More than 150 people gathered under white canopies Saturday to remember Sarah Leaf, the 29-year-old Newport Beach resident who died during a cycling crash on Sept. 14.
The memorial was held in the parking lot of Shape-Up Fitness and Spa where Sarah worked as a nutritionist for three years. Some of her family members and closest friends spent the day sharing their stories about the young woman who they described as full of energy and the "the real deal."
"I still haven’t figured any of this out yet, but a father can’t ask for better friends,” Sarah Leaf's father, Bill, said while fighting back tears. “I guess we go on and do the best we can.”
“I watched her touch so many lives, but I especially liked the way she would disagree with you when it came to nutrition,” Robert Burns, the club's owner and memorial officiant, added. “I’m going to really miss Sarah.”
Sarah Leaf was killed during a bicycle collision on the morning of Friday, Sept. 14 when she was cycling on Pacific Coast Highway and the driver of a stake bed truck turned right onto Bayside Drive. No arrests or citations have been made as a result of her death.
Brian Kurlan, who dated Sarah Leaf for three years, said he misses her very much.
“She was the love of my life,” Kurlan said. “I would do anything to have one more hour or even 15 minutes with her."
Originally from Mesa, Arizona, Sarah Leaf moved to Newport Beach to pursue her career in nutrition and develop her business, Greenleaf Nutrition, which was based inside Shape Up Fitness and Spa.
"As a parent we all want our kids to grow up and be happy and healthy. Healthy, give me a break," Bill Leaf said while emphasizing Sarah’s commitment to living well. “She truly loved life, loved her job, loved her friends. A normal day for her was like a long week for me.”
“I will never forget our times together," Jessica Sharp said in remembrance of her dear friend. "Talking to Sarah was as comfortable as talking in the mirror.”
Friend Andrea Maurer said Sarah Leaf's death has left a void in the lives of the people who knew her best.
“She left a lasting impression on everyone she met, we are all missing out," Maurer said. "We will miss out on the goodness and how she inspired each and every one of us.”
A funeral is planned for Sarah Leaf with her family in Arizona.