Today I listened to friends, students, staff, and faculty describe a person I met about 19 years ago. She was an incredible, remarkable woman; full of life, compassion, and empathy. She was genuine. Truly genuine. And she was seemingly filled to the brim with all of the qualities that make a person an amazing mentor, educator, role model, and inspiration.
I knew Linda Allen as the embodiment of all that makes a teacher great. I will always be awed by her ability to connect with students. To not just help them, but to get to know them. To know their families, their friends.
Whenever I saw her on campus, she would often ask in her very maternal way about my brother – who, for a time, studied at the University of Guelph. She met him only a few times while we ran around getting papers signed and documents filled out so that he could enrol, and yet she remembered him. She remembered what he was doing then, and wanted to know where he was now, what he was doing, how he was doing.
And this is what was amazing about her. She wasn’t bestowing some special treatment on me and my brother. She did this with everyone. She knew or wanted to know about everyone. And she remembered. Even the tiniest of details.
Sadly, the world lost someone special on Sunday. Suddenly, unexpectedly, and far too soon.
Fortunately her memory will not be forgotten. She has touched so many lives, so many countless lives, that I think it impossible for that to happen. Her spirit, her passion, her smile, will live on in the minds and hearts of the people who knew her.
I was fortunate to know Linda as an undergraduate student. I knew Linda through my Masters degree, and then throughout my PhD. And I knew Linda as I happily accepted my current position in the School of Computer Science. She smiled the day that my paperwork was finally signed. And it was a proud and loving smile. Through it all she remained a constant and positive always smiling force on campus.
Thank you Linda for being one of the many examples of a life well lived.
I’m going to miss you.