With his attention to detail and his need for perfection his reputation grew along with the size of the jobs he was being asked to do. One of the most prestigious jobs was to make the cross for the poet Dylan Thomas’ grave which still stands in Laugharne’s St Martin’s Church today. After a few years, the local Funeral Director passed away and the natural progression was for Peter as a carpenter who possessed the skills needed to make coffins to take over the role as funeral director for the area. He never thought of it as a business but simply a service that he provided to the community and he continued with his other work which, with the help of his Wife Gill (aka “the boss”) behind the scenes, had grown into a building company. They built the first timber framed houses in West Wales and the company was by then, one of the biggest employers in the area. Eventually Peter scaled down the building business to be able to go back to his main passion of cabinet making.
With his reputation for perfection and attention to detail following him into the funeral profession it wasn’t long before this “service to the community” became a full time occupation and so left him with little time for his woodwork which he was now only able to do for close friends and family. As his reputation grew and Funeral Directors from the surrounding areas retired or passed away, Peter’s work load increased and so he had to call upon the help of his Daughter Alison and Son-in-law Arthur to help with certain aspects of the funeral arrangements. However they were only able to help part time as they still had their own family and business to run. Between the three of them, they developed the business and expanded the area that they served and they carried out some high profile funerals including Dylan Thomas’ Wife Caitlin Macnamara. Whenever Peter was asked what was the most important funeral he had carried out, his answer was always the same “the one I’m arranging at the moment” and this is a statement that we still stand by today.
When Peter was in his early 70s he started to think (begrudgingly) about retirement, as Alison and Arthur were too busy with their own work to take over full time, it looked as though the funeral service would have to close. However Peter’s Grandson Stuart showed an interest in the profession and so it was agreed that he could join the business for 12 months to see if it was something he was suited to. After a couple of months the “trial period” was forgotten about and he became a permanent member of the family business and eventually in 2007 took over the running of the business so that Peter could take things slightly easier (although his approval was always needed before any decisions were made!).
On 1st June 2009, after a short illness Peter passed away but Peter Evans Funeral Directors continues to carry on the high standards that he set through Stuart, Arthur, Alison and at times his two other Grandsons Andrew and Joe and of course Gill “the boss”.