From the Farm: Arts advocate Linda Eisenhauer’s passing leaves lasting legacy (2024)

Linda Grube Eisenhauer passed away unexpectedly on June 19, after what was a brief spell befell her at her Crown Point home, stricken by not feeling well. She was 86.

It was a surprising announcement for the many who knew Linda, including myself, all of us familiar with her and her active, busy social world devoted to connecting others to the many arts opportunities we are blessed to share in Northwest Indiana. She is most associated with her tireless work with South Shore Arts, the Northwest Indiana Symphony, the Women’s Association of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Society and as a founding member of the Regional Arts Council.

“From her passing and our many memories, it becomes clear that there might not have been a Northwest Indiana Symphony without Linda’s support, enthusiasm and drive for its evolution from a small band of community volunteers to a professional orchestra,” said John Cain, director emeritus, South Shore Arts and Northwest Indiana Symphony.

“I used to joke that Linda’s love for classical music was so deep-rooted that I suspected she had actually invented the violin and several woodwinds.”

Cain said Linda first became active with the orchestra when she was invited to join the women’s symphony association in June 1965, when Maestro Leo Krakow was conductor at the time and A. Martin Katz was mayor of Gary. She said the orchestra musicians didn’t come under the umbrella of the union until the late 1970s and she recalled helping organize the first May Wine Charity Brunch in June 1972 at Innsbrook Country Club.

Born and then her youth spent growing up in Logansport, not too far from our own family farm, Linda was the devoted daughter of the late Donald J. and Isabel (Murdock) Grube. Though she spent her youth in the heart of Indiana cornfields, Linda and her three sisters still enjoyed department store shopping trips to Marshall Field’s and downtown Chicago, and summers at Camp Osoha and their beloved cottage at Stop 31 in Long Beach.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in education at Northwestern University, where she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega women’s fraternity. After graduating, she married her college sweetheart, Ronald G. Eisenhauer, in 1961, and they enjoyed 59 beautiful years together before his passing in 2020 at age 85.

Their only child, Donald, who survives, thrilled his parents when he decided to attend Northwestern University. Don and Linda first lived in Miller, then Merrillville, and in later years, the Lakes of the Four Seasons community of Crown Point.

Linda always nodded to teaching fifth grade as one of her most satisfying accomplishments, and she delighted in chance encounters with former students, always proud and pleased to remember their names. She especially loved teaching about the U.S. Constitution, democracy, and American history.

Linda passionately supported numerous arts, cultural, and educational organizations that enriched the lives of others. She was a charter member of the Women’s Association of the Northwest Indiana Symphony (WANISS) and a long-standing member of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Board and the Women’s Board of the Chicago Symphony.

“Linda was the true definition of the term ‘pillar’ of our arts community,” said David Mika, executive director of South Shore Arts and the NWI Symphony.

“She provided essential support over her entire life for the arts through her words and actions. She was a true believer on how the arts could bring people together, strengthen our communities, and improve the quality of people’s lives. As much as she loved music and art forms of many genres, I think she loved connecting people through the arts just as much. I will miss finding Linda, surrounded by her friends, sitting in her favorite seat at our Symphony performances.”

She celebrated 60 years of membership in Tri Kappa and rarely missed a meeting of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization). Linda had an extraordinary talent for bringing people together and loved to host and entertain. Her comings and goings were consistently chronicled in the social columns, including many under my own byline, during these decades.

“Linda’s love of music and the impact it had on our committee was infectious,” said Tresa Radermacher, a friend and fellow member of WANISS.

“Linda served as president of WANISS from 1972-1974, and she served on the Volunteer Council for six years in the 1980s with the League of American Orchestra and was currently serving as parliamentarian and bylaws chairperson and consulting on our big annual events like Festival of Trees and May Wine Brunch.”

In addition to her son and his wife Mary Jane, she is survived by her grandchildren Mary Frances, George, and Harriet. She is also survived by her sisters Jane (Jim) David and Martie (Frederick “Rick,” deceased) Roehm, along with numerous nieces, nephews, close friends, and her loyal Abyssinian cat, Abby. In addition to her parents and husband, she is preceded in death by her sister Carolyn (William, deceased) Rucker.

Visitation will be 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26 at Burns Funeral Home & Crematory, 10101 Broadway, Crown Point, Indiana. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, June 27, 2024, at 10 at Burns Funeral Home & Crematory, and interment will follow immediately at Historic Maplewood Cemetery, 347 Maple Lane in Crown Point. Contributions in Linda’s memory may be made to these organizations: Hospice of the Calumet Area (The William J. Riley House), Northwest Indiana Symphony, or Northwestern University Wildcat Fund.

The free-flowing punch at the WANISS charity luncheons has become legendary and the chugging catalyst for some of the sparkling (sparking) table conversation that commences following a glass or two, all for a good cause. John Cain shared with me a small, spiral limited-printing cookbook published in 1987 titled “Palette to Palate: A Collection of Recipes from Members and Friends of the Northern Indiana Arts Association.”

The cookbook chair was the wonderful Camille S. Mann, another longtime member of WANISS, who passed away at age 88 in December 2023. Camille included the recipe for the ladies’ society recipe for “Fruit Punch for Fifty” for enough half-splash glasses to serve 50 guests.

Columnist Philip Potempa has published four cookbooks and is the director of marketing at Theatre at the Center. He can be reached atpmpotempa@comhs.orgor mail your questions: From the Farm, PO Box 68, San Pierre, Ind. 46374.

Fruit Punch for Fifty

Can serve 50 one-half-cup guest servings

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 3/4 quart water

3/4 quart pineapple juice

1/4 cup strong brewed tea

1/2 cup fruit juices

3 1/2 cup lemon juice

1 3/4 cup orange juice

Rum for added color (optional)

Directions:

1. Boil sugar and 1 cup of water together until sugar is dissolved.

2. Combine remaining ingredients and chill.

From the Farm: Arts advocate Linda Eisenhauer’s passing leaves lasting legacy (2024)

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