Ms. Linda Caroline Wilson, 85 of Cartersville, Georgia passed away on Monday morning surrounded by her loving family at Piedmont Healthcare Cartersville, Georgia Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this time of bereavement.
Linda Caroline Arledge Wilson, 85, passed away in the early hours of July 24, 2023, in Piedmont Cartersville Medical Center in Cartersville, GA, after a stroke. Her daughters were with her in her final hours.
She is survived by three daughters and their husbands: Dr. Pam Wilson (Dave Boggess) of Cartersville, GA, Dr. Cara Wilson (Dr. Jeb Burchenal) of Golden, CO, and Dr. Amy Wilson (Bo Grist) of Charlottesville, VA. She was the proud grandmother of five: Nolan Smith of Denver, CO; Dr. Clare Burchenal of Denver, CO; Wilson Burchenal of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Caroline Grist of Charlottesville, VA; and Dylan Grist of Charlottesville, VA. She is also survived by her sister Susan Arledge Robinson (J. W. Robinson) of Fayetteville, NC, niece Eve Robinson Fowler, and nephew Keith Robinson.
Linda Wilson was a lover of animals, the arts, music, the outdoors, travel, and most of all, books. A progressive thinker and activist, she was actively involved in community and volunteer activities throughout her life, from being a Girl Scout leader and camp counselor to active involvement in the League of Women Voters, the Democratic Party, and the National Organization for Women. A strong advocate for women’s rights and for racial equality, she served as an inspiring role model for many young people, including her children and grandchildren.
Linda was born on February 2, 1938, the oldest child of Lura “Tootsie” Morris Nash Arledge and John Thomas “Jack” Arledge at St. Luke’s Hospital in Tryon, North Carolina. Her roots in Polk County, NC, and upstate South Carolina extended back for many generations.
After graduating from Tryon High School in 1955, she attended the Woman’s College of North Carolina (now University of North Carolina-Greensboro) from 1955-1956 as a Fine Arts major in painting, drawing, and sculpture.
In April 1956, she married Bobby Gray “Bob” Wilson in Tryon, and they established a home in Spartanburg, NC, where he was a student at Wofford College. After their first child, Pam, was born, they moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where Bob attended graduate school in mathematics and Linda enrolled in the College of Education, where she completed most of her degree requirements in Elementary and Art Education.
When Bob received an offer to teach at Wofford College, the couple returned to Spartanburg, SC, where their second daughter, Cara, was born. Two years later, Bob accepted a position in the Advanced Engineering Department at General Electric in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the family moved northward. Soon, they welcomed their third daughter, Amy.
In the late 1960s, Linda began her career in nonprofit community services working for a community action agency in Lynchburg and then became the Executive Director of Project HEPP (Health, Education, Planned Parenthood), a federally funded educational outreach program under the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, for which she worked from 1968 to 1973. The family moved to Charlottesville in 1970.
From 1973 to 1980, after moving to Waynesboro, VA, Linda held three positions with Virginia Skyline Girl Scout Council, based in Roanoke and serving 37 counties: Field Executive, Director of Program Development, and Director of Finance and Public Relations.
From 1977 to 1979, she returned to college to complete a college degree, earning a B.A. in organizational communication cum laude from Mary Baldwin College. In early 1980, Linda became the Executive Director of JAUNT, Inc., a regional nonprofit transportation and ridesharing program based in Charlottesville and serving all of central Virginia, which operated 60 vehicles. During her tenure, which lasted for 15 years, JAUNT became nationally recognized as the Outstanding Community Transportation System in 1994 and the Outstanding Rural Transportation System of the Year by the Federal Transit Administration.
Linda helped establish the National Association of Transportation Alternatives (NASTA), which became the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA), and she served on the board and as national president. She testified before Congressional committees about community transportation as well as serving as a rural transportation expert on many national councils, advisory committees, and forums. She was also a president of the board for Rural Virginia, a statewide advocacy organization.
In 1993, Mary Baldwin College presented Linda Wilson with the outstanding alumnus award. In 1995, CTAA recognized her service as a “community transportation pioneer” and organizational founder. Linda and Bob Wilson made their home from 1995 to 2012 on Afton Mountain in Augusta County, VA. There, she became very involved in the arts community, serving actively with the Shenandoah Valley Arts Center. After attending a glass crafts workshop in Corning, New York, Linda began a retirement career as a dichroic glass artist, creating jewelry, which she sold in local craft shops.
When her husband became ill in 2011, the couple moved to Charlottesville for his treatments. After his 2012 death, Linda relocated to Cartersville, Georgia, to live close to her oldest daughter. She spent her final year living in the memory care cottage at Tiger Lily Estates.
A memorial gathering of family and friends to celebrate her life will be held in Virginia on Saturday afternoon, August 19, 2023. Correspondence may be sent to Linda’s family at 1019 Woodlands Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22901.
As a tribute to her life and work, friends may wish to make a donation in her memory to one of two organizations closely related to Linda’s life: Planned Parenthood or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Condolences may be expressed at: www.mackeppingerfuneralhome.com
Mack Eppinger and Sons Funeral Services, Inc. are in charge of the arrangements.