Tributes pour in for doctor who died after paddleboarding accident

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PARKER, Colo. — Hope Cassel, a doctor from Parker who was found unresponsive at Chatfield Reservoir after a strong storm came up while she was paddleboarding with her children, died Sunday night.

Cassel’s ex-husband, Tom Cassel, posted a message on a friend’s Facebook page announcing his wife’s death.

On Friday, Hope Cassel, an OB/GYN at Parker Adventist Hospital, was paddleboarding with her three sons, ages 14, 13 and 11, along with a friend of the boys, 11, about 1 p.m. when a storm came up, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said.

The storm caused heavy wind, rain, lightning, thunder and hail occurred, quickly causing large waves. The four boys, who were wearing life vests, made it to shore safely, but Cassel was found in the water and unresponsive.

On Monday, several patients expressed their sorrow over the loss of the beloved doctor.

“She was like the light in the room. She walked in and she was very outgoing. She loved everyone. She was very personable,” said Jennifer Klewer, who was a patient of Cassel’s for more than a decade.

“I’m very thankful and I feel blessed to have known her because I truly feel that I would not have a healthy child or that I would have gotten through that pregnancy without her help,” patient Jen Connoways said.

She said Cassel is the reason she has a healthy 4-year-old today.

“She just made you feel like family. She cared and she was so intelligent,” Connoways said.

Cassel was wearing an inflatable life ring that could be activated by pulling a cord, but it was not inflated when she was found, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said.

GoFundMe account has been set up online to help her family.

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