Two faces, familiar to many in the area, have joined the team at Ryan Funeral Home.

Russ Burnett, a retired United Methodist minister who served in Colo from 1995-2000, and his wife, Karen, a retired registered nurse, who worked in the Nevada and Ames hospitals from 1990-1999, have joined Ryan Funeral Home owners Scott and Connie Huffman to assist with services, visitations and other client needs.

It happened quite by accident that the four came together. The Burnetts had recently moved back to Story County, settling in Story City to be closer to all their children and grandchildren, and Russ said he stopped in at the mortuary thinking he’d say “hi” to Cynthia Ryan (former owner).

Instead, he ran into the Huffmans, who have owned the funeral home for about four years now. And interestingly enough, he knew the Huffmans well.

“We all became acquainted in Ida Grove, while Russ was pastor at the Methodist church there,” said Scott. The Huffmans were in business there before coming to Nevada, and Russ was pastor at Ida Grove for seven years leading to his retirement.

“It’s a small world,” Connie said.

The Huffmans weren’t really looking for help, but yet they had thought about the idea, and the Burnetts, who spend half of the year wintering in Casa Grande, Ariz., were looking for something they could help with when they were in Central Iowa. And certainly the funeral business, one of loss and grief, is something a retired pastor of 39 years and a retired nurse of 55 years, who at one time did hospice care, are very comfortable with.

So they all decided, why not? “It is a very natural fit,” Scott said.

The Burnetts, who have been married 15 years now, have four grown children and 14 grandchildren in their joined family. They have enjoyed being back in Story County, running into old friends and being close to all the activities they enjoy at Iowa State University.