Dopkins Funeral Chapel
Since 1895, the Dopkins Funeral Chapel group has provided families with compassionate funeral and cremation services that celebrate and honor special lives. Our professional team listens to each family’s needs and ideas, makes thoughtful suggestions and considers every detail to create memorable memorials. With three locations, the Dopkins Funeral Chapel group guides families through difficult times with care. Our dedicated team is here to provide support and information to help you celebrate your loved one and navigate your grief.
Dinuba, Reedley, Orosi
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The Alta District’s leading provider of personalized funerals and cremation memorials
The Dopkins Funeral Chapel group team offers knowledge and compassion you can count on. Our experienced and caring staff blends traditional values withand services to memorialize every life in a unique way. Whether funeral or cremation, simple memorial or upbeat celebration of life, cemetery burial or columbarium niche, there are choices that reflect your personal preferences, family traditions and cultural values.
We are experienced in meeting the needs and wishes of families from all walks of life and a variety of faiths and cultures. With patience and care, we listen to what is important to you before creating a beautiful remembrance that truly reflects the memory of your loved one.
Losing someone you love can be very painful. Planning a funeral or cremation in advance makes it easier on your family. In fact, planning and ahead of time is among the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones.
When you plan ahead, you get to carefully consider your options and make choices that ensure your life is remembered and celebrated the way you want. You also help lock in today’s prices.
We are experts in pre-planning and offer in-person, phone and virtual consultations. We'll take the time to get to know you and carefully explain what's available, including paying in installments.
George Madison Dopkins was born on September 13, 1854, in Randolph, New York, to Joseph Case Dopkins (1820-1894) and Sarepta Cecilia Barnum (1821-1917). George was the fourth of their seven children.
In the late 1860s, Joseph moved his family to Bethany, Missouri, where they farmed.
George married Eliza Gillespie on August 5, 1877, and started his own farm in Jefferson, Missouri. Five years later, Eliza died of consumption. After her death, George moved to Traver, California. He gave up farming for carpentry and furniture building, opening a furniture store in Traver with a partner.
On October 26, 1887, George married Clara Irene Peacock. They had three children: Maye, Emma and Joe.
In 1895, George opened Dopkins Undertaking Parlor in the back room of his furniture store. Not long after, George split from his partner and the co-owned furniture store to open his own company. By 1912, George had moved his undertaking business to L Street in downtown Dinuba.
Dopkins grows with the community
As the community grew, so did George's business. In 1920, he decided to build a brand-new mortuary on the corner of South J and East Kern streets, where Dopkins Funeral Chapel still operates today. George died just a few years later, in 1923. His youngest child and only son, Joe, took over the business.
In 1930, Joe married Evelyn Gertrude Spence.
Evelyn was born in Hume, Missouri on March 24, 1901. She was the eldest of seven siblings. After finishing high school, Evelyn attended business college, where she studied merchandising. She came to California in 1922 and worked at S. Sweet Company of Visalia. Later, she became a buyer in the ladies ready-to-wear department at Gottschalks in Fresno. It was through a blind date she met Joe Dopkins.
They’d been married only six years when Joe died of a heart attack, leaving his 35-year-old widow to become who is believed to be the first woman to own and manage a funeral home in California. Those final years of The Great Depression were extremely hard, and Evelyn was quoted saying, “I did not know how I was going to do it, but I knew I would keep the doors of this funeral home open.”
The business weathers The Great Depression
She leaned on a longtime employee, Jesse Newman, who began working at Dopkins in 1929 and remained a faithful associate until he retired in 1961. During the hardest of times, when families had no money to pay for the care of their deceased loved ones, Jesse worked without compensation. “Jesse’s attitude,” Evelyn recalled, was “let’s serve the people first and worry about the money later.”
Evelyn married J. Wilfred Corr in 1944. He became her constant companion, though he wasn’t connected with the business directly. He was a lieutenant in the Naval Reserves and served 21 years as executive director of the California Funeral Directors Association. Wilfred died in 1969, at the age of 73. He and Evelyn had 25 years together.
Evelyn lived another 20 years; she died in 1989.
Serving families for nearly 130 years
Over the decades, the Dopkins Funeral Chapel group grew to include three locations:
- Dopkins Funeral Chapel in Dinuba, where a chapel was added to the original building on South J Street.
- Dopkins Reedley Funeral Chapel, which gives families a modern facility for funerals and receptions in Reedley and includes an on-site crematory.
- Dopkins Funeral Chapel in Orosi, which occupies a charming 1940s chapel.
In 2023, all three locations became part of the Dignity Memorial network, North America's largest provider of funerals, cremations and cemetery services.
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