Kimberly Catherine Hightower, age 52 of Copperas Cove, passed away on the morning of March 1, 2023. A memorial service will be held at a later date in Hawaii where Kim’s ashes will be scattered with those of her dear husband, Billy Richard Hightower.
Kim was born on January 26, 1971, the youngest of six children. 1971 was a very different era than today. She grew up in Saline, Michigan with three older sisters and two older brothers, her grandmother and mother all in the same 3ish bedroom house… with one bathroom (Yes, 6 girls and two boys all sharing the one bathroom – unheard of today!).
Kim was always a happy child growing up in Saline, always had a smile on her face, and loved to laugh. In the backyard of that tiny house, she would play kickball, and basketball and used her imagination to play things like “WXYZ in Suburbia” (a made-up radio station) with her older brothers and sisters. Imagination was probably the best toy there ever was and Kim had one of the best imaginations. We spent time with our neighbors, and she loved riding her bike around the backyard and “up and down” the street.
Kim was an excellent student in school and her grades showed it. Later, after moving to Arizona, she would go to school for cosmetology and gained her cosmetology license. Kim became a mother at a young age to her son Jacob, the love of her life. Kim was an amazing mother. She would later become a highly successful insurance agent for the majority of her life. After moving to Arizona, Kim met the second love of her life, Rick Hightower, and took his name for herself and her son, Jacob. She spent many years happily married in Lake Havasu and later Tucson up until the time of Rick’s death when she moved back to Lake Havasu to be near her mother who was in poor health. After her mother’s passing, she would move to Copperas Cove, Texas, to live with her sister, Denise, while she looked for places near Jacob in Oregon. She had visited Oregon on a couple of occasions since Jacob had moved there, and despite hating the cold still loved nature and wanted to be closer to her son.
Family was everything to Kim, so in that spirit, here are some of her siblings’ favorite memories of Kim:
“I honestly cannot pinpoint “the” favorite memory of Kim – every memory with her is a special memory to me. The memory that is stuck in my head at the moment for some reason is when she would have been around the ages of 8-11, and I would have been around 10-14. Kim seemed to always be at my side – I would always deny it, but I loved that she was. On several occasions, I would make money shoveling snow in the winter and cutting grass in the summer for the neighbors. Whenever I had money, she would walk with me up to the Big Boy on Michigan Avenue. I don’t have any idea how we didn’t end up getting crushed by a car – I remember getting to the edge of the four-lane highway that is Michigan Avenue - each time, looking both ways then grabbing her tiny little hand, pulling her across the street saying “RUN, RUN, RUNNNNN!!!”. After a couple of times doing this with her, she would be the one to grab MY Hand - she was then in charge of saying “RUN, RUN, RUNNNNN!!!). I would buy her a “Kiddie Burger and Fries” and a milkshake. She was always so thankful but would tease me with the fries (There wouldn’t have been enough money for us both to eat there). I remember the one time that she said, “Do you want one of my fries?” – holding the French fry close to my mouth and teasing with a huge smile, I’d say “YES!” then she would Laugh, LOUD and say “NOPE!, mine but thanks!”. She had the most amazing laugh even as a kid, I miss her laugh… I just miss her altogether. A few years later, after the older kids were too old and cool to be hanging out with me at night, Kim used to stay up late with me and watch Saturday Night Live… Just her and me…, we’d order Domino’s - and laugh at all the funny skits, even though she didn’t understand most of what was going on… she just loved to laugh, and I loved hearing her laugh.” – Robert Tinsley
“I have a lot of memories of Kim. One that I often think of is from the Saline Fair. We all loved to sing when we were young, and mom and dad entered us into the talent contest at the fair. John Denver was one of the artists we often listened to and sang to, so we decided to sing Take Me Home, Country Road for the talent contest. We practiced before the contest to be sure we all knew the words to the song, which of course we all did. We got up on stage, eager to sing for the audience, yet nervous. The Saline Fair and Rodeo was a yearly event that was eagerly awaited by the entire city. We start singing, all in unison, except for Kim who had decided she was going to sing Thank God I'm A Country Boy by John Denver instead of Take Me Home, Country Road. The audience was smiling, trying unsuccessfully not to laugh. We all continued singing five of us singing one song and Kim singing, loud and proud, her own song. I honestly can't recall how many people were there watching, seemed like thousands but was probably less than 100. I do recall classmates commenting on our performance the following week. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed it, thanks to Kim going rogue and giving everyone great comedy relief. I'm pretty sure we still placed third. I could give many other memories but wanted to tell a cute, fond memory that I'm sure all of us siblings still remember. Love and miss you, Kim.” – Cheryl Martin
“My favorite memories are around travel, I think, favorite because they are the ones that are the clearest. The earliest are with the whole family and Kim and I in the 'way-back seats' of the station wagon. Most memories were, however, with me, Kim, mom, and Gran. Whether it was stopping at Meramec Caverns (Gran refused to go in) or to Uncle Danny's or to Arizona to see Cheryl, we always had a great time. I could tell the gummy bear story again, but I know you have heard it enough through mom/Grandma Mary. Being in a car together for that long, you can't help but create a bond of love and memories that can't be taken away even when 3 of the 4 people are not physically with us anymore. Kim was always kind and loving (just like her mother and grandmother) and shared those values with Rick and Jake. God has blessed us all by placing her in our lives, and He will give us all the strength we need to carry on in a world without her. She is yet another wonderful person gone way too soon but never forgotten. We will all be reunited one day, and until that day, we all have memories of Kim to share with each other. Kim will be missed by many, but she will continue to be loved by all who knew her.” – Ed Tinsley
“What instantly springs to mind when I think of my sweet baby sister Kim is her quick laugh and sense of humor, her ultra-heavy purse that felt like it weighed 30 pounds+, and her big heart. She’d be the first to offer help to family & friends that needed it as long as I can remember, no matter what was happening in her own world. So many great memories with Kim. Among my most treasured: her delight when she took me to an Ostrich Farm with no warning of their attack skills; a week I spent at her house in Tucson that was filled with walks, talks, day trips, and lots and lots of her homemade jerky; and our “Soul Sisters” Facebook group where all four Tinsley sisters journaled on the same writing prompt (fave childhood food, do you believe in ghosts? ) once a week for many months years ago. At the agreed upon day & time we’d each post our individual journal entry for all to read which was followed by a frenzy of comments and questions and laughs out loud recalling memories or learning things we didn’t know about one another. With her passing, Kim’s petite frame leaves a very large hole in my heart.” – Brenda Tinsley
Kim was preceded in death by her husband of 20-plus years, Billy Richard Hightower.
Kim is survived by her son, Jacob Hightower; daughters, Katherine Hightower East and Jan Hightower Kusche, sisters, Denise Moore, Brenda Tubbs, and Cheryl Martin; brothers, Ed Tinsley and Robert Tinsley.