Linda Gay (Hart) Kosel

03 Jun Linda Gay (Hart) Kosel

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Linda Gay (Hart) Kosel, age 86, of Bismarck ND, passed away from pancreatic cancer on June 2, 2024. Born in Marysville, CA on April 18, 1938, she was the beloved wife of Gene Kosel, loving mother to daughters, Mary Rohrich and her husband, Tony of Bismarck, ND and Carol Kosel and her husband Bob Segal, of Mansfield, MA; adoring grandmother, to the late Melissa Rohrich, Christina (Rohrich) Ricke and her husband Mike, Jared Segal and his wife Sara, and Rebecca Segal; and loving great-grandmother of Gavin Ricke.  Also survived by half-siblings, Susan Flinders, Anne Barrow and her husband Dean, and Scott Ogden.

Linda’s Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 6, 2024, at St. Anne Catholic Church located at 1321 Braman Avenue, Bismarck, ND with burial following at 2:00 p.m. at the North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery, Mandan.

Family and friends are invited to gather to celebrate Linda’s life during visiting hours at the Bismarck Funeral Home, 3723 Lockport Street, Bismarck, ND on Wednesday, June 5, 2024, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, with a Rosary and Vigil Service starting at 7:00 p.m.  Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service on Thursday.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Linda’s memory to the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota at https://www.fslf.org/DonateOnline1 or Ministry on the Margins, Bismarck at https://ministryonthemargins.org/needs/


Comments on Linda’s Life


Welcome everyone.  For those who don’t know me, I am Linda and Gene’s youngest daughter, Carol and I’m going to share some of Linda’s life story – written mostly by her 20 years ago.

Mom was born in Marysville, CA on April 18, 1938 and grew up as an only child.  She was adopted at birth by George Mewes and Florence Hyndman.  George passed away when Linda was 3 years old, and her mother remarried in 1942.  Linda was then adopted by her step-father Joseph Hart.  The Hart family lived in Redding, CA where Linda went to school and graduated from Shasta Union High School. Linda was an excellent student and loved to read, a passion that lasted her entire life.

After high school, Linda moved to San Francisco to attend French Hospital School of Nursing.  The work was hard but also fun.  The nursing school students went out for entertainment one night and ended up driving through the Presidio of San Francisco.  It was there she met a Army soldier named Gene Kosel who made her laugh.  A couple of years later they were married.

Linda and Gene settled into an apartment in San Francisco and Linda began working in the Maternity Department at French Hospital. In 1960 they welcomed their first daughter, Mary Elizabeth.  Money was tight for the young family, so several weeks after giving birth, Linda went back to work part time nights.

Meanwhile, Gene got a job working for the Federal Aviation Administration and this resulted in many moves for the family.  They spent time in Oklahoma City before settling back in the San Francisco area.  Before Mary was 2 years old, Linda found out she was pregnant again.  Unfortunately, their baby daughter, Myra Elaine was stillborn on Linda’s 24th birthday, April 18, 1962.

The next move was to Horicon, WI.  Here Linda took up knitting on consignment for a local yarn shop, this became a hobby that she took with her through life.  It was also in Horicon where Linda’s love for the Green Bay Packers was born and on Christmas Day, 1963, their third daughter, Carol Anne was born.

After a few years in Horicon, the family of four was now on their way to Alexandria, MN where they bought their first house.  The first phone call to the new family home was from the local hospital asking if Linda would come and work for them.  Linda started working part time at the Franciscan Hospital.  But the FAA offered another opportunity and the family took off for Fargo, ND.

In Fargo, Linda began working at St. John’s hospital’s and before long, was the nursing supervisor of the Maternity Ward.  She really loved working at St. John’s not only being a nurse and a supervisor of the ward, but also assisting with the publication of a workplace newsletter.  And if raising two daughters, working as a nurse/supervisor and co-editing the newsletter wasn’t enough, Linda decided to go back to school for her bachelor’s degree at Moorhead State University.  Also while at St. John’s she began instructing Lamaze classes and was heavily involved in the then novel idea of letting fathers into the delivery room.

In 1974 the family was transferred again, this time to Bismarck, ND.  Linda became a Welcome Wagon Hostess, which fit well with her outgoing personality.  Being the overachiever she was, she soon won a contest as the best Welcome Wagon Hostess in North Dakota and earned an all expenses paid trip to Memphis, TE.  In 1977, an opportunity at Heartview Foundation, a drug and alcohol treatment center arose and Linda began working as the nursing supervisor of the 3-11pm shift.

Linda and Gene became grandparents in 1978, when Mary and her husband Tony Rohrich had their first daughter Melissa Ann. Although Linda thought she was much to young at 40 years old to be a grandmother, she handled the job extremely well and relished this part of her life.  In 1982, Mary and Tony blessed the family with another daughter, Christina Marie.  Grandma was in heaven!

There were to be no more moves for the family when Gene retired from the FAA.  Linda decided at this time to complete her bachelor’s degree in Human Services where she was able to graduate from Moorhead State University with Carol (me) in 1986.  With her new degree in hand, Linda made one final job change and began working for the state of North Dakota at West Central Human Service Center.  She held many positions there and loved every minute of it. After 16 1/2 years she finally retired.

In 1990, she decided it was time to follow through on a suggestion made by her mother to track down her birth mom.  Linda knew both her birth mother’s maiden and married last names.  With that information she began a letter writing campaign which resulted in connecting with a cousin who knew her mother and knew about Linda’s birth & adoption.  In February 1991, Linda and Gene flew into Salt Lake City, UT on their way to Redding and were greeted by many new family members who accepted her with open arms. Meeting her birth family made her realize that she was somehow incomplete before and that it was truly amazing to finally look like someone.  Linda now had half siblings, Susan Flinders, Ann (and husband Dean) Barrow and Scott Ogden.

Several years later, after having the success of finding her birth mother’s family, Linda went looking for her biological father.  This time using the internet, Linda was able to locate his family.  Eventually, she was able to meet her biological father Ed Blaes and his wife and her newly found half siblings, Jack Olson and Delores Blaes.

In 1997, my husband Bob Segal and I made Linda and Gene grandparents for a third time with the birth of our son Jared Solomon.  Since I had moved to the Boston area, this began a time of frequent visits to Massachusetts to revel in the life of their grandson. In 2002, Rebecca Agnes was born and even more grandmothering was in store.  Each visit was chronicled with a picture of Linda, Gene and the grandkids, no matter what anyone was wearing and the making of Poteca.

Celebrations again occurred in 2004 when granddaughter Christina married Mike Ricke and again in 2007 when great grandson Gavin was born.  Now there was a great grandson to make Poteca for!

While there were many good times there was also sadness in 2020, when granddaughter Melissa died unexpectedly.  The family was broken but managed through the grief.

Life slowed down some for Linda after retirement but she found time and energy to do some traveling.  She made international trips to England, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Israel, and Italy.  She continued her love of reading and knitting, she began crocheting, quilting and doing puzzles.  She was an avid gardener and her flower beds were exquisite.  Also an animal lover, Linda had various pets during the years and later maintained many bird houses including some for purple martins which were always a source of entertainment for her.  She was an active member of the Red Hats and began volunteering at St. Anne’s Church to feed the priests and help at funeral gatherings.

In July last summer, Linda, Mary and Christina flew to Massachusetts to attend the Bridal Shower for Sara Goodman, the soon to be wife of grandson Jared.  It was truly a great time with beautiful weather, great people and good food.  However, shortly after returning to Bismarck, Linda was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Although caught early, many complications arose including a trip to the ICU due to a blood infection.

Linda did have one extremely important goal and that was to attend the wedding of Jared and Sara and in October 2023 she achieved it.  Returning home after the wedding she successfully completed radiation and chemo on tumors on her lung and pancreas.  However, palliative chemo did not work and Linda began to decline in her health.  Linda was strong in her faith until the end.  She passed away at home, tended to by Gene (who was a true warrior), Mary, Tony and myself.

Thank you for listening to me share some highlights of Linda’s life.  Her life was full with family, friends, accomplishments, as well as struggles and sorrow.  She loved deeply and was loved in return by many.  Before Linda was too sick, she made sure we knew she was happy with her life and accepted that death was coming, as it does for all of us.  May her memory be a blessing.


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