On December 3rd, 2022, the world lost a wonderful spirit. Our beloved Mother, Spouse, Sister, Aunt, Teacher, and beloved Community Leader, Kristi Hodgkiss, passed away after a 3-year battle with breast cancer at the age of 54.
In her 54 years of life, Kristi accomplished a legacy larger than most can achieve in a lifetime. She was a devoted community servant whose work will be cherished for decades to come by former students, her husband, Dennis, and her children and extended family.
Services are scheduled for 3:30 pm Wednesday, December 7th, 2022, at the North Lamar High School Auditorium under the direction of Bright-Holland Funeral Home. The Rev. Judi Brandt will officiate, with burial following at Hopewell Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6-8PM on Tuesday, December 6th, 2022, at the Bright-Holland Funeral Home Chapel.
Kristi was born on June 17th, 1968, in Paris, Texas, the daughter of Gus Harris Jr. and Barbara Fields Harris.
She graduated 3rd in her class from North Lamar High School in 1986 and then attended North Texas State University. She also returned to school to obtain her master’s degree in Public Relations from Purdue University in 2019. The fall after graduating from college in 1990, she began teaching at North Lamar High School, the same year she married her husband of 32 years, Dennis Hodgkiss. Her tenure at North Lamar High School was marked by unbounding success. Kristi was able to found and instruct a UIL Speech and Debate team that became nationally ranked during her 32 years of tenure at North Lamar Independent School district. As the Director of the Speech and Debate Program at North Lamar High School, Kristi amassed a staggering surplus of 25 team and individual Texas state championships, more than 50 national debate tournament qualifiers, gained a reputation as a top-tier tournament coordinator, and was the recipient of countless coaching and advocate awards from the University Interscholastic League and the National Speech and Debate Association.
In addition to her successes in Speech and Debate, Kristi was a world-class educator who taught Spanish and French classes at the high school. She was also the recipient of multiple local and regional teaching awards, claiming the Teacher of the Year title on two separate occasions. Additionally, she received national recognition from the National Federation of State High School Associations in honor of her efforts and advocacy for her students and for her extra-curricular sponsorships. Kristi was awarded the UIL Sponsor Excellence award.
Most recently, Kristi had left the classroom to act as the Director of Public Relations for North Lamar Independent School District, a dream job that she had spent years working for while obtaining her master’s degree.
She was a longtime member of Oak Park United Methodist Church.
To know Kristi was to be in the presence of an angel. A second mother to every student that entered her classroom, but especially to her Speakers and Debaters; Kristi found potential in every student and advocated tirelessly until every student saw that same potential. To her family, Kristi was one of the central pillars, frequently coordinating events and keeping communication amongst the family flowing. When it came to her family, she found her greatest joy. Her husband and children were the lights of her life, and she was, perhaps, never happier than when the kids were around, and the family was all together. Her favorite lesson to her children was to “just be happy.” You would never meet a stronger advocate for her children than Kristi Hodgkiss.
She also was an avid reader, making short work of books that would take anyone else weeks to finish. She was a True Crime and Police Procedural enthusiast and could almost always be found with a book in hand.
Kristi also helped to maintain Crossroad Acres ranch, in Hopewell, Texas, with her sister, Alice, and the help of nearby family members and friends. The Harris family ranch has operated now for over a century and was one of Kristi’s prides in life. She loved to sit with the animals on the ranch and simply enjoy the blessings of nature and family time on the land.
Kristi was preceded in death by her parents, Gus and Barbara Harris; and grandparents Vernon and Margie Fields and Gus and Zona Harris.
Kristi is survived by her husband, Dennis Hodgkiss, of Hopewell; sister, Alice Hignight and husband Greg Hignight of Hopewell; children, son and daughter-in-law, Carver and Aerial Hodgkiss of Denver, Colorado; son Colin Hodgkiss, of Hopewell; daughter Katie Hodgkiss and boyfriend Zach Huffman, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; niece, Grace Hignight of Hopewell; niece Ashley Carney and husband Jesse of Durant; nephew Garon Hignight and wife Callie of Antlers, Oklahoma; her aunt Virginia “Kay-Kay” Cope of Howland and her children; and Uncle Benny Fields of Howland and his children.
Named to serve as pallbearers are Steve Arnold, Kinsey Martin, Matthew Corley, Paul Fields, Aaron Arnold, and Kevin Nimmo.
To leave a message or tribute for the family please visit www.brighthollandfuneralhome.com