Linda Sue Donnelly Gontko, Gilbert, AZ and Augres, MI., (Point Lookout) passed away on Sunday, March 26, 2023, under the care of hospice from a long illness with Alzheimer’s.
Linda was born in Flint, Michigan on December 27, 1942: the daughter of F. James Donnelly and Herberta (Bettesworth), the third oldest of thirteen children. On October 10, 1964, she married Larry J. Gontko, enjoying 59 years together. Linda graduated from Flint, St. John Vianney High School in 1960. After graduation, she worked as a secretary for the General Agent of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.in Flint, Michigan while attending Baker Business College, studying shorthand, typing, & other secretarial related courses. Linda left the business world to raise her three children: Lawrence (Chip), Mark, & Debra Gontko Klein. She re-entered the business world in 1973 as a part-time secretary to the District Agent of the Saginaw Northwestern Mutual Life Ins.Office. In 1977, she became one of the first Female Life Insurance Agents in Saginaw County. This was to be many of the “firsts” Linda would achieve, obtaining many Life Insurance & Financial investment designations including: CHFC, CLU, and Series 6 and 63 investment licenses, while continuing her education credits throughout her nearly 50-year career. In 2000, while attending one of the ”Annual Meetings” of Northwestern Mutual Life Co. in Milwaukee, she was awarded the “Most Valuable Person” award for investment representative. Additionally, Linda was the ONLY female invited to the prestigious “Russel 2000” awards banquet in Seattle to celebrate her achievements in investing. Linda’s gift, passion and love was “helping other people,” allowing her clients to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Linda retired in 2006.
In addition to her career, Linda was a wonderful daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt & a very good friend to many people. Mark, our son, would joke with his mother when she was going on vacation or a cruise: “Mom, don’t make any more new friends, we don’t have room for them at the cottage”. Linda was a social butterfly and loved being surrounded by people and thrived in that environment. An accomplished quilter, many family members have “Made by Aunt Linda” Christmas Tree skirts, table runners or baby quilts that will be cherished forever. Reading, writing, knitting, and sending jokes were another of her favorite pastimes. Linda was proud of her Irish heritage and loved drinking beer periodically, always requesting a small, chilled glass so that it would fit in her “teeny tiny little mouth.” Linda’s gift was she was a “contributor” and this world is a better place because she made an impact on many people’s lives and will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Linda was preceded in death by her parents, son Lawrence (Chip) Gontko, brothers: Denny Donnelly, David Donnelly & wife Yvonne, Cary, Timothy, & sister Diane Donnelly Bollman. Linda is survived by her loving husband of 59 years, Larry J. Gontko. Children: Mark C. Gontko & Debra S. Gontko Klein. Grandchildren: Jessie Gontko, Cassidy Gontko, Brendan Klein, Jake Klein & Kyle Klein. Siblings, Patrick (Judy) Donnelly, Nancy Malovey, Karen LaMoria, Brian (Mary) Donnelly, Suellen Bartell, Tom (Wendy) Donnelly, Jeff (Kelli) Donnelly, Sister-in-law Angie Donnelly. Also surviving are many nieces, nephews, cousins, & friends.
Funeral Liturgy will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 14, 2023 at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 6400 McCarty Rd. Rev. Fr. Robert Gohm will officiate with interment to follow in St. Andrew Cemetery. Friends may visit at The Snow Funeral Home, 3775 N. Center Rd., (between Shattuck and McCarty), where the family will be present on Thursday, April 13, 2023 from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and on Friday at the church from 10:00a.m. until the time of Mass. Family will share memories at 6:00 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorials to the Leukemia Society of Michigan or the Alzheimer’s Association.