bemidji State University from 1992-1995 before transferring to the University of Minnesota, where she completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in 1996 with a major in Mortuary Science. Kathy joined Mayer Funeral Home as a licensed funeral director in 1996. Kathy and her daughter reside in Austin. She is a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church, a weekly league bowler, and a proud Dance Mom!
Roberta Jones, Administrative Assistant
Roberta joined Mayer Funeral Home in May of 2012. She retired from the Pacelli Catholic Schools in Austin. A native of Albert Lea, she and her husband, Bob have resided in Austin their entire married life. They have three children and seven grandchildren.
Frank Novotny, Funeral Assistant
Frank joined Mayer Funeral Home in 2005. He is retired from the United States Postal Service. Frank and his wife, Nancy have two sons and 4 grandchildren.
Jerry Ulwelling, Funeral Assistant
Jerry joined Mayer Funeral Home in May of 2012. He is a lifelong resident of Austin and retired from Hormel Foods in 2008. He is an active member of St. Augustine Catholic Church. Jerry is married to Nancy. They have four children and 10 grandchildren. Jerry has always enjoyed being physically active and is proud to be a member of the Austin YMCA.
Dan Ball, Funeral Assistant
Born and raised in Austin, Dan is one of nine children. He is a graduate of Austin High School where he played football and basketball. Dan still enjoys being involved in all aspects of sports. He and his wife, Debbie have been married for 38 years. He loves spending time with his three children and their familes, including three grandchildren.
Gary Quednow, Funeral Assistant
Gary was born and raised in Austin. He is a graduate of Pacelli High School (1965) and South Dakota State University (1969). Gary and his wife, Nancy have been married for 44 years. They have two daughters; Jill of St. Paul and Lisa of Austin. Gary’s hobbies include golf, fishing, coaching, high school and college spectator sports.
Sara Shaw, Funeral Assistant / Hairdresser
Sara Shaw is a native of Austin and is married to David Stahl. She has 2 married daughters Hannah and Sophie, and 6 grandchildren, Caleb, Brynlee, Maizee, Hadlee, Eisley, and Tucker. Being a Grandmother has been a great experience, however working with people has been very rewarding. She is the co owner and manager of the Hair Designers of Austin for the past 30 yrs and has enjoyed working as the “house hairdresser” for Mayer Funeral Home for the same amount of time.
Sandra Schroeder, Funeral Director
Sandra grew up in Southwest Minnesota. She attended MidAmerica College of Funeral Service, graduating in Fall of 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Funeral Service. Sandra is married to Dale and they have two children, Hollie and Max.
Leighsa Peterson, Funeral Assistant
Leighsa Peterson joined Mayer Funeral Home in October of 2016. She lives in Austin with her two daughters; her two adult sons reside in Bayport, MN. Leighsa is very passionate about caring for others and has worked as a direct care provider in the healthcare field since graduating high school.