December 25, 1942-May 24, 2021
Member of San Antonio MTA
A beloved mother, wife, grandmother, piano teacher, friend, and neighbor, Linda Camann passed away in her home on May 24th, 2020 surrounded by her family (and faithful pets) after a lengthy, ardent battle with breast cancer.
Thank you to all who reached out to Mom and in support of our family during the past few weeks. She rallied during these difficult times and cherished every visit, voicemail message, card, and letter from all who loved her, as she dearly loved each one of you. She appreciated every flower she received or encountered, and insisted on saving them all.
Fiercely independent and private, Mrs. Camann did not share her illness with anyone outside her immediate family. She was, however, a spirited and universally loved patient at Texas Oncology.
Born on Christmas Day in Gary, Indiana, Mrs. Camann chose to define her life by her capabilities rather than her disability when an illness in early childhood left her partially paralyzed. Her passion for music was recognized by her beloved piano teacher, Lillian Gertrude Sims McRitchie, who taught her for eleven years at no charge. Known in her childhood as Janie Eaton, she gravitated toward competition, winning on the nationwide Morris B. Sachs Amateur Hour television show at the age of eight. As a teenager she won numerous piano competitions, both in northern Indiana and nationwide, and gave performances throughout the Chicago area, to regional acclaim. "Clair de Lune" was one of her favorite pieces, and she performed it in a master class led by Maurice Dumesnil, the famous student of the composer Claude Debussy. She won a piano concerto competition at age 18, judged by the esteemed concert pianist Rudolph Ganz, who later taught her at Roosevelt University. As a psychology major at Valparaiso University, she met her math tutor and future husband, David Camann.
As she settled into family life, Mrs. Camann performed less frequently and dedicated herself in her role as wife, mother, and piano teacher. To improve her health, she and her family moved to Texas in 1972. She taught many of her students and also her four children the art of piano teaching, as she specialized in teaching gifted students as well as children with disabilities. In 1988, Mrs. Camann established the LGSM Foundation to assist and sponsor children with disabilities in their private music study. She was music director of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, and was active in the San Antonio Poets Association, San Antonio Music Teachers Association, and the Tuesday Musical Club. Among Mrs. Camann's favorite accomplishments were numerous piano ensemble concerts, including at Beethoven Hall, Trinity University Laurie Auditorium, St. Phillip's College, Norris Conference Center, the Empire Theatre, and UTSA Buena Vista Theatre. Each ensemble concert featured her students, with as many as thirty performers on up to eighteen pianos at the same time, to fund the LGSM Foundation.
Mrs. Camann was a prolific composer and artist. Her "Jesus is Born" is now a Christmas favorite. Mrs. Camann always impressed audiences with her own arrangement of "Chariots of Fire," and she envisioned her electric wheelchair as a chariot that enabled her to run. She painted this scene as a self-portrait.
Mrs. Camann welcomed students and their families into her home, which housed 12 or more pianos, including her five Baldwin grand pianos. The students were her extended family. A hallmark of her teaching style was that older and more accomplished students assisted the younger or beginner students, promoting camaraderie and self-confidence. She fostered the able-bodied and disabled to learn and perform together to share their music.
Mrs. Camann did not allow her circumstances to preclude opportunities to fulfill her adventurous spirit. From hot air ballooning, landing on Alaskan fjords and glaciers in a float plane, swimming with dolphins, riding roller coasters, boating in the Caribbean, camping among the rocks at Canyon Lake, and navigating the trails of her beloved Yellowstone National Park, she always warned that some of the worst words were "I wish I would have." She once planned a family trip including white water rafting down 30 miles of rapids on the Snake River; she and the guide were the only ones not thrown out of the boat.
Mrs. Camann loved animals; they reciprocated. Butterflies gravitated to her. Many stray dogs and cats pledged their allegiance to her and found a welcoming home. Her parade of faithful Pomeranians was always close by. Within her domain, fish and birds were fed, not caught. She insisted on cracking walnuts and pecans for the eager squirrels who knocked on her porch door. She regaled us with stories of her childhood pet skunk Stinker and squirrels that would fall asleep in her coat pockets. No living creature ever went hungry in her presence.
Mrs. Camann has positively impacted and shaped so many lives. She created cherished, life-long memories through her ensemble concerts and music theory camps, which fostered relationships among her students to create their musical family. Her true gift as a teacher, however, was her ability to deliver wisdom through life lessons within the piano lessons. A second mother to many, she taught the music of life to help her students learn, grow, and feel loved and supported in ways they didn't even know they needed. She continues to cast a wide net of influence with every note her students play, piece they teach, and song they share, perpetuating her passion and love of music.
Most people can recall the first time they met Mrs. Camann. She was a force of nature, a vibrant spirit, with strength and drive to do what she loved. She was inspired to live a life of purpose, no matter what the circumstances. She challenged us to be accountable, reach our potential, broaden our way of thinking, and share our gifts of music to "Celebrate the World."
Mrs. Camann enriched lives in endless ways. Her words are forever etched in our memories; her voice and love are present in our lives and will continue to be with us as we go forward in life. May her gift of music live on in us all, and continue to surround us with love, grace, and comfort.
The genuine caring and love she had for all of us helped to strengthen her resolve in her incredible 17-year fight to battle her cancer. We especially thank her oncologists, Dr. J. Dean McCracken and Dr. Sharon Wilks, and her nurses for their valiant and loving treatment at Texas Oncology.
Mrs. Camann is survived by her husband David; her children Mark, Brent, Amy, and Joel; and her grandchildren Dora, Joey, Sean, Jake, Jane, and Benjamin.