Linda Susan Pereira

linda pereira
Linda Susan Pereira, 69 years of age, passed away peacefully on Thursday the 6th of October, at her home in McLean, Virginia. Joseph, her devoted loving husband of 48 years, and beloved and adoring daughters Michelle and Christina, were by her side as she took her final breaths. Linda was diagnosed with lung cancer one year ago and fought courageously throughout her battle.

Linda was born in Norfolk, VA to Gerald Skakal (US Navy) and Peggy Ann Lhor. She had a great passion for classical dance and from the early age of five, started her formal training at the Ballet School of Norfolk. The family moved to Washington, D.C. when Linda received a full scholarship with the National School of Ballet (1968-69). A year later, she earned another full scholarship with the Joffrey Ballet in New York City, while simultaneously attending the prestigious Professional Children's School (graduated 1970); PCS provides a challenging education for young people studying for careers in the performing and visual arts. After a career-ending injury, Linda moved back to D.C.

In 1971 The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors, and Linda began a life-long passion ushering at 18 years of age. She was present on opening night featuring the world premiere of a Requiem mass honoring President Kennedy, a work commissioned from the legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. On this night, Linda seated Mr. Bernstein himself and received a kiss from him on the cheek. Linda spent five decades as a dedicated usherette, and at the time of her death was the sole original usher. She spent her Sunday afternoons here and worked the Kennedy Center Honors annually.

Linda met her husband in 1972 on a blind date, resulting in a marriage proposal later that day. They later married in 1974 in a simple backyard ceremony amongst family and close friends. The same year, Linda earned her bachelor's degree in Sociology and Psychology from George Washington University (GWU). The newlyweds then fled to Europe for their honeymoon where they lived in Portugal and Spain for a full year and traveled throughout the continent. Linda considers 1974 her "Golden Year."

Linda was a life-long learner. She received her master's degree from GWU in Medical Sociology (1978), became certified as an ophthalmic medical technician (1980), and earned her Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate from George Mason University (2010), earning straight "A"s.

Throughout her life, Linda had many interests and wore many different hats: an educator, a Toastmaster International (her leadership roles included President and Area Governor), ophthalmology technician, girl scout leader, neighborhood watch coordinator, and a youth dance instructor (even choreographing her daughter's school talent shows!).

For over 20 years and until her retirement, she spent consulting international health organizations such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), a sister organization associated with the World Health Organization. Here, she managed research collaborating centers located in Latin and Central America, the United States and Canada. In 2005 she received the PAHO/WHO Regional Directors Award, the highest honor bestowed to one employee among thousands.

While working full-time and throughout her retirement, Linda served as a lead teacher in the Adult Community Education program of Fairfax County Public Schools serving speakers of other languages. Linda enjoyed this rewarding and purposeful role greatly and considered it her calling. She often mentored young adults with achieving their career dreams. Linda, a proud U.S. born citizen, was a firm believer that we all should be most devoted as citizens of the world; a motto she lived by.

Linda's life goal was to write her memoir, the focus of which was family life, from childhood through retirement. Passionate and determined to reach her goal, she joined many writer's groups and classes, and was part of the National Association of Memoir Writers. Even in her final months, she continued her literary efforts, completing class assignments by their deadline, in Linda's typical hardworking fashion. Her family is committed to carry out her dream by publishing her memoir.

In her final days, Linda shared that she had lived a fulfilling life with no regrets.

Articles featuring Linda:

Washington Post (2011): 40 years of ushering at the Kennedy Center

Deseret News (1996): Kennedy Center is Still a Thrill for its Veteran Ushers

Please consider donating in honor of Linda:

Research and Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in non-smokers

Linda is survived by her husband Joseph Pereira; daughters Michelle Pereira (David), and Christina Pereira (Joshua) of Vienna, Virginia; Elijah, grandson; Corinne, granddaughter; and twin grandsons Kingston and Rio.

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