Our Staff

Our dedicated and supportive staff are here to guide you through this difficult journey. We take pride in doing our absolute best to ensure your needs are met. We are here for you.

Nicholas F. Cognetta Jr. 

Co-Owner, Embalmer, Funeral Director

Nicholas F. Cognetta, Jr., is the Co-owner of Hoyt Funeral Home as well as the Owner and President of the Nicholas F Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory in Stamford. He was born and raised in Stamford and attended Rogers Elementary, St. Maurice, St. Gabriel Middle, and Stamford Catholic High Schools. Having spent his childhood living over the funeral home and working with his father, it was only natural that he would follow in his father’s footsteps. After graduating from Stamford Catholic High School, he attended the University of Connecticut and graduated from the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service. He has been with Nicholas F Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory since 1979 having become a licensed funeral director and embalmer in 1981. He was instrumental in creating the Connecticut Crematory Corporation, a crematory, which is located within the Funeral Home and is the only crematory in Fairfield County, opening in 1995. Nick  also co-founded the Hoyt/Cognetta Funeral Home and Crematory in Norwalk which was sold in 2018. He then began All Pets Crematory & Remembrances in Stamford which he sold in 2017.

Nicholas is a member of the NFDA, CFDA, and CANA, as well as a past board member of the Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care of Southwestern CT, Inc. He also volunteers his time to local charities and has mentored at New Canaan High School’s Future Business Leaders Class. Nick has been fortunate enough to help raise 3 step children, Christopher Richichi, Nicole and Danyel Meahan. He has been a resident of New Canaan since 1993 where he lives with his wife Adriana Santaniello. His passion for motorsports and motorcycles is second to none.

Thomas M. Gallagher

Co-Owner, Embalmer, Funeral Director

Tom is the Co-owner of Hoyt Funeral Home as well as being the independent owner of Thomas M. Gallagher Funeral Home and Sholom Funeral Chapel in Stamford. Tom is a current resident of Wilton, CT and a parishioner of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Wilton.  His education includes being a graduate of Stamford Catholic High School and Salve Regina University. Like most children of funeral directors, the cardinal rule in his family was to secure an alternative college degree prior to considering entering the family profession.  

Soon after graduation, Tom’s passion to help others continued to grow and, subsequently, he enrolled in embalming school at American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in New York City. Tom felt the need to establish himself away from the family's former business and opted to obtain his apprenticeship at George T Davis Funeral Home in New Rochelle, NY. After serving his residency and several years as a New York Funeral Director, Tom felt it was time to return to Connecticut, obtain his Embalmer’s License through the State of Connecticut and begin to serve the same community his grandfather and father once served. 

He met and married his beloved wife, Adela and, together, remained in the very city in which Tom grew up. Two children later, Tom and Adela have made the commitment to serve their community.

Tom’s love for the community service extends beyond the funeral business. He also believes in giving back as reflected by his joining various organizations that are meaningful to him. His involvements include being a member and past president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the General Philip Sheridan Division; a member and past president of the Stamford Old Timers; a member and past president of the State Street Debating Society; a first degree Knight of Columbus Council 41; a member of the Umbrella Club of Stamford

During his personal time, Tom enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, skiing and traveling.

Kurt Lilja 

Funeral Director, Embalmer, Monument Specialist

Kurt Lilja is a longtime Westchester County resident.  He began his career with Hoyt Funeral Home in June 2012 following many years at McMahon, Lyon & Hartnett Funeral Home and also a brief stint in North Carolina. Kurt served 8 years in the U.S. Coast Guard before attending Simmons Institute of Funeral Service in Syracuse, NY.  In his spare time, he enjoys fishing and outdoor activities.   Kurt is licensed in both Connecticut and New York.

Rene Roets

Office Administrator & Funeral Attendant 

Rene has been apart of the Hoyt family since October of 2022 she came to us from the Diocese of Bridgeport where she worked in their Greenwich and Norwalk cemeteries helping families. She is the Office Administrator here at Hoyts as well as assists the Funeral Directors daily on funerals and services. Rene is a New Canaan resident who in her free time she enjoys taking walks around town enjoying the community and its many shops and restaurants as well as spending time with her beloved cat Leo.   

Brian Garrity

Funeral Director, Embalmer

Brian Garrity is a lifelong resident of Connecticut.  He is a graduate of Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.  Upon graduation from Iona, Brian then spent many years working in the Financial Services industry, he worked for UBS Investment Bank for 20 years.  He then transitioned to the funeral Industry after a successful career in the financial services industry. Brian graduated from American Academy McAllister Institute in 2021 with a degree in Mortuary Science. He is beginning his career at Hoyt Funeral Home in 2024, following several years at Cody-White Funeral Home in Milford CT.

In his spare time Brian enjoys spending time with his family and attending their sporting events and dance recitals, and also playing golf.  Brian also volunteers with the local Boy Scouts of America in his community.