Nicki Carano was on her way to a performance with her band when the strong storms knocked an 8-foot-diameter oak tree on her car, crushing her.
The 48-year-old professional drummer was remembered as a passionate musician and dancer.
"It's not closure, we just needed to do something and we didn’t want to have a formal ceremony in a church," said Mike Carano, Carano's brother.
The informal celebration of life allowed visitors to share personal stories of Carano in an intimate way.
"You think it's going to hit you so hard, and the first couple of days I was just numb. Then after that is when it really hits you," said Stellita Porter, a friend of Carano.
A scholarship in Carano's honor has been created by her family at San Diego Mesa College, which she attended. The "Nicki Carano Memorial Scholarship" will be awarded at the Mesa College Scholarship Banquet in April.