Linda M DiNucci
Dec. 3, 1942-Feb. 11, 2019
Linda DiNucci – Co-founder of the REACH Program for Stroke Survivors
Linda Miller DiNucci’s life of service ended on February 11th, at home, with her family, at the age of 76. The combination of heart and lung disease proved incurable.
Linda was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Loretta Mullen and William (Buzz) Miller, the third of five sisters: Carol, Janet, Nancy and Susan. She earned a full scholarship to West Penn Hospital School of Nursing and graduated as a RN, number one in her class. Throughout her life, Linda was an avid reader of the New Yorker magazine, probably the only such 17-year-old in Pittsburgh. She always loved good fiction, devouring an average of two novels a week.
Linda married Joe DiNucci in 1964, and raised two sons, David Edward and Michael Joseph. The family moved to Concord, Ohio in 1970, to El Toro, California in 1977, and to Saratoga, California in 1980.
Linda found her true calling while working as a volunteer, helping a school-based speech therapist in El Toro. That calling led her to earn a Bachelors and a Masters in Speech Pathology in 1984 and 1986, and a Masters in Gerontology in 1992, all from San Jose State University.
Passionate about helping stroke survivors live their best possible lives, in 1989, Linda co-founded the REACH Program to provide educational and rehabilitation services and activities for stroke survivors and adults with acquired brain injury. Originally a part of Foothill College in Palo Alto, California, REACH provides bridge forward from outpatient rehabilitation and full reintegration into the community. Since 1992, Linda ran the program and taught the speech classes. In 2012, when community college budget cuts threatened to end the program, Linda re-created REACH as a stand-alone, 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Today, having served more than 2,000 students, REACH is fully staffed and stronger than ever. Many people knew Linda’s unconditional kindness. Those close to her family or to REACH got to know what a fierce woman she was. Her sons David and Michael would tease her, saying she wasn’t a control freak, but there was a right way to do things.
Linda's fierceness was matched only by her devotion to her family and the REACH program. How devoted was Linda to REACH? At 4:00AM on January 7th, Linda awoke with chest pain. Her husband, Joe, called 911 to take her to Stanford Hospital. At 5:00AM, Linda tapped her watch and said to the ER doctor, “Just so you know, I need to be at work at nine o’clock.” Linda didn’t get to REACH that day, but her beloved program survives her, and her son, David, has taken the helm as Executive Director.
In her family, Linda was the curator of all traditions. No one’s birthday ever went un-celebrated. She decorated the front door for every holiday, from Saint Patrick’s Day to Christmas. Linda hand-wrote hundreds of cards and notes at holidays and birthdays, full of news and pictures. She was known for what her husband, Joe calls "a very low threshold of excitement." No one over the age of seven was more excited for Fourth of July fireworks than Linda. Magic tricks thrilled her, as did a simple message on a sticky note. While she enjoyed simple pleasures, she understood and appreciated the finest things - not jewelry, but diamonds; Limoges boxes; Tana French’s books; American Contemporary Theatre; and the Emperor Concerto.
Linda was more than the glue of the DiNucci family; she was the foundation and the lifeblood supply, keeping her family together in spite of physical distance and busy lives. Those who were blessed to receive her love and grace saw it as another example of her determination to do the right thing. She was a pure embodiment of unconditional love, and she was loved deeply in return.
Linda is survived by her husband Joe, sons David and Michael, daughter-in-law Kelly and her daughter Courtney Chunglo, grandson Jack DiNucci, granddaughter Kate DiNucci, and sisters Carol Garcy, Janet Tarr, Nancy Evans and Susan Pelcic.
For years, on gift-giving holidays and birthdays, the only thing Linda wanted were donations to REACH. Watch this video to get a sense of what she created: http://www.reachprogram.net/heritage-devlin. In lieu of flowers, the family asks people honor her legacy by sending a check to REACH Program, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto CA 94303.