Oso landslide victim laid to rest

by: Deborah Horne Updated:

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OSO, Wash. - Linda McPherson was the first person identified as a casualty in the massive Oso landslide; hers, the first memorial service, too. 

But her son said the very public death of the Darrington school board member and local librarian has brought a measure of comfort.

"As you know, the past two weeks have been a horrible time both for our family, the community of Darrington," said Eric McPherson. "But all the people across this country have been affected by the disaster."

The scope of the disaster caught nearly everyone by surprise.

Linda McPherson and her husband, Gary, known as "Mac," were reading the Saturday newspaper in their house two weeks ago when they were swept apart by the deadly landslide. 

Mac managed to dig his way out.  And he was there Saturday to receive from U.S. Rep. Susan Del Bene the American flag that flew atop the U.S. Capitol in memory of the woman he married 45 years ago.

"No matter how much it hurts us to lose my mom," said Eric McPherson. "I'm just thankful to have my Dad.  It was an incredible story how he was able to survive."

Now they will have to survive without a wife and mother, sister and aunt, mentor and friend.

"She was like a grandma to me," said a woman who said she was McPherson's great niece. "And it was never an issue to stop on by unannounced."

"And so, I'm thinking," said Georgia Mahlum, McPherson's sister-in-law, who told the story of what her sister said to her father as she was dying. 

"Well, dear Linda," repeated Mahlum, "We'll see you when we get there. Thank you."

McPherson lived nearly her entire life near Darrington.  Now she will remain there in death.