Member Spotlight: Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home – Yankton, S.D.

Kevin Opsahl is the owner of Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home & Crematory in Yankton, South Dakota. He shared his experiences with running a successful funeral home that has been around for more than a century.

How was your funeral home founded, and how does it operate today?

Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home & Crematory officially opened in 1903, but we have records going back to the 1890s. We started as a funeral home and continue to operate as such, but we have also been an ambulance service which served the Yankton and surrounding area for a number of years in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. We have expanded to include locations in Tabor, S.D., Tyndall, S.D. and Menno, S.D. Our crematory was added in 2000 and continues to be the sole crematory facility in Yankton.

Opsahl-Kostel signWhy do you believe funeral service is important?

I not only care for the deceased, but more importantly the care I give for those who survive. The building blocks of grief are laid early and that means that I have a special place in that time element. To be able to walk a family through their early grief is my most important calling. Also, probably the most rewarding.

What is the most rewarding part of working in funeral service?

Education! The day-to-day education of the people who I serve. The options before them and helping them put together a service that recognizes their loved one's life and helps lay that foundation of grief.

What makes your funeral home unique?

We have pre-arrangement staff, at-need funeral directors and staff, graphic design personnel and post-funeral care by an on-staff counselor. We are also the only funeral home in our area that provides in-house cremation.

Opsahl-Kostel hearseWhat does your funeral home do in order to create a strong community presence? Do you believe this is important?

This presence is key to my operation. I realized a long time ago that advertisements are not always read by the community. Being in the community that you serve is very important. It’s about showing you care!

In what ways do you use technology to further the services you offer?

More recently live streaming has been added to our service abilities. What is now and will continue to be something we do for each family we serve.

What growing trends have you noticed in the funeral service profession? How do you keep up with these changes?

Cremation has and will continue to be part of our industry. The options for services have exploded in this area and will continue to grow over the years. Keeping up with all the trends around cremation has been my greatest focus.

Opsahl-Kostel staffWhat do you value most about OGR? Why did you become a member?

I became a member of OGR to be part of the best funeral service providers I could find. My funeral home would not be in the position it is today without the members of OGR and the programming it has to offer. Keeping up with cremation has been easier with my membership.

Is there anything in particular that you do at work to keep your spirits high or the spirits of your staff high?

Staff meetings help every month. Allowing staff to share their experience at home and at work. Cards, letters and
positive reviews that the staff has done for our families have been wonderful.

What are three future goals that you have in mind for your funeral home?

  1. Continue expanding our area of service.
  2. Educate our communities regarding death.
  3. Help the staff be as comfortable as they can be helping those with questions about their future.

Kevin Opsahl

Kevin is an OGR past president (2010-11), and served on the Board of Directors overall from 2005 - 2012. A licensed funeral director since 1984, Kevin worked at several different funeral homes before moving to Yankton in 1991 and joining the Kostel Funeral Home. He eventually purchased the business from Laddie and Pam Kostel in 1998. Kevin obtained his Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP) designation on May 15, 2011. You can email him at [email protected].

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