ITHACA — Linda O. Warner’s graceful, joyful, generous journey through this life came to a close on Dec. 30, 2018, at Hospicare in Ithaca. She was supported, comforted, and peacefully released in the loving presence and prayers of family and friends, loved ones far and near.
Linda was born in Auburn on Nov. 14, 1947 to Olaf and Karin (Berg) Olson, who immigrated from Sweden before the Depression. She married her Union Springs High School sweetheart, Craig Warner, in 1969. In 1982, they welcomed daughter, Caitlin, into the world.
As a child, Linda aspired to be an artist, and as a young adult discovered her gift for the art of healing. She received a bachelor of science in physical therapy from Ithaca College in 1969 and began practicing her art immediately after graduation in hospital, nursing home, and private practice settings. In 1978, she found her professional home at Cornell University Health Services, where she helped to found and build the Physical Therapy Department, and set the standard for clinical excellence and personal caring for which it continues to be known today.
Everyone who worked with Linda knew her passion for the profession of physical therapy and the necessity of continuing education for all practicing physical therapists. She earned a Doctorate in physical therapy from Simmons College in 2006, while working full-time at Cornell. She completed numerous post-professional continuing educational courses, including certification through the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy, The McKenzie Institute, and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) as a Credentialed Clinical Instructor. She was a member of APTA and NYSPTA.
Over 28 years (18 as department supervisor), Linda provided care for countless Cornell students, staff, faculty and retirees. Her skill, sensitivity, compassion and optimism facilitated healing of musculoskeletal injuries, and often so much more. The reach of Linda’s healing touch extends far, wide, and into the future through the dozens of physical therapy colleagues and students whose practice has been shaped by having Linda as a teacher, mentor, and role model.
Linda was active with the Ithaca Ballet, as a student, advocate, and one of the longest serving members of its board of directors. She joined the board in 2003, served as secretary from 2005-2007, and as president from 2008-2018. Linda’s enduring commitment to the organization, passion for dance, and partnership with faculty and students was widely recognized as instrumental to helping the Ithaca Ballet thrive through times of transition.
Wherever Linda’s journey took her – from “loops” around campus, Ithaca, and any walking path she could find, to travel destinations to see family or discover new places, to inner depths through her practice of meditation and Buddhism – she went with kindness, curiosity, compassion, and delight. Her hearty laugh was a gift to all who knew her, and resounds even now for all who loved her.
Linda is survived by her husband, Craig Warner; daughter, Caitlin Turner; son-in-law, Andrew Turner; grandson, Alexander, and granddaughter, Aurora (whose birth on Christmas Eve brought joy into Linda’s last days); also by her brother, Bob Olson (sister-in-law, Nancy and niece, Lynn Henry), and extended family in the U.S. and Sweden.
A celebration in gratitude for Linda’s life will be held in the future; please go to www.bangsfuneralhome.com for further details.
Gifts in Linda’s honor may be made to Cornell Health (for Physical Therapy Professional Development), Ithaca Ballet, or Karmê Chöling (Vermont).