Natalie Stipanovic

June 18, 1973November 23, 2019

Dr. Natalie Brinkerhoff Stipanovic of Windsor, CO left this life at 46 years of age on November 23, 2019. Natalie was born on June 18, 1973 to Lois Burnside Huisenga and Allen Brinkerhoff in Joplin, MO.

Everyone that knew Natalie knew her kind, humble heart, and her love for her 3 sons. With a Ph.D. in the field of Psychology, she had the great gift of listening. She was known by family and friends as someone that they could call on when needing advice and understanding guidance. She was quick to identify the gifts and talents that each of us was granted and encouraged us to build on them.

Natalie was an accomplished tenured faculty member at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO. She earned a Bachelor's Degree, Masters, and Ed.S. from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS. and a Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY. She was well-published, respected in her field, and loved by her students and colleagues.

However, her greatest accomplishments by far were her 3 sons: Callaway, Ahmed, and Noah. She was a loving and devoted mother first and foremost. She treasured her amazing boys and the moments that they shared together. She made sure they had life experiences through travel, education, and unprejudiced thinking.

Natalie is preceded in death by her son Ahmed, who left this world at 9 years old on August 2, 2019. Natalie devotedly cared for Ahmed during his long illness and they are now together on the other side of the rainbow.

Natalie is survived by a loving family that will miss her beauty and kindness dearly. Her two sons, Callaway (27) of Paris, France and Noah (7) of Windsor, CO. She loved these boys dearly and fiercely. She was so very proud of them in every way. Her husband, Robert Stipanovic of Windsor, CO. Her parents, Lois Burnside Huisenga of Kansas City, MO. and her father, Allen Brinkerhoff of Muleshoe, TX. Her siblings, Joshua Huisenga of Kansas City, MO, Lyndsey Brinkerhoff Normand of Lake Ozark, MO., and Angela Brinkerhoff Neria of Carl Junction, MO. and their families. She was an aunt to Montana, Abby, Shelby, Brooks, Bryn, Breckyn, and Pheonix-who she shaped and molded into caring young people.

Natalie will be remembered by those who loved her most and knew her best for her kind heart, listening ear, great taste in music, podcast recommendations, quiet but quick wit, and amazing culinary skills. Dr. Natalie Brinkerhoff Stipanovic simply made this world a better place and her sweet soul will be missed.

A burial service for Natalie will take place at Lakeview Cemetery in Windsor, CO on December 3rd at 2:00 pm. All are welcome to join her family to say goodbye to this beautiful, loving, and accomplished woman.


  • Graveside Service Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Natalie Stipanovic

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Mary Grush

December 6, 2019

I am not privileged to have met Natalie, but many like me knew of her exceptional reputation. I am truly saddened for all who are struggling with her loss, you her family most deeply.

What an extraordinary person to shower such light on the world; these are the treasures of humanity. How proud you must be of her life so well lived.

Please accept my deepest condolences and my desire for you to find peace in knowing that Natalie spent this life immersed in your love. She and Ahmad will guide you on your journey.


Angie Quinn

December 5, 2019

We recently met Natalie through a parent grief group. She was a beautiful woman and I am so very sorry to hear of her passing. I'm so glad to been able to know her just briefly. Love to the family, especially her boys as she talked about them often. In Sympathy, Angie & Lorr

Stephanie Persutte-Manning

December 2, 2019


To try to put into words what you meant to me as my dissertation chair, a mentor, a fellow mom trying to get through, and a truly kind and genuine person feels impossible. The tears that I've shed over the news that I never wanted to receive are heavy. I watched in awe and amazement at how you simultaneously cared for your family, your students, your colleagues, and your work. You made a difference to me and were fundamental in my choosing to stay and finish my PhD program. I don't use the term mentor lightly. You were a mentor to me in every aspect of the word. My heart aches for your family and friends who I can see love you so very much and are left with big holes without you. Though our paths crossed in a professional setting, you touched my heart and my heart now has a Natalie shaped hole as well. I value you. I dont want to do the rest without you. And, I will genuinely miss you and our time together. May your beautiful soul be at peace.

Roxie Butkus

December 2, 2019

My name is Roxie (Mrs. B) and I was Ahmed's third grade teacher. I was amazed at Natalie's strength, her fierce love for her kids, and her ability to balance all of the heartaches and joyful moments that life threw at her these last few years. You were an amazing woman and mom, Natalie. I will love on Noah for you every chance I get!

Jenni Santopietro

December 1, 2019

To all of Natalie's family and friends, and especially to her two sons here on Earth, my heart aches immensely for all of you at this time. I met Natalie when she interviewed me for the doctoral program at UNC, and in that first meeting, she helped me feel welcome and confident. Over the last two years at UNC, I witnessed her smile and uplifting presence in every class I had with her and every time we met 1:1. Even as Ahmed's illness progressed, Natalie beautifully supported her students and remained dedicated to her family. Natalie was open and honest in her life as a professor, and she had a way of guiding me as a student that incorporated honest feedback while helping me believe in myself. When it came time for me to choose a dissertation chair, Natalie had immense knowledge that I could draw upon, but it was her heart that made her the obvious choice. UNC will feel different without her smile, and Natalie has forever impacted my life. I will carry her generous spirit and kindness with me throughout the rest of my studies and in my future with other counselors.

Christy Gary

December 1, 2019

Natalie was one of a kind. Always joyful and kind to others. I remember many fun nights hanging out with her in high school and in college. She was so sweet and her laugh was contagious! I regret that we didn't stay close through the years, but I heard of her many accomplishments from her proud sister, Angela. What she has endured the last couple of years with Ahmed is something most of us can't even fathom! I am sharing one of my favorite pictures, but have a few more I will try to post.

Angela Neria

November 30, 2019

My beautiful, kind, accomplished sister. I have always been so proud of you and your caring nature. You simply knew how to make people feel special by listening to them and loving them. This world will not be the same without you in it. You were loved, valued, and treasured by all that knew you.

Give Ahmed a hug from Aunt Lala. I will see you on the other side of the rainbow.

PS: I love this picture of the 4 of us. Lyndsey's selfie skills are on point. We have a bond that will endure place and time.

Gini Crawford

November 30, 2019

Robert, I am Mia and David's grandma and Daniel Crawford is my son, and Jenn my daughter in law. I didn't know Natalie personally but Jenn shared numerous times about what a kind and wonderful woman Natalie is. You and Noah are in my heart and prayers!!!! I can't even imagine losing a beloved son and wife in just a few months. As you said, God has a plan... and it will all make sense in heaven...where Natalie and Ahmed are enjoying each other and waiting expectantly for you and Noah... after you both live a purposeful life on this earth. 1 Corinthians 15

Robert Stipanovic

November 30, 2019

You were the best mother and the best wife, and you are the love of my life. Life has beginning and also has the end now we are just left with lovely memories that we spent. In just 4 months Ahmed is gone and now you, it's too much, but me and Noah, I promise we will pull through. You know how I am I don't question God, I just know that you are on the other side , waiting to reunite. Half of our family it's here and half it's there I'm gonna try to continue without being scared. Oh, my dear and my love, goodbye from your husband and your son.
Robert And Noah .

Dawn Ready

November 29, 2019

My dear soul sister,

We’ve shared so much laughter and so many tears, we’ve a special bond that has grown stronger each year. We’re not sister’s by birth, but we knew from the start, something brought us together to be sister’s by heart. Now a piece of my heart has wings.... My dear, you were definitely the “better half” of our soul connection and I will spend the rest of my life here in this existence guided by your presence with me in spirit.
See you on the other side sister - until then I will know you are with me when I look at a mountain , see our favorite birds and experience the miracle of rainbows or hear the music we love. I also promise to forward the goals for advocacy you believed so passionately about. My dear, I love you and I will miss you everyday.