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From furniture to caskets; kindness carried on

For The Madera Tribune

From left are Ella Jay, Richard Curtis Jay, Robert Seldon Jay Mattie Jay, and Mrs. Richard Curtis Jay, circa 1895.


Richard Curtis Jay was a remarkable person. Among his many laudable attributes was his concern for the underprivileged of Madera.

It is a well-known fact that it was the plight of a destitute, local woman that took him out of the furniture business and transformed him into a mortician. That same concern for those less fortunate than himself was passed on to his descendants and continues to this very day.

It was in 1893, the year of Madera County’s birth, that Jay learned about a Madera resident who had died penniless and had been refused burial by the town’s only undertaker. Jay was incensed! Being a furniture dealer and having some skill at woodworking, he proceeded to direct his expertise toward another arena.


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