William Cotton & Sons Ltd is a privately owned and operated 3rd generation family business serving Feilding and districts. Originally established in 1930 by William & Rachel Cotton the company is still owned and operated by members of the Cotton family with a long and proud history of caring for the community.
William was a Funeral Director, French Polisher and Cabinet Maker who immigrated from Cookstown, Northern Ireland. William could see there was a potential for such a funeral business to be established in Feilding alongside their Furniture, Cabinet and Casket manufacturing business which was based at their current site. Some of the locals still recall that “Mr Cotton made my foot stool” “They made our table which we still have”
As time went on William and Rachel had various members of the family assisting with the funeral home operations and their sons Norman and Walter became the primary funeral directors.
With the furniture retailers expanding and the funeral directing operations increasing in services Norman and Walter decided that they could no longer do justice to their furniture production therefore they decided to slowly wind down the furniture production and keep on with their casket manufacturing and spend more energy in what really mattered to them, their community in times of grief.
As in some family businesses it was decided that Norman's wife Jeanette would assist in administration tasks of the business. This eventually led onto Jeannette becoming a funeral director.
Norman and Jeanette's son Shane joined the family business in 1992 learning the many facets of the family business under Normans tutoring.
When their children were all of school age, Shane's wife Rachel joined the company in various roles from assistant office manager to Catering coordinator.
When the family and friends have finished refreshment following the service and the dishes are overflowing in the function lounge they are ably assisted by their children who enjoy helping Rachel and Shane making this a real family business.
In 2020, Andrae Peipi a qualified funeral director and embalmer with over 25 years experience joined our family to assist the business in its operations and also seeing his passion in helping people it is an asset to the company and most importantly the people we serve.
Shane began his working career as an apprentice joiner attaining the qualification of Advanced Trade Joiner. Following Walters desire to take early retirement due to ill health in early 1992, Shane followed in his father Norman’s footsteps and began working in the family business.
Norman had the belief that all staff should attain their qualifications to enable them to better serve their community. Shane began his education journey in 1993 and attained the top qualification in both Funeral Directing and Embalming. Shane then went on to be one of the first funeral directors/embalmers in New Zealand to achieve the National Diploma in Funeral Services.
Shane believes that it is not about the Funeral Director being on show at a funeral, it is about the little ‘thank you’ at the end that reassures you that you have assisted in providing the most appropriate farewell for the family.
Andrae entered the funeral industry in 1994. Over this time, he has learnt many different aspects of the Funeral industry. Andrae completed a long-life ambition when he became a fully qualified Funeral Director and Embalmer in 2003. Having work in different communities around New Zealand, Andrae has had the opportunity to deal with a wide variety of ethnicities and he believes that each culture has a different path when it comes to the grief process and their funeral rituals and this experience assists Andrae in helping them through their grief journey.
“What is reaffirming is the hugs, positive feedback, and families who come back because It assures me that I am doing right by the families we serve!”
Together with Walter’s wife Mavis, Jeanette became the office staff for the funeral home as a job share while they both raised their families. Following Walter and Mavis’ retirement Jeanette took on a more active role in the business and now is the office manager and one of the Funeral Directors.
After over 40 years in the business Jeanette is now job sharing the office with Shane’s wife Rachel allowing her to enjoy some time to pursue other interests.
Rachel assists the business as a catering server and in an administration role to assist Jeanette. Rachel is working into the role of full-time office manager.