Sold af­ter 84 years

Matamata Chronicle - - Celebrating 90 Years Of Service To The Matamata Di -

Af­ter years of sup­port­ing be­reaved fam­i­lies, Graeme and Fay Water­son made the de­ci­sion in Oc­to­ber 2006 to sell their busi­ness, Water­sons Funeral Ser­vices af­ter own­ing it for 84 years.

This was an emo­tional time for the cou­ple then, es­pe­cially as it was such a big part of their fam­ily busi­ness group.

Water­sons Funeral Ser­vices first opened in 1922, when Graeme’s fa­ther Don and his busi­ness part­ner bought their first hearse, and ad­ver­tised funeral ser­vices in the lo­cal news­pa­per.

Graeme started in the busi­nesses near on 60 years ago, pol­ish­ing cas­kets his fa­ther would make when there was a lull in the fur­ni­ture mak­ing busi­ness.

In the early years the de­ceased were usu­ally taken home and ser­vices were con­ducted there - there was rarely a church ser­vice and def­i­nitely no funeral homes.

Usu­ally funerals were held within three days of death, em­balm­ing was rarely used. There were no cre­ma­tions and most buri­als were at the Mata­mata Ceme­tery.

In 1940, the Rosa Chapel was built at the cur­rent Tami­hana St premises as the urg­ing of Graeme’s mother, who saw that peo­ple had drifted away from their churches.

A resur­gence of church build­ing in Mata­mata in the 1960s saw church funerals be­come more pop­u­lar again, with big­ger fa­cil­i­ties on of­fer.

The mor­tu­ary was built around 1980, with the cur­rent funeral com­plex build­ing be­ing erected in 1995.

At the time of sell­ing the busi­ness in 2006, an ar­ti­cle was pub­lished in the Mata­mata Chron­i­cle where Graeme said that there was more to be­ing a funeral di­rec­tor than or­gan­is­ing the prac­ti­cal de­tails – their role was to as­sist the fam­ily with the griev­ing process.

He and Fay tried to al­low peo­ple to grieve in their own way, while pro­vid­ing con­tacts for peo­ple to talk to as well as lit­er­a­ture and sup­port.

He said that they learnt a lot from the Maori peo­ple about how to hon­our the de­ceased and how to grieve and have clo­sure.

Since sell­ing the busi­ness, Fay and Graeme still have plenty to keep them oc­cu­pied.

Water­sons Funeral Ser­vices Mata­mata was the main site for three funeral ser­vice sites, with rooms in Te Aroha and Pu­taruru.

All were sold as part of a busi­ness division and now trades as Mata­mata & Val­ley Funeral Ser­vices.

Graeme still has an ac­tive role in the busi­ness and both he and Fay still own Water­sons Mon­u­men­tal Ser­vices.

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