Our Team

Our Team

At Geoffrey T Sowman’s, our funeral directors are very much part of the community and are passionate about providing a professional and caring service.

They have extensive experience in Funeral Service and are available at any time to discuss options with you.

Find out more about the extra care our team offers, please phone Geoffrey T Sowman Funeral Directors on (03) 578 4719.

Barry Holmwood

(Dip F.S.)
Manager & Funeral Director

Barry began his funeral service career in 1985 in Nelson.  Graduating from the Weltec Embalmers course in 2005, Barry obtained the Noel McNee Award. He quickly followed this up with a Funeral Directors course in 2006 during which time he gained the National Diploma in Funeral Service.  Since 2004, Barry has been a member of the New Zealand Embalmers Association.

Barry is proud to be involved in the funeral service industry, as he feels they play an important role in helping and assisting the needs of grieving families and people within the community. In November 2016, he took over the management role at Geoffrey T Sowman’s.

Thelma Sowman

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

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.

Alastair Hebberd

Dip Emb & Dip FD
Funeral Director & Embalmer

Alastair has a Diploma in both Funeral Directing and Embalming, and was the recipient of the Sovereign Industries Endeavour Award. He is also a member of the New Zealand Embalmers Association. Born in Nelson, Alastair grew up within the funeral  industry. Alastair and his wife, Emma, moved to Blenheim in 2009 when he joined the team at Geoffrey T Sowman. He is an active member of the Blenheim Rotary Club and enjoys exploring the Marlborough area, and getting out on his mountain bike.

Terry Ryan

Dip FD
Funeral Director

Terry joined the team late in 2013. He has a Diploma in Nursing and has a background in Quality Management. In more recent years Terry, along with his wife Barbara, has been self-employed in the passenger transport industry. Terry and Barbara have seven adult children and are happy to be involved in their respective lives. Terry is a parishioner of St Mary’s Catholic Church and is a member of the Lamb of God Community. He is a member of the Marlborough Pistol Club and has an interest in ballistics. Overseas travel is very much on the agenda for the future.

Faye Partridge

Dip. Bus Admin
Administrator & Designer

Faye has a Diploma in Business Administration and joined the team in March 2008, after 26 years running her own secretarial/desktop publishing services outlet. Faye was born in Blenheim, is married to Bruce and has three adult sons, and 5 grandchildren. Faye enjoys time with family and friends, along with computers, gardening, walking, cycling, fishing and the Marlborough environment.

Paula Aires

Assistant Funeral Director

Paula joined the team in May 2018, and with her past careers having involved people, often in vulnerable circumstances, it is no surprise her new career path is also people-orientated. Prior to joining the funeral industry, Paula has worked as a qualified swim instructor and teacher assistant of special needs students. Paula and her husband David, along with their two daughters, moved to Marlborough from Christchurch in 2011. Spare time interests include cooking, baking and family adventures. Being a passionate and empathetic person, Paula adheres to the saying, “people may not remember what you did or what you said, but how you made them feel”.

Bob Barnes

Funeral Director

Bob has joined the Sowmans team. He loves working with people. Having been an Anglican Priest for many years this move to the funeral industry is another way he can care for people when they’re hurting, and bring compassionate dignity with those who have died. With his church experience and fourteen years as a volunteer Ambulance Officer Bob brings a broad perspective on life that’s helpful as a Funeral Director.

He and his wife Libby, moved to Blenheim in 2012.  Libby has her dream job with a local dentist and Bob’s parents now live here. Their commitment to Marlborough has deepened with the recent purchase of their first home in Blenheim.

Bob and Libby have 4 adult children and 3 grandchildren. A member of the Blenheim Riverside Railway Society, Bob also enjoys road cycling, mountain biking, gardening, exercising their dog Tom, and most of all spending time with Libby.