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.

Patty Carlson

Office Manager

Born and raised in Mankato MN, I came to La Crosse to attend college and never left. I’ve worked at various jobs over the years including the medical field, childcare and real estate.  I have 13 grandchildren and enjoy spending time with them along with the rest of my family and special friends as often as I can! In my spare time I like being outdoors, quilting, reading or watching a good movie.

Ella Payment

Funeral Assistant

I work for Coulee Region Cremation Group as a funeral assistant. I grew up in Northern MN in a small town of 1500 people called Red Lake Falls. I have one brother and three sisters. I have always worked in the medical field, as a nurses aid (what they  called it way back when) and as a  resident assistant in assisted living and memory care. I love working with people. In my spare time I love to make cards, read, and study my bible. 

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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