CARBONDALE -- Linda Elaine Walker, 45, died at 7:50 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, in Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.
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She was born March 12, 1966, in Canton to Carol and Ken Walker.
When Linda Elaine Walker would walk into a room instantly the room became a better place. She would make people smile with her storytelling ability, laugh until it hurt with a vivid demonstration, and gladly with much love tell the story again, and again for the delight of others. These stories became real to many friends and family through her compassion she had for all who shared her life and were fortunate enough to have listened.
She grew up in Harrisburg and graduated from Harrisburg High School in 1984. A multi-sport star, with more than 10 varsity letters and a place in the Harrisburg High School Hall of Fame, she earned a scholarship at Southern Illinois University to play volleyball from 1984 to 1988. It was during these years Linda was nicknamed "Shadow," a name that carried throughout several circle of friends.
A love for volleyball, fitness, team work and teaching lead her to a four-year position as head volleyball coach at Carterville High School from 1995 to 1999. As a teacher at Tri-C Elementary, "Miss Walker" was a shining star. Personal calls to each parent of her classroom every year, a warm welcome to each student "by name" and a personal touch for the holidays were Linda's mojo for making others feel special. She served on many school committees and was proud to support the Orange and Blue. Her authentic gift of giving will forever be treasured by all whom she instructed and worked so closely with at Tri-C.
Linda loved to be active. Recently she competed and finished the Win for KC Mini Triathlon in Kansas City, Mo., in July. Never one to brag, she was extremely proud of her accomplishment and her smile through the finish-line priceless. Games, games and more games were her stress relievers. "Minute to Win It" could have been her creation.
She had an amazing connection to dogs and the animal loves of her life, Scout, McGwire and currently wagging his tail, Gideon. It was evident she gave more to others than she ever expected back.
Linda is survived by her mother, Carol Mocaby of Carbondale; and father and stepmother, Ken and Jody Walker of Princeton, Ky.; brother, Rick Walker and his wife, Monica, of Science Hill, Ky., brother, Brett Walker and his wife, Trish, of Eldorado; nieces, Jenny Choate and her husband, John, Chasity Waggoner and husband, Jason, all of Western Kentucky, and Chesney Walker of Science Hill, Ky., and Noel Walker of Cadiz, Ky.; great-niece and great-nephew, Jessica and Jerahmiah Johnson of Saline County. In addition, her close friend, Julie Beck and her dog, Gideon of Carbondale.
She is preceded in death by grandparents, Herb and Grace Lanthorn of Effingham and William and Murriel Walker of West Frankfort.
Services will be at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, in First United Methodist Church of Carbondale, in which she was an active member.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Linda Walker Scholarship Fund at SIU Credit Union or St. Francis Community Animal Rescue and Education, 6228 Country Club Road, Murphysboro, IL 62966.
Published in The Southern Illinoisan on Oct. 6, 2011