Family and community gather to remember Lower North Fork Fire victim

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LITTLETON, Colo. -- Dozens of family and friends gathered at West Bowles Community Church in Littleton to remember Ann Appel.  The 51-year old is one of three people who died in the Lower North Fork Fire last month.

Instead of saying goodbye, the family wanted the memorial to be a more of a celebration of Ann's life.

"We can rejoice that she is with the lord," said Pastor Duane Cory from Deer Creek Church.

Cody conducted the ceremony, which consisted of music and videos of pictures of the Appel family.  The grieving family chose not to speak at the memorial; instead they narrated videos of pictures of their mother.

In one video, Scott Appel, Ann’s husband, shared his memory about his first date with Ann when they grilled out near a lake.  A perfect date, he said, until they headed back with the grill tied down inside his Bronco.

"We proceeded and we hit a chuck hole somewhere and over the grill went. It was like a snow globe in the Bronco with ashes flying everywhere," Scott said.

They started their relationship surrounded by ashes and married soon after.  They moved to a house in Evergreen. It's the same family home that Scott said Ann helped to design.

It's also where both of their sons grew up and the house that burned with Ann inside.

Because the family lost everything in the fire they relied on others to supply them with pictures for Ann's memorial.  One photo given to the family was a professional picture taken in Siesta Key, Florida where they spent many family vacations.

"She would walk the beach for hours every day looking for just the right shells," said Scott Appel.

The Appel's two sons Evan, 21, and Austin, 19, are now in college.  They talked at the memorial only on video about their mom and how happy they were to have had her in their lives.

"Mom took the time for both Austin and I and for dad, and to me that is something you can't put a price on," said Evan Appel, Ann's son.

While Scott and his two sons celebrated Ann's 51 years of life, this memorial also helped them say goodbye to a wife and mother who they will forever cherish.