WHL(Billy) Williams, a trained Undertaker and Cabinetmaker with Wharmby & Williams Ltd, directed Wharmby & Williams Ltd first funeral service on 2nd November 1920, a burial in Waipukurau Cemetery, for the princely sum of £19-2s- 6d The majority of the early deaths were Military personnel who died at the then TB Sanatorium on Pukeora Hill. In 1948 Messers Wharmby & Williams retired and sold their shareholding to the existing staff members who were prepared and able to purchase them.
Mr Williams' son Charlie carried on the funeral directing assisted by another shareholder and foreman of the joinery factory, Jim Fleming. When Charlie Williams died suddenly in 1966 Jim Fleming took over the Management of the funeral department assisted by David Annand. Jim's son Peter joined the firm in 1978 and on Jim's retirement in 1981 carried on the funeral business. Shortly after this, Wharmby & Williams (1948) Ltd was sold, so Peter and his wife Sharon purchased the Funeral Department, formed Fleming Funeral Services and established the business at its present site in Peel Street.
In 1990 Peter and Sharon restructured their partnership to form Central Hawkes Bay Funeral Services Ltd. Chris & Joy Reid and Denis Hames joined the Company as Shareholders and Company Directors. In 1993 Monumental Services was established with the aim of providing a locally operated headstone and memorial service to Central Hawkes Bay. This branch of the Company now boasts a large workshop/showroom in Waipukurau as well as showrooms in Napier and Hastings. The changing trends in funerals prompted the building of a 200 seat chapel at Peel Street. This new facility includes all the catering, projection, recording and sound equipment required for modern day funeral services.
Peter's retirement in September 2014 has not meant that CHB Funeral Services is no longer locally owned and operated, in fact the values that such local ownership brings to our community have been further strengthened. Nichola (Nic) Hayes who joined the Company in 2007 is a shareholder and Director and has taken over the Management of the Funeral Department, Nicola (Nicki) Reisima, Peter & Sharon's daughter, became a Company Director after purchasing Denis Hames shareholding and Nicki continues to Manage the Monumental branch of the Company. After Chris Reid's death in 2009 his son Lincoln joined his mother as a Company Director.
Peter and Sharon still retain their major shareholding in the Company but they can relax now knowing that the standards set 95 years ago by Mr Billy Williams will be maintained well into the future.