Linda Lou Chick, 78, died on February 18, 2022 at her home in Harrington, Delaware. In death, as in life, she was surrounded by family, whose devotion to her was well earned by the deep love and generosity she bestowed upon them.
Attempting to summarize Linda’s life is a little like trying to make sense of the towers of clutter on her dining room table, or in various storage closets, or filing cabinets, or on her desk. Even the tiniest slip of paper meant something to her, and don’t you dare get rid of it, she might need it again some day. Her legacy is just the same – piles of memories rather than paperwork. Doing it true justice would require volumes.
Ask anyone who knew her, and you’ll hear stories of Linda’s generosity. How she bought a car and organized their neighborhood ride-share, helped finance their education, donated liberally to their food pantry month after month. Linda, whose schedule of appointments and responsibilities at times required multiple planners, could always be depended upon to pick a stray grandchild up from school – twenty minutes late, perhaps, NPR fighting through static on the radio. Even as a young child, Linda was always giving, giving. Her earliest memories were of touring her neighborhood with a red wagon full of books, her own tiny lending library.
Linda lived her life with arms wide open, ready to enfold anyone who crossed her path. When you were with her, you were the most important person. Whatever she was doing was the most important thing.
And Linda was always doing something. She was as tireless as she was prolific. When she wasn’t designing catalogs at the print shop or running meetings in a boardroom, she was helping some friend in a crisis, sizing up pacers with her husband, Frank, or cuddling a colicky baby to sleep.
Linda was a lifelong champion for women. Her values were inspired, no doubt, by the wild and formidable spirit of her mother – named Marguerite but better known as Tussie – and the community of strong women that raised her. Over the years, Linda cultivated her own community of strong women, enjoying deep friendships akin to sisterhood. As a nurse, she cared for unwed mothers. As a business woman, she mentored countless other women to their own success.
As a mother, Linda was a figure of loving and faithful encouragement. As a wife, she was devoted. Linda was married twice – first, to her high school sweetheart, Jim Fleming, with whom she enjoyed a friendship that outlasted marriage, and ultimately to harness horseman Frank Chick, who was her perfect foil. For forty years, Frank and Linda enjoyed a partnership that was as rich and expansive as it was unlikely. Their similarities fed each other, and their differences pushed each other to grow.
Always, Linda lived in accordance with her principles, and she encouraged – or sometimes, perhaps, required – those she loved to do the same. There was always some event or fundraiser that needed staffing, and her children and grandchildren were her first call for volunteers. And you couldn’t say no to Linda, no matter how big the favor, because you knew she’d do it for you if you asked. She was the least satisfying person to come to in a conflict, because she unfailingly made you see the other side. She preached kindness, always. Empathy, always. If there was good to be done, you did it. If there were harsh words to be said, best leave well enough alone.
Even after all this, our portrait of Linda is incomplete. She was a pacifist with a high school boxing career. She read Eckhart Tolle and celebrity gossip magazines with almost equal zeal. A lifelong liberal, Linda once pushed to the front of a Trump rally in a show of support for her republican son. Linda broke up fights between teenagers she met on the street, threw extravagant Christmas parties, and was a second mother to any needful soul who crossed her path. Her loss leaves such a chasm. She will be missed every single day.
In keeping with Linda's time-honored commitment to exhaustive record keeping, the following block of text is an attempt to list every title, achievement, involvement, and accolade Linda ever earned. Readers of this obituary, do not feel pressured to scrutinize this list in detail – there’s too much here ever to fathom as an outside observer. But as your mind skips past the lines and lines of accomplishment, take a moment to imagine what it took – all the effort, all the hours – to cultivate such an impressive biography. Linda did this. She did all of this. And it was only a small part of who she was.
Chick Harness and Supply, co-owner; Graphics Unlimited, owner; Kindred Spirits, owner; Kids’ Fest: A Day for Kids, co-founder; Delaware Holistic Health Fair, co-founder; Delaware Horse Expo, founder; Wild West Days, founder; Bayhealth, Board of Directors; Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, Corporate Board, Management Committee, Program Committee - Chair; Delaware Business and Professional Women, President; Harrington Business & Professional Women, Charter Member, President; Delaware Rotary International, President; Rotary Club of Harrington - Greenwood - Felton, Charter Member, Secretary; Central & Southern Delaware Community Health Partnership, Board of Directors, Executive Committee; Delaware Community Foundation, Corporate Board, Southern Delaware Advisory Board, Fund for Women, Southern Delaware Development Committee, Grants Committee, Southern Delaware Youth Philanthropy Board - Advisor; First State Community Action Agency, President, Board of Directors; Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club, President, Board of Directors, Resource Development Committee - Chair; House of Pride, Board of Directors, Resource Development Committee; Peoples Place II, President, Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Special Events Committee; United Way of Delaware, Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Kent County Chair; Wellness Community Delaware - Kent County, Board of Directors, Advisory Committee; WOW The Nike Club of Delaware, Board of Directors; Fantastic Youth, Founder; Kids Count, County Leader; Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Selection Committee; Citizens for Lake Forest, Steering Committee; Delaware Division of the Arts, Grants Committee; Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, Sussex County Presidentʼs Advisory Council; Lake Forest Community Education Foundation, Co-founder, President, Board of Directors, Development Committee; Superstars in Education, Selection Committee; Lake Forest High School Wellness Center Advisory Committee; Career Closet, Founding Member and Advisor; Chambers of Commerce - Delaware, Central Delaware, Greater Milford; Delmarva Community Wellnet - Member; Harrington Business Association, Co-Founder, President; League of Women Voters of Greater Dover, Member; Southern Delaware Homeopathic Study Group, Co-Founder; Delaware State University, Endowment Donor; I Am My Sister’s Keeper Girl’s Youth Group, Annual Donor; Clark’s Corner of Harrington, Community Advocate for Families; Business & Professional Women, Delaware Hall of Fame; Delaware Community Foundation Fund for Women First Founders Award; Governorʼs Outstanding Volunteer Award 1997, 1998; Delmarva Rural Ministries Volunteer of the Year; United Way of Delaware Chairʼs Award; Lake Forest Education Association - Friend of Education; Friend of Delaware State University Agricultural Cooperative Extension Award; Alliance for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention - Community Advocate Award; Kids Count in Delaware Leadership Award; Peopleʼs Place Community Leader of the Year; Delaware Technical & Community College Owens Campus Alumni Association Woman of Distinction; Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club Community Service Award; Hall of Fame of Delaware Women; Association of Fundraising Professionals, Brandywine Chapter, Outstanding Philanthropic Services Award; Bayhealth Dedicated Service Award; Delaware House of Representatives Tribute for Spirit of Women’s Philanthropy; Delaware Tech International Women’s Day Honoree; Greater-Milford Boys and Girls Club From the Heart Award; Association of Fundraising Professionals Philanthropic Service Award; Delmarvalous Women Award
Linda is survived by her husband, Frank Chick, Sr.; seven children and their spouses, James Fleming, Robert and Robin Fleming, Becky Fleming, Scott and Stephanie Fleming, Frank Jr. and Kimberly Chick, Kati and Joe Kline Jr, and Samuel Chick; mother-in-law, Nancy McManemon; sister-in-law and her wife, Mercie Chick and Yvonne Gibson; fifteen grandchildren, Erin Tucker, Jess Cortellino, Rachel Silkworth, Bret Fleming, Bethany Gray, Alexandra Fleming, Lauren Fleming, Dean Fleming, Seth Fleming, Elle Chick, Joseph Kline III, Anna Chick, Luke Kline, Frank Chick III, and Marion Jane Kline; ten great-grandchildren; and many horses.
A public memorial will be held at the Harrington Fire Hall on Friday, March 18th from 11:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Lake Forest Community Education Foundation, Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club, or one of the many scholarship funds being created in Linda's name.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Thomas E. Melvin & Son Funeral Home, please visit us at www.melvinfuneralhome.com to express or send condolences.