Linda Joyce Wood (Close) passed away on April 19, 2013. Born in Sabetha, Kansas, on January 11, 1941, she was the daughter of Donald and Grace Close (Schneider) who preceded her in death, as did her husband, Jerry Wood. She is survived by her brother Phil Close (Linda) of Salina, KS; daughters Cathy Orgeron (Marty) of Colorado Springs, CO; Christy Jones (John) of Phoenix, AZ; and Becky Wood (Will Murphy) of Bloomington, IN; five grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews.
Linda graduated from Sabetha High School in 1959. She went on to become a registered nurse, graduating from the Stormont-Vail School of Nursing in Topeka, which led to a ten-year career as a surgical nurse. She said it was easier to deal with patients when they were asleep.
She met her husband, Jerry, an Air Force pilot, in Topeka, and they married in 1966 in Sabetha. Soon after, she and Jerry travelled to Taiwan, then Florida, where their daughters were born, Maryland, Arkansas, and finally Kansas where Linda embarked on her second career in sales. She started with Premier Food Brokerage in Wichita and was a pioneer in setting up Dillon’s salad bars. She moved on to selling—as she put it—anything you were proud enough to put your name on.
A longtime member of Woodlawn United Methodist Church in Derby, Kansas, Linda lived a life of generosity, kindness, and laughter. She touched many lives through church dinner theater, and snack suppers, knitting, her work with the Derby Library, the Merry Widows Group, PEO, bridge, golf, and volunteering with Operation Holiday and at the WUMC Thrift Shop. She will be remembered by many for her pie ministry through which she delivered slices of pie to shut-ins and those who just needed a little pie and conversation.
Above all, Linda loved to cook, play bridge, and knit. One of her favorite cooking stories started at an Italian dinner out with friends. Upon tasting the spaghetti carbonara she had ordered, Linda proclaimed the superiority of her own recipe, which she then proved by hosting a spaghetti carbonara party at her house. She taught Chinese and Mexican cooking classes when she moved back to Kansas, and her daughters will always remember learning to eat Chinese food with chop sticks from the time they were young.
Those who know Linda best know that her fiercely competitive nature came out when she played bridge. She refused to suffer fools gladly, especially at the bridge table where she and her partner played conventions and were able to read each other’s mind.
When Linda got married, her father Donald told Jerry that he could keep her happy as long as he made sure she didn’t run out of yarn. Linda taught many people to knit, and like her mom Grace, she was known for Christmas stockings, but she knitted just about everything. She became a master knitter in 2010, and the truth is that she never ran out of yarn. She had her next knitting project lined up and decided she would start it once she went home.
No doubt Linda has started on that project and will share it with us when we next see her. We all miss her deeply.
The visitation will be Wednesday, April 24, from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Smith Family Mortuaries, 1415 N. Rock Road in Derby, Kansas, with services at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, at Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 431 S. Woodlawn in Derby. A memorial has been established with the Derby Public Library, 1600 Walnut Grove Rd., Derby, KS 67037.