Linda and John have been married for 49 years and will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in June of 2018. They met through a matchmaking service called Michigan Scientific Introduction Service and their first date was on Nov. 13, 1967, when they met for coffee on the University of Michigan campus. Linda was working at Parke-Davis, a pharmaceutical company, and John was a grad student. They felt an immediate connection that has lasted half a century and counting.
Growing up the only child of Ann and Bob Paul in Niagara Falls, New York, Linda always dreamed of having a family of her own, and she succeeded. She has two children, David and Jane (who are both married), and two granddaughters, Kellyn and Delaney. In her late teens, Linda worked at a five-and-dime store in Niagara Falls, where she had a few mishaps. One time she burned the popcorn, causing the whole store to smell. Another time, she accidentally released a bunch of parakeets, which caused mayhem but no damage to the store or to her psyche. She also had a stint at Lake Placid Resort where she cleaned rooms and stargazed at singer Kate Smith. As a college student at Potsdam State in New York, Linda realized she didn’t like elementary education, so she switched majors to chemistry, which was a new curriculum at the school. She was one of the first to earn a B.S. degree in that program. She took a job at Dow Chemical and was one of only two women working in the laboratory. That was short-lived because Linda felt compelled to go back to school, receiving an M.A. in English from the University of Michigan. She then worked at Parke-Davis as a technical writer and editor. After she married John and their two children were born, Linda moved on to teach writing at Western Michigan University.
Linda remained very close to her parents, and she took it hard when she lost both within two years of each other. Her children were young – less than five years old – when her mom died of cancer in 1976 and her dad died of a heart attack in 1978. John was working on his thesis during this time too, so it was a stressful time.
Linda loves Broadway show tunes, especially anything by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, with “The Sound of Music “being one of her favorites. Luckily, Linda and John live in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where there’s an endless supply of musical theater for them to enjoy, often from front-row seats. Linda also plays the piano and tries to foster a love of musicals in her granddaughter, Kellyn.
Linda and her best friend Karen Aisoff became life-long pals while growing up in Niagara Falls. They have shared a lot over the years and have many funny stories to tell. Once, they took Karen’s father’s small boat out into the shipping channel. Another time, the boat’s motor stopped working and they had to get towed back; one of their rescuers eventually married Karen.
Linda has always been energetic and full of pep, and she won’t let anything stop her from living life on her terms. When she was young, for instance, she switched churches so she could play on the softball team.
Linda remains active and enjoys life in Kalamazoo. She frequents the theater with John, and he helps her deliver food for Meals on Wheels. They also volunteer at Ministry with Community, helping those who are homeless or living with debilitating mental health issues.
Linda has a soft spot in her heart for children and animals, and she won’t stand for any kind of mistreatment or abuse. She has a rescue dog named Gretchen, and she reads a lot of books about dogs. John compares Linda to the suffragette and activist Alice Paul, for her spunk and unbreakable spirit.