133 Mason St., Onalaska, WI • Call (608) 788-2188

Our Staff

Joseph Paul Schams

Founder, Board Certified Funeral Director in Wisconsin and Minnesota

Originally from La Crosse, WI, I sought my Mortuary Science Degree from the University of Minnesota after graduating from La Crosse Central High School in 1996.

During my college studies I worked for a funeral home in South St. Paul, MN. I was fortunate that they extended me an offer as a full-time funeral director after graduation. While I enjoyed working in St. Paul, I was missing the personal connection with the families that I was serving.

I found the connection I was looking for when I moved back to La Crosse. I felt that the area would benefit from a funeral home specializing in cremation so I began strategizing the business plan for Coulee Region Cremation Group.

I married my high school sweetheart and we are blessed to have two children.

We are proud to call the Coulee Region our home.

James Leo Heiderscheit

Board Certified Funeral Director in Wisconsin

I was born on September 11, 1980 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. I graduated from Aquinas High School in 1999. I attended Winona State University where I obtained my required general education requirements for mortuary science. In September of 2014 I graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science.

I married my wife Emilene the following summer on July 11, 2015. We live in La Crosse with our daughters, Mariann and Pearl, and son, Judah. I spend my free time playing drums in various local bands, collecting vinyl records, longboarding, doing CrossFit, and going to see live music. Most of all I love spending time with my family and friends.

Denae Schultz

Denae Schultz

Board-Certified Funeral Director Apprentice in Wisconsin & Licensed Pre-Need Insurance Agent

In 2016 I moved to La Crosse to be closer to my middle sister and brother-in-law and to complete my Bachelor of Science degree at Viterbo University. I met my husband, Dustin, within the first two weeks of class, and he is without a doubt my best friend. We have a daughter, Heidi, as well as two cats. We are proud homeowners in this area. We love serving our community, volunteering, helping out our local veterans and veteran associations, spending lots of time grilling out and having our family over for gatherings.

This year I became a licensed pre-need life insurance agent, and after my apprenticeship is complete, I will become a Board-Certified Funeral Director in Wisconsin. I will continue to serve this amazing community through Coulee Region Cremation Group.

Jamie Hess

Jamie Hess

Board-Certified Funeral Director Apprentice in Wisconsin

Born in Viroqua, Wisconsin, I grew up within the driftless and coulee regions of Wisconsin. I graduated from Westby Area High School in 2016 and went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. There I studied Forensic Investigation, earning my bachelor’s degree in May 2020 with minors in Biology and Criminal Justice.

An opportunity arose where I could combine my passion for the sciences and helping others while staying near family, and I began my career here at Coulee Region Cremation Group.

Elizabeth Johnson

Elizabeth Johnson

Board-Certified Funeral Director Apprentice in Wisconsin

Originally from Richland Center, Wisconsin, I moved to La Crosse 7 years ago. I have spent the majority of my time in this area working with the public in the jewelry industry. During my time here, I met my husband, Nikolas, and obtained my Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. We love spending time with family, friends, seeing live music, and traveling.

I was given the opportunity to finally follow a path I have been interested in for over a decade. Now, I am proud to continue serving the community here at Coulee Region Cremation Group.

Kris M. Ballard

Building Supervisor

I serve Coulee Region Cremation Group as a 20 year veteran in custodial work.  I am a native of Caledonia, MN.  Following high school, I pursued the military with focus in marching band. I have participated in several musical groups, along with brass ensembles.

My work history includes quarry processor and gravure pressman.  I am an avid outdoorsman and take pleasure in camping, hiking, biking, and nature/wildlife photography. I enjoy spending time with my wife, Robin of 28 years.

Currently, I am employed with First Free Church for five years along with CRCG for the past three years

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