New Las Vegas business focuses on laughter and joy rather than sad and somber side of death

There’s time to mourn the death of a loved one or friend. But there should also be a time to celebrate their life with laughter and smiles and, yes, even dancing.

That’s the message behind Creative Life Celebrations, a business begun earlier this year by Renee Hale at 10170 W. Tropicana Ave., Suite 156-201. Her mother, Eileen, died in July 2014. She was 82.

Hale described her mother as warm, fun, compassionate and her best friend. She also loved to dance and would go out to clubs to enjoy the music.

“Four nights a week, she insisted that we go see different singers that were friends, to see them perform,” Hale recalled. “She loved music. … I was raised on jazz and blues — Lou Rawls and Joe Williams. There were no Beatles or Rolling Stones in my house.”

Hale’s favorite memory of her mother was when they’d gone to Maui on vacation when Eileen came out with yet another “Aunt Clara expression” — the egg doesn’t fall far from the tree, that’s water next to the bridge, or whatever it was that day. After a moment, when her daughters realized what she’d said, everyone would burst out laughing.

It was those kinds of things, Hale said, that she wanted people to remember about her mother.

When she first approached her sister, Jodi Fonfa, about the idea of a party to remember their mother instead of a somber occasion, the idea was seen as preposterous.

“Basically, she said, ‘You’re crazy,’ ” Hale said.

Her sister eventually relented, even agreeing to host it at her home in The Ridges in Summerlin. The affair had guests greeted at the door with mimosas — Eileen’s favorite drink — and posters showing various chapters from her life, with her always smiling and always involved. She’d specified in her will that any get-together after her death was to stress the good times she’d enjoyed.

The band, made up of her favorite talents, played such upbeat music that people soon got up, danced, laughed and had a good time.

Rabbi Mel Hecht, a longtime acquaintance, presided over the funeral and was at the get-together afterward. He said all funerals are celebrations of a person’s life, but some are just happier than others.

“I felt more like an emcee than a rabbi at Eileen’s,” he added. “I thought perhaps this was a new version of a Catholic wake, but an upbeat one. For her and her family, it seemed absolutely appropriate. … Although it was a sad occasion, there were smiles and laughter.”

It was such a success, attendees asked Hale to put together similar events for their loved ones when the time came. Her sister remarked that it was a “gift from Mom — her last gift.”

It gave Hale an idea: why not help other families remember their late relatives with an event focused on their accomplishments and their good memories? After all, she’d been planning corporate events for 30 years with big-name companies such as AT&T and Coca-Cola.

It took a while to get all the elements for Creative Life Celebrations in order — Hale had other business obligations and was set to undergo major surgery for a new hip — but she pulled it off.

She said the biggest difference between the corporate events and the Celebration of Life events is the budget. Not many people have the assets of an international client, she said, but the elements “come more from the heart. This is about the person who died. It’s about honoring them in the way they wanted to be honored.”

Creative Life Celebrations sees that all aspects of the events are covered, including the obituary writing, food and beverage, linens and centerpieces, slide show, costuming options, balloon or butterfly releases, music, life chapter posters and custom invitations. Afterward, Creative Life Celebrations can create a book, full of pictures taken at the event.

Jay Joseph, owner of A Touch of Mystery & More Entertainment Group, has worked with Hale for 10 years and said she has a penchant for pulling events together.

“She’s very easy to work with, very accommodating, and she has great ideas,” he said. “I think the thing about Renee is that she’s very approachable, so people feel very comfortable with her.”


To reach Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan, email or call 702-387-2949.

Business Videos
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA/Boring Company Press Conference
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced a collaboration with Elon Musk's The Boring Company to develop and operate an autonomous people mover system for the Las Vegas Convention Center District.
International Pizza Expo includes green and gluten free
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included companies focused on vegan and gluten free, and plant-based pizza boxes. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo kicks off in Las Vegas
The first day of the International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center is everything Pizza. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
T-Mobile program aids guests with sensory needs
A program at T-Mobile Arena is designed to provide a more sensory friendly experience for guests.
Photo Booth Expo
Danielle May talks about how Simple Booth transformed her Volkswagen bus into a business.
Nevada Gaming Commission's highest fines
The highest fines assessed by the Nevada Gaming Commission, according to commission Chairman Tony Alamo: 1) Wynn Resorts Ltd., $20 million, 2019 2) CG Technology (then known as Cantor G&W Holdings), $5.5 million, 2014 3) The Mirage, $5 million ($3 million fine, $2 million compensatory payment), 2003 4) Stardust, $3 million, 1985 5) Santa Fe Station, $2.2 million ($1.5 million fine, $700,000 compensatory payment), 2005 6) Las Vegas Sands, $2 million, 2016 7) CG Technology, $1.75 million, 2018 8) CG Technology, $1.5 million (also $25,000 in escrow for underpaid patrons), 2016 9) Caesars Entertainment, $1.5 million, 2015 10) Imperial Palace, $1.5 million, 1989 11) Peppermill Casinos, $1 million, 2014
Tiny Pipe Home vs Shipping Crate
A Tiny pipe home was displayed at the International Builders Show this week in Las Vegas.
Auto repair shortage affects Las Vegas
The auto repair industry is facing a national shortage of workers.
Franchising industry booming
Experts say Las Vegas is a hotbed for the franchise industry.
Africa Love owner talks about his store in Las Vegas
Mara Diakhate, owner of Africa Love, gift and decor store, talks about his store in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing