Saturday, January 16, 2021, Linda Stepp Smith, loving wife, mother of three and grandmother of six, passed away at the age of 75, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Linda was born October 4, 1945, in McCaysville, to Aud Lee and Anna Lee (Nari) Stepp. She graduated from West Fannin County High School in 1963 and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Georgia in 1967. She married Phillip C. Smith, Sr. August 28, 1966, and together they raised two sons, Cameron and Adam, and one daughter, Amy.
Linda worked as a DFCS caseworker in Clarke and Walton Counties and a DFCS case work supervisor in Southeast Georgia. More recently, she worked as a patient representative at Athens Regional Medical Center and as a volunteer, then director, of International Friends, an English as a Second Language ministry of Sarepta Baptist Association.
Linda and Phil had a happy and meaningful life that involved a lot of ministry. They routinely hosted many large groups of international students in their home for dinners, Bible Studies and celebrations. They led a Sunday School class for Internationals, and hosted refugee families in their home who were new to America and needed a soft place to land for a few months. Linda could sense when someone was grieving, hurting or vulnerable, and her heart was tender toward them. As a patient representative at ARMC, she was called on to help families in crisis, attended many deaths and oftentimes was the one to deliver tragic news to a patient’s loved ones. She reached out in love and compassion to many, many people.
Linda was beautiful and understated. She loved babies, the pattern on quail eggs, the Queen Anne’s Lace flowers growing on roadsides and the names of many birds. She was an affectionate and attentive mother and greatly enjoyed her friendships with her adult children. She rooted for the underdog, was calm in emergencies and loved chocolate. When praised, she would tell people that the praise belonged to the Lord, not herself. Many people decided to follow Christ because they saw His influence in her life. Her faith was intensely personal, and she usually woke up in the wee hours of the morning to pray and read her Bible.
Linda never considered herself especially gifted as a teacher, yet she taught Boy Scouts to fly kites made from trash bags and taught many people how to speak English. She didn’t consider herself an advocate, yet she organized members of the medical community to provide care for a young man who had a brain tumor but no access to healthcare, extending his life by several years. She didn’t consider herself a great communicator, but she leaves a deep, indelible mark on many hearts. She will be greatly missed by people around the world and will forever be a part of their stories.
Linda was preceded in death by her parents, Aud Lee and Anna Lee Stepp, and her older brother, Jack Stepp. She is survived by her husband, Phillip Smith; her three children, Cameron Smith (Jennifer), Adam Smith (Alice) and Amy Wheeler-Sullivan (Frederick); granddaughters, Emma, Alyssa, and Brooke Smith, and Selah, Phoebe and Lindsay Wheeler; her siblings, Joe Stepp (Shirley), Jerry Stepp (Harriett), Jon Stepp (Sandi) and Audrey Whitehead (Jerry); and numerous nieces and nephews.
A graveside memorial service will be held Saturday, February 20, at 2 p.m., at Evergreen Memorial Park, 3655 Atlanta Highway, Athens, Georgia.
Donations can be made to International Friends, c/o Sarepta, 4010 Jefferson Road, Athens, Georgia, 30607.
Lord and Stephens, East, of 4355 Lexington Road, Athens, Georgia, 30605 is in charge of arrangements.