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Linda Bartlett

Linda Diane Bartlett

Monday, October 10th, 1960 - Tuesday, November 26th, 2019
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Obituary

Linda Bartlett (1960-2019) always dared to follow her dreams, dreams that brought her to the soils of Coupeville, where for the last 20 years, she nurtured and grew beautiful food, strong community, and the next generation of organic farmers at Rosehip Farm.

In 1990, Linda left the world of real estate banking in Portland, Maine to follow the spark of her adventurous spirit which longed to make the world a better place. She sold her belongings, loaded her dog Angus into her red Dodge convertible and, with a friend and her cat, spent three months traversing the country. They woke to buffalo in their campsite in the Badlands, navigated the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier, and were awestruck by the blinding beauty of Banff and Jasper.

Linda landed in Seattle, where she promptly fell in love with the girl next door, Valerie Reuther. Over 28 years, Linda and Valerie worked for social change, danced in Seattle clubs and PT honky-tonks, and built a farm and a family/community. They were finally married in 2015 on the first day of spring at their farmhouse.

Linda was an urban dweller and master composter when she decided she wanted to farm and embarked on an organic farm internship with Blue Heron Farm in the Skagit Valley in 1996. Linda’s vision prompted her and Valerie to buy and develop Rosehip Farm & Garden into one of the first organic vegetable farms in central Whidbey.

With her sassy humor, welcoming smile, and passion and determination outsized for her petite body, Linda built Rosehip’s reputation for being a place where people could come to connect to the earth, find delicious produce, join in a dance party or cider pressing, and share a meal and a long laugh.

Over the past two decades, Rosehip has been home to dozens of young and aspiring farmers who learned from Farmer Linda how to start seedlings, prep a bed for planting, clean tools at the end of the day, pick the peas at the right time, and farm with no chemicals and little fossil

fuel. Most importantly, Linda cultivated in these young farmers, mostly women, the confidence to trust in their own strength and wisdom, and like Linda, to follow their hearts. Linda earned the description of “the perfect mix of salt of the earth farmer girl and mischievous pixie with a glint in her eye; a firecracker full of vigor and beauty; and an amazing caretaker of plants, pets, people and friends.”

Linda was also active in building her Coupeville community. She served as treasurer of the Coupeville Farmer’s Market where she helped triple the size of the market. For 10 years, she was the architect and lead organizer of the Harvest Relay Races that raised $100,000 for the local foodbank.

From her roots in Augusta and Hollowell, Maine, Linda was the daredevil in the family, careening down her long steep driveway standing on the back step of her tricycle. At 3, she and her friend Sammy escaped the yard with a handful of pennies, walked a mile to town for ice cream, and were found playing on the boats along the river. That same independence followed her through high school basketball, college in the most northern part of Maine, where she earned a degree in PE, and then to Portland, Maine, where she lived before moving west.

Ever true to her heart, Linda died at home in Coupeville on Nov. 26. She is survived by her wife, Valerie; her mother, Donna Bartlett; two sisters, Pam Cullen and Karen Bartlett; her nephews Ryan and Cory Daniels and their children; and the Rosehip family of young women and men she mentored through her seasons on the farm, and their young children.

With joy for having her in our lives and sadness for saying goodbye, we send Linda on her next wonderous adventure. In lieu of flowers and cards, Linda requested gifts to Coupeville Farm to School. A celebration of Linda’s life will follow in early Spring.

Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com.
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Service Details

A Mighty Party to celebrate Linda's life, with potluck dinner and dancing will take place on April 4, 2020 from 5-9pm at the Crockett Barn located at 1056 S. Crockett Farm Rd. In lieu of flowers and cards, Linda requested gifts to Coupeville Farm to School.

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KA

Kaile Adney

Posted at 01:42am
I met Linda and Val in 1990 when I (17 at the time) moved into Seward Apartments with my best friend Chris Looney. Linda was an amazing mentor and friend to two kids who had just moved to Seattle from Florida. She gave us work to do, got Chris into the garden, got me into a QPatrol self defense class, introduced us to wonderful people. She even drove us east of the mountains the next fall when we went away to start college. Love to you, Valerie. — Kaile Adney
SN

Susan Norton

Posted at 06:13pm
I first met Linda in 7th grade and we were friends all through high school. One of my favorite memories of her was the day she got her license. It was snowing but somehow we convinced her parents it was just a flurry and off we went in her dad’s car to do what we all did in Augusta - drive around! Linda was fearless - I was the careful girly-girl but we had a good time growing up in Augusta. We lost touch after she moved from Portland but I am so happy to read she found her passion and love. Thinking of her family and all whose lives she touched. Her smile never quit.

Susan Altshuler Norton
Southport Island Maine

Carrie McLachlan

Posted at 12:40am
Oh Valerie, my heart aches for you, I know how it feels to lose your love. I was shocked to see Linda had passed on, just way too young. She was such a person of the earth and always so welcoming with a smile and willing to share her wisdom about plants and love for critters. Please know my heart holds you close and hope Linda and Shant are working on a garden somewhere, surrounding by farm critters and all our dogs that also are on the other side. Love to you, Carrie (McLachlan)
3

3corginite@comcast.net

Posted at 05:28pm
Linda was the first person my husband and I met at the Farmer’s Market when we moved here in 2002. We had a wonderful discussion about farming here. She presented her flowers (which we bought) and told us of the virtues of composting (which we didn’t take up). After years of seeing her and other women at the market we were sad when they no longer had a booth. But every time we passed by the farm we thought of her. I recently saw her at a tai chi lesson—we remembered each other! What a lovely person. She will be missed. Rick & Diana Walti
H

Helen Price Johnson

Posted at 09:42am
Linda’s passion for farming, Ebey’s Reserve and the central Whidbey community is an inspiration to me. Her integrity and thoughtfulness, joy and kindness leave a lasting legacy.
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