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Christmas Happiness donation made in memory of Linda from the other Linda

SALISBURY — The running joke at the Salisbury Post in the 1970s was when someone asked to speak to Linda, either Linda Bailey or Linda Braswell would ask, “Which one?”

This week, Linda Bailey, who calls herself “the old Linda,” donated to the Christmas Happiness Fund in memory of her longtime friend, Linda Braswell, who died suddenly in April.

In the note that accompanied Bailey’s contribution, she wrote that Braswell took such joy in handling the Christmas Happiness Fund for many years.

The program put Braswell in the right Christmas spirit, and it didn’t matter the amount of the donation — from dimes and pennies given by children to larger checks.

“She loved to share her Christmas Happiness stories of the generous giving of others,” Bailey wrote.

Braswell was a reporter at the Salisbury Post for 27 years until her retirement in 2008.

Bailey, who also worked at the Post and worked with Braswell, said Post editor Spencer Murphy, who created the Christmas Happiness Fund, “would have loved the way Linda dived into his pet project.”

The fund was created nearly 70 years ago when Murphy discovered that some area children would not receive anything for Christmas. He asked the community to help, and help they did. More than $1,000 was raised for Rowan County’s children and families in need. The tradition continues with the community making contributions of varying amounts and earmarking their gifts in memory or honor of someone important to them.

Braswell and her husband, Bill, moved from Raleigh. While in Raleigh, Linda Braswell worked for the Raleigh Times and before that, the Monroe Enquirer, according to Bailey. She said Braswell could’ve worked in any of 11 counties in North Carolina when her husband was moved to another district with Farm Bureau.

Bailey recalled that Braswell covered city government and education for several years among other subjects, but when she had children, she stopped working but returned later part-time.

“The Christmas Happiness Fund was at the top of her priority list,” Bailey said of her friend.

Bailey remembered her friend as someone who valued accuracy in reporting and was “committed to the reader.”

“She was a great reporter and is missed every day,” Bailey said.

Bailey said she was shocked and devastated by Braswell’s death.

Braswell was someone the Post could rely upon, said former Editor Elizabeth Cook.

“She was a real hardworking but congenial person. She was the backbone of the newsroom. She took care of a lot of stuff that the public would not be aware of — one of those people you really counted on,” Cook said.

Contributions may be delivered to the Salisbury Post, 131 W. Innes St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or mailed to Salisbury Post Christmas Happiness Fund, P.O. Box 4639, Salisbury, NC 28145-4639.

Today’s contributions are:

In memory of my “Lil Darln” Betty Alexander by David Alexander and in memory of our dear mother, Betty Alexander by Michelle, Melanie, Melissa and Mollie Bea, $1,000
In loving memory of Gene Fleming, Tony Fleming, Cliff Mize, Jeffrey Mize, Sylvia Mize Young and Billy Young by Ruth Fleming, $100
In honor of Sonny and Kaye Miller, Jim and Charlene Bollinger and Gayle Sales. Thanks for all you do for me. God bless; I love you, by Ruth Fleming, $30
In honor of Arnold and Brenda Herring by Preston Herring, $50
Salisbury Post, $1,000
In memory of Linda Braswell, who took such joy in handling Christmas Happiness Fund for many years before her retirement, by Linda Bailey, $20
Today’s total: $2,200
Running total: $2,900
Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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