Rutherfords share cherished memories of mother killed by drunk driverPublished 3:46pm Monday, October 21, 2013
By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist
Linda Rutherford was vacationing in Gulf Shores with her daughter, Heather, and great-nephews, Cameron and Jackson when she was hit by a drunk driver while crossing a highway on July 6. Family and friends have since raised more than $2,500 to help MADD put an end to drunk driving.
Linda’s older son, Heath, said he, Heather and their brother, Adam, are dealing with her untimely death hour by hour.
“There are no text book words to describe the velocity of pain we’re going through. Mama was very influential in our lives,” he said. “I’m a flight attendant today because it was her dream to be one and she encouraged me when I showed interest. Mama planted seeds of compassion and caring in Heather and it’s what enables her to continue raising our cousins. Her love for Auburn football was passed to Adam. He and Mama were devoted tailgaters.”
Linda was born in Birmingham to George Sr. and Frances Calvin. She graduated from Thompson High School and trained in bookkeeping at Bessemer Technical College. Her sense of humor, forgiving spirit and capacity to love were passed to her by her parents
“She had one of the most caring, giving hearts a person could have,” Heather said. “She and I had typical mother/daughter issues, but no matter what she was always there for me and loved me unconditionally. My mother is the best gift I’ve ever been given. If it weren’t for God and her strength, I don’t where I’d be right now.”
A long-time friend, Judy Hood, describes Linda as a remarkable woman.
“She made everyone feel better by just seeing and talking with her. I never saw her that she wasn’t smiling and talking about her children,” Judy said. “If we all could have the disposition and loving ways she had, this world would be a much better place to live.”
Heath said his mother was devoted to her family that included her daughter-in-law, Jennifer, and grandsons, Alex and Seth.
“Mama once said in speaking of her great-nephews, ‘I’ll know when I take my dying breath I’ve lost my job, so until then I can take care of these two little ones,’” he said. “I’m challenged in understanding why this happened. The worst thing that could happen has happened.”