I just learned that Linnea Duvall, one of our group at the very first Women At Woodstock gathering back in 2012, and a vibrant member of the community from that point forward, has passed away. When Linnea was present, you knew it, and not just because she wasn’t afraid to speak up or to show her vulnerability – but because she often noticed something that someone said, or didn’t, or a facial expression, or a telling shift in body language. And she would seek out that person and speak to her privately, and listen, and offer her concern, or sympathy, or warmth… whatever was needed. She did that for more people than any of us know. And now she is gone.
It’s outrageously unfair.
I would get together with Linnea from time to time over the years out here in Southern California, where we both lived. Sometimes we’d ride bikes along the strand in Hermosa and Manhattan Beach. Sometimes we’d have lunch. Sometimes we’d talk on the phone. Linnea had a lot to process based on her family and relationship history. I suppose that’s true of us all. But she seemed particularly brave, and determined to see life as hers to direct, not to be downtrodden by others.
Linnea also had a lot to offer; she had her collection of counseling clients who relied on her, and she worked hard to reach out to young women as well, her mission being to instill in them a sense of self-direction and self-esteem on a scale both grander and stronger than life had prepared them to feel. Bravo.
I went to Beverly Hills one evening to hear Linnea sing with a prestigious choral group, performing in a grand and gorgeous church. It was heartwarming to be a fan that night, watching her on stage among her fellow performers; right on cue, upbeat, a natural on the stage. Even in a mass of fellow singers, she stood out, and not just because of her fiery red hair. She had a most definite presence.
What I’m writing here is so inadequate. Linda Lowen wrote something much better; a far more eloquent tribute to Linnea than I’ve been able to put down here. Click here to read “Linnea the White.”
And when you do, pay attention to the paragraph in which Linda describes a moment when Linnea stood up and spoke out when someone was being treated unfairly. That someone was me. Linnea didn’t hesitate. She stood up, she spoke up, and she righted the wrong. And I will never forget it. How many people step up like that when the need arises? Damn few. And that was Linnea; one in a million.
I am stunned that she is gone. And I know I am not alone in that. So many have posted their grief, their stories, their remembrances on her Facebook page and their own pages too. Good-bye, Linnea. It was good to know you. I’m so very sorry you had to go.