Poestenkill - Though Linda Jeanne Ford died on January 10, 2022, her legacy will continue paying forward. Linda made a difference in the lives of many through her grace, love, generosity, and by living her life fully. She loved to be on adventures and she inspired others to live their dreams.
Linda grew up on a dairy farm and attended an elementary school comprised of two teachers and two rooms - grades 1 to 4 in one, 5 to 8 in the other. Her world expanded dramatically when she entered 9th grade in a brand-new high school. There were many classrooms, a gym, auditorium and subjects like band and art! Who would think that such beginnings would lead to her being a global explorer (24 countries over 4 continents) as an adult!
When nearly 21, Linda married her high school sweetheart, Tom Monahan. After a decade of following the traditional role of “supporting her man’s career,” Linda launched a life of her own creation. Starting at age 32, she had a fulfilling 30-year career as a Social Worker and loved serving children and families.
She also pursued her passion for dancing - especially Greek Folk dancing and Contradances. It was at a Contradance that she met Phil Ferguson, who was to be her second husband. After they bought a house together in 1988, so began Linda’s second life as a gardener extraordinaire!
Phil and Linda married in 1994. Each vowed to have the other fulfill his/her dreams. They traveled extensively, developed their artistic passions, and were devoted to their families. Neither had a “bucket list” as they lived for adventure.
For her 60th birthday in 2004, Linda and Phil explored the Copper Canyon region of Mexico. Her life was changed forever. She fell in love with the flowers, the indigenous Tarahumara people, and the remote wilderness. She chose to write a wildflower guide for that area solely because no one had written one. (Who does that?) She learned how to do botanical research in the field and today her collection resides next to some by Darwin in the New York Botanical Garden vault.
From scratch, she learned to write, publish, and market her book - “A Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Mexico’s Copper Canyon Region.” Then she organized and led 10 exquisite trips that immersed small groups in the intimate experience of the way of life for people there.
And from the sales of her books, proceeds from the trips, and contributions from friends, she donated almost $14,000 to the Rota Scholars Program that covered the annual costs of boarding and education for local Tarahumara children living far and wide across a mountain range. (Maybe she felt a connection having grown up in sparsely populated farm country.) She personally sponsored 12 students, most of whom graduated high school and some completed college.
Linda held cancer at bay for over 7 years. We have deeply appreciated the exceptional quality of care provided by Sloan Kettering Hospital in NYC and Hospice of Rensselaer County. If you want to contribute something in Linda’s honor, please donate to Hospice or to CaringBridge.com - a wonderful free service!
There will be a public service in the Capital District sometime in the Spring of 2022. If you want to be alerted for that, please contact her husband, Phil.
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