In Rememberance: Holly Bulfinch

With cold drinks in hand and people standing shoulder to shoulder, Charles Bulfinch gazed across the crowded bar.  The usual sound of music blaring and people laughing had been replaced with a calm silence.

With cold drinks in hand and people standing shoulder to shoulder, Charles Bulfinch gazed across the crowded bar.  The usual sound of music blaring and people laughing had been replaced with a calm silence.

To Holly, the crowd replied as they raised their glasses in unison, a toast to Charles’ daughter, Holly.  As tears fell and friends embraced, the life of Holly Bulfinch was being celebrated by all who loved her dearly.

Holly Bulfinch, 27, a full-time honors student at The University of Akron majoring in finance, passed away unexpectedly on March 27, 2011.   Although her life was cut short, the life she did live was highlighted by unwavering determination and a passion for adventure.  The tattoo painting almost her entire back made her undeniably noticeable, but it was her unconditional fiery devotion to friendships and love of giving her friends special nicknames that made her distinctly unique.

Holly, along with attending classes and working full-time at the company Acxiom, was actively involved in snowboarding, soccer, and hurling. In addition, she found time to enjoy her passions of drawing, painting, photography, knitting, and sewing along with assisting in several animal charities.

It was her devotion to hurling that leads her to meet her boyfriend and fellow hurler Mike Steiner, in November of 2009.  Steiner, who was by Holly’s side along with her family when she passed away, says it’s difficult to speak about her passing.  Together they were raising their Dachshund, Neily, and making plans for the future.  Upon Holly’s graduation from college, they had aspired to move to Colorado were they could live their lives as a married couple. She had envisioned utilizing her degree in finance to pursue a career as an accountant and enjoy the Colorado snowboarding slopes with Steiner year round.

UA students Kyle Schiely, Emily Thompson, and Cory Hiltbrand met Holly in August of 2009 while working together at Scorcher’s in Akron. They describe their friend Holly as a passionate, ambitious, and energetic woman. 

She would always strive to make friends with the people around her as much as she could, said Schiely.  She was always accepting of people she met.

She knew when to be a friend – she knew when to listen and when to talk – she was a true friend, added Thompson.  Hiltbrand conveyed how much he admired Holly’s commitment to her friendships with her ‘variety pack of friends,’ explaining how she even offered to teach him this summer how to ride a motorcycle. On top of all the activities and responsibilities she had going on in her life she still wanted to take the time to help me learn, he said.

UA graduate student Rachel Carbone and her fiancée Jamison Blose were especially close with Holly.  Together, they joined Holly and Steiner on countless occasions for impromptu casual dinner parties, lazy weekends by the pool, game nights, Tappy hour (their joking reference to happy hour), and scratching on the 8 ball during numerous games of pool.

As most of her friends knew, beneath that tough exterior was a woman of great strength, a mind of her own, a big heart, and an attitude to match, Carbone said of her little monster. She was this fearless little thunderbolt.  

Jamison, who Holly had nicknamed ‘Senator’ from their days playing soccer together, added, Holly was the friend everyone wanted.  She would give the shirt off her back without even truly knowing someone, only on the goodness of the first meeting.  Jamison also explains how Holly took life as if she were an amateur athlete; working, living, and playing hard – handling everything thrown at her every step of the way. She’d find ways to handle the tough stuff and make it part of the good. At the end of the day, she’d done the best she could with everything and made lemonade out of every lemon in her path. 

As Carbone and Jamison continue planning their upcoming wedding, they carry Holly’s spirit with them, knowing she is still there reminding them to not look back on life with regret and to cherish the friendships they have created in their lives.  Holly was a true friend that I could confide in and someone that I expected to be in my life for the rest of it, explained Carbone.  She conveyed how deeply she and Jamison will miss Holly’s vibrant personality at upcoming soccer games, kickoffs, summer deck parties, and, most importantly, their wedding.   Holly looked at life with a ‘grab it by the balls’ attitude, and she did just that, said Carbone.  

Akron Celtic Guards Hurling Club (GAA) teammate Scott Cooper described his friend Holly as a highly talented camogie player and all round sportsperson.  There are many great memories I have of Holly, said Cooper, like our conversations, swing dancing together in a bar, her hugs, her hip checks, and her smile. But the one thing Cooper said he would personally miss the most is the way that she would call him by the nickname she gave him, ‘Coop.’

It was a beautiful sound that always made me feel so happy inside. Even though she was younger than me, she was like my little-big sister and sadly was taken away prematurely from many that she loved and those that loved her back.  

Holly was working very hard to spearhead the formation of a full-time women’s camogie team in Akron, and had approached Cooper and fellow teammates to assist in coaching the ladies squad separately from the men.  She wanted to grow participation in Gaelic sports in Akron and increase women’s participation across the country.  In honor of Holly, the Akron hurlers and camogie players will wear commemorative decals on their helmets and patches on their uniforms. The helmet decals and patches will be available in the near future for purchase on the Akron Hurling website:, with proceeds going to fund Akron Camogie and animal charities in Holly’s name.

Although Holly’s life has come to a tragic and untimely end, those who were fortunate to have been in her spunky little firecracker presence are forever changed.  She was no saint, not that any of us are, said Carbone, but she sure was ours.

Said friend Chris Manby, We will all carry her vibrant personality and positive outlook with us as we continue on with her guiding us along the way.

” #1.2198408:2752420064.JPG:Holly Bulfinch:Holly Bulfinch, a University of Akron honors student, died unexpectedly on March 27. Bulfinch (right) and her boyfriend Mike Steiner aspired to move to Colorado to pursue careers while enjoying the Rocky mountains.:Amy L. Wingerter”