Alex Willis Funeral Home was founded in 1881 by John Thomas Willis in a cottage on the present site of the Bradford Arms in Queen Street, Morecambe. Six years later he was joined by his brother, Joseph, when they moved to larger premises in Clarence Street where they carried out their business of joinery, boat building and undertaking.
In 1895 the brothers moved once more to Poulton Square where they continued their business until 1969, it was at Poulton Square where Alex Willis joined his father in the family business. In 1932 J.T. Willis died and the firm passed to his son Alex, who was a prominent figure in the community, twice being President of the British Institute of Embalmers and President of the North West Area of the British Undertakers Association. Alex Willis was connected with the St. Johnís Ambulance Brigade for most of his life and rose from cadet to Superintendant of the Morecambe and Heysham Corps, at the time of his death in 1963 he was the senior holder in England of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.
In 1955 the business was then passed to Arthur Willis and Albert McVernon, Alex Willisís son and son in law where they continued the familyís tradition until 1968 when Arthur retired.
It was then that the business moved to its present site at Hunter Lodge on Middleton Road in Heysham under Albert McVernon where a purpose built funeral home was built incorporating private chapels, a main chapel seating 40 people, a mortuary, offices and garages for their fleet of Daimler limousines.
In 1971, after service with the Royal Marines, Stewart McVernon joined his father in the family firm, Albert retired in 1981 leaving Stewart to continue over 100 years of family tradition who has now been joined by his two sons Jon and David.
Alex Willis Funeral Home is still expanding and has recently had a full refurbishment to provide the personal service to the community that has been its hallmark for over 125 years.