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Family Tree Funeral Directors

Family Tree Funerals.jpg
The Old Painswick Inn, Gloucester Street, Stroud GL5 1QG

James Showers (50s). Onetime ad-man, James’s has been a life journey of rich variety and varied vistas. A seeker after truth and beauty. Drawn to the dismal trade by “my father’s appallingly perfunctory disposal ceremony, and my mother’s funeral, which was excellent due to our strong insistence on having it our own way. I saw then that there was such a thing as a good funeral, and what makes the difference.” Out of death interests include gardening, dancing, reading, music of all sorts, walking, “wild places and somewhat wild people”, their religions, culture and food, Britishness, British birds, especially marshland species, horses, dusk, compost.

Specific Gravity

Warm, very normal, easy, unhurried, empathic, humorous. Terrifically nice, a great listener. You’d never mistake him for a funeral director. Posh perhaps, some might possibly say, pompous never. Relates to everyone. Smart: shirt, tie, jacket. “Thereafter, I take my lead from the family.”

What's Important?

Works a lot harder than most to ensure you know what your choices are and have the info you need to craft a funeral that reflects your values and represents the life of the person who has died. You can be as involved as you wish, or James can do it all for you—whatever’s best for you. Dedicated to “inspiring families to reclaim their right to say their goodbyes in precisely the way they want.” Brilliant speaker and educator—talks to local groups and, with a colleague, holds workshops on best practice in end-of-life care.

What's Different?

With James you feel as if you are dealing with a friend rather than a representative of a profession. He levels with you. And he’s very conscientious. Take as much of his time as you like. He’ll lead your funeral ceremony if you want, and can put you in touch with 2 good local celebrants or “a lovely retired minister who loves anything different.”

  • Phone always answered by James and you’ll deal with him throughout. Reckons to see 90 per cent of families at home. Works with home funeralists “as a matter of everyday service”. Same sex undertaker to lay out the body if you wish. Come and help if you wish. Tries to avoid embalming, offers it only if really necessary. Limited experience of ethnic minorities in monocultural Gloucestershire. His customary hearse is his Audi A6 estate; will hire a big black one (or whatever) if you want. Good website.

Exactly the right person, and a rare find, for anyone wanting a highly personal funeral. One of the most humane people you will ever meet, and highly capable.


Any decisions you take on engaging the services of a funeral director should be based on your views and research. You should not rely solely upon the views and opinions offered by us.

Reviews from the old GFG website

Monday 2nd May 2016 at 5:34 pm

My wife died, aged 35, in London earlier this year. Her family are in Cheltenham, and she asked to be buried there. At a time when we were all feeling broken, James was of immense support. He came to collect her from London the morning after she died, facilitated her wishes to donate organs, and looked after both her and us every step of the way until it was time to say goodbye for the last time. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Anita King

Wednesday 3rd February 2016 at 7:38 pm

My 28 year old son died suddenly on 29th November. We were all in shock and so I looked online for a funeral director. Family tree’s website stood out because it was such a friendly and positive webpage. I rang with trepidation but I should not have worried James was so warm and compassionate. He listened to us talking about my son and then offered suggestions about what we could do. He kept us informed at every stage and was always on the end of the phone. He listened very carefully to us and this ensured that the service reflected my son’s personality and in accordance with our wishes. I could not have asked for a more personal service. Nothing was too much trouble for James. I would heartily recommend Family Tree if you want a funeral service which is personal to you and your family.

Margie McCallum

Thursday 25th November 2010 at 4:29 pm

I have worked alongside James on two occasions as a funeral celebrant. I am awed by his capacity to be completely present to a situation where a funeral is being planned; to all the people with their varied needs, and at the same time to the logistics of the ideas being expressed. He is a man of great integrity and compassion, and from my observation, very quickly feels like a friend of the family.

Lyn Searby

Wednesday 24th November 2010 at 5:54 pm

My mother’s death was very sudden but in her last few hours this was her request -no funeral, a cardboard coffin for her body, noone to go to the creatorium, her ashes to be scattered on the front garden!

I knew then the only person for such a request was James! He was wonderful and took charge of everything. We had the most amazing weekend celebrations. James returned the ashes in the most beautiful cardboard scatter tube covered in a blubell design (it was April!)

Mum’s ashes are still going strong and each new plant bought for the garden is lovingly planted with a good scatter of Mum!

Maureen M.Thulin

Saturday 20th November 2010 at 4:43 pm

I had seen a small news report about Family Funerals, cut it out and did nothing about it. Then a friend was murdered A few days before the funeral the body was not released from autopsy. James coped.A beautiful coffin was presented rose petals,notes,pens and paper were supplied and we filled the coffin with our loving thoughts. I was so impressed. I found out who funeral funeral director was. For the sake of my sons, who will now be relieved of the awful business of planning a funeral and thanks to James, I enjoyed arranging my own funeral with him and know that my family will have every consideration and support when the time comes.

Barbara Weavers

Thursday 18th November 2010 at 10:14 pm

We had anticipated our mother’s death for quite some time befoe it actually happened and throughout that time James was happy to support us and explore how best to put our wishes in to practice. In the event we were able to have a funeral celebration which was nigh on perfect and was able to support my mother on her journey as she would have wished, as well as comforting and uplifting her family and friends. I greatly admire James as a person, and as a funeral director I suspect he is unsurpassed. He has a rare and valuable ability to sense what is the right thing to do, to say, or simply how to be at any moment in his dealings with bereaved people.

Martin & Vicky Woolford

Wednesday 17th November 2010 at 1:31 pm

When my Don passed away we had no hesitation in asking James to undertake the funeral arrangements. His calm and thoughtful approach made dealing with all of the decisions Vicky had to take so much easier. The funeral itself was incedibly well organised and most importantly met our wishes for Dons final journey. We have and will continue to recomend Family Tree Funerals to those who are seeking a very personal and caring approach for thier loved ones funeral.

adrian williams-brett

Wednesday 17th November 2010 at 11:25 am

When my mother died last year I knew that Family Tree Funerals was the organisation I would choose to work with. This was because I had seen the care, sensitivity and professionalism they displayed, at the funeral of a friend of mine some time before. I am very glad I made that choice. I was deeply impressed at the way James Showers (director) made it his business to listen to how we wanted to approach the preparations, the funeral and the burial and then offered active support in helping us to achieve this, without ever imposing anything. The result was that the mood of the whole process was peaceful, rich and actually beautiful. Family Tree were instrumental in helping us to achieve this mood and everyone involved commented on it. Thank you!

Adrian Williams-Brett

David Barlow

Wednesday 17th November 2010 at 10:59 am

Our daughter died tragically early. We needed something special and personal. Family Tree gave us this. I am a priest and have dealt with funeral directors for nearly fifty years, many of who sad to say are almost caricatures. James definitely isn’t! He is just a normal, non-pompous, pleasant fellow who will give you just what you need – traditional or “wayout”, whatever is right. He couldn’t have been more sensitive efficient, or dignified. I cannot praise him too highly.

Rev. Aaron Mirkin

Tuesday 16th November 2010 at 8:31 pm

In The Christian Community, Stroud, we have always found James to be very open and genuinely understanding for all the various personal and ritual needs around a funeral. He brings that extraordinary combination of upright dignity and correctitude with engaging warmth and humanity to all he does.

Rev. Erhard Keller

Tuesday 16th November 2010 at 7:18 pm

James has been very able to adapt to all kinds of situations and has been very helpful in assisting with organising a 3 day wake at our chapel for those who wanted it. He is very friendly, perceptive and sensitive.

Mike Goodenough

Tuesday 16th November 2010 at 5:35 pm

… “inspiring families to reclaim their right to say their goodbyes in precisely the way they want.”

This was exactly James’s approach to my mother’s funeral. He did everything he could to help us make it into an event she would have loved.

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