Sunday, March 8, 2009

Brenda Arrieta Killian (1977-2009)

I was scanning my home page on Facebook Friday night when a message popped up on the screen. It was from a young woman who had been stage manager for a play I did several years ago at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). She asked, "Have you heard about Brenda." When I answered "No," she told me, as gently as possible, that Brenda had died of cancer that morning.


I first met Brenda at CSUDH when we were both cast in the play Boy by Diana Son. I was Papa Uber Alles and she was one of my daughters. Brenda was a wonderful actress and a better person. It seemed she always had a big unforgettable smile on her face. After she graduated in 2001, she went off to England where she obtained a Master's degree. When she returned, I first saw her when she walked into the lobby at Palos Verdes Players one night when I was working the box office. She was there to review the play for a local newspaper. We talked for a while, reminiscing about her trip to England, our time on stage together and a friend of mine at PV Players who had been her high school drama teacher.


The next time I saw Brenda was the fall of 2007 when I was cast at CSUDH in a new play, The Little College on a Hill which she had co-written for the Dominguez Bridge Theatre Company (DBTC). There was that huge smile and a warm hug for Papa from one of his many stage daughters. After the play closed, I saw Brenda one last time the late winter (or early spring) of 2008 when she told us at a DBTC meeting that her family was moving to Oregon. After that my only contact with her was when we became "friends" on Facebook and exchanged a note or two.


Brenda was too young and too bright to be taken from our midst. Her 2 young children lost their wonderful mother much too soon. There are a lot of us who have been struggling through this weekend trying to cope with this tragic, enormous loss. A full obituary written by Don Colburn of The Oregonian can be found here. It included this picture taken by Stephanie Yao Long of The Oregonian.



Look at that smile!! I'll never forget it or the young woman behind it! RIP Brenda. . . .



6 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm very sorry to hear this. She sounds like a wonderful person. I feel so bad for her children.

savannah said...

may she rest in peace.

it is always difficult to hear about the loss of one's friends, but someone so young is even harder to bear. i am sorry, sugar. xox

Anonymous said...

I am glad that people won't forget my sister. She was a wonderful person throughout the whole cancer ordeal. Like Brenda propossed a theatrical about Breast cancer, Calling them "mammologues" as she wanted. Stephanie and Don did a wonderful job following her ordeal with cancer. Please keep passing the word about my loving and wonderful sister Brenda Arrieta Killian. Whom will always rest in my heart forever.

Darlene said...

My heart goes out to the sister who wrote and to her family. It is such a loss when a young person dies. Brenda had a lovely smile and it's sad that it is now gone.

LaShondra said...

My name is LaShondra Curley-Anderson. I met Brenda in High School, I was in the Drama Department with her, she was a very sweet person. Hawthorne High School class of 96. May she rest in peace. May her children and husband know that she is in a better place.

robb said...

My name is Robb Norman. I am a teacher in the Wiseburn School District and a former teacher of Brenda's. You teach many kids in your career. To this point, I have had over 2500 kids pass through my classroom. Brenda was one of those people who had a brightness about her. She exuded cheerfulness and was by far one of the kindest people I've had the pleasure to teach. It saddens me to know that her children, who must be wonderful, will grow up without her.
God Bless Brenda.