July 13, 1941 – October 11, 2019
Linda Clark, known to many as the “land shark” of San Francisco, passed away on October 11, 2019, in Walnut Creek, California. She was 78. In her final days she was surrounded by family and friends, toasting life with a glass of Chardonnay and her signature shock of blonde hair and gold earrings. She died from complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Linda loved San Francisco, hated tyranny and enjoyed a good joke, good food, good wine and a good time. She and her husband, Mario Sigüenza, were known for their backyard neighborhood parties with their friends’ live salsa band.
A residential real estate agent for Coldwell Banker in San Francisco for nearly 40 years, Linda was consistently a top sales agent in the City and Northern California. For decades, she lived on Potrero Hill, witnessing the community go from gritty to glitzy. She renovated her first Hill home mostly by herself. Later, as she had more funds, she contracted out for renovations, but nothing made her prouder than her own handiwork.
Linda was an engaged community member. She was a founding member of the Potrero Hill Democratic Club and a Potrero Boosters member. She supported the Potrero Hill Library, the Potrero Archives Project, and Potrero Hill Neighborhood House. For many years, Linda contributed to The Potrero View, an elegant volunteer staff member as well as crack typist and proofreader. She wrote articles and made an important contribution as an advertiser.
One of her favorite haunts was Specs bar in North Beach, where she was greeted like a long-lost friend, engaging in lively conversations with friends, new and old, that ranged from philosophy to politics. With an ability to connect with anyone, she was as much at home in a dive bar as a steak restaurant, always wearing her signature red lipstick.
Personal relationships were paramount to Linda; she collected friends like people collect art, cultivating the finest and most genuine persons from all walks of life. Her sharp mind kept her curious and engaged in community activism throughout her life. She firmly believed in civil rights for everyone along with the tolerance associated with those rights, and was a lifelong mentor, caring friend and favorite auntie to many.
She was born an advocate, first fighting for her own right to do and be her best. She strongly believed in giving back and volunteered countless hours to the communities she lived in. She organized unions for farm workers, longshoremen, mill workers and other hard-working people on the West Coast. In her early professional years she worked directly under the tutelage of Harry Bridges.
In retirement, Linda and Mario restored two 120-year-old Victorian homes on a hill in Port Costa, a community of less than 200 souls, where the unofficial mayor’s only duty is to lead the Fourth of July parade. She loved this slice of small-town America and the people who dwelled there. Within those village lines – where candidates for mayor have included dogs, toddlers and musicians – she found a timeless community and continuity that scant few on this planet enjoy due to our fast-paced and turbulent times. She took long walks in the hills with her best friends, talking about the news of the day, organizing the Port Costa Conservation Society, helping to save a historic school, planning her next meal at the Bull Valley Roadhouse, and listening to the distant sounds of the trains coming and going along the Carquinez Strait at the bottom of Big Bull Valley.
In 2006, Linda started interviewing Port Costa residents to capture their memories. She and her videographer friend Betty Bailey questioned nearly 100 people. She was proud of these videos, which will be edited, transcribed and made a significant part of the Port Costa Museum at the Port Costa School.
“I have wonderful friends and enemies I’m proud of,” was one of her favorite quotes. As she approached death, she would shoo away any chaplains. “I would prefer a political theorist,” was another preferred saying. She wouldn’t miss a day reading the San Francisco Chronicle or a week reading The New Yorker or watching “60 Minutes.”
Linda loved to travel. She and Mario visited many places throughout the world, from the beaches of Rio de Janeiro to the shores of the Mediterranean, the mountains of El Salvador to the neighborhoods of Mexico City. She had a special ability to make immediate and meaningful connections with people from all walks of life.
Born in Wabash, Indiana, Linda also lived in Arizona and Oregon before settling in California for most of her career and retirement. Her memories of her early years in rural Arizona were adventures full of cowboys, Mormons and Native Americans.
She earned her bachelors from San Francisco State University and attended the University of Oregon in Eugene for graduate studies.
In addition to her husband, she’s survived by stepchildren, Veronica Rosen, Pablo Sigüenza, Joanne Sigüenza and Emilio Sigüenza; step-grandchildren Bianca and Bella Rosen, August and Paloma Rodello, and Mateo Sigüenza; nephews David Jacobs and Michael Whitley; nieces Joy Bancroft and Beth Jacobs; and extended Sigüenza families throughout Mexico and El Salvador.
She was predeceased by her parents Oliver and Mildred Clark and her sisters Marjorie Jacobs and Jean Whitley.
In death, her friends and family know her only regret was that she won’t be able to continue to satisfy her innate curiosity. In remembrance of Linda, the family wishes you get off the fast lane, take special care of your family, stay in touch with your friends, enjoy a day of joy and laughter, and live life to the fullest. A party in Linda’s honor will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Port Costa Conservation Society, 1 Plaza Del Hambre, Post Office Box 36, Port Costa, California. 94569-0036.