Skip to main content

San Clemente Journal

People, Places & Events

Nov 30, 2017 10:21AM ● By Joan Ray

Bob Hayden faces 100 Candles.

by Joan Ray

Happy 100 Bob Hayden
Long-time San Clemente businessman 
and volunteer reaches a milestone     

The invitations to the birthday celebration heralded it as a, “once in a century event.” For most, that would be an overstatement, but not for Bob Hayden. This was his 100th birthday. 
Held in Talega Golf Club’s banquet hall, 180 friends and family members met to honor Bob on this momentous occasion. Champagne flowed and a 20 ft. buffet table overflowed with a spectacular brunch extravaganza - everything from fresh fruit, salads and vegetables to eggs Benedict and made to order omelets and waffles.  

 The gala was hosted by Bob’s family and the San Clemente Rotary Club which was delighted to honor Bob’s 66 years of service to the organization. Bob joined the club in 1951 and has held every office for at least one year, most for several terms. 

The accounting firm of Hayden, Narey and Persich printed and mailed the invitations. Rotarians Betty Johnson and Bill Ewing, Bill’s executive assistant Krystyna Ghahremani, Bob’s son and daughter-in-law Steve and Merle Rhodimer, and Bob formed the party’s planning committee. Krystyna assumed office duties combining the various guest lists, accepting the RSVPs and even designing the enormous birthday cake, decorated with a re-creation of Bob’s photograph.
Arriving guests were greeted with an eye-catching giant poster covered with pictures from various stages of Bob’s life, assembled by son Steve. It covered many highlights beginning with a photo of Bob at six months. Other key pictures were of his first wife, Carolyn (Cal) Rhodimer, who passed away in 1976, and of his wife of 40 years, Carol Litchfield.

The Boy Scouts of America recently honored Bob as Orange County’s oldest living Eagle Scout. That award was also on display along with other scout memorabilia and photos of Bob in his Eagle Scout uniform. Devon Dougherty, chief development officer of the Orange County Council of BSA, was among those applauding Bob at the birthday celebration.  

Bill Ewing assumed the toastmaster role, welcoming guests and introducing the program. Bob’s nephew, Rev. Paul Hayden, gave the invocation. Granddaughter Cheryl McGuinness spoke emotionally about the family’s relationship with Bob, its patriarch. Son Glenn Litchfield entertained guests with a brief, and interesting, family history.

Bob’s niece, Linda Crites and her husband, David, attended with their granddaughters, Angela and Wendy Crites, who blended their beautiful voices in a masterful and moving rendition of How Great Thou Art.

 City council member Lori Donichak spoke briefly about Bob’s service to the community, presenting him with a city proclamation honoring his civic contributions. Ian Hicks, Rotary Governor, conferred with Rotary’s international president to create a plaque rewarding and recognizing Bob’s near seven decades of service.

Bob brought the program to a close with a humorous and entertaining slide show of his life history, compiled with the help of sons Doug Litchfield and Steve Rhodimer.     
In his 100th year Bob remains an active member of the community, still participating in the San Clemente Rotary Club. As founding president of its charity foundation, he is still contributing to its success.     
Recently added to San Clemente’s Wall of Recognition, at the San Clemente Community Center, the inscription on his plaque reads, “Few residents have contributed as much of their time and resources to San Clemente as Bob Hayden.” 

The Bargbain Box, on El Camino Real, north of Palizada.

 Assistance League of Capistrano Valley
Volunteer organization in its 4th decade of service

In 2015 the San Clemente City Council, by unanimous vote, presented the ladies of the Assistance League of Capistrano Valley (ALCV) a commendation for 35 years of humanitarian service to the community. At that time, through its program Operation School Bell, over 36,000 children had received new clothing at the beginning of each school year, and thousands more have benefited in the intervening years. 

Through this program students choose clothing of their liking at the store, boosting their confidence and improving school attendance. They also receive a voucher for two pairs of shoes from Payless. And Joan Ingle, who oversees the project, reports that parents are as grateful as the students, for without this program the children would not have any school clothes. 
Among the many programs for children and families, is the clothing drive for infants and toddlers at Camp Pendleton. This one began with one event and about 156 children. Now there are three such events hosting about 1600 children. Another program, Links to Learning, provides grants to middle schools to fund approved, but unfunded enrichment programs. Well over 1,000 such grants have been awarded. Scholarships are also given to deserving high school seniors who have been accepted to a college, including Saddleback College students who are in the CalWorks program.

The Bargain Box, an upscale thrift store on El Camino Real, is also operated by ALCV volunteers and is its primary source of income. The members take loving care of merchandise that often includes numerous brand new items; so the atmosphere is one of a quaint boutique and the reasonable prices are almost a surprise. During the holiday season the beautiful decorations and festive aura add much to the shopping experience.

Anne Banning’s original concept when founding the Assistance League was to serve youths, but she also thought youths were benefitted by having the ability to serve. So an auxiliary, the Assisteens, was born. Donna O’Donnell, market manager, said the Assisteens help the group in a variety of ways, including working at the Bargain Box on weekends and holidays helping to decorate, and keep the store looking appropriate for each season.  

October will find the shop full of spooky items for Halloween. Then they will close on November 6, opening on November 7 at 11am transformed into a holiday winter wonderland. Judy Price, a volunteer, said they had, “boxes and boxes of everything one could imagine. Holiday dishes, trees, linens, lights, toys, clothing. The dishes and many things are new, some are used but all are in beautiful condition.” Nothing says Christmas like finding that perfect gift at a reasonable price while helping someone have a better life. 


South Coast Singers
Vocal group releases concert dates for Holiday Season

South Coast Singers has been bringing music of the season to Orange County since 1992 when ten women, singing two-part harmony, delighted listeners during its debut public performance at the Dana Point Recreation Center. Today the group has grown to over 40 vocalists and a full orchestra performing at comfortable venues throughout Orange County, and offering complex arrangements often including a dazzling four to eight-part harmony. 
Because most of the members are accomplished soloists, their performances also offer a wide variety of solo, duo, trio and even quartet selections, keeping the programs varied, well-paced and entertaining – something for everyone. 

Performances continue throughout the year for a variety of special events and private parties, but two events are held annually; one in late spring and the other during the Christmas holidays. Proceeds from these evenings help finance the scholarships awarded annually to gifted high school vocalists. 

This Christmas, South Coast Singers will offer its sweetest program so far, Peppermint Dreams, reflecting the childlike joys and grownup happiness of the season. The group’s president, Ginger Silverman, says the program includes many old favorites and classics that will evoke happy thoughts of   Christmases past, as well as songs that will foster new holiday memories.  
The group’s orchestra and a string quartet will provide accompaniment, under the direction of the chorale’s new conductor, Perry Carter, who has taught, sung and directed music professionally for over 50 years. Having sung with the chorale for many years and substituting for conductor Raymond Woods when needed, Perry was a comfortable fit for all when Raymond retired.
The South Coast Singers are masters of the production. Great music, beautiful harmony, a good mix of classical and comical songs all meld for a satisfying holiday experience. You won’t want to miss the finale, when a dynamic closing number concludes with the audience joining in for the Hallelujah Chorus. 

There are three opportunities to enjoy the concert: December 9 at St. Andrews by the Sea, 2001 Calle Frontera, San Clemente; December 16, at Capistrano Valley High School, 26301 Via Escolar, Mission Viejo; December 17 at the Geneva Presbyterian Church at 24301 El Toro Rd, Laguna Woods. All concerts begin at 4 pm.

General admission tickets are $20, over 65 pay $16, students pay $10, and children under 6 are free. Groups of ten or more pay $15 each. For tickets, go to and click on Our Concerts. 

San Clemente Junior Women’s Club
Busy Juniors schedule four Fall events

With four major celebrations – from Halloween to New Years Eve, it is a particularly busy time for members of the San Clemente Junior Women’s Club (SCJWC). They begin the last quarter of the year helping to publicize, coordinate and oversee activities for San Clemente’s Red Ribbon Week and Parade. Held this year on October 23 it spreads awareness of the dangers of bullying, drugs and alcohol. Students from every school in the city will march in a parade down Ave. Del Mar for a pep rally featuring the SCHS band and ending on the Community Center grounds.
SCJWC’s annual Angel Trees are up next; an important part of the holiday season in San Clemente for many years. The two trees are beautifully decorated and put on display at the San Clemente Community Center and the Vista Hermosa Aquatic Center. The handmade ornaments, available from the day after Thanksgiving to mid-December, are what set these trees apart. Each ornament holds a name, a gift suggestion and whether or not gifts should be wrapped. The name represents a child, a teen or a senior who might not receive a gift this Christmas without a stranger’s generosity. 
Members sort gifts and take them to the appropriate facility including Laura’s House, Family Assistance Ministries, the Boys and Girls Club, the Rio Center and more. Emily Bredthauer, club president, reports that last Christmas almost 400 lives were brightened because of SCJWC’s dedication and our community’s compassion.
At a recent meeting members cut and tied 44 fleece blankets for CHOC. Target gift cards were donated to The Lighthouse, a program for survivors of human trafficking. And donations were also made to a new organization, I5 Freedom Network, aiding kidnapped girls and victims of domestic abuse

Members also work with Meals on Wheels twice a month, provide dinners at Ronald McDonald House, help with California Coastal Cleanup and Pier Clean Up, help support Laura’s House, chaplain services on the marine base and provide packages with helpful commodities to service people on-base or overseas, among other philanthropies.

SCJWC turns 70 in 2018 and members are currently planning the April 18, 2018 Havana Nights Birthday Charity Gala, under the direction of vice-president Stephanie Stuhr. Guests are invited to, “put on your salsa dancing shoes and dance the night away while sipping mojitos at the lovely Bella Collina Towne and Golf Club.” 

Check the club website at for more information and be prepared to put on your dancing shoes...all for a good cause.