Chief Musician Linda Susan Casselberry, USN, Retired, passed away from complications of multiple sclerosis at age 63 at Walter Reed National Medical Center on Tuesday, August 27, 2019. She was born February 1, 1956 and had lived with the disease for 27 years. Her biological parents, James E. Casselberry and Sheila Douglas Casselberry of Arbutus, Maryland, preceded her in death, as well as her “adoptive” mother, Lenore “Lennie” Hungerford Gallagher of Adelphi, Maryland. Her “adoptive” father, Charles Gallagher of Silver Spring, Maryland, survives.
As an exceptionally talented young musician, Linda studied flute performance for five years at the Peabody Preparatory program at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland, before becoming a music major at the University of Maryland, College Park. She became acquainted with a wonderful music education professor, Charles Gallagher, who played trumpet in the National Symphony Orchestra, and his wife Lenore, also a trumpet player, then a band director at DuVal High School. The Gallaghers opened their home to Linda, providing her with a caring family life in a musical environment which encouraged Linda to pursue her goals. As a college senior, she competed as a flutist in the National Symphony Orchestra Young Soloists Competition at the Kennedy Center and was selected as a finalist in the College Division. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in music education and taught in the Howard County Public Schools as a string specialist at Phelps Luck, Jeffers Hill, and Rockland elementary schools.
In 1982, Linda joined the U.S. Naval Academy Band as the piccolo player, followed by the same assignment in the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C. As Linda’s disease progressed, her favorite duties were the concert set-up crew and her position as a staff arranger. Linda wrote the only band arrangement of Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto and a well-respected arrangement of Manuel de Falla’s Three Cornered Hat. She performed with the Prince George’s Philharmonic while on active duty. Linda received the Navy Achievement and Navy Commendation medals before retiring in 2006. She continued sharing her musical gifts as a member of the choir at Berwyn Presbyterian Church and arranged a piece scored for the choir members’ instruments: two flutes, harp, guitar, piano, and voices, titled Berwyn Alleluia.
During the last week of Linda’s life, she enjoyed celebrating her father’s 92nd birthday with dear friends. Later that week, she had a reunion with retired clarinetists from the U.S. Navy Band and U.S. Naval Academy Band as she enjoyed her favorite Mexican food from a renowned eatery that she frequented during her college years. Linda loved her parents, Charles and Lenore Gallagher, had loyal friends, adored cats, and enjoyed a life full of music.
A memorial service for Linda will be held on Saturday, September 28, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. at Berwyn Presbyterian Church, 6301 Greenbelt Rd., Berwyn Heights, Maryland, 20740. The interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery in the coming months. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Berwyn Presbyterian Church at the address above, and/or to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society online at https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Donate
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National Multiple Sclerosis Society
P.O. Box 4527, New York, NY10163, AL