Tracy's mother passed away yesterday after a brief battle with cancer.

Here are some thoughts shared by Tracy and her sister.

It is with unmeasurable sadness that we share with our family and friends, the loss of the greatest woman we have ever known, our mother, Linda Needham. She was love and laughter and home to us, no matter the distance. She inspired us to become the women we are today. She never stopped teaching us to be strong women. Even after we had grown, she walked by our sides, encouraging us to be independent and resourceful.

The love she had for her family was boundless. As part of a large family, there are many who loved her. Family was her greatest joy. Even though our dad, Jim Needham, has been gone for more than 20 years, she also remained close to her family by marriage.

Relocating to Arizona renewed her love for photography, and Tucson provided no shortage of inspiration. Her adventurous spirit led her to travel but the nature and vistas that surrounded her home were her favorite places. The friends she made here became her extended family. Knowing she had a community of her own made being away from her easier.

If you want to honor her memory in some way, spend time in nature, give unconditionally, or spend time with those closest to you. In all things, eat delicious food.

Love, Diana and Tracy

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The thing about Linda Needham that I respect most is that, after an entire career working for the Union Pacific railroad, she went on to work for the National Park Service after she "retired." When I first met Tracy, Linda was working the entire summer up in Glacier National Park. After that, she started her own photography business she ran out of her home. 

Just as I am 10 years older than Tracy, so too was Tracy's mom ten years older than mine. When Tracy and I met, my mom was 74 years old and Tracy's was 64. I mentioned to my mom how much more active Linda was than she, and my mom replied, "64 is a lot younger than 74, let me tell you!" But Tracy's mom remained active right up until this final illness. She was more active at 80 than my mom was at 70; Linda was a very "young" whatever-age-she-was-at-the-time.

Tracy went out for a two week visit three weeks ago, but when her mom took a turn for the worse over the weekend, Tracy flew back on Monday and was able to be her her mother when she passed (which is a mixed blessing at best). 

My condolences to you both. It is great that Tracy was able to spend time with her before the turn.

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