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Columbia Missourian

Linda Irvin loved teaching gifted children, gardening

By Caitlin Campbell
July 7, 2013 | 8:03 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Linda Irvin loved to teach. For her children and students, learning never stopped in the classroom.

“Everything was about education and being a better person,” her son, John Irvin, said.

Linda Jean (Alverson) Irvin, of Columbia died Thursday, July 4, 2013. She was 73.

Mrs. Irvin was born Jan. 13, 1940, in Springfield to John and Mildred (Shannon) Alverson. She graduated from Maplewood High School and received her bachelor's and master's degrees from MU. She married Jim Irvin on Nov. 26, 1960, in Maplewood.

Mrs. Irvin taught for 25 years at West Junior High School. In 1996, she was selected Missouri Gifted Teacher of the Year. Upon retirement, she became the executive secretary for the Gifted Association of Missouri.

Jim Irvin said his wife was an excellent teacher, parent and wife. He said she was very invested in teaching and focused on gifted children.

Whether it was in the classroom or in her home, Mrs. Irvin found ways to challenge the children in her life.

“If you asked her a question, she wouldn’t necessarily give you the answer,” her daughter, Kathy Becker, said. “She would make you look it up yourself. She wanted to make sure you knew how to get the answer yourself.”

Mrs. Irvin was very open-minded and accepting, John Irvin said. If a child learned a certain way, she would modify her teaching techniques to help them.

Becker said her mother gave her all when teaching.

"She always received notes from teachers and students about the impact she made on their lives," she said.

In her free time, Mrs. Irvin enjoyed tending to her garden, her son said. Every morning, she would make sure her bird feeders were full and set them in her garden. Her garden is beautiful and filled with many different kinds of plants and flowers, he said.

“She was the only one in our family that had a green thumb,” Becker said. “She spent a lot of time in the garden and passed that love of the outdoors onto my son.”

Mrs. Irvin placed high value in spending time with her family. She made sure the family ate dinners together, and often attended her grandchildren's activities.

"She was very competitive," Becker said with a laugh. "She didn’t mind a good, hard foul when watching my sons play basketball."

Mrs. Irvin is survived by her husband, Jim Irvin; two sons, John and David Irvin; a daughter, Kathy Becker, and her husband, Terry; and three grandsons, Kyle, Justin and Paul Becker.

A service followed by a reception will be held 2 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church of Columbia, 1112 E. Broadway.

Memorial contributions can be made to First Baptist Church, 1112 E. Broadway, or a charity of choice.

Condolences can be posted at

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