Norma West Linder in her 94th year passed peacefully surrounded by her family on August 26, 2023. She was lovingly cared for at Bluewater Health Hospital in Sarnia Ontario. Nurses Courtney and Amanda compassionately ensured she was pain-free and comfortable. Norma is survived by her “cherished sweetheart” James Deahl, sisters Marie “Toots”, Lois, and Connie (Jinou). She is also survived by her son Jay Linder (Sara), daughter Straja Laureen Linder King (Jackie), and daughter Karen Linder and good family friend Bill. Norma was predeceased by her beloved husband John Henry Linder (d. 1982) and “paramate” Hendrik Wolff (d. 2006).
Norma was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on September 4, 1928. Norma spent most of her childhood growing up in Northern ON and spent her childhood days in Mindemoya on Manitoulin Island. Norma loved the gifts and deep beauty of the natural world as reflected in her writing. She especially loved the Japanese Gardens in Germain Park.
Norma taught in a one room schoolhouse in the Muskokas, prior to marrying musician, John Henry Linder, in 1947. John Henry was a drummer before he and Norma moved to Sarnia, Ontario to raise a family. His son, Jay, inherited his musical talent. Norma was one of the first teachers of English as an additional language, to Vietnamese refugees in the mid 1970’s. Their journeys to Canada provided many amazing and hair raising stories after class, in local restaurants.
She was on the faculty of Lambton College in Sarnia where she taught English and Creative Writing for another 24 years. Norma was a prolific writer and member of the Writer’s Union of Canada, International PEN, The Ontario Poetry Society, and was Past President of the Sarnia Branch of the Canadian Authors Assoc. Linder is the author of 8 novels, 16 collections of poetry, a collection of short fiction, a memoir of Manitoulin Island, two children’s books, a biography of Pauline McGibbon, and a play. Norma wrote a monthly column, Heart and Soul, for the Sarnia Observer for numerous years. West Linder’s short stories have been published internationally and broadcasted on the CBC. Her poetry has been published in Fiddlehead, White Wall Review, Room of One’s Own, Quills, Tower Poetry, The Prairie Journal, FreeFall, Mobius, and other periodicals. In 2006 she compiled and edited Enchanted Crossroads for The Ontario Poetry Society.
“The marriage of craftsmanship and true sensitivity allows appreciation of the nuances of language. It is both joyful and sad...a true expression of human existence.” - Peggy Fletcher
There will be a private family memorial service and the interment of ashes will take place at Lakeview Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be scheduled in the coming months. Allan McKeown of the Unitarian Church will be the officiant for both services. Those wishing to make a donation in memory of Norma are asked to consider one of the following: Ontario Heart and Stroke Foundation www.heartandstroke.ca, Sarnia Humane Society www.sarniahumanesociety.com, Alzheimer’s Society of Canada www.alzheimer.ca, and/or Writers’ Trust of Canada. Arrangements have been entrusted to the D.J. Robb Funeral Home & Cremation Centre Ltd. (102 Victoria Street, North, Sarnia, Ontario N7T 5W9). Memories, messages of condolence or photographs may be shared through www.djrobb.on.ca