Linda MacNeil

Nov 11, 2020

Wakefield, Mass. — Linda (Ford) Thomas MacNeil, 76, passed away at home surrounded by love and her family April 1, 2020, after a courageous 5 1/2-year battle with lung cancer.

Born in Belfast, Maine, to William O. Ford and Arlene (Fletcher) Ford (Dow), she was the second of three children. After high school, Linda worked as an executive secretary at Merrill Trust, got married, started a family, and then moved to Massachusetts with her young family.

In 1979, Linda graduated at the top of her class from Tufts University's Dental Assistant program. She worked as a dental assistant/office manager before returning to the corporate world as an executive secretary/administrative assistant to top executives. Naturally organized and efficient, she enjoyed using her shorthand skills to take meeting minutes and other dictation. Linda was also an extraordinary typist — she could routinely produce pages of long numbers rapidly and with high accuracy. Her employers included Megapulse, Abbott Laboratories and Beacon Health Strategies.

Linda had many interests and talents. She was a Girl Scout leader and camp counselor for several years. She also enjoyed years of ice skating and ballroom dancing lessons. Linda was a wonderful cook who liked to try new recipes, especially ones named “fancy” or “elegant,” and she loved to plan and host family gatherings with delicious meals and beautiful table settings.

As an advanced Wilton cake decorator, her creativity and skills shone brightly with clever ideas. A talented seamstress, she thought nothing of buying a pattern and fabric to whip up an outfit for that evening. She also sewed dance costumes and clothing for her daughter, as well as beautiful drapes for her home.

After enjoying ceramics classes for several years, Linda bought a kiln and created a plethora of home décor items and gifts. Her talents also included tole painting. (Lee Wards asked her to become an instructor.) A fan of Bob Ross' and Bill Alexander’s PBS painting shows, Linda loved oil painting; many of her framed artworks adorn her family’s homes.

Linda had fun playing softball in the Wakefield Women’s League for several seasons. Every weekend for many years, she and her second husband played golf. Moreover, she took great pride in keeping up her home’s appearance by doing the yard work herself and planting multiple gardens with unique flowers.

She was a lifelong animal lover who always shared her home with at least one cat and one or two dogs.

Linda is survived by her two children, six grandchildren and a great-grandchild: Angela and Joseph Kotlinski (Lydia, Daniel, William) of Norwell, Mass.; Craig and Jennifer Thomas (Perry — his daughter Aubrey, Spencer, Jared) of Stoneham, Mass.; her brother and his wife, Bruce and Virginia Ford of Clovis, N.M.; and Donnette Kidde of Pasadena, Calif; as well as several nieces and nephews.

Linda was predeceased by her husband, Donald MacNeil; her parents; stepmother Bessie “Ruth” Ford; and brothers Wayne Ford of Exeter, N.H., and William Gatchell of Belfast.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Linda’s memory may be made to Lahey Hospice at Home, the American Lung Association, or your local no-kill animal shelter. Service and interment in Belfast are to be announced.

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