Margaret Gerhardt Linton 1937-2011


Mom - Margaret Linton - with her gandson Garrett Gastil at Garrett's graduation June 2011

Well… I hope to write more about her soon and for a while… but a brief post to put it out there into the world that mom isn’t around any more.

Her four children, now adults, and her eldest grandchildren, my sister’s sons and daughter, have been at her side for the last few days, which mom spent at bed 2 of the Cardiac Care Unit of Western Medical Center in Santa Ana. Mom fell a week ago, Thursday July 21st, sustaining massive damage to her brain. She underwent an operation on Friday July 22nd and never regained consciousness.

She always told us that she never wanted to live on life support… and even requested that if any of us ever encountered her in an open casket that we should immediately run up and kick it shut. It was very difficult for her to spend time in hospitals… so… though we still harbored some hope of some sort of miraculous recovery… this past Friday, we all talked about what to do, and came to the conclusion that, if her condition didn’t take a dramatic turn for the better (or worse) that we would withdraw life support on Sunday – today.

My brothers, Matt, Mark Fletcher, my sister Liz and her teen children Garrett, Miles, and Paige, assembled at the hospital this morning. Mom was calm, breathing, unresponsive… in about the same unconscious state that she’s been in the past week. We said tearful goodbyes. We notified the nurse of our decision. She called in the neurologist and he walked us through the steps… stating that he suggests calling it “letting nature take its course” and not “pulling the plug” as we inarticulately requested.

At a little after 11:00am, she was given pain killers, and “extubated” which is to say that the respirator, medicinal and nutrition delivery tubes were pulled from her nose and mouth. My sister and I stayed in the room… watching mom peacefully decline. She was initially breathing, but any hint of motion declined and ceased. Her monitor showed heatbeat, which was steadily dropping. Her breathing stopped completely and after two minutes, so, too did her heart. She died just before noon.

She lives on in the lives of those she touched… as a mother, grandmother, a long-time medical librarian, an insatiable theater partron, a reader, a lover of art, good food, cacti… a hard-working generous woman.

Marge Linton - an oil painting I did in the 1980s

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19 Responses to “Margaret Gerhardt Linton 1937-2011”

  1. Roadblock Says:

    so sorry for your loss Joe. let me know if there’s anything you need…. the universe is with you and your mom.

  2. Nancy Duncan Daley Says:

    I’m sorry Joe. You have all been in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Britni Brault Says:

    Continuing to pray for you guys, may our Lord comfort your hearts and give you His peace in this difficult time.

  4. Jenny Bernosky Says:

    There is a lot to be said for being there to the very end of your mom’s life. She was such a strong woman and raised the 4 of you so well. I remember her from our high school church days at TPC. It is always hard to say good bye but she is in a better place and is now at peace. (I have to remind myself because I was with my mom to the very end as well, 10 years ago.) Prayers to all of you. Jenny (James) Bernosky

  5. Lois Arkin Says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share this painful process which was very moving for me. Condolences to you, your brothers and sister and all the kids.

  6. federico Says:

    Lately, when i think about death this Sherman Alexie poem comes to mind (it’s called “Food Chain” and it was taken from the book “War Dances”). I like it’s sense of strength and defiance. Much like the strength your collective decision must have taken and the defiance in that image of you running up and kicking an open casket. I think poems are kind of weird, but they can fit in certain circumstances. Like when you don’t know what to say but want to offer a friend something you like in case he might like it too, might make him feel better for a little moment. So there:

    This is my will:

    Bury me
    In an anthill.

    After one week
    Of this feast,

    Set the ants on fire.
    Make me a funeral pyre.

    Let my smoke rise
    Into the eyes

    Of those crows
    On the telephone wire.

    Startle those birds
    Into flight

    With my last words:
    I loved my life.

  7. Joe Anthony Says:

    So sorry, Joe.

  8. Rex McDaniel Says:

    Joe Dear,

    I treasure these lines from poet Mary Oliver….

    “To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: To love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones, knowing your own life depends on it and, when time comes, let it go, let it go.”

    I love you and will hold you in the light.


  9. Erik Knutzen Says:

    Thinking about you Joe. My condolences.

  10. Chris Lovejoy Says:

    Joe, please pass on our thoughts and prayersto the rest of the Linton Clan. We were very sorry to hear about your mom and I know she will be well remembered. I still tell stories of having dinner at your mom’s house in high school. She was always generous and gracious in hosting unexpected guests. Pass on our prayers to Matt, Mark and Liz.

  11. Daily News fans the flames of anti-bike bias with misinformed — or maybe dishonest — editorial « BikingInLA Says:

    […] join me in offering best wishes to Joe Linton, one of L.A.’s leading bike and eco advocates, on the loss of his mother. And L.A. endurance cyclist and vegan registered dietician Matthew Ruscigno on the death of his […]

  12. Sandy Lawrence Says:

    Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Aunti Margie was a wonderful lady, we will miss her! Please let us know when the funeral is and if there is anything we can do to help.
    love, Don & Sandy

  13. Matthew Ruscigno Says:

    Thinking about you, Joe.

  14. Todd McHenry Says:

    Joe, we are so sorry for your loss. we lost our mom this spring too, and it is such a hard thing to go through. please share with your famly all our prayers and condolences

    Todd McHenry

  15. Ann Bergen Says:

    “Some people walk into your life and quickly go, others leave footprints on your heart and you are never ever the same” – Anynomous

  16. Devan Says:

    Joe, I am so sorry to hear that. You are and definitely will be in my thoughts. My deepest condolences and regards to you and your family.

  17. Tina Bialas Says:

    Joe, you likely will not remember me- but our family lived across from you in the cul-de-sac for several years and Liz and I were best friends during our 4th, 5th and early 6th grades. We moved to Oregon in 1977. Despite the years, I have such fond memories of your mom and the rest of your family. I also read your blogs about the house, which were terrific. I remember so well being introduced to Monty Python’s Flying Circus (“Eric the half-a-bee”) when over at your place playing with Liz. Your mom was an amazingly strong woman to do all that she did for so many years. I know her light continues to shine.
    Tina Bialas

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