Linda Mayer Gissen

by | Aug 18, 2015 | Obituaries

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, N. J., 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 U.S. 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, N.J. A service in celebration of Linda’s life was held at Altmeyer Funeral Home. Donations 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