We have lost a powerhouse in the gymnastics community, Linda Bennett…a legacy of a female entrepreneur that made her dream come true and while I didn’t see the ins and outs I know she sacrificed for her goal to make it happen, and she made it larger than she could have imagined at the start, to have succeeded is an understatement, someone whose passion kept her working up until her cancer diagnosis when she couldn’t anymore…someone whose business has shaped me since I was 3 years old and would go occasionally to play, I did gymnastics there from 8-16, I coached gymnastics from about 16 until about 30 years old initially part time and dwindling to as needed while I went to PT grad school and worked as a full time PT, from 16 to current I’ve gone back to Sun Country to rock climb and de-stress and find my happy place….it’s a place full of memories and happiness, of adrenaline, and self growth, a love of exercise that very likely set my career path…it’s one of the very few companies I can say I’ve been a part of my entire life and it made me who I am today….and while Linda was always behind the scenes when I saw her she made me feel like family which is a part of why Sun Country feels like a home away from home for me. She built a mission statement for the company that resonates deeply with me, I know Sun Country is in good hands with Jodi. As I venture into my new world of business ownership I applaud the role model of Linda Bennett in this next phase of my life. I feel for Phil Bennett and Jodi and her grandchildren she loved so dearly-my thoughts are with you in this tough time!
Linda was my employer for 32+ years, but she was also my friend for just as many. I remember asking her way back why she called us Sun Country Sports Center when all we did was gymnastics. She said one day we would offer all kinds of sports not just gymnastics. She had a vision and as we all know she certainly fulfilled it! She was an incredible business woman who could multi task better than anybody I'd ever seen. She was my #1 cheerleader always encouraging and letting me know or think I was the best at what I do. I also admired and envied her relationship with Jodi. You are so lucky to have had a mom and bestfriend in one. Thank you Bennett family for including Phil and I into your Sun Country family and the many years of friendship. Phil also credits her for helping to teach him good people skills over the years he worked on many of her projects. We loved her and all of you too.
Patti and I are so very sorry for your loss, Phil, and for Jessie and Jodi, and all those who’d enjoyed the privilege of having known Linda. We’re at that unfortunate age, people leave us, seemingly so often we’ve grown numb to their departures. But not Linda’s passing. This one hit us. Rather selfishly, I suppose. We saw far too little of Linda, just our years together at Purdue, and only once after that, and we now find ourselves truly regretful. And that’s a testimony to the power of her presence. Linda was such a beautiful woman, Phil. In every way. Yes, she was as cute as could be, but she was so much more than her physical beauty. When Patti and I think of Linda, we still feel her warm energy, her smile, her easy charm. We just felt better being around her. Linda was that rare person who made everyone around her feel better, better about themselves, better about the world.
George & Patti Peters
Park City, Utah
My heart breaks for Phil and your family. I have so many memories of us first starting SCSC. We grew up together and made a partnership work for years. I just didn’t imagine that the battle would end this way.
We are so sorry. As relatively new neighbors, we didn't know Linda for very long. But, from the first day we met her, Linda's spirit and strength were clearly evident! It was easy to feel like we had known her forever. Wishing you peace and strength and comfort in the memories of a life well lived.
Rayanne & Rob Rittgers
I love you so much Linda! And the entire Bennett family! You have been such an inspiration to me in every facet of my life. From being a good mom to business decisions to doing the right thing. I feel so fortunate to have had you in my life. Thank you so very much.
St. Augustine, Florida
Oh how I miss you, my sweet little sister! You are free of cancer and pain so I wouldn't wish you back for that reason. I will always love you.
John and Bonnie Stutzman
Linda Bennett… this community will never be quite the same without you. And I wouldn’t be quite the person I am today without the incredible 8 years I was fortunate enough to spend learning from you at Sun Country Sports Center.
You welcomed me into your home when I met Jodi in the 8th grade… and from that point forward I never felt like I wasn’t family.
Years later in 2008, you brought me in and trusted me to help you grow the organizational development at Sun Country, and working under you I learned what it means to run a business where people come first, where relationships matter more than the bottom line, and where helping others become their best selves is always the priority.
If it weren’t for that transformative time working with you, I would never have had the skills or the confidence to pursue my own dream and help open a school that would really help the children who need it most. You inspired me to create an organization where I can try to give my employees the tools and the resources to do their best work and then get out of their way and let them shine. Where I can build trust by believing in people and then watch them return that love with loyalty, hard work, and dedication.
You also showed me how to set the important boundaries of self-care and care for the organization and to make those hard decisions when the time is necessary.
I will always carry with me all that I learned from you about how to live and work with integrity, how to give back to my community, and how to create a workplace centered in joy and care for each individual.
I love you, I love your family, and you will live on through us and through all that you built with your deep and authentic love for people and for your community.
I miss you.
I first met Linda through her daughter, Jodi. My sister, Katie, met Jodi and the family through gymnastics and they also attended school together. Linda was an amazing mother and business person. She also went out of her way to help me by suggesting that Phil tutor me in chemistry when I was in high school. She was such a strong and caring person who cared so much about her family and community. Losing her is a tremendous loss for her family and all those who knew her. Fortunately, her incredible legacy and strength will live on in her children and grandchildren. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.
This just breaks my heart. Such a warm and kind woman (and business woman). She will be truly missed by many.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Linda was a second mom to me. She was one of the most kindhearted and inclusive people I've known. I'll always appreciate the love she showed me and how she went out of her way to make me feel like family.
Linda was a great boss and friend. She had a big heart for helping others. May her love for others continue on thru her family.
High Springs, Florida
Linda was a wonderful human being; we will miss her dearly. For her family, we pray for encouragement, strength, and a lifelong feel of being surrounded by the love that she shared.
Tom & Trish Reilly
I have so many fond memories of Linda and her family. My heart goes out to Phil, Jesse and Jodi and to all the rest of the Bennett family. My favorite memory is when Linda and Phil invited all of us employees of Sun Country over to watch the summer Olympics I think it was 1992 back when you all lived off of Newberry Road. I want to thank you for all that you’ve done and for all the many years that my kids have gotten to experience the joy of ballet, gymnastics kindergym.
Jaime (Marangio) Little
She was an amazing person, boss, and leader. For a young college student starting out, I couldn't have found a better place to give me a more solid foundation for the future.
Lake City, Florida
I sit in stunned silence at hearing about Linda’s passing. The world isn’t going to be the same without her smiling face. Linda’s smile lives on in her children and grandchildren. You can see her in all of you. She is loved and will be missed by so many people she touched…so many lives she influenced. Linda left her mark on the world and she will NEVER be forgotten. All my love to The Bennett Family ❤️
To the Family, as a classmate and friend to Jesse and Jodi in high school I had the absolute pleasure of knowing their mom, Ms. Linda. I will always remember her being Super sweet and nice with a warm smile on her face. She was that mom that we knew loved her kids so much and treated their friends like family. Sending love and hugs to you all and my prayers are with you. - Love, Arnetta Haywood Kinsey (Gainesville High Class of ‘94).
Arnetta Haywood Kinsey
What an inspiring, caring, there aren't enough words, lady. A role model for us all. She will be missed. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I had to know her.
Sorry to hear of your loss of such an amazing woman. She will be missed by many.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Not only was I a competitor many years ago for Sun Country, but my sister and Jodi were best friends in elementary and middle school. We lived in close proximity to the Bennetts, and we would often ride our bikes around their neighborhood in Black Acres. One day I was riding really fast down the hill in front of the Bennetts' home, and I had a major Wipeout! My bike and my body flipped multiple times, and I ended up plastered all over the road in front of their house The next thing I remember, Linda was carrying me from the crash site all the way home which had to be close to a mile away. I was so grateful for her doing that, and I have always cherished her ever since. I ended up having a broken leg (which my own parents didn't believe and forced me to walk on for 2 days before finally taking me to the doctor) along with many other skins, scrapes, and bruises. It was all worth it though to be able to tell this story today. I have known the Bennetts my whole life, and Jodi even let me live with her for awhile when I needed help. I am a much better person today because of the Bennett family, and Linda will be missed so much.
I am so sorry for your loss. I can still remember when I introduced Phil to Linda. Please take care.
Fort Myers, Florida
Love Linda and Family
Dear Phil, Jodi, Jesse and families, I am so sorry to hear about Linda. I can still remember so well when I was approached to come and coach at Sun Country. It was my first "club" job and the experience epitomized what club gymnastics could be - thanks to her leadership skills and her and Phil's true kindness and love. I will always remember Linda with joy and love and hope that your most cherished memories will bring you comfort. Love and hugs, Dianne and Guy Palmer.
Dianne and Guy Palmer
May your memory continue to be a inspiration Cousin Linda!
You are all in our thoughts. We know Phil from the battery plant and our heart goes out to him and the entire family.
Dale and Shannon Ritter
Linda gave me my first job when I was 16 years old teaching gymnastics. I was so thankful It was the best job!! I loved working at Sun Country. She was flexible with my high school schedule and continued to let me work birthday parties through college. The staff Christmas parties were the best. Thinking of your family and know Linda made an impact on so many lives.
Dana von Louda Gordon
I worked for Linda as a coach. My kids were 3 and 5 at the time. Linda was supportive and a wonderful mentor. She told me she could tell I would own a gym one day. Here I am, 28 years later gym owner, coach and mentor to other young people. I will miss you Linda!
My mother told me a story about Linda. My mom was on her way to a meeting for a new charter school. She arrived at Girl’s Place, where the meeting was, and could not find where to go for the meeting. She finally decided to just knock on the next door she came to. The door opened and she came face-to-face with Linda. She was there for the same meeting (at least that’s my recollection). Recognizing my mom, she put her arms around my mom’s neck and gave her a big hug. “I was saved by Linda Bennett” she would say when anyone asked if she had a super hero. Linda was a big part of my family’s life and we all held her in high regard. Thank you for saving my mom, Linda 💕
I met Linda when I was her assistant at the JCC PreSchool in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Linda was a bundle of energy. It seemed as though she could accomplish anything she decided to do. I am so sorry for your loss.
Port Charlotte, Florida
Linda was an incredible role model to me. She did so much good for the community, and always put family first. I will remember her always, and do my best to honor her memory by helping others as she always did.
I was hired at Sun Country as an office manager. The guidance, love and support that I received from Linda forever changed me. I was far away from my mom, Linda took me under her wing. She was like a second mom to me. I soon moved into the roll of afternoon/summer camp director, with Linda’s love and excitement this job became a family. I am forever grateful for Linda and her impact on my life. I am not sure if I made an impact on her life, but she most definitely made a huge impact on mine. Phil, Jodi, Jesse and all of Linda’s family please know that I am forever grateful for Miss Linda, and I am thinking of you all.
Concord, North Carolina
I am so very grateful for the time I had with her. Under her leadership, her example, her love for her family, in and out of Sun Country. She will be greatly missed, but her legacy will live on! Rest well, Ms. Linda. 🙏🏾
Cedar Park, Texas
What an amazing woman! Linda will always be remembered for her outstanding contribution to Gymnastics and our community. Sun Country and Linda have touched so many lives. She was a mentor, friend and encourager to me. I’ m so blessed to know her and her family. Prayers of comfort and peace for your family in the days and years to come.
Nelena & Phillp Beck
Chief land, Florida
It's still a bit surreal that I'm signing a guest book for my mom. She was so much more than a mother. A best friend, a mentor, a business partner, the best shopping buddy, travel companion, my kiddo's Bubbie. I will miss our daily texts, her constant motivation, her physical presence in my day. One of her last texts to me was, "You are strong and will be fine. I believe in you.". I'm doing my best, mom. I promise!