Friends and family are mourning the death of Cindy Hulsey, co-founder of the Tulsa Literary Coalition and Magic City Books, who died Wednesday following a terminal illness. She was 58.
“One of the most amazing things about Cindy … she had a certain path in life,” said Jeff Martin, coalition president and Hulsey’s friend for about 16 years.
He said that before she became a librarian, Hulsey worked in the securities field, dealing with stocks and finance issues.
“She had found a path she didn’t really want to be on. In her mid-30s, she decided to change careers.”
Hulsey went back to school, obtained a master’s degree in library science and did “a complete 180 career change,” he said. “She wanted to live a life that she was passionate about.
“Beyond just that career change … she believed how powerful books and reading could be and how it can change a person’s life.”
A former Tulsa Library staff member for nearly 20 years, Hulsey in 2015 co-founded the Tulsa Literary Coalition, for which she was the first executive director.
Over the next two years, she led the way in the creation of Magic City Books, a book store that opened in 2017 at 221 E. Archer St.
Proceeds from Magic City Books go to fund the nonprofit Literary Coalition, which in turn presents and hosts literary-related events throughout the city.
Hulsey died at her home under hospice care, Martin said.
He said that when she was diagnosed with her terminal illness, she had options to either attempt to treat it — which would have included likely surgeries and other medical procedures — or not to treat it, offering a better quality of life, albeit likely for a shorter time.
“She made the choice to not treat it. She was courageous up to the very end.”
Born Nov. 17, 1959, in Tulsa, Hulsey lived here all her life.
“Beyond any and all professional accomplishments (too many to name), we simply miss our beloved friend and colleague, her laugh, her kindness, her incomparable mind. She’s gone. And we carry on. We must. For Cindy. Because of Cindy,” Magic City Books wrote on its Facebook page.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to Shannon, Cindy’s husband, and we hold her family in our hearts as they grieve. We grieve with them.”
Hulsey became known to Tulsa’s reading community through the Tulsa City-County Library, where she was director of adult services, and before that she was manager of reader services at the central branch and coordinated the library’s Winter Reading Program.
Hulsey was an honoree of the Association of Women in Communications’ Tulsa Chapter, which recognized her with one of its Newsmaker Awards. She is a past recipient of the Oklahoma Humanities Council’s Community Leadership Award for a Tulsa Library program she helped create and implement that uses literature to explore current social issues.
A memorial service is planned for Friday, Sept. 28, at the Central Library, 400 Civic Center. A time will be determined later and will be announced on the Magic City Facebook page, Martin said.