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Linda Lee Baker Carlson

In Memoriam Condolences

Linda Lee Baker Carlson In Memoriam
November 24, 1944 - February 10, 2017 We lost our beloved mother and grandmother, Linda Lee Baker Carlson, on February 10, 2017, after 72 years of vibrant life. She was the light of our lives and an inspiring woman, so full of love and adventure. Linda was born in Wisconsin and later lived in Ohio before her family settled in San Marino, CA. Linda attended San Marino High School where she was a song girl and dedicated student. She later attended the University of California, Berkeley where she was a history major, the president of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and an avid football fan. At Cal she met and fell in love with her husband, Christopher Hugh Carlson. After marrying in 1966 and moving around the country while Chris was in the Army, they eventually settled in Southern California. They raised their three children in Santa Monica. Linda worked briefly as an elementary teacher before earning her Masters in Communication Disorders at California State University, Northridge to become a speech-language pathologist. Linda worked for over 20 years for the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District and later as a consultant for the Westside Regional Center. She was passionate and proud of her work as a speech therapist. She was dedicated to the field and made a difference in the lives of the many children whom she treated. After the sudden and unexpected loss of her beloved husband Chris in 2002, Linda chose strength and courage in the face of adversity. She maintained a positive outlook on life and chose to never say "No"!  She was always ready to seek out another adventure, babysit her grandchildren, take weekly hikes in Malibu or have dinner with friends. She truly wanted to live the rest of her life to the fullest, and she was fortunate to do just that. When Linda retired from her speech-pathology work, she focused on being a grandmother and traveling the world. Linda's travels took her to all seven continents. She constantly had her "next trip" planned with various groups of friends or family. Africa was a special place for Linda. She visited the gorillas in Uganda, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, cruised the West African coast, wine tasted in South Africa and enjoyed seeing a variety of exotic animals on safaris. Other adventures included elephant rides and mud baths in Thailand, hang gliding in Brazil, sailing from Cape to Cape, swimming with whale sharks in the Philippines and visiting the tiger reserve in Burma. When she wasn't traveling, Linda was constantly on the move between visits to her grandchildren, Margaret, George and Lauren Watler in Michigan and then Europe, and helping care for her other set of grandchildren, Emma and Peter McCarthy, in Los Angeles. She loved them whole-heartedly and they in return, adored their special Grandma. She constantly surprised them with thoughtful presents from her travels near and far, educated and entertained them with everything from African bush breakfasts in full costume to the Cal Bears fight song and growl. Most important she provided for them a model of a strong, loving, intelligent and genuine woman. Linda is survived by daughter Katherine Carlson Watler, her spouse Kevin G. Watler; daughter Carolyn Carlson McCarthy, her spouse Peter J. McCarthy, Jr; son Christopher Matthew Carlson, his spouse Alexandria Brown Carlson and her adoring grandchildren. In all areas of life, Linda made lasting friends and left her mark on all of those whom she touched. She was always positive, upbeat and made everyone feel welcome. Linda was a loving mother, devoted grandmother, loyal friend, fierce Golden Bear, adventurer and lover of life. Words cannot convey how much we will miss this special person.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Feb. 19, 2017
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