Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Fay Mary Linder

Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Fay Mary Linder

Fay Mary Linder
(1927 – 2016)

Fay_Linder_web.jpgFay Mary Linder passed away March 4, 2016 at Pilgrim Place in Claremont, California. She had been a resident since 1994 after retiring from years of teaching in Istanbul, Turkey. 

Ms. Linder was born in Bronxville, New York, and grew up in Greensburg and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Being active in sports in school and summer camps led to a career as a physical education teacher. After graduating from Tufts University in 1949 she taught at the St. Agnes School in Albany, New York, until 1964. During this period she earned a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from Pennsylvania State University. Her major sport was field hockey, but she also refereed basketball. Music was a favored hobby. Ms. Linder sang for many years with the Westminster Presbyterian Church choir in Albany.

Looking for a new direction, Ms. Linder considered teaching abroad. She eventually was hired by the American College for Girls in Istanbul, Turkey, which is now Robert College. Her initial contract in Istanbul was for one or two years, but the time stretched eventually into 28 years. She taught at the American College for Girls from 1964-71 and then was hired by the United Church Board for World Ministries (today Global Ministries) to teach and coach at Uskudar American Academy for Girls, where she taught until her retirement in 1992. She understood her work as developing character in her students through sports. In 1988 the Istanbul Newspapers Sports Writers Association awarded her and her teams for the year’s outstanding sportsmanship. Ms. Linder also worked at the Uskudar school at various times as registrar, college counselor, director of activities, boarding supervisor, and vice-principal. 

Under Ms. Linder’s leadership the Uskudar school contributed to the start of a Special Olympics program in Turkey by offering its sports facilities and student mentors to the differently-abled. She served on the board of a high school for gifted but financially disadvantaged students, where she advised on the construction of the physical education facilities. 

While living in Istanbul, Ms. Linder was deeply involved in the life of the Union Church of Istanbul, an English-speaking Protestant congregation. She sang in the choir, played the bells, and was for many years the secretary of the Church Council. 

Having close relatives in Switzerland on her father’s side, Ms. Linder often took the opportunity to drive through the Balkans to Switzerland to visit her relatives and hike in the Alps. She thus regarded three countries as home: Turkey, Switzerland, and the U.S. Her love of travel and teaching culminated in a two-week trip to Russia in 1993 as part of a Citizen Ambassadors program, “Women in Sport.” 

After moving to Pilgrim Place in Claremont, Ms. Linder used her physical education skills to develop programs for residents in the newly-built Worth George Aquatic and Fitness Center. She also authored a history of Uskudar American Academy for Girls, a project supported by the Uskudar graduates association. 

Ms. Linder is the last surviving member of her immediate family. She has a cousin, Maria Linder, of Burbank, California, and various other relatives in the U.S. and Switzerland. Her memorial service at Pilgrim Place is scheduled for April 27, 2016. Ms. Linder’s ashes will be interred at Monument Cemetery Association in Beverly, New Jersey. Donations in honor of Ms. Linder may be made to Special Olympics International, Special Olympics, Attention Web Gifts, 1133 19th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington, DC 20036-3604 or online at or to Pilgrim Place, 625 Mayflower Road, Claremont, CA 91711 or online at