Mrs. Linda Jeanne O’Donnell, a long-time resident of Matamoras, PA, passed away Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at Saint Clare’s Hospital in Denville, NJ. She was 83. Linda was born July 24, 1939 in Lafayette, IN, daughter of the late Robert Eugene Scifres and the late Virginia Jeanne Morehouse Scifres. The oldest of six, Linda moved around the US with her family throughout her childhood, living in eight different states, graduating from Hamburg High School in Hamburg, NY in 1957. She graduated from Syracuse University, where she was a member of the placard cheer section of their National Championship-winning football team, with a B.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology and Elementary Education K-6 in 1961, and also received an M.S. in speech pathology from Purdue University in 1966. Linda moved to the area in 1961 to begin working in the Port Jervis School District as a speech pathologist, where she taught thousands of students over the next 40 years, often teaching the children and even grandchildren of her former students. Outside of school, she also worked with people of all ages, from toddlers to the elderly, with a wide range of speech impediments, to improve their communication skills and better enable them to lead fulfilling lives in their communities. Upon moving to Port Jervis, Linda joined the First Presbyterian Church of Port Jervis, where she remained a congregant until her death. She served in a number of lay leadership roles in the church, and at various points was an Elder and Trustee of the church and, in the words of one of her fellow Deacons, a “Deacon’s Deacon.” She also was a very active participant in the church’s theater group, Presby Players. She was a cast member in over three dozen plays, with lead roles in plays such as “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” “The Miracle Worker,” and “Talley’s Folly”; served as a long-time member of the Presby Players Board of Directors; and participated in other area community theater productions as well. Linda lived in Port Jervis for over a decade and then moved to Matamoras when she married her late husband, Edward J. O’Donnell Jr., living in the borough for nearly 50 years. She continued her life of service to her community and others here as well, serving one term on the Matamoras Borough Council, as well as being a long-time member of the Planning Commission and the President of the Matamoras Airport Park Recreation Board. In addition to these organizations, Linda was an eager, enthusiastic, and tireless volunteer for many other area charitable organizations. For many years she was the Co-Chairwoman of the CROP Walk to End Hunger and organized the volunteers for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, frequently being seen “ringing the bell” on many frigid winter evenings around the area. She was also a participant in the organization Stand Up For Racial Justice, which demonstrated her lifelong curiosity and commitment to creating a more just and peaceful world for all people. Above all else, Linda was dedicated to her family and friends, and was a most devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandmother to family members who were spread out across the United States. She also treasured her many friendships, both with those who lived in the Tri-State area and those who lived around the country, and was always willing to help her friends in whatever way possible. In addition, she was an avid gardener and walker, had a remarkable memory for the most minute of details, and possessed a unique conversational and storytelling style that will be remembered by all who knew her. As everyone who knew her — from her large extended family, to former students, to fellow congregants, to any of her countless friends — would attest, Linda was kind, loyal, optimistic, strong, resilient, persistent, patient, faithful, helpful, generous, enthusiastic, and dedicated. She lived to help others and find ways to relieve suffering, unhappiness, and injustice wherever she came across it. With or without her signature lipstick, Linda’s beautiful smile and spirit shone bright. Her community describes her as someone whose faith was strong, who approached challenges with grace, and who gave her all to whatever she was involved with. She prioritized service to others and always strove to make a difference in people’s lives. She was a treasured citizen of Matamoras, and of the world. Linda never failed to find and emphasize the good in people and never had an unkind word to say about anyone. At a time when the world needs that ability and perspective more than ever, she is a model to us all, setting an example we could all work a little harder to try to live up to. She will be missed more than we can measure, but she will live on forever in the memories of all of those whose paths intersected with hers during what she liked to call the “alivetime.” Linda is survived by her son William Bernard Getter II (Erika Malzberg) of San Francisco, CA and daughter Elizabeth Jeanne Savadove (Derrick Williamson) of Frisco, TX; and her grandchildren: Hunter, Elyse, Teagan, Quinn, and Noah. She is also survived by her sisters Caryl Osgood of Medford, OR; Cynthia McKee (David) of Ashford, OR; Dianne Dunfield (Chris) of Corvallis, OR; and her brothers, Robert Scifres (Cindy) of Little Elm, TX; and Michael Scifres (Debbie) of Keller, TX. She also leaves behind her sisters-in-law, Kathleen Gross, Patricia Koch (Ray), and Mary O’Donnell; brother-in-law Daniel O’Donnell; and nieces and nephews too numerous to name but loved with the same passion that Linda had for all of her family. In addition to Eddie O’Donnell and her first husband, Bill Getter, Linda was also predeceased by her step-daughter, Deborah, and step-grandson, Nathan, as well as sister-in-law Denise Brocket and brothers-in-law George Brockett, Richard Gross, and Dick Osgood. Funeral services will be held in the spring of 2023 at the First Presbyterian Church, 8 North Broome Street, Port Jervis (date to be determined). Burial of cremains will take place in the family plot in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Port Jervis, NY. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Port Jervis (60 Sus Street, Port Jervis, NY 12771), or to her favorite PBS radio station, WAMC.org. Arrangements are by Gray-Parker Funeral Home, Inc., 100 E. Main St., Port Jervis, NY 12771. For additional information or to send a condolence note to the family please visit www.grayparkerfuneralhome.com
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Linda J O’Donnell 2022.
Death notice for the town of: Port Jervis, state: New York