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Linda Keffer

August 22, 1946 March 14, 2020
Linda Keffer
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Obituary for Linda Keffer

Linda Keffer passed away March 14, 2020, in Chesapeake.

Upon graduating high school in 1937 in the small mining town of Beech Creek, KY, Norman Reid Collier joined the navy where his skill playing the guitar (his best boyhood friend was Merle Travis and they learned together) earned him a music billet that lasted a career.

While on a training assignment in Chicago he met a cute teenager, Genivieve (Gwen) Albright, dipping ice cream at a drug store and after a short courtship they married.

Linda Ann Collier was born to them on August 22, 1946.

Norman (Chick) Collier retired from the Navy February, 1959. A month later while driving on the Little Creek Amphib Base on a dark foggy night, Gwen missed a turn and followed what she took to be the road but was actually a pier, drove into the water. She survived but Chick did not, leaving Gwen and their three children, Gerry, Linda & Larry.

A few years later Gwen remarried a widowed neighbor, Bob Riggs, who brought three sons, Robert, John & Glenn to the family and they added Kathy and Michael. It was a raucous full house of three bedrooms and one bath.

Whether step, half or whatever sibling or even friends, Linda considered them all full brothers and sisters and was the glue that welded them together for a lifetime. Her family gatherings always included friends, friends of friends as well as relatives.

Linda married Robert Cartwright in 1964 and in their 13 years of marriage added daughters Ashley, Stephanie and Valerie. Several years after the dissolution of this marriage, she married Alan Keffer on December 8, 1978 who added his children, John & Melanie to her family. She considered all of them her children, loving them, enjoying nothing better than being with them.

Though she considered her primary vocation to be mother and grandma, Linda was also a successful real estate agent, talented photographer, painter, seamstress, cook, tennis & softball player, artist and hair stylist. She was happiest when surrounded by children and family and the best Saturdays were when daughters and their friends would come over to do hair, nails and chatter while trying out her latest cosmetic miracle find.

She never. That is. Never. Went out without her lips on and was sure the next idea for color of her hair would be better than the last and tested the premise monthly, appearing in the evening to announce to Alan “Ok. I’m going to dye my hair. Don’t you say a word.”

A believer in Christ she loved teaching children’s Sunday School and was superintendent of Sunday school at Mt Pleasant Methodist Church for many years.

Gentle, kind and sweet to all, generous to those in need she could also be the mischievous mother who threw a cat in the bathtub when her daughter Valerie was taking a bath. Neither were as amused as she was.

She also got a charge out of hiding a hair dummy around the house in various unlikely spots...shower, closet, scare Stephanie.

Because she loved her children she had high expectations for them and enforced the rules with vigor. When Stephanie refused to go to school one day, wrapping herself around the kitchen table leg in defiance, Linda dragged her out of the house and watched while Steph walked to the bus, where she announced to the driver “My mom is taking me to school today.”

And the girls, bickering in the back seat would complain “Mom, she’s in my space”, escalated the whining until Linda’s arm shot back between the car seats to swat whoever hadn’t dodged...once giving Ashley a bloody nose when she dodged instead of ducking and swatting poor Melanie when new to the family and not knowing the outcome of backseat bickering. Her sisters still marvel at the amazement on her face.

While the daughters recall love mixed with expectations, the grandchildren were simply spoiled and adored Grandma. Amanda pestered her mom to have another baby so she could name it “Grandma” and failing that, begged for a dog she could name “Grandma.”

It took Alzheimer’s almost 20 years to defeat her body but it never touched her spirit. She smiled and was mostly happy through all the travails. Though when healthy she laughingly promised that no grandchild would ever change her diaper, for the past year granddaughter Amber was her daily caregiver and did. We are very grateful to her and other caregivers, especially Vangie Gwinn & Kissy Webb for their kindnesses caring for Linda.

Linda grew up on Anthony Road, Virginia Beach and graduated from Princess Anne High School, class of 1964 as well as Hicks Beauty Academy and Alpha Omega Real Estate School.

She is preceded in death by father & mother, infant sister, brother John Riggs, and daughter Melanie Thurman.

She is survived by husband Alan Keffer, daughters Ashley Bastian, Stephanie Underwood, Valerie Carr and son John Keffer; grandchildren Madison Briggs, Amber Bastian, Jacob Bastian, Amanda Underwood, Chase Cartwright, Wade Cartwright and Tyler Keffer; and great grandson Kaiden Keffer. She is also survived by siblings Gerry Collier (Lupe), Robert Riggs (Jan), Larry Collier (Donna), Glenn Riggs, Kathy Ross (Jim), and Michael Riggs.

A memorial service will be at 6:30 p.m., Friday, March 20, 2020 at Mt Pleasant Mennonite Church. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Mt Pleasant Christian School at in Linda’s name to honor her passion for children.

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Previous Events

Memorial Service




6:30 PM 3/20/2020 6:30:00 PM
Mt. Pleasant Mennonite Church

2041 Mt. Pleasant Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322

Mt. Pleasant Mennonite Church
2041 Mt. Pleasant Road Chesapeake 23322 VA
United States

Memorial Contribution

Mount Pleasant Christian School

1613 Mount Pleasant Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322

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