Biographies and Testimonials of Our Singers

Bob E. Blair
Bob was born in 1934 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He served in the U.S. Air Force performing repairs on the gunnery systems for the B-36 Peacemaker - the largest U.S. bomber ever built. After his four-year enlistment, he returned to Wisconsin, eventually moving to Long Beach where he worked for GTE. He retired at the age of 53 as a Senior Engineer with a totoal of 31 years of service.

Bob lost his wife of 33 years to breast cancer in 1994. Her illness was detected in 1990 and after several different treatments, the cancer metastasized to her liver.

In 1996, Bob met his new wife Lois at their church, St. Olaf's Lutheran Church in Garden Grove. She had lost her husband to lung cancer. Bob and Lois are very active at St. Olaf's where he sings in the choir. It was Lois who asked Bob to join the Celebration of Life Singers after she heard us sing at St. Olaf's High Tea, which she was chairing. Bob sings tenor and is looking forward to being with the choir as long as he is able to sing. He enjoys singing and the people he sings with.

T.J. England joined the Celebration of Life Singers in 2001.
T.J. was discharged as a Lieutenant from the Army Nurse Corps in October 1966. She and her husband Jerry settled in Huntington Beach and raised two sons and a daughter. They now have two lovely granddaughters. In a long nursing career, T.J. has been at times, an Obstetrical, Surgical and Recovery Room Nurse. For the last 16 years, she has been an Operating Nurse.

In 1992 life suddenly took her where she had never planned to go.
Diagnosed with breast cancer, she entered the frightening new world of "A Cancer Patient"

*A modified mastectomy, chemotherapy, reconstruction, and a major life reassessment followed in the month to come.

Along with the fears and tears, wonderful new paths began to open for her. Gallant, loving new friends from her support group, a spiritual reawakening, fun experiences with Yoga and Tai Chi, and the delight of being published for the first time in a book, "Changes Of The Heart" by Ina Yaloof, were a few of her new journey" happenings.
Music has played a significant role in her treatment/therapy. The joy of singing with  the "Celebration of Life Singers" and absorbing their healing spirits, is a gift that keeps on giving to each member.

*During treatment, I was busy trying to get all the information about cancer that I could get through books, Internet, videos and health journals.

Arlene Flack

I was born in Flint, Michigan, and when I was 11 years old my family moved to California. for the last 48 years I have lived in Garden Grove and I have been a member of St Olaf's Lutheran Church for 15 years.

In 2002 my sister, who lives in Kingman, Arizona, was diagnosed with breast cancer. So, I traveveled to Kingman, stayed with her through her surgery and chemotherapy.

I joined The Celebration of Life Singers in    October 2006 and enjoy the music and the friendship.

Helga H. Hoffmann

Helga H. Hoffmann
has been a member of the choir since February 2000 and a member of the Board of Directors since February 2001.

She was born in Germany and came to the United States in 1962. Here, she met her husband Martin. They married in 1966 and have two boys, now ages 42 and 39. They also have six grandchildren.

Helga still works full time at her own Income Tax and Bookkeeping Practice but hopes to retire soon.

Besides singing, Helga enjoys traveling; her hobby is photography.
She is very active in her church and is always there for anyone in need.

Avie Ige was born in East Los Angeles in August of 1940. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the U.S. Government enacted Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the uprooting of Japanese Americans from their homes on the West Coast and moving them first to assembly centers and then to "relocation camps" to be incarcerated until the end of the war.  Avie and her family (parents Thomas T. and Ruth Yamazaki, and older sister Luanne) were sent to the camp located in Manzanar, California. Her father Thomas then enlisted in the U.S. Army.  Shortly after her 6th birthday, Avie's father was killed while on active duty.  Her mother moved back to Los Angeles with her two daughters where she raised them as a single parent.

In the fall of 1972, The Ige family relocated to Orange County and moved into a home in Huntington Beach where Avie still resides. She has a son Mark and a daughter Paige, whom she considers to be God's greatest blessings in a life filled with wonderful family, and very special friends.

Though not a cancer survivor, Avie joined the Celebration of Life Singers in fall of 2002 at the invitation of long-time special friend and neighbor, T.J. England. She had lost two uncles and seven friends (three extremely close) to cancer within the last few years.  From the experiences of caring for and witnessing the struggles of these loved ones, Avie gained a deep appreciation of the tremendous amount of courage, strength, and selflessness it requires not only to cope with having this disease.... but, to have to endure the painful and exhausting treatments as well.  When asked after a recent performance why she became a member of this choir, she replied, "It's said a person becomes like the people he or she associate with.... it is a great honor to be considered like one of the cancer survivors, caregivers and volunteers I've come to know as The Celebration of Life Singers."

Donna Killingbeck
Donna Killingbeck
I came to this choir as a caregiver for my mother, who is also a part of the choir. My choral experience started in elementary school where it took me through junior high, high school and beyond. I've been involved with several musical theater productions where the highlight for me was being tin the Fullerton Civic Light Opera's production of Jesus Christ Superstar. music is not only a healer but it is also one of the hightest forms of worship. My singing is my utmost for His highest.

2037 W. Chandler Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92704-6114