Chat Room: Linda Whitehead

Linda Whitehead

Linda Whitehead

Age: 46

Husband: Larry Whitehead

Son: Cole Whitehead, 7

Occupation: Vice president and investment manager for First National Bank

Ask Linda what her passion is, and she’s quick to mention working for the Blount County Relay for Life where she volunteers as the accounting chair and small business sponsorship chair. Her husband, father, mother and currently her sister-in-law have battled cancer.

“There is not a person who has not been affected by cancer, either themselves, a family member or friend,” she says. “Cancer research is extremely important in finding a cure.” The Blount County Relay raised $332,000 in 2007 and the fund-raising goal for the 2008 Relay for Life is $375,000.

This year’s Relay for Life will be held June 6 and 7 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on the campus of Maryville College.

What was your first paying job?

“I was a model for a wedding and photography studio. I was 17 when I started to work at Long’s Studio. I enjoyed it. That’s what I really would have loved to have been but it didn’t seem to work out. I was a Blount County Junior Miss, and I modeled for Belk.”

If you could do one impulsive thing, unrestricted by cost, what would it be?

“Build a house overlooking the lake at Tellico Village. I work in that area a lot, too, and it just seems very peaceful. It would be a place I would like to go to get away from anything.”

What are you guilty of?

“I keep telling myself that I will start a diet next Monday. Somehow, that Monday never arrives.”

What is one thing you have always wanted to do but haven’t?

“Probably just a long vacation on a beach somewhere.”

When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

“A teacher. I was always playing school and marking in every book in sight.”

Do you think there is life on other planets?

“My gut feeling is no.”

What is your favorite material possession?

“A woman’s best friend - an antique diamond ring. It is one I’ve had for at least 20 years. I purchased it from a friend who had probably had it probably 25 years. I’m not one to be very materialistic but that is one thing I cherish the most.”

Who has been the most influential person in the 20th century?

“Billy Graham. He is one of the greatest spiritual leaders of our time. It is amazing how many people he has led to Christ.”

What was your most embarrassing moment?

“Recently, I had an appointment with a young couple to discuss college planning. I asked the baby’s due date and learned the baby was already born and was 6-weeks-old. Talk about sticking both feet in my mouth.”

What was your first car?

“A 1975 Yellow Vega. I came home one afternoon, and the car pulled in and my father got out said, ‘I’m tired of getting you around everywhere.’ That was the grandest thing. Even though it was the yellowest car, I loved it.”

What is one word others often use to describe you and why?

“Caring. I have a soft spot in my heart for people in need. The most rewarding experience for me was during the time of Hurricane Katrina. I was assisting with the registration of the evacuees and I met an elderly gentlemen, Leroy. He became a resident of an assisted living facility in Knoxville. There were several websites for people looking for missing relatives and friends and I decided I would search to see if I had registered anyone that was reported missing. There was a lady who evacuated to New York and was looking for her neighbor. His name was Leroy. I immediately called her, and it was the same Leroy.”

With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?

“My grandfather. He was a wonderful Christian man. I was the oldest of 14 grandchildren. Of course, I was not spoiled. I would enjoy the time spent with grandfather on his farm. Yes, I did have a pet pig “Arnold.” The last time I saw my grandfather, there was a circumstance that I had to leave the hospital in a hurry, and I failed to tell him that I loved him. That was an eye-opening experience. If we love someone we need to tell them.”

What do you hate?

“Hate is a strong word. However, I dislike people who say they have love in their heart, but, outwardly they do not portray love.”

What is your all-time favorite movie?

“The Notebook.”

If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?

“I would like to visit the 1950s. I just think that’s an interesting time. I guess was when my parents grew up. It seems like it would be a fun time.”

What is the best present you ever received in a box?

“He did not come in a box! But, the best present was my son “Cole”. He was a miracle baby! We were married 17 years when he was born. At birth, his lung collapsed and was transferred to the intensive care nursery at UT Hospital. Today, he is a 7 year old and enjoying basketball, baseball and the church choir.”

What are you reading currently?

“Sisters,” by Danielle Steele.

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