In the words of Terry Carwile, his late wife, Carol Jacobson, was a "collector."
She collected little things such as buttons and jewelry - things that others would have thrown away.
"She wasn't one to let go of things just because they had lost their initial value," he said at a memorial service Sunday at the Wyman Museum. "But she was also a collector of relationships, a collector of people."
Jacobson's collection turned out Sunday to say its goodbyes.
Jacobson, who owned Downtown Books on Yampa Avenue, died Wednesday while rafting the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument.
She was 54.
The lot next to the Wyman Museum was filled Sunday with about 400 people whose lives had been touched by Jacobson and her unfailing dedication to the community.
At the front of the lot stood a white tent filled with brightly colored flowers and framed photographs.
The audience was just as bright, many wearing floral patterns and colored shawls, holding up umbrellas to shield themselves from the hot Northwest Colorado sun that Jacobson had enjoyed for the past four years.
More than 350 people signed the guestbook and mingled around yellowing photo albums filled with pictures of an animated, brown-haired girl.
Every photo showed the same gleaming eyes looking out from behind glasses, the same knowing smile.
"Looking around you can see just a smidgeon of how much she was loved and cared for in this community," Gay Albers, who officiated the service, said to the guests. "It's amazing how much life passion and curiosity can be gone so quickly."
Albers then read a piece of scripture, Isaiah 43:2, which read, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you."
Her voice rang with a clear vibrato as the audience joined in the verse.
Jacobson's three sons, Adam, Aaron and Isaac then began the segment of sharing stories about their mother's legacy.
"I loved her, she loved me, and we're at peace," Isaac Jacobson said.
"When she died, she was happy with where she was in her life," Aaron added.
There was no shortage of heartfelt tales among Jacobson's family and friends.
Many students from her writing classes talked about how Jacobson helped them through dark and difficult times in their lives.
Some wrote poems of their own and talked about how Jacobson drew words out of them with her passion for writing and teaching.
Janet Sheridan, a writing partner of Jacobson's, said her friend always was first to ask herself what could be done.
"While I was always one to say, 'Someone should really do something about that,' Carol would ask 'What can I do about that?'" Sheridan said. "Then, being Carol, she would go and do it. And she'd get the rest of us to do it with her and think we enjoyed it."
Her father, Lou Wyman, told stories that attested to his daughter's fearlessness from a young age.
"She touched a lot of lives," he said. "Sometimes I thought she was a little too involved. She could draw the air right out of a room. I was really proud of her.
"If there's a hereafter, and I think there is, she'll be up there getting it organized for the rest of us."
Every story drew laughs, sighs, or applause out of the audience, which was gaining an understanding of Jacobson's character: full of life, joyful, and refreshingly real, Albers said.
Sarah Kirk, one of Jacobson's many students of writing and life, said she helped out at the bookstore when she could.
"One day, I asked her how she decorated things so well," Kirk said. "And she told me, 'I just surround myself with things I love.' Not only was that the best piece of decorating advice, it was the best piece of advice for life."
On a table next to the guestbook, several jars sat full of Jacobson's button collection. Guests were encouraged to take a button with them, a reminder of Jacobson and the things she loved.
"She's still living through everyone here, everyone she helped," Jacobson's son, Isaac, said. "I know she'll continue looking down on us as a teacher, and all we can do is try to be A+ students."