Linda Susan McNeill-Kemp
November 11, 1951 – July 11, 2021
Linda McNeill-Kemp passed away on July 11th after a brief illness. She lived in a house in West Brewster that sits high on a hill, where the driveway curves up through gardens cultivated by her green thumb. There is a warm light in the window and a welcoming wreath on the door. Linda made this house the center of her family, her extended family of close friends, and a larger community of artists, kids’ friends, and various goldendoodle enthusiasts for many years. Linda was the center of the center, presiding over all with love and care.
She was the one who supported and partnered with Steven, her husband for over 40 years, growing a pottery business together that provided both a living and a way of life for their family. She was the one who watched her children, Matthew and Rebecca, walk up the driveway after school and could tell what kind of day they had. She knew just what snack and Mom-talk they would need to process and unwind that day. She was the one who sang endless verses of “This Ol’ Man,” sending her grandchildren off to sleep with the assurance that they were loved, valued, and with a wink and laugh when they got older, that they came from “good stock.”
She was the one who hosted events that marked the seasons, holidays, and the important moments. Her Christmas cookie exchanges were legendary; her Leo parties were the highlight of the summers. Birthday bashes, rehearsal dinners, weddings, celebrations of life - Linda hosted them all and showed us how to make the important people in our life feel welcomed, safe, valued, and connected. Linda was an astute watcher of people. She could see what they needed, what would make them feel secure, connected, and safe. She used these gifts to grow a community of love. This community is her enduring gift and legacy and it is all our blessing to find our own ways to keep a warm light on, and a welcoming wreath on the door.
In her professional life, Linda used these considerable skills to create and run the School to Careers Art Internship program for close to 15 years. She enriched the Cape Cod arts world immensely by making meaningful connections between young people and working artists which altered the lives and paths of both students and mentors along the way. Over 600 high school students took part in the program and for many it was a transformative, seminal experience.
She is survived by her husband Steven who treasures memories of the beautiful life they built together. Her children Matthew Kemp and Rebecca St. Martin who are forever thankful to have had the world's best mom. Their spouses, Meghan Kemp and Steve St. Martin, who she welcomed into her heart and home with open arms. Her sister Deborah Ortiz, brother Michael McNeill, and their beautiful families, whose love and caring have been a gift to all. Her warm hugs, stories on her lap, delicious treats, and post-nap snuggles are missed by her loving (and beloved) grandchildren, Fiona and Charlotte Kemp and Hayden St. Martin, and her fourth grandchild due to join the family in September.
In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Cape Cod Food Pantry, a wonderful non-profit where Linda volunteered for many years.