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Buckingham mourns passing of teacher, mother, coach and friend

A mother, a coach and a friend to many was taken away Monday, July 5, when Buckingham County native Kish Gowin Heslip lost her battle with leukemia.

Heslip, 50, returned to her hometown of Buckingham after graduating from Radford University. There, she taught several classes at Central Virginia Christian School (CVCS), including fifth grade, physical education (PE), math and science.

Later on and until her passing, Heslip also worked at Buckingham County High School (BCHS) where she taught PE, health and driver’s education. She also helped with the school’s tennis team and served as cross country coach.

Kish Gowin Heslip

Heslip’s legacy lives on through the friends she made and the lives she touched over the years.

“Kish was the kind of person who everyone wanted to be around because she was always positive, encouraging and interested in what was going on in the lives of others,” CVCS Administrator and childhood friend Cherie Brickhill said. “Her grace, love and faith have impacted young people from kindergarten to high school age.”

“I have known Kish in several capacities from friend, to co-worker, to supervisor,” BCHS Principal Patti Branch said. “Kish was a sweet spirit with a kind heart. Her students knew that she loved and cared about them. She set the bar high for her students and athletes and will always be remembered for her infectious laugh, big smile and her ability to make everyone feel like they were her best friend.”

“I had the privilege of working with Kish since 2014,” fellow BCHS employee Taylor Boyers said. “I knew her most of my life, and she was just a wonderful person to be around. Kish had an infectious, positive energy and was really a joy to be around. I’ll remember Kish for being a great mother, teacher, coach and friend.”

Above all else, friends and family remember Kish for her love of God and compassion for others.

“She was a friend who loved unconditionally, was fiercely loyal and could remember those minor details about your life and check in about them,” lifelong friend and BCHS colleague Suzanne Snoddy added. “Her faith was evident in how she loved and took time with everyone — regardless of any schedules or timeline. All that knew her were made better by her presence, conservation and friendship — her energy and love were contagious.”