Memorial for Yampah Mountain dean takes place Saturday at Two Rivers Park |

Memorial for Yampah Mountain dean takes place Saturday at Two Rivers Park

Annalise Appel poses for a picture while enjoying time outdoors.
Maggie Zerfoss/Courtesy

On March 10, the Roaring Fork community lost a beloved member. Annalise Appel, who served as dean of students at Yampah Mountain High School in Glenwood Springs, died several days after a rock crashed through the windshield of her car while traveling through Glenwood Canyon on Interstate 70.

Serving in a number of different roles at Yampah Mountain since 2010, the Boulder native, who moved to the Roaring Fork Valley during her high school years, attended Metro State University of Denver, Western Colorado University and the University of Northern Colorado before finding her way back to the valley.

Those close with Annalise will remember her for her infectious laugh, which could light up any room that she stepped foot into.

“It was incredible what her smile and laugh could do,” Annalise’s friend, Stu Bryner, said. “It was contagious through the walls. If there is one thing that every single person can say about Annalise, it’s that she brought laughter wherever she was, even when times were challenging.”

Professionally, Annalise is remembered for the dedication she had to be the best that she could be within her occupation.

“She always wanted to know what she could do to improve as an administrator,” Yampah Mountain High Principal Leigh McGown said. “Her career was very important to her. She had an administrative role because she was dedicated to the students and her work ethic.”

Annalise will also be remembered throughout Yampah Mountain High for what McGown calls “the middle path” that Annalise was able to perfect as an administrator.

“It’s something that not everyone can perfect and somehow it came so naturally to her,” McGown said. “During her time as a teacher and a supervisor, she knew how to be your friend but she also knew how to be an excellent leader.”

For those brought into her family, Annalise is remembered for the inclusivity of those she was introduced to.

Annalise and her family pose for a picture during a hike up Rocky Mountain National Park.
Maggie Zerfoss/Courtesy

“From the very start, she welcomed me with open arms,” sister-in-law Maggie Zerfoss said. “She was so prevalent in our lives and in our kids’ lives. She was genuine, fun and she knew how to give you different perspectives to any challenges that you were facing.”

With that fun aspect to Annalise’s life, the 45-year-old had a number of sayings that will stick with the minds of all who know her.

“Something she always said that I will never forget is she would always say ‘heard’ after someone spoke with her,” McGown said. “You would know she was listening because after telling her something she would just say ‘heard.’ It was unique but it was also meaningful and something that I have started saying these past few weeks.”

Annalise is survived by her father Kerry Appel, mother Sally Kilton and brother Guy Zerfoss. She is preceded in death by her younger brother, Michael Zerfoss.

To support Annalise’s family during this difficult time, a GoFundMe account has been set up to assist with medical and memorial expenses.

Annalise’s memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs.

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