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Linda Smith Mallan, of Rumson, NJ, died peacefully on November 24, 2021 at King James Nursing Home in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, due to complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. She was 77 years old.

Linda was born in 1943 to Ann Betts and Stewart Pardee Smith, of Skaneateles, NY. As a young person, she was a cheerleader and spent summers sailing on Skaneateles Lake. For her senior year of high school, Linda moved with family friends to live on the island of Mallorca, Spain. Her time there ignited a life-long love of languages and travel. In 1965, she graduated from Syracuse University where she majored in French and joined Gamma Phi Beta sorority. After college, she taught French and Spanish in Stamford, CT, where she met and then married Thomas A. Mallan, Sr. They lived in Scarsdale, NY, Chestertown, MD, and have spent the last 40 years in Rumson, NJ.

Linda was a member of St. George’s-by-the-River Church, where she arranged flowers with the Altar Guild and sang in the choir. She often brought altar linens home and patiently let them soak in her laundry sink. As her illness progressed, her fellow choir members shepherded her through navigation of complex liturgy with immeasurable grace and kindness. She was picked up and returned home every Sunday, humming and happy.

Linda was also a member of the Rumson Garden Club. In perhaps the only competitive interaction of her life, she enthusiastically participated in flower arranging competitions, occasionally winning blue ribbons and silver bowls. She loved her garden but loved even more when friends shared cuttings or divisions of each other’s plants. She had a special fondness for the times when young members came to her garage for advice with arrangement submissions, to borrow a pot, or take home bouquets and clippings. She had an orchid hospital in her greenhouse and always took in strays, regularly nursing recalcitrant, near-dead plants back to bloom.

After her husband Tom’s death in 2007, Linda enthusiastically said Yes to traveling, especially to exotic locations. On one of the trips that her grandchildren have dubbed “Mom-Mom’s Axis of Evil Tour,” she had an experience that she talked about for the remainder of her memory. In a park in Tehran, Iran, she saw a small group of young girls posing and taking pictures of each other, as teenagers do. She tried to ask them if they wanted a photo all together but, not understanding her offer and trepidatious around strangers, they declined. Twenty minutes later, they saw her again and, having figured out what she was offering, took her up on it. She used their phones to take pictures of all of them together while they hammed for the camera. Those kids gave her a multicolored string friendship bracelet that she wore until it disintegrated. And then she crazy-glued it back together to wear even longer. She was fundamentally sure that all people just wanted to be friends.

She is pre-deceased by her husband Tom, and her parents, Dr. Stewart P. and Mrs. Anne B. Smith. She is survived by her children Tracey Mallan Kane (Bill), Maggie Mallan Traut (Steve), Tom Mallan, five grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and her brothers, Doug Smith (Bev) and Roger Smith (Susan).

Linda’s family would like to extend loving gratitude to the staff at CareOne at King James Nursing Home in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, The Atria Assisted Living in Tinton Falls, NJ, and most especially Ruby Thornton who brought so much joy to the years of Mom’s decline, for their care, kindness, and genuine concern during her time with them.

A funeral service will be held at St. George’s by-the-River, Rumson, NJ, on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, https://alzfdn.org/, or the Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs Foundation, which supports individuals in discovering their interest in manufacturing and encourages the pursuit of a manufacturing career, https://www.nutsandboltsfoundation.org/.

Thompson Memorial Home of Red Bank, NJ has been entrusted with the arrangements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bruce S. Thompson, Owner & Manager, NJ LIC #3740

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