Westland Funeral Services is a Greymouth owned and operated firm with a proud tradition of service and commitment to the community extending back over 50 years. The founder of the company, the late Joe Pattinson had dreamed of being of being a funeral director right from the time when as a school boy he used to help his uncle Ernie in the Greymouth funeral business of W. Sampson. He had a dream, a vision of a funeral business based around the word “service”. He had plans for a funeral business that would serve the community with professionalism, dignity and compassion, regardless of colour, creed or standing. With the support of his wife Helen that dream began to come true. Westland Funeral Services directed its first funeral on the 27th November 1963 and now over 50 years later we acknowledge the fulfilment of that dream. We have a superb, top quality funeral complex, a chapel admired by all and crematorium. Joe was justifiably proud of his and Helen’s achievement. He wanted a funeral directing business second to none but most of all, one that would serve its families with honesty, dignity and integrity. Sadly, Joe passed away on the 28th February 1998 but the business will continue on into the future with the same integrity, compassion and code of ethics that he practiced and believed in.
In 1962 Joe bought the old Blanchfields Bakery site at 134 Tainui St, demolished the building and built a brand new multi-level funeral complex. This included living accommodation, garaging, offices and a chapel. This building served the company until 1990 when major renovations commenced and the new extended funeral home was dedicated and opened on the 19th April 1991. This now included a new larger chapel, an organ loft for the new electronic organ, viewing rooms, interview lounge, new modern mortuary and more garaging. This is the building the company still operates from today .
The William Sampson Memorial Chapel (named after Greymouth’s longest serving funeral director) has a modern, yet traditional restful atmosphere. Within the last few years there have been interior developments as the older, smaller viewing rooms have been enlarged and tastefully decorated.
In August 1994 Westland Funeral Services installed a new state of the art All Cremator, imported from America, as part of the complex. Joe was particularly proud of this. It had always distressed him that bereaved families had to have their loved one taken to Christchurch for cremation and that if they wanted to attend a service at the Crematorium they had to face a long trip over the sometimes treacherous alpine passes and back. Some of these journeys in the depth of winter were extremely harrowing. The fact that the crematorium is in Greymouth has increased the cremation rate substantially from under 20% in 1994 to over 70% today.