Fairhaven Blog

Things of interest around Fairhaven.

Fairhaven Memorial Park Honors Alzheimer’s Caregiver, Everyday Heroes for Selfless Contributions

Charity Gallardo - Monday, December 07, 2015

Gina Moran, a dedicated caregiver, has made it her life’s work to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Serving as the primary caregiver for her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 years ago, Gina understands first-hand the frustration and difficulties of being a caregiver – and often overcomes daily challenges with a sense of humor in the face of losing a loved one to this tragic disease. 

Gina, the November/December honoree, also represents her impassioned personal experience at Alzheimer’s  Orange County (formerly Alzheimer's Association, Orange County chapter), where she is a community outreach specialist. She works closely with physicians and community and interfaith leaders to raise awareness of available resources. Gina, and five previously identified honorees, received recognition at the Fairhaven Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet at Fairhaven Memorial Services in Mission Viejo on November 18.

“While Alzheimer’s disease has touched generations of my family, I’m grateful for every day I have with my mother as she continues to fight the disease,” said Gina. “As a caregiver, my first concern is always my mother, and I’m truly moved to be recognized in this way, with this award, and for the opportunity to help increase awareness for Alzheimer’s.”

At the Nov. 18 banquet, each of the six honorees were presented with a crystal statue by Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven, and Michael Alarcon, manager of Fairhaven Memorial Services, during a special awards presentation. The honorees also were asked to select a nonprofit to receive a special donation in their honor.

“Our Care Award winners exemplify the giving spirit and compassionate nature that is found in caregivers from every walk of life,” said Marla. “Our founder, Oliver Halsell, recognized the importance of showing gratitude to these individuals years ago and it is a tradition we’re proud to keep alive at Fairhaven.”

The 2015 Care Award honorees include:

Theresa Jamieson (Corona): staffing coordinator at Orange County Global Medical Center and the January/February winner

Arnetta Robinson (Newport Beach): community relations liaison at Sea Crest Home Health and Hospice; March/April

Dr. Lowell Kleinman (San Clemente): doctor specializing in palliative care at Memorial Care Medical Group; May/June

Rabbi Reuven Mintz (Newport Beach): spiritual and grief counselor at Hoag Hospital, director of the Chabad Jewish Center in Newport Beach, a leader of The Friendship Circle; July/August

Pat Maruzewski (Laguna Woods): volunteer with OC Hospice; September/October

Gina Moran (Santa Ana): community outreach specialist at Alzheimer’s Association Orange County; November/December

For more than 100 years, our connection to the community has extended beyond memorial services. It is not only a place to remember loved ones who have died, but a place to celebrate new memories and traditions, including memorial services, receptions and other great events, such as the Care Awards.

We are accepting nominations for the 2016 Oliver Halsell Care Awards. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, visit: http://www.fairhavenmemorial.com/community/oliver-halsell-care-award or email CareAwards@FairhavenMemorial.com

Patricia Maruzewski Receives Recognition for Work in Senior Care

Charity Gallardo - Friday, September 11, 2015

Patricia Maruzewski has a long history of helping others and is dedicated to improving the lives of those she touches every day. Once recognized as Secretary of the Year by the International Association of Administrative Professionals, and currently works in security at Laguna Woods, Maruzewski keeps busy. She donates her time to many community organizations including Alzheimer’s Association, Orange County and Saddleback Coordinating Council. She also regularly volunteers with OC Hospice.

“Patricia’s caring spirit and dedication to helping others is truly a gift to the community,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to recognize volunteers, like Patricia, for their continued commitment to improving the lives of many.”

Maruzewski’s involvement with Orange County nonprofits began after the tragic passing of her husband. Fueled by a passion to help others in their time of need, she derives great joy from caring for individuals through challenging life situations. In her work at OC Hospice, she helps to coordinate files for new volunteers and provides emotional and administrative support during difficult times in many people’s lives.

"I enjoy meeting and helping people in any way I can and strive to make an impact on people’s everyday lives,” said Maruzewski. “Even something that seems small to us may be the turning point in someone’s day, and I’m happy to provide that little bit of hope.”

Maruzewski will be honored at the Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at our Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year's worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, we will make a donation on her behalf to her selected charity, OC Hospice.

We are accepting nominations for the 2015/2016 Oliver Halsell Care Awards. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, visit: http://www.fairhavenmemorial.com/community/oliver-halsell-care-award or email CareAwards@FairhavenMemorial.com

Rabbi Reuven Mintz Recognized for Faith-based Care at Hoag Hospital

Charity Gallardo - Friday, July 17, 2015

Rabbi Reuven Mintz is the director of the Chabad Jewish Center in Newport Beach, a leader of The Friendship Circle, a volunteer at Pastoral Care Services at Hoag Hospital and the July/August recipient of the Oliver Halsell Care Award. Rabbi Mintz wears many different hats, and his passions lie in making the lives and well being of others a priority during times of need. He also is known for protecting and guiding the lives of others, and offers solace to those whose lives come to an unfortunate end.

“Rabbi Mintz’ warmth and commitment to others are true characteristics of an effective, and selfless, caregiver,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “His dedication to the care of others, and his compassion and ability to help people heal, not just physically but also spiritually and emotionally, makes all the difference for those in need.” 

As a member of the clergy, Rabbi Mintz provides a beacon of hope in good times and bad for the Jewish community, and other faiths. Rabbi Mintz also fulfills his passion for helping others by offering spiritual guidance to patients, families and staff at Hoag Hospital, during times of uncertainty and doubt. At The Friendship Circle, he works to pair nearly 200 volunteers with special needs youth and adults to provide self-confidence and a sense of belonging to an often-overlooked community. Through unique programs and activities, including, summer and winter camps, basketball leagues, physical fitness and art programs and home placement, The Friendship Circle provides the special needs community with the environment needed to mature in a dignified and responsible way.

"There is no greater joy than the joy derived through helping others, especially those who need it most,” said Rabbi Mintz. “The pastoral care services at Hoag helps people cope with loss and sickness during dark periods of their life and I’m honored to be a part of this supportive system, among other groups.”

Rabbi Mintz will be honored at our Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at our Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year's worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, we will make a donation on his behalf to his selected charity, The Friendship Circle.

We are accepting nominations for the 2015 Oliver Halsell Care Awards. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, visit: http://www.fairhavenmemorial.com/community/oliver-halsell-care-award or email CareAwards@FairhavenMemorial.com.

Put the Phone Down and Say ‘No’ to Distracted Driving

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, June 09, 2015

A Fairhaven Memorial employee guest blogs her personal experience

As a long-time New Yorker, I never needed a car to get around. With easy access to subways, buses and taxis, many lifelong New Yorkers don’t even have a driver license.

Life in Southern California is a different story. In order to get anywhere, driving is a necessity. However, since it’s something we do every day, we tend to forget that each time we get into our cars we put lives at risk – not only our own but also the lives of others on the road.

In California, several thousand people are killed annually in car accidents, many of which were the result of distracted driving. They didn’t need to happen.

We’ve all been guilty of it. Your cell phone rings and you know it’ll be a quick call so you choose not to use a hands-free option. You get a text message and can’t resist the urge to reply immediately. You can’t keep yourself from checking your Facebook news feed while sitting in traffic on the freeway. You fumble with your GPS or phone to check traffic conditions or get directions to your destination.

Last Tuesday morning, on my way to work, I was driving 22 miles per hour in a school zone on a major street. I had the right of way when a woman turned left from a stop sign and crashed into my car. My airbags deployed, my body was jostled and my beloved car was wrecked. At less than 30 miles per hour, the damage was beyond repair.

After assessing the situation, I got out of my car to check on the other driver. “I didn’t even see you!” were the first words she said to me. She was holding her iPad and rummaging around the floor for her cell phone. She was clearly distracted. I wondered what was so important for her to read on her iPad screen – was it worth it? In a split-second moment of poor judgment on her part, I am left with having to buy a new car and dealing with insurance, medical appointments, mounds of paperwork, and lingering pain.

In comparison to our lives and well-being, no distraction is worth the risk of injury or death. We have a false sense of control when behind the wheel, especially when our minds are elsewhere. We think we have a good view of our surroundings. We think we’re safe. We think it won’t happen to us. But in a split second everything can change.

I’m grateful to say that neither of us was severely injured last week. I’m grateful my car did what it was designed to do: give up its life to save mine. I’m grateful for family and insurance.

I work in the funeral industry and come face-to-face with death every day so I know the results could have been drastically different. No text or phone call is worth it. Distracted driving is dangerous and destructive … it can even be deadly. So please do your part and say ‘NO’ to distracted driving. 

Memorial Care Doctor Honored for Compassion, Developments in Palliative Care

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Dr. Lowell Kleinman is a family physician with MemorialCare Health System and MemorialCare Medical Group and the May/June recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award

For San Clemente resident Dr. Lowell, being a doctor is much more than just treating patients – it’s about improving an individual’s quality of life. Through his work as, Lowell realized his passion for palliative medicine and controlling the often-devastating symptoms of a chronic illness. Lowell advocates for the needs of patients dealing with longstanding chronic illnesses, as well as the painful final stages of a terminal disease.

“Dr. Kleinman is an extraordinary leader in palliative medicine – an area that truly benefits patients struggling with their chronic disease,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “Compassionate individuals, such as Dr. Kleinman, make all the difference when a patient needs comfort and relief from their pain.”

Lowell begins a typical day treating patients – both adults and children – who have been diagnosed with various chronic illnesses. After devoting a full day at the office, he spends his afternoons visiting patients at Memorial Care Hospital whose physicians believed they could benefit from palliative care. Lowell also led the development of two programs: the MemorialCare Medical Group Palliative Care Clinic, a program within his office created to help patients determine their goals of care and aid in the management of symptoms; and Saddleback Hospital’s Palliative Care Inpatient Program, a service provided to hospital patients. He also helped develop two palliative care in-home programs to treat patients unable to leave their homes.

"Palliative care has become a passion of mine – I hope to have even more focus in this important area in the future," said Lowell. "People wonder why I don’t become depressed in my line of work, but I believe this is the purest form of medicine – helping people at a time when they need it most and giving them what they need to alleviate the severity of their symptoms."

In addition to his board certification as a family physician, Lowell also received his board certification in hospice and palliative care. He also is a longtime member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Lowell will be honored at Fairhaven's Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at our Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year's worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, we will make a donation on his behalf to his selected charity, Family Assistance Ministries.

We are accepting nominations for the 2015 Oliver Halsell Care Awards. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, visit: http://www.fairhavenmemorial.com/community/oliver-halsell-care-award or email CareAwards@FairhavenMemorial.com

Newport Beach Woman Honored for End of Life Care

Charity Gallardo - Monday, March 16, 2015

Arnetta Robinson, community relations liaison at Sea Crest Home Health and Hospice, is the March/April 2015 recipient of our Oliver Halsell Care Award.

“Close your eyes and imagine what your last day would look like.” This is the scenario Arnetta Robinson presents her patients on a daily basis. As community relations liaison, knowing how a person would like to spend his/her last day is as important to Robinson as memorializing the life they already lived.

With more than 20 years experience in the healthcare industry, Robinson began her career in outpatient physical therapy. But after her sister lost her 16-year battle with lupus in 2002, Robinson changed course and transitioned to hospice to help improve the quality of life for people battling terminal illnesses. She now spends her days traveling throughout Orange County to meet with patients and their families to discuss how they would like to live out their remaining days.

“Arnetta is dedicated to bringing comfort, compassion, and good quality care to patients and their families at one of the most difficult periods of their lives,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “Her work is admirable and she truly serves from the heart, just as Oliver Halsell did more than a century ago.”

For Robinson, no patient request is too great. She recalls one man in Sea Crest’s cardiac program who loved hamburgers but couldn’t eat them for health reasons. After learning the man was terminal and near the end, Robinson drove to In-N-Out Burger to fulfill his dying request. Whether it’s a burger, flowers, chocolates or a party, Robinson assists in any way to ensure her patients finish out their lives in the best way possible. Making herself available to work any time, including nights and weekends, Robinson admits there is no separation between her personal and professional lives – the two are intertwined.

In addition to working for Sea Crest, Robinson also is Chairwoman of the Board for Pacific Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation, an organization created to provide patients with improved end of life care and families with bereavement services, despite any hardship they may be facing. Robinson also has a passion for working with people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. She is an advocate for Alzheimer's Association, Orange County, is a POLST (Physicians' Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) educator for the Orange County Aging Services Collaborative and a past chair of the Alzheimer's Family Service Center’s "A Gathering of Friends” gala.

In what little spare time Robinson has, she visits with friends and family, travels and raises awareness for hospice and pre-planning through her blog Hip Hospice Gal.

“It can be difficult for people to talk about death and dying,” said Robinson. “When people realize they’re dying, it’s scary. I do my best to help them work through their fear and get the conversation started.”

Robinson will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation on her behalf to her selected charity, Pacific Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation.

We are currently accepting nominations for the 2015 Oliver Halsell Care Awards. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email

Pets Are Family, Too!

- Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Fairhaven Memorial Park President Marla Noel“It came to me that every time I lose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them; and every new dog that comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all of the components of my heart will be dog and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”

- Anonymous

This saying rings true for any pet – they not only claim a piece of our hearts but become a part of our families. This makes losing a pet as difficult as losing a human loved one.

I was reminded of this just last week when one of our Fairhaven families lost their eight-year-old dog, Buck. He died unexpectedly, throwing the family into an emotional tailspin. At first they discussed getting a “new Buck.” However, once the shock wore off, they realized just how painful their loss truly was. When they opened the freezer to get ice, Buck always came running to snag a piece – but no happy canine came running now. When they returned home from a full day of running errands, he greeted them at the door with a toy clenched in his teeth – but now they come home to an empty house. The reality of his loss bit them hard and they couldn’t imagine getting another dog so soon. It would literally be like replacing a member of the family.

Eventually, the pain of loss subsides and time fosters healing. It can be difficult to tell children or adults grieving over a lost pet that it is healthy to grieve and everything will be better in time, but that is the truth. And actually, losing a pet can teach a family how to grieve. Our world today promotes strength and stoicism – showing emotion is often viewed as being weak. However, it is only when you allow yourself to feel sorrow that you can truly appreciate joy. Accepting the pain that comes with loss helps to relieve it. Some families are fortunate in that they don’t experience the loss of a beloved family member until later in life, so losing a family pet can prepare the entire family for the inevitable grieving process that is a necessary part of life.

We tell our families that part of the grieving process is commemorating a loved one’s life. Buck’s family plans to display photos of him in their home, which will help them feel his presence and remember their love for him. Another family I know assembled their favorite photos in a photo book, using the currently popular digital process, and made books for several grieving family members. And while animal funeral ceremonies are not very common, oftentimes families want to remain close to their pets that have passed – some keep their pet’s ashes in an urn or wooden box in a place of honor in the home, others bury them in their backyard.

However you choose to memorialize your pet and grieve – know that you’re not alone. And don’t be afraid to acknowledge the pain you feel. It’s understandable to feel and experience pain after losing a loved one – furry or not – who will forever have a place in your heart.

Western Medical Center Administrator Named First Honoree of Our 4th Annual Oliver Halsell Care Awards

Charity Gallardo - Friday, January 30, 2015

Theresa Jamieson, staffing coordinator at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, is the January 2015 recipient of our Oliver Halsell Care Award.

For many years, Theresa wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps by pursuing a career in nursing. After obtaining her Associate of Science in Human Biology from Santa Ana College, she began working as a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood during a time when HIV was a relatively new disease. Theresa was responsible for educating patients about HIV, providing them with testing and guidance. It was there that she learned her true calling was education.

“During her four decades in the care industry, Theresa has provided exceptional education and direction for her patients and staff,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “Her positive attitude is an inspiring trait in her line of work – a characteristic we honor with the Oliver Halsell Care Award.”

As staffing coordinator, Theresa wears many hats. In addition to assigning nurses to patients and ensuring quality care, she also helps educate nursing staff, acts as a liaison between floors, handles decedent affairs and assists patients and families with filling out necessary paperwork.

“Theresa is constantly going above and beyond her job duties,” said Sandra Moreno, Director of Nursing at Western Medical Center. “She’s always more than willing to help and does so with a kind and loving heart.”

Theresa will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements within the local community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation on her behalf to her selected charity, Alzheimer’s Association, Orange County – in honor of Theresa’s grandmother who passed away from the disease.

We are currently accepting nominations for the 2015 Oliver Halsell Care Awards. For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, click here or send us an email

A Movie is Worth a Million Words

- Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this day of technology, a movie is worth so much more. With the New Year upon us, creating a movie of your loved one may be the perfect way to commemorate his or her life, and a great way to capture memories that can be replayed for years to come.

A few years ago, I was fortunate to be able to have a professional company videotape my parents. Initially, Mom and Dad were uncomfortable with this process. However, the woman, Mary Ann Osness from CorElAnn Video Productions spoke gently as she interviewed my parents, helping them to relax. She asked about where they grew up, how they met and many other questions.

During my father’s funeral service, we played the movie; my nephew read a eulogy; and my sister, niece and a few close friends spoke. I couldn’t have talked without sobbing, and didn’t try. After the service, many commented on how much they appreciated seeing the movie. The video of my father brought tears to everyone’s eyes and even a few chuckles when my father made humorous comments.

On the recording, my father talked about how he met – and courted – my mother. Few people in the audience knew what a true romantic my father was. He talked about a vacation we’d experienced and many other memories. My father talked for maybe ten wonderful minutes, which we shared with those who attended his funeral.

We will have this video of my father to show great-great-grandchildren someday, along with the pictures, of which there are many. But a movie with my father talking, his mannerisms, his voice, the way he used his hands to emphasize what he was saying and his sense of humor, is so much more meaningful. This movie is a precious memory.

I have suggested this type of movie to others. One of my friends who had just months to live came to me to pre-arrange her funeral. She followed my suggestion and made a movie with Mary Ann. In her video, she talked about so many things; about her vacations, her community involvement, and the many aspects of her life of which her children weren’t aware. She started several organizations and helped so many people. She was truly an inspiring woman. She did not brag or boast, but talked about the things she enjoyed.

The woman’s children were in their early twenties, too young for children of their own. They will be able to share her with their children and those who follow, because she knew how precious a movie would be for them. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a movie, so much more.

Always in Our Hearts

Cynthia Adair - Friday, December 19, 2014

For the past two evenings Waverley Chapel was filled with families who came together to remember loved ones they lost throughout the year. “Always in Our Hearts”, is our annual holiday remembrance program dedicated to our families who experienced the loss of a loved one. We invite all families to join us at this special service for a time to honor and cherish the special people no longer with us this holiday season. It is also a wonderful opportunity to connect with others who have experienced loss and who understand that the holidays can be a difficult time.


Chaplain Randy Hill shared some “Hope for the Holidays”, reminding us that even though the holidays can be sad after a loss, there is still always something to celebrate. The names of the loved ones that people came to honor were read and a member of their family came forward to accept a memorial ornament. The program concluded with the singing of holiday songs, lead by Tim Ringgold. Joy to the World was the last song of the evening.


Our goal is to provide our families with a special event where they can find comfort and support and leave filled with compassion and hope. It is an evening to remember those who will be Always in Our Hearts. Before our families left Chaplain Hill read a poem by Wanda Bencke, My First Christmas in Heaven.

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below

with tiny lights, like Heaven's stars, reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear,

for I am spending Christmas with God this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear

but the sounds of music can't compare,

with the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,

for it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart

but I am not so far away, we really aren't apart.

So be happy for me, dear ones, you know I hold you dear.

And be glad I'm spending Christmas with God this year.

I send you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.

I send you each a memory of my undying love.

So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear.

Remember, I am spending Christmas with God this year.


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