Linda Gale Payne Scarce

September 26, 1939 - February 17, 2024


Obituary For Linda Gale Payne Scarce

On February 17, 2024 our mother, Linda Gale Payne Scarce, 84, departed this life peacefully in her sleep and was welcomed into the kingdom of heaven.

Linda was born in Whitmell, VA, to Weldon Payne and Eliza Bradner Payne. She graduated from Whitmell Farm Life School as valedictorian of her class and went on to receive degrees with honors from Stratford College (BA History 1959), Longwood College (BS Education 1961) and Virginia Tech/ Radford College (Masters of Science in Education 1963). She was a hard worker, organized, intelligent and a voracious reader. While a student, she worked to pay her way through all three colleges.

Linda married her high school sweetheart, Kenneth (KC) Scarce in 1961, living in a small cabin without running water or a bathroom for a year. When KC joined the US Conservation Service they moved to Harrisonburg, VA, where Linda taught history at James Madison University and started a family. She loved the Shenandoah Valley and while there created a branch of the program Project Concern, which helps lift people out of poverty.

Later she and KC moved to Chatham, VA, where he taught at Hargrave Military Academy and she enjoyed raising her children, reading to them, throwing themed parties, and cooking wonderful meals. She always had fun, creative activities for us and even ran an in home preschool when we were small. Every holiday was special and she decorated and baked to celebrate each one.

Eventually Linda moved with her family back to Whitmell and started teaching again, this time at Sutherlin Academy, Mount Hermon Elementary and later at Blairs Middle, spending summers working on the family tobacco farm. She adored teaching, loved her students and rarely missed a day of school, receiving an annual plaque for perfect attendance almost all of her 30 years. Her students loved her and would often reach out to tell her she was their favorite teacher of all time.

“Linda” means beautiful in Spanish and she was every bit of that inside and out. Her charisma, sense of humor, sharp wit, laughter and adventurous spirit made her the best mom. She could talk to anyone about anything and did.

She was also full of advice that has served us well over the years. The best of all was “dare to be different,” and she led by example. She believed in equality and fairness, though she was quick to tell you that nothing in this world was fair. She also believed the two things you should care for the most were your teeth and your feet and she took care of hers, as well as ours, brushing them for us as kids. Her brilliant smile was gorgeous right up until the end.

Linda stressed the importance of hard work, education, saving our money and doing our best. She also emphasized good manners and good grammar and would correct us on the spot. She was incredibly good at proofreading our school papers. She expected the best from her students and us, and she got it. She encouraged us to travel, try new things and be independent; to follow our dreams no matter where they led.

Linda had three passions: her children, her health and her dancing. She exercised daily doing aerobics, weights, or treadmill. She had a home gym before they existed; she loved music and was a fabulous dancer who danced as much as she could for joy and exercise. She introduced healthy cooking to our family before it was a thing, making her own yogurt, grinding wheat for her own bread, canning garden veggies and raising bean sprouts in jars. She was always sneaking wheat germ into our desserts.

She loved traveling and trying new things, but her favorite times were those spent at her beach cottage on the Outer Banks, where she would spend hours walking the beach and watching the birds. We spent many happy days there together.

In 2010 Linda moved to Sunrise Senior Living of North Hills in Raleigh and the staff and residents there became her family and friends. We want to thank the caregivers there for treating our mother with such love, kindness and respect. Mom loved the people around her always giving them a smile or a compliment. She participated in all activities, walked daily and was always ready to dance when there was music.

Our mother taught us valuable lessons, including the importance of compassion and empathy with others. She taught us to treat everyone with the same respect regardless of skin color or economic condition and to stand up for the underdogs along the way; but more importantly, she taught us how to move in the world with kindness and grace, despite whatever went on around us.

Watching mom lose her memory over 15 years was a long, painful goodbye but she faced it with courage and love. When dementia robbed our mother of her ability to speak, she smiled her beautiful smiles and whenever music played, she would move to the beat. She danced until she could not walk and then she danced from her wheelchair. We believe she is dancing now.

Linda is survived by her daughter and caregiver of 14 years, Stephanie Scarce Goldstein (Benjamin) of Raleigh, NC, son, Jonathan Scarce (Christina) of Newberry, SC, daughter, Courtney Murphy (Daniel), granddaughter, Sophia Murphy of Roanoke, TX, sister, Suzanne Auckerman of Bridgewater, VA, and her best friend/cousin, Earl Tuck, of Danville, VA, who stood by her all these years.

A private graveside service will be held at the Scarce Family Cemetery and a Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a later date. Renaissance Funeral Home in Raleigh, NC, is respectfully serving the Scarce family and online condolences can be made at https://rfhr.com

Contributions in Linda’s honor may be made to her favorite charity, the SPCA of Pittsylvania County or to Dementia Alliance of NC.

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  • March 11, 2024

    Dear Stephanie, Beautiful obituary...I remember your Mom fondly from childhood and will keep you all in my prayers. Love, Tracey Johnson Yeaman

  • March 05, 2024

    Sending so much love to you and the journey ahead.

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