Friends of the Han family, many of them patients at Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han’s Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, gathered Sunday evening at Hendry’s Beach to honor Han, 57, his wife, Jennie Yu, 29, and their daughter, Emily Han, 5. The family was found murdered on the evening of March 23 at their 4640 Greenhill Way home near Goleta. Police arrested suspect Pierre Haobsh two days later.
Vedanta nun Pravrajika Vrajaprana and Santa Barbara Summit for Tibet co-founder Thepo Tulku offered prayers to begin the ceremony, in which more than a dozen patients and friends shared memories of the Hans and the clinic. Waldorf School of Santa Barbara teacher Angela Mietzke, who taught Emily during preschool, said, “I want to share what a light she was.” Mietzke read a poem praising Emily’s “mischievous smile and joyous laughter.” She added, “What an incredible mother [Jennie] was…protecting, kind, generous, loving.”
Ella Bittel, a holistic veterinarian on the Central Coast, remembered that “even when he was in China,” Han would give medical advice to Bittel’s father in Germany via a three-way conference call. “He really loved animals,” she said of Han, sharing a story he told her of his childhood in China. Han found and cared for an abandoned “lion dog,” which grew up to intimidate his childhood bullies.
Herb clinic patients who need prescription refills need only call the clinic’s front desk, said office manager Denise DelBianco. Dr. Jean Yu, Han’s mentor, will see patients while the clinic searches for a full-time herbalist. “That might take a lot more than one person,” DelBianco said. “I want to keep it going.”
The memorial event was led by Santa Barbara resident and editor Nancy Black, a friend and patient of the clinic. Black set up a GoFundMe account to support the clinic. She says another memorial will take place once the Han family members arrive from China.