Linda Joan Maher, 79, of McKeesport, was called home early Sunday morning, Aug. 9, 2020 ("late night" Saturday, for those of you who knew her well).
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To grasp the essence of Linda is to reflect on the simple qualities of an exceptional life.
Linda was dreamed in God's heart and placed in this world for a purpose.
She was born Sept. 6, 1940. A "Friday's child - loving and giving", as the poem reads.
Linda led a life of service by examples rooted in love, strength, character and commitment to God.
A loyal daughter
A caring big sister
A loving, creative, playful Aunt
A constant true-hearted friend
An extraordinary, exquisite Mother
She was the nucleus of a family that evolved as her life progressed. She spoke many languages of love, but service was her native tongue.
An accomplished artist, a creative human being
She gave of her talents to the visual landscape of this earth (her gardens), nature and all forms of artistic “creations” She could create something out of nothing. Her vision saw no limits to what the object could one day become. She provided beauty for others to appreciate and benefit by.
A generous person, inexhaustible while contributing to whatever the cause may be
She gave truly and freely of all her faculties because she cared. She loved mankind and hoped to see a better world. There were no limits to her resources.
A passionate teacher, always educating
She taught you to love to help people.
She taught those who came into her realm how to find art, see art, and create art, then revealed the happiness for all, when you shared your art.
An admirer of God's creations, an avid animal lover
She enjoyed the beach, the sun on her face and her toes in the sand, as well as a drive thru the mountains, or the smell of rain on the leaves of a tree. She cared for all God's creatures, as she loved her pets, as well as setting up bird feeders for the neighborhood flocks. Each one had a name.
A great cook
Her meals and cakes brought her family, as well as friends and strangers, to many tables for joy and celebration. Her imaginative and refined palate became her tool in which she would construct one of her goodies.
A friend to the end, a dependable neighbor
Her commitment, to her friends and neighbors, was steadfast. Her friendships were of significance and essential to her well-being.
A caretaker, but more than that, she was a caregiver
She gave of herself and tended to all, known to her or not, who needed to be taken care of.
An advocate, warrior.
She lent her voice and called for action for those who did not have one or just needed some volume.
A lover of all the seasons...and of all the holidays
She loved to taste, touch, see, hear and smell all four seasons and the holidays that came in each one. To experience a holiday or season with Linda was sensory overload.
A charitable woman.
"I seem to have more than I need and you seem to have less than you need. I would like to share my excess with you."
This quote reveals her core. Her excess, when shared with others, created an abundance: loving, kinder, compassionate and empathetic human beings, a warm home, a delectable dessert, a uniqueness to a special occasion, an "over the top" memorable moment, the best cup of hot tea on a cold morning, a gush of love that runs through your veins that will never leave your body.
Her love was in the details
The details of everything she put her creative mind, hands, eyes, thoughts or words into, whatever shape or form she could whip up.
A loving and dedicated Mother. Her truest vocation
Critics may write, "some of her best artwork," "still a work in progress," maybe even "a self-portrait." She was the Mother to five children, as well as her "kids" --her own children's friends, the kids in her Haler Heights neighborhood, St. Angela Merici Parish and School, Serra Catholic High School and its Theatre Department. She shared all of her talents with all who came to know her, and they became part of her family. She taught her "kids" how to have wings, while still staying rooted. Therefore, her greatest creations were the better human beings she sculpted as pieces of art placed in this world.
She was simply a beautiful soul.
Linda was preceded in death by her parents; and her devoted son, Jeffrey S. Maher. Linda is survived by her son, Mark W., of Louisville, Ky.; her three daughters, Marci L., of Louisville, Ky., and Aimee J. and Kristen A., of Hilton Head Island, S.C.; her two brothers, Charles E. (Carol) Cowell, Robert (Barbara) Cowell; her sister, Lori Cowell (John Mazich); her nieces and nephews, Charles, Michelle, Alexis, Kiley, Douglas, Patrick, Alison, Robert, Merilee and their families; Linda's cherished cousins, and all of their extended families; the "angels on earth" at LGAR and Bridges Hospice who became our family on her joyous journey; and last, but definitely not least, all who are reading this, who felt she was like a mother to you and that you were "one of her kids."
If Linda has touched your spirit in any way, please join us, this Tuesday, August 18, 2020, as we celebrate a life well lived. Visitation with the family begins at 10:30 a.m. at Mary, Mother of God, St. Angela worship site, in White Oak. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 a.m. at the church. Due to the current public health crisis, masks and social distancing guidelines must be adhered to. Internment will take place at Jefferson Memorial Cemetery, Pleasant Hills. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the WILLIAM H. CRAIG FUNERAL HOME.
For all who wish to celebrate with us in spirit on Tuesday, simply choose to wear something purple (Linda's favorite color) or engage in a random act of kindness to stir someone's heart.
As an expression of sympathy, the family suggests contributions of your talents or support local organizations in memory of Linda: 2020 Walk to End Alzheimer's, The McKeesport Garden Club, White Oak Animal Safe Haven or a donation to ensure that art is alive in an area school. Your generosity is appreciated.