Linda DeZwarte

Return to Class of 1971

10/19/2023Linda DeZwarte
Suffering from cardiac issues and just two weeks after the death of Tony Carter, her youngest child, Linda Nadine Carter (née DeZwarte), died in her home on Thursday, October 19, 2023, at 70.

Linda was born on June 29, 1953, in Oskaloosa, Iowa. She was the first child of Kenneth (Kenny) and Marilyn DeZwarte (née Bacus).

Kenny’s career as a truck driver for the construction industry took the family all over Iowa. The family returned to Knoxville in 1958 and built their first home on East Cronkite.

Linda was joined by her sisters with the birth of Lisa in 1960 and Lori in 1965.

The family then moved to their “forever home” on Terrace Lane in 1968. Linda was the protector and friend of both Lisa and Lori. She loved her family deeply.

Linda’s childhood was fun and adventurous… with a sprinkling of occasional naughtiness. She had many friends growing up and truly enjoyed the company of her cousins. She was active as a varsity cheerleader in high school.

Like many Knoxville teenagers, one of her favorite things to do on the weekends was “scooping the loop.” Little did she know that this time-honored teen tradition would introduce her to her one true love.

In the summer of 1970, Linda was hanging out at the car wash with one of her girlfriends. Lee Carter, a handsome young man freshly returned from Vietnam, pulled in and initiated a conversation. That night, they took a long drive in his new Chevy Nova SS; the rest is history.

After a short courtship, they were joined in marriage on December 26, 1970, and lived a happy, hippie-inspired life together as a young couple, enjoying time with friends and family while planning their lives together.

After the birth of Christopher in 1972 and then Jacy in 1975, they moved to their “forever home” on Washington Street. Here, the family continued to grow, first with Briane (1979), then Lindsey (1983), and finally—not to mention a bit surprisingly—Anthony (1984).

In the 80s, Linda’s passion for antiques led to her work at the Loft Antiques, a business she shared with her mother and sisters.

After the close of the family business, she worked as a teacher’s aide at Nell McGowen Junior High and coached girls’ track. Linda experienced an awakening of her purpose in this world: to care for others. Academically and as a coach, she provided guidance, support, and advocacy for all students. She eventually moved on to direct programming and teaching for Planned Parenthood in Des Moines.

Her final professional years were spent mentoring and training staff for Costco at locations across the Midwest.

Linda was an avid reader and enjoyed various authors and topics. She was particularly fond of Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz. She aspired to write her own story someday but had yet to quite get around to it (and the world is less because of that).

She was also an accomplished stained glass artist. Many homes in Knoxville feature original design windows that she created. She enjoyed hanging out with family and friends at Cutty’s Camping Resort in Grimes, IA, which she called home.

Her absolute favorite thing to do was spend time with her grandchildren.

Linda was a fierce defender of women and marginalized people. Less of an advocate and more of an activist, she was always at the front (with the loudest voice), battling to ensure women’s rights and fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

Oxford Languages defines altruism as “the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.” It is much simpler to say “Linda Carter.” With no expectation of anything in-kind, she dedicated herself to improving lives. Judging by the sheer quantity of posts on social media and the testimonials therein, she profoundly changed many lives for the better.

One by one, as her children grew into their teens and friends started coming over to visit, or for sleepovers, she recognized that many of these kids needed a safe place. The West Washington Street home door was always unlocked and open, providing a haven for those in need and her comforting presence to welcome them. Linda didn’t judge anyone—plenty of people are already doing that. Instead, she listened to, advised, cared for, and—when necessary—advocated for so many young people.

Separating from her husband was a difficult choice for Linda, but one that had to be made and was supported by her family. She came out as a lesbian shortly after moving to Des Moines, where she continued to be uncompromising in her selflessness, helping those who needed help the most, whether through her efforts at Planned Parenthood, providing bedside care for AIDS patients, or simply being “the person” so many of her friends could turn to in times of need.Linda DeZwarte

Linda was preceded in death by the love of her life, Lee Carter; her son, Anthony (Tony) Carter; both her parents, Kenneth (Kenny) and Marilyn DeZwarte (née Bacus); her father-in-law, Lloyd Carter and mother-in-law Alberta Carter (née Onstank), and brothers-in-law, Barton Oldham and Monte Carter.

She is survived by her sisters, Lisa Oldham (née DeZwarte) and Lori Hake (née DeZwarte); her son Christopher Carter and Catherine Hennessey-Carter with their children Avery, Regan, and Luca; daughter Jacy Carter with her children, Alex and Hunter; daughter Briane Carter and Dennis Kline, Sr.; daughter Lindsey Carter and Jeff Raymond with their children, Adam and Jewels; and granddaughter Zayla, the child of Tony Carter and Taylor Dixon.