Kristina Garrett, PhD, 45, of Lubbock, TX, passed away after a sudden illness, on Monday, January 15, 2024, surrounded by her loving family and closest friends. Kristina Garrett was born Kristina Marie Haeussler on June 17, 1978, in Massachusetts, to parents John Sebastian Haeussler and Anne-Marie DiGiacomo Haeussler, both originally from Malden, MA. Some of Kristina’s fondest memories included spending time with her parents and her sister, Erika Haeussler Warnick, at their summer home on Cape Cod; sailing and swimming in the ocean; participating in tennis lessons; swinging on the backyard tire swing; biking around the neighborhood; grabbing pizza at Mario’s in North Conway, NH; and taking family trips throughout New England.
Kristina excelled in academics. After graduating Malden High School in 1996, she was accepted at Emmanuel College with a full-tuition scholarship, the Presidential Scholarship. After graduating from Emmanuel College in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Counseling Psychology, she was admitted into a prestigious, one-year master’s degree program at Boston University, where she obtained her Master of Arts in Psychology in 2001. After completing her master’s degree, she was admitted into a doctoral program in psychology at Boston University, where she completed over two years of coursework. After relocating to Lubbock, TX in 2004, Kristina continued and completed her doctoral degree at Texas Tech University, graduating with her Ph.D. in Human Development Family Studies in 2012.
Dr. Garrett taught in the Human Development Family Studies program at Texas Tech University as a community instructor. In 2014, Kristina was hired at South Plains College as an Instructor of Psychology in the Behavioral Sciences Department, where she received three rank promotions, earning tenure in the fall of 2018. At the time of her death, Dr. Garrett was a Professor of Psychology. In May of 2024, she would have received her 10-year recognition pin from South Plains College. In addition to teaching and advising, Dr. Garrett served the SPC community in a number of capacities, including serving as the lead advisor for Phi Theta Kappa international honor society; being named as the first Director of the SPC Honors Program; advising and registering students during orientations each summer; serving as an Assistant Director for the UIL Prose Competition; and volunteering her time to several student organizations.
Kristina longed to be a mother, and she brought two wonderful children into this world: Cassy Keyton (17) and Michael Keyton (8). She loved being a mother, and her children were two of the brightest points in her life. In 2018, she met another bright point in her life: Terry Garrett. They were united in marriage on July 19, 2019, in Lubbock, TX. Family was so very important to Kristina; not a day went by when she didn’t call or text her own parents or her sister! When she was not spending quality time with her family, Kristina loved to play video games; tend to her garden in the oasis she and her husband created; and played with her animals and pets, including cats Lulu and Morgan and her pet ball python named Monty.
Kristina was a free-spirit who brought light and love to all those around her. She never knew a stranger, and she accepted all whom she met as her closest friends. In short, she loved life and loved people. She was multi-talented: she played flute and bass clarinet; she sang soprano in church and college choirs; she taught herself how to crochet; she mad hand-made soaps; and she recently learned how to paint using acrylics. She loved to dance, and her favorite song was Strawberry Wine. Kristina was all about technology and thrived on it. She also loved to collect antiques, especially the Old Country Rose dishes.
Those left to honor and cherish her memory include her husband, Terry Garrett of Lubbock; children, Cassy Marie Keyton of Lubbock and Michael Jameson Keyton of Lubbock; her mother, Anne-Marie Haeussler of Lubbock; sister, Dr. Erika Haeussler Warnick and husband Jay of Lubbock; and close friends, Nancy Stone Trevino and Matt Stone of Lubbock; Brant Farrar and wife Sonnet of Lubbock; Mark Garrett and fiancé Aprill Hudson of Lubbock and Shallowater; and Jason Hook, wife LeAnne, and son Gideon, of Odessa, TX. Kristina was preceded in death by her father, John Sebastian Haeussler of Lubbock; maternal grandparents, William DiGiacomo and Albina Delgratta DiGiacomo of Malden, MA; and paternal grandparents, John and Elizabeth Haeussler of West Roxbury, MA; and loving pets, Ginger, Emerson, Bunny, Booboo, and Pumpkin.
Plans for a Celebration of Life Memorial Service are currently being finalized and will be announced at a later date. Cremation arrangements are under the personal care and direction of Combest Family Funeral Homes and Crematory.
The family would like to express their gratitude and thanks to the Neuro-ICU team at University Medical Center who took such wonderful care of Kristina and her family and friends during this difficult time. Thank you also to the Board of Regents, administration, students, faculty, and staff at South Plains College for their love and support during this difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to South Plains College Scholarships, Office of Development, 1401 S. College Avenue, Levelland, TX 79336. For more information, please contact Vice President Julie Gerstenberger at 806-716-2217.