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Linda A. Maschka, 76 – Austin Daily Herald

Linda A. Maschka, 76

Linda Ann Maschka, 76, of Austin, MN, died May 24, 2022 at Comforcare Good Samaritan.

Linda was born April 21, 1946 in Hibbing, MN to Steve and Helen (Karisny) Becchetti. Growing up, she took dance lessons and played clarinet in the band. She graduated from Hibbing High School in 1964 and received her Bachelor of Education with a major in library science from St. Cloud State University in 1968. For two years she taught at Chaska. On August 1, 1970, she married Dennis Maschka in Hibbing, MN. They moved to Mapleton, MN, where she worked as an elementary school librarian. In 1972 they moved to Litchfield, MN, and she worked as a librarian and teacher. Subsequently, in 1975, they moved to Austin where she had been a proud resident ever since.

A lifelong educator, Linda has taught at nearly every school in the Austin area. Before having children, she worked as a full-time teacher and after being a substitute teacher for decades. She continued to spend time in the classroom as a volunteer reading specialist even after her retirement.

Linda was a devoted wife to Denny and was always happy to support his work and involvement in the community. She was always by his side planting trees with Spruce Up Austin, raising funds and distributing uniforms for Austin Youth Football and at Hormel Nature Center events. At the Nature Center, Linda ran the Tiny Tots preschool program, coordinated Pioneer Days events, and later served as a board member. When Denny chaired FreedomFest, Linda took over the management of merchandise sales and she was duly recognized for her efforts with an award that she could “sell ice cubes to popsicles”. Through Denny’s work and with the Minnesota Parks and Recreation Association, they spent many summer weekends playing softball tournaments where Linda was happy to handle the sales of t-shirts. For many years she hosted the Southern Minnesota Parks and Recreation Association Christmas party at their home and she continued to do so after Denny passed away. When Denny went into business selling the batter can stabilizers he invented, she became president of Denlin Inc. They traveled to trade shows across Minnesota and the Midwest and she ran the day-to-day operations of the business from her home.

Both were part of all the local galas and fundraisers. Linda enjoyed attending dinner dances and community events. She was also a dedicated arts advocate and patron of the performing arts in Austin and beyond. She has volunteered and supported the Matchbox Children’s Theatre, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Summerset Theater and Riverland Community College theater productions. She sold subscriptions and attended Austin’s annual Artist Series. She has devoted boundless energy to restoring the Paramount Theater through the Austin Area Commission for the Arts. Once back in business, Linda attended countless performances as a volunteer usher or concessionaire.

Linda was a committed community organizer and leader. She is a past president of the Austin Jaycee Women and through this she became a board member of the Miss Austin pageant. She coordinated donations and volunteers for the Miss Minnesota Pageant Food Committee. She spent many years working for the Good Earth Food Co-Op. She served on the board of Cedar Valley Services. At Hormel Historic Home, she was also a member of the board of directors and she enjoyed participating in all that was offered there. She spent many years with the Queen of Angels Rosary Council and served as its president. In this capacity, she organized donations for the Pope’s Closet, coordinated countless luncheons, and she and Denny were often in the kitchen preparing everything from turkey dinners to soup for the Stations of the Cross. They also hosted and led a Renew group, served as mentors and counselors to engaged couples, and she taught religious education classes through the Church.

Crafting was a lifelong pursuit for Linda. She created hundreds of original pieces and her interests ranged from cross stitch and crochet to quilting and painting. It brought her so much joy to give gifts that she made with her own hands. She loved making Christmas wreaths and beeswax candles at the Center de la nature. She got together with like-minded friends in a craft club for many years and has continued to work with friends in recent years. When Denny passed away, she turned his polo shirts into teddy bears and gave them to friends and family to remember him by.

Community and caring for people was paramount to Linda. She was deeply invested in her friends and family and always had time to catch up. She has cultivated and nurtured many close friendships, some dating back 50 years and others dating back to childhood. She remembered every detail and was always concerned about everyone’s well-being and what they were doing. Many will fondly remember having coffee and chatting with her at the kitchen table. Linda has always been interested in civics, politics, news and weather. She has belonged to many card clubs over the years. She held neighborhood garage sales, and when she was widowed, she formed a support group with other widows called Spiders. She made sure they took care of each other and arranged get-togethers to ease their loneliness.

Linda is survived by her son: Brian, Chicago, IL; his daughter Megan (Nicholas) Crouch, Austin; three grandchildren: Jakob, Shane and Kathryn Crouch, Austin; brothers: Steve (Dari) Becchetti, Fridley; David (Donna) Becchetti, New Brighton; Peter Becchetti, Hibbing; sister Tina Valentini; Chisholm; and several nieces, nephews and friends. She was predeceased by father Steve Becchetti, mother Helen Becchetti, in-laws LeRoy Maschka, George Knutson, Margaret Knutson and her husband Dennis Maschka.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 3, 2022 at St Augustine Catholic Church. Friends can call from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday before mass at the church. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.

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