Linna Ward Marder

April 16, 1945April 6, 2019

Linna Ward Marder was born on April 16, 1945 in Orlando, Florida, to Earl G. and Elizabeth W. Ward. As a young girl she loved reading, playing cards, corralling her two younger sisters, and taking care of the family cat.

She attended Winter Park High School, followed by Emory University, where she graduated in 1967 with a major in sociology. During her college years, she became keenly interested in social justice, and she joined the Peace Corps upon graduation. She trained with a large contingent of volunteers (including several lifelong friends-to-be) at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico and shipped off to Korea, where she provided health care services for two years in the village of Pyung Dong.

After her Korean adventure, she moved to San Francisco, where she worked at the University of the Pacific Dental School. At a fateful dinner party one night, she met a charming young architect named Walter. They were married four months later, on September 30, 1972 at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in San Francisco. Photographic evidence shows that the wedding was a riotous success, from the bride’s family heirloom dress to the wedding cake home-baked in batches and kept in the freezer at the Chinese grocery down the block.

The young couple spent two years in San Francisco, living with some friends in a rambling Victorian house, before heading to Belize for another two-year Peace Corps stint. There they lived in a tiny house at the edge of the jungle, using a machete to keep the garden clear.

Linna worked at the library at Belmopan Comprehensive School and at a hospital and daycare. In 1976 they moved back to the U.S. and settled in Wilmington, Delaware, where they welcomed their son Andrew in 1980. A career change brought the family to Tallahassee, Florida, where their daughter Monica was born in 1986. While raising her children, Linna also managed to earn a master’s degree in Library Science from FSU, and she worked as a reference librarian for 23 years at the Leon County Library branches downtown and in Northeast Tallahassee. She retired in 2012 and turned her attention to crossword puzzles, mystery books, relaxing at Cape San Blas, and traveling – visiting Andrew in London and DC, Monica in San Francisco and NYC, two transatlantic cruises, and a return to Korea, where she reunited with her Peace Corps host family and marveled at the changes in the country.

Linna passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, on April 6, 2019.

She will be remembered for her wit, her hospitality, and her generosity. She always gave of herself to others, whether it was her time, her knowledge, or her cooking (family and friends will always miss her annual New Year’s open house and “forgotten cookies.”)

She leaves behind her a lifetime of love and her surviving family members: husband Walter of Tallahassee; son Andrew, daughter-in-law Alexandria, and grandson Maxwell of Hyattsville, Maryland; daughter Monica and son-in-law Graham Sutton of Hoboken, New Jersey; sister Ann and brother-in-law Houston Wheeler of Atlanta, Georgia; sister Celia and brother-in-law Mark Broadhead of Crestview, Florida; and several nieces and nephews.

Walter wishes to extend particular thanks to Taydra Eaddy and Kimberley Crumbie from Visiting Angels of Tallahassee, and the staff of the VNICU at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, for their kindness to Linna. There will be a memorial service at the Episcopal Church of the Advent on Piedmont Road at 2:00 pm on Friday, May 17. The family asks for donations to a charity of one’s choice in lieu of flowers.


  • Memorial Service Friday, May 17, 2019


Linna Ward Marder

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Debra Sears

April 12, 2019

We were fortunate to have Linna in our library "family". She truly enjoyed being a librarian, to the benefit of library patrons and co-workers alike. After she retired, I enjoyed seeing her in the library as a patron. Linna would share a good story or two about her latest activities and then artfully recommend books she had read. My heart goes out to Walter and family.

Conchita Gibbs

April 11, 2019

Linna, I enjoyed working with her at the Northeast Branch one big happy family. You were always so kind and full of life and offered good words of advice. My condolences to Walter and family

Mercedes S Carey

April 8, 2019

Linna inspired me and is the person who encouraged me to pursue librarianship as a career. Her Peace Corp work took her to Belize in the 1970's. She was the librarian at my high school, Belmopan Comprehensive. Almost all the books were donated discards from British libraries but Linna always found me something interesting to read. While helping her in my school library I discovered I enjoyed library work. Many years later we found ourselves working for the same library system and I had the pleasure of working with her at the Northeast Branch of the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library System. I still have the Library of Congress paperweight she gave me when I got my MLS from FSU. My condolences to Walter and her children.