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Family and friends remember their 'angel'

Funeral is held for Malak Hariri, a victim of last week's fiery car crash.

October 05, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com
  • Family member passes by photos of Malak Hariri during funeral service at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. About 400 people came to pay their respects art the funeral. Hariri was one of five people who died in a single vehicle car crash last Saturday in Burbank.
Family member passes by photos of Malak Hariri during… (Raul Roa / Times…)

Malak Hariri, whose first name means "angel" in Arabic, always had a smile on her face, loved ones said.

Hundreds of family members and friends gathered in North Hollywood on Friday in memory of the 19-year-old, who was one of the five young people killed in a fiery car crash in Burbank last Saturday.

At her funeral service, loved ones remembered her as full of life.

"She's our smile maker," said her uncle, Housni Hariri, adding that she was an animal advocate who loved her two cats. "She was happy since childhood until the day she died."

PHOTOS: Funeral for Malak Hariri  

Others remembered Malak Hariri as a respectful friend who played water polo in high school and loved dancing.

Before the service, Malak Hariri's friend, Chelsea Mirto, passed out T-shirts to peers that bore the phrase, "Rest in paradise, our angel" on them.

"She was just the sweetest person, full of joy," Mirto said.

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Jaime Jimenez, who worked at Best Buy with Malak Hariri for about two years, said she treated every day as if it was "the greatest day ever."

Jimenez added, "She was full of life, always laughing."

Peter and Linda Michalchuck said their granddaughter was "attached at the hip" to Malak Hariri, and they had her over for dinner throughout the last decade.

"They loved to go out, have fun, shop, lay out by the pool," Linda Michalchuck said. "She was taken far too young."

In a statement, Housni Hariri said his family hopes to work with city officials to identify ways to prevent future tragedies.

"Every disaster, no matter how great or small, provides an opportunity to eliminate or reduce future risks," he said in a statement. "This tragic crash is one that should do just that; the party planners, our young adults, drivers, road designers/engineers, families and city people should not let this one go to waste."

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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