ABLARD, Linda W., of Weeki Wachee, FL, passed away Sunday, January 5, 2020. She returned to GlenLakes in Florida after a 15 year hiatus just a year ago from Lilburn, Georgia. She was born to Ardella and A.R. Welch Jr. and grew up on the family farm and ranch in Oklahoma. She graduated from Duke High School and attended Oklahoma State University where she earned a BS degree with a double major in Nutrition and Journalism. At Oklahoma State University she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Mortar Board and Angel Flight. In college, she served in many leadership roles including Chapter President of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. Linda served as a Foods Editor for both Southern Living Magazine and the National Pork Producers Council. While living in Hong Kong where Gary’s career took them, she used her Journalism degree to write for several peoridicals. In 1989 she became the editor of the Adelphean and served in this role for 21 years. The remainder of her career was spent in leadership roles with Alpha Delta Pi International.Linda’s Alpha Delta Pi legacy is unparalleled. In 2018 she retired from the position of Executive Director after 15 years in that capacity. She served during a time of great growth for the sorority and implemented many new projects that propelled Alpha Delta Pi into the 21st century, including a highly successful internship program. In 2019, the Executive Director’s office was officially named in her honor at a special event celebrating her accomplishments. Her successor, Amanda Sloan, Alpha Beta—Iowa, noted, “Linda was a mentor to many Alpha Delta Pi staff and Greek friends in her role as Executive Director. She took time to learn the business and advocate for Greek women and our organizations. Her leadership and influence run deep and our industry is indebted to her.”Prior to her role on staff, Linda served in numerous capacities, including International Secretary, Adelphean Editor, Traveling Chapter Secretary, and several committee positions. Past Grand President Virginia Rosenberg Stafford, Alpha Beta—Iowa, remarked upon learning of Linda’s passing, “She was an Alpha Delta Pi who loved and understood the sorority and knew how to write about it and express it, too.” Indeed, Linda’s words will live on forever through her many Adelphean articles and two beautiful history books, Sisters and More Sisters which she authored.
Linda’s impact on the fraternity and sorority world was not limited to Alpha Delta Pi. She served as President of the Fraternity Executives Association and in 2012 received the Evin C. Varner, Jr. Fraternal Communications Award presented by the Fraternity Communications Association. At Alpha Delta Pi’s 2019 Convention in Las Vegas, Linda received the Joan Perry Boatright Alumnae Loyalty Award for her years of dedicated service. “Linda’s impact is deep and wide, not only within Alpha Delta Pi but also in our Greek community,” noted International President Emily Erkel, Zeta Chi—Baylor. “Most importantly, Linda impacted the lives of individual sisters and friends with her passion for the Greek experience, love of ADPi history, faith in God, and belief in the potential of others. I personally cherished Linda’s ability to both learn from and teach others through her many roles. She made a difference in my life as a young consultant and again as President.”Linda was a member of Russell Baptist Church in Russell, Oklahoma and a member of P.E.O (Philantropic Educational Organization) in Weeki Wachee, FL.
Survived by husband of 36 years: Gary Ablard of Weeki Wachee, FL; son: Michael Ablard of Jupiter, FL; daughter: Karen Ablard and her husband Paul Rhodes of Montara, California; sisters and brothers-in-law: Shirley Hastings of Knoxville, Tennessee, Brenda and Mark Yazel of Vinita, Oklahoma, Peggy and John Fenderson of Stillwater, Oklahoma; Sister-in-law, Rebecca Welch of Altus, Oklahoma; six grandchildren: Riley Rhodes, Sydney Rhodes and Tanner Rhodes, Christopher Ablard, Jess Ablard and Kelly Ablard Volin; one nephew, Travis Fenderson; five nieces: Megan Janda and husband Justin, Monica Frieden and husband Vanndy, Amanda Grove and husband Levi, Michelle Coe and husband Bryan, and Katy Welch; seven great-nephews, four great-nieces. She is preceded in death by her parents, Ardella and A.R. Welch; son, Mark Ablard and brother, Robert Welch; brother-in-law, Rod Hastings; and nephew, Brent Hastings.
The family is planning a celebration of life for local friends from 4:00 to 6:00pm on January 9th at the GlenLakes Country Club. An additional Memorial Service is being planned for Spring 2020 in Oklahoma.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Linda’s name to the Russell Cemetery Fund, PO Box 313, Duke, Ok 73532, St. Judes Hospital https://www.stjude.org/about-st-jude/faq/how-can-i-donate-to-st-jude.html or the charity or organization of your choice.
To send flowers to Linda's family, please visit our floral section.