The vivacious Linda Elizabeth Sayers Stiner passed away unexpectedly but peacefully on Dec. 29, 2023 at her home in Radford, Virginia.
Linda Elizabeth Sayers was born on Sept. 4, 1941 in Galax, Va. to Ruth Elizabeth Cornett and Maynard Hastin Sayers. The dark-haired, dark-eyed cutie had a difficult early life when her father passed away when she was only four, leaving her mother and her younger brothers (Maynard and Dennis) to make their way. But Linda persisted and thrived and met life with spirit and a smile.
Her childhood and high school days in Fairlawn included sled runs, sock-hops, and dates at the local Fairlawn Hobnob drive-in. Linda was the Cheerleader Captain, the Homecoming Queen, and held a position as Treasurer-Secretary on the Student Council. If there was a group, she was a part of it and usually one of the leaders. She didn’t travel far for college, attending Radford University and graduating in 1963 with a BA in Education.
Her professional life was diverse, but there was always a focus on service and helping others. She taught school in Virginia and South Carolina. She was a social worker in rural South Carolina, a training coordinator for those fighting addiction in Texas, and a director of student services for underserved Native Americans in New Mexico. She volunteered for the United Way, the National Association on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, her children’s schools, and the many churches she attended and worshipped in throughout her life.
Linda was a wonderful combination of sweet, beautiful, and sassy. She could sing, dance, and beat most men in golf. Golf was one of her passions and sport of choice, and she loved playing with friends and family with her 5-foot-nothing frame and her lifetime two holes-in-one. She was a natural at tennis and even played for a women’s softball league for a while.
She married Robert “Bobby” Bruce in 1963, and they had two children, Shannon and Rob. Linda and Bobby parted ways in 1984 and remained friends. She then married William “Bill” Stiner, and their adventures took her to New Mexico, Texas, Tennessee, and eventually back home to Radford, Virginia. Bill passed away in 2009, and Linda spent the next ten years focused on caring for her mother.
Lulu, as she became known, doted on her children and embraced and supported them throughout her life. She was a children’s accomplishment hoarder, which her daughter and son discovered after she passed. Report cards, terrible artwork, little league and ballet pictures and programs, and nonsensical stories and schoolwork. All of them were fabulous and important to Lulu. Her pride in her children extended to her grandchildren (Jake, Finn, and Lily) and she attended their extracurricular activities as much as possible and celebrated their high school achievements and college pathways.
In 2021, Linda met Jeffrey Doran. The young-at-heart couple took winding roads through life to meet randomly at their favorite restaurant, Preston’s, and they were married in May 2022. When Linda found love again at age 80, she and Jeff threw a wedding bash like they were twenty-five years old, complete with drinks, dancing, and a daring reception entry to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” That was Linda Lulu. She wanted to rock and for everyone to have a good time. She and Jeff spent their short but meaningful time together laughing, traveling, visiting family, dining with friends, volunteering, and watching the sunset on the New River with a glass of Pinot Noir. Maybe two glasses.
On every birthday, holiday, and event, you could expect a card and thoughtful, hand-written note from Lulu. The notes were dramatic, loving, and downright sappy, and it was often mentioned that she missed her calling as a writer for Hallmark movies. She meant every mushy, loving word.
She was, without a doubt, the straw that stirred the drink at gatherings, parties, and events, and her sweet nature and smile impacted family, friends, and strangers who were soon to be friends. If you’re reading this, raise a glass, and smile, and do a little dance. That’s what she would have wanted.
Surviving family members include her husband, Jeff Doran of Radford; brothers and sisters-in-law, Maynard and Sharon Sayers of Southern Pines, NC, and Dennis and Anne Sayers of HighPoint, NC; children, Shannon Bruce Stosser (Jeff) and Robert Bruce Jr (Gretchen); stepchildren, Kim Coman (Chip), Seanna Carter (Chad), Evan Stiner (Kristen), Shannon Danz (Joe), Tricia Johnson (Josh); and grandchildren, Jake Bruce, Finn Bruce, and Lily Bruce.
Visitation with the family will take place on Thursday, Jan. 4, 1 – 3 p.m. at the Mullins Funeral Home in Radford, 120 W. Main St, Radford, VA 24141. A light reception will follow at Preston’s Restaurant, 8400 River Course Dr, Radford, VA. Memorial service will be held Saturday, Jan. 27, at 3 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 135 4th Street NW, Pulaski, VA 24301. A Celebration of Life will follow at Preston’s Restaurant.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in honor of Linda Stiner to the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley, 1217 Grove Ave, Radford, VA 24141, https://www.wrcnrv.org/.
Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford is handling arrangements.