Books took her wherever she wanted to go

By Stephanie Hayes, Times Staff Writer
Published March 8, 2008

TAMPA - Linda Teasley experienced adventure, passions, historical moments of epic proportions. She went everywhere she ever wanted; books took her there.

When she was a little girl, it was Anne of Green Gables. When she got older, it was Chaucer and Shakespeare. She earned a doctorate in English literature from Emory University by doing a dissertation on George Chapman's translation of Homer.

She admired Stonewall Jackson, and devoted several years to understanding the causes and the consequences of the Civil War. She found work lecturing in college classrooms including at Emory, the University of Alabama and the University of South Florida.

Wherever life took her, she was happy, as long as she had what she needed - her husband and her books.

* * *

She met Harry Teasley Jr. on a blind date in college. He adored her from the start.

They were totally different personalities. He was a take action, Type A. She was laid back. Never made lists, never fretted. Didn't spend hours on the phone. She was friendly and social, but she kept to herself.

If there was a Type C, her family said, that was Mrs. Teasley.

But they were best friends and partners. Katherine Teasley Muth, 45, one of their three children, said she hardly ever saw her parents exchange cross words. Even when annoyed, they were careful not to spout off with disrespect.

Mostly, they wanted to be together. So when Mr. Teasley's job as a Coca-Cola executive required him to travel, she went along gladly. They lived in Georgia, California, England, Texas. In 1991, they moved to Tampa, where they settled on Bayshore Boulevard.

Her surroundings changed, but Mrs. Teasley found consistency through reading and learning.

"She was just an intellectual person," said her daughter. "She lived a life very much in her mind."

* * *

For the last year and half of her life, Mrs. Teasley suffered from ovarian cancer. It robbed her energy, but she put up a brave face. She viewed the cancer as an unwelcome guest in her house - one she just had to deal with.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Teasley died. She was 68.

She spent the last part of her life escaping, as always, into books. Her son in law, Parke Muth, constantly sent new ones in the mail - Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. More Civil War books. A book about brain science.

And last week, she watched a movie version of Watership Down, about a group of rabbits seeking greener pastures, with her daughter.

When her kids were little, Mrs. Teasley had read them the book.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at shayes@sptimes.com or 727 893-8857.


Linda Teasley

Born: March 17, 1939.

Died: March 4, 2008.

Survivors: husband, Harry Teasley Jr.; mother, Martha Gates Grant; children; Martha Teasley, Katherine Teasley Muth, Harry Eugene Teasley III; seven grandchildren; brother, Thomas Asada-Grant; son-in-law, Phillip Parke Muth; daughter-in-law, Yatsze Mark Teasley.

Services: visitation at 1 p.m. today, service at 2 p.m., Blount & Curry Funeral Home, 605 S MacDill Ave., Tampa.