Our Staff

The staff of Retz Funeral Home are caring and experienced professionals who understand that each family is unique and has personal requests and traditions. These requests and traditions are of utmost importance to our staff of licensed morticians.

LaRae Backeberg – Director

LaRae Hartman

LaRae was born and raised in Miles City, Montana. She graduated from Custer County District High School in 2007 and then attended Miles Community College, where she was a member of the golf team and received general education classes.

LaRae worked at Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home in Miles City during her senior year of high school, and also during her first year of college. Her experiences led her to the decision that the funeral service industry was her calling. This knowledge led her to continue her education at the Mount Hood Mortuary School in Gresham, Oregon. LaRae graduated in the summer of 2010.

After graduation, LaRae moved back to Montana and accepted a position with the esteemed Retz Funeral Home, which has served Helena and surrounding area families since 1926. Retz Funeral Home had recently become part of the Stevenson & Sons group of Montana funeral homes, and LaRae was very happy to be working for the family she had come to know during high school and college.

LaRae married the love of her life, lifelong resident of Helena, Bryan Backeberg August 3, 2013. Together they enjoy spending time with their families and their two dogs Gunnar and Baylee, bird hunting, golfing and the never ending projects around the house they built in the spring of 2012.

Bryan and LaRae are both members of the Cathedral of St. Helena. LaRae is also an active member of the Helena Woman’s Club, Women of the Moose Club, Montana Funeral Directors Association, National Funeral Directors Association and the Grief Share Connect Group.


Chris Holt – Director

Chris Holt - Director

Chris was born in Helena, Montana and graduated high school in Oregon. He had worked in property management/ maintenance for all his life. He began working part time as a funeral assistant in Great Falls, Montana in 2000 and decided to serve families full time in funeral service and enrolled at the Mount Hood Community College in Portland, Oregon where he graduated from Funeral Service in 2007.

Chris moved his family to Helena and has been serving the Helena community and surrounding areas since 2007. He is married to his wife Kelly and they have five children, Justine, Joey, Tristen, Armanie, and Madison; and they are active in all their sports.

Chris is a member of the Helena Lions Club, a member of Helena Lodge #3, member of the Montana Funeral Directors Association, the National Funeral Directors Association, Helena Babe Ruth Baseball Club, and Helena Youth Soccer Association. He and his family enjoy the outdoors and the activities around Helena and surrounding areas. Chris serves families with utmost compassion, professionalism and sincerity.


Jay Ramlo – Part-Time Assistant
Jay was born in Libby, Montana. He has been a resident of Helena for 42 years and has worked with the Retz Funeral Home for the past 12 years. Jay loves spending time with his family and his dogs as well as hunting and relaxing at his cabin in Libby. Many Montanans know Jay as a Hunter Education Instructor. He has dedicated the past 40 years volunteering to teach the classes to new hunters.

Alan “Fats” Gullickson – Part-Time Assistant
Alan has been a lifelong resident of Helena, and has worked with the Retz Funeral Home for the past 20 years. Fats has a 33 year career with the Ft. Harrison Veterans Affairs Fire Department, and will soon retire from the Fire Chief position. He loves the great outdoors of Montana, and relishes spending free time with his family and grandchildren.

Joanie Werner – Part-Time Assistant
Joanie gets her biggest rewards from moderating the GriefShare support group sponsored by Retz Funeral Home on Monday evenings. This is an ongoing, Bible-based group that helps individuals and families cope with the challenges of grieving the death of someone close. The group promotes moving forward in healing, and rebuilding your life. Each GriefShare session includes a video seminar and a group discussion.

GriefShare meets on Monday evenings at 6:45pm at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home. There are over 8,000 GriefShare groups in the U.S, and Joanie welcomes all to join in the sessions at any time – participants will find encouragement and help whenever they begin. This 13 week course starts several times throughout the year. For more information visit: http://www.griefshare.org/ or call the office and talk to you Joanie personally.

Roger Campbell – Part-Time Assistant
Complete biography and photo coming soon.

Chance Demarais – Part-Time Assistant
Complete biography and photo coming soon.