Linda Lee Garber Wessel passed away peacefully on November 15, 2023 at the age of 87.
Linda was born June 20, 1936 to Richard A. (Dick) Garber and Virginia G. Sanders (Ginny) Garber in Indianapolis, where she and her younger sister Glenna were raised.
Linda graduated from Shortridge High School and then attended DePauw University on a music scholarship before raising her family. She was a member of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church and the First Congregational Church in Indianapolis and latterly Presbyterian Kirk in the Pines in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.
Linda had four children from her first marriage to Robert E. Peek. In 1977 she married Robert E. (Bob) Wessel, Sr. resulting in an exceptional union that formed a dynamic blended family with Linda embracing Bob’s children as her own. Married for nearly 44 years, Bob and Linda’s relationship formed the bedrock that has supported all six children throughout their lives.
Linda and Bob moved from Indianapolis to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas in 2007, where they were warmly welcomed. They built a loving community around themselves, and Linda and Bob together loved exploring the beauty of the region.
Linda was an accomplished organist, pianist and singer. Music was her passion, and she was proud of having perfect pitch. She performed in numerous choirs over the years, including the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Cedar Mountain Singers in Hot Springs Village. She was also devoted to teaching music to young people, volunteering as school concert pianist as well as church choir director for the children’s and hand bell choirs. To encourage children to be their best, she once wore a Mary Poppins hat and, with a wide smile, held up a hand-lettered sign that read “Confidence!”
While family was her focus, Linda’s exceptional organizational skills led her to varied and interesting administrative positions, from McNamara Florist and Lazarus Department Store in Indianapolis to Silverwood’s Dairy and Esterline-Angus in Toronto, Canada.
Linda never met a stranger. She had a wide circle of friends and was a member of numerous service organizations and bridge clubs. Linda felt strongly about broadening her family’s world and welcomed exchange students from across the globe. Each newcomer was delighted to live in a household full of Mom’s favorite things: kids, music, cats, and cookies. Linda enthusiastically said that she only required 20 minutes notice for any of her kids, “adopted” or otherwise, to visit or stay awhile.
Linda truly embraced the simple things in life: a warm cat in her lap, a cup of tea with a friend, a phone call with a loved one. Linda also enjoyed being in the kitchen and always said, “if you can read, you can cook.” She will be remembered for her loyalty, her unwavering cheerful disposition, her generosity of spirit, her ability to somehow create something out of nothing, and her love of anything chocolate.
Linda was predeceased by her husband Robert E. Wessel, Sr. (2021) and her two sons, Robert Randall (Randy) Peek (2022) and Thomas Allen (Tom) Peek (2022). Linda is survived by her children Jane Coates (David) and Mindy McKen (Charles Hain) of Toronto, Canada, Christa Wessel (Darrell Hanks) of Portland, OR, and Rob Wessel (Lulu Tupper) of Fort Collins, CO; and grandchildren Chris Coates (Melissa Bryanton) of Toronto, and Roxi Wessel and Gib Wessel of Fort Collins. Linda is also survived by her adoring sister, Glenna Gebauer (Charles) of Sun City Center, FL, as well as nieces, nephews, and cousins. She had a special relationship with her niece Kimberly Gebauer Underwood.
The family would like to thank Mt. Carmel Community in Hot Springs Village, Robin Run Village in Indianapolis, and Luminary Hospice, who all ensured Linda’s care and comfort in her final years. A memorial service will be held in Arkansas in the new year, after which Linda will be reunited with her beloved husband Bob at Kirk in the Pines in Hot Springs Village.