Linda Waterfall: 1949-2019

Linda Waterfall at her Seattle home, Sept. 2015. Photo: Marc Hoffman.

Linda Waterfall at her Seattle home, Sept. 2015.
Photo: Marc Hoffman

Linda Waterfall passed away in Seattle, Washington, on January 8, 2019, following a long illness. She left this world encircled by the love of people close to her. Linda was 69 years old.

Linda’s death is an enormous loss that will reverberate throughout the wide community of musicians, artists, fans, friends, and family who knew and loved her. But it is well to remember the vitality and vibrancy Linda brought to her very full life and the lives of so many others—through her music, art, teaching, compassion, generosity, and keen intelligence.

September, 2020 Update:
Fretboard Journal has published a deep and thoughtful article by Paul de Barros, beautifully capturing Linda’s essence and contributions. Purchase Fretboard Journal issue #46

Linda grew up in a musical family where she received early training in classical piano, music theory, composition, and voice. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, with a B.A. in visual art.

Her music reflected her classical training as well as a wide range of influences, including folk, jazz, blues, rock, and world music. Her ability to apply her personal genius to these styles resulted in a sound that was unique, beautiful, and celebrated. Over the course of her career, Linda was repeatedly named Seattle’s top singer-songwriter. Her 2015 album, Hometown Girl, was chosen by Seattle Times music critic Paul de Barros as one of his ten favorite albums of the year (read Paul’s Seattle Times postmortem for Linda). And in 2016, readers of Seattle Magazine voted Linda one of Seattle’s 20 most-talented people.

Other equally strong and colorful threads wove their way through Linda’s life. She was a deeply spiritual person who practiced her beliefs with dedication and a sense of wonder. She was a generous teacher who eagerly shared her knowledge and love of music with her students. She was a loyal and open-hearted friend who cultivated a host of life-long friendships across wide spans of time and distance.

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Linda was also a joyful and devoted spouse to Bob Searle, whom she married in 1996, and who preceded her in death in 2016. Linda and Bob shared a deep and affectionate bond that was plain for all to see. Although they lived in Seattle, it was at their small riverside cabin in Forks, Washington, that they forged their fondest adventures and memories. Linda loved to tell how, on summer evenings, they would sit together smoking cigars and sipping whiskey on the cabin porch.

The gifts Linda embodied and shared are a legacy that, through her example and music, will continue to enrich all those who knew her and will continue to know her.