Linda Whitesell Meneely

Linda Whitesell Meneely completed her life journey peacefully on February 7, 2024, surrounded by her family.

Linda was born to Blanche Elder and Clarence Whitesell on January 23, 1948, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, growing up in the small-town environment and following the yearly weather predictions of the Groundhog.

She graduated from Punxsutawney Area High School in 1965 and from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with an undergraduate degree in Speech and Language Therapy, then worked for several years in the Adams County (PA) school system, living in Gettysburg.

She married her husband of 52 years, Raymond Meneely, in her parents’ home on June 2, 1971, and entered graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, obtaining a Masters in Audiology with emphasis in deaf education.

After graduation, she and her husband moved to Nashville, where Linda worked in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) in the hearing-impaired program while her husband completed a pediatric internship at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

In 1974, Linda and Ray began one of their life adventures, moving to Tuba City, Arizona, where they were immersed in the Navajo and Hopi Native cultures.

Linda worked in the local school system while Ray served as a General Medical Officer with the Indian Health Service of the U.S. Public Health Service.

They moved back to Nashville in 1977; Linda returned to the MNPS hearing-impaired program and Ray to pediatrics at Vanderbilt Children’s.

Linda enjoyed modifying her vintage four-square Belmont-Hillsboro neighborhood house to her style with herb and vegetable gardens to supply ingredients for her skillful cooking.

For over 30 years, she hosted a popular Easter Sunday brunch with an egg hunt for friends and neighbors.

She was known to bake and distribute hundreds of Punxsutawney Phil cookies every Groundhog Day.

While continuing with MNPS and beginning her family of three children, Linda volunteered as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in juvenile court.

She was always ready to help in school, local political campaigns, or Seven Hills Swim Club events.

She walked in the Music City Half Marathon with the Stratford High School walking club for several years and enjoyed yoga and swimming for exercise during summer vacation from school.

She also loved traveling and was always up for any adventure; she especially loved getting to return to Elder Holler, her mother’s family homestead, for family reunions.

After retiring from MNPS in 2012, Linda cared for her grandson, Arthur, for several years, particularly enjoying taking him to the downtown library Wishing Chair puppetry programs.

Linda was the central pillar of her family. She is survived by her husband, Ray, children Seth of Byron Center, MI (grandchildren Liam, 14, and Elliett, 10), Quinn (Jane Grimes) Meneely of Nashville (grandson Arthur, 11), Claire (John Spragens) Meneely of Nashville (granddaughters Iris, 5, and Maple, 16 months).

Linda gently and gracefully handled the long goodbye of 8 years of Alzheimer’s, enjoying the flowers in her garden and other neighborhood gardens on her daily walks with Ray—who devotedly cared for her throughout her illness—collecting treasures of special stones, sticks, and weeds that she carefully arranged.

She greatly enjoyed daily trips to her daughter Claire’s Dozen Bakery.

Linda received attentive and loving care from the wonderful staff of Clare Bridge Memory Care at Brookdale Belle Meade for the last 10 weeks of her life, as well as Enhabit Hospice.

She also enjoyed her time with friend Howie Fagelman of Senior Helpers in her last year of life.

Linda was a woman who lived her life with joy, wonder, and a positive attitude that enhanced everything around her.

The family will host a celebration of Linda’s life in her garden on Easter.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, 935 Edgehill Ave., Nashville, TN 37203, http://bridgesfordeafandhh.org.

Arrangements by Compassion Funeral & Cremation Services, 6949 Charlotte Pike, Suite 104, Nashville, TN 37209.


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