Cover photo for Cynthia Lou Kelly Heupel's Obituary
Cynthia Lou Kelly Heupel Profile Photo

Cynthia Lou Kelly Heupel

April 7, 1955 — May 14, 2024


Cynthia Lou Kelly Heupel

Cynthia Lou Kelly Heupel, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend, passed away peacefully at her home on May 14, 2024.

 Cindy was the first-born child of Tom and Gladys Kelly, born in Fargo, North Dakota on April 7, 1955. With her parents and younger sisters, Char and Julie, the family resided in Coos Bay, Oregon, where Cindy relished the beauty of the West Coast and the wonder of the water and sunset.

 Cindy graduated from Marshfield High School in Coos Bay in 1973. She graduated with honors from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota with a degree in Education, and went on to pursue a Master’s in Education from Northern State, where she graduated with high honors. 

 Cindy met the love of her life, Ken Heupel, in 1975 while she was studying at Valley City State College in North Dakota. The two were married on June 26, 1976. Their 47 and a half years together can be encapsulated in three words:  faith, family, and service. 

 Cindy began her lifelong commitment to public service as a gifted education teacher. In 1988, Cindy became Vice Principal of Aberdeen Central High School and in 1990 was promoted to Principal. For Cindy, working in education was more than a job – it was a vocation – a calling to use her God-given gifts to help young people discover their own vision for their lives and provide them the tools to achieve that vision.  

 Her exemplary leadership was recognized nationally as a sought-after speaker at education conferences. Cindy was awarded for her outstanding contributions to education by the North Central Convention in Chicago. Under her leadership, Central High School was given the prestigious National Blue Ribbon Schools Award. In 2000, Cindy was presented the Administrator of the Year Award by the South Dakota Association of Educational Office Professionals.  

 After moving to Oklahoma to be close to family, Cindy joined Barlow Education Management Services in 2007 as an educational consultant, allowing her to share her years of wisdom and passion with a broader group of superintendents, administrators, and principals. For the next 17 years, Cindy traveled throughout the state and beyond providing leadership development and support. She played a crucial role in helping numerous public schools in Oklahoma achieve success, including the sought-after Blue Ribbon Award.

 Cindy’s life was anchored in her family. Ken and Cindy joyfully welcomed their son, Joshua Kenneth, on March 22, 1978, and their daughter, Andrea Lou, on May 19, 1982. Cindy loved watching Josh achieve his dreams as a college quarterback and football coach, and she loved watching Andrea excel in the classroom and flourish as a wife and mother. Cindy was quick to celebrate, above all, the character of her children, rejoicing in Josh’s leadership and care of others and Andrea’s work ethic, integrity, and exceptional motherhood.  

 A true matriarch, Cindy was a mother figure to not only her own children, but so many others – including her students, her husband’s coaching staff and players, extended family through marriage, friends, and countless others. Cindy prioritized spending time with her loved ones and was a tremendous listener, encourager, guide, and advocate. Her beautiful grandchildren – Janna, Hannah, Jace, and Hunter – were her greatest joy.  She delighted in each of them and their unique gifts. She was endlessly proud of them, listening intently to their dreams and helping them to believe they could achieve whatever they put their minds to. Cindy said to her family every day, “I love you, always and forever.” 

 Cindy’s greatest life memories were with her children and grandchildren. She was especially fond of family meals, buttered popcorn and classic Christmas movies, music – especially from the 50s and 60s, attending mass together, beach vacations, swimming, and telling family stories. Cindy always brought the extra special touch – the beautifully wrapped Christmas presents adorned with glitter names, the infamous “bunny cake” at Easter, the birthday balloons, the special gift that was chosen with care just for you. She was deeply loyal, courageous, hard-working, generous, strong, insightful, attentive, loving, and steadfast in her faith and convictions. She had a gift of truly seeing people for who they are and their unique gifts and talents.  

 She was also the spiritual leader of the family, always pointing people to the goodness of God, the power of prayer, and the peace which surpasses all understanding through following Jesus. Her life scripture was Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Cindy’s incredible legacy will be carried forward in the hearts and minds of all those who were blessed to know and love her.  

 Cindy is survived by her husband of 47 years, Kenneth Heupel, her children Josh Heupel and daughter-in-law Dawn (Dell) Heupel, daughter Andrea Boren and son-in-law Congressman Dan Boren, grandchildren Janna Lou Boren, Hannah Cindiann Heupel, Jace Joshua Heupel, and Hunter Daniel Boren, mother Gladys Kelly and sister Charlotte (husband Gordon) Porter, nieces and nephews as follows: Jacob Parten (wife Terra), Zachary Parten (wife Sara), Caitlin Maas (husband Ryan), Johnny Andersson, Becca Heck (husband Jake), Alexa Swanson (husband Ryan), Lisa Robinson (husband Dave), Ryan Solberg (wife April) and many grand nieces and nephews. Cindy is preceded in death by her father, Thomas Kelly, sister Juliet (Kelly) Parten, and nephew Aaron Andersson.

 If you would like, you may send a contribution to The #14 Foundation, which helps young people and families in need. 

 The #14 Foundation, 3019 NW 160th Street, Edmond, OK 73013

To order memorial trees in memory of Cynthia Lou Kelly Heupel, please visit our tree store.


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