Everyone has a story. On Saturday, September 11, 2021, the employees of McGehee Davis and Associates, and friends and family, held a memorial to say goodbye to Linda Sayyah McGehee, who had passed in December of 2020. Extended family came in from out of town and a wonderful picnic was hosted at Estes Park reservoir. There were lots of stories shared, as you would imagine. One funny episode after another was acted out for eager and energetic listeners. All stories of events from Linda’s life. Memories of events that included those people who were telling the story. Everyone has a story, and we were telling Linda’s.
Linda had an inner child that was most pronounced in her two obsessions: All things Disney and The Wizard of Oz. Linda had visited the Magic Kingdom so many times that the characters would recognize her and call her by name. Every one of her nieces and nephews had a memory at Disney with her. In fact, most of the Disney related memories involved Linda. Linda loved her kids, and she loved the kid in herself.
Linda was our family historian. She memorialized and kept the history of not only our family but of our childhood in Spottsville, KY. Linda kept up with childhood relationships through social media and whenever anyone was in town, you guessed it, they stayed with Linda.
Linda had a loyalty to her extended family, and she guarded and preserved the memories of those family members. The proof of her loyalty was in the wonder of her photo albums. Cousins and friends were amazed at the memorial to find pictures of precious events in their own lives visually documented in one of her albums. That’s right, Linda wasn’t just watching, she was making sure no one would forget a moment that was important to someone she held dear.
Linda loved to play games. And you could find shelves full of games in her closet and around her house. Both our father and mother loved to play games. We grew up in Kentucky playing games with our parents and groups of friends. Our grandparents, with whom we would spend summers in Denver, took the love of games to a new level. Few things were more enjoyable to Linda than the laughter and connection that came from playing games. Be careful of trivia though, she could even shame Alex Trebek in all things Disney. Cards, dice, board games, it didn’t matter; playing games would always lead to lots of smiles, laughter, and a fair amount of gloating. It’s not just the games to remember in this memorial; remember that Linda not only guarded the inner child within herself, she helped to provide a never ending place for all of our inner children to go and not only feel safe but be celebrated.
Linda graduated from Spottsville Elementary in 1973, Henderson County High in 1979, and University of Indiana at Evansville in 1983, with a BA in early childhood education. Linda’s first career choice was to be an elementary school teacher. In 1991 Linda met Joe Sayyah, the love of her life and was married in 1993. One of life’s hardest roads to steer down was a long battle with cancer. Linda, dutiful as always, nursed Joe through his esophageal cancer until it eventually took his life in 2002. Linda had love in her life. And Linda endured suffering with that love. If you wanted to learn more about Linda, you now know what created some of that glow in her heart and what also caused the wound.
Linda didn’t play sports and was not in band or acting. In some ways Linda had an ordinary life with normal events. For those of us close to Linda, there was nothing ordinary about the loyalty she had to us. There was nothing normal about the love we had for her. I hope everyone reading this is lucky to have had Linda Sayyah McGehee in their lives. And I hope Linda is resting peacefully in eternal love, somewhere over the rainbow.