Linda Mayer Gissen

August 16, 1937 - July 20, 2015

08/16/1937 - 07/20/2015

Past Services

Sunday July 26, 2015
1:00 pm
Altmeyer Funeral Home - Southside Chapel
5033 Rouse Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
(757) 422-4000 | Directions
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Celebration of Life Service

Beth El Cemetery
Paramus, NJ 07652

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Donations in memory of Linda are being accepted by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art to support their educational programs for children:

Virginia Beach – Linda Mayer Gissen — loving and compassionate mother, grandmother and friend — died peacefully on Monday, July 20, 2015 in her home in Virginia Beach. She leaves her beloved children Laura (husband John Porter), Emily Gissen Dreyfus (son Sam), David (wife Rachel Schreiber), her brother Robert Mayer (wife Susan), and sister-in-law Betty Zimmer to cherish her memory. She was predeceased by her husband of 49 years, Ira Gissen, her parents Max and Ruth Mayer and brother Lionel Zimmer.
Born in 1937, Linda studied at the University of Michigan and the University of Cincinnati, graduating with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology. Linda and Ira raised their children in Bergen County, New Jersey, where they lived for 27 years before settling in Virginia in 1983.
For 50 years, Linda created sculptures, religious ritual objects, and jewelry. Her works reside in museum, liturgical, corporate, and municipal collections, including the Chrysler Museum and the White House. In 1987, the Catholic Archdiocese of Richmond commissioned her to create the first Holocaust memorial on the grounds of a US Catholic church. In Virginia Beach, her bright, sun-shaped memorial to the founder of Sunny Day Magazine overlooks the city’s Boardwalk.
In addition to her passion for art, Linda loved engaging in discussions of politics and current events, volunteering for a range of community organizations and causes, gardening, and playing bridge with her friends, all of which she enjoyed throughout her life.
She was interred in Beth-El Cemetery, Paramus, New Jersey. A service in celebration of Linda’s life will be held Sunday, July 26th at 1:00 pm in Altmeyer Funeral Home, 5792 Greenwich Road, Virginia Beach. Donations in memory of Linda are being accepted by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art to support their educational programs for children: Condolences may be offered to the family at

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Peggy Beardslee
8 years ago

I had the pleasure of working on a collaboration with Linda. Her amazing talent, strength, and grace will long be remembered.

Judith Macnow
8 years ago

Dear Laura, Emily and David,

Teresa Annas
8 years ago

What a role model Linda was — for women, especially. On the one hand, she was a great celebrator of life and art. I can still see her dancing with others around Ogden Hall in the early ’90s, her umbrella held high for a second-line to “When the Saints Go Marching In” during a concert by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans, with husband Ira watching and smiling from his wheelchair. And I can picture her last year conferring with Christina Carlson Strum, her gentle and capable assistant, on the finish for a charity box that had been commissioned.
And then to learn just how much she had done to aid the cause of social justice and civil rights. And how she had broken gender barriers by helping to pioneer the Miriam’s cup, and was continuing to make a difference through her sculptural “Justice Wheels.”
Dear Linda, I raise my umbrella to you. May the saints deliver your extraordinary spirit joyfully home.

8 years ago

Dear Family of Linda………
Beverly and Jack extend our deepest sympathy at this time of loss. We fondly remember Linda, her wit and humor, her extensive artistic talents and her warm and friendly personality. We shall cherish the art pieces that we have that Linda created over the
years………….particularly the Kristalnacht piece that is so emotionally stirring. We hope
that you, her beloved family, are comforted by the memories of her creative life and
loving care she always had for her family. Love……………Bev and Jack Fox