The bronze plaque, mounted on a rock near the stream on the west side of the University of Colorado's Norlin Quadrangle, is more about Elaura Jaquette's life than her death.
At a dedication ceremony for the plaque Saturday, Jaquette's family and friends gathered on what would have been her 61st birthday to share their memories of a life that ended too soon. Through their stories, their smiles, their mourning and their celebration, a story of vibrant life unfolded beside the fact of Jaquette's violent death.
Jaquette's adopted sister, Julie Jaquette, was only 3 when her sister was brutally murdered in CU's Macky Auditorium in summer 1966. Elaura was a 20-year-old CU student.
"All I have is what was told to me and a couple of memories," Julie Jaquette said Saturday.
She remembers holding her sister's hand as they walked down the aisle of a movie theater on their way to see "Bambi." She remembers the time when Elaura lost her contact, and after a great search found it stuck unbroken to the bottom of Julie's footie pajamas. She remembers sitting beside her sister at the piano as Elaura played and sang to her.
The plaque's dedication represented a movement from talking about Jaquette's death to talking about her life, said longtime Boulder resident Alan Cass, who coordinated the effort with the support of Jaquette's family, CU and community members.
It was the first time in 40 years that such a memorial has been held for Jaquette, and the location was chosen because it's a spot where the nature-loving student spent much of her time, Cass said.
"Where the riffle of the water and the warble of bird song would have been irresistible to her," he said.
It is also where police found her lunch, books and billfold after her death. Investigators never determined how her murderer, Joseph Dyer Morse, lured her from the spot in the grass into an organ recital room in Macky.
Morse spent the rest of his life in prison and died in March of last year at age 77, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections.(3)