Lessons from Byron

LIHUE — A 21-year-old Waimea man who died in a motorcycle crash Wednesday was known for his musical talents, unconditional love and positive attitude toward life.

“I feel a strong connection to him and was blessed to have known him and to have nurtured him,” said Byron Hahn-Morin’s mother, Elizabeth Hahn. “When the fruit is ripe it falls from the tree, and only God knows when that time comes.”

Hahn-Morin was killed when his motorcycle veered off of a sharp curve on Koloa Road, where he was traveling west near the Omao Road junction about 3 p.m.

According to a preliminary investigation by Kauai Police Department, Hahn-Morin died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the crash. A helmet was found at the scene but it is not yet confirmed if he was wearing it at the time of the crash.

Elizabeth Hahn said her son always wore his helmet and jacket while riding and thinks that he was caught in a sudden rain while driving too fast. This is Kauai’s fourth traffic fatality of 2013 and is still under investigation.

“It went from partly cloudy to a downpour in an instant and that is the best speculation of what happened to him,” said Hahn.

Hahn-Morin was a chef at Red Salt Restaurant in the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort. He was an experiential learner who mastered the Rubic’s Cube, loved to create gourmet food, and could play any instrument, Hahn said.

As a musician Hahn-Morin’s nickname was “Ukuleleboi,” said Hahn. He played ukulele and was a Polynesian dancer who represented Kauai on tours of sister cities, Iwaki City and Moriyama in Japan.

He was a graduate of Waimea High School and a member of the marching band in the 2005 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. Later that fall he was part of the all-state marching band that went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

In addition to performing percussion for the Waimea High School Band, Hahn-Morin was part of the group “Second Nature” that won a Kauai Band Champs award. More recently, he recorded the background music for a Niihau choir group together with DJ Yaris.

“He loved music,” Hahn said. “He aspired to become a sound engineer and recording artist and was a wonderful and charismatic entertainer.”

Hahn-Morin was the youngest in a family of three boys and one girl.

Older brothers include Aaron Habermann, 43, an artist and lifeguard on Kauai; and Steven Han Morin, 23, who lives in California. His sister Michele Ray, 44, lives in Portland.

Byron’s father, Ronald Morin, lives in Colorado.

Hahn’s Facebook page is being frequented by Hahn-Morin’s friends through work, school, hula halau, music and motorcycle groups, along with support from her Bahai faith. She said he attracted people with a positive outlook and was at a high point, enjoying every moment.

Kauai Film Commissioner Art Umezu said it was just this past weekend that he was unpacking items from a recent trip when he discovered the CD that Hahn-Morin burned for him. He was playing and singing a song that Umezu had written and wanted to make it a gift.

“I am in shock,” Umezu said.

He said Hahn-Morin was an “exceptional talent” who kept 5,000 Japanese elementary school students in nine schools mesmerized as part of the youth entourage of hula dancers and musicians. He used the language of music to communicate with thousands of kids over six days.

“It was an exceptional performance,” Umezu said. “Byron had a future in music and said he also wanted to teach children.”

A highlight of the Japan trip was Hahn-Morin’s performance of “Super G,” a popular song among ukulele players that speeds up with each repetition. He was able to get across to the kids that “wikiwiki” means faster in Hawaiian, and they gleefully challenged him to lightning speed over four times.

“It was a magical moment and that is all I can say,” Umezu said. “I am glad that I got to know him in those six days, playing for those kids and making a difference by representing Kauai with his talent.”

The family is planning a simple burial in the next couple of days. They plan a celebration of Hahn-Morin’s life the weekend following what would have been his 22nd birthday on Dec. 5.

“These things happen and people should take a lesson from Byron,” Hahn said. “Be kind and loving and live each day as a precious gift.”

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