Linda Jane Jackson Barton passed away Friday, September 2, 2022 as a result of a stroke. She spent the hours preceding her death surrounded by a large family who is equal parts heartbroken to lose her and grateful to have had her.
Born and raised in the Alton area, Linda and her surviving sister, Nancy Beth Jackson, were the daughters of Glennon and Helen Jackson. Nancy Beth and her family (The Jackson Clan), Asia (Danny and Sebastian) and Nicholas – were most dear to Linda. No matter where they were around the globe, they always stayed connected through phone calls, visits and WhatsApp chats. She married her high school sweetheart, Terry Barton.
For 57 years they heated up one another’s coffee cups, toiled together in their vegetable garden, and groomed and walked a series of the most pampered pooches east of the Mississippi. They teased, tormented, and relied on one another in ways that only the best of friends can. They were the textbook definition of “partners”.
They raised three daughters, Sarah Beth Hoefert (Matt), Jennifer Barton (Chad Burnham) and Anna Thomas (Gary), whom Linda loved (and always with a ‘love you more’ tacked on for good measure). She took particular pride in the fact that all three girls, at least in her estimation, turned out to be ‘pretty normal'.
She was a good mother; the sort that was never unkind, but always honest. She made reading books magical, bringing characters to life with her voice. She kept the hair out of her daughters’ faces, never letting a knot win against her plastic Goody wood-grain brush. She taught them to always speak to people she knew, because it was important to let people know that they were special. “Lindy” also reveled in watching her ‘grandloves’ Nathan (Sarah), Nicholas (Monica Kennedy), Allison, and Leah Hoefert, Molly Burnham, and Caitlin and Jackson Thomas grow up, forever greeting them at the front door with her arms outstretched and the command to “Come here and give me a hug”. Countless hours were spent with them, sitting in her dining room, talking and laughing while eating her buttery, garlicky, delicious spinach casserole.
Some of the best advice she ever gave was ‘you better like the family you marry into’ – and she did. She was a well-loved mother-in-law, sister-in-law and aunt to many. And as luck would have it, she delighted in the fact that she spent time with almost every single member of her large extended family over the past year. She cherished being with her closest friends. The amount of time they spent cackling over lunch, playing tennis or shopping was immeasurable and surely made an already great life even richer. Linda was a talented and creative artist; no visit to her house was complete without a trip to her basement art studio to marvel at her most recent masterpieces. She was generous; buying treasures that made her think of you or sending you home with a lamp from her basement that would look great in your living room. She was smart and witty, practical and logical, and could always be counted on. There was never a task Linda couldn’t or wouldn’t tackle. She would cut your hair, arrange your mantle, sew on a button, and clean your kitchen, all in one visit. One of her favorite pastimes was finding a steal at the thrift shop or a bargain on the sale rack – and then have you guess how much she paid for it.
Linda always kept herself busy and engaged. She taught legions of kids to swim in her Edwards Street backyard pool. She was an English and later Art teacher at East Middle and Alton Middle Schools. She served as an Elder and Deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Alton and delighted in decorating the window displays at the Caravan Resale Shop. The absence of Linda’s physical presence will make life less interesting for so many. She left us with many beautiful pieces of her artwork, words of wisdom and wonderful memories – so thankfully, she won’t ever be too far away.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, November 6th, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Alton, IL. In lieu of flowers and gifts, donations can be made to Alton Middle School - Visual Arts Program. Please designate “Linda Barton Memorial” on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Alton Community Unit School District 11, 550 Landmarks Blvd. Alton, IL 62002 (attn: Mary Schell). Family and Friends may sign a physical guestbook at the memorial service and/ or a digital guestbook at gentfuneralhome.com. Gent Funeral Home in Alton is in charge of arrangements.