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Linda Lee Hemstreet
September 13, 1950 ~ January 16, 2024 (age 73) 73 Years Old
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Linda Lee Hemstreet (73) died in the quiet predawn hours of Tuesday, January 16th 2024 at the Solace Hospice Center in Asheville, NC. The love of her life, husband Juan Gerardo Balderas, held her hand as she transitioned from the love of his touch to the embrace and care of His perfect love. Linda was born on September 13, 1950 in Kokomo, Indiana.
Linda is preceded in death by her parents, Don and Betty Hemstreet. She is survived by her husband Gerardo and their beloved dog, “Gracie”. She is also survived by her brothers; Don Hemstreet (Joy), Dave Hemstreet (Chris), Bill Hemstreet (Carolyn) and Tom Hemstreet (Donna) and her sister Sally Crawford (Jim) as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Linda’s professional life was devoted to nursing. She was a graduate of Florida State University’s School of Nursing. After short times working at hospitals in St. Kitts, Jacksonville, FL, and Grady Memorial in Atlanta, she moved to Asheville and worked for 30 years in nursing at Mission Hospital. She was detail oriented and diligent in her duties. As a nurse, Linda believed that nursing involves more than the technical aspects of the healing arts. She believed that infirmity not only affects the body but the mind and soul. She viewed each patient (and every person) through the lens of Genesis 1:27. Her soft voice, gentle manner, empathy and compassion treated the whole patient. Linda was a diligent advocate for nursing and patients. At Mission, she started the Integrative Care program. She also started the Relaxation Station that brought soothing images and music to the bedside of patients. She served as the director of the Women’s Resource Center at Mission. Linda was a skilled educator and taught the nurses at Mission Hospital the Clinipac system as the hospital transitioned from paper to electronic medical records. She carried her skills and passion beyond the walls of Mission. She volunteered at the Congregational Health Care whose services included elder care, foot care and nursing care in the Shiloh community. At night, she would teach men to read in the church basement. She finished her career at MAYHEC and as an elder care nurse at the Brooks Howell Assisted Living Center. Linda was a long time member of the PEO Sisterhood, Chapter AQ in Asheville. PEO’s have a mission of helping women with loans and scholarships to pursue post-secondary education goals and dreams.
If anyone loved to travel it was Linda. She explored the world visiting Europe several times, touring the Holy Land and Egypt, and traveling with her husband to Mexico. She loved visiting national parks, museums, and historical sites. Frequent traveling companions were good friends and family members.
Linda had a passion for nature and was an avid “birder.” She often traveled with her sister, Sally, to places all over the southeast in search of new sightings. That passion carried them from the coast of North Carolina to Dauphin Island on Mobile Bay to witness the great migrations. Of all the places they traveled for birding, her favorite was the woods on the family property west of Asheville. She would sit on the deck at the house, with binoculars in her hand and “Gracie” by her side, enjoying the beauty of that place. At the time of her death, she was working with her siblings in establishing that land as a conservation easement. It will soon be completed and named the Dolph Cove Conservation Easement.
A celebration of life service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church on February 3rd at 11:00AM. Please, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Linda’s name to the Manna Food Bank (www.mannafoodbank.org). Linda’s family would like to thank the health care teams that provided excellent care during her cancer journey. Thanks are extended to the nursing staff along with Dr. Timothy Vanderkwaak of Hope Women’s Cancer Center who directed her care for several years. The nursing staff and doctors of Mission Hospital were so great in caring for her in her crisis days near the end including the Cardiac ICU at Mission (especially Cager, RN), Care Partners Rehabilitation Asheville (Dr. Joy Deguzman and Ivy) and Margie at Care Partners Hospice Solace Center.
This Thanksgiving, the family will gather at Dolph Cove. In those woods, barren of leaves, her ashes will be carried up the “stairway to heaven” and placed next to our two saints that preceded her. With time, spring will arrive. The trees will green and bird song will fill the air, a symphony for her ears. All of this, part of His promise of new life and a reminder of His grace and the assurance of resurrection.