MADISON - In her own words: written by Linda in February 2021:
If you are reading this, I left this earth on March 14, 2021. Let me assure you that, to me, my life was a fulfilling adventure – fun, unique, filled with love. I loved and was loved. What more can one ask for?
I was born to Carroll and Jim Dawson in Chicago, Ill., on July 14, 1950. I was raised in Horicon, Wis., where I fished on the Rock River, played baseball in friends' backyards, put on plays in garages and roller skated down steep hills. We moved to Sun Prairie when I was in middle school. There I met lifelong friends – Barb Rockenbach, Colleen Duffie, Jackie Czehno, Carol "Kip" Christensen, Mary Lou Madden, Nancy Chung, and many others. I cherish their friendships to this day.
I went to college at UW-Eau Claire, Madison College, and the UW-Madison where I proudly graduated, got my master's degree, and law degree.
I married Paul Lundsten and had two wonderful children – Sam (Kaitlin Sherman) and Emma (Sam Vincent). I love my children more than life itself and, if given the chance, would have stayed on earth with them forever. Though Paul and I eventually divorced, we remained friends. I am grateful for his support over the years.
In 1995 I met the man with whom I'd spend the rest of my life and live an extraordinary life of love: Don Pfahler. With him I was lucky to share two other children, Madelaine Pfahler (Chuck Saxon) and Evan (Laura Lee) Pfahler and their amazing children, my grandchildren: Isabelle Saxon, Nicolas Saxon, Beckett Pfahler, Brett Pfahler, and Ellis Pfahler - they are the light of my life.
In 2012 my birth son, Brian Sorge, reached out to me. It was a gift to connect with him and his loving family. Having Brian, his wife, Kim, and my bonus grandchildren, Mason and Jaxon Sorge, in my life was my heart's joy.
My work as a Madison public school teacher fulfilled me and provided the base for my career. My job at the Dane County DA's office was the best. Working with my colleagues there gave my life great meaning and purpose. I grew even more when I worked at the (then) Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. My work with Jane Raymond changed my life. When I left and moved to private practice with Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, I was grateful for the support of my colleagues Burt Wagner, Lynn Stathas, and Christine Rew Barden. My career path continued with my work at the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL), a project of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, where I worked again with my friends, Patti Seger and many other dedicated advocates. I loved my work and colleagues in each job.
In 2014, I was lucky enough to receive a double lung transplant at the UW-Madison Hospital. This gift from the Reichardt family allowed me to live years longer than I would have. I was able to see my grandchildren grow, travel with Don, see and participate in my daughter Emma's beautiful wedding to her wonderful husband Sam, spend precious time with friends and family and live life. How lucky was I?
All good things come to an end. It is my time now. Know that I loved my life – every day. Know that I also loved my family and friends, and my dog, Archie. I was a proud mom, grandma, wife, sister, teacher, daughter, friend, and advocate. That's how I want to be remembered.
Don, Sam, Emma, Madelaine, and Evan were grateful to be by Linda's side and holding her hand as she peacefully took her final breath at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg. Linda is a warrior. Her strength, patience, independence, intelligence, bravery, wit, style, and her unending love and generosity will be deeply missed by all of us. Linda is also survived by her father, Jim; brothers, Peter (Sarah) and Michael "Lenny" (Luanne); nieces, nephews, and extended family who share in mourning her loss.
Linda has requested that those who love her consider a donation to the following deserving organizations in her memory and to encourage all of us to pay it forward in some meaningful way: End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1400 E. Washington Ave., Suite 227, Madison, WI 53703; The University of Wisconsin Foundation - UW Health Transplant Fund, 1848 University Ave., Madison, WI 53726; The Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104; The Dane County Humane Society, 5132 Voges Road, Madison, WI 53718; Underdog Pet Rescue of Wisconsin, 231 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Madison, WI 53704; or any organization that supports social justice. Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com.
Cress Funeral and Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison