Linda Cummings Deliduka, teacher, foster parent, advocate
I was given the gift of life. The time has come for it to be returned. This has been difficult for me to do. After surviving breast cancer and having two hips recently replaced, I feel as though I have more things to accomplish. More places to travel to. More people to introduce to each other. More families and children to help. I have been a lucky woman. Lucky to be a part of a large, extended and loving family. Lucky to have kind, caring, and compassionate children and grandchildren. I am blessed to be part of a large cohort of friends and colleagues that are loyal, supportive and enduring. I could not have accomplished anything without YOU in my life. For this I am grateful. Today is a beautiful day. I am sad to be leaving, but happy to have been here. Some final thoughts,
Women, be STRONG.
For those that want to dance on my grave, be prepared, your feet will get wet.
Teeny tiny fires do result in change; it all depends on proper placement.
Linda Cummings Deliduka, a native of Burlington, Vermont, left an indelible mark on the city that made her proud. She was a master at engaging, connecting and mentoring others in community issues whether it be at the neighborhood, city, state, or national level. After celebrating International Women’s Day while wearing a “Ruth Sent Me” hat and enjoying sips of a margarita with her family, Linda died peacefully at home on March 10, 2021 from uterine cancer.
Linda lived nearly her entire life in the Queen City. She was born August 21, 1942 at the Mary Fletcher Hospital, the first child of M. Baxter Cummings, Jr. and Rae Sheehan Cummings. Linda attended Taft School followed by Edmonds Junior and Senior High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont in 1964. Linda was a lifelong advocate of children, educators, families, and the New North End community.
“Mrs. D” was a public school teacher her entire career. After a short period in the Rutland Public School System, she returned to Burlington to raise her children and teach in the Burlington public elementary schools. Her teaching career lasted decades during which she taught hundreds of children at S.W Thayer, H.O Wheeler, Lawrence Barnes, and Champlain Elementary schools. Linda’s advocacy for children continued outside of the classroom as a member of the U.S. Department of Education Region 1 Advisory Committee on Education of At-Risk Youth appointed by Governor Madeleine Kunin; as a longstanding foster parent for numerous at-risk youth (John, Jon, Alan, Mayumi, Imani); and by raising her granddaughter. Later in life, Linda was a member of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty and an active and longstanding member of Vermont Kin as Parents (VKAP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and guiding Kinship caregivers in the raising of Vermont children.
Linda was an ardent lifelong supporter of professional educators and retired Vermont teachers. She was an active member of the Burlington Education Association (BEA) throughout her teaching career, representing her colleagues as School Representative, Executive Committee member, Vice President, and President of the BEA. Linda was also a longstanding member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an International Society for Key Women Educators.
Following her retirement, Linda’s support of active and retired professional educators continued in the National Education Association (NEA), serving as Delegate to the Vermont NEA, Legislative Liaison to the Vermont NEA, State Representative to the National NEA and Peer Trainer in the National NEA’s National Women’s Leadership Training Program.
Linda also continued to advocate on behalf of retired educators as an active member of the Vermont Retired Educators Association (Vermont Retired Teachers Association), the Board of Trustees of the Vermont State Teacher’s Retirement System (VSTRS) and the Vermont Pension Investment Committee (VPIC).
Linda brought new meaning to the phrase “all politics are local.” She was a lifelong active member of the Burlington Democratic Party and served in several elected positions including the Ward 7 Commissioner of the Burlington School Board, Inspector of Elections, and Ward 7 Clerk. Linda was proud to have participated in the Burlington Women’s Council and was a longstanding member of the Ward 4/7 Neighborhood Planning Assembly (NPA). Linda’s approach to political involvement and advocacy could be best categorized as practical and workable with common sense prevailing. She envisioned and worked to realize the possibility of having things be, not simply better, but the best they could be. She strongly advocated for providing city services to Burlington’s New North End, including enhanced bus service, safe crosswalks, and support for the aging population including low-income seniors.
Throughout her life Linda was proud to have actively volunteered in and supported numerous local organizations including Rights and Democracy Vermont, Sara M. Holbrook Community Center, Spirit member (Usher) for the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington International Games, Project Harmony, and the Caswell Credit Union (Members Advantage Community Credit Union). Linda was a longtime supporter and season ticket holder of the University of Vermont Women’s Basketball team.
Linda’s advocacy for social empowerment extended beyond the Burlington community through her participation and leadership in Community of Vermont Elders (COVE), a private non-profit organization dedicated to serving and ensuring the dignity, security and well-being of older Vermonters.
Preceding Linda in death are her parents Rae and Baxter; daughter-in-law, Lani Deliduka; and sister-in-law, Connie Cummings. Linda leaves behind her children (and grandchildren): Stuart and Michelle Deliduka (Leanne and Bao); Bennet Deliduka; Steven Deliduka and Bethanee Schlosser (Clara and Sylvia); and Sharon Surprise (Neisha); her former spouse Barry Deliduka and his partner Virginia Carreiro; her four siblings: Anne Riddell, Paul Cummings, Peter Cummings, and Rick Cummings and his wife, Kathy Digwood. Linda will miss her numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and large extended family.
Linda’s family especially thank and are eternally grateful to the following people for their dedication and outpouring of love during Linda’s hospice care: Gloria, CarrieRae, numerous nurses, and LNAs of Bayada Home Health Care; Beth of Home Instead; and Lexi, Theresa, Gladys, and Pat of Visiting Angels Vermont. These dedicated home care professionals allowed Linda to pass at home on her own terms with dignity.
Lastly, Linda will especially miss her DKG sisters and her place at the table for Friday morning breakfasts and Monday lunches with her friends and collaborators. You know who you are. Her family thanks you for being such an influential, enduring, and meaningful part of her life. Many thanks to the Pearl Street Dinner, Bagel Café and Deli, Athen’s Diner, Upper Deck, and the Guilty Plate Diner for your hospitality.
By Linda’s decree, a public celebration of her life will be held when it can be done safely in-person in the spring/summer of 2022 in Burlington. Family, friends, foes, accomplices, mentees, students, and members of the many groups, organizations, and associations to which Linda belonged will all be welcome.
As a lasting remembrance of Linda’s dedication to Vermont families, please consider a tax-deductible charitable donation to the “Linda Deliduka TTF Fund” c/o Vermont Kin As Parents (VKAP) at 1205 North Avenue, Box#13 Burlington, VT 05408.
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