On Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022, Linda Amorando Miller, 72, of Stratford, CT, grew wildly impatient, as was often her way. After spending the majority of her life showing up at loved ones’ houses – often unannounced yet always spinning it into a memorable, laugh-fueled fun fest – she realized there was one door she had yet to crash down – God’s. So with her cane in one hand and a box of Italian pastries in the other, she stormed through the pearly gates, knocking them off their hinges – whether God was ready for her or not. (Spoiler alert: He wasn’t…but she’s got him laughing now and he’s about 10 pounds heavier from the pastries.)
Linda, ever since she was young, did things her way. She was a rebel with a cause. As an act of perceived defiance, she resisted learning her mother’s food recipes (heresy in Italian culture) out of fear that it would be the first step down an irreversible path ending in domestic complacency. She traded in learning how to make lasagna for higher learning, ultimately receiving her masters and sixth year degrees.
It led her to a career of 30+ years in the Bridgeport education system, where she spent the majority of her time disciplining teaching 2nd and 3rd graders at Roosevelt School. It was a rite of passage to be her student. While often kids would dread seeing the name “Ms. Miller” on their teacher assignments for the following school year, they’d return years later as teenagers, thanking her for setting their lives down a good course and being there for them when it often felt like no one else was. (They’d also tell her that they were now fighting to get their younger siblings into her classroom against their younger siblings’ wishes.)
Linda was trilingual – fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian swear words. She often listened to music in Spanish, singing it aloud at the top of her lungs in her car, constantly shattering the windows. She loved going to casinos expecting to lose, making her wins even sweeter. She loved Dunkin’ Donuts™ and made fast friends in the Dunkin’ Donuts™ Drive-Thru on the Barnum Ave Cutoff; she remained loyal to the end, as she passed away with a Dunkin’ Donuts™ Iced Tea on her bedside table.
And that was her way, remaining loyal to the end. She loved her kids and her family more than she ever loved herself. Even though she didn’t have the money, she always wanted to pay for dinner, ceramics, pastries, movies, snacks, and books for everyone around her because she knew true value wasn’t in the cash, it was in the joy and laughter of those that she loved. She lived for the sound of laughter. She often played the role of clueless “old lady” – sometimes self-aware, sometimes not – just because she knew it could get a rise out of people.
Linda also lived for people living up to their full potential and fostered the dreams of anyone who opened up to her. And if they didn’t open up to her, she’d force it out of them – legally most of the time. Whether her own children, her brothers and their kids, or a ranting man on the street – she believed that people could do anything they put their mind to. That wasn’t a clichéd saying for her; it was an ultimate truth she tried to share wherever she could. It’s how she constantly made friends with strangers no matter where she went.
Linda is predeceased by her parents. She was their oldest child and only daughter, circumstances which no doubt led to her thick skin and vivacious spirit. Her mother, Concetta Grace Amorando, and her father, Joseph Amorando, were two pureblood Italians that knew the surest way to get your children to remember an important lesson was with a wooden spoon to the behind – a quality happily passed on to Linda which she used as a teaching tool for her own children.
Linda’s also predeceased by her brother Joseph Amorando, Jr. who loved arranging flowers while smoking cigarettes – leading to the most interesting-smelling florist shop in the country.
Linda leaves behind her three ball-busting brothers. The oldest, Daniel Amorando, when not teasing her about her sub-par Pinochle playing, would often be the one cultivating her big heart, just as she cultivated his. Her middle brother, Anthony Amorando, king of the ball busters, used to help cultivate Linda’s resilience, letting her go toe-to-toe with him in the smackdown ring in a way he would allow few others. (She won more than not.) Her youngest brother, Ralph Amorando, when not colluding with her in their black-market ceramics hustle, helped cultivate her soul – getting her even closer to God as the years passed – as she cultivated his patience.
Linda also leaves behind three children, spread out across the country. She always encouraged them to follow their callings and it was one of the rare times they listened to her. She loved them so much that she often hid how much she missed them so they wouldn’t feel guilty – only telling those back in Connecticut how she wished she could see them more and how proud she was of each of them. Her oldest, Charles Taylor the Third, or “CHAL” as she called him, is a heavy metal musician living in Ohio. Her middle child, Susan Hodge Lee, is a nurse / adventure-seeker in North Dakota. Her youngest son – John to some, Shirley to others – is a writer and part-time ambassador of depravity living in Los Angeles. All the bravery, goodness, and gigantic love for others Linda’s children possess is because of their mother; without her, they’d all probably have ended up...well, let’s not even dwell on it. Suffice it to say, it wouldn’t have been good.
Linda also leaves behind three grandchildren: Joshua Michael Emmert in New Hampshire, who at a young age used to swear without even knowing it by saying “a little fork and french fry” in a very specific way that used to make Linda laugh, Andrea Sinchak in North Dakota, who was Linda’s favorite movie buddy, and Skye Sinchak in Connecticut, who shares a love of teaching and helping others in a way Linda always hoped would be passed down to someone in her family – and was so incredibly proud when she learned that it finally had.
She also leaves behind cousins, sisters-in-laws, her many nieces and nephews, their children, close childhood friends, colleagues and lots of other people who will be pissed they weren’t mentioned specifically in this obituary given the length of it. But what’s important is that they all loved her. And they all showed up for her in person, by phone, via Facetime™, and through soul connections, both in life and as she transitioned into heaven.
When it comes down to it, Linda got what she gave – everything. The love, joy, and laughter she brought into this world live on through all who knew her.
And so does she.
A memorial service will be held at VFW Post 7788 in Devon, CT on March 26th, 2022 at 3:30p. There is handicap parking and handicap access at the front. The rest can enter through the back. Follow the signs for “Lounge.” While there will be some food and drinks provided, please feel free to bring more. Linda loved nothing more than buying meals for people and she would love knowing that the spirt of it continued in her honor.
At a later date this year, most likely in August, there will be a church service and tree dedication ceremony honoring Linda. She was salt of the Earth, and so she shall return.
Special thanks to Bill Volpe and Maria Palumbo, who were not mentioned specifically above, but were there by Linda’s side the whole way through. We couldn’t have done it without you.