Sophia DuBose celebration of life memorial service

When: 4:00 p.m. Thursday

Where: Shining Mountain Waldorf School Festival Hall, 999 Violet Ave., Boulder

A community in mourning is remembering 13-year-old Sophia DuBose as a spunky, red-headed girl who smiled often and was extremely close to her twin sister Eliza.

Sophia, of Rollinsville, died Saturday after the pickup truck she was riding in with her father and sister struck another vehicle that had stopped for a bear in Boulder Canyon, then plunged into Boulder Creek.

Though dozens of rescue personnel tried to save her from the rushing water, they weren't able to reach Sophia until about 90 minutes after the crash.

Sophia DuBose
Sophia DuBose (Courtesy photo)

She floated several miles down the creek before being pulled from the water behind Boulder High School. The Boulder County Coroner's Office withheld officially identifying Sophia until Monday morning.

On Sunday, around 150 people attended an impromptu community gathering for Sophia at Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder, school director Susan Levine said.

Sophia was a week away from finishing seventh grade at the school.

"She was a very spunky, fiery gal and much beloved," Levine said Monday. "She was just a spunky girl. Several people commented this morning and remember her wonderful smile. She's one of those people who radiates love in the class.

"I think we're just holding her in light and love for her transition."

Levine said the 28-person seventh-grade class had returned from a rafting trip last week in Buena Vista and that Sophia "had the time of her life."

School administrators are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy before the school year ends on Friday. Levine said there were five counselors at the school Monday to talk with students as they deal with the loss of a classmate.

Students will be creating prayer flags for Sophia this week, Levine said, and a memorial will be held at the school on Thursday afternoon.

Sophia DuBose, left, and her twin sister Eliza
Sophia DuBose, left, and her twin sister Eliza (Courtesy Shining Mountain Waldorf School)

Her twin Eliza said she doesn't want her sister to be anonymous.

"I want people to know what an amazing person she was," she said.

Speaking through Levine, the family described Sophia's "introspective wit." During a recent visit at a coffee shop, Sophia looked at a macaroon and said: "You know, chocolate macaroons are better than boys because they're sweet, they're covered in chocolate and they don't talk back."

Sophia's family, speaking through Levine, said they lost many personal items of sentimental value during the accident and are asking for them to be returned to Shining Mountain if found.

Seventh-grade teacher Michael Janzen, who knew Sophia for five years, remembered her massive stage presence during several productions at the school, including "Don Quixote de la Mancha," for which she was a narrator.

"She wrote all of her own narrations with another classmate, and they would come out and introduce the scenes," Janzen said. "Just the way she would come out, and sometimes she would do a little dance to get the crowd's attention. Sometimes she would come out and throw a joke out there.

"She really was big in her presence on stage and really captured the audience's attention."

Janzen said Sophia loved being at school and loved the community at Shining Mountain, which has roughly 330 students.

When she spoke, people listened to her, he said.

"Sophia had a dynamic personality and even though she was small of stature, her spirit was massive," he said. "The way that she approached life was truly contagious."

In remembering Sophia and reflecting on her life, students evoked both laughter and tears, Janzen said.

"They are responding extraordinarily well," he said. "Certainly there's some sadness and grief, but there's also a huge amount of openness to bring the light out of the darkness."

Janzen said Sophia and Eliza were extremely close and supported each other socially, emotionally, academically and athletically.

Eliza, the surviving sister, attended classes at Shining Mountain on Monday. Janzen said Eliza spoke strongly to him about wanting to be in classes this week to keep moving forward.

"They were inseparable and really did a lot together," he said.

Another teacher Kelly Morrow remembered Sophia's "deep love" of animals and nature, and said she often hugged or smiled at younger kids at school.

"Sophia had a determination that matched her red hair," said Morrow, who taught Sophia from first through fifth grade. "She carried this with her throughout her life and especially when she encountered something more challenging in her life's path. She also had a warm and caring heart."

Peter Davison, co-artistic director at Boulder Ballet, where Sophia performed in several productions, remembered her as a "lively, humorous, enthusiastic performer."

In addition to her fine arts talents, Sophia ran cross country this year for the first time, said athletic director Mike Hawkes.

"She was a great cross country teammate," he said. "Sophia ran with a carefree grace and always with a smile on her face."

At Sunday's unplanned memorial to Sophia, teachers and friends read aloud some of her writing, including a poem she had written about home and the heart.

"She was so thoughtful," said Jeanie Manchester, whose daughter Emma was in Sophia's class. "It was like she was beyond her years in her spiritual understanding of life."

Manchester remembered the spunky "powerhouse" of a girl who came over for a birthday party sleepover with her sister and a handful of other girls.

She said losing Sophia is like losing a daughter for everyone in the tight-knit Shining Mountain community.

"This whole community lost a child, that's what it feels like," Manchester said. "It's not your biological child but it is your community child. The community is totally present for this."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106, kutas@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/sarahkuta.