Cuba City native enjoys ‘personal connection’ as local funeral home owner

CUBA CITY, Wis. — A familiar face has taken the reins at a Cuba City funeral home.

Kevin and Diane Casey retired from Casey Funeral Home on July 1, and Mitchell McNett purchased the establishment, now named Casey-

McNett Funeral Home.

It’s a familiar setting for McNett, a 28-year-old Cuba City native who has helped out at the funeral home since his high school years.

“My dad is one of the door guys here,” McNett said. “He’s been doing that for 13 years.”

When Michael McNett was asked to help Kevin Casey at the funeral home, he would ask if his son wanted to tag along.

“That just got you around it, and when I was around it, my dad would say, ‘You should think about this (work). You’d be great at it,’” Mitchell McNett said.

Kevin Casey, 67, and his wife, Diane, 65, have been involved in the Cuba City funeral home since 1979 and purchased it in 1988.

“They have been a fixture here in Cuba City,” said Mayor Tom Gile. “They’ve been willing to help with any project, and if there’s a donation somebody needs, Kevin has been there.”

Kevin Casey said serving families during the passing of a loved one “is a real privilege.”

“I’ve been blessed to do this 43 years — including when I was in mortuary school,” he said. “You’re taking care of friends. You’re taking care of people you’ve had coffee with or people you just enjoy seeing. It’s a real deep sense of responsibility.”

Diane Casey retired after 31 years of teaching in Cuba City in 2011. While teaching and after her retirement as an educator, she has performed numerous roles at the funeral home.

“I’m the one who does all of the bookkeeping, the accounting, the obituaries, the paperwork, answering the phone,” she said.

While the Caseys continued operating the funeral home, McNett was attending University of Wisconsin and trying to decide on a career path.

“I knew I wanted to do something where I could come back here and help people,” he said. “I hurt my legs back when I was 12, and I had a lot of help. A lot of people were really good to me. They were stopping by and taking care of me, delivering food and delivering cards.”

McNett was deciding whether he wanted to work as a nurse or a dentist and continued to occasionally help at the funeral home while considering his options.

McNett’s dad and Kevin Casey suggested he try working full time at the funeral home.

“Kevin and my dad said to give it three months — now, it’s four years since then,” McNett said.

Kevin and Diane Casey decided now was the right time to retire.

“We’ve been on call the last 43 years,” Kevin Casey said.

They continue to help when they can at the funeral home.

“We’ll help out as long as we are healthy,” Kevin Casey said.

The Caseys continue to live at the funeral home but will move when they finish constructing a new home in Cuba City. Then, McNett will move into the living quarters at the establishment.

Gile described McNett as “a super good young man.”

“Kevin couldn’t have found anyone any better to take over,” Gile said.

McNett said he enjoys his role in the community.

“I like all the good you get to do for people,” he said. “You make a personal connection with every family that walks through the door, especially in a small town … When you help them, they appreciate what you did for them — more than anything.”