Remembering Mrs. Hickenbotham

June 19, 2017

Pam Hickenbotham was officially known as the subschool secretary for the class of 2018, but for those who knew her, she was so much more. She was affectionately referred to as Mama H by her students, and was an inspiration to them as she fought against cancer. A few months ago, she promised to be at Eagle Bank Arena to watch the class of 2018 walk across the stage at their graduation, and in return, the students pledged to work their very hardest to get to that stage.

She passed away on Saturday night, June 17th, as students learned from a Facebook message posted by her daughter reading:

“My beautiful mommy, Pam Hickenbotham, passed away last night. She was not in any pain and was ready to enter heaven. As she took her last breaths, she was surrounded by my dad, my brother Jack and his friend Sarah, and my husband Alex and I. Even her granddaughter Dakota was there, sleeping nearby in her stroller. We told her we loved her. We gave her permission to let go. I held her hand and felt her pulse slow down and then come to a peaceful stop. We removed the hospice equipment from the room, covered her in one of her favorite quilts, and hung pictures of her around the room. We took turns sitting with her and were joined by her sister Traci and Traci’s husband, Kevin. Later, in the early morning hours, we stood together outside and waved goodbye as they transported my mom’s body to the funeral home. It was a very special event for our family. My mom’s bravery taught me that death can be a very natural, beautiful process. Over the past few years, she taped messages like this one around the house. Cancer is so limited and we have nothing to fear.”

Cathleen Ridder

Students responded to the devastating news with loving farewells and promises, such as junior Lyla Hong’s tweet: “Two months ago you promised you’d make it to graduation and you fought everyday. I fight for you Mama H. Thank you for everything.”

Junior Nelly Solares tweeted the kind message to “Rest in Peace Mama H… you are a loved woman in the halls of Robinson and in the hearts of so many alumni.”

Others, such as junior Daniel Williams shared their own personal connections, tweeting: “Man, Mrs. H had my sister and my cousin, me and would have had my little brother in two years. Now my mom is about to cry.”
Some, such as junior Rachel McGirl, simply expressed their gratitude, tweeting: “So heartbroken for Mrs. H, thank you for being the kindest and most loving person at Robinson. We love you and miss you so much.”
To junior Aislinn Kane, it seemed unreal, tweeting: “My heart just hurts… I keep thinking this is just some cruel joke, it just doesn’t feel real. Rest in Peace Mrs. H.”

Cathleen Ridder

Junior Jacob Osborne credited her for his education, tweeting: “I can’t believe Mama H is gone. She was the reason I stayed in school. She’ll see me graduate from heaven next year, rest in peace.”
The theme of Heaven was present in many of the dozens of tweets flooding timelines, such as in junior Taylor Lingar’s tweet: “Heaven has another angel, Mama H, I will forever miss your beautiful soul, wish I could hug you again and thank you for everything.”

Yet, as junior Luke Benson expressed in a tweet: “No amount of heartfelt words in a tweet can do you justice, we will continue to live on for you and be touched by you, Mrs. H.”
The loss of such a vibrant, kind, and strong woman is, and always will be, felt by many, and we at Valor Dictus and at Robinson as a whole, wish to convey our deepest gratitude and condolences to her family. If we are to seek solace, however, let us turn to a quote by author A. A. Milne: “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Rest in Peace Mama H. You are loved by so many.

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10 Responses to “Remembering Mrs. Hickenbotham”

  1. Cynthia Concordia on June 19th, 2017 10:51 pm

    Mrs. H is one of the most loving person I have met in school. I am the mom of Nathalia and Gabriel and I have witnessed how she followed the footsteps my children had gone through after they have graduated from high school. She was very generous in praising the kids and supporting their dreams. That is the reason why my children, especially Gabriel, would make it a point to visit her in school when he’s in town. They loved her so much. She even attended the memorial mass of my late husband and provided support to my family. Our deepest sympathies to the whole family of Mrs. H. We will pray for her eternal repose and will always remain in our hearts. Rest In Peace Mrs. H. I am sure you are now enjoying the company of Creator in heaven.


  2. Linda Bufano on June 20th, 2017 2:44 pm

    Mrs. H was the bedrock of Robinson and loved those kids. She was always there for my daughter and treated everyone with respect and humor. She always had a smile on her face, no matter how ill she was. We were so pulling for her to beat this horrid disease. I am only glad she is finally at rest, but am so saddened that she is not with us anymore. We loved you Pam, rest in peace.


  3. Maureen Allison on June 20th, 2017 3:19 pm

    Pam wasn’t just the subschool secretary for the Class of 2018 – she was the subschool secretary for hundreds (probably thousands) of students over the years. She was always that helpful, friendly face when I had a problem and had to go to school. My daughter graduated in 2006 and she would still say hi to me when I would run into her in the community. I’m very sad to hear the news of her passing and hugs to her family.


  4. Ryan on June 20th, 2017 6:55 pm

    I miss my “Aunt Pam” terribly. Good to see so many sharing kind words about her.


  5. Ellen on June 20th, 2017 11:54 pm

    Mama h was the best she let me sit at her desk and she let me leave my track bag in the office doing school Rest In Peace mama h


  6. Ava Smith on June 21st, 2017 12:24 pm

    She was more than her job description, she was my (and many others) go to for help, about generally ANYTHING. She helped me through some extremely hard and difficult parts of my life, she was always a family friend, I knew her before I was even in Robinson, her “office” area was a safe space and you could always go to her. She never turned anyone down. She was always wanting and willing to help. I remember her helping me scramble for teacher signatures before my big move to an overseas post. She helped me when I was capable of doin it myself, but she helped me because she knew I was having a hard time with the move and all of the stress and anxiety that comes with it. She brought me cake on my birthday and she had a weekly check in with me at lunch, just to see how life was going. Currently I am still living overseas and everything that she promised would happen has happened. I hope to spread her love and help as a way to remember her and always keep her with me. Rest in peace Mama H, I’ve never forgotten a thing. We talked about my ultimate goal in life, it’s happening, US ARMY, I did it Mama, just like you said I would. Rest In Peace Mama H. Xx


  7. Jennifer Souther on June 21st, 2017 7:08 pm

    Mrs. H was my subschool secretary – class of 2009. I am so sad to see she has passed away. She was amazing, kind, generous, and positive. Love you Mrs. H!


  8. Fredy Chamale on June 21st, 2017 10:13 pm

    OMG!!!!!!! She would always clam me down when I would throw fits and get in trouble. I spent more time with her than I did my actual teachers! She’s the reason I even graduated… my love her for her never died! I loved her so much and I lasted went to visit her a few years back when my little brother went into 9th grade! Rest In Peace my angel… you will forever be my favorite teacher!!!! Class of 2002 will always hold you close to our hearts. Rest well


  9. Adriana Prada Guerrero on June 21st, 2017 11:07 pm

    Mrs. H was a joy to be around! She was my Sub School Secretary (Class of 2002) and so much more! I had the honor of being a student aid during second period of my Senior Year and I had so much fun with her. Even though 15 years have passed, the impact she has made on my life is eternal! My thoughts and prayers are with her family; especially her husband, her kids, and her granddaughter!


  10. Mariam Nouvel on September 29th, 2017 7:52 am

    I recently discovered about Mrs. H passing. I simply loved her. She’s still is an inspiration to me!!! My heartfelt condolences to her friends and family. You’re resting in peace and watching over us.


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