-Brad Deeter about the loss of Rainy Linn
Story and photographs contributed by Sydney Herdle
The tone at the Venango County fairgrounds turned somber Thursday night as a crowd gathered to remember the life of Rainy Linn. Linn was a founding member of Venango County Fair and “well-respected” by the entire Venango County community for her numerous other endeavors, fair board president Brad Deeter said during his remarks over the loud speaker at the memorial held in the Kiwanis Bowl.
Linn died last October at the age of 85.
Linn did not intend to stay in the area long when she joined the Venango County Penn State Extension team in the 1950s, but she eventually became “the face of the Venango County Fair and the 4-H program” through her decades of service to the programs, Deeter said.
“I worked by her side for 20 years, and this year is hard,” Deeter said.
The Round-Up this year is dedicated to Linn, which Deeter said is fitting because the modified set-up due to the COVID-19 pandemic is similar to what Linn’s demeanor was - “laid back and reserved.”
Although her accomplishments were many during her lifetime, Deeter intentionally did not list all of them because he said Linn “would not want all the fuss about her.” But he did mention that in 1987 she was recognized as the Woman of the Year from the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce and also the 2018 Citizen of the Year from the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce,
To help preserve Linn’s legacy, the fair board placed a memorial bench next to the fairground’s playground, as well as a tombstone next to a tree planted for Linn in front of Rainy Linn Hall.
“Rainy, we miss you and certainly feel the void as we attempt to carry on your legacy,” Deeter said.
During the memorial, state Senator Scott Hutchinson and Venango County commissioners Mike Dulaney and Sam Breene also offered their memories of Linn to the audience.
Hutchinson shared personal thoughts on what Linn meant to his family and the Venango County community. Dulaney said Linn was “like everybody’s grandma,” and Breene said meeting Linn for the first time was “like meeting a legend.”
Activities at the fairgrounds continue Friday with the last of the exhibition shows, as well as the livestock auction beginning at 6 p.m. in Phillips Arena.