Our People

We are a team of warm, caring professionals who consider what we do to be a calling, not a job.

Sowmans Team 2023

As members of the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand (FDANZ), we follow a strict Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct.

Funeral Directors Association of NZ - Member

And as people living and working in Blenheim, we look for ways to support our community. These include our annual December Remembrance and Candle Lighting Service—an opportunity for anyone who has lost someone special to honour their memory. We’re also proud sponsors of the Taylor River Writers’ Walk.

Meet the team

Barry Holmwood Dip. F.S.

Manager & Funeral Director

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Barry’s funeral service career began in 1985 in Nelson. He has qualifications in both funeral directing and embalming, including the National Diploma in Funeral Service (2006).

In 2005 he received the prestigious Noel McNee Memorial Award for excellence in embalming. He took over the management role at Sowman’s in 2016.Barry’s proud to be involved in the funeral service industry and is committed to helping grieving families in the Marlborough community.

He loves cars, motorbikes, his two daughters and his wife—not necessarily in that order!

Terry Ryan Dip. FD

Senior Funeral Director

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Terry joined Sowman’s in 2013. He has a Diploma in Nursing, a background in quality management, and has also worked with wife Barbara in the passenger transport industry.

Terry attends St Mary’s Catholic Church and is a member of the Lamb of God Community. He holds a Marlborough Pistol Club membership.

Terry and Barbara have seven adult children and are happy to be involved in their respective lives. Overseas travel beckons, however, and is very much on the agenda for the future.

Faye Partridge Dip. Bus Admin

Administrator & Designer

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Faye joined the Sowman’s team in March 2008, after 26 years running her own secretarial/desktop publishing service. She holds a Diploma in Business Administration.

Born and raised in Blenheim, Faye is married to Bruce and has three adult sons, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

She enjoys spending time with family and friends, and loves getting outside to garden, walk, cycle and make the most of the beautiful Marlborough environment. Getting away in the motorhome with two Burmese cats is a great adventure.

Bob Barnes

Funeral Director

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Bob’s been with Sowman’s since 2019. He loves working with people and brings a broad perspective on life, having been an Anglican priest for many years and spending 14 years as a volunteer ambulance officer.

Bob and wife Libby moved to Blenheim from Waikato in 2012 and have bought their own home here. They have four adult children and five grandchildren.

Bob is a member of the Blenheim Riverside Railway Society. He also enjoys cycling, mountain biking, gardening, and—most of all—spending time with Libby.

Ethan Williams

Funeral Director/Embalmer

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Ko Taupiri te maunga. Ko Aotea te moana, ko Waikato te awa, ko Tainui te waka, ko Waikato te iwi. Ko Ngāti Mahuta raua ko Ngāti Te Wehi te hapū. Ko Ōkapu te marae. Nō Whakatu ahau. Kei Te Waiharakeke ahau e noho ana. Ko Ītana tōku ingoa.

Taupiri is the mountain. Aotea is the ocean, Waikato is the river, Tainui is the waka, Waikato is the iwi. Ngāti Mahuta and Ngāti Te Wehi are my people. Ōkapu is my marae. I was born in Nelson. I live in Blenheim. My name is Ethan.

Ethan moved to Blenheim from Nelson at the beginning of 2022 and has been involved in funeral and tangihanga for several years prior to becoming a funeral director and embalmer providing live streaming and media services.

A father two two wonderful children, Ethan has a passion for serving whānau and caring for their tūpāpaku (the deceased) and understands the importance of maintaining dignity for those not only in life but also in death. He feels an immense privilege being able to serve the community alongside the team at Sowmans Funerals.

Nō reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.

Thelma Sowman

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Thelma was born in Wellington, but spent her formative years in Blenheim before moving to Australia. On returning to Blenheim she met and married Alistair, and together they have two children and a grandson.

Alistair Sowman

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Alistair was born in Blenheim and spent the majority of his life in the district. He worked with his parents Geoffrey and Rita Sowman at Geoffrey T Sowman Ltd. Alistair served as Mayor of Marlborough from 2004–2016.

Don't carry it all yourself

Let us help. Phone Sowman’s today to discuss the best way to farewell your loved one.

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