June 17, 1947 – July 10, 2018
Born in San Carlos, California in 1947, Linda moved to Connecticut in the 4th grade, when her father was transferred to Aetna’s home office in Hartford. She graduated from Newington High School and went on to the University of Connecticut where she met her future husband of 49 years, David Ward, who grew up in Westbrook. They have one son, Justin Brant Ward of Alameda, California, and two grandchildren, Race, 10, and Marston, 8. She is also survived by a sister, Jo Ann Thune-Larsen of Hilton Head, South Carolina, and a nephew, Petter Juel-Larsen of Euless, Texas.
Linda was most widely known as the proprietor of The Red Balloon, a children’s clothing boutique located at the end of Main Street in Essex, which she ran for over 30 years. Many customers were second and third generations. Others, many from out of state, made the shop a destination. She practiced old fashioned expertise and knowledge of product when outfitting children, ranging from special occasion to casual classics. The shop was always welcoming and attentive to all makes and models of kids and their needs, and she always found a perfect solution for tentative gift-givers addressing any event.
At home and on outings, Linda was a keen observer of nature; on bird walks she was often the first one to spot the prize of the day. She fed the birds in her yard year round while nurturing the wild rabbits and chipmunks with sumptuous annual gardens and potted plants, making great places for them to take cover from neighborhood hawks. She thrived on the love and work she put into plants and gardening..
Linda was one of those truly upbeat and optimistic people who saw the best and brought out the best in others, tending to those in need as she found them. Anyone considering a remembrance honoring Linda should consider the High Hopes Therapeutic Riding organization where she spent many of her middle years as an enthusiastic volunteer inside the ring with the horses and the riders.
August 1, 2018
I just learned of Linda's passing from a mutual friend, and was saddened by the news. I had had no contact with Linda since I graduated from Newington High School in 1964, but I remember her fondly as a sparkling addition to the NHS gymnastics club. She was always kind to me and a positive influence on everyone with whom she came in contact. From reading these other notes, I can see that she carried those traits throughout her life. May God bless her and be with her family during this difficult time.
July 19, 2018
May care and love of those around you provide comfort and peace to get you through the days ahead. My most sincere condolences.
Judith (Nielsen) Sanford
July 19, 2018
Linda was always beautiful, always enthusiastic, always warm. There are few people in this life who have left such an enduring positive impression on me. I'm so glad I got to share even a brief part of her life with her. I know for sure she will be missed deeply.
July 16, 2018
I am so saddened to be reading the news of Linda’s passing. For years she was a loyal volunteer during my Monday evening lessons at High Hopes. Linda always offered her beautiful smile and encouraging words to the riders with whom she was working. When
my daughter was born visits to The Red Balloon (which we all miss!) were always great fun. Linda was a very special, kind and thoughtful person and will be sorely missed!
July 15, 2018
Linda was a stellar person. I first met her in Sunday school at the Congregational church in Newington in 5th grade. She was with Sarah Anderson who also passed away just 11 mos ago.
Linda always took the time needed to complete things perfectly. From the skirt she sewed in 7th grade to the brownies she brought the last time we got together for a high school reunion, her part was always perfectly executed. She was a unique person and will be missed by all who knew her.