Deborah De Pinto grew up in a family that owned and operated a restaurant and had always worked in a kitchen growing up.
So 12 years ago when her friend Paul Houle, now the director of campus dining services at the University of Colorado, saw there was a chef opening at the Boulder campus, he encouraged her to take it.
"She was probably the hardest working person I've ever met in my life," Houle said. "She was always trying to get better and always wanted to do the best she could.
"She'll be missed."
De Pinto's friends and family are mourning the 44-year-old, who was found dead Monday. Police determined her death was suspicious and arrested her husband.
Deputies found De Pinto unresponsive at 8 p.m. Monday in the laundry room of the Ponderosa Mobile Home Park, 4475 N. Broadway, in north Boulder.
Rescuers began resuscitation efforts, but De Pinto was pronounced dead in the emergency room of Boulder Community Health Foothills Hospital a short time later.
De Pinto's husband, Scott Jones, 47, is facing a charge of second-degree murder. Jones, who is in custody, made his first appearance in court Wednesday.
Boulder County Judge J.P. Martin decided to set bond Friday after charges against Jones are formally filed. His attorneys did not object.
Martin did deny a motion by Jones' attorneys to get immediate access to the crime scene, where a security guard stood watch over a small camper trailer and a common area Wednesday.
The Boulder County Sheriff's Office said Jones and De Pinto, along with their 13- and 11-year-old children, split their time between the mobile home park and the foothills. Houle said that De Pinto loved living in the mountains and had lived in Rollinsville and Nederland.
He first met De Pinto about 18 years ago.
"She was friends with my apartment manager when I first moved to Boulder," Houle said. "We were in our early 20s, so we would all just kind of hang out."
Houle said De Pinto started dating Jones just before he moved out of that apartment, but Houle said he never really knew or interacted with him. As for their kids, he only knew them from stories De Pinto would tell at work.
For the CU dining family, De Pinto's death has been shocking.
"It wasn't like it was a medical issue, at least it seems," Houle said. "It just kind of came out of nowhere."
The affidavit in the case remains sealed and investigators and the Boulder County Coroner have yet to actually say how De Pinto died or why they determined her death is suspicious.
"I'm still kind of processing it," Houle said. "Since we don't have any details, that's probably part of it. Just the unknown of what really happened."