Linda Jane Vogel was born Linda Jane Baker, into a Santa Fe Railroad family. She was raised in Topeka, Kan., the eldest of three daughters, and graduated from Boston University School of Education in 1963. Her advanced theological work was at both Garrett Theological Seminary and Andover Newton. She earned a master of religious education degree, cum laude, in 1964. Her PhD, in adult education/gerontology from the University of Iowa, was completed in 1981.
In September 1965 the Vogels moved to Le Mars, Iowa, where they both taught at Westmar College. That year they adopted their first child, Peter Jonathan, who lives locally in the family home. They became legal guardians of their second, but eldest son, Mark Stephen, in 1966, and adopted their daughter, Kristin Deborah, in 1967.
While living in Le Mars Linda was one of the original organizers of a rural hospice—one of the first in the country—as well as being one of the original founders and first president of the city’s League of Women Voters chapter.
One of the Westmar students and Linda were appointed together to minister to the people of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Dubuque, Iowa. They then joined the faculty at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary.
Her published books include “Helping a Child Understand Death,” “The Religious Education of Older Adults,” “Rituals for Resurrection,” and “Teaching and Learning in Communities of Faith.” With her husband she published “Sacramental Living: Falling Stars and Coloring Outside the Lines” and “Syncopated Grace: Times and Seasons with God.”
Linda was known for her inclusive hospitality going back to her days at Westmar, where her house was called “the home with the smiling front door.” Linda was a member of the Order of Saint Luke and served as the local prior of the order.
At Pilgrim Place she co-organized a major program, training and assigning patient advocates to assist seniors in coping with their health care. This advocacy affected systems as well as individuals, as she worked for patient-first approaches to health care for seniors and improvements in the culture of medical facilities. She served at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center as a member of the facility’s Patient and Family Advisory Council and worked closely there on new protocols in trauma and emergency care.
Linda was an ordained deacon of the United Methodist Church and had a distinguished career as a minister, professor of Christian education, activist and author.
She and Dwight were married for 58 years. They moved to Claremont in 2005 after Ms. Vogel’s retirement as professor emerita of Christian education at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary near Chicago while keeping their beloved Black Hills of South Dakota home.
Linda was an active participant in the life and work of Custer (S.D.) Lutheran Fellowship and a strong supporter of the work of the Hill City Arts Council. Several receptions for the Vogels were hosted at Warrior’s Work Gallery by longtime friends Randy Berger and Jana Emil, whose framing work adorns the walls of their home. Linda was a devoted “roady” for the French Creek Folk in which her husband played. She had a host of friends throughout the Black Hills.
Linda died peacefully ,Nov. 8, 2017, in Claremont, Calif., six weeks after a surprise diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. She was 77. She and her husband, Rev. Dwight Vogel, summered near Medicine Mountain (Calif.) for 45 years.
She is survived by her husband, Dwight; sisters, Helen Bliege and Kathy Thornburg; three children and their families, including three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, as well as a host of other “adopted” family members, and a great many former students and close friends from around the world.
Linda requested memorial gifts be made to a scholarship program for LGBTQI youth administered by Claremont United Methodist Church at claremontumc.net; Pilgrim Place Residents Health and Support Fund at pilgrimplace.org; or the Dwight and Linda Vogel Scholarship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at garrett.edu.
Family and friends participated in Memorial services in California and Illinois.