Slide victim was well known as Darrington librarian, school board member

DARRINGTON — Linda McPherson was for years the town’s librarian. A retired branch manager of the Darrington Library and a longtime Darrington School Board member, McPherson was among those killed by Saturday’s massive mudslide.

McPherson lived on the south side of Highway 530 between Arlington and Darrington. She and her husband were home when the slide hit. Her husband survived. The couple’s home was destroyed.

McPherson, who retired from the Sno-Isle Libraries branch several years ago, served nearly 19 years on the Darrington School Board, and had been president of the board. She was 62 when she retired from the school board in 2007.

McPherson grew up on a farm outside Darrington. She left her hometown to attend the University of Washington, and for 10 years worked as an oceanographer. She and her husband returned to Darrington to raise their family.

Her niece, Julie Kuntz, lives near the McPherson home, but Kuntz and her family were away from home when the slide occurred. Their home, too was ruined by the disaster.

McPherson spent most of her working life as Darrington’s librarian, but had also been a preschool and alternative school teacher, and had volunteered in her children’s classrooms.

She joined the school board when her daughter Kate was 9, according to a 2007 Herald article about McPherson. She was an advocate for higher education.

“She really seemed to support the kids,” said Scott Morris, a former Herald reporter who lives in Darrington. “She was active in the scholarship funds, and encouraging kids to go out and make that next step. She seemed to be a quiet but strong leader in the community — not a shy quiet. She was willing to be out front on things. She really cared about the kids and the community in general, and was willing to give her time to make sure Darrington remained a good place to raise kids.”

Morris, who is president of the Darrington Historical Society, said McPherson showed up at a recent meeting. He was thrilled that a former librarian who was knowledgable about the town was becoming involved in the historical society.

“There are many reasons to be heartbroken,” Morris said. “Everyone in town knew Linda.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

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