A Colorado Springs woman who died Sunday in a skiing accident on Pikes Peak was known as passionate, dedicated and engaging in her roles as a middle school and college teacher and mother to three teenage sons.
Rachel Dewey was 48.
"She brought not only great background and great knowledge but also a great passion in her subject area to all the young people she impacted," said Todd Morse, the head of school at Colorado Springs Banning Lewis Ranch Academy, where Dewey was an eighth-grade social studies teacher. "Rachel is a wonderful wife and mom and daughter, and what impressed me about her is how she was fully dedicated at work and fully engaged in those family roles."
Dewey was also teaching a Saturday philosophy class at the Pikes Peak Community College downtown Colorado Springs campus, said Warren Epstein, the school's spokesman. She had been an adjunct instructor for the school's Division of Communications, Humanities and Technical Studies since 2005, he added.
"She was a beloved teacher," Epstein said. "She really spent time with her students. She took every student as an individual and was willing to give so much of herself."
On ratemyprofessors.com, several PPCC students raved about Dewey, calling her "the best teacher I ever had," "excellent," "very knowledgeable" and "not at all narcissistic, patient, helpful, and most importantly, passionate about what she teaches."
"She takes the time to make sure you know all the material," one student posted on the website. "I felt well prepared for every exam. She's always willing to answer any questions. Learning ethical theories can be somewhat dry and a bit boring at times, but she does her best to try to make it interesting. I definitely recommend her."
At Banning Lewis Ranch Academy, Dewey was known to greet students in the hallways before classes and dedicated her time to activities outside of her role as a social studies teacher. She brought to the school an "extensive" teaching background, which included a stint in South Korea, said Morse.
On Monday, the school canceled classes after news of Dewey's death and made grief counselors available to students and staff.
"We are as a community heartbroken at the loss of Rachel Dewey," Morse said. "Our hearts go our to her family, husband and children."
Dewey was skiing in an area on Pikes Peak known as Little Italy Couloir near Glen Cove with her husband and children Sunday morning when she lost control and fell about 1,000 feet, said the Teller County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the accident. Glen Cove, just past mile marker 11 on the Pikes Peak Highway, is at an elevation of 11,500 feet.
A memorial service for Dewey will be held 6 p.m. Thursday at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2845 Parliament Drive. Instead of flowers, mourners are asked to contribute prepared meals to the family at www.mealtrain.com/trains/olk32n.
In a statement on the Meal Train website, the Rev. Cathy Eskew of the Presbyterian church said Dewey played many roles in the Colorado Springs community.
"You may have known Rachel as an elder the last three years, as one of our Sunday morning coffee baristas, as a volunteer for Children's Church, and as a person who built bridges with the Muslim communities in town," the reverend wrote. "She shared her gifts of teaching freely and loved her boys immensely. She felt honored that they had invited her to ski with them that (Sunday) morning. She was a lively soul who loved God, and I will miss her energy and devotion."