History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

Our History

Joel A. Whitehurst, Founder

Born in San Jose, Mr. Joel A. Whitehurst entered the funeral business in 1911. Together with his wife Anne, purchased a partnership in the Stockton and Ives Funeral Chapel in Los Banos in 1921. Interestingly, along with funerals, they also operated the local ambulance service. Mrs. Anne Whitehurst practiced as a home nurse and midwife and Mr. Joel Whitehurst drove the only school bus in town, he also did some carpentry jobs to make ends meet.
The Whitehurst Family soon bought out Mr. Ives and operated the little funeral home in downtown Los Banos until 1941, when the business was taken over by their son, Joel Whitehurst, II. After serving in the Air Force during World War II, Joel II and his brother Bill expanded the business to include Dos Palos and Firebaugh.
In 1967 the Los Banos Chapel moved to a beautiful new building on Center Avenue across from the Cemetery. In 1975 a brand new building was built in Dos Palos. Joel II passed away in 2002 and the business went to his sons, Joel III,  Al and Tony.
Joel A Whitehurst III, currently manages the Los Banos, Dos Palos and Firebaugh branches
Times have changed but the motto is still the same. "Treat each family as if they were our own, with dignity and respect".


Our Valued Staff

Mr. Joel A. Whitehurst III

Mr. Joel A. Whitehurst III, Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer - Owner

Joel Whitehurst, III, is a third generation funeral director. He is President and owner of Whitehurst Funeral Chapels, Inc.
Joel was born and reared in Los Banos where he graduated from Los Banos High School. He received his Bachelors Degree in Business from Santa Clara University. He graduated from San Francisco College of Mortuary Science. Joel is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer. He manages the day to day operations of our Los Banos Branch. He is a member and supporter of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, and is a US Navy veteran and a licensed pilot.
Joel resides in Los Banos. He has two adult children and one grandson. When not working, he enjoys flying, gardening, working out at the gym and doting on his grandchild.

Joel can be reached at our Los Banos Branch (209) 826-4242.


Mrs. Sandy S. Terranova

Mrs. Sandy S. Terranova, Accounting Administrator

Sandy Terranova has been a valuable employee of Whitehurst Funeral Chapels, Inc. since October 1999. Sandy was hired as a bookkeeper. She spent most of her childhood in Los Banos, but lived in Colorado for a while before returning to Los Banos in 1994. She earned her Associates Degree in 1998. She received her Life Agent License from the State of California in 2002. She completed the Law Review and Arrangement Counselor Training Seminar in 2005 to qualify to make funeral arrangements.
She now wears many hats: Accounting Administrator, Human Resource and Office Manager, Advance Planning Counselor and Custom Headstone Designer.
She married a native of Los Banos, Joe Terranova in 2007. When not working Sandy most enjoys family get-together's, barbeques, camping, fishing and traveling. Her philosophy in life "FAMILY IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET" and she practices this in her contacts with the families that visit our funeral home.

Sandy may be reached at the Los Banos Branch (209) 826-4242 or you may email her at sandy@whitehurstfunerals.com


Mrs. Elvia Barrios

Mrs. Elvia Barrios, Administrative Assistant

Elvia Barrios relocated to Dos Palos, CA from Ventura, CA in 2005 after she married. She began working for Whitehurst Funeral Chapels, Inc. in October the same year. She is originally from Zacatecas, Mexico. Elvia is bi-lingual and has proven herself valuable to Whitehurst Funeral Chapels, Inc. Although Elvia came to us with no experience in the death care industry. Her usual compassionate and organized nature aided her in embracing the industry and she rapidly learned the operations. Employed as an Administrative Assistant, In April 2012, Elvia attended the "Law Review and Arrangement Counselor Training Seminar" in Sacramento and is qualified as a Funeral Arrangement Counselor. She also trained and is fully competent with the Electronic Death Registration System.
Elvia is married, has one child and resides Los Banos, CA. Family is important to Elvia. When not working she enjoys time spent with her husband, son, siblings and extended family.

Elvia may be reached at the Dos Palos Branch at (209) 392-3481 or you may email her at: ebarrios@whitehurstfunerals.com


Ms. Maria E. Lopez

Ms. Maria E. Lopez, Funeral Arrangement Counselor

Maria E. Lopez has been with Whitehurst Funeral Chapels, Inc. since 2002. She began working in the Firebaugh office as a part time receptionist and gradually began assisting as a translator and assisting on services. While translating, Maria began to grasp the arrangement counselor duties and prepared for the position that she now holds by attending the Law Review and Arrangement Counselor Training Seminar in 2005. She is now a capable Arrangement Counselor, serving families of all nationalities and faiths.
Maria's goal is to treat all families with as much concern and attention to detail as possible; and therefore, strives to comfort families as friends.
Maria resides in Firebaugh with her three children and three grandchildren.

Maria may be reached at our Los Banos branch at (209) 826-4242 or you may email her at maria@whitehurstfunerals.com.


Pastor Floyd Lozada Jr.

Pastor Floyd Lozada Jr., Minister & Removal Personnel

Floyd J. Lozada, Jr. has been with Whitehurst Funeral Chapels, Inc. since 2011. Floyd is a minister and part of our removal personnel staff. He was born a raised in Modesto, CA. He married his high school sweetheart Rosie in 1995. Floyd is currently the Senior Pastor of West Valley Revival Center in Gustine, CA. He has been a pastor for over a decade. Floyd is an avid fan of the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland A's. He enjoys attending baseball games with his family. He and his wife have three wonderful children.


Mr. Salvador (Sal) Contreras

Mr. Salvador (Sal) Contreras, Removal Personnel and Monument Fabricator

Salvador Calderon Contreras has been with Whitehurst Funeral Chapels, Inc. for 20 years. Sal has been associated with the Whitehurst family since the early 1980's.
He was born in Michoacan, Mexico. He came to California in the 60's and to Los Banos, CA in 1977. Sal is part of our removal personnel staff, he assists on services, translates and fabricates our custom line of headstones for our Monument Division. Sal will perform any other duty that is asked of him.
He is a minister at his church. Through his church ministry, Sal takes missions to Mexico delivering food, clothing and school supplies, etc. to underprivileged families.
Sal is married and has three adult children. When not working, he shares his time between his ranch and his horses and his family.


Mr. Tony Whitehurst

Mr. Tony Whitehurst, Facilities Improvement Facilitator - Owner

Anthony (Tony) Whitehurst, an owner of Whitehurst Funeral Chapels. Inc. was born and reared in Los Banos. Tony graduated from Los Banos High School, class of 1968. He received his Bachelors Degree from University of California Davis and his Masters in Science from University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
Tony is very active in city government. He is a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, a 39 year member of the Rotary Club, an Oddfellow and Native Son. He is also the Chamber of Commerce President Elect, where he has been an active member since the mid 70's. Tony served two terms as Merced County Supervisor of District 5.
Currently at Whitehurst, Tony oversees and maintains the facilities improvements along with assisting on funeral services.
Tony lives in Los Banos, is married with five adult children, and four grandchildren. Tony has one deceased son. When not working He enjoys annual Alaska fishing trips with his brother Al, snow skiing, and flying, repairing and upgrading their airplanes.