Linda Nyoka Kurtz

Former Gillette resident Linda Nyoka Kurtz, 77, of Story died Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, at Billings Clinic Hospital in Billings, Montana.

Services begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Story Community Church with the Rev. John Constantine and a reception location to be announced after the service.

She was born Aug. 24, 1943, in Paris, Arkansas.

In her life, she accomplished so much more than most would have expected a self-described “poor little barefoot girl from Arkansas” to accomplish.

She traveled the world, in the process fulfilling her dream of dancing at the Lido in Paris with her beloved husband of 41 years, John.

She raised two kids who, despite their best efforts, managed to make it to adulthood and she took an active role in the lives of her grandchildren, teaching them the importance of independence as well as the art of swearing.

She gave her love freely and without conditions and held a special place in her heart for too many people to count, including dozens of nieces, nephews and cousins, as well as many others unrelated by blood, who she thought of as family.

Though she exuded both love and generosity, she was never one to let go of a good grudge. As a result, she had a few enemies, chief among them olive oil and any bread that wasn’t highly processed and unnaturally white.

There is so much more that should be said about her, like how generous she was, how she was a dancer, a bartender and the owner of an “antique” store called the Red Barn, three jobs that allowed her to do two of her favorite activities: making friends with strangers and showing off a little cleavage.

Mrs. Kurtz was a political savant, armed with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of seemingly every politician in the country. She also was an avid reader, watcher of reality TV, hunter of treasures and giver of advice that even when unsolicited, was usually irritatingly correct.

Mrs. Kurtz was not afraid of death. She understood that it was something we all must face and that there was no sense in shying away from it. Her acceptance of death does not make losing her any easier.

Nonetheless, her family grieves and also celebrates the woman who cared for, championed and pushed them to become the best people they could be.

Her final weeks were spent enjoying nature and watching animals from her front porch, a glass of Pepsi to her right, a cigarette in her mouth and a dog on her lap.

To describe her concisely is almost impossible, but if it had to be done then it would be to say that she loved, was loved and will be dearly missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Sheridan Dog and Cat Shelter, 84 E. Ridge Road, Sheridan, WY 82801.

Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with local arrangements.

Online condolences may be written at kanefuneral.com or attached to the obituary at gillettenewsrecord.com.

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