Classmate Biography

Rio Linda Senior High School - Rio Linda, CA - Class of 1971

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Linda S. Courter
(Linda Best)

Originally written January 10, 2000
Last updated November 1, 2018



Graduated mid-term, January, 1971. Attended Cosumnes River College and American River College. Major: Business Administration

Love Life

I met Ray Courter in 1984 through a mutual friend. We became engaged on Valentine's Day, 1985. We were married on April 26, 1986. Ray has six children ( we lost Christopher Robin in 2004 after a life-long battle with Duchenes muscular dystrophy), and numerous grandchildren.

Ray epitomizes the song "You're The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me", as sung by Gladys Knight and the Pips. He's truly the "Best" part of my life.

Ray and I love cats and dogs. We call them our "babies". The cats are indoor only (Charlie and Scout). We adopted a toy poodle, Lili, in August 2010. We adopted a female black lab mix named RE-RE (Ray-Ray) in February 2012. We adopted a pom/poodle, Vick, in July 2014. They bring us love and joy every day!!


I retired after working 33 years for the State of California.


I love to read, watch movies, soap operas, and listen to music.

My favorite books include: "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway and "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee.

I have always been fascinated with celebrity biographies and autobiographies (my mother named me after two movie actresses, Linda Darnell and Susan Hayward).

My favorite actor of all-time is James Cagney. I first saw him when I was only 13, in "Angels with Dirty Faces"; I loved that short, little tough guy character he played and the hero he became in the end. He was an awesomely talented actor, singer, and dancer. He won his only Oscar for "Yankee Doodle Dandy".

My favorite actress of all-time is Elizabeth Taylor. I have been fascinated with her career, marriages, children, those beautiful lavender (my favorite color) eyes. What I admire most about her though, is all the work she has done for Aids. My favorite actor now is Oscar winner, Javier Bardem, for "No Country for Old Men". I met Billy Bob Thornton on May 18, 2002, at The Fillmore in San Francisco. He was there to do a concert and I was able to get his autograph. He is a very sweet, soft-spoken gentlemen. This event was incredibly exciting and I will never forget meeting him!

My favorite movies include: "The Wizard of Oz"; "Angels with Dirty Faces"; "Yankee Doodle Dandy"; "Anatomy of a Murder"; "Rio Bravo"; "To Kill a Mockingbird"; "The Godfather"; "Kramer vs. Kramer"; "The Big Chill"; "Terms of Endearment"; "Boyz N the Hood"; "Avalon"; "The Birdcage"; "Sling Blade", "Crash" and "No Country for Old Men".

I still watch "The Young and the Restless". My favorite TV shows at this time are: "Nancy Grace", "The View", "Pawn Stars", "Modern Family", "The Middle", "Blue Bloods", and "Major Crimes".

My favorite music is soul: Earth, Wind, & Fire; Anita Baker; Stevie Wonder; The Temptations; Marvin Gaye; Luther Vandross and Aretha Franklin, just to name a few. I also enjoy Sinatra, Streisand, Barry Manilow, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Michael Jackson, The Doors, Johnny Mathis, The Mills Brothers, Bebe & Cece Winans, Brian McKnight, Merle Haggard, Chet Atkins, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Jr., and Chris Botti.

The "Best" concerts I've attended are: Anita Baker, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Huey Lewis & the News, The Eagles, and Frankie Valli.


I got the fairy tale: a very romantic engagement, a big, beautiful church wedding, reception, and honeymoon. We are indeed living happily ever after...

I'm a grandmother! My grandson was the light of my life. Unfortunately, I lost Dillon on July 23, 2016.

Meeting Billy Bob Thornton and having a brief conversation with him was certainly an awesome and unforgettable experience!!



Current Celebrity Crush

Sir Richard Branson, Russell Brand, Gilles Marini, Tom Selleck, Tommy Flanagan, and Derek Hough.


Tom Brady is my quarterback.


I am very proud of a few friendships with fellow classmates that have endured for many, many years.

LaVerna Holt Schimpf - LaVerna and I met when we were 10 years old and attending Northwood Elementary School in North Sacramento. We reconnected at Rio Linda High School (RLHS) and are friends today. We also happen to work at FTB.

Sheila Brooks - Sheila and I met when we were 13 years old at RLJHS. We have remained very close friends and she works at FTB.

Shirley Dyer Johnson Breckenridge - Shirley and I met when we were 13 and attending RLJHS. I married her brother, Ernie, twice and we divorced twice. Shirley is the aunt to my only child, Sharon Renee; and great aunt to my grandson, Dillon James, and granddaughter, Makaila May. We will remain friends and family forever...

Valerie Russell DesVoignes - Valerie and I met at age 13 at RLJHS (That was a mighty fine school for meeting lifelong friends!). It is with deep sadness and sorrow that our friendship came to an abrupt and tragic end on December 30, 2002. Valerie was killed in a snowmobile accident. Valerie was a resident of Jackson and the proud mother of two fine sons, Ryan and Alex DesVoignes. She was a registered nurse for the past seven years. I attended her funeral on January 4, 2003, with Roger and Cece Linder. The tragic loss of a friend of 36 years has left me feeling distressed. Valerie's intelligence, wit, kindness, dignity, and laughter will be forever missing from the rest of my life. But, she was a very special friend of mine...

My Brother

I lost my precious baby brother (age 53) on November 19, 2008. He had a massive heart attack while driving and died instantly. I am the last surviving member of my immediate family. The pain I feel over his death is horrific. I have joined an online support group, which is a place where you can share information and leave tributes about the loss of an adult sibling. I still love and miss him every single day...

My Grandson, Dillon

I lost my precious grandson, Dillon, on July 23, 2016. The pain of his loss is devastating, he was only 14. He will live on in my heart forever. I have no other words...

Words to Live By:

"Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much"

"Of all the treasures in the world, nothing is more precious than giving someone a piece of your heart." (From "Funny Valentines", a made for TV movie starring Alfre Woodard and Loretta Devine.)

"The greatest thing you ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return." (From "Nature Boy", written by Eden Ahbez, and sung by Nat King Cole in the movie "Untamed Heart" starring Marisa Tomei and Christian Slater.)

"To live in the hearts of those left behind is not to die." (From the novel, "A Stone for Danny Fisher", written by Harold Robbins.)

"There's no place like home." (From "The Wizard of Oz" by Dorothy Gale from Kansas, a character played by Judy Garland).

"Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it."

"Memories live in the heart forever."

"Love God and love one another." (My husband's interpretation of "The Bible - New Testament".)

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