American Univesity of Beirut

We Remember – Linda Pierce

​​​Friday, March 18, 2022

Linda Pierce was born in Houston, Texas on September 2, 1939. She grew up in the countryside outside Columbus, OH, eventually graduating from Westerville High School. Her family enjoyed living in Ohio and summering in Sarasota, FL. She graduated from Stephens College, a two year college for women, in Columbia, MO. During her second year she was accepted in the Presbyterian Church (USA) Junior Year Abroad (JYA) program to study at the American University of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon. While there, she immersed herself in courses focusing on Middle East economics, geography, sociology and history.

While studying at AUB, she met her future husband, Jim, who was also a Presbyterian JYA. After a summer of travel in Europe, Linda returned to the US and completed her Bachelor's degree at Ohio State University. The day after her graduation, Jim and Linda were married and moved to Princeton, NJ, where Jim studied for his Master's in Divinity at Princeton University. Linda taught middle school and later was an elementary school principal.

They returned to Beirut as missionaries where their first child, Christopher, was born. After being evacuated due to the Six Day war, they returned to the US and settled in New York City for the next ten years. Their second child, Lisa, was born in Manhattan. Linda then started a real estate company with her brother building homes for low income families. Eventually the family moved to Long Island and Linda began working for PCUSA in NYC. When PCUSA headquarters moved to KY, Linda became the Executive Director of the Vellore Christian Medical College and Hospital Board. It was while living on Long Island that Jim died at 49 years of age.

After her children graduated from college, Linda remarried. She met Lee Knutson through her work with Vellore. She moved to Virginia when she remarried. She worked in Congregational Care at a local church and completed a two year program at the Shalem Institute to become a Spiritual Director. After Lee's passing, Linda moved to Sarasota where she had so many happy memories throughout her lifetime.

Linda died on November 27, 2021. Linda loved spending time with her family, socializing with friends, traveling around the world, and had a laugh and a smile that could light up a room. She is survived by her son Christopher (Leeza), daughter Lisa (Thomas) and four wonderful grandchildren, Grace, Eleanor, Anya and Sasha.​

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