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ACTON, MA: Linda J. (Perry) Bethune, 68, passed peacefully Dec. 15, 2019 at her Acton home with her family by her side.
For the ten months since being diagnosed with brain cancer, Linda had shown the courage, grace and dignity that was at her core, that made her family love and support her, and that endeared her to her many friends. Following brain surgery in February 2019, she sought out and then enrolled in a clinical trial at Dana Farber Cancer Institute because, in her words, “I can deal with this, or not, and I choose to deal with it.” Against terrible odds, and while growing weaker, Linda stayed in the fight and continued personal training at Thoreau Club and recumbent bike rides around the Audubon Hill community. Although cancer took its physical toll, it never took away Linda’s personality and innate optimism. As much as she had supported and been a source of strength for her family, we tried to give back to Linda in kind at the end of her life.
Not surprising at all … Linda’s energy was a reflection of the way she had lived her entire life and of the courage she showed over and over again in making major life changes. In 1995, the family moved from Alexandria to Leesburg, Virginia to realize what Linda saw as life style changes for the better. The move meant different schools for Lisa and James, Linda and Bill’s two children, and a much different commute for Bill, but change was exciting and change meant new opportunities, all as Linda foretold. Lisa thrived in the horse culture of Loudoun County and when the family moved to horse property in 1999, our horses became our neighbors. James joined a Boy Scout Troop, went to National Scout Camp in Philmont, New Mexico and became an Eagle Scout. For years, these changes in life’s direction were affectionately known among Linda’s many Alexandria, VA friends as “pulling a Linda Bethune.”
In 2017, after Lisa had graduated from Tufts Veterinarian School and met the young man she wanted to share life with, Linda sparked the idea of Bill and her relocating from Northern Virginia to New England, an area of the country they both loved and where Bill had family. Again, it was a bold idea and it was Linda’s willingness and excitement to embrace change that made it all work. Always a careful planner with a clear vision of what had to be done and the order for doing it, Linda organized all the moving parts. Their Leesburg property of 17 years was updated, listed, and then sold with a 30-day rent back; furniture and furnishings were donated, gifted, and sold; new boarding for two horses was found and then Oakley and Danny were shipped to New England; and a new house was purchased in Grafton, MA in a seller’s market. Linda was the driving force in the middle of all this activity.
Linda, as a wife and a mother, had a balance for living life to the fullest, an empathy for her family and friends that made them cherish her, and an enthusiasm that was contagious. To paraphrase Reinhold Niebuhr, Linda had the serenity to accept what she could not change, the courage to change what she could, and the wisdom to know the difference. In a moment that took Bill’s breath away, Linda told him in 2019 that she did not regret what happened to her, only that it happened to her so young.
In tribute to Linda, we her family tell you that she enjoyed an energy source that at times seemed overflowing. She was, all at once, a home maker, an interior designer, an educator, a friend who many described as “a life coach,” a photographer with an eye that captured beauty and calmness, a lover of animals, and always there for you – making every Holiday a perfect memory and giving time, encouragement and support with words that derived from understanding and empathy. Yes, giving love unconditionally. You will be missed but not forgotten.
A Life Celebration will be held at the Audubon Hill Community Center, Acton in Spring 2020. Date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Dana Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284-9168, also online at danafarber.jimmyfund.org Memorial page actonfuneralhome.com