David Mahlstedt – U.S. Army Infantry

David Mahlstedt joined the U.S. Army at age 17 as an infantry soldier and served from 1990 until 1993. He was selected to be part of the “Old Guard” – the honor guard of the Army – stationed at Fort Myer in Washington, D.C. for his entire enlistment. During that time, he was involved in many ceremonies with the late President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. He was part of the military escort for foreign dignitary visits that included laying wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and their visits to the White House and Pentagon. He also participated in hundreds of military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. including the funerals for the active duty Army deaths that occurred during the Persian Gulf War. Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, he had never envisioned he would be a part of history, standing next to U.S. Presidents. He met various well-known household figures during this time, including Colin Powell.

David says that his experience at Arlington prepared him for the funeral profession, as it taught him about commitment and dedication – both of which are required when it comes to serving families mourning the loss of a loved one.

After serving in military, he spent the next 17 years in sales and traveled all over North America selling software to trucking companies. In 2010, he departed his sales career to spend more time with his family. With the support of his wife, he pursued a career as a funeral director, graduating from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in 2012. Since 2014 David has been a Funeral Director at the William Snyder Funeral Home, located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

David encourages those interested in the funeral profession to reach out to the funeral homes near you. He says that most funeral service business owners are very receptive to introducing people to the business, discussing opportunities and letting them observe the funeral directors in action.