Linda A. Smith, age 70, of Wadena, formerly of Sebeka, passed away Wednesday, September 5, 2018, at Fair Oaks Lodge in Wadena, Minnesota. A memorial service will be held Monday, September 24 at 11 a.m. at the Sebeka United Methodist Church in Sebeka, followed by lunch at the church. Graveside rites will be held at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 26 at Greenwood Cemetery in Brookings, South Dakota with lunch following at Eidsness Funeral Home. Memorial donations will be used by the family to establish a scholarship at the Sebeka Public School in Linda’s memory.
Linda Ann Smith was born September 2, 1948, in Brookings, South Dakota to Mildred Hoy Leonhardt Smith and Glenn J. Smith. She joined four older Leonhardt siblings. Linda received her elementary and junior high education in Brookings, South Dakota, and graduated from Waynesville, Missouri, High School. She enrolled at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, for two years before journeying with her cousin Pat Hoy to Minneapolis where she worked as a payroll clerk for Land O Lakes for one and one-half years.
Linda returned to SDSU to complete a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. While at SDSU, during pre-Title IX days, Linda played field hockey, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and badminton. In recent years she was awarded an athletic letter for tennis from SDSU. After college, Linda joined VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America, and worked in legal aid in New York City.
Next, Linda moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota to attend Northern State University and receive certification as an elementary education teacher. She was hired in Sebeka as a teacher of a combination 5th and 6th grade class and as head high school girls’ volleyball coach, and junior high girls’ basketball coach. Linda spent her 32-year teaching career in Sebeka where she started both the girls’ volleyball and girls’ softball programs and established the tradition of the 6th grade trip to the Twin Cities. She was also a long-time negotiator for the Sebeka Education Association.
Linda was a member of the Sebeka United Methodist Church, the American Legion Auxiliary, the VFW Auxiliary, the Sebeka Centennial Committee, P.E.O. Chapter AG in Wadena, and a bowling league in Wadena. She was on the selection committee for Boys and Girls State. Linda was a 26-year volunteer for Boys State in Minnesota. She enjoyed traveling, the out-of-doors, camping, fishing, bowling, playing cards, and gatherings with friends.
Preceding Linda in death were her parents, Glenn and Mildred Smith, brother James Leonhardt, brother in-law Robert Heesch, cousin Sally Hoy, niece Susan (Heesch) Logan Harbison, and great niece, Suzy Lakes.
Linda is survived by her sisters: Marilyn Heesch, of Brookings, South Dakota, and Dona (Paul) Packer Howell of Michigan; brother Robert (Jane) Leonhardt of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; nieces and nephews: David Heesch, Michael (Kari) Heesch, Karen Lakes, Stephen (Tina) Heesch, Amy (Drew) Nelsen, Jennifer (Dr. Robert) Glickenberger, Ross Leonhardt, Rachel (Michael) Kent; sixteen great nieces and nephews, and three great-great nephews, double cousins, Pat Hoy of Phoenix, Arizona, and Tom (Michelle) Hoy of Belle Plaine; and close friends Gail and Steve Kluenenberg and Joyce and Ken Price of Wadena.
Arrangements are entrusted to Eidsness Funeral Home of Brookings, South Dakota. On line condolences may be left at eidsnessfuneralhome.com.