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Linden marks 100 years attendance at FBC Silverhillcomment (0)

March 24, 2011


When she was 6 weeks old, Violet Gustafson Linden’s parents added her name to the cradle roll at First Baptist Church, Silverhill. On Feb. 19, Linden held the framed certificate while family, friends and members of the Baldwin Baptist Association congregation took pictures and celebrated her 100th birthday.

“I am thankful for having been born to Christian parents in a country where the gospel is taught,” she said as those attending the celebration from as far away as California praised her as a role model and blessing.

Linden remembers riding to church in a buggy as a child and the kerosene lamps that lit the interior. Her parents, John and Emma Gustafson, were among Silverhill’s early Swedish settlers and active members of First Swedish Baptist Church, Silverhill, which became First, Silverhill.

Baptized in 1924, she has served in a number of ministry roles including musician and Sunday School teacher. In 1992, the church recognized Linden with an award for 67 years of faithful service as pianist and organist.

“How rare it is to have a person attend the same church for 100 years, but even more so, what an amazing blessing to faithfully serve the Lord and the people of that church for most of those years,” said Interim Pastor Joe Savage, who interviewed Linden about her life during the Feb. 20 worship service.

In 1934, she married another first-generation child of Swedish settlers in Silverhill, Robert T. “Bob” Linden. He passed away in 1998. They have four children, seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

According to a biography written by daughter Gloria Buck, Linden was actively involved in the community and business world, as well as being a “diligent and attentive homemaker.” She was employed in secretarial and accounting work at various times, served as a plane spotter for civil defense during World War II, was active in Eastern Star and community organizations and continues to be active in retirement.

“She has always been faithful, consistent and loving — a tribute to the effect of God in her life,” Buck said.

Daughter Bobbie Benton, with whom Linden lives in nearby Fairhope, likened her mother to the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, adding, “Her life celebrates the Lord.”

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