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Crown Harbor Homeowner Association

In Memory Of Thomas Linney (1924 — 2013)

tom Born and raised in San Francisco, Thomas Linney, a 32-year resident of Alameda, passed away peacefully at age 89. He was the son of the late James and Ardelle (Walcott) Linney. Thomas is survived by his loving wife Joyce of 61 years and his beloved sons Kenneth (his wife Carol), Douglas (his wife Susan), and Warren. He was a cherished grandfather to Aileen, Olivia, Erin, Brietta, and Spenser. Tom graduated from UC Berkeley in electrical engineering. After his career, he and his wife Joyce retired to Alameda. For 35 years, Tom enjoyed sailing the Bay and Delta on the Double Eagle, his Columbia 29 sloop. Tom especially loved the warm sunshine and friends he made during their winter sojourns to Baja California. An avid fan of traditional Dixieland jazz, Tom was a regular at the monthly High Street Station performances of "And That's Jazz."

Eulogy delivered by Douglas Linney on February 2, 2013

three sons

Intro

  • My mom and dad had three sons. When we were little kids, people would ask my mom: "How do you do it with three boys?" I didn't know what they meant but would think: Lady, if you think three is a lot, you should see Uncle Ed's family. Anyway, I'm the middle son, Douglas.

  • I want to start by thanking everyone for coming out today and giving my dad a proper send off.

  • It would probably bother him that everyone was making such a fuss over him like this, but on the other hand... He'd be happy to see everybody today and wouldn't be satisfied until he had a chance to visit with each and every one of you. And you could be sure he'd have something to tease you about.

  • Dad loved to tease people and see how they would react — what they would come back with. If you were good with the comeback, there would be more where that came from. He called it heckling. We would sometimes call it needling.

argue
...followed by laughter.

Early life

  • Dad's mother died when he was still in his teens. There were seven kids in his family. As the second oldest, he played a big role in taking care of his younger brothers and sisters. The experience forever forged who he was — no doubt making the bonds with his brothers and sisters even stronger than they would have been otherwise. Later when my parents were thinking about having kids, my mom said he would joke about whether he was ready to raise a second family.

  • For a long time when I was growing up, I thought Dad and Uncle Jim didn't like each other. I mean, they were always arguing. They'd verbally battle for what seemed like hours punctuated only by roars of laughter when someone would get off a good zinger. Eventually I realized that was the way they shared their love of each other — the competition of wits.

  • My dad would spend hours coming up with gags for various family members, but his brother Jim was always his favorite target.

sailing

Sailing

  • Sailing was my dad's sport. He had a sailboat during college and my mom said that for him, his sailboat was like a car was like to other guys his age. Called the Jinx, he loved racing it with his sailing buddies — many of whom became friends for life. We sailed little 9 foot El Toro's as kids, and then he bought the 29-foot Double Eagle when we were in high school and docked it in Alameda — which eventually led him to move here. The Double Eagle was not for racing but for enjoying leisurely days on the bay or going for one or two week trips in the Delta.

  • He never tired of everything sailing. On the other hand, he would marvel at my ability to fall asleep whenever I went out on the boat. I think he was a little bummed he had 3 sons who knew how to sail, but none who shared his passion for sailing.

engineer

work

repair

Work

  • My dad was the first of his family, or ancestors as far as we know, to complete college. He graduated from Cal as an electrical engineer. But he often seemed to be at odds with both Cal and his chosen profession. He hated pompous institutions and people.

  • For some people work is a central part of who they are, a major fulfillment of their life. To my dad, work was a means to an end. I never got the sense that he hated his work or even disliked it necessarily. But he instilled in his sons a sense that, as he often said about school, "if you're not learning anything come home" [Repeat.]. As a kid I thought that was a crazy idea ("I can't just leave school, Dad"). But as I grew older I realized he was preaching to me as much about my life's work as the quality of schools. It was not infrequent that he (quote) "came home" when he got bored on the job. He bragged that he batted .700 during his career. He told Warren "I quit 7 jobs and I was laid off 3 times."

  • Dad didn't cotton to working for someone else. As kids, when filling out forms asking for our father's employer, we had specific instructions to put in "self employed." This seemed kind of odd since I usually knew who he was working for. And I didn't want to lie. He claimed it was for privacy reasons but I think it said a lot about how he really felt about work — he liked being his own boss.

  • So it was funny when he did the dad-lecture-thing after college about getting a quote "real job." My come back was that my do-gooder work for non-profits was a real job even if it didn't pay a lot. But when I got older, I told him it was HIS fault that none of his 3 sons held what he defined as a "real job." We could all put "self-employed" in the employer blank — Warren as an entrepreneur (whatever that is), me as a consultant (which we all know is a euphemism for being unemployed) and Kenneth as a permanent Temp worker (which as the joke goes: temps are people who are tempted to get real work). And that's when he realized he had brought up sons who had taken after him in their independent thinking and it gave him a sense of pride.

  • My dad worked hard — some would say too hard. But again for him, work was a means to an end. He wanted to retire early and travel. Shortly after he got married, he bought rental properties and worked just about every weekend to fix them up. It was a great plan that allowed him to retire when he was 58 years old and to be picky about his job choices along the way.

  • Fixing the apartments also gave him plenty of opportunities to tinker. My dad liked to tinker — to fix things. In another life, he might have been an inventor. [Pull out clock.] This might look like something you would use on a bomb. I found it among his stuff in the garage and judging from its vintage, this was the alarm clock that switched on the power to this outlet into which he plugged a radio that would play country western music to wake up he and Uncle Jim when they shared a room. It was a clock radio before there was such a thing.

family

Family man

  • Dad held many jobs during his life but he took none more seriously than the job of father, brother, husband, uncle, grandfather, nephew, or son. This sense of family was instilled in us early. I remember more than once being packed in the car the day after Christmas to go see relatives when we'd rather be playing with our new toys.

  • It was his love of family that led to his passion to research the family history. He traveled to Ireland and Scotland several times to do research and meet family relations there. We have him to thank for writing down the family tree. He couldn't have been more pleased that cousin Dori took up the torch and did such a great job filling in the leaves on the tree.

  • And of course, there's the family picnic. I don't know the origin of the family picnic other than they started at Buzzy's ranch. But I know that it was a tradition he lived for. It was amazing how much he and my mom could fit in the station wagon to bring to the family picnic or campout: tents, a ping pong table, boats, boom box, bats, balls, and gloves, etc. You'd think he was planning to stay for a week or a month. I don't know that he ever missed a family picnic.

  • He loved to have his family nearby and so it's not surprising that when it was time for the boys to leave the nest, my dad had a hard time letting go. He wasn't finished with us he said. There were still things he wanted to show me, to teach me. He didn't want us to become "harvested" — his word for being taken advantage of. But I don't think he realized at the time the sense of self-confidence and security that he bestowed upon me. By his actions and words, he let me know that whatever hardships might come along, whether he agreed with my path or not, that he would be there for me. That meant a lot and it certainly took a lot of the scariness out of that early part of life's journey.

marriage

Marriage

  • I like to tell people that by having an artist for a mother and an engineer for a father, that I've inherited both creativity and logic. But who would have thought two opposites would attract each other and stay attracted for 61 years. The 50th wedding anniversary celebration with family and friends was no doubt a high point in his life. As was the 60th anniversary with a surprise appearance of the "Lady in Red."

enigma

Miscellaneous Attributes

  • At times Dad was a hard one to figure out. He didn't fall into neat categories. He wasn't an extrovert, but he wasn't an introvert either. He didn't need to be the life of the party, but he didn't hesitate to go up to a stranger and start a conversation. Every time I had him pegged as a Democrat, he'd say something that sounded like a Republican. He enjoyed a vigorous debate and could be counted on to take the opposite side of whatever argument you gave him.

  • It was ironic that despite Dad's technical background as an electrical engineer who worked for such companies as Intel and United Technologies, that he never learned to use a computer. He lived his whole life without an email address. We gave him a computer on his 70th birthday but it was basically never used — at least not until he discovered it was good for making copies of CDs of his beloved Dixieland music.

  • He took good care of his health — never smoked, swore off eggs and bacon to reduce his cholesterol long before anyone even knew what cholesterol was.

heckler

Older

  • As he got older, especially after he sold his sailboat, his favorite activity was his neighborhood walks — two miles a day — where he had a cast of characters he could heckle: the musicians at the Farmer's Market, the owner of the Pinball Museum, the corner liquor store clerk, the waitress at the café. His favorite place was the farmer's market — it had it all: farmers, clowns, musicians, and politicians — it was a veritable playground for a heckler.

humor

Closing

  • I'm not sure where he got his sense of humor but it was a core element of his personality.

  • In his last week he began to lose his strength and his voice but he never lost his humor. At one point, the EMTs and firefighters were called to the house to help determine whether he needed to go to the hospital. They said his vitals were fine, and they were puzzled as to why he was so lethargic. One firefighter commented that the room was pretty warm and that maybe he was just too comfortable to wake up. Later in the hospital, Warren told Dad what the fireman said and in a weak voice Dad replied "Leave it to a fireman to say that the room was too hot."

  • There may come a time in the future when 89 years old will seem like a young age to pass onto the next world. But in 2013, 89 years is a ripe old age. My dad made the most of it, living a full life — a life full of love, laughter, family, sailing, Baja, (did I mention family?) and 61 years of marriage. As cousin Louis said to me, he didn't leave much air in the tires. And that about sums it up. But I'm sure he's looking down right now with a grin on his face wishing he could tell one more story and make everyone here laugh.

  • Thanks Dad.


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