Linda S. Lonsdale, a highly successful midwife, educator, and prosecutor, who dedicated her career to public service and took a special interest in assisting indigent women and loving animals, ascended into heaven on May 30, 2019 after a four-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 72.
Linda began her career as nurse, graduating from University of California, Loma Linda, with a BSN, with a focus in maternal health. Linda volunteered with the Peace Corp as an OB/GYN nurse in India for two years. She said one could tell that she was optimist because she chose to provide maternal health, including birth control, in a highly populated country. Linda found great joy in serving needy women and their infants. She also made life-long friends with her fellow health profession volunteers in the Peace Corp, including Betty Pope, who recalled that Linda was the most well-educated and intelligent woman she had ever worked with.
Linda then attended Johns Hopkins Univ. School of Public Health and earned a MCH in Midwifery and a Masters of Public Health. With her work experience and strong intellect, Georgetown University hired Linda to teach public health and midwifery. While in DC, Linda met the love of her life, Don Murray. But the east coast city life was not for Linda. She and Don moved west.
Linda was born in Glendale, CA, in Los Angeles County, but spent every summer of her youth on a ranch near Salmon, Idaho with her grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousin Alberta Wiederrick. It was here that Linda developed her life-long love of dogs, cats, horses and wide-open spaces.
Linda and Don moved to Santa Fe for Linda to work as the Director of Maternal Health for the NM Department of Health. Linda traveled the state to help ensure that pregnant women and mothers were receiving the best health care possible.
Linda and Don purchased land south of Santa Fe and built an adobe home for themselves and their several horses, cats, and dogs. They both loved riding their cherished horses on the open range outside of Santa Fe. She also loved to garden, growing enough vegetables to feed an office full of coworkers. Linda became a Santa Fe Master Gardner, and won several first prizes at the NM State Fair for her vegetables. She and Don enjoyed entertaining at their adobe haven for their neighbors, fellow animal lovers, friends, and Don’s children and grandchildren.
At the age of 40 and peak of her midwifery career, Linda enrolled in UNM Law School. After graduating with honors in 1989, Linda began her third successful career as a prosecutor at the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office. She rose through the ranks to a position of Chief Deputy District Attorney. Alongside District Attorney and friend, Henry Valdez, Linda won several high profile and complex cases, including the murder cases of State v. Jerome Martinez and State v. Arthur "Bozo" Lopez. Henry remembers Linda fondly, “Having graduated at the top of her law school class, Linda had many options, she chose prosecution. The citizens of the First Judicial District benefited greatly from her public service calling.”
Linda took great pride in mentoring younger attorneys, office staff, and police officers, many of whom went onto highly successful careers. Linda described her goal as a prosecutor as always seeking justice not only for criminal defendants, but also for victims, witnesses, law enforcement, office staff and the community. She said that she sought “not impartiality, but objectivity; not mercy or vengeance, but fairness; not sympathy or prejudice, but compassion; and not politics, but professionalism.” While justice was not always served in every case in her 19 years as a prosecutor, Linda fought like hell in both small and large cases to obtain it.
Linda also loved traveling to foreign lands. She visited every country in Europe and Asia, and all 50 states.
She retired from the DA’s Office in 2008, and continued traveling the world and spending time with Don, their horses, Whip and Lady, cats, and adored Labrador Retriever, Amy. After Don’s passing in 2011, Linda devoted more time to volunteering, including the NM Bar Animal Law and Women’s Law Sections. Linda was an avid reader and dedicated advocate for social justice. But also enjoyed completing the NY Times crossword puzzle up to the day of her death.
Linda was preceded in death by her mother Fern Santee Lonsdale, her father Lionel Lonsdale, and her soulmate, Don Murray. She is survived by her cousin Alberta Wiederrick and husband Bob; Don’s children, Dr. Denise Murray Bray, Dawn Murray, and Michael Murray, and their partners and children; along with countless loving friends and colleagues; her horses, Whip and Lady, and her beloved Amy the dog, who misses her dearly.
In lieu of flowers, Linda requested friends donate to the Horse Shelter, 100AB Old Cash Rd, Cerrillos, NM 87010.
Not much for churches or funeral homes, Linda wanted her friends to gather for a party in her honor. On Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 4 pm, at 3805 State Rd. 14, Linda’s friends will be hosting a celebration of Linda’s life at a private residence. The residence is shortly passed the Lone Butte Gas station on South Hwy 14. It’s a long driveway. Please follow signs and park at back of the property. We will be sharing good food, cold drinks, and lots of stories about our time with Linda.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Linda Susan Santee Lonsdale, please visit our floral store.