Friday, July 14, 2017

Remembering Linda Holden

Linda’s memorial service was held in the Colony Church in Bishop Hill. The Rev. Dan Wright led those assembled in prayer and recollections. Linda and Steve, her late husband, were neighbors of Bishop Hill’s United Methodist Church and therefore the parsonage. Rev. Wright shared how he became acquainted with Linda and the many times they shared late night coffee and conversation. She took to calling him “her pastor” even though she and Steve never attended service while he was in Bishop Hill.

During one of Rev. Wright’s visits Linda, who wasn’t mobile due to an amputation, asked him for a favor. She said, “I have two cats and I see three tails around the food dish.” He had to carry a garter snake out to the wood pile. Some workers were gathered by the back door and parted like the Red Sea to let him pass.

Linda’s big house with lots of rooms always reminded the Reverend of a bible story where souls could find a place. Linda claimed it was a “safe zone” for any who needed it.

The Reverend read the parable of the complaining widow and observed that Linda could be vocal and irritating, but also caring and giving.

She just had her vision of how things had to be and demanded perfection from herself and others. When hanging the older, piecemeal bits bunting from the gazebo in the park there was no “that’s good enough” for Linda. Everything was numbered, ordered, and arranged to her specifications. There had to be great relief when the old bunting was replaced “whole” pieces.

Others shared their stories of Linda:

When Swedish royalty was scheduled to come to Bishop Hill Linda & Steve organized the repainting of the Colony School. They spared the Royals from seeing an entirely blue interior by doing most of the intricate decorating work themselves.

A baby quilt made by Linda’s mom was in a sale and bought by a farmer’s wife.

Her nephew told how as a young man he could tell right away that Linda was different, unique, and not in the same conservative mold as the rest of the family. She took him to hear jazz, Thelonious Monk, and inspired a career in music. She came to hear him perform in Florida.

It was not unheard of to become stuck in Linda’s elevator. Not unheard of, but it still had to be scary.

Those stories and more reflected some intimate details in the life of a complicated, talented woman who will be missed by those friends and neighbors who knew her well.

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