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Woman killed by falling eucalyptus tree mourned

September 23, 2011 |  6:53 am

Haeyoon Miller memorial service
Friends gathered at a Costa Mesa chapel Thursday night to mourn the loss of Haeyoon Miller, a Juilliard-trained violinist who was killed when a eucalyptus tree crushed her car.

While some tried to lighten the mood in the Harbor Lawn-Mt. Olive Memorial Chapel, the grief from such a sudden loss filled the room, the Daily Pilot reported. Miller, 29, was from Tustin.

Videos of a young Miller playing violin streamed throughout the modest hall, and her older sister Erika Ahn took the stage soon after the screens went black.

"Haeyoon hated watching videos of herself playing violin," Ahn said beside an open casket, "and I was hoping she'd sit up and say, 'Stop that!"

Many of the roughly 100 mourners sobbed, while relatives and close friends in the first few rows remained reserved, often with their heads bowed.

A white ribbon with Korean lettering was draped around one of the largest of about 10 bouquets. Miller was born in Seoul, and while her mother was in attendance, her father was in Korea on Thursday. Her family moved to the U.S. when she was 10.

During her adult life, she developed a love for animals, gymnastics and photography, her friends and coworkers said.

Miller was waiting at a red light Sept. 15 at Westcliff Drive and Irvine Avenue in Costa Mesa when a 10-ton eucalyptus tree toppled onto her blue Hyundai.

She died at the scene from blunt force trauma, the coroner said. Newport Beach officials are still investigating what caused the tree to fall.

The family planned to hold a graveside service Friday at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar.


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-- Mike Reicher, Times Community News

Photo: George Osorio, the boyfriend of Haeyoon Miller, speaks during a memorial service for her. Credit: Kevin Chang / Daily Pilot