Friends to hold memorial for USC pharmacy student

Melted wax, used matches and empty glass jars, remnants of hour upon hour of candlelight vigils, cover the concrete in front of the Shell Station at Federal Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles — a memorial for Bahar Yaghoubian, a fourth-year graduate pharmacy student who was killed in a car accident earlier this month.

Remember · Friends and family members have started the Bahar Foundation to enforce annual check-ups for senior citizen drivers. - Phoebe Unterman | Daily Trojan

USC will be holding its own memorial service for Yaghoubian this evening at 7 p.m. in Mayer Auditorium, located in the Keith Administration Building at USC’s Health Sciences Campus for Yaghoubian.

There will be time at the service for students and faculty to share their memories of Yaghoubian, who was struck and killed while driving at the intersection Jan. 9, and to watch a slideshow with pictures of her life.

Several pictures of Yaghoubian are currently on display outside the gas station where she was killed, showcasing her characteristic smile.

And it’s that smile passersby are first stricken by. It’s that smile her friends and family mention first when they speak of Yaghoubian.

And it’s that smile that first enchanted her boyfriend of eight years, Rodney Raanan, the man she planned to marry.

It was part of Yaghoubian’s outlook on life, encompassed in a piece of paper with the saying, “Always be smiling please!” that hung from a shelf in the center of her room.

Her parents, Fariba and Behzad Yaghoubian, and her sister, Shadi, remember the doctors and nurses at Tehran Clinic Hospital being taken aback by that gorgeous smile May 31, 1985, Yaghoubian’s birthday.

Her talent for connecting with people and making everyone around her feel at ease helped her adjust when her family immigrated to the United States from Iran in 1998 and settled in Los Angeles.

Her diligence helped her win medals and honors on the varsity track and cross country teams at Santa Monica High School.

It took her to UCLA, where she graduated in 2007 with a 4.0 GPA, and then on to the USC School of Pharmacy, from where she would have graduated in May with her PharmD degree.

“She deserved graduation more than anyone,” said third-year pharmacy student and friend Emily Delkhah.

Her stellar grades represented more than just her wish to be at the top of her class.

“She wasn’t like an average student who studies to get an A,” said Parisa Sooferi, another close friend of Bahar’s and fellow fourth-year graduate pharmacy student. “If you ask her something from three years ago, she’ll still remember it. She learned everything for her own sake and in order to become a better pharmacist.”

To her friends, she was the one that brought both laughter and wisdom to their lives. Bahar was their role model for such a lifestyle.

“She gave out an energy that made people want to approach her and see who she was,” said Jenik Hakhamzadeh, another friend and fellow fourth-year graduate pharmacy student.

Her friends and family say they have received an overwhelming number of messages from USC students and faculty who had known Bahar, or even those who just remembered seeing her on campus.

Sooferi, Hakhamzadeh, Delkah and some of Bahar’s other close friends organized the memorial at USC for everyone to share their memories of Bahar.

Because it was an 81-year-old woman who lost control of her car and hit Bahar’s, causing the accident, her parents and friends are determined to establish a foundation in Bahar’s name with the goal of prompting the DMV to enforce annual check-ups for senior citizens to ensure that they are physically and mentally capable of driving safely.

For those who are interested in donating to the Bahar Foundation, there will be a place at tonight’s memorial service to leave contact information.

Anyone interested can also e-mail Bahar’s family and friends are looking not only for monetary donors but also for those with ideas for expanding the organization.

3 replies
  1. Caroline
    Caroline says:

    Other states haves such programs (senior safely courses at least), and it’s amazing California does not. However, in my mother’s state (NJ) these are not mandatory. It’s totally voluntary and when you complete it, you get a certificate that gets sent to your insurance company that lowers your cost a bit. Like with the younger drivers, insurance goes up after becoming a senior because of the risk factor. Also, since applying for social security doesn’t even start until age 62, and most people are having to work these days until age 70+, the suggestion of 60 is ridiculous. Probably made by a 20 year old, not a 40 year old, lol. However, I hope all the “less government” people out there start reconsidering their mantra. Mandatory driver safety testing is just one of many government programs that we should have. I’m very sorry for the family and friends of this vibrant young woman.

  2. Mitra Khalili-Rad
    Mitra Khalili-Rad says:

    I have been mourning the loss of BAHAR even though I never met her. I attended her memorial at the Nessah and was sadden, PRAYING to G-D to give strength to her family to toleare the pain of her loss. Yes, because our brain reacts differely to situations.
    I also agree that ALL age 60+ should have a mandatory annual PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL and NEUROLOLOGICAL test. including a mandatory annual driving test after age 65+.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Yes, everybody age 60+ should have a mandatory annual test.
    From age 65+ including a mandatory annual driving test.

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