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Linda J. Stedman

Posted By Wendy On September 28, 2015 @ 11:56 am In Obituaries | 5 Comments

In Memorial


Danielson – Linda J. Stedman, beloved Woodstock Academy teacher, friend, cat-lover, and former investment banker, passed in the early hours of September 26, 2015 after waging a battle with cancer. Born in Vermont on September 18, 1946, she is survived by her brother Kenneth A. Stedman of Wolfeboro Falls, NH; her best friend of 47 years, Emily Meschter, of New York, NY; and a slew of devoted friends. Her dear mother, Olive (Riley) Stedman and her father Winwood “Steady” Stedman predeceased her.

Linda was brilliant, and her exceptional intelligence, quest for knowledge, dedication to education, perseverance, and unparalleled independence made her memorable and irreplaceable. Linda spent her early career as an investment banker, becoming a full partner at Drexel Burnham.

Teaching was her true calling, however, and in 1991 Linda left Wall Street, having blazed a trail for other women. After being given credit for a year at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, life experiences, and self-study, Linda was awarded a diploma from Empire College in New York, NY. She then earned her Master’s in Education at Harvard, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After a year of teaching in Massachusetts, Linda took a position teaching history at Woodstock Academy in 1994.

She will be long remembered by the more than 2,000 students who were fortunate enough to sit in her classroom over the course of her over-twenty years at the Academy. Linda’s classes were famous for their rigor, and she encouraged students to achieve at levels they may not always have believed themselves capable of attaining. Students who survived her AP US history “boot camp,” were said to have been “Stedmanized,” able to breeze through later classes with the strong work ethic and analytical skills she inculcated in them. She also passed on a love of learning, of books, and intellectual conversation. In the words of one of her students, “Ms. Stedman taught me more than history, she taught me how to think.”

Linda will also be missed by her colleagues and friends at Woodstock Academy. Her no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is attitude, which could never quite camouflage her tender heart, endeared her to so many. She was mentor and friend to countless teachers and inspired them to challenge students and themselves to be the best teachers they could. She will be missed.

A celebration of Linda J. Stedman’s life will take place in the commons at Woodstock Academy on October 17th at 2 p.m. All are welcome to attend and share stories of Linda’s acerbic wit, wicked humor, and keen intellect.

Condolences for the family of “Linda J. Stedman”

Condolence from Megan Park on September 29th, 2015 10:32 am

Ms. Stedman was one of my all time favorite teachers. I’d never had a teacher that inspired me as much as she did, to push harder, learn more and love history. She was an amazing woman in so many ways and will truly be missed.

Condolence from Sarah Dennehy on September 30th, 2015 1:13 am

Although i did not have Ms. Stedman as a teacher at Woodstock Academy I saw her as my friend when running into her in the hallways. I will miss her adoring smile and her great love for her students. I admired her very much and she will be very missed! my condolences to her family and other friends.

Condolence from Paul Graseck on October 5th, 2015 10:26 am

Linda was a true original, no one’s copy. When she was hired to teach at Woodstock Academy, those of us on the hiring committee were bowled over by her erudition and humor. She had us laughing almost immediately, and then we began to witness her deep desire to work with young people, to share her passion for history with them. To hire Linda was an easy decision. As the years rolled by and we got to know her better, Linda claimed she could often do the New York Times crossword puzzle in twenty minutes. Amazing! She probably could. My daughter was in awe of her intelligence and effective teaching. To Linda’s close friends and members of her family, I offer my condolences. She will indeed be missed, but the many students she inspired to be inquisitive and engaged in learning will continue to owe her a debt of gratitude, and her teaching buddies know they have been touched by a lovely spirit and a master educator who will serve as a model for how a love of learning can be transformed into artful and soulful teaching.

Condolence from Linzee Glennon on October 12th, 2015 9:54 am

I had Ms. Stedman my freshman year… and there were some distinct things about her, her classroom, and they way she taught that will forever be stuck in my head. The smell of her classroom never changed. To me it smelt like cigarettes, although I don’t know if she smoked or not. Her laugh, the sound of her laugh will always be remembered, she would laugh real hard and then cough, and then laugh some more. Then, there was the way she taught. She was a strict teacher, and I believe that was one of my favorite things about her, she never let anyone get away with anything, and it made for an enjoyable class, even though I wasnt a fan of History. She helped change that, too. My hate for ancient History slowly faded, as my love for it grew while I was in her class. Even after I left her class, I would see Ms. Stedman around the halls of the school or in the cafeteria with her cane, getting her lunch… and no matter what she was up to, she always made an effort to make me feel noticed and cared for. If I ever had a problem, she was one of the first people I went to fir advice, or even just to vent. She was always there for me, and she always gave the best advice, even if she was just saying “get on your high horse and show the world what you can do!” When I told people that I had Ms. Stedman for World History freshman year, a lot of people cringe… but when people tell me, that they have Ms. Stedman, I smile in delight, tell them to put their thinking caps on, and tell them to reach out for help whenever they feel they need it, because Ms. Stedman was the best for that!
Overall, as you can see, Ms. Stedman will be missed by many, especially me. I never got the chance to thank her for everything she did for me, but I know she is watching over every single one of us. My prayers go out to her family and friends, as they mourn the death of a very beautiful, and special woman. God Bless!

Condolence from Trevor Lewis on October 18th, 2015 6:11 pm

I met Linda 36 years ago in 1979 when I joined the firm of Drexel Burnham Lambert where she worked. Like me, Linda was not a natural fit in the shark-eat-shark world of investment banking. First, she was far too kind and lovely a person; second, she did not have a Masters Degree in Business Administration, the sine qua non for entry into the world of investment banking, and third, she was a woman in a male-dominated profession. Yet, she worked her way up from administrative assistant to partner at Drexel, the first woman partner at the firm and one of the very few on Wall Street at that time. Linda and I left Wall Street behind in 1990, bur our friendship remained.

After Wall Street, Linda went to Harvard, having gotten 800s on her SATs, where she earned a Masters Degree in Education and was inducted into the phi beta kappa society. She then began a career as a teacher, her true calling. To call Linda a tough teacher is, I think, a slight mischaracterization. She was a challenging teacher. She challenged her students to be the best they could be, to think for themselves, to understand the value of history and the value of learning throughout life, and she did so with kindness, humor, and a singular intellect. While they may not have realized it at the time, the students who sat in her classroom were the beneficiaries of a great gift.

For my 40th birthday, Linda gave me a box she exquisitely needlepointed. The card inside said, “This is a treasure box. You must keep in it little mementos of the people and things which make life sweet. Then on days when it seems the sky is falling, you can open your treasure box and smile.” I do just that, Linda, and every time I open it, I think of you, and smile.

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