White-Emerson Mortuary began in 1894 after the White family traveled from Iowa to the small Quaker community of Whittier, California. Addison White, our founder, started “E.H. White Furniture and Undertaking”, named after his wife, Eliza.
Shortly after the turn of the century, Addison’s son, David H., took the helm. David H. built a new building and moved the firm in 1918 from its original location on south Greenleaf to its current location on Philadelphia St. In 1923 he formed a successful partnership with C.E. Emerson, and they worked together for nearly two decades until David’s death in 1942.
Rowland D. White, son of David H., had worked for the firm since his youth. Upon the death of his father, Rowland took over his father’s ownership of the company as a partner to Mr. Emerson. C.E. Emerson passed away in 1961, and Rowland became sole owner before his untimely death only two months later.
The family tradition carried on as David E. White, Rowland’s eldest son, took the reins at only 25 years of age. Five years later, in 1966, the White family purchased Coleman Mortuary in La Habra. Coleman Mortuary continued to operate under that name until the two mortuaries and their services were consolidated in 2007 to form one organization, White-Emerson.
Tragedy struck in 1987 with the Whittier Narrows Earthquake. The beautiful building built by David H. White was destroyed. David E. White’s son, Philip R., stepped up to oversee construction of our present day facility. Philip continued to manage the firm for several years before purchasing it from his father in 1997.
At present, Philip R. White, the fifth generation of the White family, continues to provide the same care that has been a comfort to thousands of families for over a century.
Pictured above: The original funeral home building, 1894