Linda Jane Arft passed away in the early hours September 4 th , 2023, but her 70 years of life were filled with an indomitable spirit, a big, fierce love, overwhelming kindness, hard work, an always-present streak of sass, and lots of laughter. Linda was born in Columbus, OH to her mother Barbara but grew up in and around Joplin, Missouri in more places than she could count (her words) and eventually settled in Joplin and worked at Allgeier, Martin and Associates for even more years than we could count. Her work was a huge part of her life, but her family and friends were the greatest part. Her mother Barbara raised her along with her sister Julie, and her brothers Bob, Dave, and Rick were always there in the adventure, and later in life Sandi, Bob’s wife, became one of her closest people. She and her then husband Dennis had one son, Justin, and he and his wife Elaine had three children, Henry, Benjamin, and Penelope, who became the absolute light of her life. There are simply too many friends and family to recount here in whole, some of whom survive her, and many of whom do not, but anyone who knew Linda knew her for all of the things listed above. For those of us who knew her best, we knew Linda as a fierce protector of just about anyone who crossed her path, always finding a way to support friends in need and giving her all for her family. She loved her people in a big, big way and truly found joy in the happiness and success of others. Her hospitality was only matched by that of her mother, and when they lived together, you were not getting out of the house without at least 12 offers for “something cold to drink” and a big meal. Linda was also one of the smartest people we knew, being able to manage complex problems at work but also being an expert planner and manager of all things meaningful and fun at home as well. Linda was maybe most fundamentally a giver. She gave everything of herself to any task she undertook and especially gave big to her family. Yes, she gave mountains of gifts with no special occasion in mind, but she gave herself and her love and kindness to everyone, even in the most difficult of situations. In her later years she became a caretaker for her then divorced husband Dennis, by his side to the end, and even later became a caretaker for her mother Barbara for many years, to the end, even as her own health was suffering. Shortly after Linda moved to Knoxville to be with her grandchildren, she suffered a sudden onset of a rare disease. She was very ill for several months, but her true persona shone brightly even as she was physically diminished. She fought with everything she had and was kind, loving, giving, and even a bit sassy through all of it. She leaves a huge Linda-sized hole in all of our lives, and even though we are all better for knowing her, we sure will miss her.
The family will be holding a memorial service at Mason-Woodard Mortuary in Joplin, MO on November 25th at 2:00 pm. Linda had no specific wishes for donations in her honor, so the family just asks that you give something of your choosing to someone in need. Also, wear something sparkly when you get a chance. She would love that.