A child of the depression, she was reared by a single mom in a day when a good job for a woman in Kingsbury, a railroad town located between Seguin and Luling, was working in the school cafeteria. Times were tough but she remembered them fondly. She enjoyed reminiscing about her grandfather arriving in his Model T to take her and her four siblings to the farm on weekends, then returning to Kingsbury on Sunday night with fresh milk, eggs and butter to both sell and keep the kids fed during the following week.
The Sweetheart of Kingsbury High, 1942, Eva Nell dropped out of school to marry Roger Derham Linebarger, the love of her life, on May 21, 1942. Nell and Roger began their married life on a dirt farm in nearby Staples where she had three children in rapid succession while raising chickens and turkeys, helping with farm chores and learning that living near her controlling father-in-law was probably not how she wanted to spend her life. So, in 1953, She and Roger and the kids moved to San Marcos once Roger got a job working in the shop at Scrutchin Motor Company, the local Chevrolet dealer.
When Nell discovered that she could attend Southwest Texas State Teachers College, even though she had only completed the eleventh grade, she signed up. Two and a half years later, she got her first elementary teaching job in the rural Zorn school near San Marcos. After Zorn consolidated with Navarro school next door, she taught there for a few years and was then hired by the San Marcos School District where she continued her teaching career until her retirement after 29 years in the classroom. During those years she reared her family, finished college, got her Master’s Degree, and then started taking divinity classes at the Perkins Theological Seminary of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Upon retiring as a teacher, she began her Methodist ministry and was appointed to her first church. Over the next 11 years she was a pastor in the Dewville, Pandora, Flatonia, Waelder, and Thompsonville churches. She ended her preaching career as the minister of her childhood churches in Staples and Kingsbury. Not content with mandatory retirement at age 75, she began her last career and worked another ten years as an assistant chaplain at Guadalupe Regional, the county hospital in Seguin. It was a proud moment in her life when the Guadalupe Regional Hospital dedicated the Nell Ferrell Linebarger chapel on November 13, 2010.
During her long life, Nell received many honors and accolades. If she joined a group or a club, it wouldn’t be long before she would be running the show, or at least trying to. She was a doer and an optimist, a believer in hard work, but most importantly, she had an iron will hidden under her placid, comforting, and giving demeanor. Her strength, determination and ambition set the standard for her family.
Her children remember how she was the worst driver ever. She wasn’t a drinker but you couldn’t tell it from looking at the various “whiskey” dents in whatever vehicle she was driving at the time. Once, even, she managed to back a grain truck into Roger’s pickup when they were the only two vehicles in the 100 acre open field. She was full of fun and laughter, enjoyed a good time, but never lost sight of doing what’s right, helping others, and following her faith. Like all of us, she had her faults but they were few and were greatly overshadowed by her inner goodness. She dedicated her life to Christ at an early age, and was a true Christian in her desire to serve others.
During her final years, Nell loved sitting in her rocking chair on her back porch on the farm, looking down at the San Marcos river flowing by, and reminiscing about all of the good times she and Roger had shared, and how fortunate her life had been. She was truly a person of faith, but not blind faith, and felt that “holy tension” and questioning were good for you. During her last few months, she would laugh and say, “I am ready, but I ain’t in no hurry.” Her mind was good but her heart finally played out. She was a hell of a woman.
Nell and Roger were married for 62 years prior to his death in 2004. She was also preceded in death by her grandson, Wesley Dale Linebarger, her infant granddaughter Leigh Ann Foster, her brother James Pendleton Ferrell, Jr., and her sisters, Lorene Lyles, and Jean Green. She is survived by her sister, Glenda Reeder, her sons and their wives, Roger Dale and Libby Linebarger and Glen York and Terri Linebarger and her daughter, Karen Nell Linebarger. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Roger Linebarger, Rebekkah Linebarger, Brent Bockholt, David Linebarger, Annie Linebarger, Cody Foster, John Foster, Glen Linebarger, Chris Linebarger, and by 17 great grandchildren and four great great grandchildren.
Of all her life’s accomplishments, most personally rewarding to her – and to her children – are those many times over the last 50 or so years when someone, not too young, anymore, would come up and say, “I loved Mrs. Linebarger. She was my favorite teacher” or some former parishioner would relate how Pastor Nell made a difference in his or her life.
A joyful memorial service celebrating the birthday and life of Nell Linebarger will be held at the San Marcos United Methodist Church, 129 W. Hutchison St., San Marcos, TX 78666, at 1:00 pm, on Saturday, February 11, 2017, with a reception at the church following the service.
Memorial contributions in remembrance of Nell may be made to the Staples or San Marcos United Methodist Church.
Arrangements by Pennington Funeral Home, San Marcos, TX, 512-353-4311. www.penningtonfuneralhome.com
Peggy PhillipsFebruary 6th, 2017 on 6:46 pm
What a special woman. It was a honor to have known her. Blessings, Peggy and David Phillips
Larry WaldripFebruary 7th, 2017 on 9:19 pm
So sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with the family.
Randi WoolleyFebruary 8th, 2017 on 3:21 am
Beautiful, sweet lady. Was such a pleasure to have her bless us with our marriage vows. Will miss her wonderful, warm smile and good heart
John QuigleyFebruary 8th, 2017 on 3:25 am
I retired from the United Methodist Ministry in 2008, I knew Pastor Nell and enjoyed our conversations at annual conference, and at District meetings. She was a good pastor and a lover of Jesus.
Brandon BeckFebruary 8th, 2017 on 4:04 am
So loved going to church in Flatonia with my grandmother when Rev Nell was there. She was so good to us. Condolences.
Marvin MerriweatherFebruary 9th, 2017 on 4:34 pm
Outside of parents, teachers and coaches have the greatest responsibilities of influencing young people. Mrs. Linebarger was a joy to be around everyday in the 5th grade. Great teacher, very encouraging. They broke the mold when she was made…
Joe LunaFebruary 9th, 2017 on 7:47 pm
I was honored to have your mother for a teacher. I was not her brightest student but she believed in me and always made me believe I cold do anything, and I have because of her caring and passionate heart she had for her students. I am sorry for your loss she was a Jewel, and I was blessed to have her for a teacher.
Jimmy & Doris Hagemann JefferiesFebruary 10th, 2017 on 7:56 pm
Our sympathy to Nell’s family, she was such a lovely person, never knew a stranger. May the memories comfort you in the days ahead.
Debbie CartwrightFebruary 13th, 2017 on 6:48 pm
This message is long overdue, but I just read the obituary for Mrs. Linebarger. How wonderful it is! And what a life well-lived! She left an exceptional legacy. I love the part in the obit about “holy tension” and faith. Thanks for sharing that about her.