Obituary of Linda Joyce Ohrn Popper
The family of Linda Joyce Ohrn Popper of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, is heartbroken to announce her peaceful passing from a long illness. Her three children were at her side.
Born to Swedish immigrants in Rock Island, Illinois, Linda had happy childhood memories marked by a close family, an active Swedish-American community, summers at their lake house, and visits to family in Canada and Sweden. A self-described tomboy, she was often picked first in neighborhood games because she “could really hit”, and swam across the Mississippi River at sixteen years old. She lettered in golf at Rock Island High School and was an active glee club member. An accomplished student, she was one of few women to earn a B.S. in Microbiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
While attending college, Linda met Robert H. “Bob” Popper, Jr. on a blind date when he was stationed at a nearby Air Force base. She recalled feeling a ‘click’ on their first date when he surprised her by speaking Swedish. Soon after Bob’s deployment to Guam, he proposed via telegram. Linda married Bob in her hometown church, First Lutheran of Moline, just weeks after her graduation. The minister noted their remarkably aligned values which sustained them through 51 years of marriage.
Linda and Bob spent their first year of marriage in Guam where she started her career by setting up a laboratory for the newly created Environmental Protection Agency. She and Bob eventually settled in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey after he completed his service. She was hired by Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis) as a pharmaceutical research scientist. Linda worked there for eight years through the birth of their first child, Susan, stopping only after the birth of their second child, Jenny. Their third child, Bobby, was born four years later. She often remarked on enjoying both of her roles as a professional woman and mother, both separately and when they intertwined.
With Bob, Linda created a legacy of happy childhood memories and strong family bonds. Linda enjoyed chaperoning field trips, reading with students at the elementary school, and hosting club and sports team dinners. Family was always first; she visited her parents and brother Rudy and his family in the Quad Cities with her children every year. Her bridge group was the basis of life-long friendships carried on today by the members’ children.
Linda was passionate about her Swedish heritage, and cemented the bonds between her family’s American and Swedish branches through trips across the Atlantic throughout her life. She also enjoyed summers in Maine where the family often hosted family and friends. Linda’s warmth and self-effacing demeanor endeared her to friends new and old. Her interest in others’ life stories gave her a remarkable knack for finding commonalities with almost anyone.
Linda enjoyed rehabbing antique furniture and decorating her home with her own stencil designs. Her hand-painted fine china, porcelain, and furnishings are still cherished by her family. Inspired by Swedish and American folk art, hearts emerged as her signature motif. After leaving corporate work, Linda launched a line of hand-painted ornaments that was picked up by local high-end boutiques and the American Folk Art Museum gift shop in Manhattan.
Linda’s community involvement extended to the McLaughlin Garden and Rufus Porter Museum in Maine, numerous Scandinavian organizations including the Swedish Women’s Educational Association, and many clubs in Mountain Lakes during her 50 years living there.
Linda was devoted to her marriage of 51 years, raising three ‘nice kids’, and spoiling her grandsons Luke and Jack. Her memory will be cherished.
Linda was predeceased by her husband, Bob; her parents, Rudolph E. Ohrn, Sr. and Anna N. Ohrn; and her brother, Rudolph E. Ohrn, Jr. She is survived by her three children, Susan E. Popper, Jennifer N. Popper, and Robert R. Popper; her two grandsons, Luke and Jack; her sister-in-law, Sandy Ohrn; her nephew, Richard Ohrn and his family; and her niece, Juliann Ohrn Bryant and her family.
Services were private. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the McLaughlin Garden of South Paris, Maine.
In Loving Memory
1947 - 2023
107 Essex Avenue
Boonton, NJ 07005
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