Linda, Gone Too Soon
Linda Harshman, longtime Executive Director of the Glasser Institute, passed away on Friday evening, April 4. She faithfully held that position for over 20 years and did everything she could for William Glasser and his organization to be successful. Bob Wubbolding, who worked with Linda as the longtime Director of Training for the Institute, wrote that –
Many of you have undoubtedly received the sad news that Linda Harshman died at her home about 11:15 pm Pacific Time on April 4, 2014. She was with her sister Judy and her friend Frank. She was under the care of Hospice for a short time before her death.
Sandie and I spoke to Carleen Glasser today and she joins us in expressing our sadness at the loss of a very fine person. Linda was an anchor for the William Glasser Institute for many years and a dear friend to many of us.
Carleen, Sandie and I were very fortunate to visit with her about 2 weeks ago. Throughout her illness Anna Corbett and Jean Suffield frequently visited with her and cared for her. We owe them a great deal of gratitude for their unrelenting care giving and support. Also, her sister Judy from Nova Scotia provided family closeness and support as Linda approached death.
It was Linda’s wish that there be no public service held for her. Nevertheless, our prayers and thoughts have accompanied her and will continue in the future as we hold her memory close to our hearts.
And John Cooper, chairperson of William Glasser International, wrote that –
I have just learned of the passing of Linda Harshman some 24 hours ago. A sad time for everyone who knew Linda and of her support for Dr Glasser and his work.
It was just recently we heard that Linda was fighting a valiant battle with Stage 4 Cancer. The cards and messages that many people sent to Linda, in the intervening weeks were all read to her by Frank, her friend. We are advised the words of love and appreciation were well received and meant a lot to Linda. Then just days ago we learned that chemotherapy had been ceased and that she was under Hospice Care.
For those who had the opportunity to meet and work with Linda or just knew of her work it is hard to accept that one so animated, strong and energetic in administering the work of the William Glasser Institute is no longer with us. I am advised that Linda played a large part in supporting affiliates / countries as they began to establish their own institutes and that many people would like to acknowledge Linda. Such testimonies may form a part of our recognition. WGI will advise everyone what we will be doing to celebrate her life and work and how you can all contribute.
I am sure I voice the thoughts of all in sending a message that we share the sorrow of Linda’s near friends and family at this time.
I appreciate these messages from Bob and John a lot. They bring all of us together in a shared sense of loss, an appropriate grief. In that spirit I would like to add a tribute to Linda. What follows is an excerpt from the Glasser biography. The excerpt is from a very significant talk that Glasser gave in 1996. He was setting a course for the future of the Institute, even though others disagreed with him. The disagreement had to do with school discipline plans, but that’s not our focus here. Our focus here is on Linda and the esteem in which Glasser held her. With that in mind, from the biography –
At the end of the talk he said something that really put into perspective what he was trying to say. “So that’s the dilemma we have,” he began to conclude. “On Sunday we’ll talk about that dilemma and see if we can come to some resolution that will be satisfying, but the resolution will not be that I can accept any discipline programs, cuz I can’t. If it ends up right back where it was with me and all the rest of the people go, it’ll be me and Linda and we’ll keep hammering away for the rest of our lives. I feel very, very serious about this. Because I finally recognized what my mission in life is.”
Could there be a higher tribute to Linda’s faithfulness and commitment to Glasser’s vision? Organizationally, Glasser had been walking shoulder to shoulder with Linda and knew that he could count on her, through thick and thin, come what may.
Who would have thought, even just a few years ago, that Glasser and Linda would be gone from us, having passed away only seven months apart? Their passing is a stark reminder that if the show is to go on, the baton must be passed on to others – us – who will accept it in the kind of spirit that inspired the two of them.
Jim, I am so sorry for your loss. Both Glasser and Linda were good friends of yours. Your last statement and question is so sobering. Who will carry on the vision ~ the baton ~ ? It looks even more that the work you did to put the story of Choice Theory on pages in a book will be one of the batons. I only hope that what I have learned from William Glasser will ever radiate from me towards others in such a way that truly makes a difference ~ that leaves my foot prints on this planet clearly leading into the magnificent arms of God whose very kingdom radiates with fun, freedom, love & belonging, and power with no elements of deadly habits, fully free to become our potential!
Very eloquently stated, Karen.
In terms of leadership, I think that good people have accepted the baton and moved ahead in a number of ways to keep choice theory in the public view. However, leaders can’t do it alone. The need is for many of us to keep on studying and living the choice theory ideas.
I hope that the Glasser biography will be a part of the baton process and that people will be inspired to better understand Glasser’s ideas as they read it.
I agree that choice theory can truly make a difference in a person’s life!
Dear Jim, thank you for expressing so clearly what many people over the world are feeling at the news of Linda’s passing. Yes we are at a key turning point in time where the legacy of Dr Glasser and his supporter’s such as Linda will become either just a footnote in history or the springboard to highlight the transformational life mission Dr Glasser talks about. The spirit that inspired and informed their life mission revolved around the importance of relationships – we want to express our gratitude for your blog and commitment to connecting and building relationships with a focus on Choice Theory. Keep up the great work! Ivan Honey and Bek Russell
Footnote or springboard? That would have been a great title for the blog post. Or maybe an article title. Or a title for a book. We have to use that somewhere.
Thank you for your kind words. I am glad that at least electronically we can support one another.
Jim, as always beautifully said. Thank you. Sheryl
Rest in Peace, Linda & Dr. Glasser. I had the honor of working closely with both of you for 5 years. You both left footprints in my heart and changed my life. My sincere condolences to Their family, friends and the Institute community. Their death is a huge loss, but I believe that the best tribute to their memory is that their hard work be continued and I know it will be. ~ Mindy