Linda Oberlink Barts, age 80, passed peacefully into the arms of Jesus on February 3, 2019 after a 12-year battle with Alzheimer’s. Linda was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan on September 12, 1938. She grew up in Long Beach, Michigan City, Indiana on Lake Michigan. A big part of her childhood was acting, where she spent many years at the Michiana Shores Dunes Summer Theatre and she continued acting throughout her high school years. She loved to dance, paint, and played the piano and violin.
Linda knew her husband (Duane Barts) in high school, but they did not start dating until their college years. She went to Purdue University where she obtained a B.A. in Speech Therapy and later in life granted a M.A. in Social Work (her passion). In 1960, Linda married Duane who joined the Air Force; she then became a military wife for twenty-eight years. Mom and dad were married for 46-years.
Military life gave the family an opportunity to live in Germany for five years. Mom embraced the culture and wanted her children to do the same. Every country and historical site we visited mom did her research. She shared its history to ensure we did not just "see" the place; she made sure we "knew" it. Mom read us stories from Hans Christian Anderson and Grimm Brother's Fairy Tales; she lived our childhood with us.
In 1974, dad's last duty station was in Fort Walton Beach, FL where they decided they would retire. Growing up on Lake Michigan, mom loved the beach and sailing. Living on the Emerald Coast gave her the opportunity to sail again; mom and dad were members of the Boggy Bayou Sailing Club.
Linda worked briefly at Pryor Middle School, as a Speech Therapist, until she found her passion for the homeless. She was one of two women who were instrumental in the launch of a program for homeless families in Okaloosa County, Fresh Start for Children and Families, (originally Transition Village). She was a Christian Counselor and helped the families with all the State programs available to them. She also helped launch a program for homeless women at the Water Front Rescue Mission. Linda had a heart for the elderly. She would “adopt” an elderly person and ensured all their needs were tended to, whether it was transportation to a doctor’s appointment or grocery store, or just someone to talk to. This carried on into her stay at Belvedere Commons, where she felt the need to assist her fellow residents.
Linda was involved with the Soundside Kiwanis Club for 20+ years. One of her main contributions was starting the “Every Child a Swimmer” program at the YMCA.
Mom loved her "pushy broad" cats and dogs. We are sure they were lined-up in Heaven waiting for her with dad, her parents, and her sister.
Linda loved the Lord and served Him throughout her life. Her daughter and granddaughter were with her the moment God called her home. In that moment, that precious moment, they saw the Hand of God touch her face. Her face, discolored from the dying process, was now glowing, radiant, and at peace. Mom was a member of Cinco Baptist Church and Shalimar United Methodist Church. Trinity United Methodist Church took her under their wing when she moved into Belvedere Commons.
Mom was one of the most selfless, caring, giving, and loving human beings to walk this earth; there is no doubt, when she entered Heaven’s gates she heard the words “Well done, good and faithful servant!” She always had a smile on her face and found good in every situation. Heaven is now filled with her laughter.
She is predeceased by her husband (Duane), her parents (Dwight and Doris Oberlink), and her sister (Ann Wilson). She is survived by her four children, Karin Carter (Phil), Duane Barts Jr, Rebecca Ortiz (Benedict) and Everett Barts (Shelly). She also leaves behind a loving sister and brother, Judy Kirk and Peter Oberlink. She has eight beautiful grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Her family would like to give their sincere appreciation to the staff at Belvedere Commons (her second family) where she made her home for the past 10 ½ years; the care she was given was filled with love and compassion. A special thank-you to Regency and Emerald Coast Hospice for the excellent care they provided mom in her final years and hours on this earth. A special thank you is extended to LaNae Grover, who gave mama a “spa day” twice a month with her wonderful massages.
Please join us Monday, February 11, 2019 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at Emerald Coast Funeral Home to celebrate the life of an amazing woman who made an impact on every life she touched.
Interment will be held at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at the Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola.