Linda Leah (Chesler) Coes died on May 5, 2021 at the McCarthy Care Center in Harwich after a brief illness. She was 75.
The daughter of Daniel and Florence Chesler, Linda was born in Chicago on June 16, 1945. She grew up in Springfield and studied at both American International College and a college in Maine before her 1974 marriage to the artist Peter Coes, who is listed in the Provincetown Artist Registry.
They spent their first six years in a small cabin in Granby as Peter worked to make a living through his art. With Linda’s urging, they moved to Provincetown in 1980. As Peter tells it, he had no idea at the time how central art was to the cultural and economic life of the town. They settled into a small house at 25 Pearl St.
In Provincetown, Linda pursued her own passion for antique jewelry, working at the late Selma Dubrin’s shop. Some years after that, she worked for Sparks on Commercial Street.
In between her two jewelry store jobs, when hard economic times hit Provincetown in the late 1980s, Linda worked in the town unemployment office. She focused her efforts on ensuring that the hotel cleaning women in particular were treated fairly. If an individual cleaner’s income was too low to qualify for unemployment benefits when she applied in the fall, Linda would call the hotel and get her a bonus to make up the difference. The hotel owners were happy to comply because they wanted the cleaners back the following summer.
By the year 2000, the house on Pearl Street was too cramped for Linda’s family, so they moved to Cummaquid, further up Cape. There she began a 20-year project of creating unique and lovely gardens, where she toiled happily with her cats. She knew the Latin names for all her flowers, knowledge she would half shyly and half proudly display when she gave her friends a tour.
When Linda’s mother’s health began to fail, Linda moved her into the Epoch Senior Healthcare in Harwich and promptly took a job there herself, handling admissions. Her motive was to look after her mother, but she soon became a favorite among the residents. She would remember details from their lives that were shared upon admission. Because she was petite, she would not look down on those in wheelchairs. She was known as “the little butterfly.”
Linda is survived by her husband, Peter; her son, Matthew; her daughter-in-law, Sara; her grandson, Michael; and her sisters, Carol Chesler and Alice Abrams.
She will be remembered by many for her caring nature. The director of Epoch wrote to Peter that Linda was “little but mighty in her devotion to others.” There wasn’t a face that didn’t light up a little when “Little Lindy” entered the room. Kindness radiated from her.
Donations to local animal shelters or to McCarthy Care Center would be her wish, her family said.
Plans for a memorial service will be announced by the family in the fall.