Linda May Retherford 1943-2014

Posted on February 19th in Obituaries

OBIT Rutherford workedLinda May Retherford passed away Jan. 22 at Gresham Rehabilitation and Specialty Care near Portland.

She was born in Burns Feb. 8, 1943, to Kenneth W. Retherford and Zora Retherford.

Linda had a rocky start in the world, as she was born breech and had breathing and swallowing problems. Linda was sent to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, where she spent the next 11 days. They diagnosed her with cerebral palsy.

In her younger years, Linda was cared for at home and home schooled. During these years, she also attended many private schools geared to help her with speech and motor skills. In the summer, she would go to Easter Seals camp, a special camp for disabled children. She made many friends and really enjoyed these summers.

As Linda got older (about 16 or 17 years old), she was allowed to attend school in the classroom where her mother taught, and she furthered her education.

Linda then moved to Portland to a nursing home that helped disabled people learn technical skills. She didn’t like it there, and returned to Burns where she lived in the Burns nursing home for the next 10 years. At this time, she got to know Alice Herauf and participated in the Special Olympics. She really enjoyed this, but still wanted more.

At this time, a family friend, Mary Howden, had heard of Community Vision Inc., a nonprofit organization that provided supported living services to people with disabilities. Many things had changed in Linda’s life at this point. Her father had passed away, and her mother was moving to Monmouth to be near her sisters. So Linda decided to “take the plunge” and moved to Portland, once again.

Through Community Vision Inc., she got her first apartment in Forest Grove in 199l. Along with 24-hour care, she received training in a career as a consultant and public speaker for people with disabilities. Linda traveled all over, speaking to groups about disabilities. One of her favorite trips was to San Fransisco, Calif.

Linda was losing more of her abilities due to her cerebral palsy, so her traveling had to end. But in 2004, she accomplished one of her greatest ambitions, purchasing her own home through a program with Community Vision Inc.

Linda enjoyed her home and shared it with friends and her church family. Linda had always loved God and was a member of “The Lion of Judah” Congregation of Messianic Jews.

Linda’s last four years were spent at Gresham Rehabilitation and Specialty Care, where she could receive the care that she required. Her friends and church family visited regularly and shared services and holidays with her.

Linda is survived by her mother, Zora Retherford; brother, Kenneth Retherford and his wife, Randy; sister, Susan Pedersen and her husband, Tiny; nieces, Michelle Tye, Sheree Retherford and Crystal Fretwell; great-nieces, Jordan, Hailey and Naomi; great-nephews, Ledger and Leland; an aunt; an uncle; cousins; and many friends.

Linda was preceded in death by her father, Kenneth W. Retherford.

A graveside service was held Feb. 1, with burial in the Burns Cemetery.


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