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.

Our History

Richard E. Purath and Gary L. Strand founded Purath-Strand Funeral Home in 1985, and moved into its present location in January of 1986. Since its inception, Purath-Strand has been a full service family owned and operated funeral home.

Continuing this tradition, in the fall of 1999, Purath-Strand took the next step in serving the future needs of the community by opening Racine County's first cremation facility. In 2000 Richard retired from active participation in the business. Today, Gary continues as sole owner of Purath-Strand.

Our Valued Staff

Gary L. Strand

Gary L. Strand, Co-Founder/Owner/Funeral Director

Gary, as co-founder of Purath-Strand, remains an active owner and continues in his role as a funeral director and manager of daily business operations. Gary is a native of Racine. He graduated from Racine Lutheran High School, after which he served in the U.S. Air Force on both active duty and reserve status for seven years during the early 70's. Gary began his career in funeral service in 1975 and is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in both Illinois and Wisconsin. He passed the National Board of Funeral Service Examiners in 1978. Gary is a licensed Insurance Intermediary. He is also a Certified Crematory Operator. He holds a Bachelor of Science with emphasis in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch College. Gary is a member of St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Moose Lodge #437 and is a past President and Director Emeritus on the Board of Directors of Racine Fourth Fest. Gary and his wife Gay have four children and 2 grand daughters. In his spare time he enjoys sporting events and is an avid Badgers, Packers and Nascar fan. But most of all he loves spending time with his family, and traveling with his wife.

Kelly Scott

Kelly Scott, Funeral Director

Paul Schaefer

Paul Schaefer, Apprentice Funeral Director

Jeff Buenger

Jeff Buenger, Crematory Manager

Certified Crematory Operator

Mark Schaefer

Mark Schaefer, Funeral Assistant

Jess  Sedgwick

Jess Sedgwick, Funeral Assistant


Lloyd "Skip" Larson, Associate

Certified Crematory Operator

Cheryl Buenger

Cheryl Buenger, Marketing Assistant

Jon Welfel

Jon Welfel, Associate

Don Johnson

Don Johnson, Buildings & Grounds Maintenance

Tiffany Bragulla

Tiffany Bragulla, Housekeeping

Cindy Neuharth

Cindy Neuharth, Housekeeping

Robert Akulian

Robert Akulian, Funeral Assistant