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 Owner and President of the Nicholas F Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory in Stamford and Co-Owner of Hoyt-Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory in Norwalk. 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

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.

Danielle C. Smith

Funeral Director/Embalmer

Danielle began her career with Hoyt funeral home in the summer of 2018. She graduated from Lincoln College of New England in 2015 with a degree in Mortuary Science and Funeral Service Management. Danielle’s grandparents and extended family were lifelong New Canaan residents. She currently resides in New Canaan. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering, attending charitable and community events, spending time with her family, her beloved German Shepard Bello.

Bud Korner

Associate Funeral Director

George "Bud" Korner is a life-long resident of Connecticut, moving to Fairfield Country in 1966.  He is an Alma Mater of St. Mary's College in Kansas.  During his early career, he enlisted in the Army National Guard.  Always having a compassion for helping people, he entered the funeral profession, graduating from American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in 1966, with a degree in Mortuary Science.  After working as a Funeral Director and V.P. for eleven years at Hoyt Funeral Home, he wanted a career change and decided to go to work at Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, NY, as a mausoleum Sales Representative.  Retiring in January 2011, Hoyt Funeral Home asked him to rejoin their firm as an Associate Funeral Director.

Bernie Logue and Joe Macklin

Bernie and Joe were both born in Ireland, emigrating to the United States and settled in Fairfield County many years ago. Joe is married to Bernie's sister. Both men raised their families here and retired from Pitney Bowes. Following their retirement, Bernie and Joe decided to work part-time  for local funeral homes. The goal is to provide the families we serve with dignified and compassionate service that is second to none. You will see Bernie and Joe frequently at the funeral home assisting at calling hours and during funeral services - always with a smile.