After a decades-long battle with Multiple Sclerosis, Linda is now enjoying chocolate and resting peacefully in heaven. We will forever remember her smile and laugh that lit up a room, ever-present, even on the toughest days. Even around her closest friends and family Linda rarely shared her pain, instead focusing on the positive, making others smile and always finding the joy in life.
Before the MS took hold, Linda and Tom loved to travel. She had many fond memories, coaching Odyssey of the Mind and on family road trips, fishing, and exploring when Gretchen and Geoff were young. She was very proud of Gretchen and Geoff, passing along her love of manicured nails, fly fishing, and her stubbornness and positive outlook. Linda was always ready with a quip, and nobody could make us laugh (at ourselves!) like she could.
She and Tom were avid ballroom dancers and every New Year’s Eve dressed up to attend the annual fundraiser party at the DECC with friends. Linda loved sewing, and had fun with friends on quilt retreats over the years. She loved finding new craft projects on Pinterest and calling friends to ‘help’, pulling things together when she could no longer get her hands to cooperate. She most enjoyed desserts of all kinds, especially anything chocolate, and was always collecting new recipes for Tom to try out. Linda was an avid reader and co-founded the LitWits book club, looking forward to the monthly gatherings and discussions, even on Zoom. Every year she came up with new and creative games and trivia for the annual Christmas party and gift exchange.
Linda loved being outdoors, spending time at the family cabin and navigating the trails at home, just enjoying the sunshine. If there was something she wanted to see, she’d make it happen – often going off-trail and getting stuck in the mud. She’d often conspire with Geoff and many times we heard “don’t tell your father” if she had to call for help or to get winched out. She adored color and picking out flowers each year, and loved to talk about new plants and how things were growing. We will think of her always, especially when smelling the flowers.
Linda passed away on December 28, 2020 at Miller-Dwan due to complications of MS. She was born in Duluth to Leonard and Lillian Nowak on August 23, 1951. She graduated from Central High School in 1969 and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the College of St. Scholastica. She worked at Maurices in sales and human resources over a 25-year career. Linda enjoyed dancing, sewing, crafting, reading, and spending time outdoors gardening, birdwatching, and laughing with friends around a bonfire.
Linda was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband of 48-years, Tom; children, Gretchen (Andy Baltus) and Geoff (Katie); sister-in-law, Dianne Vukelich (Paul Buckentin); protector/golden retriever, Dewey; and many close friends.
The family wishes to extend their deep gratitude to the volunteer fire and first responders in Rice Lake, and the hospital staff at Essentia. We would also like to profoundly thank home caregivers Janiqua and Heather, who became true friends to Linda, and to the many, many exceptional friends who have become a foundational part of our family.
The family is having a private service to honor Linda on Monday, January 4th at Sunrise Funeral Home. There will be a Celebration of Life picnic at the family homestead this summer. Memorial donations may be made to the Rice Lake Fire Department, 4051 Martin Rd, Duluth, MN 55803.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Linda Catherine Vukelich, please visit our floral store.