We have years of experience caring for families from all walks of life, cultures and faiths. Our unsurpassed staff and our family provide kind, caring, professional service. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession who are dedicated to excellence in service, adhere to the highest funeral industry standards, and have exceptional integrity. We consistently earn phenomenally high customer satisfaction survey results.
Our licensed, professional staff is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please call 559-674-8814 anytime. We will even come to you to make arrangements in the comfort of your home.
Prompt, compassionate service is always just a phone call away, where and when you need it.
President (FDR - 125)
Dan began his lifelong career in funeral service at age 19 as an apprentice at Sullivan-Odell Funeral Home in Hanford. Following that time he enrolled in the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science, graduating in 1963. Then, with the advent of the Vietnam War, Dan served his country in the U.S. Army as a surgical technician. Following his military service, Dan returned to California and to funeral service. In 1975 he and wife, Virginia (Jay), became partners with Bob and Priscilla Jay, and Richard and Fran Speelmon, at Jay Chapel in Madera. In 1984 Dan became President of Jay Chapel to continue the Jay Family time honored tradition, “service to families”. That tradition remains an important part of the Jay Chapel heritage serving the families of Madera County and the Central Valley.
With more than 50 years in funeral service Dan said, "I have been honored to help the many families through one of life's most difficult times, the loss of a beloved family member. This has also allowed us a way to give back through public service to our community. Our goal has always been to serve all families of the Central Valley of California to the best of our ability. From simple acts of kindness, to the special care during traumatic times, our guiding principles are to provide the most caring and sincere service. The goal is to always strive to be the best."
Dan is a past board member of the California Funeral Directors Association, founding member and past president of the Central Valley Funeral Directors Association, past president and board member of Hospice of Madera County, past president and member of the Madera Kiwanis Club, and chairman and member of Madera Municipal Airport Advisory Commission.
One of Dan’s favorite places to be is up in the air. He has a passion for flying and is a licensed commercial pilot, owning a twin engine Piper Seneca. He also enjoys history, so much so, that in 1992 he began the Madera County Historical Calendar, donating the proceeds from the calendar sales to community betterment programs.
Dan and Virginia have been married over 44 years and have three children, and two grandchildren who live in the valley.
Managing Partner (FDR 171)
Wayne A. Gomes, a Madera native and a lifelong resident of the Fresno and Madera areas, has served families for 42 years in his career of caring. A graduate of California State University Fresno, Wayne also served in the California Air National Guard for six years. For almost 25 years, Wayne served as a funeral director and general manager of Whitehurst Sullivan Burns & Blair Funeral Home in Fresno before joining the staff at Jay Chapel in 2000 as Manager and Vice-President. In 2019 he became the Managing Partner of Jay Chapel. Active in numerous community activities, he is a past-president and former board member of the Central California Funeral Directors Association. He is a past board member of the Cal Iota Alumni Association of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. He currently serves as President on the Board of his Homeowners Association. Wayne is a past 25-year member of the Board of Directors of the Fresno County Cabrillo Civic Club #10 and served as District Governor for Fresno, Kings, and Tulare Counties. Over the years, Wayne has served on several committees of the Catholic Diocese of Fresno. He is a member of the Serra Club of the Diocese and a member of the Italian Catholic Federation, the Knights of Columbus, and the Catholic Business and Professional Club. A friend to many families at 1st Armenian Presbyterian Church, Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, St. Paul Armenian Church, and at St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Fresno, where he has been a volunteer at the annual Greek Food Festival for more than a decade. Wayne often remarks that his family gatherings are more like a UN meeting with so many nationalities represented in his family's relationships, whether it be Portuguese, Italian, Armenian, Greek, Mexican. Basque or Japanese. His ties run deep into the fabric of the diverse San Joaquin Valley, and that is why so many people look for his guidance when planning a funeral service.
Office Manager & Funeral Director (FDR-4041)
Rhonda joined Jay Chapel in 2011 as the Office Manager and recently received her Funeral Director License. She feels by assisting the families with the insurance and financial needs helps relieve some of the burden attributed to a funeral. It is necessary to support the families we serve by performing many of the tasks that are unseen by the public. This is important work with a short time to complete these tasks. Born in Germany, but was raised in the Fresno/Clovis area and graduated from Immanuel High School in Reedley. Rhonda received her Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Phoenix. Rhonda is married to Jeff and together they have one son and one daughter. Rhonda is a lifelong member of Bethany Church in Fresno. She enjoys volunteering in the church nursery and kitchen. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, baking and playing with her grandchildren.
Funeral Director (FDR-1202) & Embalmer (EMB-7219)
Mark, is a “Grad” of El Camino High School, class of 1975, in Carmichael, CA. Following graduation he was called to serve as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1976 – 1978. Upon his return Mark continued his education and graduated from Cypress College of Mortuary Science, where he received the Hilgenfeld Award for Funeral Directing Excellence. Mark began his career as a funeral director at Jay Chapel in 1978, and quickly became a valued part of the community. In 1980, he met and married his wonderful wife, Janet Brosi, a native of Madera. They have been blessed with six children (all of whom are graduates of Madera High School) and twenty one grandchildren. Over the years, Mark has served in various positions with the LDS Church including that of Bishop from 1984 – 1990, and is currently serving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a Patriarch in the Fresno West Stake. In the Community, Mark managed the Madera area of the National Little League for 12 years, while serving concurrently as a board member. He has a passion for service in the Boy Scouts of America. He has served as a Scoutmaster, Thunderbird District Commissioner, Thunderbird District Chairman, and is currently serving as Chartering Organizational Head of Pack, Troop, Crew and Team 331, Thunderbird District Vice-Chairman, and as an Executive Board Member of the Sequoia Council. He says, “My greatest desire is to help people move through the grief process, what I consider the most difficult period of life following the death of someone close, and help them become an active and viable member of society again.”
Jorge is a lifelong resident of Madera. He attended K-12 schools in Madera, graduating from Madera South High School in 2015. Jorge holds a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in philosophy and religious studies from Mount Angel Seminary, Oregon. While in college, Jorge founded a non-profit organization. He served as the President and Chairman for Seminarians for a Culture of Life, a member of the College Councils Advisory Board of the Knights of Columbus Supreme Office, and various non-profit organizations. Jorge’s passion for service led him to Jay Chapel in early 2020. He describes serving families at Jay Chapel as a “blessing and an opportunity to understand the complexity of human life better.” He remarks, “The ability to serve families and be present to them in their time of need is an honor.” In his own words: “being a part of a caring and dedicated team at Jay Chapel is a pleasure and privilege. The compassionate directors, office staff, and ambassadors have demonstrated the highest care for the people we serve, those living, and those who have passed. There is much diligent planning that goes into the funeral process, and Jay Chapel takes the task of laying a loved one to rest with much honor and respect. From the moment a family calls or walks through the doors of Jay Chapel, we are dedicated to ensuring that their needs are met and their questions answered. Jay Chapel is all about the people and families whom we serve”.
Funeral Director (FDR-1295) & Embalmer (EMB-6324)
Les Riffel was born and raised in Orland, California. Upon graduating from High school he attended Fresno Pacific College (University) graduating with a degree in Business Administration in 1971. Les began his career in the funeral service as a summer job during his junior year at FPC. He then attended California College of Mortuary Science in Los Angeles graduating in 1972. In 1973 Les added his name to those serving at Jay Chapel in Madera, and has remained dedicated and committed to the families we serve ever since. Les believes that service in the community helps the community maintain and strengthen core values as a society. He is a member of the Madera Breakfast Lions Club, Madera County Historical Society, Cornerstone Community Church in Chowchilla, and Secretary Treasurer of the Central Valley Funeral Directors Association. Having been raised on a farm, working the soil, Les enjoys helping people with their yard and lawn care, as well as caring for his own yard and vegetable garden. He and his wife, Esther, are blessed with two children, Lisa and Brian, and one granddaughter.
Funeral Director (FDR-4347) & Embalmer (EMB-9555)
Advanced Planning Counselor
Willie Cortez Jr. was born and raised in Merced County. He is an Army veteran and has enjoyed being a servant in the community. He has many talents and has been blessed to use those skills in work history as a firefighter, working with the corrections department, as a construction superintendent and now serving as a Family Service Counselor. He is married with 5 children. He enjoys mentoring and coaching his children and their teammates in their sporting activities and loves serving the Lord and spreading God’s word
Office Assistant & Bookkeeper
Cyndi has been a part of the Jay Chapel family for 15 years. Her degree and background is in Accounting. Her responsibilities include filing state permits and documents required for services, maintaining good communication with physicians, hospitals and clergy to help our office run smoothly, as well as designing personal memorial folders and video tributes for families. She also assists in the book keeping areas at Jay Chapel. Cyndi is a member of the Madera Historical Society, member of the Madera Arts Council, member of the Madera Quilt Guild, member of P.E.O – chapter V.O. of Madera (Philanthropic Educational Organization, which is a Christian group supporting education for women). She also enjoys pottery and watercolor painting.