History & Staff

Modell Funeral Home has been serving Darien area families for years. We are honored to be a part of the rich history of this community and plan to be a part of it for many years to come.

Our History

Founded by Frank A. Modelski, Sr. and his wife Estelle, Modell Funeral Home is proud to be celebrating being in business since May 5, 1955. Opening in 1983, Modell Funeral Home at 7710 S. Cass Ave. has been an integral part of Darien and the surrounding area, serving the community with compassion and dignity. Frank, Jr., his wife, Fran, daughter, Christina Brunsen and son-in-law, Andrew Brunsen currently own and operate the Darien location. They are all extremely honored to carry on their family’s legacy.

At Modell Funeral Home, we understand that funerals are for the living; they are a celebration and a remembrance of a life. With that understanding, we take the utmost care to ensure that every service is meaningful and special.

We have always prided ourselves on the professional and caring service that we offer to you and your family. You can be confident knowing that our staff provides guidance and assistance to every family, regardless of when our services are needed. The Modelski and Brunsen families and the entire staff at Modell Funeral Home are proud to offer unprecedented service and unparalleled concern.

Our funeral home provides a full range of funeral service options, from the traditional religious service to simple cremation. Each family is provided with the opportunity to learn about and discuss the wide variety of options available to them.

 


 

Our Staff

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Frank A. Modelski, Jr. Funeral Director/Owner

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Fran Modelski Owner

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Christina Modelski Brunsen Funeral Director/Owner chris@modelldarien.com

Chris has worked in funeral service as a licensed funeral director and embalmer since 2005. Although, if you ask her, she has had a hand in working in funeral service her whole life having grown up living in the funeral home since the age of 5. 

Chris is an owner and licensed funeral director and embalmer at Modell Funeral Home. As a licensed funeral director in the state of Illinois, she holds an Applied Associates Degree from Worsham College of Mortuary Science and a Bachelors Degree in Marketing from Miami University of Ohio.

Chris met her husband, Andrew Brunsen, while attending Worsham College of Mortuary Science. They were married in 2005 and have two boys together – Charlie and Adam. She truly enjoys spending time with Andrew and her boys.

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Andrew Brunsen Funeral Director/Owner andrew@modelldarien.com

Andrew has worked in funeral service as a licensed funeral director and embalmer since 2005. Before joining Modell Funeral Home in 2012 Andrew worked for Wenban Funeral Home in Lake Forest, Illinois and Dahl Van Hove Schoff Funeral Home in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Passionate about funeral service Andrew draws on his many years of experience to help families plan a meaningful service for their loved one.

Andrew is an owner and licensed funeral director and embalmer at Modell Funeral Home. As a licensed funeral director in the state of Illinois he holds an Applied Associates degree from Worsham College of Mortuary Science and a Bachelors degree in Biology from the University of Northern Iowa.

Andrew is currently the president of the Darien Lions Club and 4th degree Sir Knight for Knights of Columbus, Mayslake Council #4053. To reach Andrew please email him at andrew@modelldarien.com or at the funeral home 630-852-3595.

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Bob Parson Funeral Director

Bob was raised in the south suburbs and currently resides in the western suburbs. He joined Modell Funeral Home in 1987, working with the funeral home founder Mr. Frank Modelski, Sr., Frank’s son, Frank Modelski, Jr. and Frank’s granddaughter, Christina Modelski Brunsen.

Bob is honored to serve and help families during one of their greatest times of need. Bob enjoys spending time with his kids and his dogs.

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John Diorio Funeral Director

John was raised in Homewood and now resides in Lemont. He joined Modell Funeral Home in the summer of 2000. John graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 1986 and has been a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in Illinois since 1987. He has been working in a funeral home since he was 16 years old.

John is a people pleaser, especially when it comes to his job. He goes out of his way to make sure the families we serve are completely satisfied with our services.

John also enjoys spending time with his family, golfing and staying active. John has always been active in town starting with AYSO, coaching and managing of Little League baseball teams, then Little League board member and more currently Lemont Park District Commissioner.

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Ryan Essington Funeral Director ryan@modelldarien.com

Ryan serves as a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer with Modell Funeral Home.

In this role, Ryan assists families in arranging meaningful services and offers professional care for their loved ones.  Ryan graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 2018.  Before joining Modell, Ryan worked for nearly ten years in a diverse range of youth, young adult and bereavement ministries that equipped him to serve families with compassion and understanding. 

Ryan is passionate about his faith, family, and making a difference in the lives of people.  He and his wife Holly reside in Darien, IL with their son Becket, daughter Avila and their dog Bosco.  As an active member of Holy Trinity Parish in Westmont, Ryan is thrilled to be serving local families with Modell Funeral Home.  To contact Ryan, please email ryan@modelldarien.com or call (630) 852-3595.

 

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Dennis Breier Assist Program Cordinator/Advanced Planning Specialist dennis@modelldarien.com

Dennis is the Assist Program Director and Advance Funeral Planner at Modell, With 13 years experience in financial services roles ranging from investment management, banking, advance insurance strategies, and estate planning, Dennis is extremely well positioned to help navigate families through the estate closing and pre-planning process. Dennis is insurance licensed in the State of Illinois, license number 10526905, and is also a Certified Estate Planner™. The CEP® designation is conferred upon professionals who complete a rigorous course of study in the areas of estate planning and pass a qualifying exam. Dennis resides in Downers Grove, IL with his wife Kimberly and their 7 children

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Geri Marrella Administrative Assistant info@modelldarien.com

Geri was born and raised in Chicago and currently resides in Darien with her husband and 2 children.

She joined the Modell Funeral Home staff in September 2015, where she currently works as an Administrative Assistant in the office. Geri enjoys travelling and spending time with her family. She enjoys working with people and feels honored to offer support in their time of need.

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Carolyn Ventimiglia Administrative Assistant info@modelldarien.com

Carolynn joined the Modell Funeral Home Staff in June of 2020 and works as an administrative assistant.

Born and raised in Orland Park, Carolynn attended Carl Sandburg High School and went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Western Illinois University. Having resided in Darien for the past 18 years, she feels privileged to work for a family-owned business that services her local and surrounding communities in times of hardship.

Outside of work Carolynn enjoys spending quality time with friends and family.

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Joan Mundell Wake Attendant

Joan is a Darien resident who joined the staff of Modell Funeral Home in 2017.

Joan is a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher and administrator with a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision, but she has also worked in numerous retail and office settings.

In every employment scenario, her favorite passion is the opportunity to work with and help people. She values her education and experience in leadership roles as well as her extensive experience as a team player with people of varied ages, cultures, and religions, all of which she hopes help to serve the families who depend on Modell during a difficult and challenging time in their lives.

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Joe Livingston Wake Attendant

Joe is a Woodridge resident who joined the staff of Modell Funeral Home in 2017. Prior to his time at Modell, Joe spent 44 years as a qualified Senior Inventory Manager in the Wholesale Distribution Business of Office Supplies. During his time at United Stationers, he handled the purchasing of Office Products for resale to Office Supply retailers and other distribution type companies nationwide from over 30 company warehouse distribution centers. Joe currently works as a Banquet Bar Manager/Bartender and has been doing so for over 18 years. In all of his professional roles, Joe has always worked with many types of people - staff, customers, and suppliers on both a professional and personal level.

When he is not working, Joe enjoys spending time with his wife, children and grandchild. He also enjoys working around the house, both inside and out, with projects and landscaping.

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Greg Walega Funeral Assistant

Greg is a resident of the Shorewood Glen community in Shorewood. He has served on the staff of Modell Funeral Home since December of 2005 both in a full time capacity and currently in a part time capacity since his retirement in 2015.

Greg graduated from Gage Park High School in Chicago in 1968. Prior to working at Modell, he worked for FedEx for 28 years in several capacities finishing his career there in the training department.

Greg and his wife, Jo Ann, enjoy traveling to Arizona and Door County, Wisconsin and attending their grandchildren’s sporting events. He also enjoys fishing and hunting.

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Chris Malczewski Funeral Assistant

Chris is a Southside Chicago native who has been a part-time livery driver for Modell Funeral Home since 2007. He also works full time as a fireman for the Chicago Fire Department and has done so for over 14 years. Chris graduated from St. Rita High School in 1984 and IIT in 1989 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.

Chris enjoys spending time with his two children, and playing golf and softball.

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Ray Swiatek Funeral Assistant

Ray is a Southside Chicago native and currently resides in the Western Suburbs. He has been a part-time livery driver exclusively for the Modell Funeral Home since September, 2013.

Prior to joining Modell, he had a very successful 38 year career in accounting financial management with two top Fortune 500 companies before retiring in December, 2012.

Ray is married with two grown sons. He enjoys traveling with his wife and spending time with his family.

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John Sarna Funeral Assistant

John is a Southside Chicago native and currently resides in the Western Suburbs. He has been a part-time livery driver exclusively for Modell Funeral Home since June, 2015. Prior to joining Modell, he retired from a long career as a CDL driver.

John is married and enjoys taking trips with his family as well as driving long distances.

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Charlie Sarna Custodial Staff

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Bonnie Custodial Staff

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Josephine Custodial Staff

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Eileen Custodial Staff

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Rachel McConnell Senior Director of Assist Program

Rachel McConnell is the Senior Director of the Assist Program and holds a Bachelors degree in Special Education from Western Michigan University with more than 6 years experience in the classroom. Her experience in the multicultural environment of Elementary Schools have honed her abilities in problem solving, people management, and motivation. Interested in a career change, but still wanting to focus on helping others; Rachel joined Dennis and the Assist Program in 2018 to utilize her exceptional ability in establishing cooperative, professional relationships with families in a new light. Rachel lives in Darien with her husband Jake and their two boys. She enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and spending time with her family.

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Janine Laurenti Pre-planning Associate

Janine serves as an Estate Closure Specialist with Modell Funeral Home.

 

She recently moved to West Chicago where she is enjoying living in the historic district. 

 

Previously an elementary teacher and a mother of six now grown children, Janine rejoined the workforce at Modell to assist with estate closures. Consistent with her prior work experience, Janine is people oriented and finds motivation through serving others. She is passionate about her faith and family, and she enjoys the outdoors, running, and old black and white movies. 

Frank A. Modelski, Jr.

Funeral Director/Owner
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Fran Modelski

Owner
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Christina Modelski Brunsen

Funeral Director/Owner
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Chris has worked in funeral service as a licensed funeral director and embalmer since 2005. Although, if you ask her, she has had a hand in working in funeral service her whole life having grown up living in the funeral home since the age of 5. 

Chris is an owner and licensed funeral director and embalmer at Modell Funeral Home. As a licensed funeral director in the state of Illinois, she holds an Applied Associates Degree from Worsham College of Mortuary Science and a Bachelors Degree in Marketing from Miami University of Ohio.

Chris met her husband, Andrew Brunsen, while attending Worsham College of Mortuary Science. They were married in 2005 and have two boys together – Charlie and Adam. She truly enjoys spending time with Andrew and her boys.

Andrew Brunsen

Funeral Director/Owner
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Andrew has worked in funeral service as a licensed funeral director and embalmer since 2005. Before joining Modell Funeral Home in 2012 Andrew worked for Wenban Funeral Home in Lake Forest, Illinois and Dahl Van Hove Schoff Funeral Home in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Passionate about funeral service Andrew draws on his many years of experience to help families plan a meaningful service for their loved one.

Andrew is an owner and licensed funeral director and embalmer at Modell Funeral Home. As a licensed funeral director in the state of Illinois he holds an Applied Associates degree from Worsham College of Mortuary Science and a Bachelors degree in Biology from the University of Northern Iowa.

Andrew is currently the president of the Darien Lions Club and 4th degree Sir Knight for Knights of Columbus, Mayslake Council #4053. To reach Andrew please email him at andrew@modelldarien.com or at the funeral home 630-852-3595.

Bob Parson

Funeral Director
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Bob was raised in the south suburbs and currently resides in the western suburbs. He joined Modell Funeral Home in 1987, working with the funeral home founder Mr. Frank Modelski, Sr., Frank’s son, Frank Modelski, Jr. and Frank’s granddaughter, Christina Modelski Brunsen.

Bob is honored to serve and help families during one of their greatest times of need. Bob enjoys spending time with his kids and his dogs.

John Diorio

Funeral Director
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John was raised in Homewood and now resides in Lemont. He joined Modell Funeral Home in the summer of 2000. John graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 1986 and has been a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in Illinois since 1987. He has been working in a funeral home since he was 16 years old.

John is a people pleaser, especially when it comes to his job. He goes out of his way to make sure the families we serve are completely satisfied with our services.

John also enjoys spending time with his family, golfing and staying active. John has always been active in town starting with AYSO, coaching and managing of Little League baseball teams, then Little League board member and more currently Lemont Park District Commissioner.

Ryan Essington

Funeral Director
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Ryan serves as a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer with Modell Funeral Home.

In this role, Ryan assists families in arranging meaningful services and offers professional care for their loved ones.  Ryan graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 2018.  Before joining Modell, Ryan worked for nearly ten years in a diverse range of youth, young adult and bereavement ministries that equipped him to serve families with compassion and understanding. 

Ryan is passionate about his faith, family, and making a difference in the lives of people.  He and his wife Holly reside in Darien, IL with their son Becket, daughter Avila and their dog Bosco.  As an active member of Holy Trinity Parish in Westmont, Ryan is thrilled to be serving local families with Modell Funeral Home.  To contact Ryan, please email ryan@modelldarien.com or call (630) 852-3595.

 

Dennis Breier

Assist Program Cordinator/Advanced Planning Specialist
photo

Dennis is the Assist Program Director and Advance Funeral Planner at Modell, With 13 years experience in financial services roles ranging from investment management, banking, advance insurance strategies, and estate planning, Dennis is extremely well positioned to help navigate families through the estate closing and pre-planning process. Dennis is insurance licensed in the State of Illinois, license number 10526905, and is also a Certified Estate Planner™. The CEP® designation is conferred upon professionals who complete a rigorous course of study in the areas of estate planning and pass a qualifying exam. Dennis resides in Downers Grove, IL with his wife Kimberly and their 7 children

Geri Marrella

Administrative Assistant
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Geri was born and raised in Chicago and currently resides in Darien with her husband and 2 children.

She joined the Modell Funeral Home staff in September 2015, where she currently works as an Administrative Assistant in the office. Geri enjoys travelling and spending time with her family. She enjoys working with people and feels honored to offer support in their time of need.

Carolyn Ventimiglia

Administrative Assistant
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Carolynn joined the Modell Funeral Home Staff in June of 2020 and works as an administrative assistant.

Born and raised in Orland Park, Carolynn attended Carl Sandburg High School and went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Western Illinois University. Having resided in Darien for the past 18 years, she feels privileged to work for a family-owned business that services her local and surrounding communities in times of hardship.

Outside of work Carolynn enjoys spending quality time with friends and family.

Joan Mundell

Wake Attendant
photo

Joan is a Darien resident who joined the staff of Modell Funeral Home in 2017.

Joan is a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher and administrator with a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision, but she has also worked in numerous retail and office settings.

In every employment scenario, her favorite passion is the opportunity to work with and help people. She values her education and experience in leadership roles as well as her extensive experience as a team player with people of varied ages, cultures, and religions, all of which she hopes help to serve the families who depend on Modell during a difficult and challenging time in their lives.

Joe Livingston

Wake Attendant
photo

Joe is a Woodridge resident who joined the staff of Modell Funeral Home in 2017. Prior to his time at Modell, Joe spent 44 years as a qualified Senior Inventory Manager in the Wholesale Distribution Business of Office Supplies. During his time at United Stationers, he handled the purchasing of Office Products for resale to Office Supply retailers and other distribution type companies nationwide from over 30 company warehouse distribution centers. Joe currently works as a Banquet Bar Manager/Bartender and has been doing so for over 18 years. In all of his professional roles, Joe has always worked with many types of people - staff, customers, and suppliers on both a professional and personal level.

When he is not working, Joe enjoys spending time with his wife, children and grandchild. He also enjoys working around the house, both inside and out, with projects and landscaping.

Greg Walega

Funeral Assistant
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Greg is a resident of the Shorewood Glen community in Shorewood. He has served on the staff of Modell Funeral Home since December of 2005 both in a full time capacity and currently in a part time capacity since his retirement in 2015.

Greg graduated from Gage Park High School in Chicago in 1968. Prior to working at Modell, he worked for FedEx for 28 years in several capacities finishing his career there in the training department.

Greg and his wife, Jo Ann, enjoy traveling to Arizona and Door County, Wisconsin and attending their grandchildren’s sporting events. He also enjoys fishing and hunting.

Chris Malczewski

Funeral Assistant
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Chris is a Southside Chicago native who has been a part-time livery driver for Modell Funeral Home since 2007. He also works full time as a fireman for the Chicago Fire Department and has done so for over 14 years. Chris graduated from St. Rita High School in 1984 and IIT in 1989 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.

Chris enjoys spending time with his two children, and playing golf and softball.

Ray Swiatek

Funeral Assistant
photo

Ray is a Southside Chicago native and currently resides in the Western Suburbs. He has been a part-time livery driver exclusively for the Modell Funeral Home since September, 2013.

Prior to joining Modell, he had a very successful 38 year career in accounting financial management with two top Fortune 500 companies before retiring in December, 2012.

Ray is married with two grown sons. He enjoys traveling with his wife and spending time with his family.

John Sarna

Funeral Assistant
photo

John is a Southside Chicago native and currently resides in the Western Suburbs. He has been a part-time livery driver exclusively for Modell Funeral Home since June, 2015. Prior to joining Modell, he retired from a long career as a CDL driver.

John is married and enjoys taking trips with his family as well as driving long distances.

Charlie Sarna

Custodial Staff
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Bonnie

Custodial Staff
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Josephine

Custodial Staff
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Eileen

Custodial Staff
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Rachel McConnell

Senior Director of Assist Program
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Rachel McConnell is the Senior Director of the Assist Program and holds a Bachelors degree in Special Education from Western Michigan University with more than 6 years experience in the classroom. Her experience in the multicultural environment of Elementary Schools have honed her abilities in problem solving, people management, and motivation. Interested in a career change, but still wanting to focus on helping others; Rachel joined Dennis and the Assist Program in 2018 to utilize her exceptional ability in establishing cooperative, professional relationships with families in a new light. Rachel lives in Darien with her husband Jake and their two boys. She enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and spending time with her family.

Janine Laurenti

Pre-planning Associate
photo

Janine serves as an Estate Closure Specialist with Modell Funeral Home.

 

She recently moved to West Chicago where she is enjoying living in the historic district. 

 

Previously an elementary teacher and a mother of six now grown children, Janine rejoined the workforce at Modell to assist with estate closures. Consistent with her prior work experience, Janine is people oriented and finds motivation through serving others. She is passionate about her faith and family, and she enjoys the outdoors, running, and old black and white movies.