Lifelong Redondo Beach resident Linda Church, mother of 12, grandmother of 28 and great grandmother of 19, passed away Saturday morning in the bed where she gave birth to her three youngest children. She was 71.
Over the weekend, as she lay in rest in the home her grandfather purchased in the 1940s, family and friends arrived from across the country to pay their respects.
Last Thursday, Church told an Easy Reader employee that she had a doctor’s appointment that day, and wasn’t looking forward to it. Church worked in circulation at Easy Reader for over two decades.
The doctor told her she had a terminal heart condition, information she did not share with her family.
“She lived the way she wanted to, and she went out on her own terms,” said Byron Church, her husband of 37 years.
Church’s youngest daughter Shanti, 28, recalled her mother as “a far left liberal who loved Colbert and Stewart and hated Rush Limbaugh.” Among her many occupations was polling place inspector. Prior to elections, she would set up a voter registration table on the porch of her North Francisca Street home.
Her maternal grandfather Charles Wortham was Redondo’s mayor in the 1940s, and was instrumental in building the city’s water and sewage system. He was a Democratic Party delegate to Harry Truman’s 1948 nomination convention.
Church’s father Leonard Moody was Redondo’s postmaster through the late 1960s and early 1970s.
While raising her own children, Church spent a decade as a Head Start preschool teacher at the Methodist Church at Torrance Boulevard and Broadway Avenue. She was Troop 521′s Girl Scout leader and one year helped her scouts sell enough Girl Scout cookies to earn a trip to Hawaii.
In spite of all of her activities, Church frequently loaded her children in her car for road trips across the Western United States.
“She said if she didn’t have children, she would have been a cross country truck driver,” her oldest daughter Kitty, 54, said.
Church was known at Easy Reader as the “barefoot papergirl” who wandered through the office with a child or grandchild in tow. “I saw her hundreds of times, and every time she would smile at me,” recalled editor Mark McDermott. Entertainment editor Bondo Wyszpolski described her presence as “soothing and somehow reassuring.”
“Linda did late night press checks, early morning rack deliveries and mail fulfillment year after year with the same grace and commitment that she showed raising her children and volunteering for the community. She worked up until the day she died. She’s one of the people you don’t know you’ll miss until she’s gone,” Easy Reader publisher Kevin Cody said.
A celebration of Church’s life will be held Saturday, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the grass cover lot, next door to the family home, at 519 Emerald Drive, Redondo Beach. ER