Obituary: Alice O’Connor Hulings
May 25, 1926 – November 6, 2022
Alice O’Connor Hulings
Born to James and Anna O’Connor along with twin brother Jim, sisters Katy, Jane and Peg, Mom was raised on the O’Connor Brothers ranch along the Missouri River in eastern Montana. Her parents, 3 uncles and aunts raised a total of 17 loving, boisterous cousins together. Ranch work and all it entailed was an energizing, joyful thing for the O’Connors, with “hard worker” being the best complement ever paid.
Mom met Russ Hulings in Sidney, MT upon his return from WWII in 1946. After college and 6 years dating, with at least that many ‘Dear John’ letters, Dad finally proposed. The next 50 years of happy marriage was a blessing to us all. Dad and Mom joined two cultures that in those days was rarely done – a very tight Irish Catholic clan and a strict Southern Baptist heritage. Their example of love, acceptance and support of one another’s traditions, faith and family set the stage for decades of joyful extended family relationships.
Mom’s degree was Music Education, but once married, she left high school choir teaching to raise four children and keep a loving home while Dad’s company moved us around the country. Mom taught piano, directing our church choir to keep her hand in music and make some helpful cash. Having just settled in Denver in the 1960’s, Honeywell wanted to move Dad back East again. Dad declined and thus began a two decades of financial trials that required Mom to return to teaching elementary music as well as hours of piano lessons after long days at school. She retired after 25 years, beloved by her students who as parents and even grandparents, would stop her in restaurants and grocery store aisles for a hug.
When we lost our dad in 2001, Mom showed strength and spunk as a widow, keeping their welcoming home until at age 88, she moved to Holly Creek Senior Community where she made the most of her new home until a bout of food poisoning at age 92 nearly killed her. She miraculously survived that assault but a serious fall 6 months later took its toll. Mom’s health, vision, hearing, and cognition slowly faded from there, but she remained always loving, gracious, fun, and she never complained.
Joy-filled faith, family, friendship, food, dance and music plus a card shark’s skill at Bridge defined our mom’s loving essence. She was so open to, enthusiastic about and accepting of all people and cultures, calling near strangers “darling” and telling them they were wonderful, precious, terrific. Mom was the best audience for anyone daring to risk performing an instrument, song, or dance, one’s willingness to put it out there valued more than quality. Mom never met a stranger, literally walking off elevators saying goodbye to people she had met! Her home was open to all guests, no notice required.
Alice Marie leaves four children, Trish (Scott) Kramer of Glenwood Springs, Kate Hulings (Denver), Jim (Kathryn) Hulings of Ft. Collins, Bill (Jessica) Hulings of Eugene, OR. She is survived by seven grandchildren (Dan and Patrick Kramer of Glenwood Springs), three great grands (two more on the way), sisters Jane McGarity and Peg Franzen, and dozens of adoring nieces, nephews, and cousins. Her sister Kate and brother Jim met her with open arms in Heaven.
A funeral Mass will be held at Holy Family Catholic Church, 4377 Utica St., Denver CO 80212 on Dec. 2, 2022 at 11:30am. Reception to follow. You may leave notes to family and enjoy photos of Mom on Caringbridge.org at “aliceoconnorhulings”. If you’d like to honor Mom, be kind to a stranger, sing a song out loud, feed someone hungry, welcome everyone with a smile, and tell your dearies that you love them.
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