Richard Linster

Linster, Richard William Jr.

MADISON - Madison lost a true icon and character on Dec. 21, 2020, when Richard William Linster Jr., "Linster," 73, died at home after a long illness. A Madison resident since 1965, Linster and his wife, Patty Prime, moved to the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood in 1984, where they raised their children and were active members of the community. Linster served on the TLNA board from 1985 until 2018. He was often spotted biking around the neighborhood, once even toting a Christmas tree home on his bike. Linster served on the Dane County Board of Supervisors from 1990 - 1992.

Linster was known for his kindness, eccentricity, and pursuit of knowledge. A lifelong learner, "Professor Linster," as he was known, was fervent in his pursuit of his interests. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of history, particularly the Civil War, and would spend hours explaining the idiosyncrasies of specific battles to anyone who would listen. His interest in military history morphed into an interest in blues music, where Linster became equally versed in the genealogy of blues artists in order to better understand their influences. His foray into the blues genealogy eventually led him to branch into family genealogies as well, where he became the go-to historian for the family. When his genealogy studies revealed his Luxembourg ancestry, he was able to provide enough documentation to the Luxembourg government to be awarded dual citizenship, which he also provided to his children, grandchildren and sister. He enjoyed travelling, including trips to Luxembourg, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Costa Rica and other countries.

Linster was a rabid poker player, enjoying weekly games with his poker buddies spanning over 40 years until the pandemic. In his last year he learned to love Scrabble, his favorite game, as he quarantined with family. He was known for his homemade eggrolls, which were a staple at the neighborhood holiday party he hosted, and he could always be found with a good beer.

Linster is survived by his wife of 44 years, Patty Prime; daughters, Calliope (Harald Jordahl) and Meridian (Glen Skolaski); son, Emrys; and five grandchildren; as well as a sister, Robin McQueen. He is preceded in death by his parents, Richard William Linster and Rose Mary (Drace) Linster; as well as his brothers, Charles and Craig; and sister, Carol.

Due to Coronavirus, the family will plan a celebration of Linster's life later in 2021. In lieu of flowers, the family will be accepting donations for a bike rack in his honor (gf.me/u/zdpqiq). Alternatively, if you prefer to donate to your favorite charity or cause in his name, that would be lovely as well.


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Published by Madison.com on Dec. 26, 2020.
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16 Entries
Speaking with Meridian the day after Linster passed I said "What a guy". However I need to up the ante on that. In my lexicon there is no greater tribute than this: What a Mensch. With great sadness Gerrit Conger
Gerrit Conger
January 14, 2021
I knew Richard from 7th grade on. We were good friends in high school but fell out of contact till 1990s and then reconnected for good this century. Rick -to many of his friends- and Linster to still others was a decent guy of great intellectual skills, especially history. A leading proponent of neighborhood organizations, he persuaded me to become president of the neighborhood association, where I live in Portland, OR. I talked with him every week in recent months-his request- once he was certain he would die. Those conversations were very meaningful. I send my sympathy to his life partner, Patty, his children, their spouses and all grandchildren.
Michael Kaplan
January 10, 2021
Rick Prime
December 28, 2020
To my neighbors from many years past, on Cantwell Court, I have memories of your family, small children, sweetness and kindness, I send you my sympathies. So hard to lose a partner, parent, sibling, and grandparent. Warm hugs to you all.
Holly Cohn
December 28, 2020
Our condolences go out to Patty and to your family. Richard was a kind and gentle man who cared about the environment and people. We got to know him a bit when our daughters went to Marquette Elementary/Middle School. Be well.
Ann Marie and Jim Zagzebski
December 28, 2020
To Patty and the entire family -- you've been in my thoughts and prayers since I heard the news. It was great to see such a perfect tribute to him in the form of this obituary. The neighborhood will really not be the same without him, but his influence will surely continue to have ripple effects. I am so sorry for your loss.
Mary Beth Collins
December 27, 2020
To all of Linster's family, and especially Patty -- you have been in my thoughts and prayers since I heard the news. I am so sorry for your loss and grateful to have known Linster a little bit. The neighborhood really will not be the same without him but his influence will continue to have ripple effects, to be sure. Peace and love to you.
Mary Beth Collins
December 27, 2020
Dearest Patty and family, My deepest condolences to you!! I loved reading about him!! Such a kind gentle soul!! Peace and love to you!!
Julie Adams
December 27, 2020
So miss the wit....too soon; we still had trips to make! Deepest sympathies for Patty and family.
Tom Sinks
December 27, 2020
I remember Linster making the rounds collecting memberships. He always had time to chat and share neighborhood and city news. Truly one of a kind. And a Wobblie to boot as I recall. Bon Vogage Linster. See you on the trail later.
Ed Jepsen
December 26, 2020
Linster inspired me and countless others to get involved in our neighborhood. We all lost a great friend and neighbor. My condolences to the family.
David Waugh
December 26, 2020
Dear Patty and family, My deepest condolences on your loss. It´s hard to imagine Madison without Linster in it. I can only imagine it´s hard for you to imagine your life ahead without him it it. Some of my fond memories of Linster from 40 years ago: him as a playground supervisor at Marquette E.S. and egg rolls! Much love, Rainbow
Rainbow Koehl
December 26, 2020
I am very sorry to hear of Linster's passing. I am so sorry for your loss Patty. I always appreciated LInster's intellect, humor, honesty, directness, and downright doggedness at collecting memberships dues.
Karla J Handel
December 26, 2020
Dear Patty, I am so sorry about Richard´s death (I could never bring myself to call him Linster.) It´s hard to imagine the neighborhood without him, and I am so grateful for all the two of you have contributed to it. I always enjoyed visiting with him as I renewed my TLNA membership and on other occasions and will remember him fondly. My condolences to you and your family.
Ellen Murdoch
December 26, 2020
So many wonderful memories of Linster that I will always cherish. My condolences, Patty, and to all of the family.
Steve Wilke
December 26, 2020
Dear Patty, My condolences to you over your loss of Linster -- a most amazing, eccentric, talented man. The neighborhood would not be what it is without his stewardship.
Sandr Ward
December 26, 2020