Saturday, October 24, 2009


My dear husb will have his artwork for sale tomorrow at the annual Fundraiser for the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation. The event is Sunday, October 25, from 1:30-4:30 in LaJolla, and costs $50 to attend. Click here for the invitation. He'll have 5 or 6 paintings and sketches for sale.

He asked me to update and print out his 'art' bio for the event, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Don Strom, originally from Seattle, Washington, graduated University of Washington and earned an MBA from San Francisco State University. After a stint in the army, he joined Hewlett-Packard as a member of the personnel department in Palo Alto, California. During his nearly 20-years with Hewlett-Packard, he and his wife, Jane LaFazio, relocated as his career warranted. Don and Jane moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Corvallis, Oregon; Seoul, Korea; Los Angeles; and in 1989, to San Diego, when Don became Site Personnel Manager at Hewlett-Packard in Rancho Bernardo.

June 1992, Don suffered a brain aneurysm in the left side of his brain. He was 46 years old. As a result, Don has aphasia, a language disability. He had to relearn communication, from understanding language, learning the alphabet, and pronunciation, to reading and writing. He battles the symptoms of aphasia daily. After years of perseverance and with continuing therapy, Don has developed a rich and rewarding quality of life. As a Hewlett-Packard executive, he was active in community service, and his family has always valued volunteer work. It was a natural transition from his extremely active management position, to an equally busy life of volunteer activities. Over the years of his disability, he has been active with Palomar Rehab’s "Time to Communicate," Y.E.S.S. (Young Enthusiastic Stroke Survivors), Toastmasters, and San Diego Watercolor Society and the Hewlett-Packard Retirees Club where he was President in 2004. In 1994, became a board member for San Diego Brain Injury Foundation and served for a dozen years (including a term as president and vice president) and continues to run the SDBIF monthly meetings held at Joyce Beers Center in Hillcrest.

Don enjoys sketching and painting on location and works in pen and ink, color pencil and watercolor. He began painting in 2000, and has studied with Helen Shafer Garcia, Jane LaFazio, Walter Brunning, and Norma Soule. His watercolor was selected as the cover art for "Brain Injury Guide for Families" with over 5,000 copies printed in English and Spanish and his painting "Lemons" was featured on notecards for a SDBIF fundraiers. Don has won numerous awards in local art exhibitions for his paintings and drawings


  1. Thank you for sharing Don's story - what a triumph over adversity. Congratulations to you both. I have followed your blog since doing an online art quilt course with you a couple of years ago, and now feel I know you both a little more. Regards, Sue McB

  2. CONGRATS to you Don for your leaps and bounds on your artistic journey!!

  3. I knew of your husband's battle (and victory!), but had no idea he was such a talented artist! Wow: his work is terrific. What a wonderful couple you two make!


  4. And he is a Sweetie too!! I am proud to have seen his wonderful art as he sketched, Bravo on All Counts!!!

  5. I enjoyed reading about your husband Don and his journey. He is very courageous and talented. Quite a keeper! How wonderful that the two of you share such a love of art! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thanks for your bio Don. You are very lucky and very strong. My girlfriend recently underwent coiling of her three of five cerebral aneurysms. She had an aunt and sister who both suddenly died from cerebral aneurysms. Her physician recommended she have a scan and they found five! He saved her life! So many advancements in the world of Neuroscience:)

    Jane - you lucky gal!
    Don your artwork is beautiful - it helps that you a "close" to a great teacher:)

  7. Odd that I should have read your pages in Danny's book today, and then caught up on your recent posts. You are a remarkable couple, and can be so proud of taking a tough situation and wrestling happiness from it.


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