In 1893, Richard Curtis Jay made a coffin for an indigent woman who had died on the dole. The embalmer who was serving Madera at the time refused to give the woman a funeral because she had no money. Jay stepped in and took care of the matter. The insensitivity of the embalmer prompted Jay to close his furniture store and enter the funeral business. He founded Jay Chapel, which continues to operate. Shown here on a horse-drawn hearse are Jay (in the derby) and Cornelius Curtin, owner of Curtin’s Livery Stable, at the reins.
In 1915, Jay Chapel put its horse-drawn hearse away and began to use this horseless carriage, a Studebaker hearse. The Jays gave it to the Madera High School for use in its driver-training program.