Our People

Francis Day

(FBIE, Nat Dip FS)

Francis believes in bringing the highest standards of professionalism to his calling. He is mindful of the philosophy, values and tradition of serving Nelson, inherited by him down a continuous four-generation line. Francis aims to pass on those values and philosophy through his own family, with his wife Paddy, children Bridget and Patrick, who are all involved in the business – his youngest son Michael has a career in Accounting and Business Management. Francis qualified in 1966 in Australia as an embalmer and has since tutored for the embalming course for the Central Institute of Technology. He has served as president and examiner for the Embalmers Association and is a life member of that association. Francis is the long serving chairman of the Funeral Services Training Trust.

One of only four Nelsonians qualified with a NZQA Diploma in Funeral Service, and holds a Fellowship Degree of the British Institute of Embalmers, Francis strongly believes in providing a warm, professional and supportive atmosphere in which to farewell the deceased. He says funerals are for the living, where you pay your respects to the dead – remember them but also reaffirm your faith, creed or philosophy and give you assistance to cope with your loss.

Craig Mills

Operations Manager – Funeral Director and Embalmer

Craig commenced his career in funeral services in 2005 while attending Hutt International Boys’ School in Wellington, as a result of his Mum noticing in the daily newspaper the funeral homes were holding open homes that day.

He has served the communities of Wellington, Thames and the wider Coromandel, and Auckland as a funeral director and embalmer. Prior to moving to Nelson, Craig worked in Auckland as a specialist contract embalmer utilising his extensive skills and training in embalming and reconstruction.

Craig is incredibly passionate and dedicated in supporting families in his care, and providing the upmost respect and dignity to their loved ones whom they have entrusted to us.

‘My role and calling as a funeral director and embalmer is something I take immense pride in and hold true to the values instilled in me throughout my diverse time in this industry, to provide the families in my care with respect and compassion.’

Craig moved to Nelson in 2018 with his fiancé Bradley to undertake the daily operations of the INNBetween Lodge and Backpackers. It feels like home for Craig as Nelson was the landing for his Grandfather Brian Burton’s family and is proud to now call Nelson home.

Stephen Roberts

Funeral Director and Embalmer

(Cert Fd. Dip Emb.)

 A background in nursing has given Stephen a lifetime of working with people who have experienced some form of loss. With time spent in oncology and then orthopaedic wards,  Stephen has worked with patients and their families through times of illness and trauma.

Because his professional life has always involved helping families manage their loss, it is not surprising Stephen was drawn to the funeral industry.  He says his role as a funeral director and embalmer is a natural fit for him.

Stephen believes it is a privilege to be invited into the ‘cocoon’ of a family at their time of loss. He appreciates the stories they share with him and the warmth they show for their loved ones. He says it’s heart warming to see the way families come together and the support they give each other during a difficult and emotional time.

In his workshop at home, away from people, Stephen finds solace amongst his old carpentry hand tools. He says he is ‘energized by the quietness’ there and finds it restorative to turn offcuts of rimu wood into furniture – although he confesses that sometimes the result is just sawdust.

He and his wife attend Grace Church and enjoy tramping.

Karen Wyllie

Funeral Director and Embalmer

Karen has come from the education sector in the UK where she worked advocating for children and young people in the care system.  She has a background in special needs and advisory teaching, working with schools, teachers, foster parents and children’s homes helping them in turn to support disadvantaged and traumatized children work towards achieving their potential.

She feels privileged to be working at Marsden House and being a funeral director and embalmer seems to be a natural fit for her.

Having a career of supporting families and young people has given me so many skills and such empathy.  I am here to listen and understand families’ needs during such a difficult time after losing their loved one.  I am always humbled to hear about their lives and feel so privileged to be so welcomed. My aim is to help families create the most personal goodbye and I am also honoured to be able to care for someone during the last part of their journey.”  

Karen moved to sunny Nelson three years ago and feels right at home being so close to the sea and mountains and in her spare time she especially loves to swim outdoors. She has a husband and three grown children and is slowly managing to see all the beauty New Zealand has to offer.

Lyndsay Pyers

Funeral Director and Embalmer

(Dip FD. Dip Emb.)

Chrissy McGowan

Funeral Assistant

I started with Marsden House in October 2016 after seeing a job advertisement on Trade Me, I knew that this job was mine, even before having the interview.
For a long long time I’ve always been interested in this industry. I would think to myself – what goes on behind the scenes?
After my Hubby passed away in 2009, I have a different perspective on death. So it lead to me thinking when someone passes on, then what happens? Now I know, well from this side anyway. I like to help where I can.
My main position here at Marsden House is to line the caskets and I love it!! I also help as assistant at funerals when needed.
It is not all doom and gloom, it is about life and celebrating it. The stories you hear are amazing.

Kirsten Lineham


After finishing her career with the BNZ where she had been for 17 years, Kirsten decided it was time for a change.

“Having grown up in Motueka with the Day family, I knew when I saw the position of Funeral Director advertised that it would be an opportunity to serve the community I knew well and work with a great team”

Kirsten started as a casual funeral assistant on services both in our Nelson and Golden Bay Motueka areas.  During this time she also learnt and covered the office administration duties, so when the time came it was natural for her to step into this position full time.

Kirsten is also fast proving her graphic skills by designing wonderful service sheets and memorial books for the families we support.

Outside of work, Kirsten is Club Captain for the Nelson Speedway where her husband races in the Superstock class.  They both have a keen interest in classic American cars and on weekends when not at the track can be found maintaining their extensively planted lifestyle property.

Kirsty Tough

Office Administrator and Funeral Assistant

Kirsty has a background in the horticultural industry, having spent several years working in customer service and teaching horticulture courses. Kirsty is working in the administration team but is also called on to assist at funerals.
Kirsty finds it an honour and privilege to be working with families during their time of grief.
Outside of work Kirsty enjoys spending time at home in her garden, going for walks and spending time with her family. Along with her husband, her family attend St Stephens Community Church in Tahnuanui.