Fairhaven Blog

Things of interest around Fairhaven.

Hippity Hoppity, Easter’s on its Way…

Charity Gallardo - Monday, March 11, 2013

Fairhaven Memorial Park will host its 19th annual Easter Sunrise Service, “Everlasting Grace” at 6 a.m. on Sunday, March 31, 2013 in front of the Historic Mausoleum.

Our featured guest speaker, representing the CBMC, is Dan Campbell, who will deliver a message of “Everlasting Grace”. Also participating will be Reverend Chris Singer from St. John Lutheran Church of Orange who will share the message of Easter and Pastor Rick McGee, who will give the Invocation and Benediction.

Set against the backdrop of our newly renovated Historic Mausoleum within Fairhaven’s beautiful park-like setting, the Sunrise Service will be an hour of celebration. The event features music by The Praise Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Helen Weed and comprised of talented instrumentalists from all over Southern California, The Celebration Choir, made up of members from the Calvary Church Choir of Santa Ana and The Orange County Community Praise Choir of Southern California, under the direction Harden Walker. The service will also feature an unforgettable dramatic production and a White Dove release.

Gates open at 5:30 am and transportation is available from the parking area to the service venue. The Service is from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 am. Refreshments will be served and there will be a special visit from the Easter Bunny.

Come join us on this glorious morning to experience the grace that is Easter!



What's Our Real Legacy?

Charity Gallardo - Monday, March 04, 2013

Guest blogger Jane Shafron talks about the value of family stories

We spend a lot of time worrying about money, don't we? First, do we have enough for ourselves? Should we work more or work longer; are we saving enough; can we afford that trip; and how much should we spend on ourselves and on gifts?

Later, the questions change. We start to reflect on our mortality and our legacy and we think about preplanning for the inevitable. Have we made our funeral or memorial arrangements; do we have our wills and estate plans in place? And how much will we be leaving to the children and grandchildren? Very often these are dollar and cents questions.

But is money our greatest and most important legacy?

According to a major study by the Allianz Life Insurance Company, money is not our greatest legacy. And it’s not just Allianz who is telling us this, it's us! During the course of last year, Allianz commissioned the 2012 “American Legacies Pulse Study” - an update of their groundbreaking 2005 study. The results may surprise you – they certainly surprised me.

It turns out that money is not our greatest legacy:

Eighty-six percent of “baby boomers” (age 47-66) and 74 percent of “elders” (age 72 and older) said that family stories are the most important aspect of their legacy. Family stories! Money and the passing of personal possessions are still important, but less so: 64 percent of baby boomers and 58 percent of elders checked that box.

This echoes the findings in 2005, with 77 percent of both boomers and elders citing the importance of family values and life lessons as the most important part of their legacy.

Hmm. Stories. They don't cost much. But do the kids really agree? Don't the children have an expectation of being taken care of – at least a little bit? Not according to the Allianz study.

Of more than a thousand people surveyed, only 4% of the (adult) children said they felt they were owed an inheritance. (Actually, it’s their parents who put the pressure on themselves here: 14% of the parents said they felt the owed their children an inheritance.)

Family stories help the children and grandchildren get to know us just a bit when we were young – getting things right and (even better) getting things wrong; family stories that are funny or serious; family stories which contain lessons or wisdom or history. Family stories humanize us and the kids – especially when they have grown up themselves – value them more and more.

Let's all try a bit harder to preserve our stories.

Kids, take the time to question and listen – don't just arrive in time for the turkey then settle in front of the flat screen for the big game. Come early and help with the preparation and learn the traditions. Parents, make time and create opportunities to reflect and pass on some of your history – and try not to lecture or judge (hard I know - for me anyway!).

It turns out our greatest legacy is not our money; it is ourselves – passed on to our children and our grandchildren through our time and our stories.

Guest blogger Jane Shafron is a video biographer who co-founded Your Story Here Family History Video - a video production company that specializes in preserving personal and family history. Based in Orange County CA, her award-winning films have been screened in festivals in the United States and Canada. Jane is on the Board of Directors of the Association of Personal Historians and regularly writes to her blog Video Biography Central. She can be contacted on 949-742-2755 or through her website.

Gloria Zambrano is Our February Care Award Winner

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gloria Zambrano, resident services director for Fountain Senior Assisted Living is our February recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award.

For the Orange resident, caring for seniors is a proud family tradition. The daughter of a senior care nurse, Gloria accompanied her mother to work as a young girl where she would participate in activities with residents and do whatever she could to bring joy to their day. As she grew, so did her passion for service, leading her to an 18-year career in senior care.

“Gloria is a shining example of how the gift of caring can be passed down from generation to generation,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “She strives daily to make a positive impact on residents and their families with a listening ear, a smile and a word of encouragement.”

As resident services director, Zambrano has a broad array of roles and responsibilities, beginning with outreach to the community. She regularly interfaces with social workers and visits with potential residents and their families. “There is always a need for senior care in the community and my goal is to offer a comfortable place where they can receive the level of care they need during this stage of their life.”

When she’s not out in the community, Zambrano’s time is spent caring for Fountain Senior Assisted Living’s 82 residents, participating in activities, sharing conversations and attending to their various needs throughout the day. Her pride and joy is Fountain Senior Assisted Living’s Memory Care program, which provides special care and supervision for residents with Alzheimer’s disease. “Our residents are extraordinary people who have lived extraordinary lives,” said Zambrano. “Helping them tap into these memories is both illuminating and inspirational.”

At the end of the day, her biggest responsibility is also the most simple; bringing joy to someone’s day. For as long as she can remember, Gloria Zambrano has seen the profound effects of this joy and this is what drives her to embrace her role as a caregiver with energy, passion and a smile.

She will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in the fall at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. For more information on the Care Awards program and to nominate someone you feel is deserving, click here.

Meet the Staff: Jerry Martinez

Cynthia Adair - Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Not only does Jerry Martinez assist people with pre-planning their funerals, but he is also an author, speaker and self proclaimed romantic.  Retired from the aerospace industry, he is now a Family Service Counselor at Fairhaven Memorial Services in Mission Viejo and Family Mortuary in Santa Ana, but this is only part of his story. 

Jerry grew up hearing the stories of his ancestors. As he passed along those stories to his children and grandchildren, he decided to write a book telling the tale of his family, which was nicknamed, “The Leeche Clan.”

His first book Leeche de Coyote is a non-fiction retelling of his family’s long ancestry from España to Coyote, New Mexico where Jerry was born. Jerry’s grandson encouraged him to document his family’s story by writing the book and when asked about his grandson’s reaction to it being published, Jerry said that he “loved it!” and “was proud to be part of the “Leeche Clan.” Jerry also shared that he wished his mother had been able to read the book, as he believes she too would be proud of the published version of the Martinez history.

His second book, A Timely Conflict is a novel based on the life of Jerry’s great grandfather Luciana Herrera. Winner of the “Latino Books into Movies” award, A Timely Conflict combines historical facts, action and adventure with the love story between Luciana and Estella. When asked who he would like to portray his grandfather in a movie version, Jerry named Emilio Estevez as a possibility; and for the lovely Estella, Jerry would like that role to go to one of his nieces.

Jerry is currently collaborating with a friend on his autobiography and is planning a third book about another of his ancestors and their life story. He has promised to let his Fairhaven family know about any upcoming book signings and I, personally, cannot wait to read a Timely Conflict as Jerry would not give away the conclusion. I really want to find out how Luciana and Estella’s love story ends!

Jerry describes himself as a quintessential New Mexican and although he now lives in Orange County, he still considers Santa Fe his home. When he is not serving from his heart at Fairhaven or writing, Jerry lectures in Hispanic Studies at Soka University. He discusses a time in history when Santa Fe was without government and without religion and shares about the timely arrival of both.

Sitting down with Jerry was an enjoyable experience; he is articulate and passionate about his ancestral history as well as his own experiences. Jerry worked as a meat cutter during college. After graduating with an accounting degree, he went on to work at TRW as a program business manager. Jerry speaks favorably of the people he has met throughout his life and the impact they have had on who he is. He is a person who does not think back on his own life with any “I should haves,” but embraces the “I dids!”

It’s easy to see that Jerry, with his love of people, outgoing nature and service-oriented attitude, would be a perfect fit for Family Mortuary’s and Fairhaven Memorial Service’s pre-planning staff. 

Preplanning: Start Here

- Friday, February 08, 2013

Our president shares some tips on how to get started on preplanning

The loss of a loved one is accompanied by many questions. “How do I grieve the loss?” “How I inform friends and family?” “How do I appropriately celebrate my loved one’s life?” Among these wide ranging questions, one of the most common is always “where do I even start?”

Planning a funeral or memorial service is often challenging, and for those who lose a loved one unexpectedly, It can be downright overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Preplanning can often ease the burden of uncertainty on your loved ones and empower them to focus on what’s most important: Celebrating your life and legacy

To many, preplanning is either a foreign concept or something to be dealt with later. But no matter what your stage in life, even a small amount of advance planning can go a long way. Here’s how to get started:

1. Educate yourself: Some basic research will help to alleviate the mystery and anxiety that often accompanies preplanning. To help you in this process, our website features a robust Interactive Planning Center with links, videos and tips to help you along the way.

2. Ask around: Take the opportunity to talk with individuals who have begun this process and find out how it has benefited them. Also, make a few calls to mortuaries in your area and find out how they are equipped for preplanning. A brief conversation is a great way to start. 

2. Just think about it: Spend some time thinking about how you’d like to be remembered. Jot down what is most important to you and why. Just a few notes passed along to your loved ones will go a long way in the planning process. 

It’s never too early or late to think about preplanning. If you have any questions about how to get started. please contact us and we will be delighted to help you.

Grief Books: What's Fresh on Amazon?

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Today, we’re taking a look at grief books on Amazon. If you got a Kindle for Christmas this is a great look at some of the grief books available online. Even if you don’t have an e-reader, most of these are available in paperback and some even in hardback. They are little gifts you can give yourself that can help you cope with your grief.

A search on grief books that are available on Kindle brings up a lot of stuff. There’s a publication from October 2012 called The Grief Book and the iconic On Grief and Grieving that was written by Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross just prior to her death. There’s The Grief Recovery Handbook which has been around for more than twenty years. There’s books that use buzz words, A New Normal: Learning to Live with Grief and Loss. Then there’s the books broken down by the type of loss: Getting to the Other Side of Grief: Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse, Inside the Broken Heart: Grief Understanding for Widows and Widowers, Transforming Traumatic Grief: Six Steps to Move from Grief to Peace after the Sudden or Violent Death of a Loved One, When a Daughter Dies, When Mommas Cry, Grieving the Death of a Mother, Grief After Suicide, and others. There are grief books broken down by religion, by whether they are for adults, teens or children, by ethnicity and more. There are books in every conceivable sub-genre you can imagine. Finding what fits you can be daunting.

Now that you’ve decided to read up on grief support on your own, you head over to Amazon and get caught up looking at their never ending lists. You try to puzzle out which books to buy and put on the Kindle you got for Christmas, but how do you know what’s worth reading?

When we took a look at the categories on Amazon, we found it pretty difficult to find only non-fiction books about grief when doing just a search on the terms “grief” and “loss.” However, if you click on Best Sellers and then the Health, Fitness and Dieting category, under that category you will find the sub-category of Death & Grief. Under that, the category is broken down further by Grief & Bereavement, Hospice Care, Pet Loss, and Suicide. There’s still a few fiction books mixed in, but it’s a lot easier to weed them out now.

On the list that’s left we find Pat Schweibert’s Tear Soup, Harold Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Good Grief by Granger E. Westberg, Kulber-Ross’s On Grief and Grieving, Zig Ziglar’s Confessions of a Grieving Christian, Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul, and numerous memoirs by people who lost a loved one. There’s some duplication too as some books are on the list as ebooks, paperbacks, hardbacks and audio books.

So how do you know what to buy? First, use Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. This usually shows you the front and back cover, copyright info, table of contents and the first half dozen pages or so. There’s enough there for you to read and get a sense of the writer’s voice and style and the content of the book. Second, you can sort the books by bestselling and then check out the most popular ones omitting, of course, genre specific ones that don’t apply to you. (ie you’re a grieving widow so you don’t need the books pertaining to suicide unless that is how your spouse died.) Third, read the customer reviews to see what other readers have to say about the book.

Now, just remember that reader reviews must be taken with a grain of salt. They are subjective and your mileage may vary when reading a book. Still, the reviews can give you a sense of the book even if the reviewer didn’t like it. They may say something in their review that sparks something inside you and makes the book a good prospect for you even though that reviewer trashed it.

So what books are we reading? Here’s a list of the books we’ve read and liked, have on our shelves or have on our “to buy” list. There’s a mix of self-help, informational, and memoirs. They are all worth checking out on Amazon to see if they would suit your particular needs.

The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving by Dr. Debra Holland

Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright

Healing During Loss: The Rainbows of Memories Method by Barbara Warren

Stunned by Grief: Remapping Your Life When Loss Changes Everything by Judy Brizendine

Baby Boomers Face Grief by Jane Galbraith

On Death and Dying by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back by Kelly Farley

No Time for Tears: Surviving Grief in America by Judy Heath

The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss and Life by Marie Tillman

The Long Goodbye by Megan O’Rourke

And don’t forget, Amazon also has programs where some books are free and/or can be borrowed. So don’t be afraid to try some of these books using those features.

In the wake of 9/11 and more recent tragedies like Sandy Hook, more people than ever are reading grief related books. Such tragic loss of life leaves everyone feeling shaken and asking “Why?” Books like the ones listed as well as books about the specific tragedy can help us sort out our emotions and make us feel better.

If you know of other helpful books on grieving please feel free to leave the title and author in comments for other readers. And for more information and support on Grief, be sure to check out our Grief Blog

Tina Borden Honored with January Care Award

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We are pleased to announce that San Clemente’s Tina Borden is the January recipient of the Oliver Halsell Care Award. The health services director for Aegis Living of Dana Point is being honored for her steadfast dedication to serving our elderly population.

Borden, formerly a full-time mom, decided to pursue her nursing degree at the age of 40, looking for a career that offered both flexibility and the opportunity to serve individuals in need. After working as a rehab nurse in Wisconsin, she relocated to Dana Point in 2000. It was there where she would find her true calling at Aegis Living.

“I've always had a passion for working with seniors and have been blessed with the patience and enthusiasm to work with this population,” said Borden.

Borden works tirelessly to attend to the residents of Aegis’ 64 apartments, providing health services, performing physical assessments, meeting with families and overseeing the administration of medication. Amid this extensive list of responsibilities, Borden says her most important role is as an advocate

“When a senior enters the healthcare system, they need someone to advocate for them, ask the right questions and make sure they are getting the highest standard of care,” she says. “This is my primary responsibility to residents when they are at Aegis and when they are sent to the hospital.

This is a responsibility she demonstrates routinely when residents are sent to the emergency room. Borden takes great care to ensure that the resident is clearly understood and works directly with the doctors to ensure that the proper course of treatment is provided. She will also make follow-up visits and bring small gifts to heighten their spirits.

Borden’s passion for care is also on display at home, where she cares for her husband who suffers from multiple sclerosis. “There is no joy greater than to take care of someone you love,” Borden says. Thanks to her relentless passion for service, this is a joy that she has brought to countless others throughout South Orange County.

Borden will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in the fall at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. For more information on the Care Awards program and to nominate someone you feel is deserving, click here.


Meet the Staff: Lou Carlson

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, January 08, 2013

After nearly 21 years of service at Fairhaven Memorial Park, Family Service Counselor Lou Carlson can truly be said to exemplify our motto of “We serve from our hearts.” He has served families at their time of need as well as in advance of need here at Fairhaven. He has officiated at many local weddings including numerous ones at Waverley Chapel and he is deeply involved in his community. He also serves as Fairhaven’s Master of Ceremonies for the Easter and Memorial Day events and is always an ambassador for the company.

A native of Washington State, Lou came to Fairhaven with a background in service. Raised in the Episcopal Church, where he met his wife Karen, Lou later became an ordained Eastern Catholic Priest in 1979 after completing seminary at Saint Thaddeus Eastern Catholic Seminary in Everett, Washington. Lou and Karen made the decision to move to California in 1985 while sunning on the beach in Hawaii as a blizzard raged back home in Seattle! When he met the Family Service Manager at Fairhaven, she thought his background made him an excellent candidate to be a Family Service Counselor.

Lou’s office shelves are filled with mementoes collected over the years from the many families he’s been privileged to serve. Families would often make a special trip to Fairhaven to bring him something to remember them by; a Hannukah menorah, a display of silk tropical flowers, a piece of original art by a child and a small collection of books on various religious traditions are among the many gifts of love he’s received from families. Those families are one of the reasons he’s been here so long.

Among the other reasons for Lou’s longevity are the staff and atmosphere at Fairhaven. During his tenure he’s watched the current management team build a company spirit of teamwork and collegiality while constantly striving to offer outstanding “internal” as well as “external” customer service. He cites the credo of “honoring and embracing each family as if they were our own” as a goal he embraces and shares with each and every one of his co-workers. Lou also mentions the beauty of the park and the facilities as one of the reasons for his long tenure. It would be difficult to give up working at a place where a mere glance out the window provides scenes of serenity and peace.

Lou doesn’t stop serving others when the workday ends. He is quite active in several local charitable and community service organizations, activities which his wife wholeheartedly supports. Currently, Lou is Treasurer of the Vietnam War Museum of America Foundation, a Garden Grove organization committed to opening a world class museum about the Vietnam War. He also serves as the Chancellor of the Priory of Our Savior (Los Angeles) of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, a Christian charity that financially supports several area youth programs, as well as orphanages in the Holy Land. SMOTJ is an international charitable organization which has a seat at the United Nations. He is the State Chaplain for the Sons of the American Revolution and will become their national Chaplain in July 2013. He’s also served on the boards of the Santa Ana Historical Society and the Heritage Museum of Orange County.

Despite all his community involvement, Lou finds deep personal satisfaction in serving families at times of great need and great joy in their lives. He has discovered that guiding families through the tumult of emotions at the death of a loved one builds strong relationships that last for many years and bring families back to Fairhaven Memorial Park the next time they have a need. He’s made a multitude of friends over the years through his position as Family Service Counselor.

It’s the happy, joyful times in a family’s life that also bring fulfillment to Lou as a wedding officiant. He enjoys meeting with the bride and groom and offering basic marital advice and assistance with planning the ceremony. On the day of the wedding, when the bride and groom are nervous and scared as the wedding begins, Lou finds satisfaction in being able to smile at them and soothe their fears. He especially loves the weddings he’s conducted at Waverley Chapel on the grounds of Fairhaven. He says that the venue lends itself perfectly to the special needs that some weddings demand from special flowers to live music, wild decorations, video taping and more.

With all the many ways Lou Carlson serves Fairhaven’s families, Waverley Chapel’s brides and grooms, and the many community organizations and charities he’s involved in, you’d think he wouldn’t have time for much else. However, he has a giant DVD collection and a large library of history and theological books that he makes regular use of when he’s ready to relax. He even finds time to travel on occasion!

Even after nearly 21 years of service, Lou’s dedication to Fairhaven’s families shines through with every funeral and memorial service he helps arrange.  He says he will never forget the privilege he’s been given by God to serve humanity at an hour of their greatest need in this beautiful place, with great co-workers and a dedicated management team to support and provide encouragement not just to the staff but to every family that walks through the doors.

Fairhaven Celebrates the Holidays

Charity Gallardo - Friday, December 21, 2012

Fairhaven's Annual Holiday Dinner was held on December 15 at the Orange County Mining Company. Members of Fairhaven's board and management joined the staff for an evening of good food, dancing, and awards put on by the company Christmas committee headed by Vice President Omar Gallarzo who also served as MC for the evening. Fairhaven management took this opportunity to recognize outstanding staff members. Vice President Leo O'Connor led the awards portion of the evening by announcing the ten 2012 Customer Service Pin winners, many of whom earned a pin in previous years: Cynthia Adair (1st pin), Tammy Arevalos (1st pin), Edel Cabrera (4th pin), Staci Collier (2nd pin), Charity Gallardo (4th pin), Jose Hernandez (5th pin), Vanessa Mendez (4th pin), Jay Rodriguez (1st pin), Bea Valdez (7th pin) and Ruth Velez who has won a pin in every year since the company began the Customer Service Initiative (9 pins.) One of the winners, Tammy Arevalos, was awarded the Customer Service Award for 2012.

Next, Vice President Tiffany Gallarzo and Family Service Manager Michael Casey awarded Susan Farrar the Counselor of the Year Award. This award is based on service to families and community involvement. Then, Park Grounds Manager Jay Rodriguez handed out an Oliver statue to Grounds Crew Employee of the Year David Mejia whose brother Luis won last year. And finally, President Marla Noel recognized Decedent Affairs Coordinator Robert Nethington as Fairhaven's Employee of the Year with an Oliver statue. 

Fairhaven truly appreciates every employee and their contribution to the company's success. At the annual holiday luncheon in Waverley Gallery, staff participated in a gift exchange and ate traditional holiday fare. This event is also organized by Fairhaven staff. This year's luncheon committee was headed up by Mortuary Manager Charlie Thorson (in the reindeer horns) and Prep Department Lead Embalmer Staci Collier (behind Charlie in the photo.)

Fairhaven wishes everyone a very happy holiday and a prosperous and healthy new year.


Waverley Chapel

Charity Gallardo - Thursday, December 13, 2012

There was a lot of buzz in the media recently about a beautiful love story: college sweethearts, Emilie Danielson and Terry Britton, reunited after 50 years. Natives of Orange County, the couple met at Chapman College back in 1960 and went steady for a few years before parting ways. 50 years later, they reconnected, fell back in love, and wed at Fairhaven’s Waverley Chapel in November 2012, exchanging rings and vows inside the beautiful chapel. 

Waverley Chapel has been home to many wedding ceremonies in Fairhaven’s century of service to Orange County, and our wonderful staff has been a privileged part of those happy moments. Surrounded by Fairhaven’s 70 acres of lawns and trees, the chapel is reminiscent of Old English chapels, complete with stone masonry exterior and hand-carved mahogany pews and candelabra on the interior, providing a beautiful backdrop for ceremonies. Be it for weddings or remembrance services, each service held at Waverley Chapel celebrates life and love in this truly unique setting. 

Many of us at Fairhaven were moved by Emilie and Terry’s heart-warming story, and we wish them a long and happy life together!

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