Our Staff

LICENSED STAFF

All of our licensed directors adhere to the highest standard of ethical practices and are committed to ensuring that all of your needs are attended to. Their commitment to the community and genuine compassion toward families are but a few of the characteristics that make them outstanding in their field.  We are proud to have them on our staff.

John I. Schilling, Licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer, Owner
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131
Fax: 1-815-626-1455

John is a second generation funeral director and a life-long resident of Whiteside County. He is a 1965 graduate of Erie Community High School. He attended Blackhawk College in Moline and graduated from the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science.  He served in the Ilinois National Guard in Rock Falls from 1968 to 1974.
John is the owner of Schilling Funeral Home since purchasing the Melvin Funeral Home in 1975.  He is a member of National  Funeral Directors Association, Illinois Funeral Directors Association, and Order of the Golden Rule, has served on Board of Directors of Sterling Federal Bank for many years, currently as Chairman, the Sterling American Legion Post 296, as well as several  local service organizations.
John and his wife Sara are the parents of two sons John Paul and Mark and four granchildren Donovan, Gabbi, John Paul jr., and Lliam Schilling.


John Paul Schilling, Funeral Director, Embalmer, Owner
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131
Fax: 1-815-626-1455

John Paul is the only third generation funeral director from  Whiteside County.  He is a 1993 graduate of Sterling High School and a graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science.
John Paul served his apprenticeship in 1999 for one year under Richard W. Schilling (owner of Preston-Schilling Funeral Home, and Lee County Coroner.)
John Paul is a member of National Funeral Directors Association, Illinois Funeral Directors Association, Order of the Golden Rule, an accepted member of the American College of Forensic Examiner, and successfully completed the Medicolegal Death Investigators training course at St. Louis University School of Medicine. He is a member of the First Congregational Church of Sterling, and American Legion Post 296.  John Paul is married to Ashley (Stanley) Schilling, and they have two children Gabriella Rose Schilling and a son John Paul Schilling Jr.


NON-LICENSED STAFF

Although not licensed funeral directors, these members of our staff are vitally important toward the operation of our firm.  These individuals make it possible for us to professionally coordinate funerals with the quality of service our community has come to expect from us.

Sara Schilling
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131
Fax: 1-815-626-1455

Sara is the wife of John Schilling, they have  been married since 1970.    Sara has been active in the funeral home as a Pre-Need Counselor and holds an Insurance License.  Over the years, she has been active in in the community in several  organizations including: Order of Eastern Star-Sterling Chapter #354; past-President of the Sterling/Rock Falls/ Whiteside County Republican Women's Club; past-Vice President of the Sterling High School Athletic Booster Club; American Cancer Society; CGH Medical Center-Auxiliary; and a member of the First Congregational Church in Sterling.
Sara enjoys playing the Yamaha Clavinova and providing families with special recordings for funeral services. 


Mark Schilling, Funeral Assistant, Computer Technician
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131
Fax: 1-815-626-1455

Mark is a 1997 graduate of Sterling High School. He attended Sauk Valley Community College and Anoka College in Anoka, Minnesota.  Mark has been actively involved with the funeral home since 1993.  Mark is a member of the First Congregational church in Sterling.



Mary Ackert
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131
Fax: 1-815-626-1455

Mary is a 1992 graduate of Sterling High School and a graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science.  She has been employed here at the funeral home since 1991.  Mary is the daughter of John & Lupe Hurley of Sterling.  Mary and her husband Jeff, have two daughters Molly and Rachel.  Mary and her family are active members of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Walton, IL.


Carynn Puentes
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131

Carynn is a 2009 graduate of Sterling High School and a 2012 graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science. She is a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Sterling and during high school, was involved in Poms, Track, Choir, and Orchestra. Carynn is the daughter of Narcisco and Betti Puentes, of Sterling.




Rod Weber- Funeral Assistant
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131

Rod is a 1967 Graduate of Quincy High School, and graduated from Culver-Stockton College in 1971 with a Bachelors in Physical Education. He taught for 34 years at Prophetstown-Lyndon-Tampico School District and retired in 2004. He is married to his lovely wife Nancy who retired from teaching art in the Sterling School District in 2004. They are members of the 1st Presbyterian Church in Sterling, Whiteside County Retired Teachers association, Illinois Education Association, and also the Rock River Country Club in Rock Falls. - See more at: https://schillingfuneralhome.funeraltechweb.com/admin/site/24/editpage.html?cultureCode=#sthash.A3vk7T84.dpuf



Merle Heckman- Funeral Assistant
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131

Merle is a 1960 graduate of Sterling High School. He was a machinist ,and training coordinator for Northwestern Steel & Wire Co. , retiring in 1999 after 25 years of service. Merle and his wife, Sandra, have been happily married for 35 years. They are active members of the Church of Christ in Sterling,.



Lyle Freas- Funeral Assistant
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131


Lyle is a 1964 graduate of Sterling High School and is employed at the funeral home part-time. He is a retired semi-truck driver from Northwestern Steel & Wire Company. Lyle is married to Pat Freas, and they are active members of Harvest Time Bible Church.


Marion Zemke- Funeral Assistant
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131
Fax: 1-815-626-1455

Marion Zemke is a 1959 Graduate of Milledgeville High School. He is a member of the Community Baptist Church of Milledgeville, the Carroll County Sheriff's Auxiliary, and the American Legion Post 553, Milledgeville. Marion is retired from the Wysox township Road Commissioner position, and has been happily married to his wife Beverly since 1967.



Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131
Fax: 1-815-626-1455

John Hurley graduated from Newman High School in 1967 and Sauk Valley Community College in 1988. He married his wife, Lupe, on July 28, 1973 and they have four daughters: Mary, Bernie, Maggie, and Maria. John worked at the Mill for 29 years, for the School District for 10 years, and was Head Custodian at Challand Middle School. He retired in 2011, and is a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church.




Bruce Bley, Funeral Assistant
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net

Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131Fax: 1-815-626-1455

Bruce graduated from Sterling High School in 1970, and then from Western Illinois University in 1974. He taught at Sterling High School as an Art instructor in 1974, and retired in 2007. He married his wife, Debbie, in 1984, and they have two sons: Andrew and Patrick. Bruce is a member of Good Shepard Church in Rock Falls.

Larry Helgason is a graduate of Rock Falls High School, a Graduate of Stout State University, and National Louis University with a masters in Curriculum.  Larry retired from Rock Falls Elementry School after 34 years as a teacher, and coach.  He is a member of the Rock Falls Optimist Club, and the Sterling American Legion Post #296.  Larry and his wife Barb have been happily married for 37 years.


Chuck Haines, Funeral Assistant
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
1-815-626-1131
Fax: 1-815-626-1455

Chuck is a graduate of Polo High School.  He is a member of the Rock River Valley Barber-shoppers, and East Jordan Church.  Chuck has farmed in the Penrose area for many years and retired from the Dana corporation in 1997.  Chuck has been happily married to his wife, Charlotte, since 1956.


                                            Larry Helgason- Funeral Assistant
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
 1-815-626-1131
Fax: 1-815-626-1455

Larry Helgason is a graduate of Rock Falls High School, a Graduate of Stout State University, and National Louis University with a masters in Curriculum. Larry retired from Rock Falls Elementry School after 34 years as a teacher, and coach. He is a member of the Rock Falls Optimist Club, and the Sterling American Legion Post #296. Larry and his wife Barb have been happily married for 37 years.


Bill Simester, Funeral Assistant
Email: schillingfuneralhome@comcast.net
Office Phone: 1-815-626-1131
Fax: 1-815-626-1455

Bill is a 1953 graduate of Rock Falls High school, and a 1958 graduate of ISU with a (Bachelor of Science Degree) in education.  Bill is a retired teacher of 35 years and taught in Prophetstown for the last 25 years.  Bill and his wife, Pat, have been happily married for 36 years.  Bill is a member of the Retired Teachers' Association, the Rock River Country Club and the Rock Falls Methodist Church.