Linda Gilbert Young, 71, of Kannapolis, NC had a great joy for living that was not deterred by chronic illness. Committed to family, teaching, and church she remained positive, feisty, outspoken, and loving until her death on November 7, 2020. Born in Pulaski County, Virginia, to Edward and Marie Gilbert, she grew up surrounded by her brothers, cousins, grandparents, and a loving church, where her service to others began. Linda was preceded in death her parents and a brother, Neal Wirt. She is survived by a brother, Ralph T. Wirt (Martha); by two daughters, Alicia Akers Arnold and Laura Akers Moose (Tim); by four grandchildren, Latreece Arnold, Trevor Moose, Dylan Moose, and Brandon Moose (Melissa); by four great-grandchildren, Emily Marcial, Ayden Arnold, Weston Moose, and Whitney Moose; by cousins and extended family; and by best friends, Mary Rose McCants and Willie Mae Broadway.
Linda’s life was a life of service and finding joy in people and in the circumstances she encountered. She received her B.S. degree in Education from Radford University and taught middle school in Roanoke City, Virginia. In North Carolina, she joined the staff at McKnight Child Development Center, a Head Start Program of Kannapolis Board of Education. Linda loved her work, especially working with families from across diverse backgrounds who made Kannapolis their home. She saw how families thrive when focused on their children and wanting the very best future for them. Coworkers remember her as a kindhearted person who put others before herself, as a “strong Christian and extremely bright,” as a friend of Head Start who believed strongly in its philosophy and mission.
Linda was proud to receive the North Carolina Family Support Credential for Leaders through Duke University and a B.S. in Business Management. She earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Phoenix University.
As a dedicated member of Bethpage United Methodist Church, Linda taught Sunday School and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. One of the highlights of her life was a mission trip she took to war-torn Armenia, where she helped rebuild the village school. Concerned for the children she saw living in poverty, she returned home to send clothes and to share the experiences that changed her view of the world. In 2018, Linda received Bethpage’s Laity Service Award.
Linda was very committed to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She often spoke of herself as “the teacher in the family,” and was very involved in helping great-grandchildren Emily and Ayden with in and out-of-school learning. Linda’s daughter Alicia says that her mother was “a true Christian—forgiving and loving, no matter what… with maybe a little bit of fussing in between.” Her daughter Laura says that “everything good about me was taught by her. She was also a huge part and influence in my children’s lives.”
Linda had a great joy for living. She loved learning with a passion and was particularly interested in English history and all things British. She adored Laura Ingalls Wilder and ranked her trip to the Laura Ingalls Wilder house in Mansfield, Missouri among the highlights of her life. She had a zest for life that even illness could not steal. During her recent stay in the hospital, she daily told stories of encounters she had with people who cheered her—like a couple who “shone like Easter morning sunrise.”
Flowers may be sent to Bethpage United Methodist Church, 109 Fellowship Avenue, Kannapolis, NC 28081, or donations may be made in Linda’s name to the church for its next mission trip to Armenia.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, November 14, 2020, 2 PM at Bethpage United Methodist Church, located at 109 Fellowship Avenue, Kannapolis, NC 28081.
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