Lina Jeanne Newhouser, 56
CAPE ELIZABETH -- Lina Jeanne Newhouser, 56, of Seal Cove Lane, died at her home Friday evening from complications following an April stem-cell transplant as part of the treatment in her defiant three year stand against non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Lina wrote of her long struggle on her blog - www.tellthebees.org.
Lina was an artist, a political activist, an organic farmer, a businesswoman and a proud mom.
Lina was born in Grand Junction, Colo., the daughter of John and Charlotte Newhouser, but she considered her beloved New Orleans home, where she was raised and graduated from high school. Lina graduated from Southwestern College in Memphis, Tenn. She also lived and studied in Munich, Germany for two years.
After college Lina became a community organizer with ACORN: the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, working in Texas, Little Rock, Ark., and Bridgeport, Conn. In 1980 she worked on the national staff of the Citizens Party, trying to elect Barry Commoner President as a vehicle for starting a third party in the US. She met and worked with both of her future husbands on the Citizens Party staff. Lina then was off to NYC for a job as co-director of Media Network that combined her two passions, art and politics, in a project using independently produced films as organizing and educational tools in NYC's working class neighborhoods.
In 1984, Lina and her first husband, Bert DeLeeuw, moved to Belize where Lina painted for a year. Lina and Bert moved back to the U.S. and bought a 200-acre old farm in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. Over five seasons Lina and Bert turned Blue Moon Farm into a successful organic vegetable and flower farm. Bert was killed in 1990 when their daughter Chloe was just six months old and Lina soon sold the farm.
In 1991 Chloe and Lina moved to Kentucky for Lina to work at Appalshop, an arts and education center based in the eastern coal region of the state. Lina was the Asst. Director of The American Festival project at Appalshop, work she continued after her 1993 move to Maine when she and Craig married. Moriah was born in 1995.
Since 1996 Lina has worked as International Program Director for Transformit (www.transformit.com), a small, extraordinary firm that designs, builds, rents and sells sculptural structures out of fabric for the special event, trade show, architectural and retail markets. She loved her work (and her co-workers) at Transformit which combined her skills at art, organizing and working with people, and allowed her to travel a lot and put her German, French and Italian language skills to good use.
In the 1980s Lina served for a time as the national president of the Alliance for Cultural Democracy, a national activist arts organization that flourished from 1982 to 1994. She also served on the Cape Elizabeth Arts Commission.
In 1997, Lina, and her husband Craig Brown, co-founded CommonDreams.org, the popular online news and views website for the progressive community.
Lina is survived by her husband, Craig Brown; daughters Chloe May DeLeeuw Brown and Moriah Brown, all of Cape Elizabeth; her brother John Newhouser and his wife, Terri of Houston, Texas, her brother Mark Newhouser and his wife Joan MacDonald of Glen Ellen, Calif.; her mothers-in-law Evelyn DeLeeuw of Green Pond, N.J., and Ruth Brown of Cape Elizabeth; and many in-laws, nieces and nephews and a wide circle of friends all over the world.
A celebration of Lina's life will be held in the near future.
Lina's family has requested that memorial donations in her honor be made to CodePink: Women for Peace (www.codepinkalert.org)