A group of women got back together this past June for their 50th high school reunion at Marymount of Santa Barbara. They all gathered again Saturday at Mission Santa Inés in Solvang for the funeral for their friend, Linda Wall.
“Linda was a woman with enormous integrity,” said Terry Ames of Solvang, a classmate of Wall’s at Marymount. “How special a time it was to all be together for our high school reunion; it was amazing for all of us. It’s so sad we had to say goodbye to her today.”
Wall, 68, of Buellton, died Dec. 19 from injuries suffered in a three-car crash on Highway 246 near the Chumash Casino Resort. Wall’s SUV was rear-ended by a vehicle and propelled into into the back of a car in front of her. The driver who allegedly started the chain reaction was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and is facing a murder charge in the case.
More than 200 hundred people — from former colleagues, students, classmates and friends — gathered at the mission to pay their respects to Wall and her family.
“Linda was always there for us as a department chair, and she stood up for us with a smile,” former colleague Teresita Mainer said. “It was that smile that was always there. We all admired her.”
Wall was born March 3, 1945, in Santa Barbara and was the oldest of six children. She graduated from Marymount in 1963, then attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, graduating in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in English and French.
She then moved back to Santa Barbara to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.
Wall first taught at her alma mater, Marymount, and then was a foreign language teacher at Laguna Blanca School in Hope Ranch.
In 1968, she met the love of her life, Bob Wall, married him, and they started a family.
The Walls moved to Texas in the early 1980s, and Wall taught at Hondo and Bandera high schools.
The family returned to California in 1990 and Wall began teaching Spanish and French at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.
“We spent our entire careers teaching together, and she and I shared a love for basketball,” recalled colleague JoAnn Reck, who coached basketball and taught English at the school for 30 years.
“Linda would come to our games and supported our girls even when they went on to play college level.”
Reck lovingly described Wall’s dedication.
“One of our students went to UCSB to play basketball, and Linda and Bob would give her M&M’s after every game and cheered her on by her Spanish name, Olga,” she said.
Reck added that Wall absolutely loved her students, fellow teachers and colleagues at the high school.
“I had her granddaughter, Jessie, who she raised from a toddler, and we called her ‘Little Linda’ because she is exactly like her grandmother — a sweet and kind person,” Reck said.
“Linda didn’t deserve to have this happen to her,” she said. “It was 2 in the afternoon and on her way to run errands. We will miss her incredibly.”
Wall is survived by her husband, Bob; daughters Erica Wall and Molly Foster; son Rob Wall; son-in-law Ryan Foster; grandchildren Jessie Wall and R.J. Foster; and a special nephew she and Bob helped raise, Dylan (Julie) Cortez.
— Raiza Giorgi is a Noozhawk contributing writer from the Santa Ynez Valley. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.