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Good afternoon everyone my name is Bret Walters son inlaw to Bud and Linda I’m married to Buds daughter Becky.

On behalf of the family, thank you for coming here today to Celebrate the Life of Linda Abbott. Linda would feel almost embarrassed that so many people would show up in her honour, she really never strived to be in the limelight, always preferring to be in the background helping others. Throughout her illness Linda kept saying how everyone was spoiling her and how well she was looked after all of the time and our stock answer was we were just trying to repay you for your kindness and generosity and we still had a long way to go.

All I can say is thank you to everyone, friends and family for your kindness, love and support, I could stand up here all day and tell about you the things Linda’s friends have done for her, Bud and Louise. I would just like to say a special thank you to the ladies that help with lunch everyday, the fellows that helped Bud build the ramp at the house, the staff at the Green Home. You reap what you sow and Linda was repaid tenfold, it was amazing to see.

It was Linda’s wish not to have a conventional service, that’s where I come in I’m about as unconventional as it gets some days.

Today we are just going to follow the program so you don’t have to listen to me to much, so as one person is done speaking if the next one could just come up I don’t need to introduce you. If anyone is having a hard time following the program just ask the person next to you as they are more than likely a teacherand they can help you out.

At this time we are going to hear one of Linda’s favourite songs,,, then we will have the tributes to Linda starting with myself, then Philip, followed by Miggs and then Nancy.

This is the third time in a year that I spoken at a service like this, all the same age, all having cancer, as much as I don’t like the reason I’m humbled and honoured to be asked. The one thing that I’ve discovered is that when I sit down to figure out what I want to say, I just start writing about my experiences with that person in no real order and I laugh and I cry and realize that I’m just plain blessed to have had that person in my life however short that time might be, and that my life has been enriched because of it.

Linda Abbott, wife, mother , sister, stepmother, grandmother, mother-in-law, role model, tour guide, educator, teacher, hostess, hero, women of the year. Linda was all of these and more and she did all of them well.

The first time I met Linda, Bud was receiving the Citizen of the Year award, we drove out from Calgary that morning and arrived just in time for lunch I got introduced and promptly given a video camera from Linda to record the ceremony, no pressure at all. Everything went well and I soon became and these are Lindas words, the World’s Best Son-In law. It didn’t hurt that I was the only one for 99% of the time.

Now when you get that kind of recognition from Linda there was some suffering that one had to endure. What I had to endure was weight gain. There are many of you that have known Linda much longer than I and more than likely have been to their house for a dinner or a party, so you know God help you when Linda finds out that you have a favourite something, because not only was there some made for you, but there would be enough to take home for the next month.

Linda was a great cook and a greater hostess, many of you have been to their house for dinner and Linda would bring out 5 or 6 deserts that Linda made and then Linda wouldn’t have any because she didn’t like any of them, she was just going to have a Dilly bar from Dairy Queen, that was the classic Linda.

I think Linda’s idea of a successful dinner party was not if everyone had a great time, no she gauged things by weight gain. I personally think that there is a secret weigh scale at the front door to their house and you were weighed in and weighed out and Linda thought that if she averaged 3 lbs per person. That was a great party.

Linda as a grandmother, there was none better. Our two boys Philip and William will forever remember their time with Grandma as their best times at Christmas, birthdays, and Easter . You name it Grandma was always making sure her boys always had a great time. Christmas was the favourite as Gramma always had the boys excited and catered to their taste buds with all of their favourite treats and ,,,the presents, if it fit the budget Gramma would always get the best presents for the boys.

Linda was a great Tour guide, there were many guest from around the world that visited and when you came Canada and didn’t know where you wanted to go, no worries,, Linda not only showed you everything there was to see and sometimes more, but you usually needed another week of holiday to recover from Linda’s schedule.

One of my favourite things about Linda was Linda always wanted to make sure everyone was well fed and watered, my favourite one was we were out for visit one fall and I was going fishing for the day, Linda wanted to make me a sandwich, I’ve learned to say ok that would be great, then she started throwing in chips, apples ,granola bars, candy bars you name it. I told her I was going to the St Mary’s river and would be sliding down the hill under the bridge on the way to the airport and all I ever took was one beer, one water and one sandwich,,,, didn’t matter I left the house with a medium size cooler and enough food for four hungry people.

The only disappointment I ever had with Linda was minor. I like to fly fish, Linda liked to do needle point. I thought this was a match made in heaven,,, and that Linda might like to tie a few flies for the worlds best son in-law. I’d run it by her and say that I would give her a easy pattern to tie and she would look at me and smile and always say ,,, “sure when I get a free moment and when I feel like it” , it never happened.

I called Linda a hero and a role model. The kind of teacher she was, and it was on her web site that there are kids/people out there that if you asked them who made the most impact on them in their schooling and or life they would say Linda Abbott.

Linda was a role model, her sisters called her the one to look up to, to organize and to get things done. The sisters shared some of their memories with me,, from Susan,, One of Susan’s favorite memories of Linda was Linda being the older sister by 14 months and a going concern already when Susan was born and couldn’t wait for Susan to start crawling and walking so she could have someone to keep up with her. Linda was always grabbing , dragging and propping Susan up and because of Linda’s encouragement to walk on her own two feet,,, Susan,,, like she had a choice, was walking at 9 months of age and Linda’s propping and encouragement never stopped.
From Leslie the baby of the family. When Leslie was born Linda was 18 and in her 2nd year of University, Linda instilled the love of reading in Leslie, Leslie said she felt like she was Linda’s #1 test subject guinea pig for Linda’s one to one reading program and fondly remembers a childhood of Dr Seuss and Trixie Beldon and later Linda passing her love of fantasy books and her addiction to cozy mysteries. Linda was always available to mentor not just offering advice and a shoulder to cry on, but teaching choice theory so Leslie could learn to make those tough decisions on her own. If Leslie tried to reciprocate in appreciation for Linda’s kindness she had to resort to stealth and guile to pickup the bill at lunch or dinner. Leslie employed her best spy maneuvers to ambush the waiter or waitress to pay the bill before Linda found out. Not only did Linda have the fastest wallet in the west,, she was a thoughtful and loving guide. Linda was the catalyst in all the families she touched, her research into the genealogy of Bud’s family was amazing. I’ve seen her work at and with success to reconnect all of Buds children. We used Linda as measure of perfection on the boys , whenever they did something questionable, we would ask them what would your Grandmother think of that ,,it kept them grounded and they have grown up to be young men we are very proud of.

Linda was a role model in relationships for myself. Any of you that have spent any time in the Abbott house know that Bud is always cleaning and rearranging things,, especially in the kitchen. Linda took all of this in stride, if she went to look for something and it wasn’t there she would just call Bud and say this is what I need and it was here yesterday and now its not. Bud would answer yes I rearranged things and Linda would say could you please find it I need it. Off Bud would go to find it. I don’t know about you but there would be more words spoken in my house if something like that happen often. I looked at Linda after one of these exchanges and she looked at me and she said instead of sniping back and forth I believe that if you can’t say anything to improve your relationship don’t say it. Words I try to live by.

Linda Abbott, wife, mother, sister, step mother, grandmother, friend, mother in-law, role model, tour guide, educator, teacher, hostess, hero, women of the year.

Linda was an inspirational role model to everyone, no matter what circumstance, personal or professional Linda always made sure that your wants and needs were always looked after.

I said earlier that this was the third service that I’ve spoken at . The first there was spontaneous applause and it was wonderful, it made you feel great, the second he wanted to have the best damn service ever and we made it light and happy. Today at Linda’s celebration of life if you feel in your heart to do so please feel free to applaud Linda , just because she deserves it.

Thanks Philip, Miggs, and Nancy for the lovely tributes to Linda.
As much as we all would have liked to change the outcome we can’t. What we can do is honour the memory of Linda, through our actions, our thoughts how we treat our fellow man and if you aren’t sure about something always remember, what would your Gramma think.
I consider myself one of the fortunate people that has had Linda Abbott in their life.

On behalf of the family, Thank you for coming. The family is going out first and will be in the room just outside, the people in the reception room in the back will be first to go to pay their respects to the family, and the folks here can setup the room for the reception, if everyone in the chapel can remain seated until someone from the funeral home gives you direction. The family invites everyone to the reception in the back room, please feel free to share your stories about Linda with each other and the family we’d love to hear them.
Thanks again.

Bret Walters

Tribute from Nancy Jones

Hello, my name is Nancy Jones and I live in Nelson. There was a time, however, staring in 1974 when I lived in Cranbrook and worked in the same school, Amy Woodland, with Linda. Six years does not seem a long time in a 40 year career but it was a time when a lifelong friendship developed and I was the recipient of many of Linda’s gifts.
She drew us together, those of us who were single, enthusiastic new teachers, and we became a close knit group – Dianna, Linda O, Wally, Penny, Marjorie and others. Bud graciously welcomed us. We often shared meals mainly at the Abbott’s with Linda creating wonderful dinner for her new family and circle of friends. We all benefited from Linda’s love and generosity.

In particular, I remember her gifts to me. During that time, I gained a new appreciation of music and theatre. We battled the road to Kimberley during the winter to hear the symphony or watch the ballet. Linda and I attended music festivals to support our kids and we were often the only audience members but we spent the time and the knitting and crocheting got done. I first heard the term “front of house” as I helped her to sell tickets at “The Studio” and was able to see a number of wonder plays –the best were always the pantomimes in which the old woman character with her sense of humour and talented acting ability seemed to be very familiar. Linda was always there—the most avid fan.

She spent some time teaching me how to crochet and cross stitch and soon my family and friends were receiving homemade gifts that we had worked on together. A visit to another city always included a trip to the craft stores to look for a new rug to hook or a tapestry to stitch.

Another gift I received, as many of you have also, was the sharing of Linda’s love of reading—for me, mainly the mystery and fantasy writers. I soon found myself searching the bookstores for all of the Agatha Christie collection because it was important to have the whole series. Whenever I needed a new author, I would turn to Linda for a suggestion and I always enjoyed her choices.

One of my fondest memories is the day of Linda’s and Bud’s wedding which was a joyous occasion. The choir of Grade 3 students singing a tribute to Linda during the ceremony was especially touching. And what a party…… the house of 4th Avenue rocked!

Linda and I shared a love of teaching. Her passion and hard work resulted in her becoming an outstanding teacher, respected by the whole community. She knew exactly what needed to be done. I was surprised one year to find that although I was assigned a Grade 5 class, I was also teaching Grade 1 art in Linda’s room. I think she knew I needed a bit of primary in order to keep me humble. I was also surprised to discover that my last 2 weeks in August were always organized as we planned our fall lessons at Linda’s kitchen table where we made copious Gestetner masters for those old “ditto” machines. It was an honor to teach with Linda, to witness her ability to hold all of the children in her loving heart. She embraced the new innovations and never allowed complacency to become part of her teaching.

Linda’s commitment to education and literacy continued into her retirement as she co-ordinated the One to One Reading Programme. She also supervised many student teachers, ensuring that new teachers coming into the system were well prepared and qualified.
I truly did learn many things from Linda but no matter how hard she tried, she was unable to turn me into a cook. Perhaps it was because she was always feeding me. I think I ate at the Abbott’s for a month after my father died.

Linda seemed to know what everyone needed. This (holding up a little red book) is a recipe book that she started for me, including in it some of our friends’ favourite dishes. So maybe this next month I will make Linda’s salmon loaf and her coconut apricot bars, knowing that she is probably making someone a wonderful meal and inviting them to her heavenly table.

Linda

Bud – It is somewhat ironic that you – the orator – have been struck dumb with laryngitis at this time, but perhaps it is not a bad thing for you to sit back and listen to others tell you about a wonderful lady your precious wife Linda.

First of all, may I pay tribute to the dedication and love demonstrated by Linda’s family and friends who have been caring for her in recent months. It has not been easy for any of you, but I am sure you will agree such care is no less than she deserved. Us, who have been somewhat further afield, have appreciated being kept up to date by the website.

Like many across the world, The Bramleys have many happy memories of Linda. I will have to be selective in what I share with you today because of time. I start 22 years ago when Jason, aged 16 came across from the UK with a friend to see something of BC. Bud (Uncle Phil as I knew him) and Linda not only put them up, but ferried them here there and everywhere to many of the beautiful sights of BC.
Linda was very proud of Canada and BC in particular, she was very keen for everyone to see the best of beautiful BC. Now, 22 years later, Jason with his wife Rachel and their 2 boys have made several visits and Kiernan – at 5 – Jason’s eldest knows and loves – “Auntie Linda”.

A few years after Jason’s first visit, his brother Scott came – with friends – to take advantage of Bud and Linda’s generosity. It was winter this time and snowboarding was the ‘order of the day’. Scott was so taken with it all that when he went back to the UK he sold his car, gave up his job, let his flat and came straight back for three months. This point of this tale is that during those three months Linda took it upon herself to ‘educate’ Scott. There is no doubt that in my mind that Linda had a significant influence for good on Scott’s development in those difficult late teen years – something that parents could never do. Although Scott has not coped too well with Linda’s illness, he will always hold Linda in the highest esteem.

Esteem – regard – affection – fondness – love. All words that describe how we all feel about Linda but none of them, or even all of them, fall short of the way we would want to think of her.
Jason, Rachel and boys; Scott & Fiona; Claire and Steve; Rachel and Philip; Carol and Fred, and my wife Sue all send their love and will be thinking of you right now and especially Bud.

We all have happy memories of Linda – her tireless energy – a fantastic communicator – a people person – her tapestries – her needlepoint Christmas cards that you would open very gingerly because of the confetti that would fall out all over the floor.
Linda will be remembered for her tireless work on the Abbott Family Tree. But that was in many ways only a means to an end because most of all Linda will be remembered for bringing people together. She travelled the world – from North America to the UK to Australia doing just that. And, today she is still at it – bringing people together.

Peter Bramley

On the first day in Amy Woodland School in the quiet corner that housed just K and grade 1 rooms, I quickly and gratefully realized that the young woman with the bright eyes and curly hair shared my approach to learning, and saw children as individuals with specific learning needs – an attitude I had not found in previous teaching situations. I warmed to her immediately. Within days, our classes were integrated – we shared our concerns and solutions, used each other’s strengths and supported each other’s weaknesses. Even back then, to know Linda was to team-teach at some level.

Our house became her headquarters, she is the only “Aunt” my children have ever known and a primary influence in their lives. The Sumac trees in our yard were from her dad’s home at the coast. It was at our house she met Bud. I can still see the fascination and delight in her eyes and hear her excited giggle as Bud entertained us with his war stories. It was truly love at first sight. I was matron of honour and still cherish the picture of her, standing in front of our fireplace a full hour and a half before the wedding frantic we’d be late. One of her early, self-appointed tasks was to teach Bud how to memorize lines – a boon to all who shared a stage with him. She succeeded so well that Bud, who was supposed to be a corpse in the play lay center stage prompting everyone. He knew not only his lines but everyone else’s

Friends grow together as interests, experience and choices cement the relationship. Our Lilliput Lane and the Alice in Wonderland collections grew with each trip to see Bud’s family in England and our trip to Scotland. We mourned together at the loss of our parents, my siblings and her beloved grandmother. We attended our children’s weddings, celebrated the birth of grandchildren and watched them grow. She truly was and will always be my other half’.

To all who knew her, Linda was always ready to listen with empathy and understanding, always ready to counsel or comfort, anxious to be useful…. and intuitive enough to know exactly what one needed, whether it was advice, comfort, a new author to read, a recipe or a piece of embroidery cotton. With Linda, friendship often meant an occasion to sit quietly with a good book or to watch an old Fred Astaire movie. An exchange teacher or someone new to the community was quickly absorbed. One lost or alone found warmth, hospitality and inclusion in a family dinner. Her dinners and open-houses were legendary, her hospitality unending. Families were drawn together; Acquaintances were shown how to be friends. Many have shared Bud and Linda’s time-shares, whether through shopping trips to the states or as travel destinations. Relatives from overseas know Banff, Lake Louise, the Road to the Sun and her favourite place, Yellowstone. Someone like me, with no patience for computers, learned handy systems to expedite the acquisition of information.

For each of us here – and around the world -, our friendship with Linda was as unique and individual as our personal needs. Somehow, with Linda, whether as a child in the classroom or as a friend, her unspoken expectations encouraged us to excel beyond your wildest dreams. One good friend wrote “I’m so filled with gratitude for all she taught me about generosity, courage, and unconditional love” Another, “her focus was others – her joy was sharing, her pleasure achieved in giving”. My daughter wrote “It is hard to feel much sorrow when I feel so much gratitude to the woman who had such an influence on my life. She came into my world when I was young enough to be shaped by her spirit and old enough to recognize how lucky I was to have her in my life.” A sentiment we all share. Adelai Stevens once wrote “We have lost more than a friend, we have lost an inspiration. She would rather light candles than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world” He could have been describing Linda. We have been blessed to have known her. We will continue to be blessed – for in each one of us who called her “friend” the light she planted will continue to grow and nourish others. And I’m sure, if we look up, there’s a new star shining – just to the right of Fisher Peak.

Your friend forever,
Miggs Sawchuk

It was Linda’s wishes that donations to the Cranbrook Community Theatre go towards the Furnace Fund.

Attn: Harriet Pollock:
In Memory of Linda Abbott
Cranbrook Community Theatre
Box 345
Cranbrook, BC
V1C 4H8

English Memorial

We would like to invite  Linda’s Family and Friends in England to an  informal Memorial on Saturday 12th December at 12 noon in Southend.
Email johnandpamela97@gmail for more details.

Pamela & John