Richard Linster

Linster, Richard William Jr.

MADISON – Madison lost a true icon and character on Dec. 21, 2020, when Richard William Linster Jr., “Linster,” 73, died at home after a long illness. A Madison resident since 1965, Linster and his wife, Patty Prime, moved to the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood in 1984, where they raised their children and were active members of the community. Linster served on the TLNA board from 1985 until 2018. He was often spotted biking around the neighborhood, once even toting a Christmas tree home on his bike. Linster served on the Dane County Board of Supervisors from 1990 – 1992.

Linster was known for his kindness, eccentricity, and pursuit of knowledge. A lifelong learner, “Professor Linster,” as he was known, was fervent in his pursuit of his interests. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of history, particularly the Civil War, and would spend hours explaining the idiosyncrasies of specific battles to anyone who would listen. His interest in military history morphed into an interest in blues music, where Linster became equally versed in the genealogy of blues artists in order to better understand their influences. His foray into the blues genealogy eventually led him to branch into family genealogies as well, where he became the go-to historian for the family. When his genealogy studies revealed his Luxembourg ancestry, he was able to provide enough documentation to the Luxembourg government to be awarded dual citizenship, which he also provided to his children, grandchildren and sister. He enjoyed travelling, including trips to Luxembourg, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Costa Rica and other countries.

Linster was a rabid poker player, enjoying weekly games with his poker buddies spanning over 40 years until the pandemic. In his last year he learned to love Scrabble, his favorite game, as he quarantined with family. He was known for his homemade eggrolls, which were a staple at the neighborhood holiday party he hosted, and he could always be found with a good beer.

Linster is survived by his wife of 44 years, Patty Prime; daughters, Calliope (Harald Jordahl) and Meridian (Glen Skolaski); son, Emrys; and five grandchildren; as well as a sister, Robin McQueen. He is preceded in death by his parents, Richard William Linster and Rose Mary (Drace) Linster; as well as his brothers, Charles and Craig; and sister, Carol.

Due to Coronavirus, the family will plan a celebration of Linster’s life later in 2021. In lieu of flowers, the family will be accepting donations for a bike rack in his honor ( Alternatively, if you prefer to donate to your favorite charity or cause in his name, that would be lovely as well.

To Richard—
A sight as familiar as the church on the hill
An easy pedaling blue capped figure slow smiling and waving still
Though we have lost a dear friend of the TLNA as our friend “Linster”*
Passed today, we remember the myriad ways he improved us—
His ethics impeccable, his stands unmistakable, finally the figure
We all came to enjoy, was breakable. His knowledge of blues, mainly
Delta, impressive. He reigned on the council and did not brook digression.
His Jimmy Stewart small town contentment helped leaven the heat
His commitment to membership could not be beat.
His neat script on the paper, and keeping dues low
Brought many a newbie into our fold.
I’ll miss seeing him pedaling easy and sure
But know that the Linster legacy long will endure.

Gay Davidson-Zielske