Cover photo for John  Linton's Obituary
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1931 John 2016

John Linton

August 16, 1931 — December 15, 2016

CHARLTON: John A. Linton, 85, of Overlook Lifecare Community, formerly of Littleton, MA  died Thursday, Dec. 15. John leaves his wife Eleanor “Noni” (Noble) Linton; his children, William B. Linton and Tahirih Senne Linton of Bejing, China, Kathryn A. Maruyama and Junji Maruyama of Osaka, Japan, David A. Linton and Tracy Hanson Linton of Minneapolis, and John C. Linton and Hilana Shapir Linton of Los Angeles; stepchildren, Elizabeth L. Thompson of Alexandria, VA., and George W. Thompson and Jennifer Smith Thompson of Arlington, VA., a sister Joyce E. Bliss of Honolulu, Hawaii, and 7 grandchildren.


He was a Korean War veteran, proudly serving his country in the Military Police at Fort Gordon and West Point.  John was Marketing Manager for H.P. Hood Dairy Company Home Service Division, retired in 1995 after 30 years of service and continued as a consultant after his retirement. He had a passion for singing and belonged to the Sounds of Concord and the Gentleman Songsters in Lowell, both Barbershop choruses, the Independent Living Chorus at Overlook, and his church choirs. He especially enjoyed art classes and pencil drawing, becoming quite an accomplished artist.

The family would like to extend their sincere thanks to the Overlook Hospice team and the 3rd floor staff at Overlook Skilled Nursing for their care and compassion to John and his family.   Memorial contributions may be made to The Overlook Benevolent Care Fund, Attention: Fund Development, 88 Masonic Home Road, Charlton, MA 01507.  

Remembering John 

 Early on the morning of December fifteenth, we lost John Allen Linton, a loving and beloved husband, father, stepfather, father-in-law and grandfather. We—his wife Noni, his children Bill, Kathy, David and John, their spouses Tahirih, Junji, Tracy and Hilana, his step kids George and Liz, George’s wife Jenny, and his and Noni’s seven grandchildren, Jake, Anisa, Emily, Ryan, Amelia, Will and George —will all of us miss him dearly.  

Whenever my husband, his youngest son, and I visited John and Noni, John’s eyes would light up, and we’d be greeted with a big hug. Leaving also came with hugs, and warmth, and love, as well as invitations to eat before getting on the road. We’d inevitably spend more time saying goodbye than we had planned on.


Now that we are saying a last goodbye to our beloved John, that extra time seems like a special gift he left us with, one that says: Enjoy life, enjoy people, appreciate the company of those you love. These were things he always did.


“He did everything with such cheerfulness—I literally smile thinking about him whistling around the house,” says Jenny. George remembers how John loved to read The Night Before Christmas to Will and little George. “What made it so special was the color and character he put to the words.”


John loved to sing, too. My husband was a beneficiary of this particular skill. As a small boy at bedtime, my husband would request a song about a fox raiding a henhouse. In later years, John admitted that his son’s fondness for this rather dark lullaby puzzled him. But my husband kept asking for it, and his father kept singing it.


In high school, John played the trumpet—and well. He was in barbershop choruses in youth and middle age, and at his and Noni’s wedding, he and three of his friends formed a quartet and serenaded the bride with “My Wild Irish Rose.” Noni and her friends from choir sang back to him.


It was a garden wedding, held near the flowers John and Noni loved growing together behind their home in Littleton. The sunlit garden was a fitting place to celebrate their marriage, since bride and groom blossomed together. “Dad really grew with Noni,” my husband says.

 His divorce from his first wife, Ann, had not been easy, but he always spoke of her with generosity and kindness. He was warm and optimistic, though life threw him its share of curveballs, and adored his family, whether reminiscing with Liz about playing basketball at their joint alma mater, Marietta College, or taking Bill, Anisa and Amelia to see the Pawtucket Red Sox play –the teenaged Anisa and Amelia’s first baseball game.  Bill’s family is based in China, Kathy’s in Japan, Dave’s in Minnesota, ours in California, and George’s and Liz are both in Washington, DC, so family visits were special treats. Once, when Kathy and Emily visited, John chased his “Little Bits” around the house, causing three-year-old Emily to squeal with laughter. Another time, as he played pool with Dave, Jake and Ryan, he made all three generations of Linton men burst out laughing, and Noni and Tracy were tickled at the sight.  He delighted in his cats, OJ and Lindy, and often exclaimed, “Did you see that?” when Lindy jumped at the toy mouse he lifted on a fishing line.    

And he had a sense of humor, peppering his conversations and signing the tags on Christmas gifts with sometimes groan-worthy puns. The puns passed on to his children, and it is impossible to attend a gathering of Lintons without laughing—and groaning—at some of them.

Jake and Ryan still tell John’s Fido joke, a classic that he never tired of sharing. Another joke he loved to tell featured a church painter. “Repaint and thin no more,” came the inevitable punch line.   But despite this irreverence, John was a devoted member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Westford, and a participant in the Al’s Pals men’s Bible study group organized by Al Koch.  When, as per their own Baha’i faith’s law, Bill and Tahirih asked for his permission to marry, he welcomed Tahirih into the family.  “At first dad had his reservations and worries about how people would treat us as an interracial couple,” Tahirih says. But he talked with his mother, “who told him that people are people, and not to focus on a person’s race,” and then he gave them his blessing. “When he did that I felt an unconditional acceptance, welcome, and love from him. Ever since, I’ve felt nothing but love, and that I’m fully welcomed into the family.”  

He was kind to his friends, and gave one of them, Barry Bonner, rides to chemotherapy treatments as Barry grew more and more frail.  And he made making new friends look easy. Whether in the supermarket aisle with his children in tow, or in the dining room of the Overlook with Noni, there was no one he was unwilling to strike up a conversation with, no one he wouldn’t give his full attention to.

 Late in life he discovered a talent for art, his painting taking the blue ribbon in an art show at the Overlook, but for as long as all of us knew him, he had a love for food. Stopping for lunch on a trip to the Japan Sea with Junji and Kathy, he marveled when Junji chose a huge bowlful of ramen from the menu, that his son-in-law had only ordered soup.  

Enjoy life, enjoy people, appreciate the company of those you love.


Even on my husband’s and my most recent visit to the Overlook, only two weeks before his death, John’s good spirits were still with him. Though his memory wasn’t what it had once been and he could no longer say our names, he exclaimed “California!” partway through our first day’s visit, having worked out who we were. Then his eyes lit up, and he ruffled my hair.


The next day, he insistently asked when he and his belongings would be moved from the memory care facility to his apartment.

“The past is a memory, the future’s a dream, today is a present,” my husband reminded him.  

”Go back to LA,” his father said, and there was such mischievous humor in his expression as he said it that we knew he loved us and remembered us and wanted us to stay.


That welcoming light in his eyes was his special gift, one that all of us will remember with a smile. 


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Funeral Service

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

James C. Nicholl Jr. Chapel, Overlook Ma

88 Masonic Home Rd, Charlton, MA 01507

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