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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis August 10, 2012
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Linda Somilleda Dies; Longtime Foothill Transit Employee

Linda Somilleda, 52, director of operations and customer service for Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA, died July 24.

Somilleda was a 16-year employee of the public transit agency, joining the staff in 1996 as marketing and communications specialist. She soon advanced to associate director of Marketing and Communications, then becamer director of that department in 2002.

Earlier this year, the agency promoted her to director of operations and customer service. This promotion allowed her to meld her previous work with the front-line customer service team and the operation of service on the streets of the communities Foothill Transit serves.

She was a graduate of the Leadership APTA Class of 2005 and a member of the APTA Marketing and Communications Committee for many years.

“Linda’s passing is a big loss for our Foothill Transit family,” said Executive Director Doran Barnes. “Linda played an instrumental role on our leadership team, for many years shaping our brand and image, and more recently taking on challenges in the operations and customer service area. Linda was keenly aware of the vision for Foothill Transit and she played a very important role in both shaping that vision and making it happen.”

“We at APTA mourn Linda’s passing,” said APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy, noting that they were colleagues in the Leadership APTA Class of 2005. “We will remember her steadfast participation and quiet yet effective leadership in our association’s programs and committees. Most of all, we will miss her infectious smile and her friendship.”

“The older I get, the more I realize that life does not offer a class for ‘beginners,’ And, with each new experience, both happy and sad, the learning deepens,” said Mary N. Clayton, vice president, North Carolina area manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff, another class member.

“When I met Linda, as part of our Leadership APTA family, I knew she was striking and special in so many ways," Clayton continued. "A lasting impression was created by her smile, her bright personality, and her caring. It was truly a privilege to be her classmate and her friend, and to rejoice in the brief time of knowing her.”

“Linda was a valuable longtime member of the Marketing and Communications Committee and she will be greatly missed,” said committee Chair Richard Maxwell. “She will be remembered by many in the industry not only as a talented, enthusiastic, and capable professional, but as a friend.”

Bonnie Arnold, immediate past chair of the committee, noted that news of Somilleda’s passing coincided with the committee’s recent meeting in Chicago. “She was one of the most loyal members of our group and always attended the meetings whenever she could,” Arnold said. “She was a good colleague and dear friend and I know that she will be greatly missed by all of us.”

"Her absence leaves behind a huge hole in our industry, in this agency, and in our hearts," said Foothill Transit Executive Board Chair Patricia Wallach. "We are devastated, shocked and collectively we mourn her loss with deep sorrow."

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to City of Hope.

A memorial service is scheduled Aug. 17 at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center, Pomona, CA. For information, contact Deanna Forrest.

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