Woodstock – Linda Wishart (Smith) Chase, 81, of Route 169, died Saturday afternoon, March 26, 2022, at home. She was born in Flushing, NY to the late George and Katharine (Hayden) Smith; and was the beloved wife of W. Thomas Chase, whom she wed in 1962 in Bolton, Connecticut at the First Congregational Church.
Linda held a B.A. from Oberlin College (Phi Beta Kappa) and an M.S.L.S. from the Columbia University’s School of Library Science. Her career included work in Columbia University’s Thomas J. Watson Library, the Library of Congress’ Congressional Reference Service, the University of Maryland’s McKeldin Library, and the American University Library in Washington, DC from which she retired as Assistant University Librarian in 2003. During her long and accomplished tenure at A.U., Linda supervised the transition from the purchase and cataloging of all print materials to an almost all digital library collection. She coordinated a large library materials budget and was responsible for a cluster of teams comprised of 6 library faculty, 21 full-time staff, and 12 part-time student assistants. Her strong sense of humor and great common sense were cherished by her colleagues. She generously mentored each newly hired librarian and was always there to answer questions and guide them to success.
Linda was an avid reader, enjoyed needlepoint, crossword puzzles, and travel. She was a member of the L’Apres Midi Club, First Congregational Church of Woodstock, a volunteer for the Center for Woodstock History where she acted as the head of exhibitions, and the American Library Association. Among her publications are entries on Currier, Ives, and Wallace Nutting in American National Biography (Oxford, 1998).
For many years Linda was a beloved volunteer at Historic New England’s Roseland Cottage, helping wherever help was needed. As a guide, her ability to communicate, her warmth, her thorough knowledge of the house and the Bowen family and her empathy and understanding made her tours extraordinary. She was a dedicated participant in the less serious events at Roseland, demonstrating suffragist parasol defense, portraying an elegant Victorian hostess, personifying perhaps the first Steam Punk librarian, and appearing to hundreds of trick-or-treaters as mustachioed pastry chef.
Linda is survived by her husband of 59 years, Tom Chase; her children, Katharine Chase of Falls Church, VA, Samuel Chase of Fairhaven, MA, and Ellen Chase and her wife Jesse of Grayson, GA; and her four grandchildren, Henry Campbell, Finnleigh Chase, Skylar Chase, and Wesley Chase. She was predeceased by her brother, David Smith and her sister, Marcia Stiehl.
A memorial service is being planned for 1 PM on May 28, at the First Congregational Church of Woodstock. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Gilman Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Church St., Putnam, CT. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the National Ovarian Cancer Society (https://ovarian.org). For memorial guestbook visit www.GilmanAndValade.com.