It is with our deepest sorrow that we inform you of the passing of one of NECO’s Board members, Linda Pope. Linda received her Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2009 in recognition of her extensive charity work and generous philanthropy. She joined the NECO Board soon after and took an active role in her position, lending her wealth of experience and leadership to our organization.
Our hearts go out to her family, including her husband Bill, who received his Medal in 2009 also. Linda Pope will be greatly missed and we mourn not her life, but the loss of her vibrant personality and her big, loving heart. May she rest in peace.
Linda Ann Pope passed away peacefully on July 22, 2016, surrounded by her family. She was born Linda Ann Matteis on November 28, 1951, in Philadelphia. Linda’s family was the light of her life. She fought very hard for them throughout her unfortunate illness and loved them more than anything in the world. She would say her greatest achievements in life were being a mother to her children, a grandmother, and a wife to her beloved husband Bill.
Linda had a lifelong passion for learning and helping those less fortunate than herself. Linda received a Master of Science degree in communication and social psychology from the University of North Texas where she graduated summa cum laude. She was a college professor for over 15 years and conducted many training seminars in communication and team building for national corporations.
Linda also chaired and co-chaired many non-profit events including: Arizona Shines, Big Give Big Game 2015 Super Bowl VIP Party; Arizona Science Center Galaxy Gala; Childhelp's Drive the Dream; Phoenix Heart Ball; Crisis Nursery; Symphony Ball; Ballet Arizona's Boots and Ballet; Dancing with the Stars for Arizona Kidney Foundation; Arizona Foundation for Women; Phoenix Theatre's Women Who Care; March of Dimes; HomeBase Youth Services; and Herberger Headliners. She also co-chaired the Childhelp Capital Campaign with Merv Griffin.
She belonged to several professional associations and served on many community and national boards of directors. Her board roles have included: National Ethnic Coalition Organization, which awards the National Ellis Island Medals of Honor, and Boys and Girls Club of Metro Phoenix, AZ Heart Foundation, and Board of Trustees of Dizzy Feet Foundation. She has completed terms on over 30 boards.
Her awards include: Childhelp's Spirit of the Children Award, Ellis Island National Medal of Honor, YWCA Award, National Dancing Classrooms' Humanitarian Award, Phoenix Theatre’s Angel of the Arts and Woman Who Cares, American Jewish Community Service Award, Teen Lifeline Community Lifetime Achievement Award, Albert Schweitzer National Inspiration Award, AFW’s Marilyn Seymann Award, Woman of Distinction Award, American Heart Association Philanthropic Award, Business Journal’s Women of Vision Award, Trendsetter Award, Girl Scouts of America Community Service Award, YWCA Women of Distinction Award, Dancing with the Stars Philanthropic Award, Heart Ball Sweetheart and many others.
She and her husband, Bill, have served as Honorary Chairmen for over 15 different community and/or national efforts. Childhelp USA renamed its Phoenix advocacy center to “Childhelp's Children Center of Arizona Dedicated to Linda Pope” in 2015, the same year she was honored as a Fabulous Phoenician by Trends Magazine and the Trends Charitable Fund. She received a lifetime achievement award from Arizona Kidney Foundation in 2016 at the 10th Anniversary of Dancing with the Stars Arizona.
While on the National VDAY Board, she traveled to Egypt to be part of the opening of the country’s first domestic violence shelter and to Jordan by way of invitation from Queen Rania to observe and give feedback on shelters for abused children.
More recently, Linda served as CEO of World Dance Network, which partnered with XIX Entertainment and formed a joint venture: Dance, Dance, Dance, LLC. She and her partner, Simon Fuller, creator of "American Idol," sold their show "Ballroom Blitz" to TLC Network, which aired it internationally in 2014. The show received press coverage in local, regional and national news outlets. She was passionate about ballroom dancing and competed and won dance competitions around the world.
She is survived by husband Bill Pope and children Blake McCay and Tisa McCay Stephenson, stepchildren Jeff, Steven, Rebecca, and David, daughter-in-law Dominique, son-in-law, Grant, brothers Philip and Anthony Matteis, grandson Declan and step-grandchildren April, Faith, Lacey, Caleb, Hailee, Dillon, Kason and Felisha,
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Linda’s favorite charities. These include; Childhelp, Boys and Girls Club, and Hospice of the Valley.