Spotlight on Animal Heroes:

NYSHA Recognizes Linda DeStefano – In Memoriam

Those of us working in animal protection seem like a minority sometimes, but one person can create a group and guide it into a strong and growing force.

Linda DeStefano was one of those people. Tragically, she died suddenly in an accident in June of this year, doing what she was known for – showing concern for others.

Born in Schenectady, Linda moved to Syracuse after college, where she became a well-known activist seen regularly at meetings or protests for a multitude of causes. Her letters to the editor appeared frequently in local print and social media.

Linda DeStefano , In Memoriam
Linda DeStefano of People for Animal Rights of CNY

Linda was the president and co-founder of People for Animal Rights of CNY, a grassroots organization working for animals and environmental protection, but she was also involved in other advocacy areas. She was a leader of the local and statewide Sierra Club, and was actively devoted to promoting peace, social justice, and voting integrity. It is no surprise that her master’s degree was in social welfare, and that she was the first director of the Central New York Chapter of the Civil Liberties Union.

Members of People for Animal Rights of CNY (PAR) spoke fondly of her following her death: “Linda will be remembered as a stalwart organizer for people, animals and the environment. She was a leader and mentor for people wanting to make positive change in the world. She will be missed dearly by her friends, family and co-organizers.”

Working with Linda over the years on various issues, NYSHA considered her a good friend and trusted ally. She was optimistic that change was possible, as reflected in the names of the cats she left behind — Allegra (Happy) and Sunshine — who were so important to her that they were mentioned in her obituary along with her husband and family members. Our condolences go out to all of them.

Our words here cannot adequately describe Linda’s immeasurable influence and the deep respect she earned from those she worked with. For more about her, see the tributes from other organizations and watch for a tribute on the People for Animal Rights of CNY website or Facebook page in November.

Sierra Club article: Honoring and Remembering Linda DeStefano

New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXXVI Fall 2020.