DENVER — Sandy Dahl, who channeled the tragedy of her husband’s death on Sept. 11, 2001, into a powerful campaign to honor his memory, died Friday.
Mrs. Dahl, 52, died in her sleep of natural causes, according to the Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund, the charity she founded.
Her husband, Jason, was the captain of United Flight 93 on 9/11. She strongly believed that Jason fought alongside passengers to keep terrorists from crashing the plane into the US Capitol or the White House. The plane instead crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania.
The couple lived in the Denver-area dream home Jason was renovating. Sandy moved out following the Sept. 11 attacks, but continued to live in Colorado.
After her husband’s death, Mrs. Dahl became a public face for grieving 9/11 families. She founded a scholarship in Jason’s honor to provide funding for young pilots to receive their education. And she gradually warmed to public speaking, to make sure the heroism of Jason and many others aboard Flight 93 was not forgotten.
‘‘They did what would almost never be asked of anyone,’’ Mrs. Dahl told The Denver Post last year. ‘‘I want to make sure history is written.’’
Mrs. Dahl, though, said it was emotionally difficult to keep up the effort. She said she had nightmares and had been told she had post-traumatic stress disorder. Still, she kept going.
‘‘It’s an unusually wonderful thing they did, their self-sacrifice,’’ Mrs. Dahl said of those aboard Flight 93.
David Dosch, the president of the Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund, said that Mrs. Dahl’s death was a surprise. ‘‘Jason and Sandy were my best friends,’’ he said. ‘‘This is a complete shock.’’
Tom Bush, a family friend who is also a scholarship fund board member, said Mrs. Dahl was in good health. She attended the scholarship fund’s annual awards dinner this month.
‘‘She was so proud to be able to be a part of that, to present those scholarships to this year’s winners,’’ Bush said.
‘‘She was a brave woman, I think a soldier herself in many ways, standing up for this country, just like her husband did,’’ Bush said. ‘‘It’s kind of appropriate that it’s Memorial Day weekend.’’