Stephen and his cousin Simon Dutton, principal funeral director, will carry on serving local families at Dutton and Hallmark Funeral Services in Hoole.
Stephen’s great grandfather went into competition with his own father, founding Edgar Dutton & Sons in the 1860s.
Local bakery owner William Hallmark provided catering for Edgar Dutton & Sons around World War I, eventually transforming his business into a competitor before later joining forces during WWII.
The allied businesses closed by 1973. However, Stephen joined forces with his mother-in-law Gwyneth Griffin to again provide Chester with personalised services after attending a mutual friend’s funeral.
He said: “A very good friend of mine died in his twenties and I was unhappy with the way the funeral was conducted. We were all saddened by the lack of respect.”
Stephen obtained an agreement from his father and Gwyneth to merge the Dutton and Hallmark names and formed the new business in 1991, with his cousin Simon joining five years later.
Stephen said: “Funeral Partners are the only company that come across like a family. They give us a lot of autonomy which is an important sign of trust.”
Angela Worrall, area development manager of Funeral Partners North, added: “Stephen and Simon are still the face of Dutton and Hallmark and running it like a family business and we are here to support them wherever we can. We have already planned investment into new furnishing and decorating.”
Sam Kershaw, CEO of Funeral Partners, said: “Dutton and Hallmark has built a trustworthy reputation in Chester over the course of its rich history and we look forward to seeing it thrive with Funeral Partners.”