Our dedicated staff
Elbow Lake location
Hoffman location
Help when you need it most
Help with pre-arrangement
Honoring veterans
Grief support for children
Community involvement
Erickson-Smith Funeral Home


At Erickson-Smith Funeral Home, we are honored to have earned the trust and confidence placed in us by those that we serve. We pledge to offer respectful and dignified professional service, service that a family should expect, service that a family deserves. From the time the first phone call is received, throughout the service and beyond, each staff member at our funeral home contributes in an important way. 



 Diane Grout

Office Manager  

Diane joined the Erickson-Smith Funeral Home in Elbow Lake and Hoffman in the spring of 2014. She has been a resident of Elbow Lake since early childhood. 

Diane and her husband Tom have 4 adult children, Geoffrey (Crystal), Dawn (Adam), Benjamin (Kelly), and Daniel (Courtney). Her children have blessed her with 5 beautiful grandchildren, whom she adores and loves to spend her time with. 

Prior to working at Erickson-Smith Funeral Home, she was an at home daycare provider and worked for St. Olaf Catholic Church in Elbow Lake. 

In her free time she enjoys gardening, crocheting, camping and listening to people share their stories. She considers it a privilege to be working for the people in the community.




 Doug Nelson

Licensed Funeral Director

Doug comes from a funeral service background, where both his grandfather and father were active in the business in Brooten, Minnesota. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Doug served his apprenticeship at the Hoplin Funeral Home in Glenwood.

Following his service in the United States Army, Doug moved to Fergus Falls where he worked as a licensed director at the Glende-Johnson Funeral Home. Doug eventually purchased the Funeral Home which he continues to manage today. In 2006, Doug began managing the Erickson-Smith Funeral Home.

Doug and his wife Virginia live in Fergus Falls and have two married daughters. Doug and his wife are active members of Bethel Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls. He is also a member of the Otter Risers Kiwanis, the VFW and the Ashby American Legion.



 Rick Mekalson

Licensed Funeral Director

Rick was born and raised in Battle Lake, Minnesota. He graduated from the Fergus Falls Community College and then the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. After graduating from the U of M he was employed with funeral homes in Virginia, Minnesota, as well as the Bertha area. In 1995, Rick joined the staff at Glende-Nilson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, and later at Erickson-Smith. 

Rick attends the Battle Lake Alliance Church and is a member of the Battle Lake Lions Club. Rick and his wife Ann live on their farm by Battle Lake. They have three sons, seven grandsons.  Rick enjoys horseback riding and camping.






 Chris Carlson

Licensed Funeral Director

Chris comes from a funeral service background as well. He grew up and attended school in Page, North Dakota, where his father owned and operated the Lindsey-Carlson Funeral Home. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he worked at funeral homes in Starbuck and Morris, Minnesota. In 2004, Chris moved to Fergus Falls, and joined the staff at Glende-Nilson Funeral Home & Cremation Service and in 2006, joined the staff at Erickson-Smith Funeral Home.  

Chris and his wife Brenda have two daughters and one son. 






 Andrew Yaggie

Licensed Funeral Director / Certified Funeral Celebrant

A native of Thief River Falls, MN, Andrew joined the staff of Erickson-Smith in June of 2011. Even though he comes from a farming background, Andrew has always had an interest in funeral service. 

After graduating from high school, Andrew attended North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, graduating with a B.S. in Business Management, in 2009. He went on to earn a B.S. in Mortuary Science from the University of Minnesota in 2010, serving his apprenticeship with Mueller Mortuaries in St. Paul/White Bear Lake, MN. 

Outside of the funeral home, Andrew still enjoys helping out on the family farms in Breckenridge and around the Thief River Falls area. He also enjoys weekends at the family lake cabin on Ottertail Lake, golfing, flying, and is a talented musician, playing the piano and organ.  Andrew is a member of the Lakes Area Pilots Association of Elbow Lake, Fergus Falls Noon Kiwanis and the Lake Region Hospital Foundation Board.

In addition to serving families as a Licensed Funeral Director, Andrew is also a Certified Funeral Celebrant. A Funeral Celebrant serves by providing a funeral service, memorial service or tribute that is personalized and individualized to reflect the personality and life-style of the deceased.

 Luke Johnson

Licensed Funeral Director 

Luke Johnson joined the staff of Glende-Nilson and Erickson-Smith Funeral Homes in August 2014, though has lived in the Fergus Falls community for numerous years, having been employed at the former Boschert-Norman and Faith and Hope Funeral Home. 

Luke grew up and attended school in Lake Park, graduating from Lake Park/Audubon High School in 2000. Luke then went on to attend Minnesota State University Moorhead from 2000 -2004. After his generals he then continued his education at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in Ohio. While there he served as a lab assistant where he worked closely with the University Of Cincinnati and their body donation program. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mortuary Science in 2007, graduating Magna Cum Laude. 

Luke a his wife Lisa live on Wall Lake and have one son, Rusty.  In his spare time he enjoys hunting and fishing.  Luke is a Licensed Funeral Director in Minnesota and North Dakota and also holds his insurance license.


 Todd Ukkelberg 

Billie Jo SmithPre-Arrangement Specialist

Todd has lived near Battle Lake his entire life and grew up on a farm. He dairy farmed until 1993 and then worked as a sales representative for a breeding company. He also worked as a substitute mail carrier. Prior to joining the staff at Erickson-Smith Funeral Home, Todd was a real estate agent for 11 years. His experience in helping people and his positive attitude make him a valuable asset to the funeral home staff. He is looking forward to assisting families with the preplanning process and ensuring that all of their needs are met. 

Todd and his wife, Liz, live near Battle Lake. They have three sons and a daughter. He is a member of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Battle Lake. 





 Gwen Brutlag

Certified Funeral Celebrant

Gwen Brutlag has been a Certified Funeral Celebrant for over a decade, most recently completing further training through the Insight Institute in January of 2013. Gwen is also a Licensed Psychologist, operating a private practice in Fergus Falls. In addition to working with people on an individual basis, Gwen serves as an executive coach in business settings, a consultant in long term care, and is a highly sought after public speaker. 

Gwen and her husband Paul live on a farm near Wendell, Minnesota, and are proud parents of two grown children. Gwen enjoys volunteering in the community and is currently active with hospice, Friends of the Library, and the Lion’s radio reading program. 

With over ten years of experience as a certified celebrant, Gwen looks forward to being available to assist families in creating a truly personalized tribute for their loved one. 

For more information on funeral celebrants, we have created an informative flyer to answer many common questions pertaining to celebrant services.





 Support Staff

Diane Kapphahn, Arlou Swenson, and Lloyd Christopherson


© Copyright  2010-2017 Erickson-Smith Funeral Home and FuneralNet
Owner: Thomas Vertin

116 1st Street Northeast
Elbow Lake, MN 56531
Phone: 218-685-4455

103  7th Street N
Hoffman, MN 56339
Phone: 320-986-2847