Linda Lou McLarning of Centralia, Mo., went home to be with the Lord on January 6, 2021. Linda’s passing was peaceful and her family was at her bedside. Her last days were filled with music, scripture, family, and messages from friends, all pillars of her life well lived. Linda was born to Arthur and Carolyn (Eicksteadt) Twigg on December 30, 1941, in Rockford, Ill. and she had just celebrated her 79th birthday. Linda and her brother, George, were raised by their grandparents in Garden Prairie, Ill. in a home shared by many aunts, uncles, and cousins over the years. Times were lean but love and family ties ran deep, they still do.
Linda married William J. (Bill) McLarning in 1960 and to this union two children were born, Jefferson James Edward and LuCinda RoxEllen – Jeff and Cindy. Linda’s number one dream for her life was to be a wife and mom. God granted that desire of her heart. There are not enough words to describe her love for and commitment to her husband and her children. They were her entire world. Her love and devotion to her family was second only to her love for the Lord, the picture of a Godly woman, wife and Mom. Her passing leaves a void that can never be filled but a grand reunion in heaven awaits.
Bill’s service in the Army during the time of the Vietnam War took them to France, Kansas and Nebraska where they made lifelong friendships that are still strong today. When Bill left to serve in Vietnam, Linda and Jeff went to Licking, Mo. where they resided with Bill’s parents, Ed & Virginia McLarning. When Bill returned from Vietnam, they made their home in the Licking area.
Linda made the decision to be born again in her late 20s. She immediately began serving God and serving others and did so until the time she passed. Music was a shared love for Bill and Linda. They sang at their own church and traveled all over south central Missouri singing at revivals. She taught Children’s Choir, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School for over 35 years. Bible drills, memory verses, the importance of coming to know Jesus as Savior and giving unconditional love to all were staples in her classroom. She was a fierce prayer warrior and continued that prayer time until her passing. She spent many nights on her knees interceding for others. At 70 years of age she was able to fulfill the desire of going on a mission trip when she went with the Texas County Baptist Association to Iowa. It was a huge, wonderful experience for her that she treasured along with the new relationships she made. At the time of her passing, Linda was a member of Antioch Baptist Church in Centralia.
Through Linda’s time in church, she made many very special friends who have stayed friends no matter where life would take them or her.
Linda’s life was one of hard work from the time she was young and she would never shy away from a job that needed done to provide for her family. She worked over 25 years for Rawlings Sporting Goods in Newburg and Licking. One memorable task she had was sewing a football jersey for William “Refrigerator” Perry of the Chicago Bears. It was almost too big for her to handle! After Rawlings she worked on her own cleaning houses and businesses locally, and then transitioned to babysitting. She loved children and was Granny to many.
Linda’s life verse was Colossians 3:23 – “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” It could be found on a plaque hanging above her ironing board and sewing machine.
Her hobbies included growing flowers, springtime planting and blooming were her favorite; flower arranging for church and home; and quilting, she taught quilting classes for a little while in her home. Her flannel receiving blankets for babies can be found all over the country. She was known for her fried chicken and homemade pies and later her chocolate cake. There were none better.
Linda is survived by many family members who, to the world’s standards, may be considered “step” but in her heart she loved equally and unconditionally as her own.
Immediate surviving family are: Jeff and Robin McLarning of Orange City, Fla.; Cindy and Grant Timbrook of Columbia; granddaughter Mindy and John Harris of Deltona, Fla.; grandson Justin and Melissa Jenkins, and their children Lexi and Johnny of Orange City, Fla.; granddaughter Andrea and Andy Martin, and daughter Desiree of Cherryville; sister-in-law Dona Twigg of Duncan, Okla.; along with many more grand and great-grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews whom she cherished.
To her “Golden Girls” thank you for being a friend. You were loved deeply and an important part of her happiest and hardest days.
A special thank you to Heritage Hall care center in Centralia where she resided after having a stroke in March of 2019. The care and love given to Linda will never be forgotten and forever appreciated.
Due to family and friends being spread through many different states and because Covid has made traveling more difficult, the family will hold a celebration of life service for Linda in the spring when her flowers would be blooming and it will be a little easier for everyone to attend.
Thank you also to Bach-Yager Funeral Chapel of Columbia for your care-filled service.