Linda Rae Weinberg Letcher, 76, passed away peacefully at her home in Superior, Montana, on Jan. 26, 2018.
Born Jan. 28, 1941, in Evanston, Illinois, Linda was the second daughter of Theresa (nee Schmidt) and Raymond Weinberg. She grew up in Glenview, Illinois, and graduated from Niles Township High School (Skokie, Illinois) in 1959. Paying her own way through college by working summers at the Salerno cookie factory, in 1963 Linda graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with a BA in English.
While at college she met and married her first husband, Walter Eugene “Gene” Van Buren. The young family eventually settled in Great Falls, Montana, where Linda and Gene owned and operated two successful businesses. Widowed in 1981, Linda supported her two children by working nights as a records clerk at Columbus Hospital. She later pursued a successful career as a job developer at Easter Seals and Golden Triangle Mental Health Center, where her innovative and effective programs received numerous commendations.
Linda married her second husband, Lawrence Lee “Larry” Letcher in 1994, at a secret ceremony in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. After a brief time in Eastern Montana (Glasgow, St. Marie, and Fort Peck), Linda and her husband moved to Superior, Montana, where she lived for the remainder of her life. Linda was active and much-beloved in her community: she worked at the elementary school, and was an organizer and fundraiser for Relay for Life; she was a participant in book club, the pinochle club, and the tai chi girls; and Linda was a member of the parish at St. Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic church, where she faithfully attended both services and potlucks.
Linda was a two-time breast cancer survivor, who loved fishing for walleyes, nature, camping, songbirds and wildlife, gardening, traveling, kitties, and her friends and family, who will miss her so very much. Linda was preceded in death by her parents, and her husband, Larry. Linda is survived by her children, Timothy “Tim” Bryce Van Buren and Dr. Amy Noel Van Buren; her granddaughter, Marijka Suzanne Van Buren Devivier; and her sister, Genevieve Jean “Jennie” Schmidt.
Linda was diagnosed with lung cancer in the spring of 2016; she was surrounded by her family every single day during her journey. A Catholic vigil was held for Linda at St. Mary Queen of Heaven church, in Superior, Montana, on the evening of Jan. 26, 2018. Following a Catholic funeral mass on Jan. 27, 2018, Linda was laid to rest — in her east Africa dress and surrounded by hundreds of dried lilac blossoms — at the Superior, Montana, cemetery.