COOPERSTOWN – Linda Graham Smirk, proprietor, with her husband, John, of the Cooperstown B&B on Chestnut Street for 17 years, passed away on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. She was 66.
Born in Brooklyn on Sept. 30, 1949, Linda is the daughter of Robert Wesley and Ruth Waide Graham.
After spending her early years in Brooklyn, Linda moved with her family to Cooperstown and graduated from Cooperstown Central School in 1967. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY Oneonta in elementary and early secondary education/English.
Early in her career, she worked at IBM in Chicago. Later, she owned and operated her own daycare center, nurturing and positively impacting the lives of many Cooperstown children. She also spent time as a grammar school teacher.
Linda devoted her life to caring for and supporting her community. She was a passionate volunteer, a “people person” and a faithful member of the Cooperstown Methodist Church, the United Methodist Women, and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Cooperstown American Legion. She was also a Native Daughter of Cooperstown.
Linda spent many years raising money for the Paul Newman Double H Hole-in-the-Woods Camp, the Northeast Chapter of the Spina Bifida Association, and the American Cancer Society. Linda has been an inspiration to all who knew her. She was known for her organizational skills, her love of life, and her extreme generosity. Linda loved her children, her grandchildren, in fact – all children. She spoiled them with her wild antics, her birthday cards and checks, her attention and her famous baked goods. There were always abundant trays of cookies or cakes on the serving table at her B&B to tempt children of all ages. An extended stay with Linda and John meant a few extra pounds around the waist at the time of departure. She was a culinary wonder and it would be hard to find a person in Cooperstown who has not experienced the taste of one of her many creations. Whether you knew her as Mom, sister, wife, friend, Aunt Linda, Linda Pinda, Grandma Lulu or the Cookie Monster, she was loved and adored by all.
Linda is survived by her husband, John W. Smirk; her son, Bruce Carpenter Dunn, Jr. and his wife, Tanhena, and her grandchildren, Lucas Wesley, and Marcus Julian; her daughter, Elizabeth Aimee Dunn; and her daughter, Christine Elizabeth Smirk and her husband, Anthony Feliciti.
She is also survived by her siblings, Robert Graham Jr. and wife, Ingrid; Dorothy Ruth Brining and husband, Robert; Kenneth Waide Graham and wife, Lois; Dianne Ellen Feury and husband, Theodore P. Jr; Glenn W. Graham and wife Maryanne; Janet Graham Faure; and James Bradley Graham and wife, Mary Jean. Linda is the adored aunt of 22 nieces and nephews, and 34 great nieces and nephews, numerous cousins and many treasured friends.
Arrangements are under the supervision of Tillapaugh Funeral Services, Cooperstown.
Calling hours will be 4-7 p.m. Friday, March 25, at the The Tillapaugh Funeral Home. Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 26, at the United Methodist Church of Cooperstown. Burial will follow at Lakewood Cemetery in Cooperstown.
In lieu of flowers, Linda has requested that people contribute to the Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Capital Fund of the United Methodist Church of Cooperstown, 66 Chestnut Street Cooperstown, or to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Otsego County, “The Believers Team” at 5 Oak Avenue, Sidney, NY 13838.
One of Linda’s favorite quotes:
“I wish you love and strength and faith and wisdom,
Gold enough to help some needy one,
I wish you songs, but also a blessed silence
And God’s sweet peace when every day is done.”