Memories of Lynn

Lynn’s wisdom, passion, kindness, care, and love reached throughout the South Whidbey community and beyond. Please leave a memory (or two, or three, or more) of Lynn that sticks out in your mind, and enjoy the memories of your fellow community members whose lives were touched by her.

108 Comments

  1. Chris Spencer

    She made me proud to be a part of the first real home and community I ever had. That is more special than I can describe.

  2. Valerie Easton

    Lynn was one of the most special of my many wonderful yoga students over the years. As with everything she did, Lynn brought her whole self to class – she worked so hard, laughed, enjoyed class, and I and the other students so enjoyed her. Over coffee at UBCC she generously tutored me in setting up Half Moon Yoga’s community giving program, and was the mentor for my WOW talk at WICA. Lynn’s generosity and organizational abilities are legendary on S. Whidbey, but what I remember is her warm and wise support, her laugh, her presence in class blessing us all….

  3. Vicki

    Lynn was part of the backbone of our community. Her legacy of service work was an example to all of us and made us a better place to live and raise our families. She will be sorely missed.💙❤️💙

  4. Jan

    Lynn was a force for good. Her legacy endures in so many lives touched and by her skill, smarts and compassion. Friends of Friends, Hearts and Hammers, are just two of her inspirations that have helped so many. May Lynn’s example guide us to have the courage to live a life of that will benefit others and be a force for good.

  5. Lenna Rose

    I will never forget our rides together to her radiation treatments and laughing on our walks. She was an example of someone who just couldn’t stop giving and she gave it her all in everything she did for this community. She will live on through the organizations she started. She loved talking about her granddaughter. Blessings to her family.

  6. Adele Walimaki

    South Whidbey@Home and the other endeavors she infused with her energy and talent serve on as part of her enduring legacy. Fond farewell my friend.

  7. Ruth Gregory

    Lynn was such a source of creative inspiration and encouragement for me over the years.

    My love of cinema was developed through years of attending movies at The Clyde. I remember seeing classics like “Splash” “E.T.,” and “Backdraft” on the screen. I also saw some less-than-memorable works like “Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend” and “A Walk in the Clouds”; the latter of which turned elicited audience participation as several people talked back to the screen loudly because it was so cringeworthy. I cried through “Saving Private Ryan” during a sold-out screening in high school. I painted the floors one time for extra cash. But my favorite job was driving Brook home from track practice when he and I were in high school in exchange for Clyde vouchers that Lynn would give me. Still the best wage I’ve ever earned.

    When I went on to pursue film as a career, Lynn championed my work. She let me screen my thesis film for my M.F.A. – “Jump like a Girl” at the Clyde in 2005. That screening led me to meet a professor who was leaving her post and she helped me get my foot into the door of academia to take her place; a career where I still happily reside. Several years later Lynn invited me back to screen a series of short films I’d created. To this day I think more people on Whidbey Island have seen my work than anywhere else in the world and that is largely because of Lynn.

    I will miss her stern love and continuous support.

    Fuck cancer.

    1. Dayle Gray

      Love hearing your story Ruth-also appreciated Lynn’s stern love that was paired with her loving support.

    2. Ann Medlock

      “Stern love”–you nailed that, Ruth. Lynn’s Yankee style was strongly salted. She could see the truth and when necessary, she’d let you have it, sometimes right between the eyes. It’s a brave kind of loving and I treasured her for it. And yeah–fuck cancer.

  8. Carolyn Tamler

    She contributed so much to the community of Whidbey. The memories of her will remain.

  9. Corky warwick

    I really enjoyed seeing a good movie at the clyde , she always made us feel like she was so glad we came , later she would sell us popcorn , such good memories

  10. Grethe Cammermeyer

    Not everyone leaved this world with a legacy of social good as Lynn accomplished. She made us better by action not words as she guided the development of a community taking care of one another through South Whidbey@home as only one of her accomplishments. We were fortunate to have her in our lives.

  11. Linda D Morris

    Where to start…I’ve known Lynn since she first moved to Whidbey Island oh so many many years ago as a (sort of) hippie and with another husband. We shared many good times together, too many to recount. One which particularly comes to mind was her baby shower before Brook was born. It was such a hopeful, heartfelt time with her with lots of music and laughter. She loved her family fiercely, and they loved her back, especially little Hazel. As she begins this new journey, I send love and blessings.

  12. Eileen Jackson

    Lynn was my hero. I relished her 10 steps to organizing. It took an act of God to actually speak in public and share her brilliance. Lynn asked me to help her start South Whidbey at Home. I have spent my life understanding the ins and outs of daily needs of elders; it’s not the makings of a best seller and sharing what I know is not exciting. Lynn saw the importance of what I knew and always honored my knowledge and experience. She also never shyed away from putting a damper on my quirky desire to help folks no matter what, The rules and laws be damned. I love Lynn and she always knew it. She is one of the most valuable stars in the constellation of stars on Whidbey. Whidbey would not be the compassionate, practical, effective gifts to those of us who from time to time need help. Lynn you live on here and you always will. Whidbey is better because you blessed us with your hippie spirit and love.

    1. Eileen Jackson

      Damnit Lynn, why aren’t you here to edit my post!

  13. Allan Ament

    South Whidbey has just experienced a major disturbance in the Force. (A cinematic reference seems appropriate.) She will be missed although her presence and her love of community lives on. I was a pleasure as as a major learning experience to work beside her in the early years of South Whidbey at Home. She is missed.

  14. Barb Ewing

    Lynn was an inspiration to me and to pretty much everyone reading this. A tough cookie who cared deeply and put that caring into action. Lynn was always on the hunt for some new way to make the community better, stronger, more generous, more inclusive, Her magic was to create what the rest of us couldn’t even imagine, then “sell” it to people who often didn’t know what they were getting into. She’d work each project till the foundation was solid, then move on to the next big idea, leaving in her wake an army of volunteers well equipped to continue the work and equally passionate about getting it done. Just being in her target zone made me a better person.

    1. Ann Medlock

      Echo that, Barb. In her “target zone” you didn’t say No to Lynn. The force was strong in her. And I loved her M.O. of figuring out a need and how to answer it, doing a magnificent set-up, and then handing it off when it was steady enough. She didn’t need or want kudos. I also love that she was NOT The Giving Tree, being of service to her last breath. When she got this awful diagnosis, she went full stop on so many community involvements, focusing on family and her health. It was strong and beautiful, and made me even more in awe of her.

  15. Helen Price Johnson

    Lynn and I were both part of a small study group called “Barely Christians” at Langley United Methodist Church in the early 1990’s. During weekly gatherings we discussed our spiritual journey, questioned beliefs, shared our conflicts and struggles. I loved these special moments with her. She was always witty, smart, challenging norms and exploring, urging us to dig deeper.

    Lynn embodied community. Through her life she shared her deeply held values of receiving and giving provided the rest of us a path for caring Lynn embodied community. Living her deeply held values of receiving and giving, lighting a path for the rest of us to care and connect with each other. Her legacy will continue to run deep and wide. Her legacy runs deep and wide on South Whidbey.

  16. Erica Rayner-Horn

    I recently discovered research studies on the neuroscience of compassion that were done with monks while meditating on compassion. The monks were wired up in an fMRI machine with electrodes all over their skulls so the researchers could see which areas of their brains lit up during their meditation. To their great surprise not only the areas associated with kindness, empathy and compassion were activated but also the areas associated with action! Our dear Lynn didn’t need neuroscience to demonstrate to us all that compassion alone is not enough, but like the two wings of a bird, she lived a life of compassion in action.

    As many have commented already Lynn used her razor sharp mind to identify the problem, brainstorm its solution and then commandeer her team of volunteers to help put it into action. This community it is a living testament to our wonderful friend and her big generous heart. Thank you dearest Lynn – you are deeply loved and will live on in all the legacies you leave behind.

  17. Matt Chambers

    Thank you Lynn for loving our community, sharing your gifts, passion and leadership. Whidbey Island is better because of your commitment to us.
    You and all your investments will be missed.

  18. Julie Pigott & Ben Thomas

    Blessings on Lynn! She inspired so many of us to find ways to be selfless and support others with time and money. We are incredibly grateful to have enjoyed calling Lynn our friend.

  19. Mary Solt

    I’ve known Lynn since soon after moving to South Whidbey – from the Clyde, years with Hearts & Hammers, and South Whidbey at Home – and was always in awe of all that she accomplished for our community. It was my great good fortune to be able to drive her to Everett for blood draws, allowing us to finally get to know each other on a more personal level. What a gift.

  20. Peggy taylor

    Lynn was a one of a kind. Kind being the operative word. She cared so deeply about her family, her community and this world. I had the good fortune of working with her at new age magazine in our little west coast office on the second floor in the back of museo piccolo. We were opposite personalities and yet shared a love for starting organizations to serve the common good. Living with magazine deadlines month after month can really take you down and we found a way together to keep making it fun. I will miss Lynn so much!!!! Love you dear one.

  21. Karl Olsen

    Lynn was one of the foundation stones of the goodness that is the South Whidbey community. Her love and dedication are well-noted. Knowing Lynn only a bit, I was just glad to sit in the Clyde to see films and honored to swing an axe with Hearts and Hammers, knowing the wisdom and determination and compassion that were behind them. We are a stronger community because of her. Lynn–one of the fine threads in this SW quilt.

  22. Diane Kendy

    Lynn was the epitome of the heart and soul of our community. Her amazing accomplishments leave us kinder, wiser, and richer in so many ways. She will be hugely missed.

  23. Tom Lindsay

    Lynn died on her 73rd birthday. Coincidence? Not likely. There is something intentional, complete, and do I dare say cool about it– just like everything Lynn did and everything Lynn was. I am beyond grateful to you, Lynn, for your brilliant mind, your boundless energy, and your selfless heart. I am so glad you were born 73 years ago and that you shared so many of those years with us in this special place, a place made infinitely better because you lived and loved here. We love you, Lynn. We will always remember you. And we will hold your dear family close. . .as you have held all of us. Farewell, our intentional, complete, and very cool Lynn.

  24. Rhonda

    How blessed we all were to have her as the rock and touchstone if our community 💜

  25. Rozie

    I found out Lynn had brain tumors when I emailed her to ask about a new community endeavor and she told me why she was… a little too preoccupied. I felt as if I had been hit by a brick, not really understanding why I felt so devastated. Lynn had that exceedingly rare talent of someone who could take a collective vision and actually pull together the elements to make it a collective reality. There were so many more visions I had hoped to watch her work her magic on, in partnership and mentorship of new generations. The news of her prognosis, after that of Rene and Fran, even though I didn’t know any of them by much more than reputation, nonetheless felt like the soon-to-be passing of a trifecta of fierce, generous elder women who had seemed like indominatable forces of nature. They represented to me a whole generation of people (and especially women) who had built and still sustained this very special community. It felt existential, and also a call for the baton(s) to be caught up more fervently by my and Brook’s generation.

    Her diagnosis was the first of a frightening wave of glioblastomas in our community, that occupied most of my last two years, and so as I became… a little preoccupied with caring for someone on a similar cancer journey, I had even less opportunity to see Lynn. But I continued to feel this odd sense of closeness due to the direct benefit and indirect mentorship she was providing to my friend on his healing journey. And I think that’s how he thought of it — not so much a dying journey but a healing journey as he and Lynn, Laurie and Kelly, and others, shared with us the grace in their navigation of what, before their examples, I would have considered the most terrifying of diagnosis. Those journeys have left me with deep sorrow, but also a sustaining inspiration to live — in this era of isolation and alienation — to weave heart-centered connection and sharing of self. It’s the legacy created that truly lives on, even when it isn’t given a name like Hearts-and-Hammers or Friends-of-Friends.

  26. kim kelzer

    She was kindness personified – I had always envied whoever got to do the art work on the Clyde schedule flyers and finally asked her how one got that job? She said just submit something and so for years… until the Clyde went digital I got to be a small part of it… my drawings made her laugh- and I got movie vouchers in return! She made me feel part of a great community- a community that she made greater. This place – would not be the same without having had her here, Thanks Lynn.

  27. Laurie Davenport

    I moved to Whidbey in 1971. My recollection is that Lynn and Willy Maschmeier came about that time too from some faraway place like Nova Scotia. For me that was part of her mystique. Also that she was a beautiful blonde, super smart and seemed wise beyond her years (she was just a 20 something!). Though I wasn’t a close friend, Lynn was one of the Island folks who could be counted on to show up anytime there was a work party for raising a dome, moving a bakery, etc. Through the years it was amazing to see how she could spot a need in our community and show us the way be our better selves and help one another. My condolences to Blake and Brook and to us all really for we have lost one of our shining stars. Thanks Lynn for the inspiration.

  28. Dean ENELL

    Lynn clearly was an unselfish instigator and motivator that lived her life for others. She has had a tremendous, inspiring and lasting impact which continues todefine this south whidbey community.

  29. Pat Buchanan

    Lynn was SO smart! She shared that blessing liberally with her friends and community. I can’t even imagine the time and energy she devoted to the projects and passions that helped everyone within her sphere of influence. I always looked forward to trail running with her because afterward I felt stronger both in mind and body. She was truly a rare individual and it was such a privilege to have known her.

  30. Margot and Chris Jerome

    Lynn taught me how to build community. What a gift! Chris and I are thinking of you…

  31. Dana Kelly

    I met Lynn first when our children were toddlers. Nothing she ever did was halfway. Her life was a template for how to live with service to others front and center. I served on the Friends of Friends board with her for several years. Thinking of that, I wonder how many people served on a Board with her? Must be well over one hundred. If each of them was as touched by her wisdom, passion and commitment to serving others and found ways to pay it forward, WOW! That’s another perspective on a lot of lives touched! I am blessed to have know Lynn and to live in a community that is so much richer because of the life she lived!

  32. Doug Kelly

    Lynn had the great gift for recognizing a need in this community , combined with the capability and passion to design a response to meet that need. Over the years I came to know Lynn working with her to initiate some of those organizations. These places she founded, her very being, and her work, inspired many to embrace their better angels on be half of the common good. One of her many legacies was to demonstrate the good a community can accomplish if shown a way. The community of South Whidbey was blessed to have such a person in Lynn .

  33. Heidi Jefferson

    What a precious life well lived. Lynn, I came to know you through your actions, the ripples around the community of caring folk of South Whidbey who made this island such a special place to come home to. You gave me courage, inspiration and hope that all is not lost in this sometimes very dark world. Your star will continue to shine in many hearts. Thanks a million.

  34. Bev Wenthin

    In reading all these tributes to Lynn, I am learning what a fantastic person she was. We only knew her from movies at the Clyde. I will always remember looking forward to feeling her warm welcome and smile selling us tickets or serving popcorn. Lynn truly made everyone feel like a guest at the Clyde. She will be missed. Love to her family.

  35. Vicky Welfare

    We always enjoyed it when Lynn bopped into the Langley Library to pick up her books on hold. She was very proud of the fact that she had one of the original low-number library cards from when Sno-Isle first went online. Every year she would come in and nonchalantly hand me a generous check for the Friends of the Langley Library, to help with library programs and services. Lynn’s warmth and humor made everyone feel like they were her good friend. She will be greatly missed.

  36. Karen Vanderbilt

    Lynne was a role model for us all in the way she lived her life. She was one of the people who made South Whidbey such a wonderful community to be a part of. I will never forget her kind heart and friendly smile.

  37. Debby Colfer

    Lynn has been an inspiration to me over the years. When I started working at the Langley and Freeland Libraries years ago, she was an avid library user, doing research for articles that she was writing. Her leadership for Hearts and Hammers, Friends of Friends, and South Whidbey@Home spoke to me of the power that one individual can have on creating positive changes, and providing resources for our communities. Truly, I have always been in awe of her. She was intelligent, driven to be a positive influence in the lives of others, and had the amazing ability to get big ideas to grow into reality.

  38. Capt. Kelly and Frances Sweeney

    Lynn was much loved in the community, and leaves a legacy of caring, compassion,
    and great movies on South Whidbey. May her soul find calm waters…

  39. Shawn Nowlin

    I got to know Lynn when she would come into the Good Cheer Food Bank once a week to bag up spices. It was a mindless task which is why she chose it so she could pace herself in her use of her gifts to address so many needs in our community.
    As the Outreach person, I was sending out emails and writing newsletters. As soon as I would walk into the kitchen to say hello to her, she would launch into her review of my latest outreach piece. In the beginning, there was not much that impressed her about my efforts. With every week and every piece now written with my ” how will Lynn review this” hat on, I became a better communicator.
    I often used pictures of my own daughter when I needed a specific child centered photo. I already had the release so it was simpler. I walked into the kitchen and even before she said hello, Lynn said, “You know you are making your daughter into the poster child of poor children on South Whidbey.” I said that was ok because when she reached scholarship time everyone would think she is poor and give her all the money. Lynn laughed and gave me that look of approval.
    Once Lynn told me of her strategy for building sustainable community support groups. The key component was for her to know when to step back ad let the community make it their own so it would last long beyond her influence.
    As strong minded and opinionated as Lynn was, she was mostly a humble servant to our community. We thank you for making us the community we are today.

  40. Sue Averett

    When we moved to Whidbey Island over 12 years ago, Lynn was one of the first “stand-out” people in the community that I became aware of. Her name was on everyone’s lips as one of the backbones of the community, having begun and overseen many programs and projects that benefited the community in a myriad of ways. I never had the good fortune to spend time with her, other than to chat for a few moments on the way into the theater, or discuss a couple of clients I was referring to South Whidbey at Home. But even in those small moments of connection, I felt it, I got it, and so I am enjoying reading the comments here of those who knew her so well. She’s on a beautiful journey now, blazing the way for those who follow. Thanks, Lynn!

  41. vicki robin

    I adored crusty feisty smart Lynn. She was the first new person I met on Whidbey because she was my landlady. She essentially handed me the keys and 2 free passes to the Clyde but made it clear she was not my friend. Yet. You earned her respect and then she was there 100%. She was my local editor for my book on local food. I trusted her to slash and burn. I just remembered her a few days ago as I passed the Freeland Library where we met over Chapter 4 in my book. She essentially said, “if this is the book you want to write, you’re fired.” I trashed the chapter and started over. Lynn was and is like that. A measuring rod for truth, nobody’s fool. She had love and boundaries both – you could count on that. Her love was in the doing – the ways she brought to us what she found most useful “out there.” Robin d’angelo. S Whidbey at Home. and on and on back through decades. We lost Kelly to glioblastoma almost exactly a year ago. A year before that Laurie. Half a year ago Carl. Lynn outlasted them all, both accepting the reality that it was going to “kick her ass” and “take her out,” but also determined her grand daughter would know her. She was the mistress of herself always. We need to rename something for her as she is this generation’s grandmother of community well being. I vote for Park Ave becoming Lynn Willeford Avenue because that’s where the house is that she and Blake built – and I moved into in 2005.

  42. Kate Davies

    Lynn was one of those people that made the South Whidbey community what it is – caring, compassionate, and always willing to help those in need. She was an inspiration to me and many others. Let us honor her by continuing what she helped to develop here, and paying it forward however we can. With condolences to all her family and all those feeling grief for her passing.

  43. Ann Medlock

    In 1984, we were visiting Whidbey from Manhattan, at a time when our decision to do nonprofit work meant we had to find a less expensive place to live. Walking along in downtown Langley, I pulled the printed schedule out of the box office window at the Clyde and started laughing. Every movie I’d be fighting my way across Manhattan to see was on that sheet of paper. And the tickets were sooo reasonable. Somebody in this town really loved movies. I realized I could live here. We moved to a place on Second Street in ’85. Our evenings out were walking over to the Clyde, eating dollar bags of really good popcorn, and marveling at finding this great town.
    So Lynn was a prime factor in starting us on all these years of being Whidbeyites.
    For some of those years, Lynn worked at said nonprofit, as a writer and editor. She said, to my astonishment, that I was her mentor as a writer. She was a natural, clear and graceful and strong. She didn’t need a mentor.
    I worked for HER, over the years, speaking at the first WOW event, writing for SW@Home—it was not possible to say No to Lynn when she decided what you were going to do.
    In every collaboration, she was quick, kept her word, did great work—made sure I did too—and kept making wise-ass remarks that cracked me up.
    Her determination was awesome, all that Yankee sternness and no-b.s.-truth-saying. Lynn’s style was more salt than sugar—if you said or did something off-the-mark you would definitely hear about it. That’s brave and wonderful and damned rare.
    Her announcement of the glioblastoma was a bombshell on this island, and her personal course correction was awesome. Full stop on all that action that was normal for her. Lynn would no longer be Out There keeping the plates spinning. She would focus on her health and her family. It was awesome.
    To me, the wildly popular Shel Silverstein book, The Giving Tree is vile. The damn tree gives until she [of course it’s a she] destroys herself. Lynn was not going to do that. She backed off the community involvement. As always, she was fierce, strong, and right on.
    I’ll miss her forever.

  44. Leslie Hoelting

    Thinking of Lynn with gratitude, and Blake and Brook with thanks for sharing this special woman with all of us. I will always connect “It takes a village” with Lynn…..and remember her phone call from the Clyde making sure it was okay for my son to see a movie without a note when he was about 12 or 13.. She was a role model for going the extra mile.

  45. Diana Shirley

    “She who must be obeyed” I’m quoting someone else here,
    but it’s true, she commanded respect for her
    visions of making a community stronger, of giving all of us
    who live(d) on South Whidbey, an opportunity to serve and to
    grow. I first remember her when our young sons, Brook and Nick,
    were in Martha Murphy’s talent show together at the Clyde. I got
    to know her better while serving on the board of Friends of
    Friends. The opportunity to serve there and through Hearts
    and Hammers enriched my life. Thank you Lynn.

  46. Anne Leduc

    Whidbey Island is going to miss you, Lynn Willeford. The legacy of “community” you have left behind in stunning in its depth and scope. Thank you for the terrific Mr S Whidbey parties, the always perfect movie nights at The Clyde, and the occasional glimpses of hope you gave me each time I caught a glimpse of you and Blake running through the Putney Woods, alive, strong, and rooted. You were, and I trust you still are, pure light. Shine on, beautiful soul, shine on.

  47. Les Asplund

    Yet another face that I’ll never see again but will forever be so alive.

  48. Sharon Emerson

    Lynn Moves On

    We began to sink as the
    big balloon finally floated free.
    Your turn, she called,
    not looking back.

    1. Danita

      This is really beautiful! Thank you.

  49. Bob Sabatini

    All of the loving statements above are a fitting testament of what Lynn represented to her family, friends and community. My memories of Lynn date back to the late 70’s. She and Blake were beyond generous, understanding and patient in providing and promoting a venue at the Clyde for creative endeavors. Besides the magic of movies, they made made Langley richer in culture, education and fun.

  50. Pam Schell

    Lynn created these many organizations which made the spirit of our community so grand. She made us become the model for neighbors helping neighbors. It was a joy to be in her presence. She was my mentor in my WOW talk and I got to compare some early life stories. The last time I saw her at the Clyde she looked so vibrant and that it is the picture I will remember.

  51. Diane Kaufman

    Lynn, you saw me when one else could; you knew my name when I thought I was anonymous. That connection felt magical. You recognized that personal time and passion build community, and energized us with yours. I will miss the way your eyes lit up when you saw me stepping up to buy my ticket to a movie. I will always miss the recognition of your honest welcome.

  52. Sarri Gilman

    Memories of Lynn: She told me once that she aspired to be like WAll-E from the movie. She wanted to use all of parts to be of value and service. I laughed until I cried. I said Lynn, this is not aspirational for you- you already are this- you are inspirational for all of us who know you. I am going to watch that movie again. Lynn-E was extraordinary in every way. My heart goes out to Brook, Katja, and Blake. You gave her Everything, and the best parts of you. ❤️ Our community will always see her in the good things getting done. ❤️

  53. lynn hays

    Lynn & Willy in a trailer in the dark woods. Danny McIver & I in a gypsy wagon with dogs. Lynn1 arrived here first with Willy & Lynn2 sometimes got messages/invitations for her – both blonde & young. Lynn invited me into the world of Spring Valley Press when Scott Freutel began having health challenges & she worked there but needed some help. My dream job – to be able to learn from both of them & eventually inherit much of the equipment as Rockfish Press to carry it on a few more years. Lynn & I were on so many work parties together: I worked on her house after she & Willy split & I worked on Blake’s house before they got together! It feels as if we have all built ourselves into each other’s land & homes on this island.
    From her not really a hippie to my full on hippie we were sisters through births & deaths since the 70’s. Watching her grow & blossom into such a grownup & trail blazer has been so satisfying. Who knew when we were swapping piles of English mysteries in the woods our lives would take such directions.
    To know she lived as she did, had countless friends & a sweet family to surround her, to go peacefully & gracefully on her birthday (facrissakes!) & leave the glistening trail she has, makes it only marginally easier accept her inevitable passing.
    thanks for sharing planet Whidbey with me, L1 ! L2

  54. Teresa (and Robert) McElhinny

    Husband Robert and son Josh helped with construction jobs for Hearts and Hammers a couple of years, and I helped in the kitchen one year and with yard work one year. Then we had the adjunct arm of H&H (I forgot the name?) help put in the wiring for our tankless water heater shortly after my husband’s motorcycle accident. We moved 2/3 of the way across the United States back in October. Uncannily enough, Robert said, on January 31st, “We should start a Hearts and Hammers here!” Such an inspiration Lynn was. Her husband and son have definitely made their mark on the community as well. We miss the Clyde! Hugs to a family and community that were SO blessed by this one woman.

  55. Shannon Arndt

    Lynn was a role model to me, she opened the possibility of an entirely different kind of woman. I had never experienced such female power up close, such confidence and her no-bullshit attitude. But, what radiated through Lynn was her immense care for her community. Seeing that strength put towards making our community a better place, always seeing new opportunities for improvement and always embracing them and leading the way. On the WOW, Seriously Fun Productions Team, Lynn was ‘the hammer’. I actually think she was the only one with a nick name. It was a perfect name because the hammer is so strong and powerful, yet it can be used to make beautiful improvements to our world. I will deeply miss her.

  56. Stacie Burgua

    When you are new in a community, a few people usually stand out. You know who they are, though they might not know you. Lynn was that person for me when I arrived in 1978. She was a galvanizer, who opened doors for people to engage — Hearts & Hammers; Mr. South Whidbey; the annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser; Women of Whidbey; and, of course, the weekly movies at The Clyde. Through those connections, Lynn made it easy to become a South Whidbey citizen.
    I am grateful to have known and worked with Lynn through the years. During my years at WICA, opportunities to collaborate with The Clyde would occasionally pop up. Lynn and Blake were always receptive and positive to new ideas. Their generosity of spirit, time, and wisdom was inspiring.
    Attending The Clyde was the happiest of times — like sitting in a living room with 125 of your best friends, eating the best popcorn ever. This has forever spoiled attending multiplex movie houses. My favorite nights at The Clyde were when Lynn covered the box office and Blake was at the door. Lynn would always greet me with, “so they let you out tonight?” I always took that as a compliment.
    Thank you, thank you, Lynn. South Whidbey is a better place because of you.

  57. Charlene Arnold

    Lyn was my friend. Lyn was everyone’s friend. She started Hearts & Hammers in 1994 with a few people that thought her idea was great. Hearts & Hammers fit her help one another personality to a tea. Hearts & Hammers helped so many many people Those working and those receiving. It is a prefect match for our community (and the world). It grew and grew, and once it was on its feet Lyn went off to start Friends of Friends. Her energy boundless. Her love endless. She will always be with me as remembering her is top of mind. I can hear her saying, “Rest assured,” Peace to our community that loved Lyn and to her family, may loving memories caring you forward.

  58. Jamie Whitaker

    Lynn was sort of a movie star to me. She walked right off of the screen in the Clyde Majestic with her natural glamour, sparkling smile and easy grace. I loved the way she dressed always with some understated pop of color. She had confidence in her own abilities to keep on keeping on but with humility, kindness and generosity. And luminous like the stars that share her light now.

  59. Daniel Miranda

    So, we were on vacation with Blake and Lynn In La Ventana Mexico. Blake and I would be out sailing and Marilyn and Lynn would lay out on the beach and read. In a 7 day trip she must have have read 9 books! Even Marilyn was amazed, who also loves to read. Then we would have dinner and enjoy each others company. One night we sat down to a movie in the community room. Marilyn and I tried to pick a movie…. HaHaHa!!!! Blake and Lynn had seen every movie and there were plenty of them. We settled on one they had seen but liked. We had such a great time on that trip getting to know Lynn a little better and we were both so impressed with her intelligence and kindness and patience. Blake you are a dear friend to me and I have got to know you mostly. We are from the same mold, your mold is much thinner than mine, however. Thanks for sharing Lynn with us on that trip and the few other meals we have shared over the years.
    I think she got used the the phone ringing early in the morning when it was windy. She would answer Good Morning Dan, I’ll go wake Blake up…..Patience.
    We Love you Lynn!!!!
    Dan and Marilyn

  60. Judith Adams

    For Lynn

    You learn quickly there’s an icon in town,
    scooping popcorn, her radiant smile
    scanning for your potential, your energy
    for give and take, where you might be most useful.
    Her upbeat embrace clues in the unaware of their
    own capacity to give;
    no one the looser, no one the winner,
    moving together in motion of concern,
    trouble shooting the down and out places of struggle.
    She revolves in light, and if there
    is darkness, rolls up her sleeves to
    dig the foundation for relief in trying times.
    If you showed up for that legendary first meeting
    you were in, enlisted to create, to transform the
    heart of the giver and the one finally
    secured with good health, a garden weeded,
    a new ramp to the front door, or robust rescue
    in the depths of hardship.
    Heaven expects her levity,
    already wiping her hands on her apron,
    already setting out towards provinces of need,
    Already the angels are scurrying!

    1. Sarri Gilman

      Oh what a line at the end . I can see her in her apron and the angels scurrying. Crying my eyes out! Thank you . What an authentic tribute to Lynn

  61. Byron Moffett

    Lynn was a treasure in our community and a source of great personal support for me. I will never forget her encouragement when I was working in a difficult place in Africa. She always knew the right words. I will miss her.

  62. Joan Govedare

    For years, going to the movies meant encountering your warm smiling welcome there. You supported me as an artist, by purchasing my work, and wherever I ran into you, you always greeted me with dignity and kindness. I marveled at your skills on so many levels, and your presence as a force for accomplishment and good has earned you all of this love and respect. Those things do not perish. Lynn, your efforts and essence live on through all of us now, even if we certainly cannot be you. Thank you for your example and contribution. Especially in times of concern and questionable ethics, your shining life stands out to guide us all forward. Judith’s poem says it all. Adios for now.

  63. Robin Obata

    Like many people, I first met Lynn through The Clyde and Hearts & Hammers. It seemed that every time I turned around, she was starting up a new project. Lynn would see a need and pull together our community to address the issue. Her straight forward manner, boundless energy, and deep love of our special place are inspirational. South Whidbey will not be the same without Lynn, but her legacy will live on.

  64. Shelley Hartle

    I didn’t know Lynn well, but I did know one very important thing: our community would’ve been so much less without her leadership, courage, and compassion. I was a little in awe of her, but Lynn’s intelligence was second only to her innate kindness. She knew how to embrace us all and, like everything else, she gave us 110% of herself. What a marvelous life! Peace and eternal joy to you, Lynn.

  65. Rick Ingrasci

    Our community has lost the best servant leader ever. Lynn was such a beautiful, powerful spirit. One story from the many good times we shared: Ten years ago when Lynn called me up to ask me if I would be willing to be a contestant in the Mr. South Whidbey pageant (a fundraiser for Friends of Friends), I hesitated to say yes to what promised to be a humbling experience. I ultimately agreed to participate (who could say no to Lynn?), and it turned out to be one of the most hilarious and joyful events I’ve ever experienced! Lynn embodied my philosophy that “If you want to create a healthy community, THROW A BETTER PARTY!” She really knew how to make service work be both fun and interesting. I know that she’ll continue to throw a better party wherever she is… 😉

  66. Mindy Thompson

    I feel very blessed to have not only known Lynn but to have also been able to work for her and Blake at the Clyde. She is a icon ! She was always ready to help where there was a need. Her energy was contagious. She had a fabulous smile and was down to earth and genuine to the core.
    She lived a incredible life and it shows everywhere in our community.
    Every time I see a shooting star that will be Lynn letting us know she’s still at it. My the four winds blow you safety home Lynn.

  67. Debora Valis

    We shared clothes. We shopped on quick trips to alderwood Mall, hurrying home to eat dinner and get to the movies. Steve delivered Brook. We passed our kids back and forth during the work week. We bike and ran, ate chocolate and gossiped. We talked about hair coloring, daycare, the shortage of private time for moms of young kids, the great good fortune of having good husbands, sisters, mothers, and the great good fortune of living on South Whidbey. The secret sauce of Lynn is her core belief in the goodness of everyone. She wished more than anything to live a consequential life ~ and she succeeded. Her example of using the goodness within has forever touched all of us. I will miss her terribly.

  68. Susan Scott

    Lynn and I met twenty years ago at her book signing of Healthy Child, Whole Child. I admired her intelligence and integrity and the way her natural sense of humor put the audience at ease. Over the years of knowing Lynn, I have been in awe of her talent for creating and inspiring collaboration on projects that have made Whidbey Island a better place to live. For everyone! But it wasn’t until the last few years, when we began walking together and sharing stories with one another, that I recognized the immense and enduring depth of love that fueled such a well-lived and generous life as Lynn’s. I still feel the beauty of her presence even now, and I imagine I always will.

  69. Barbara Joy Laffey

    Lynn was one of the first people I met when I moved here in 2001. The moment she learned I was a film producer she invited me to screen a documentary with Q&A at the Clyde. That single event brought me dozens of new friends and community connections. Lynn embodied generosity and service. When I think of her impact on South Whidbey I think of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and how different things would have been without George Bailey. Her inspiration and contributions live on. May we each carry on a bit of that legacy in her name.

  70. Patty Willson

    When I first met Lynn in 1976, I was immediately in awe of her. So I was very honored when she asked me to be on the founding board of Friends of Friends. Several years later I followed her as president. How does one follow in Lynn’s footsteps? After several stumbles, I realized I needed to learn how she so very successfully created what didn’t already exist but was needed, saw in people what they didn’t see in themselves, pushed for what she so deeply believed in and refused to take no for an answer. My mantra became What Would Lynn Do! Her vision, her strength and her determination will always be felt in our community and in each of those who knew her. Thank you, Lynn, for always being true to yourself and sharing that with us. You will be greatly missed.

  71. Cait Cassee

    These memories are such a moving tribute to this remarkable human. I didn’t know Lynn as well as most of you, but she made an enormous impact on my life, too. I first got to know Lynn because of triathlons… the swim/bike/run community here on the south end of Whidbey was new to me then (about 18 years ago?..wow. Time). I got to know Lynn better when my work with Whidbey Children’s Theatre became more involved as I stepped in to a more leadership role at a time of challenge for the theatre. Lynn and I met to chat – and true to form, it was a combo speedwalk + brainstorm session, with me desperately trying to remember all the good advice this passionate and brilliant woman shared with me. Her advice was so helpful and her support of non-profits so inspiring that some time later when she called me to see if I might be interested in working with a new non-profit she’d helped found, I was able to say, with gratitude and appreciation, that actually things were going so well at the theatre I was electing to stay put. She was no small part of that, too, for her generosity of spirit and time, her willingness to help everyone do better and be involved, helped fuel the fire of this non-profit human, as it has many of you, too. Thank you, Lynn. Your gifts will continue, like the seeds of change, spreading community, support, and hope for generations to come.

  72. mully mullally

    For Blake and Brook, Katje and Hazel,

    Through my grief I have struggled to find my words to share about Lynn. When she arrived here in the mid 70’s there was a group of young, white women ready to shake off the shackles of our gender-defined upbringing. We weren’t throwing out all of our family values, but we were determined to become ourselves, independent, yet interdependent. We tuned up our VW’s and rebuilt their engines, built houses, and learned to use a speculum at Wellspring’s Family Planning program in the Langley Clinic. We were growing up together.
    Lynn and Blake found one another, Brook was born, and in her way of giving support and solidarity Lynn joined the Children’s Center board contributing to its organizational health and viability.
    All of us were so fortunate to have those early connections that remain stable and firm. The photo she chose says it all…Lynn’s smile, her widespread heart, and open arms. Her deep love for and support from her family allowed her to lift off and be her best self, and we all benefited. She is humbly magnificent, a grounded idealist capable of manifesting in concert with so many, believing in everyone’s essential goodness May we all keep the warmth of our experiences with Lynn alive and vibrant and stay connected to one another.

  73. susan knickerbocker

    Your life Lynn will live on thru your family and all the community helping groups you founded.
    Your philanthropy, your community ideas you brought to fruition, and opportunities for all,
    to be lifted up, and to serve. The Willeford legacy lives on. Rest In Peace.

  74. Erin Rodriguez

    Lynn was a hero and mentor. I was lucky to grow up in the Clyde with my mom behind the snack bar. As long as I swept up after the show, I earned my ticket – to so many important and impressionable movies. I remember going back night after night to watch The God’s Must be Crazy, and dancing in the aisle after Strictly Ballroom. My seat: Left side, 4th row, 2nd from the aisle (aisle seat for best friend). Lynn welcomed me, and my friends, into the theater – even for the shows that we were not “supposed” to see. Several years ago, while on a run with Lynn, I asked her when she would be bringing the new Twighlight movie to the Clyde (on behalf of my daughter and per peers of course), and she answered: “Never!” I had to stop and laugh – I was expecting, and appreciated, her response. That was 2012 and Lynn was volunteering her time to help me with the Girl’s Running Club. She just wanted to run, be present, and be an example to these elementary girls that a woman could run at any age. Lynn did big things, but she showed up for the small things too. She called me when she found out that I would be working with the club – Lynn did not wait to be asked – she stepped up. And a year later, she called me again to offer to fund my first WILL loan. She had heard through the community that I was embarking on a new adventure, and that the financial carpet had been pulled out from under my family. She called me the very next day to tell me that she did not see my application. Of course, I filled one out immediately, and she called me back to tell me that I was not asking for enough. Thanks to Lynn and Blake, my family was able to get through a very tough time. As I go through my life on the island, I keep in mind how I can pay it forward, and give back to the community. Lynn is my inspiration!

  75. Patricia Duff

    I extend my sincere condolences to the entire Willeford family for this great loss of an amazing woman.
    I did not know Lynn well but have always remained in awe of the path of kindness that preceded her introduction. Although I was impressed with the fact that she was instrumental in preserving the one of the coolest vintage movie houses in America (the beloved Clyde Theatre), I admired more the indelible mark of humanity that so clearly defined her person. Through her tireless commitment to social services, including her founding of Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund, Hearts & Hammers of South Whidbey Island and South Whidbey at Home, Lynn’s legacy of unconditional love and kindness remains on the Whidbey Island wind and beyond. Bravo, Lynn Willeford and may you rest in the peace of your grace.

  76. Carol Squire

    As a newcomer to Good Cheer and Whidbey, I asked who I should meet to understand South Whidbey. The unanimous response was: Lynn Willeford. Our first meeting was the perfect introduction to the most supportive community I’ve ever known. Our community owes a huge debt of gratitude to Lynn — every problem she touched was illuminated by a workable solution and an effective organization. May we continue to be inspired by her example!

  77. Anna Wolcott

    A heartbreaking reminder of how dear this community is – how ALIVE Lynn was and how she’s very much woven into so many lives. I rented from Lynn and Blake and though I never came to know Lynn, I definitely admired her SPARK. Didn’t need to know her to see and feel that. Thank you for your beautiful spark Lynn. With love & support to her family.

  78. Karen Jeffers

    Lynn will be missed by many…………… We met at Hearts and Hammers and of course The Clyde. I wish to send positive thoughts to her husband, family and friends.

  79. Kate Poss

    I liked Lynn’s dry sense of humor and got to know her better while meeting her for stories such as “Full Circle” Hearts and Hammers,” for Whidbey Life Magazine. Lynn inspired me to volunteer with South Whidbey at Home, where I met Pat Emerson, and currently visit with Urashan twice a week. I thank Lynn for enriching my life through the gift of volunteering. I saw Lynn last looking radiant walking with Diane Kendy at Deer Lagoon. I asked her about writing a story and she told me she’d leave that to Blake when he wrote her obituary. Said with her great humor. I loved being a little part of her life. Thank you Lynn, wherever you are! May your great light continue to shine on South Whidbey.

  80. Marc Wilson

    I love getting to experience Lynn again through all of the shares. I remember teaching a class on soils for food growing at the Island County Fair. Anza and I were recruited by Lynn (what part of Whidbey did she not extend herself into?) and found ourselves setting setting up for the class, with Lynn making sure everything was right. She will live on in the minds and hearts of all of us that received her gifts, no matter how brief or how deep!

  81. Gloria and Bill koll

    Year after year on the Hearts and Hammers first Saturday in May, Lynn sent us volunteers off with no-nonsense marching orders. “Remember, when we go out there today, we are not doing charity work. We are creating the kind of community we want to live in.” Lynn’s words rang in our ears and propelled us through the work day.

  82. mark dworkin

    I have held back from commenting because there is so much to say, and my words cannot do justice to the very fine woman Lynn was, and will always. Others have shared their appreciation for all Lynn did to make our community a richer place, and I fully agree. And I have commented elsewhere that her seemingly tireless work to enhance our community was not motivated by a desire for acclaim – indeed she would blush with embarrassment when she became the center of attention for her community work. Basically Lynn saw a need and thought of how we all might address it. But I also knew Lynn as my employer at the theater. I seldom worked at the Clyde when Blake was there, as I was his relief projectionist, but many times I was on duty with Lynn. She loved welcoming people at the Clyde, and even after she was severely ill with the cancer that took her life, she would sometimes show up to stand at the door and greet patrons as they arrived. She had firm ideas of how things should be done, and if I fell short she would let me know, but never without respect. On a few occasions we differed about how something should be done, and since she was my boss she deserved to have her way – but more than once she later told me she had thought about it and decided I had been right. Rare for a boss, eh? And when we chatted I learned that her motivations in community work were more complex than many of us realized. One thing that stands out was that she began Friends of Friends not only to help people fix up their homes, a valuable purpose in itself, but with a more visionary goal of transcending divisions among the many kinds of people in our island community, such that we might better appreciate one another beyond our surface differences. Lynn was a jewel – hard working, cheerful, imaginative, and a visionary dedicated to the common good. What an example, may her memory live on forever…

  83. Clarice O'Brien

    I got to know Lynn a little bit while working at the Clyde in recent years. She was sweet and funny and always kind. I am grateful for the times she would come in with Blake to see a movie. While there, I would observe Lynn run into old friends and long-time patrons. There would always be a smile for them, and usually, it would lead into a conversation about her latest cancer news. Lynn handled her condition with peace and acceptance. Often, she and Blake would stay afterward to help me clean up, and Lynn would always ask me about my kids. Those were my favorite nights at work, when Lynn was there. I know that Lynn’s legacy in our community will keep her memory alive. I will miss her.

  84. Jerry Millhon

    For the past week I have been holding Lynn in my heart and reflecting on her legacy, her lasting legacy, on this Island. I asked myself how many people did her work directly or indirectly change lives on Whidbey? I could not find an answer other than many more than I will ever know. What would Whidbey Island have looked like today if Lynn had not lived here? That reflection left me in awe of what she accomplished. And finally, I am so grateful that she co-inspired the concept and the action that became Thriving Communities. Lynn towered above us with a smile and a plan to make lives better.

  85. Maureen Cooke

    Lynn was the bright light shining on this community for years and years. And always done with a huge smile. She started, ran, organized and perpetuated many charitable adventures which exist still today as aids for the community. I remember her fondly rushing in to pick up her in F&C at my resto and flying down to the Clyde in order to open on time. She is a legacy never to be forgotten.

  86. Greg Banks

    Lynn’s legacy of good works and a life well-lived will endure and continue to shape our community for decades to come. To Lynn’s family: I hope all of these heartfelt and inspiring tributes ease the pain of your loss.

  87. Susan D Bennett

    Lynn and Blake are one of the reasons I fell in love with Whidbey Island when I washed up on its shore in 1977 with my adolescent son and tried to make a life here. I found myself – really – seeing around me the idea “oh, here’s a need so let’s fill it with love and immediate action”. That down to earth, compassionate philosophy of life has shaped my days ever since.

  88. Janice O'Mahony

    Lots of people have vision and good ideas. They say, “We should….” when they mean “Somebody else should….” Few have vision, good ideas with the all-important willingness to do the hard work to bring a dream to life. Lynn knew how to dive into details and move through them. She knew how to enlist others. She knew how to trust them to understand the work and commit to doing it. She invented her own form of community organizing and we’re all better for it. I imagine she’s ramrodding angels now for a day of work to clean up the pearly gates.

  89. Peggy Kimbell

    From the moment I met Lynn, which I believe was at a work party at Peter Hansen’s place, I knew she was an indomitable woman. Strong, independent, self-reliant, out spoken, sometimes brusque, but always interesting and savvy about the needs of the community. Very early in our relationship, Lynn rode her bike over to my house one sunny day and finding me outside splitting wood, she just picked up an axe and side by side we talked and split wood.

    Walking regularly after her diagnosis, when saying goodbye to Lynn after each walk, I would hug her and tell her I loved her. She would respond back to me, “you always give the best hugs and I love you, too”. Then off she would swing into the house with Blake waiting by the door. I didn’t know this at the time, but March 6th, 2020 would be our last walk together, and for some reason I said, “let’s take a selfie” and so we did. We were standing on the edge of the new trail off Brainerd Road with trees framing us and Lynn beaming over my shoulder in her blue cap.

    As we walked along, Lynn would forget things and I would be her memory, giving her a name or a year or an event. There were moments when neither one of us could pull out a name, year or event and Lynn would say, “Hey, who’s got the brain tumor here?” bringing on spontaneous laughter. Another time we parked in a neighborhood because Lynn wanted to look at houses. She liked to see the designs and critique them. As I was parking, a woman stopped us and ask us what we needed. In Lynn’s own inimitable way said, “I have a brain tumor and have to walk every day”. Of course, upon hearing this the woman started backing up and said to park wherever we wanted. The poor woman clearly felt spectacularly ill at ease, but I chuckled nevertheless.

    Then on March 17th, Governor Inslee closed us all down as Covid took over our community and lives. Our walks had become precious to me, as we talked about the past 45 years on South Whidbey. All of the changes we’d seen and helped to create (for better or worse), the things we liked, other things not so much. The decade of the 70s, for both of us, were formative years, as we navigated the hippie scene here on the island.

    Lynn and Blake were a great team. They donated endlessly to good causes and helped many individuals with small loans when they were in a jam. It seemed that in the 17 years that I took tickets at The Clyde, there was always a jar on the candy counter collecting donations for a myriad of causes. Lynn had a rare ability to see her community’s needs which led her to spearhead and create Friends of Friends, Hearts & Hammers and South Whidbey at Home. All of those organizations are part of Lynn’s sustaining and lasting legacy to us all. From its inception, I served 10 years on the board of Friends of Friends affording me the opportunity to check in with Lynn monthly. When she and Blake married and I went back to school and commuted until I retired. I saw less of Lynn over the years, until she was diagnosed and we began walking. That brought her back into my life for a time. I will never forget her or her overarching legacy: a combination of community observation, caring and effective action that has made and will continue to make Southend life better for everyone.

  90. Kathleen Landel

    Lynn has forever left her spirit woven through our community. Our paths crossed causally over the the past twenty years; many times at The Clyde, and then at the various events to support the numerous good works Lynn midwifed. Moons ago, when I was studying the dynamics of grassroots organizations, Lynn was the person I thought of when I read about “kitchen-table wisdom” I so admired her gift at bringing together, and raising up the momentum around a community need. Thank you so much Lynn.

  91. Gary Vallat

    Lynn

    You stand in the booth
    of the fortune teller
    opening dreams for
    your loyal followers
    like hens gathered
    to brood and hatch
    another gift
    for us to hold
    as we join hands
    with wet-land grace
    that fulfills one more
    vision that
    feeds the needs
    of this open hearted
    village.​

    You enlivened
    so many births
    with good midwifery
    at times with the hammer
    but mostly the heart
    helped us find our way
    calling forth talents often
    hidden from the holder
    until your insight and clarity
    encouraged the seed to sprout
    the gift you offered the giver.

    Even as we pretend
    the Clyde is eternal
    it yields its eternity
    to a microscopic nit ​
    while we mourn
    the hostess
    who was called away
    to join the ranks
    of halo bearers
    sequestered
    to rest protected.

    Though you have stepped across
    the line of life
    your legacy remains
    in the open doors
    and open hearts
    that called us to join
    in the collective work
    you started
    and continue
    to encourage.
    through the story
    of your life.

    Gary Vallat

  92. Corrine Bayley

    One of the reasons I signed up as a South Whidbey @Home volunteer in 2016 was because I was curious about this legendary woman who had a reputation for both having a vision and the talent to implement it. All in the service of those in need. It didn’t take long for me to see what all the fuss was about. I was amazed by Lynn’s gifts of no-nonsense leadership, generosity, focus, determination, and commitment to community. Her ability to recognize and enlist the skills of volunteers made it all work. When her brain tumor was diagnosed, I was shocked and sad, along with the whole of our community. Little did I imagine that nearly 2 years later I would be at Lynn and Blake’s home seeking advice when my beloved Laurie was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Both of them were so empathetic and helpful; our own small healing circle. I will always be grateful to the Willefords for things visible and invisible.

  93. Vronica von Allworden

    I met Lynn soon after I moved to Whidbey Island in the mid 80’s. I’m a movie buff so I frequently talked to her down the Clyde Theater, getting to know her casually and then more as time went by. I wanted to share a story about how I got to be Lynn, for about 15 seconds…

    In the 1990’s I remodeled my house and choose a carpet for my upstairs study. It was a fun pattern of bird of paradise flowers against a dark blue background. Six months later the Clyde Theater had the same carpeting installed in their theater. A few years after that, I was preparing to sell my house and hired a carpet cleaner. He arrived and got to work. I was spending the day working in the yard and I took a break to see how he was doing. He was standing in my study looking at the carpet and he looked up at me, BEAMING! “Do you own the Clyde Theater?” he asked. “Are you Lynn???” I looked at his beaming face, for a moment I thought – why not be Lynn and make his day and mine! But no, I told him, I wasn’t Lynn, we just shared the same taste in carpets. He sighed and leaned down to turn on his carpet cleaner.

    I got to know Lynn much better during the WOW Talks and I know why everyone beams when they speak of her. She was an amazing person.

    I want to give you, Blake and your family, my most heartfelt condolences. I would also like to give condolences from my partner Joe and from the staff at Bayview Vision Clinic.

  94. Cathy Tauscher

    Lynn was a pillar of this community. Her reputation is that of someone who hearing of an unmet need does something about it. Time after time, she organized and worked to bring help where it was needed. One year during the Mr. South Whidbey fundraiser for Friends of Friends, someone asked if she would be willing to auction off the dress she was wearing. Lynn instantly agreed and the bidding began.

  95. Melissa Young

    I first met Lynn on my visits to the Clyde Theatre with Mark in the late 1980s. There I began to appreciate how insightful, humorous, and straight forward she was – sometimes as we swept the theatre after the movie. Like so many on South Whidbey, I benefited from her visionary efforts to found Friends of Friends, Hearts and Hammers. Aside from these wonderful community organizations, Lynn has had a big impact on many individuals. For example, she realized when I moved to Whdibey in the 90s that I might want help to connect to a local organization, and she suggested I join the FoF board. She was always willing to share articles gleaned from her work as a medical writer as we aged and developed various issues. And not to forget Women On Whidbey, and how terrific it was to participate and to hear other women’s stories. Mark and I are grateful that we shared a couple of visits with Blake and Lynn on the Willefords’ back deck before the weather got too cold last fall. That was kind of a quiet, sweet farewell.

  96. Cary Peterson

    I will remember always Lynn’s wisdom and heart transforming into action, an inspiring guiding light.

  97. Ann Amberg

    I met Lynn in the early 2000’s and I instantly was impressed with her community focus, caring, wisdom and pro-active leadership. She was a get-it-done person and one of the core reasons Langley, and South Whidbey successfully continues to co-create and maintain a “partnership” culture of mutual respect and caring. She was one of the reasons I wanted to stay here. She was loving and available in the grandest sense. She will be deeply missed.

  98. Barbara Schaetti

    After a peripatetic childhood and career, I moved to Whidbey in 2010 looking for a community rooted in place. I found it, in no small measure because of what Lynn had already cultivated here for decades. I will be forever grateful.

    I first met Lynn in person when she organized a gathering at Healing Circles Langley to talk about aging in place. What others have written here, those who knew her well, about her talking directly and taking no bullshit, how that could come as a shock on first acquaintance, made me laugh in recognition. She opened an opportunity for many of us to consider what we would need and, perhaps more importantly want, for our aging. South Whidbey @ Home was a direct result, of course, and so was my knowing that I want to age in some kind of community setting. The specific place doesn’t yet exist, but the ideas I have about it were sparked early on by conversations Lynn made possible.

    Not that long before Lynn was diagnosed, some of us white people on South Whidbey had begun to dive more deeply in to learning about racism and whiteness and our complicity as “good white people” in white supremacy culture. Lynn was soon a part of that, ready to confront her own complicity and ready to use her status as a leader in the community to support the effort. It may seem a simple thing to offer The Clyde as a venue for Robin DiAngelo to speak about White Privilege, but putting your business front and center in work others might prefer to ignore takes courage. I felt a personal loss when Lynn’s diagnosis rightly meant she pulled out of further anti-racism work in the community to focus on her health and her beloveds, and my chance to deepen relationship with her ended. Her gifts to me continued even at a distance as she role-modeled choice and committement in dying and death.

    I offer my very best to all of Lynn’s beloveds. May your loss be eased by knowing how her legacy lives on. What a wonder she was.

  99. Steve Scoles

    Losing Lynn has been so painful, I have trouble even grieving. Along with quite a few of our South Whidbey friends and leaders, this has been a long year of losses. Lynn was the most inspirational person I know. As a community volunteer, I looked up to her with admiration and awe. How did she keep coming up with new ideas to help our community? Lynn, I hope you are enjoying the view, wherever you are.

  100. Emily Schmidt

    Since the day Lynn passed, I have been very thoughtful about my life and time with her. She was my mentor , friend, example and constant for over 50 years of my life. Fifteen of those years I had the honor of working with her family at the Clyde. Behind the snackbar, I was given the opportunity to meet and greet people that I never would have if I had not been there.
    I have so many memories of Lynn and her phenom on this Rock that I will be planting a memorial garden for her so I can sit and be in her presence whenever the spirit moves me. If I use this forum for “memories” I will be writing forever!
    Blake, Rito, Katja and Dear Hazel( I knew your name sake), know how much love I have for all of you and am grieving with you at this time.
    REST IN PARADISE Lynn Willeford! I Love You

  101. Ginny Green

    After living on Whidbey for many years, I really met Lynn when she supported me in writing my speech, about being the mother of a disabled daughter, for a WOW program at WICA. I was terrified for the entire three months of preparation, knowing I would speak to an audience of 200 people. But telling my story to family, friends, and community, I knew could have a powerful impact on me and others. Lynn listened, read my drafts, made suggestions, and gently encouraged me to be brave. I have always been thankful to Lynn for her care and support that allowed me to speak my truth and be heard.

  102. Kitty Maguire

    Lynn welcomed me as a new Good Cheer volunteer. As I griped my way through some of the more tedious tasks, like packaging spices into tiny bags from giant containers, she smiled and chatted and sang her way through them. She didn’t just teach me how to avoid the horrendous mess I was making; she showed me how to enjoy every second of my time there.

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