Linda Gail Willoughby Civello

Obituary
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Linda Gail Willoughby Civello received her angel wings July 25, 2013. She was born October 12, 1946, in Jackson, MS, oldest of four and daughter of the late Lloyd Clyne Willoughby and the late Mary Frances Fisher Willoughby. Linda was childhood sweetheart and loving wife of Dan E. Civello; beloved and cherished mother of Sara Basso (Edward), Charles Goodwin (Adrienne) and step-mother of Daniel L. Civello (Michelle); and most proud, adoring and ever-loving grandmother of Sophia Mary and Olivia Linda Basso and Mila Rose Goodwin. Loved and survived by two brothers, Stephen Willoughby and Charles Willoughby and sister DeeDee Willoughby; sisters-in-law Carol Willoughby, the late Eileen Willoughby, Diane Civello, and Debbie Sarjeant; nephews Scott Willoughby (Mehrsa); nieces Jennifer Schwin (Scott) and Erin Toussieng (Greg); great nephews Cole Willoughby and Christian Toussieng and great nieces Ella Schwin and Caleigh Toussieng. Linda endeared herself to everyone she met. Her kind heart, beautiful blue eyes, wonderful laugh and radiant smile was unforgettable. Spending time with family and friends, especially loving on her three granddaughters, warmed her heart. Some of Linda's joys were planting pretty flowers and "puttering around" in her garden, oatmeal cookies (any cookie for that matter) and strawberries, her quilt group of close friends, diet coke, cooking shows, high heels, art, theatre and cultural events, her dog, "Wild Bill", looking at the dessert menu first before ordering her entrée, accompanying her husband every season to Saints, LSU, and Zephyrs games and cheering them on (and attending horseracing and boxing matches too!) and volunteering in her last months of life at Church with dear friend and sponsor, Sister Vianney. Life is all about choices. Linda sacrificed and humbly made the right ones. She chose faith, hope and love; started her day with grace, gratitude and a positive attitude; and was an inspiration to us all. Her thoughts, deeds and purpose were family. Being a devoted mother was central to her life and she considered her children and grandchildren her greatest blessing. Linda was constant in love, guidance and example. Hers was a life fulfilled by selfless giving, an example for which all can aspire to be in their lives. She truly and deeply loved and her legacy will live on forever. While family was her focus, faith was her foundation. She was an example of Christ, especially in the nurturing of her family. Linda had a spirit of giving, sacrifice and humility. She loved the way He asks us to love-unconditionally and without reserve. Linda was a steel magnolia... Her gentle soul, strong will and shining spirit leaves an indelible imprint on our hearts. She was courageous and beautiful inside and out. We will remember her as caring and compassionate who held honor, loyalty, honesty and respect in the highest regard. Throughout her life, Linda maintained a sweet and simple demeanor that won the trust and hearts of many who were changed by her loving and gracious spirit. Hope, generosity, kindness and a sense of humor were her signature gifts. Her greatest gift though was making other people - family, friends and complete strangers alike - feel special and appreciated. She saw beauty and discovery in everything and everyone. Linda was passionate about reading and lifelong learning. She was proud to have graduated from Tulane at the age of 61 and inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society and Who's Who Among American College Students. At the time of her cancer diagnosis, she was working full-time and enrolled in the Master's Program at Tulane. Retiree of Tulane University; active member of Metairie Woman's Club; faithful parishioner of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church & International Shrine of St. Jude, and proud member of St. Jude Choir and the Archdiocese of New Orleans Gospel Choir. Linda found great joy in music and singing with treasured friend, Cynthia, and fellow friends each Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Mass, Christmas Eve Midnight Masses, various concerts throughout the city and on stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival under the Gospel Tent. Former 2004 Queen of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Old Metairie, she enjoyed many years of riding. This past March, knowing it would be her last ride, she excitedly organized a family float, wanting to create another special memory for us all. Linda's passing leaves a hole in our hearts. Her last typed words were "Remember how much I love each of you and be kind to one another… always." We sure will miss hearing "hey, baby" and "I love you, baby" in her sweet voice... She will be fondly remembered as our angel who lived, laughed, and loved. Visitation on Saturday, August 3, 2013, at 10:00 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at Noon, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church & International Shrine of St. Jude, 411 N. Rampart St., New Orleans. Interment in Cypress Grove Cemetery. Linda loved roses and her favorite color was pink. Please wear either as a tribute to a beautiful life worthy of celebration. Remembrances to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church & International Shrine of St. Jude preferred. Condolences may be expressed online at www.schoencanalstreet.com
Published in TheAdvocate.com from July 27 to Aug. 3, 2013
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