ForeverMissed
Linda's passing  on the morning of April 1st leaves us with great sorrow, and also with memories of a strong woman, mother, teacher, intellect, writer, and leader.  Linda's legacy, through her writing and teaching, her leadership of the Rice Center for Education, and her unfailing advocacy for children has inspired so many of us, planting seeds for educational progress, and encouraging us to speak truth to power, as Linda never failed to do.  Her generosity and love, her intelligence and commitment to making education fair and equitable, lives on in many of us.  

On behalf of colleagues at Rice University, several of us have opened this site to tributes and memories of Linda, who sadly passed away following a battle with brain cancer.  Please contribute stories (Linda loved stories), tributes, and photos as you would like, freely and without formality.  Through this site, we wish to remember the many ways that Linda influenced our field and our lives.

If you would like to contribute,  this site will request you to create a username and password. Thank you for your understanding.
Posted by Mary Metz on April 17, 2021
I met Linda in 1979 when Gail MacColl, project officer at the National Institute of Education, introduced us by letter. We both had research grants for qualitative research studies and we both were young mothers with part time appointments on the edge of academia. We met and as Gail predicted had much in common both personally and professionally. I lived in Milwaukee where my husband's job was, but soon got a position at UW-Madison, so Linda and I were both in Madison, Wisconsin during the work week and had an opportunity to forge a friendship. Before long, she got her position at Rice University and moved to Texas. But our friendship lasted over the years fed by nearly annual opportunities to have long dinners together at professional meetings in cities around the country. We read each other’s work and discussed professional issues, but we also kept each other up with news of our families.

Linda was passionate about education and especially about education for children who did not arrive at the school door with advantages.  She was also passionate about education as formation for citizenship. She was able to clarify how experience on the ground, the daily mutual labors of teachers and students, is intimately affected by the larger forces of educational policy.  And she was also able to illuminate how educational formation of students has profound effects not just on individual lives but on the life of the body politic. Her work lives on and will continue to have profound effects, both through the many people she touched face to face and through those who encounter her ideas only through the printed page.
Posted by Angela Valenzuela on April 16, 2021
In Remembrance: Rice University Professor of Education, Dr. Linda M. McNeil
[posted on April 16, 2021 at: http://texasedequity.blogspot.com/2021/04/in-remembrance-rice-university.html]

Some of you may know Rice University Professor Linda McNeil. I want to let you know that she passed away last Thursday on April 1 from cancer. Remarkably, I spoke to her the evening before. Though she couldn’t talk, her caretaker told me that she was happy with all that I shared, raising her oxygen levels.

Linda was a fierce warrior in Texas against high-stakes testing and for anti-racist curriculum. She was also a dear friend who stood in solidarity with me when I was denied tenure at Rice University many years ago. You can read some of her latest writings on her blog that I and others had finally convinced her to launch a few years back. I encourage you, as well, to hear what may be her last recorded presentation on high-stakes testing at a forum sponsored by the LBJ school.

I am so grateful to have had her as a dear friend and ally in the struggle pretty much in all that I ever did in my professional life. For example, I would never have won the Outstanding Book award by AERA in 2000 since she was the one who nominated my book without my knowing about this at the time. Linda uplifted me when I was at my lowest point in those difficult years as a struggling assistant professor—and as one of only two Mexican American professors who taught at Rice in its entire history at the time.

Linda believed in me at a time when I didn’t believe in myself. Professionally, I am who I have become in great part because of her.

Though deeply saddened, I take comfort in knowing that her just, generous, and fighting spirit will be there with me and the many lives she touched over the length of her life and career.

If you knew Linda and want to honor and celebrate her life, feel free to post a comment at forevermissed.com

Also take a little time to read this wonderful 2014 interview in InspiringHoustonWomen.com upon her nomination by Pansy Gee.

Your powerful voice for children—always the children—will be dearly missed, Linda. Thank you for being you and for entrusting us with your extraordinary legacy.

May you Rest In Power!


Angela Valenzuela
Posted by Cinthia Salinas on April 16, 2021
I meant Linda nearly twenty years ago through her work and friendship with Angela Valenzuela. I was struck by her kindness and willingness to listen--she was a giant in the field but instead wanted to hear teachers tell stories -she wanted to support and give of herself. Her loss to our world and to her family can't be captured in words-- but what we all know is that she mattered and she made a difference for so many. May she rest in peace--and always guide and inspire us to do more.
Posted by Grace Wang on April 11, 2021
Linda, I will always remember your sense of humor and your incredible command of words! You were always able to provide insightful perspective! Thank you so much for your friendship and the opportunity to know you! Love always!
Posted by Kathryn McNeil on April 10, 2021
I am so incredibly proud of you, Mom.
You are my hero in every way- your brilliance, your compassion, your bravery inspire me every day. Your love is the biggest gift you had to give. You shared it so generously with us all.
I love you so much and I will miss you forever.
Thank you for being my M♥️M.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Mary Metz on April 17, 2021
I met Linda in 1979 when Gail MacColl, project officer at the National Institute of Education, introduced us by letter. We both had research grants for qualitative research studies and we both were young mothers with part time appointments on the edge of academia. We met and as Gail predicted had much in common both personally and professionally. I lived in Milwaukee where my husband's job was, but soon got a position at UW-Madison, so Linda and I were both in Madison, Wisconsin during the work week and had an opportunity to forge a friendship. Before long, she got her position at Rice University and moved to Texas. But our friendship lasted over the years fed by nearly annual opportunities to have long dinners together at professional meetings in cities around the country. We read each other’s work and discussed professional issues, but we also kept each other up with news of our families.

Linda was passionate about education and especially about education for children who did not arrive at the school door with advantages.  She was also passionate about education as formation for citizenship. She was able to clarify how experience on the ground, the daily mutual labors of teachers and students, is intimately affected by the larger forces of educational policy.  And she was also able to illuminate how educational formation of students has profound effects not just on individual lives but on the life of the body politic. Her work lives on and will continue to have profound effects, both through the many people she touched face to face and through those who encounter her ideas only through the printed page.
Posted by Angela Valenzuela on April 16, 2021
In Remembrance: Rice University Professor of Education, Dr. Linda M. McNeil
[posted on April 16, 2021 at: http://texasedequity.blogspot.com/2021/04/in-remembrance-rice-university.html]

Some of you may know Rice University Professor Linda McNeil. I want to let you know that she passed away last Thursday on April 1 from cancer. Remarkably, I spoke to her the evening before. Though she couldn’t talk, her caretaker told me that she was happy with all that I shared, raising her oxygen levels.

Linda was a fierce warrior in Texas against high-stakes testing and for anti-racist curriculum. She was also a dear friend who stood in solidarity with me when I was denied tenure at Rice University many years ago. You can read some of her latest writings on her blog that I and others had finally convinced her to launch a few years back. I encourage you, as well, to hear what may be her last recorded presentation on high-stakes testing at a forum sponsored by the LBJ school.

I am so grateful to have had her as a dear friend and ally in the struggle pretty much in all that I ever did in my professional life. For example, I would never have won the Outstanding Book award by AERA in 2000 since she was the one who nominated my book without my knowing about this at the time. Linda uplifted me when I was at my lowest point in those difficult years as a struggling assistant professor—and as one of only two Mexican American professors who taught at Rice in its entire history at the time.

Linda believed in me at a time when I didn’t believe in myself. Professionally, I am who I have become in great part because of her.

Though deeply saddened, I take comfort in knowing that her just, generous, and fighting spirit will be there with me and the many lives she touched over the length of her life and career.

If you knew Linda and want to honor and celebrate her life, feel free to post a comment at forevermissed.com

Also take a little time to read this wonderful 2014 interview in InspiringHoustonWomen.com upon her nomination by Pansy Gee.

Your powerful voice for children—always the children—will be dearly missed, Linda. Thank you for being you and for entrusting us with your extraordinary legacy.

May you Rest In Power!


Angela Valenzuela
Posted by Cinthia Salinas on April 16, 2021
I meant Linda nearly twenty years ago through her work and friendship with Angela Valenzuela. I was struck by her kindness and willingness to listen--she was a giant in the field but instead wanted to hear teachers tell stories -she wanted to support and give of herself. Her loss to our world and to her family can't be captured in words-- but what we all know is that she mattered and she made a difference for so many. May she rest in peace--and always guide and inspire us to do more.
Recent stories

cannot imagine...,.

Shared by Suzanne Hicks on April 15, 2021
i met linda in the middle of my junior year in high school, when i moved to tulsa.  she became a fast friend, lots of books, lots of humor, lots of going to pennington's for french fries...with boys...she was a maid of honor in my first wedding...so much more to tell, but bottom line, she was simply the best.  i am in tears....and so grateful to have known her.  love to all who did....
Shared by Matthew Yeoman on April 11, 2021
Ugh. I’m overcome with emotion as I write this. Mrs. McNeil, as we called her then, was a second mother to me in the late 80s and early 90s. I loved her story telling and the way she fiercely and joyfully loved her two vibrant and precocious daughters. Somehow she seemed to find a way to always be there for her children while also crushing it professionally as a professor at Rice. Funny, compassionate, and so proud of her daughters. Thank you for opening up your home and your heart to me. Rest In Peace.