Profile in American Funeral Director magazine

American Funeral Director profile
In the Council Chambers with other city officials.

How exactly does an East Coast-raised funeral director get elected mayor of a small city in Wisconsin? The readers of “American Funeral Director” magazine found out exactly how this surprising turn of events occurred when I was featured in this national trade publication.

“American Funeral Director” is a well-respected, high quality magazine that reaches over 10,000 funeral professionals, and I am excited to be featured in the August edition. I’ve been familiar with “American Funeral Director” my entire career, and the space they gave the story was very generous. The writing, layout, photography—everything was top-notch. I couldn’t be more pleased with the result!

Here’s the premise for the article: I grew up on the East Coast and earned a degree in Mortuary Science in Massachusetts before relocating to Milwaukee in 2009. I had never been to Wisconsin before, but the career move made sense. In 2015, I moved to Gillett and totally immersed myself in the community. After a successful write-in campaign, I was elected mayor and sworn in on April 17, 2018.

Patti Martin Bartsche, editor of “American Funeral Director,” was interested in my story from the get-go, recognizing that it would be an excellent addition to the publication. Besides providing industry news, the print/online magazine shines the spotlight on funeral directors making a difference in their communities.

“Funeral service is filled with many men and women who go above and beyond not only for the families they serve, but also in the communities they call home,” Patti said. “James is one of those individuals. While being a funeral director is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year job, it was important for him to seek the mayoral office and, in his words, ‘ensure that we had a viable city today and tomorrow.’ ”

I appreciate Patti’s kind words, and I’ll keep working hard for the residents of Gillett and the people I serve at the funeral home.

If you’d like to read the article (and see me driving a City of Gillett Fire truck), visit “American Funeral Director”

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