GAMBIER — Miriam Lucile Bratt Lindstrom, a longtime member of the Kenyon College library staff and the Gambier community, died on Sunday, March 18, 2018, at Brookdale of Mount Vernon. She was 89.
Born in Kearney, Nebraska, on May 18, 1928, she was the daughter of Wesley Reuben Bratt, principal of Kearney High School, and Sarah Alma Ash Bratt, an English teacher before her marriage and once again after their five children were grown. The family moved to Hastings, Nebraska, when Miriam was two years old, where her father taught at Hastings College, and then to Wood River, Nebraska, in 1933, where he was Superintendent of Schools.
Miriam grew up watching shooting stars, going to the Platte River to play on sand bars and enjoy picnics, and riding in the rumble seat. She always loved to read. Sometimes when she was supposed to help clean the house, her mother would find her in a corner, dust rag in her hand, reading a book. In 1939, the family moved to Pawnee City, Nebraska, where her father was once again Superintendent of Schools. In high school in Pawnee City, Miriam played piano with the chorus, violin in the orchestra, bassoon in the concert band, and bass drum in the marching band! She graduated from Pawnee City High School in 1945 as valedictorian of her class. Then she graduated from the University of Nebraska with distinction in 1949, having been elected to Phi Beta Kappa the previous fall. In the summer of 1950, she pursued graduate work in Religious Education at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. Miriam’s brother Neil introduced her to a fellow graduate student at the University of Iowa, Wendell D. Lindstrom, whom she married in Pawnee City on Dec. 16, 1950. After living in Iowa City, where their daughter Astrid was born, and then in Ames, Iowa, where Wendell (Lindy) taught mathematics at Iowa State University and their daughter Greta was born, the family moved in 1958 to Gambier, where Lindy taught mathematics at Kenyon College. Miriam joined the Kenyon staff in 1962 as a part-time clerk for a mathematics reclassification project for a year and then a part-time cataloger from 1963 to 1970 before becoming a full-time cataloger in 1970 and senior cataloger in 1986. She retired from the libraries in 1993.
Always devoted to music, Miriam was noted on the Kenyon campus for her lively accompaniment to productions by the college’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society. When Kenyon’s music department was in need of a soprano saxophone, Miriam provided the funds for its purchase. Her daughters remember her as one who instilled in them their love for reading. In addition to reading bedtime stories, she read them all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, some during the Gambier area flood of 1959 and others on long car trips across the country in the 1960s. She helped them edit their school writing and drove them many miles to violin and piano lessons. From the year the family spent in Istanbul, Turkey, while Lindy taught at Robert College, they remember going on shopping trips with her, so the three of them as a team could communicate in Turkish with merchants. Once, Miriam misunderstood the price a shop owner gave them and, thinking she was repeating his amount, unknowingly bargained her way to a lower price. She was much too polite to bargain intentionally.
Donna Wilson, retired senior cataloging consultant in the Kenyon libraries and one of Miriam’s former colleagues, remembers, “Miriam and I enjoyed Kenyon plays and musical performances together. After Lindy died, she kept her subscriptions for two to the Columbus Symphony and Chamber Music and would take me or other friends as her guest. We also attended many performances of the Ohio Light Opera together. Miriam was witty, with a dry sense of humor, and sometimes she and I would be the only ones laughing at some elusive line in the program.” She goes on to say, “Miriam, who was one of the members of the search committee that hired me in 1985, and I were simpatico from the beginning, and we remained friends for more than three decades. She adored my son Brian and considered him her fifth grandchild. We became ‘family’ over the years.” Professor Emeritus of English Perry Lentz says of Miriam, “Among much else, she was a warm follower of Kenyon athletics, and in her later years, after her husband had passed away, we were delighted to take her with us to all of the home basketball games.
“She was a friendly and intelligent companion, with a rich sense of humor and a tin of Altoids to share at halftime. Miriam was always deeply appreciative of our courtesy, but we were surely even more appreciative of her company,” he adds. “One thing we especially remember: in her years of assisted living at Brookdale, she always had an afternoon glass of sherry while seated next to an end table displaying a photograph of Lindy.” In 2000 Miriam and her then recently deceased husband Lindy were honored with Kenyon’s William A. Long Memorial Award, presented to members of the Kenyon community who have “made an outstanding contribution to developing and clarifying the role of athletic play and competition in the life of the College.” Miriam was also presented with a special tee shirt by the women’s soccer team in recognition of her enthusiastic support. Miriam was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Wendell, her brother, Neil, and her sisters, Doris Bratt Hall and Mary Carolyn Bratt Webber. She is survived by her daughters, Astrid Lindstrom and Greta Lindstrom Cornell, grandchildren, Anna and Benjamin Leavitt and Adam and Luke Cornell, her sister, Marjorie Bratt Eddy, and nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life service will be held on Monday, April 16, 2018, at the Church of the Holy Spirit, 102 College Park Street, Gambier, at 11 a.m., preceded by an hour of visitation with the family. The Reverend Rachel Kessler will officiate. Burial in the Kenyon College Cemetery will follow the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Kenyon libraries through the Office of Development, 105 Chase Avenue, Gambier, OH 43022-9623.
To view this obituary or leave the family a memory, visit www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.