About Us

ABOUT US

Welcome to Symonds Madison Funeral Home

Symonds-Madison Funeral Home is a family-owned funeral home originally founded in downtown Elgin in 1921.

Daniel Symonds is a second-generation funeral director and U.S. Army Reservist.  Together with his wife, Joy, Daniel was given the opportunity to carry on the funeral home’s legacy of service to the Elgin Community in 2013.

  • Elgin Area and Huntley
  • Veteran Honoring Services
  • Family Friendly and Caring
  • Family Owned
  • 100+ Years Funeral Experience
  • Virtual and In Person Services

Daniel W. Symonds

Owner and Veteran

Caring For and Honoring Our Veterans

Watch a short video how Symonds-Madison cares for and honors our veterans.

Our History


Symonds-Madison Funeral Home is a family-owned funeral home originally founded in downtown Elgin in 1921. Named Marsh & Conn Funeral Home, the firm was located at 211 E. Chicago St. The funeral home then moved to 185 Dundee Road, which was previously known as the Barclay House.

David Barclay served as a four-term Mayor of Elgin and worked as a dairy hardware dealer. After his death in 1912, the house lay empty for several years until Howard Conn rented the building in 1936 to convert it into a funeral home. Upon his death in 1936, Howard Conn’s son, also named Howard, ran the funeral home until 1949, purchasing the building in 1940. Howard later sold the funeral home to Erwin “Erv” Schmidt.

Schmidt served Elgin families proudly until 1983, when he sold the funeral home to his long-time employee, Yerry Madison. The funeral home was then known as Schmidt-Madison funeral home. Later it became Madison Funeral Home, and is now Symonds-Madison Funeral Home.

Our current owner, Daniel Symonds, is a second-generation funeral director and U.S. Army Reservist.  Together with his wife, Joy, Daniel was given the opportunity to carry on the funeral home’s legacy of service to the Elgin Community in 2013.

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Our Family

Daniel Symonds, Owner & Funeral Director

Daniel is a second generation licensed Funeral Director and U.S. Army Reserve Soldier, following in his father’s footsteps of military and funeral service.  Daniel was literally born and raised into the funeral industry, learning to serve families with integrity first-hand from his late father, Irving Symonds Jr., who owned several funeral homes in Chicago, Highwood, and Grayslake, Illinois. Daniel strives to uphold the high standards his father set for him every day.

In addition to working in funeral service, Daniel has served four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier. Daniel enlisted in the Army to serve his country six months after the attacks on September 11, 2001. He has also served throughout the world on training missions in Panama, Germany, Korea, and Malaysia.  

Daniel is currently a First Sgt for U.S. Army Reserve Public affairs. Daniel is proud to have come from a long line of military service, dating back to the Civil War, starting with his Great-Great Grandfather, Private Daniel Rufus Symonds, his namesake. 

Daniel earned his Associate’s Degree in Mortuary Science at Chicago Citywide Mortuary School and has earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Television Production from Chicago’s Columbia College of the Arts. Daniel has been a licensed funeral director in the state of Illinois for over 25 years, and he also holds licenses in Indiana and Michigan.

Dan serves on the executive board for American Legion Post 57 in Elgin. He is also a member of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association (IFDA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1307,  the Elgin Area Historical Society, Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 799, a former  member of Kiwanis Club of Elgin, the Elgin Lion’s Club, and member of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War camp #2.  

Daniel is a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Elgin.  Dan and his wife Joy have two daughters, Emily and Vivienne.

 

Joy Symonds, Owner & Director of Community Engagement

In partnership with her husband, Daniel, Joy handles day-to-day operations at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, with a special focus on family services and community engagement. 

Among her many duties, Joy writes obituaries for the families we serve, and she takes pride in telling their stories in a personal and meaningful way. 

Joy oversees the activities of Operation L.O.V.E., a community project to connect volunteers with veterans in need.

She organizes public events that allow us to connect with and give back to the community, including bereavement and funeral pre-arrangement seminars and our annual Trunk-or-Treat Halloween event for families.  As a licensed insurance agent, Joy also handles pre-arrangements for families who plan ahead for their funeral expenses. 

Joy brings an extensive background in marketing and public relations, previously serving as Director of Communications for the Department of Attorney General for the State of Michigan.

Joy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from Michigan State University. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Security Policy Studies from George Washington University.  

Joy is an active volunteer leader in the greater Elgin community.  Joy is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary for Post 57 and The VFW Post 1307 Auxiliary in Elgin.  She serves on the Patient Family Advisory Council for Advocate Sherman Hospital, where she volunteers with the Family Birthing Center, Community Heroes Committee and the Advocate Sherman Foundation. She received a Downtown Elgin Service Award for her volunteer contributions to the 2019 Elgin Winter Wonderland Festival. Joy is a board member for two Elgin-based nonprofits, True Patriots Care and Peace Through Pain. She is a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Elgin. 

Her proudest role is that of mom to her daughters, Emily and Vivienne.

 

Val Kaspar, Funeral Director & Embalmer

Val has been a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer since 1963.   He was born in Latvia but became an American citizen raised in Chicago after his parents fled to the United States to escape Soviet communism.

Val attended Wright College, Ray-Vogue Art School, and graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science. Val also pursued a second career in the aerosol products industry, ultimately retiring as a Vice President of Manufacturing and Purchasing.  Following retirement, Val returned to the funeral industry to serve families in their time of need.  He joined Symonds-Madison Funeral Home in 2008, and is dedicated to excellence in service, integrity, compassion and personalized care.

Val is a member of Oak Lawn Lodge #1166, a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, and a proud Medina Shriner.  Val and his wife, Ariel, have been married for more than 56 years.  Together they have four children and 12 grandchildren.  He has been helping families in their greatest time of need, in the Chicagoland and Elgin community for more than 56 years.

 

Robert Allanson, Funeral Director

Robert is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer for over 30 years, following his father and grandfather in serving the families of the Elgin community. He was born and raised in Elgin, and is a graduate of St. Edward Central Catholic High School (’77) in Elgin.  He is a graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science, and holds a  Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Services and a Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Leadership from Judson University.

Robert is a parishioner of St. Mary’s Parish in Elgin, and is a past Grand Knight of the Elgin Knights of Columbus, Monsignor Henry Schryer Council #654. He is also a member of the 4th degree Knights of Columbus, Bishop Arthur J. O’Neil Assembly #2381.

Robert joined the Symonds-Madison Funeral Home family in early 2014, to bring his expertise to the residents of Elgin, and the surrounding Fox Valley area with integrity, honor and compassion.

 

 

Jimmy Lewis, Funeral Attendant

Jimmy is a welcoming face at Symonds-Madison who serves families with warmth and compassion.  He has been an Elgin resident for more than 25 years, and currently lives in the Gifford Park Neighborhood, just down the street from the funeral home.

Jimmy currently owns his own business, Caring Caregivers Associates, a firm focused on providing professional caregiving services in Kane and McHenry Counties.

Jimmy is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is why he remains a lifelong fan of the Minneapolis Vikings and the Minneapolis Twins. Later in life, Jimmy lived in Connecticut and Colorado, before moving to Elgin.

Jimmy is a trained Chef with extensive experience serving the public in the restaurant industry. He studied accounting, business, and technology at Red Rocks College in Golden, Colorado. He has owned three businesses and has extensive experience in sales and marketing.

Jimmy has three daughters, six granddaughters, one grandson and one great-great grandson. He enjoys playing Santa Claus for his family and nursing home residents. Jimmy’s hobbies include playing guitar, tennis, skiing, hunting, hiking, mountain climbing, writing children’s stories and playing cribbage.

 

Jennifer Neuman, Administrative Assistant

Jennifer, an Elgin resident since 1997, joined Symonds-Madison in July, 2020. She uses her administrative skills to keep the office organized and running smoothly.

In 1998, after almost ten years as a secretary at several law firms and a medical office, Jennifer left the work force to raise her family, homeschooling her two daughters, Emily and Abby, from kindergarten through high school. During that time, Jennifer kept up her administrative skills by leading a 4-H club, working on the board of a homeschool co-op, and coaching and mentoring her younger daughter’s robotics team.

Now that her daughters are grown, Jennifer enjoys the opportunity to work at Symonds-Madison and serve her neighbors in Elgin and the surrounding communities.

Jennifer and her husband, Warren, have been married for almost 25 years.  They are members of Christ Community Church in St. Charles.  Her hobbies include sewing, knitting and crochet, art journaling, learning new software, and cuddling with her boxer pup, Gideon.

 

Penelope Symonds, Funeral Director Intern

Continuing her grandfather’s legacy, Penelope is a third generation funeral director and embalmer. Born in Chicago, Penelope was raised, along with her four siblings, around her family funeral business. 

Penelope graduated from Lane Tech College Prep, Class of 2016. She attended Wilbur Wright College and then went on to pursue her career in funeral directing. She earned her Associate’s Degree in Mortuary Science from Malcolm X College in 2019. 

After obtaining her funeral director’s internship license in 2019, she came to work at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home. 

Penelope is an active member of the Mt. Olive Church and Midwest Bible Church Communities in Chicago. 

Penelope is dedicated to providing funeral service with integrity and compassion to families in need. With utmost care, she wishes to be a friendly face to those in their most trying times.