Holly Freeman (Kissick) Heupel – loving mother, sister, wife, friend, aunt, cousin, and teacher. She was our fun loving “Rawhide.” Her vivacious spirit and laughter were contagious. The loyalty and dedication she gave to so many people and causes will live on and ripple through time. Her companionship on adventures both great and small were felt by many. Holly battled with heart disease and on December 8th, 2017 she completed her last worldly adventure in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her two daughters, family, and friends were present with her during her peaceful final moments.
Born November 30, 1949 to Jack and Florence Freeman, Holly lived an exceptional life. She was born in Phoenix and lived mostly in Florence, Arizona until she was 18. She was raised on a large cattle ranch with four brothers and one sister. Her mother passed when she was three years old and she then gained a stepmother and two step siblings. She was very active in her high school and was a cheerleader as well as homecoming queen. She loved the ranch life. She was always out helping or playing with the boys and was certainly not afraid to get dirty.
She attended Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona and graduated with an Elementary Education Degree. In 1970, she met Michael Kissick. Both of their lives were forever changed. Holly and Mike were soul mates and moved through life together.
Holly became a teacher in Arizona right after graduation and Mike went to serve in Vietnam as a pilot for the Air Force. When he returned they traveled, lived in California for a short time, and then moved to Florida. Holly taught there for two years and received her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Development from the University of Florida. Their next adventure brought them to Germany. Holly taught for the Department of Defense schools (DOD) for two years. Every moment they were able, they traveled throughout Europe. Whether skiing in the Alps or wine tasting in Italy, there was never a dull moment. They were the type of people that would be camping in their Westphalia in Germany and in the same night eat dinner over the fire, then get properly dressed to see Romeo and Juliet the Opera, once finished change again, and end the night by seeing The Rolling Stones in concert. They both loved life! After Germany, they found their way to Evergreen, Colorado. Holly taught in Jefferson County for three years. Her time in Evergreen was one of the best times of her life. She met her best friend/soul mate/sister Fawn Coffin there, her and Mike’s best friend, Russ Carparelli, from Germany moved nearby, Mike’s stepsister Sandy Booth was always with them, and they were wild roommates for some time with Jim Malone. Oh the crazy stories we cannot tell…
After eight years, Holly and Mike wed on December 29th, 1978 in Grand Junction, Colorado. They moved to Alamogordo, New Mexico with the Air Force. In April of 1982, they had their first daughter Codi Kissick. Holly became a stay at home mom and in November of 1983 they had their second daughter Sheyna Kissick. They were stationed next in Eagle River, Alaska in 1985 where Holly went back to work as a preschool teacher and eventually director. On July 4th, 1988 Holly’s husband Mike was killed in a plane crash. The absence of her husband and the father of her children forever changed her life. She chose to continue with their life goal and she moved her two daughters to Colorado. She took a few years off of teaching, traveled, and then settled in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Holly remarried after a few years in Colorado and DuWayne Heupel with his son Jason joined her and her daughters to make one family. After deciding to go their separate ways, they remained friends for many years. She began teaching for Academy District 20 in 1991 and was a teacher at Foothills Elementary for 23 years. Holly loved teaching with her entire being and if her health had not caused her to retire in August of 2017 she would have continued.
Holly had many passions. Music from the 70’s, such as Willie Nelson, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Rondstadt, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band were her favorites. She enjoyed reading and learning. Her desire to be in service of others was absolutely extraordinary and teaching was always at the forefront. She loved travel and the outdoors. In her younger days she loved skiing, camping, fishing, and exploring new skills and adventures of all types. She traveled throughout Europe, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and all through the United States.
Family, both blood and chosen, were extremely valuable to Holly. The love she shared with people she considered family was unparalleled. It was quite an eclectic group of humans. There are truly no words to describe the depth of her generosity, dedication and love. She had friends she considered siblings, blood family she would do anything for, students she encouraged into adulthood, her daughters’ friends became her children, and her motherly love for her two biological daughters was limitless.
Being a teacher was a natural gift for Holly. Her knowledge, skills, and commitment were felt not only by her students but also by their families and her colleagues. Every year she would get excited to start the school year. She would say, “Don’t you just love the smell of the hallways?” Holly believed that children learn best through play. She always had a play-based station in her classroom. She saw the potential in every one of her students and would never let them be defined by labels. She believed in the best of each child and this allowed them to believe in themselves. When kids misbehaved, she would often stick her head in the closet so they would not see her laugh or swear. Every student was given the confidence and love to soar on their own. Holly was a superb teacher and her gift of learning will live on.
She was a spitfire. Her love of socializing, her spontaneity, her wild and crazy “Rawhide” nature, and her fabulous sense of humor made her the life of the party at any gathering. We are all made of stardust and Holly is certainly made of the brightest stardust. The world will seem a little dimmer without her.
Holly was preceded in death by her parents, Jack and Florence Freeman, along with her brothers Jackie, Ross and Todd.
She is survived by her daughters, Codi and Sheyna; her sister Diane Burrows; brother Reed Freeman; chosen sister Fawn (Bonanza Jelly Bean) Coffin; brother-in-law Marty Kissick; sister-in-law Sandy Booth; sister-in-law Tina Kissick, and nieces, nephews and many cousins.
A Memorial Service/Crazy Party to commemorate the gift of Holly’s amazing life will be held at the end of February or March. It will be in Colorado Springs, Colorado. People will be notified after the New Year. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Holly’s name to Pikes Peak Hospice, 2550 Tenderfoot Hill St, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Services are under the directions of Return to Nature Funeral Home, Colorado Springs, Colorado. www.returntonaturecolorado.com