SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—On Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, after a three-year battle with cancer, Linda Kay Hitchins passed away at the age of 67.

Linda was born March 1, 1951, in Savanna, the daughter of Frederick Thorton Colehour and Roberta Lorraine Garvey. She grew up in Mount Carroll and in 1979 relocated to the Scottsdale, Ariz., area where she lived until her death.

The two words that best describe Linda are beautiful and classy. She was a strong, independent, modern woman. She held a number of management positions with hotel management companies until she formed her own company, Southwest Host Services, in 1996. The company booked hotel reservations for college, high school and club athletic teams. Linda successfully ran the company, initially by herself and later with her partner Lisa Dixon, for 20 years until her retirement in May 2016.

Linda loved to cook and was considered by those who knew her to be a gourmet cook. She also loved to travel and had the goal of staying in all the worldwide Four Seasons Hotel Resorts. She was well on her way to accomplishing her goal prior to her death.

In addition to many trips in the United States, Linda and Steven traveled to over 25 countries on five continents. During their travels Linda and Steven acquired many pieces of fine art and blown glass that today decorate their house.

Linda had a kind and generous heart and she loved all living creatures. She adopted a small, blind poodle puppy that no one else wanted, Sedi. Sedi had seven wonderful years joyfully and playfully chasing the birds in Linda and Steven's back yard and their rescue cats in the house. In their 20 years together, Linda and Steven acquired six rescue cats of which three still survive. Her favorite cat was Braveheart, a small, starving feral kitten that she managed to cage after many nights of trying. Braveheart gave Linda and Steven sixteen years of love and affection until his death in November 2018.

She is survived by her partner of 20 years, Steven Lester; her mother, Roberta (George) Gaumond; her sister, Candice (Greg) Nieman of Freeport; her brother, James Colehour of Mount Carroll; her aunt, Madelynn (John) Borchet; her cousins, Matthew (Gretchen) Towson and Shannon Towson, as well and numerous nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews.

Linda was preceded in death by her father, Frederick Thorton Colehour; her sister, Georgia Colehour; her stepmother, Wylma Colehour; and her maternal and paternal grandparents.

Linda will be greatly missed by all those who knew and loved her. Steven and Linda's family wish to thank Hospice of the Valley for the kind and compassionate care they provided Linda during the last three months of her life.

A memorial gathering for Linda's friends and family will be held at 12 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at Linda and Steven's home.

A memorial service also will be held later this year in Mount Carroll.