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Linda Kornberg, 83, died peacefully on February 26 after a brief illness. At the time of her passing, she was surrounded by her family, for whom she had always given everything.
Linda was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to parents who endowed her with a boundless capacity for laughter and love, which resonated through her like a symphony.
It could start as a smile or a chuckle, but eventually it gave way to a laughing crescendo, and if you were anywhere within earshot, you too found yourself smiling or chuckling or laughing or – occasionally – doubled over, wiping tears from your cheeks and chin.
And when it came to love, Linda did not hold back. She loved her family; she loved her friends; she loved her kids. She really loved her kids. And that’s saying something, because Linda loved a lot.
Linda loved art. She was beautiful, thoughtful, and gracious, and the objects with which she surrounded herself – if they were lacking in any of those qualities – soon became imbued with them. Biologists call this osmosis.
Linda loved jewelry -- or more specifically – gems. This too may have an explanation rooted in biology, because Linda was herself a gem, as anyone who was ever rescued by her unwavering willingness to meet you where you were, regardless of where that was, will tell you.
Linda loved clothes, and she knew how to wear them. A t-shirt became a top. A scarf became a shawl. A pin became a brooch. She could and did put Gloria Vanderbilt to shame more often than anyone can remember, and not because she was trying to look great, but simply because it was impossible for her not to look great.
Let’s set the record straight: Linda Kornberg looked like Mary Tyler Moore before Mary Tyler Moore looked like Mary Tyler Moore.
Linda loved to cook, and Linda knew how to cook. Before most of us could finish reading a recipe card, Linda had turned a can of Pillsbury biscuit dough and a pound of canned spinach into a five-star spanakopita, with time left over to transform a few ounces of instant coffee, a box of Nilla wafers and a tub of cottage cheese into a sumptuous Tiramisu.
Linda loved to read. Fiction. History. Humor. Biography. She read everything. As long as it was well-written. Content mattered, but not as much as style or creativity. Linda could recognize brilliance in the work of others because she was herself brilliant, though she’d have been the last person to tell you that.
Linda loved to type. It was almost comical. 120+ words a minute on a creaky Olivetti manual with a “t” that stuck for everyone else but somehow not for her.
Linda loved a joke. It didn’t have to be a great joke. A reasonably good joke, told with enthusiasm, would usually do. Provided it was sort of funny, and that it wasn’t told at someone else’s expense, unless that someone was a complete jerk, in which case it was okay to laugh, just not too loud.
Linda loved business. She opened two trailblazing stores that were years ahead of their time and became salons for the creative, the courageous, the compassionate, and the independent. She broke through glass ceilings when they were still made of concrete, and she never complained about the pain or took credit for the accomplishments.
Linda loved Community, and Linda loved Entertaining. With capitals C & E. Though fewer and further between as time went along, her gatherings were always legendary. She could host a holiday reunion; she could throw a party; and she could sure cut a rug.
Linda loved sharing her secrets. The cheapest quality hotels in New York; the best place in the Triangle to buy orchids; the best place in Winnipeg to buy smoked salmon. When her daughter-in-law asked her how to re-create her famous Pimento cheese, Linda drew her a map to Whole Foods.
Linda loved to sew. This is a little-known fact. She grew up at a time when McCall’s patterns were the order of the day for young brides, but she took it a step further. She was a seamstress extraordinaire, and where other women were content to stitch together an occasional skirt or shorten a trouser leg, Linda was creating custom pantsuits from whole cloth.
Linda loved dogs. All types. Who can blame her?
Linda did not love cats. She tried; it just didn’t work. Sorry.
Finally, and most important, Linda loved to love. There were no restrictions. She loved everyone, from every walk of life, every corner of creation, and every inflection of the gender-sphere, and it really didn’t matter if they were able to love her back. Her love embraced and comforted the downtrodden; and it helped center, support and even save those were at times unable to love themselves.
You were love itself, Linda, and you will be sorely missed.
Linda is survived by her brother David; her life partner Steve Glantz; her four children Nata (Bozymski), Lewis, Mindy and Grant; her seven grandchildren Ezra, Nathan, Sarah, Max, Sophie, Matt and Isabel. She is pre-deceased by her former husband Allan Kornberg. A memorial service will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that you make donations to Duke HomeCare & Hospice, 4321 Medical Park Drive, Suite 100, Durham, NC 27704, or our online giving site is as follows: https://www.givetodukeathome.org.
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