Both were born and raised on Long Island, N.Y., and in a moment
Linda can bring back her "New Yawk" accent to prove it.
the two went to Baldwin High School, they didn't date until after
Linda graduated in 1966. Stuart was a grad of the '64 class, and the
two met when Stuart's friend and Linda's girlfriend, who were
brother and sister, felt the two would make a perfect pair. The
friends were obviously correct since Stu and Linda married two years
Stuart, showing his humor and wanting to make sure there was no
misspelling, turned his coffee cup when he was asked where he
continued his education. Linda laughed and said she didn't believe
that he brought out and now proudly displayed his official Hofstra
University coffee cup.
While Stuart was obtaining his degree in business, Linda went to
the prestigious Katherine Gibbs School of Business. The school
taught young women how to become executive secretaries, fluent in
grammar, typing and other skills needed for the world of business.
When asked if she ever had an opportunity to use those skills
upon graduation, Linda laughed and said, "Not a day. I got married."
After graduating from Hofstra, Stuart served two years in the
U.S. Army, in the Signal Corps, and was sent to the Defense Language
Institute to learn Vietnamese. This caused him to spend a year in
Vietnam, and he wasn't about to re-enlist when his time was up.
"They wouldn't send me to Germany knowing Vietnamese, so I didn't
re-up," he explained with a laugh.
Stuart began his civilian career at the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, and between 1971 and 1976 the couple lived in the D.C.
area. They have two daughters, who both live in Lincoln: Pam Kunkel
and Angela Stoltzenburg.
During Stuart's tour with the USDA the family also lived in Owego
and in upstate New York until taking a transfer to Lincoln in 1988.
Stuart retired from the USDA in '95 and then began a job with
Menard Electric until 2008, when he retired for good from the job
force. Linda worked for nine years at the Lincoln Public Library and
owned and operated the Mustard Moon until 2007.
Now that they have no defined work schedules, the two are far
from inactive. Both work in the community wherever they see a need
or, as Linda said, "We don't know how to say no to people, so we
keep getting involved in something else."
Talking to others, the Churchills' not being able to say no has
been a blessing to many organizations in Lincoln.
Wanda Lee Rohlfs, executive director of Main Street Lincoln,
remembers Linda's involvement with Main Street when her shop was
downtown. "Linda was our secretary, and she was on the promotions
committee as well," Rohlfs said. "She always was willing to help
with things. I'm positive if I called her up today and said I needed
her help that she would be here."
[to top of second column]
Richard Sumrall, director of the Lincoln Public Library, said that
having the couple as a Personality of the Week was a "super" choice.
He has known both for many years and has seen firsthand their
"Linda and Stu Churchill truly represent the volunteer, can-do
spirit that you find in Lincoln," Sumrall said. "Linda is a former
library employee who has returned many times over the years to
volunteer for numerous events. In my experience as director, she has
been a community advocate for the library and always answers the
call for our help. Her efforts in the downtown area, particularly
with Main Street Lincoln, have resulted in a more attractive
downtown for all of us to enjoy. She is also active with the senior
citizens and (the) less fortunate in our community through her
volunteerism with Community Action."
Stu is also a longtime volunteer for the library. He currently
serves the community as a library trustee and has completed a term
as board president. As one example, he is a volunteer for the
library's used book sale that is held annually during the Lincoln
Art & Balloon Festival.
"I believe that Linda and Stu Churchill are a great example of
two people who continuously devote their time and energy to making
Lincoln a better place to live, and I hope their hard work and
community spirit will inspire others to do the same," Sumrall said.
Mike Booher, a board member for the Community Action Partnership,
agrees with Sumrall on the pair's efforts to help out wherever
needed. "For some reason, Linda enjoys painting, and she is always
volunteering to paint something over at the building that needs to
be painted." Linda also helps the partnership in other functions,
especially the highly successful annual Cheeseburgers in Paradise,
which is the agency's top fundraiser.
Stuart, who has an often broken rule of being involved with only
five things at a time, also is currently a board member of Kiwanis
and will be the club's next president. He rounds out his current
community resume by also being the treasurer for the United Way of
But even with all this on their plates, the active couple find
time for a new hobby that Linda is enthused about: her family
genealogy. Linda, whose maiden name was Brace, can track her
ancestors coming to America all the way back to 1644, and she is
finding out more and more about her extensive family tree. She is
currently waiting to see if she will be added to the local chapter
of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Their upcoming trip to New York will not only be to visit
relatives but to do more researching in records and archives on her
ancestors and what effect the family has had on America.
It doesn't take a genealogist, however, to notice immediately
that the effects Stuart and Linda Churchill have had on Lincoln
deserve to be archived now and forever as our first tandem
Personalities of the Week.