MERRIMAC—Linda Larson Damos, 71, of Merrimac, passed away on June 23, 2020, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease and metastatic cancer.
Linda was born at Freeport Memorial Hospital in Freeport, Illinois, to Menten and Kathryn Larson on August 14, 1948. She grew up on a farm in Pecatonica, Illinois, and graduated valedictorian from Pecatonica High School in 1966. Upon graduation, Linda attended the University of Illinois in Urbana on a General Motors scholarship. She graduated with honors in 1970 with a degree in Chemistry while also playing clarinet in the Illini band. She married James Damos upon graduation from college on August 22, 1970.
Linda was a devoted spouse, mother, grandmother, big sister, neighbor, and friend. She was also a master gardener, book club member, volunteer, church committee member, bird watcher, hiker, kayaker, downhill skier, vacation planner, and environmentalist who loved the outdoors. She especially enjoyed Devil’s Lake State Park and the Colorado Rockies. Linda was a very social, kind person who appreciated all things simple, natural, and wholesome. Her approach to life was positive. Her family will always remember summer vacations, Badger basketball games, and those warm buttered Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, a family tradition.
Her professional work included several positions in scientific research in biochemistry at the St. Louis University School of Medicine and Michigan State University. Her income assisted her husband through his physician training. Years later, when the family located in Wisconsin, she worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Environmental Toxicology Department, studying the effects of toxins on fish in Lake Michigan. In 1997, Linda shifted careers and obtained a master’s degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison LaFollette Institute with an emphasis on healthcare. She later became the Education Coordinator of the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo Rural Physician Training Program. Her duties included helping interns and residents with their curriculum assignments and helping to keep the education program in compliance with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
Linda was known for her youthful look and radiant smile. She and her husband would have been married 50 years this August. Her husband, Dr. James Damos, her daughter Jennifer Caspersen, her two grandchildren Kyan James and Aleyna Linn Caspersen, her son Timothy (fiancé Leia Jordan) and her four siblings Larry, Dave, and Tom Larson and Margaret Larson Schulze all survive her. They will dearly miss Linda’s kind demeanor, calmness, honesty, dependability, and trusting nature.
The family would like to thank Dr. James Mathers and the clinic and hospital staff with SSM-Baraboo and St. Clare Hospital for their competent, compassionate care. The team at Brightstar-Baraboo deserves special credit for helping Linda to remain home late into her disease. Pastor Doug Fauth and the church members of the United Church of Christ-Baraboo were very supportive, as was the caregiver support group organized by Mary Larson through the church. Parish nurse Geri Schoenoff’s skill with dementia and her kindness as a nurse was invaluable to Linda’s care and support of the family. A special thank you goes out to the staff at Agrace Hospice. Agrace nurse Kevin Klingenmeyer was so helpful with his weekly home visits, and the team at the inpatient Agrace hospice house was superb. The physicians and staff from the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were exceptional in their loyal support of the family. The multiple home and hospice center visits from former UW-Madison faculty physician colleagues and staff throughout Linda’s illness were very much appreciated. Finally, the compassionate care of our Eagle Point subdivision neighbors in Merrimac, Wisconsin, as well as our many friends and extended family members, was a treasured gift.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a private family funeral at the United Church of Christ on Saturday, June 27, 2020 in Baraboo with Pastor Doug Fauth officiating. The service will be recorded and uploaded to the funeral home website at www.redlinfuneralhome.com next week for friends and family to view. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Cancer Society.
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