Cover photo for Linda D. Van Ness's Obituary
Linda D. Van Ness Profile Photo
1955 Linda 2024

Linda D. Van Ness

January 8, 1955 — March 2, 2024


On March 2nd 2024, Linda Darlene Van Ness was met at Heaven's Gate by her mother and father, Belva and Leo Gurchinoff, along with brothers John, Leo and canines Buffy, Bronco, and Scout.


Linda was born in Crandon, Wi on January 8, 1955.  She was raised and educated in Iron River, Michigan, graduating from West Iron County High School  in 1973.   Linda then attended and graduated from Western Michigan University (WMU) in 1977 with a major in Social Work and a minor in Psychology.  It was there, at a Yooper party, that she met Randy, her husband of  46 years.


Linda's career was strongly influenced by the injustices she read about in the book, "To Kill a Mockingbird" (in a full circle moment, she attended the Play at the PAC in 2023).  As such, her professional career was dedicated to those most in need of services.   Linda worked for Green Lake County's Health and Human Services Department (HHS) for over thirty - six years.   Her first and favorite assignment was as Deputy Director for what is now known as Fox River Industries/Disability Services, Inc. - a sheltered workshop with programming for adults with physical and intellectual disabilities.  Linda later became the Director of HHS, a position she held for twenty - two years, even being called back three years after retirement to resurrect the program. Linda also served as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Wisconsin County Human Services Association (WCHSA) for many years.  There she was well respected by all of her peers.  WCHSA is an organization that gives Wisconsin Legislators policy updates and recommendations to the Wisconsin State Department of Health and Human Services. Throughout her professional career Linda championed the undervalued and overlooked she was their voice, heart and soul.


Linda was an active member of the Green Lake County Rotary Club, the Princeton Garden Club and a past member of the Winnebago County Master Gardeners Club.  She and her husband were also active volunteers for Make the Ride Happen, Special Olympics, the Oshkosh Area Humane Society's Therapy Dog Program and at the Oshkosh Area Humane Society.  Linda and her husband were able to travel extensively throughout their life.  She most looked  forward to January's in New Smyrna Beach, Florida - spending five winters at Ocean Walk Condominiums and four at the Beautiful 9 Oaks Carriage House on the Indian River - an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean.  It was there that she was most at peace - wandering up and down the Atlantic Ocean's shoreline collecting Sea Glass and unique Seashells.   Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes, she amassed an admiral collection of sea glass and shells.


It was at the Oshkosh Area Humane Society, beginning in 2011 that Linda and her husband became impassioned advocates for Pit Bull type dogs - one of the most undervalued, overlooked, and misunderstood creatures on Earth.  Linda and her husband opened their home to many Pitx dogs, as well as many other struggling long term canine residents.  It was through this Foster Care Program that Linda and her husband adopted Miss Daisy - a sweet, loving, gentle intuitive Pit Bull mix.  She was and is such a special pup, that she became a Therapy Dog (she loves everyone).  Linda often said "I love that dog".


Linda is survived by her husband Randy, son Justin (Michael-Lynne), daughter Emily (Tyler) Plaster, her much loved Grandchildren - Carter Leo and Amara Rose (Linda was a proud, loving, doting Grandmother) and her much loved Miss Daisy.  Linda is further survived by Sisters Cindy, Joan (Dan) Hinch and Carol (Joe) Clavin, along with several nieces and nephews.   

Linda always wanted grandchildren and she helped care for them as they grew.  She spent many nights with them for sleepovers and accompanied them on many escapades. They will always cherish the time they spent with their grandmother. Her laugh will forever echo in their hearts.  Both Carter and Amara are fun, spirited and big-hearted.  Their grandmother will forever watch over and guide them through life.


Linda's family would like to express love and appreciation to her dear friend of fifty - five years , Debby J . She traveled this long, unforgiving journey with us, holding both of our hands along the way.  Debby J., along with the Girls of LeFevre from WMU, as well as the Island Girls shared many adventures together over the course of fifty years.  All were supportive and loving throughout Linda's Journey.  Another special thank you to her long-time loyal friends and co-workers, Sue S. and Nancy B - Sue who helped with care for Linda at Courtyard Memory Care and both for taking Linda out for so many breakfast and shopping escapades.   Another thanks to Jessy M. for providing in-home care, but more importantly empathy, love, compassion, friendship and a smiling, happy face. Finally, Linda's family would like to thank the Staff at Courtyard Memory Care and Preceptor Hospice for their care and compassion, as they led us through the final leg of this long and challenging journey.


Alzheimer's is a hideous disease, but Linda and her family fought the good fight for seven years - living as normal of a life for as long as possible.  Linda is at peace now and restored to her previous self, patiently waiting to be reunited with her loving family and canine Miss Daisy.  Forever and a day she will be loved and missed. She made the world a better place.


Linda and her husband established the Abigail, Miss Daisy, and Scout Fund at the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation (OACF) in 2012.  This fund benefits Pit Bull type dogs, senior dogs and dogs with disability and health issues at the Oshkosh Area Humane Society.  Linda's family would ask that you consider contributing to this fund in her name at the OACF - to honor her care and compassion for these undervalued 4- legged creatures - helping them find a forever family.


Cremation has taken place through the services of Konrad - Behlman Funeral Home. Per the family's request, there will be no formal funeral services.  A private family gathering and ash spreading will be held at Alvin, Wisconsin - at her family's grave site as well as at her brother's favorite fishing hole.   Celebrate her life in whatever way each of you thinks most fitting for this amazing wife, mother, grandmother and friend.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Linda D. Van Ness, please visit our flower store.


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