Linda Ann Forbes passed away peacefully on October 7 in Titusville, Florida, surrounded by loved ones. She was 79.
Linda Forbes was born in Winston Salem, North Carolina on July 14, 1940. Her father worked the day shift at a local textile company; her mother worked the night shift in the tobacco industry. Together, they helped their daughter pursue an educational path not available to them. After graduating from high school, Linda moved to Banner Elk, North Carolina to attend Lees-McRae College. There she met the love of her life, John Nelson Forbes. They soon married in her hometown and quickly moved to Titusville, Florida where John was a teacher, later a school administrator.
Linda and John welcomed their first child, Barry, in 1964, and their second, Kathryn, in 1967. Linda dedicated herself to nurturing her family. During her children’s early years, she volunteered for innumerable roles— as “den mother” for Barry’s Cub Scout troop, “Gray Lady” (school nurse) at Whispering Hills Elementary School, and organizer for Vacation Bible School. She spent countless hours ferrying her children to piano lessons and enduring the clunky renditions of “Turkey in the Straw,” and supporting them in their (mostly failed) quests to become Spelling Bee champs and sculptors of prehistoric creatures. Later, Linda became an avid supporter of the school sports her children played and a devoted cheerleader for their academic pursuits. At the same time, she hosted dinner parties (look out for the flambé!) to support her husband’s career and provided endless moral support to him as he navigated the rocky road of public school finance. Thanks in no small part to her devotion and encouragement, both children were able to complete degrees in higher education and to study exactly what they wanted.
Linda began her professional career in the Brevard County school system just as her son Barry entered college. In her support role to school psychologists, Linda helped ensure that students received the help and guidance they needed. She prided herself on creating an organized and caring environment that recognized everyone’s contributions. She enjoyed her work and knew its importance to the school system and to her family.
Shortly after her husband John retired, so did Linda. Together they doted on their first two grandchildren, Molli and Luke, born to Barry and his wife Traci (Gaslin).They went to dance recitals (“Super entertaining but really long!” Linda often remarked), and basketball games (“He scored!” she not-so- often exclaimed), and stored cartloads of toys and stuffed animals for their grandchildren’s frequent visits. They traveled in the US and to Canada. They loved each other unconditionally and were devoted to one another’s happiness. Their time together was cut short by John’s battle with cancer but they cherished each moment together.
Alone but not lonely, Linda continued to be active in St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church where she served in several leadership positions. She dedicated herself to making others feel welcome in the fellowship hall after Sunday morning service and to spreading love through weekly prayer chains. She also continued to be active in P.E.O, a philanthropic organization that advances women’s education here and across the globe. She valued the friendship this organization fostered and recognized its stealth feminism.
When Linda’s daughter Kathryn and her husband, Doug Gordon, had their child, Roan, she flew to California to welcome her. When Roan was two years old, Linda potty-trained her in a day and half while both parents were at work (“Roan really responds to M&Ms!”). This small act of practical kindness exemplifies Linda’s keen sense of loving intuition: she always tried to find ways to be quietly supportive of the people she loved. Her family relied on her to in countless ways—from figuring how to get home repairs done cheaply to planning the easiest way to host holiday dinners to easing the suffering of others as they faced illness and death.
In the last years of her life, she contended with the progression of Parkinson’s disease as her father had. Her family and loving team of caregivers helped her face the physical challenges; her faith, the spiritual ones. True to her nature, Linda never wavered in her quiet bravery, even on the most challenging days. She was loved. She loved fully.
She is survived by Barry and Traci Forbes (Titusville, FL); Molli Forbes and fiancé Kenny Herbst (Titusville, FL); Luke Forbes and fiancée Emily Mitchell (Titusville, FL); Kathryn Forbes, Doug and Roan Gordon (Fresno, CA). In lieu of flowers, the family invites friends to remember Linda by contributing to the scholarship fund of PEO Chapter BT, 4835 Carodoc Circle, Titusville, FL, 32796 or to Hospice of St. Francis Foundation (hostfoundation.org). Visitation (2pm) and Service (2:30pm) at North Brevard Funeral Home (1450 Norwood Avenue, Titusville, FL) on Sunday, October 13, 2019. You may leave condolences at www.northbrevardfuneralhome.com
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