Linda L Bruce – aka Lynna – fell asleep in death on Tuesday, March 7th, at the age of 71. She was tenderly and compassionately cared for by Sarah, Duffy, and Pamela of Hospice, and Maureen, Katie, and Allyson on 5.4 at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital. We are truly grateful to all who cared for her at the end.
Anyone who knew ‘Lynna’ will know that there was always a story. This is a little bit of hers.
She was born in 1951 in Washington, PA, to Adam and Beatrice Mathis. She was “number seven out of eight,” she would say, very proud to have come from a large family and would often tell people that she was a real-life coal miner’s daughter. She grew up in the West End in a little house that was tiny before tiny houses were chic. And she was extremely fond of her hometown and state and missed it terribly after moving to New England. She often reminisced about her days at 8th Ward and Wash High and lunches at Winky’s and Hilltop Pizza. She always spoke of her Washington friends, retelling stories as if they weren’t memories, but like you knew them as well as she did.
Linda married Isaac Evans III in 1970, and though their marriage ended in 1980, that union started a new chapter in her story, that of mother and Navy wife. They moved to Groton, CT, in 1977. She was raising two girls, so naturally, she was drawn to the Girl Scouts, becoming leader of Troop 3218 for many years. This included taking them camping, teaching them survival skills, forming a drill team, and cookie sales each year that can only be described as epic.
She worked a variety of jobs over the years, but her years at ‘SeaCorp’ working with developmentally disabled adults was the most fulfilling. She loved taking them to Camp Harkness Park, camping and sitting around a bonfire. She loved all of her residents at Ahlmer Street and Hillcrest Drive.
In 1986 Linda made the most important decision of her life and became a dedicated, baptized member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She was never happier than in the ministry with her dear friends sharing the good news of the Kingdom and teaching people about a brighter hope for the future.
Linda is survived by her loving, devoted, selfless husband, Lester Bruce. Their daughter Jannai Rodgers (husband Jonathan) of Carborro, NC; Jannai’s daughters Ella Duerr of Groton, CT; and Eliza Rodgers of Norwich, CT. Their daughter Ella Boland (husband Matthew) of Groton, CT. Brother Richard Mathis of Washington, PA; sister Barbara Johnson of VA and brother Michael Anthony Mathis of Pittsburgh, PA. She is predeceased by a sister Decia and brothers, Thomas, Theodore, and Larry.
“So I said all that to say this . . .” (Some of you understand!)
Linda, aka Lynna, will forever be remembered as someone who could and would talk to anyone. She knew everyone, and everyone knew her. She was more than just a character in her own story; she was a character in life. She was loved. And she will be missed.
A memorial talk will be given at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses on Saturday, April 8th at 2:00 pm. The address is 170 Flanders Rd in Mystic, CT