On Tuesday, August 18, Linda Jean O’Hair passed away after courageously battling cancer. She was at home surrounded by her devoted husband Don, their son Michael, and their three grandchildren, Winston, Madison and Morgan Thornbury. Don and his grandchildren had cared for Linda round the clock in her final week, in her custom-built La Cañada home. She wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Linda was born and raised in Glendale to parents Jean and Don Abbott. She had one sibling, a younger sister named Sherrill. In 1959 Linda met a tall, handsome man named Don O’Hair, and they ended up spending 61 wonderful years together. On their first date, he made it abundantly clear “I’m going to marry you!” There was one slight problem, Linda was already engaged. But, persistent Don won her heart and they married in March 1960. In a short time she delivered two beautiful children into this world, Michael Don O’Hair and Laura Lynn O’Hair.
Early in their marriage, Linda decided to get her teaching credential and earned her degree in Education from Cal State Northridge. She taught her entire career at Mark Keppel Elementary. Her daughter, Laura, followed in her footsteps and became a teacher at Mark Keppel Elementary as well. Her grandson Winston (Laura’s son) also attended Keppel for kindergarten which made three generations at the same school at the same time, as chronicled by The Glendale News-Press.
After almost 35 years, Linda retired and did not look back. She was active in several retired teachers’ groups, including a book club started in 1994. Linda’s love of books was instilled not only in her own children Michael and Laura, but also in all three of her grandchildren.
While remodeling their Flintridge home, there were two must haves on Linda’s list: a library and a gourmet kitchen. Both were completed to meet her vision exactly! There was no place in the world Linda would rather be than in her custom home, built by her devoted husband, surrounded by her loving family. Years of experimenting with Bon Appetit and Gourmet Magazine recipes, as well as numerous cooking shows transformed Linda’s culinary abilities into something extraordinary and became the highlight of her legendary dinner parties and Sunday night Family dinners for decades.
Linda’s library remains filled with hundreds of books, including first rare editions of some of her favorite pieces of literature. Her thoughts about literature will forever be immortalized, stenciled in her personal library, by the first two lines of an Emily Dickinson poem… “There is no Frigate like a Book … to take us Lands away.”
Linda experienced tragedy that no parent should have to at the loss of a child. Her beloved daughter’s death preceded her in 2008. Laura Lynn passed away of breast cancer, the same cancer that would ultimately take Linda’s life. Her role as grandmother took on even greater meaning as she loved and mentored her grandchildren for her daughter.
In her own words at the end she summed it all up with “I had a great life.” It was a life filled with family, friends, a rewarding career and a treasured 61 years of marriage to the love of her life. She and Don would often comment on how after 61 years they would finish each other’s sentences, were best friends and still enjoyed each other’s company.
Linda is survived by her husband Don, her son Michael, grandchildren Winston, Madison and Morgan Thornbury, as well as her sister Sherrill Stephenson and her nieces and nephew. A memorial for Linda will be held at a later date.
Linda will truly be remembered and missed by so many.