YP Spotlight: Andi Schmidtgall

Andi Schmidtgall is a 34-year-old funeral director and embalmer at Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel in Watertown, South Dakota.

How long have you worked in funeral service?

I began my schooling in 2015, started working full-time at the funeral home in 2017 and was licensed in 2018.

Why did you begin working in funeral service?

It has always been a passion of mine since a young age. I attended a funeral when I was a child and knew from that moment on that I wanted to be like the guys in the suits.

What is the most rewarding part of your occupation?

Being able to assist families through all the processes of laying their loved one to rest, and being able to provide a lasting image in their heads of their better days before death.

What are your professional goals?

To continue to better my reputation in the funeral industry and maybe someday down the road step into a management position.

What are you proud of that you have achieved so far during your career in funeral service?

I believe I have gained a good reputation as far as the appearances of the deceased are concerned. I believe that I have gained a valuable knowledge of cosmetic practices and tools to continue to help me make the deceased look the best way possible for their loved ones to remember them by.

What are some important/notable trends that you have noticed in funeral service?

Personalized services. It is important to make the service about the deceased, not just a cut and dry service. Families will remember them and the work that went into them. This puts them more at ease than when you don’t go above and beyond to honor their loved one’s life.

Also, livestreaming. I do, however, feel this has drastically lowered attendance at funerals because it is more convenient to sit at home or at work and watch vs. actually going, but I also believe it is beneficial to those who are unable to make it for other personal reasons.

How do you spend your time outside of work? Is there anything in particular that you enjoy doing?

I enjoy spending time with my husband and my friends. In the summer I love to play softball and go kayaking. I also enjoy watching and supporting my friends in dirt track racing. In less than two months, my husband and I will welcome our daughter into the world so she will be taking up a lot of my time outside of work.

What are 3 of your personal goals?

Always be learning new things, be the best version of myself that I can be and always try to be kind to others.

Who or what inspires you?

My grandma. She has experienced many things in her 90 years of life, but has always continued to persevere. We nearly lost her a couple months ago, but she came back to us after we said our goodbyes and is thriving even though she had to move to a new home in a new town. She is a fighter!

What is your favorite phone app?

Caribou Coffee. My coworkers wouldn’t want to be around me without it…

What is one thing your peers would be surprised to know about you?

I don’t actually remove people’s organs.

What is one thing that you think is just “golden,” wonderful or exciting?

Sitting in my pool when it’s 80 degrees and sunny.

What do you value most about OGR?

The willingness of the organization to try and better all the funeral homes and professionals to provide the best services they can to those individuals who need it most.

The organization tries to “follow the Golden Rule.” What other mantra do you try to live by?

Do what is right, not what is easy.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2023 issue of The Independent® magazine. Click here to read the entire issue.

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