Linda Mae (Preston) Rickers, the second of six children born to Dean and Irma (Kinning) Preston, was born on January 16, 1942 at the Methodist Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. The first few years of her childhood were spent in eastern Nebraska. Then, in 1945, her parents moved their young family to Storm Lake, Iowa.
Linda’s younger childhood was spent in Storm Lake. She had fond memories of playing at the park and the lake, going to the movies, and playing with the neighborhood children. Around the age of ten, her family moved south of Storm Lake where her dad farmed. There she went to Hayes Consolidated School, Hayes Township, Storm Lake 5th-11th grades, until the family moved again and she went to Crestland High School, Early, Iowa for her senior year, graduating in 1960. After high school Linda attended Buena Vista College, Storm Lake. There she met Lorene Rowedder who introduced her to Ivan Rickers, Lorene’s cousin. Ivan proposed on November 22, 1963, and they were married March 1, 1964.
At a young age, Linda was taught to value employment. She was a dependable worker and took great pride in doing a job well. As a young teenager she babysat for the neighbors. She really learned the ins and outs of cooking as a very young hired girl for a farm family with four small children. She also walked beans and detasseled corn. In college, she worked in the local department store. After she was married, she babysat, did secretarial work for the Ar-We-Va consolidated school, Westside, Iowa, and the United Church of Westside in Westside, owned and ran the Westside Grocery Store, sold AVON, worked at Wells Manufacturing in Manning, Iowa, and at the C-Store in Westside.
Linda was the world’s best cook. Anyone was welcome at her table. She spent a great deal of time and energy feeding her family, friends and community. Like her mother before her, she fed her family well daily, but holidays and family get-togethers were occasions for feasting and fellowship. She enjoyed looking through cookbooks, looking for new recipes to try. She said, “Anyone can be a good cook if you have a good recipe.” She was always happy to share her recipes with anyone who asked. In addition to contributing food for church as the other church ladies do, she was frequently asked to make desserts for Bingo at the Westside Community Building. She baked fantastic pies.
Linda was a generous gift-giver. She enjoyed shopping for others and giving gifts. She put a lot of thought into every birthday and Christmas gift. She enjoyed picking things up for family and friends if she saw something she thought would be useful to them or bring them joy. She especially put a lot of time and effort into preparing for Christmas Day. She made sure the house was clean, prepared a feast for the table with lots of home-made goodies for snacking on and lots of presents for each person under the tree. Easter was similar with the house freshly spring cleaned, a feast for the table, and Easter baskets generously filled for the children.
Linda was a very social person, as were her parents and her siblings. She thrived on interacting with others and connecting with them. She was genuinely interested in people and the details of their lives. She especially looked forward to family gatherings and catching up with her loved ones.
By far, Linda’s greatest joy was being a grandma. She joyfully sacrificed her time, energy, and finances for her children and grandchildren. She gave generously of her time, energy, talents, and attention to improve the quality of life of each family member. She sewed blankets and dresses, quilted quilts, crocheted afghans, and fulfilled any request for her to make food. She spent countless hours reading, putting puzzles together, and playing card and board games. She wasn’t content to just have her grandchildren around her. She intentionally interacted with them, pouring herself into them. Linda proudly supported her grandchildren in all their activities and made every effort to attend all soccer, basketball, baseball and football games, as well as band and choir concerts, piano and violin recitals, church programs, and Boy Scout events.
For the final chapter of her life, April 2018 Linda moved to a nursing home. Her loving husband, Ivan, faithfully went to eat supper with her every day with few exceptions. Her granddaughter, Jessica, who lived across the street, visited nearly every day, giving back to her grandma because of the time and attention her grandma had given her. From the nursing home, Linda could see her granddaughter’s house, keeping track of her coming and going. Linda enjoyed people watching and commenting on everyone’s hair. Not much of a sleeper herself, she complained that the old people slept too much. She greatly enjoyed visits from her family and her old friends, Leroy and Lorene Rowedder.
Linda is survived by her devoted, loving husband of almost 56 years, Ivan; children: DeAnn (Jim), Denise (Jerry), Louis (Deb) and Bill (Rashelle); grandchildren: Jessica, Collin, Ben (Melanie), Matt (Alissa), Katie, Kasey (Corey), Justin, Erin, Isaac, Emily, and Olivia; two great-grandchildren are on the way; siblings: Dean (Jan), Henry (Maria), and Lory (Jeff); in-laws: Lois and Shirley; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Linda is preceded in death by her parents, Dean and Irma; siblings, Lola and Dale; parents-in-law, Louis and Anna; siblings-in-law, Vernon (Elsie), Lloyd, Lowell, Louise (Ron); and many, many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.