VACCARO—Linda Vaccaro (Long) passed away Nov. 14, 2021, in Florence, Ore., with her daughter Lindsay holding her hand.
Linda was born in the summer of 1935 in Chandler, Ariz., to parents Hoover and Eva Long. The family moved to Modesto, Calif., where Linda attended Modesto High School and married her high school sweetheart, J. William (Bill) Vaccaro, on May 17, 1953.
Bill and Linda were married 57 years before he died in 2010. She was his loving caregiver throughout his 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
They had three children, William A. Vaccaro (Karen), Victor L. Vaccaro (Robin) and Lindsay J. Besson (Joe); eight grandchildren, Nickie Salyer, Joe and Marcus Vaccaro, Ashley Berns, Marisa and Katie Besson, Callan and Connor Vaccaro; and five great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her younger brother Keith Long.
In her youth, Linda displayed a rebel spirit. She was voted valedictorian of her high school class. After staff reviewed her speech titled “Looking at Life Through Rose Colored Glasses,” she was asked to rewrite the document. When she refused, Linda was removed as a speaker.
After Bill was drafted during the Korean War, they were stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. During a shopping trip there, Linda refused to let a young black woman be seated in the back of a bus, as was the practice at the time. Instead, she insisted she sit next to her in the front row, causing a small but lasting trend.
Linda was an avid skier, and both she and Bill served in the National Ski Patrol.
She loved to travel, and, along with Bill, saw most of the world. They took each of their eight grandchildren on trips to foreign lands. Her sense of adventure led her to break her wrist at age 45 while roller skating, and flying a hang glider at age 50. Linda and Bill explored most of the western states via snow mobile, and made over 20 trips to Alaska for fishing.
She kept in touch with her friends and relatives from Modesto, Davis, Woodland, Chico and Florence, and looked forward to reunions of Modesto High School classmates, sometimes entertaining them at her home in Florence, Ore. She always said friends and family mattered most in her life. Holidays and celebrations were highlights of her year, and she looked forward to the next one on her calendar.
Their life in Chico was highlighted by the establishment of Vaccaro Seed/California, and Linda became “the hostess with the moistest,” entertaining guests from all over the world, and having an annual dinner party for farmers, friends and customers at their home. They moved to Florence when Bill retired in 1996.
Her passion was reading and keeping informed about current events. Linda read newspapers, periodicals, novels and nonfiction. She had a talent for telling jokes and had a great sense of humor. Sharing a good laugh with her was always a delight. She also had a talent for designing and making unique Christmas and greeting cards, and made hundreds each year.
Linda was a faithful fan of the University of Oregon Ducks football team and enjoyed attending many home games and bowl games.
Linda left us at 7 p.m. Nov. 14. She will be missed by many. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Bill and sister Deanna Foster.
In lieu of flowers, Linda asked that a donation be made in her memory to Florence Food Share, PO Box 2514, Florence, OR 97439, or a charity of your choice.