Jenny Yoo Hwa Miller (1984 - 2015)

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  • "I only just found out about her passing... I'm shocked and..."
    - jennifer Blankenship-Douglas
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  • "Jenny was always so friendly - sad to hear that she is gone."
    - Detlef Buettner
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Jenna Yoo Hwa Miller
September 19, 1984 – May 17, 2015

Jenna Yoo Hwa Miller was born September 19, 1984 in Inchon, South Korea where she was given the name Yoo Hwa 'Gentle Bright Shine' before traveling to Alaska to become part of our 'forever family'. Jenny, as we all knew her, was a shining light of laughter, curiosity, creativity, high spirits and fearlessness. Her smile was beautiful, warm and generous.

Jenny loved all animals, especially dogs, horses, whales and dolphins. Her spirit of adventure began with climbing every tree in the neighborhood and exploring the beaches with her brother and inseparable childhood friends. Swimming, skiing, snowboarding, surfing and horseback riding followed, with forays into karate and gymnastics.

Jenny loved fishing and hunting with her dad 'I'm helping to feed the family mom' she once told me. Her dad treasures memories of the first deer, an 8 pt. buck ,the trip north for caribou, her 88 lb halibut and a 32 lb. king salmon. Jenny hiked the Chilkoot trail and loved family campouts as well as ferry/road trips to visit grandparents in British Columbia where she rode horses to her heart's content and competed in cattle penning rodeos. Other family adventures included travel to Disneyland and Hawaii. Jenny and all of the 'Miller women' spent hours laughing together during 'women's day' visits; painting together or trying our hands at make-up parties.

Jenny was a gifted writer and story teller. She loved to put on plays and 'rock star' shows with friends in the family living room. We thought we'd never hear the end of songs from 'The Lion King', one of Jenny's favorites.

Jenny graduated from Juneau Douglas High School where she played violin in the orchestra and 'tried her feet' at Track and Field. She attended University of Alaska Southeast, particularly enjoying 'Introduction to Law'. At one time Jenny pondered following a cousin's footsteps and becoming a vet tech so that she could work with the animals she loved.

Jenny often talked of dreams to continue her education even as she struggled against the addiction she thought she could 'beat' without help. Jenny loved her little boys, her family and her friends. Her dreams and that struggle ended with her death on May 17th.

The day before her death, Jenny enjoyed an afternoon with her parents and son at the UAS Spring Community Day. It was a gift of laughter, hugs, "I love yous" and plans for a family picnic the next weekend. Jenny said 'Mom, I think I can finally make it this summer'.

Jenny is survived by her parents Gary and Kathy, brother Shawn, god-parents Elaine and Mark, sons Michael and McLain, McLain's dad Ian, grandmother Julie and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends in Juneau and across the country.

The outreach and support from family and friends as well as the many kindnesses of strangers has eased the heartache of losing Jenny. We appreciate the compassion and respect shown to us and Jenny by the CCF/R responders and JPD investigators. We also want to thank AWARE for the shelter, protection, and hope they gave our daughter when she needed and could accept their help.

There will be a private celebration of Jenny's life later this summer
~ Remembered with love...her spirit is free~
Published in The Juneau Empire from June 12 to July 12, 2015