Staff

Outstanding service is our #1 priority

Get to know the Ranfranz and Vine staff, dedicated to helping families celebrate a life lived. We provide peace of mind, available 24/7 for your convenience.


Paul Czaplewski

Funeral Director, Owner

I am proud to have been born and raised in Rochester.  After graduating from Lourdes High School in 1984, I graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 1988.  It was then that I began my career in funeral service.  Today, after 28 years of being a Funeral Director I continue to strive to meet each family’s unique needs during their journey through grief.  I purchased Ranfranz and Vine in 2001 to honor its rich history in providing quality service to families in our community.

Above all my greatest accomplishments are my children, Rachel, and Ben.  They too, are pursuing careers in fields that work in supporting families.  Rachel is becoming an RN and Ben will be a second generation funeral director.  I am blessed to have watched them grow into amazing adults and so proud to be their dad.

Outside of the office I enjoy golfing, boating, traveling, and cheering on the MN Wild and MN Twins.  I also value supporting the community in which we live in.  I am a member of MN Funeral Directors Association, National Funeral Directors Association and a certified crematory operator.

We are appreciative of the trust you have in us to care for your loved ones.  It is a priority for us to provide personalized and meaningful services that celebrate the life of those who will forever live in your hearts.


Michael Gostonczik

Funeral Director, Owner

I was born in Mankato, grew up and graduated from high school in Osage, Iowa.  I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa in Iowa City and graduated with an Associate Degree in Mortuary Science from Mid-American College in 1989.  I have been a funeral director for 27 years serving in Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota.  In 2005, I began working at Ranfranz and Vine and in 2008 became co-owner.  My wife, Michelle and I have two sons, Jacob and Ryan.  We currently reside in Plainview where we are members of St. Joachin Catholic Church.  I enjoy fishing, pheasant hunting, attending my son’s activities, and cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes.  I am a member of the MN Funeral Directors Association and the National Funeral Directors Association.


Ben Czaplewski

Funeral Assistant, Mortuary Science Student

Since I can remember, I have watched my dad’s passion for funeral service. It was his passion that fueled my own desire to be a funeral director. I grew up in Hayfield, MN helping my dad at Czaplewski Family Funeral Homes. I now attend the University of Minnesota majoring in Mortuary Science. In addition to school I work for Evans Nordby Funeral Home in Brooklyn Center, MN. I will graduate with my degree in 2019 and am honored to carry on our family tradition.

 


Teresa Czaplewski

Director of Public Relations

Teresa was born and raised in Rochester and will forever call it “home”. She is proud to be married to Paul and of our blended family, Rachel, Justin, Ben, and Joey. After becoming involved in funeral service, she discovered a passion for working with families throughout their difficult journey of navigating through grief. Teresa values family and honoring those we love with dignity, respect, and recognizing that we each have a “story” that is meant to be shared.

At home, she enjoys volunteering for local nonprofits, representing her community as a Rochester Area Chamber Ambassador, and spending time with family and friends.

 


Jeff Cink

Funeral Home Director/ General Manager

Jeff is originally from Algona, IA, but has made his home in Byron, MN with his wife Jacki. In 1990, he graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago, IL and began his career serving families during one of life’s most difficult times. Jeff and Jacki have two wonderful adult daughters, Lauren and Claire, whom they enjoy spending relaxing summer days with at their family’s cabin. Jeff’s passion for his work and value of family, is a testament of his life’s calling.


Kelly Kelly

Funeral Director

Kelly Jo Kelly graduated from Ohio Northern University in 1996 and continued her education at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, graduating in 1997.  Her husband, Garren Kelly, DVM and two sons, Kyler, and Kanan live in Kasson.  She enjoys playing golf, fishing, singing and cheering on the Ohio State Buckeyes.  Kelly is on the Board of Directors for the MN Funeral Director’s Association and is a member of Community Celebration Church in Kasson.

 


Debra Kubista

Funeral Director

Debra graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1988 with a Bachelor Science degree in Mortuary Science. She has worked as a funeral director in Fairmont, Minnesota, Fort Walton Beach, Florida and Owatonna, Minnesota. She began her employment at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home in November of 2017. Debra resides in Owatonna with her husband, Terry. Together they have 4 grown children and 2 grandchildren. She enjoys traveling, attending music festivals and sporting events. Debra is a member of the Owatonna Business Women, AAUW, and attends Sacred Heart Catholic Church. She is also a member of Minnesota Funeral Directors Association, National Funeral Directors Association, and is a Certified Crematory Operator.


Abbie Severson

Administrative Assistant

Abbie was born and raised in Rochester. She stays busy with her three children, Kaycee, Mitchell and Jakob.  Abbie enjoys, gardening, hiking, attending her kid’s sporting events and live music. Abbie started with Ranfranz and Vine in 2007 as an administrative assistant.  She understands what it is like to lose a loved one and therefore serves our families with compassion and experience.   Abbie attends Zion Lutheran Church  in Stewartville.


Megg Murphy

Administrative Assistant

Megg graduated from Kasson- Mantorville in 2011. She currently resides in Byron with her boyfriend, Jacob, and daughter, Abbigail. In her free time, she tries to keep up with her daughter and enjoys getting outdoors any chance she can. She started with Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is 2019 and enjoys helping families in any way she can.

 


Caryl Jermier

Director of Family Services

Caryl was born and raised in St. Paul, MN. She and her husband, Jay, currently reside in Lanesboro, MN. She started in the funeral industry in 1998, and is licensed in Minnesota and Iowa. Caryl serves as the Director of Family Services assisting families with pre-arranging and pre-funding their funerals and grief support. She is also able to help you design and purchase monument and memorial stones. Caryl and Jay attend Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Lanesboro.


Louie Bortolon

Funeral Assistant

Louie originally hails from the East Cost and is a 1967 graduate of Rochester Junior College; while living and working at the original Vine Funeral Home, south of the Mayo Clinic, for two years.  He is a 1969 graduate of the University of Minnesota, College of Mortuary Science, with the then newly established four year B.S. degree program.  Serving his Internship in Columbia Heights, he returned to that original Rochester, three generation Vine Funeral Home firm, and worked most of his entire career; having celebrated 51 years of Funeral Service in his community.  He is involved in several civic, service and professional organizations as well as Bethel Lutheran Church.  Louie’s wife, Marian is retired from Mayo Clinic as a Medical Secretary; who he first met on the old U of M Memorial Stadium practice field back then, just prior to the graduation commencement exercises.  Louie says, “we’re both enjoying this phase of our experiences in serving our community of Rochester and I’m happy to not be married to the phone anymore… With kindest personal regards and to the many families that I’ve had the privilege to service through my career.  Peace be with you and yours”.


Larry Briske

Funeral Assistant

Larry grew up in the Rochester area.  He graduated with his BA in Business from Winona State University in 1974. He was an Airman in the United States Air Force, Police Officer for the city of Rochester, Facilities Manager for a local savings and loan company and Sales Representative for Rochester Brick.  Larry is married and has two daughters, and five grandchildren.  He enjoys woodworking and bicycling.  He is a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Byron and volunteers to help the homeless via “Family Promise Rochester”.


Stan Czaplewski

Funeral Assistant

Stan has been working as a funeral assistant since 1994 and enjoys working on a part time basis.  Stan graduated from Winona High School.  Stan and his wife, Jan, live in Rochester.  He has two sons, Paul and Pete, three step children, Joey, Karrie and Bobbie, ten grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.  Stan enjoys golfing, he got a hole in one at Hayfield Golf Course in May of 1997 and was Club Champion that year.  He was Senior Champion in 2004, 2007 and 2009.  Stan also enjoys bowling, pickle ball, traveling and spending time with his family.  He retired from IBM after 32 years of employment and was President of the IBM Club in 1972.  Stan is a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Rochester.


Verdale Gaustad

Funeral Assistant

Verdale is a native of Houston, Mn. He graduated from Houston High School  and Winona Vocational Technical School. Joined the Navy during the start of the Viet Nam conflict.
He and his wife Marcia reside in Rochester, Mn. Together they have two daughters and one son. Six grandchildren. He enjoys golf, traveling, following the Vikings, Twins, and Nascar. And attending his grandboys sport activities. Verdale retired from UPS after 31 years as a driver. He has been a part time funeral assistant for about seven years. He is active in the VFW, Legion, and the Eagles. He is a member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.


Steve Grabau

Funeral Assistant

Steve has been married to his wife, Cathy, for 30 years.  Together they have four children and seven grandchildren.  Steve enjoys spending time with family and friends, yard work, boating, fishing, playing cribbage and going to Florida for part of the winter.  Steve retired from the Mayo Clinic after a 44 year career and is a Veteran of the U.S. Army.  He is a long time member of Zumbro Lutheran Church.

 


Bob Saunders

Funeral Assistant

Bob was hired in February 2016 as a funeral assistant. He loves helping people and doing things for the families we serve.  Bob and his wife, Connie have been married 41 years.  They have two children, Andy (Melissa) and Abbie and five grandchildren.  Bob retired in 2013 from the Mayo Clinic  after 35 years in the Department of Orthopedics, Department of Radiology and the Department of Administration.  He was in the U.S Air Force from 1971-1974.  Bob graduated from Concordia College in St. Paul with a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management and Communication.  Bob is a member of Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester.  He enjoys helping the pastors by being a Care Minister  and visiting homebound members.  His hobbies consist of fishing and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.  He loves to travel and the time they spend in Florida with friends in March.  Bob cheers on the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Vikings.


Eileen Berg

Funeral Assistant

Eileen is an Iowa girl who grew up with six siblings and has an identical twin.  She attended Cosmetology School and worked for 47 years, owing her own salon for 23 years before selling and retiring.  Eileen and her husband, Erv, have been married for 50 years.  They have two daughters and two granddaughters.  She loves to travel and play golf (and then some more golf), she has two hole in ones.  Eileen has been a member of Resurrection Catholic Church for 40 years.

 


Tom Coggins

Funeral Assistant

Tom graduated from John Marshall High School in Rochester. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy.  Tom has one son and one daughter.  When Tom has some free time he enjoys going fishing.  He worked as a Surgery Assistant for the Mayo Clinic for 41 years.  Tom is a member of the Rochester American Legion where he helps provide Military Honors.  He is also on the Executive Board at the American Legion.  Tom is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Rochester.


Paul Sutton

Funeral Assistant

Paul grew up in Byron and attended school there and also Lourdes High School in Rochester. He was in the Navy for four years and served one year in Vietnam on a river patrol boat on the Mekong Delta. He worked in commercial construction as a carpenter and project superintendent for Benike Construction Co. He is married and has two sons, and five grandchildren. He is active in the Catholic Church, and volunteers at St. James Coffee and as a faith formation teacher at the Catholic Church in Dodge Center and communion distributor at St. Mary’s Hospital.


Mark Schwartz

Funeral Assistant

Mark served South Zumbro Lutheran Church in rural Kasson for 26 1/5 years, retiring in 2017. He also has served in White Bear Lake, Cloquet MN and Wallace MI. He is married to Anne and they have three sons; Samuel, Luke and Peter.

 


Jim Bahler

Funeral Assistant

Jim retired from the plumbing wholesale business in 2018. He started as a funeral assistant in February 2019. He has been married to his wife Cindy for 42 years and has 2 children and 2 great grand-children. He enjoys playing the organ at Bethel Lutheran Church where he and Cindy have been members for 41 years. Jim is also an avid Packers Fan.

 


Karen Buelt

Funeral Assistant

Karen grew up on a farm outside of Waltham, MN, and graduated from Hayfield High School in 1980. From there she attended St. Mary’s Jr College, now St. Catherine University, Minneapolis Campus, with an A.A.S. degree in Health Information Management.

Karen recently retired from the BOP, Federal Medical Center, in Rochester, MN, as a Medical Records Administrator Specialist after working there for 28 years. Karen and her significant other of 26 years, Ken Shokes, have a daughter, son, and one grandchild. She enjoys family and friends get togethers, physical activity, comedy and music. Karen started with Ranfranz and Vine in 2018 as a funeral assistant. She understands the needs of people going through a difficult time and feels grateful to be able to assist others.

Care, Commitment, and Compassion. Our funeral directors are here for you 24/7.