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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
4:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)
Thursday, December 7, 2023
10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)
Thursday, December 7, 2023
Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)
Linda Marlene Rushmann (née Stewart) stepped into the sunshine on the eternal beach on Wednesday, November 29th, 2023, after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. She lived 74 full and spirited years with family and friends that loved her the most.
Linda, or “Stew” as she was known to many, was born in Chippewa Falls on February 9, 1949, to Maynard and Marlene Stewart. She graduated from Chippewa Falls Senior High School in 1967. She remained very close with her Chi-Hi class of ‘67 friends and loved helping organize class reunions.
Linda married Frank Rushmann on August 9, 1969, in the chapel at McDonell Central High School. Their son Christian was born in 1970 and their daughter Heidi was born in 1972. Throughout Christian and Heidi’s childhoods, Frank served in the Navy for over six years and the family lived in LaCrosse and Norfolk, Virginia, before coming home to Chippewa Falls. As Christian and Heidi grew up, Linda knew she still had more motherly love to share and she and Frank adopted daughter Ahnalese (Ahnie, as Linda affectionately called her) from South Korea in 1986. For decades, the family house on the West Hill served as the gathering place for many birthday and Christmas celebrations, fish fries, and pool parties.
When it came to work, Linda found her calling in making people feel welcome and keeping things organized. She prided herself in showing up for others each day and having a bright smile for everyone she met. She honed her craft at a number of Chippewa Falls businesses, but spent most of her work career as the Member Services Coordinator at the Chippewa Falls YMCA. For 19 years, she had the honor to greet a generation of Chippewa’s children, got to see them grow up and then return with kids of their own, welcoming them all with her comfortable ways and easy warmth. In her “retirement,” she brought her special touch part-time to Cornerstone Physical Therapy and loved the people she worked with and met there.
Linda lived for her yearly vacations to Florida, whether with her friend Malinda or her sister, Bonny. She loved collecting seashells and eating coconut shrimp. And yet, for as much as Linda loved the sunshine and the beach, she was a Chippewa gal-about-town who never thought of living anywhere else. Her kids couldn't go anywhere with her without running into at least three people Linda knew. She loved simply getting coffee and catching up with all of her friends, old and new. She was genuinely interested in hearing what their families were up to, how grandchildren were doing, their travels, their own health struggles. Linda always made other people feel seen and important, whether in person or through her bright Facebook posts.
The family gathered to celebrate Linda and Frank’s 50th wedding anniversary in Minneapolis in 2019, with a boat ride on the Mississippi River followed by a backyard dinner with bountiful shrimp cocktail. Joyous 70th birthday parties for Frank and Linda were celebrated at Mancini’s in St. Paul with homemade cakes from Ahna. Last summer, she spent time with her sister Bonny’s family in Georgia for a wedding and a Sullivan family reunion with the Rushmanns in Minnesota. Linda got to see her three children grow up, start their own families, and pursue their passions. She was proud to see her grandchildren graduate high school and set off into the world on their own paths. Linda loved all of us, accepted us wherever we were at, and went out of her way to make each of us feel special. We will forever carry her light and brightness with us and continue to share it with those who need it.
Linda received a diagnosis of stage IV metastatic lung cancer in early October. It was shocking but she wanted to put up a fight and stick around with her family as long as she could. Her bravery and grace throughout the last couple of months will be forever remembered. The Rushmann family would like to express deep gratitude to the nurses, doctors and staff at Mayo Health System in Eau Claire for providing Linda with compassionate care over these past couple of months, and in the last three years with her other health complications.
Linda is survived by her husband of 54 years, Frank, and their three children Christian (Laura) of Colfax, Heidi (Jeff Heinze) of River Falls, and Ahna (Nick Zappa) of Minneapolis; grandchildren Katie Rushmann of Washington D.C., Ryan Pease of the U.S. Marine Corps stationed in California, and Parker and River Heinze of River Falls; sister, Bonny (Tom) Frederick of Chippewa Falls; and numerous brothers- and sisters-in law, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents Maynard and Marlene, and dear friends Susie Nowak and Malinda Dorway. Linda will also be missed by her favorite blueberry-and-banana-eating granddog, Milo John.
Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m., Wednesday, December 6 at Pederson-Volker Funeral Chapel, Chippewa Falls.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, December 7 at Pederson-Volker Funeral Chapel with Pastor Terri Koca officiating. Visitation will also begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
Interment will be at Forest Hill Cemetery, Chippewa Falls.
Memorials will be directed to Irvine Park to dedicate a covered picnic table in Linda’s memory.