Francis believes in bringing the highest standards of professionalism to his calling. He is mindful of the philosophy, values and tradition of serving Nelson, inherited by him down a continuous four-generation line. Francis aims to pass on those values and philosophy through his own family, with his wife Paddy, children Bridget and Patrick, who are all involved in the business – his youngest son Michael has a career in Accounting and Business Management. Francis qualified in 1966 in Australia as an embalmer and has since tutored for the embalming course for the Central Institute of Technology. He has served as president and examiner for the Embalmers Association and is a life member of that association. Francis is the long serving chairman of the Funeral Services Training Trust.
One of only four Nelsonians qualified with a NZQA Diploma in Funeral Service, and holds a Fellowship Degree of the British Institute of Embalmers, Francis strongly believes in providing a warm, professional and supportive atmosphere in which to farewell the deceased. He says funerals are for the living, where you pay your respects to the dead – remember them but also reaffirm your faith, creed or philosophy and give you assistance to cope with your loss.
Funeral Director and Embalmer
(Cert Fd. Dip Emb.)
A background in nursing has given Stephen a lifetime of working with people who have experiencedsome form of loss. With time spent in oncology and then orthopaedic wards, Stephen has worked with patients and their families through times of illness and trauma.
Because his professional life has always involved helping families manage their loss, it is not surprising Stephen was drawn to the funeral industry. He says his role as a funeral director and embalmer is a natural fit for him.
Stephen believes it is a privilege to be invited into the ‘cocoon’ of a family at their time of loss. He appreciates the stories they share with him and the warmth they show for their loved ones. He says it’s heart warming to see the way families come together and the support they give each other during a difficult and emotional time.
In his workshop at home, away from people, Stephen finds solace amongst his old carpentry hand tools. He says he is ‘energized by the quietness’ there and finds it restorative to turn offcuts of rimu wood into furniture – although he confesses that sometimes the result is just sawdust.
He and his wife attend Grace Church and enjoy tramping.
Funeral Director and Embalmer
Karen has come from the education sector in the UK where she worked advocating for children and young people in the care system. She has a background in special needs and advisory teaching, working with schools, teachers, foster parents and children’s homes helping them in turn to support disadvantaged and traumatized children work towards achieving their potential.
She feels privileged to be working at Marsden House and being a funeral director and embalmer seems to be a natural fit for her.
“Having a career of supporting families and young people has given me so many skills and such empathy. I am here to listen and understand families’ needs during such a difficult time after losing their loved one. I am always humbled to hear about their lives and feel so privileged to be so welcomed. My aim is to help families create the most personal goodbye and I am also honoured to be able to care for someone during the last part of their journey.”
Karen moved to sunny Nelson three years ago and feels right at home being so close to the sea and mountains and in her spare time she especially loves to swim outdoors. She has a husband and three grown children and is slowly managing to see all the beauty New Zealand has to offer.