Linda "Lin" Baines loved serving other people — whether on an airplane during her 30 years as a flight attendant or in her own home for elaborate dinner parties where no detail was overlooked.
"She was elegant in everything she did, but she wasn't snooty ... She could fit in anywhere and with anyone," said Deartice Mason, her friend of more than five decades.
Baines, of Prior Lake, died Sept. 13 after a recent cancer diagnosis. She was 75.
In addition to working as a flight attendant for North Central Airlines, Republic Airways and Northwest Airlines, Baines also had several modeling jobs. She modeled for airline pamphlets and even appeared on stage with Bob Hope during one of his Minnesota appearances.
Mason met Baines when they were both young flight attendants with North Central. She was struck by Baines' tall, slender frame and immediate warmth, which she extended to anyone and everyone she met.
"Linda was so beautiful on the outside and even more so on the inside," Mason said.
When Baines was 20, she and her sister, Brenda Mathis, boarded a bus from their hometown of Monroe, La., and set out for a new life in Minnesota. They arrived in September wearing shorts and T-shirts.
"We knew nothing about Minnesota," Mathis said. "We just knew we wanted to leave home and start our careers and our lives."
Mathis stayed for just a few months, but Baines made her home in Minnesota and successfully chased her dreams of modeling and traveling as a flight attendant. Several of her nine siblings followed her to Minnesota.
"She was really a confident, self-made woman," Mathis said of her sister.
Still, she stayed in touch with many of her friends from her hometown — Mathis heard from several of them in the days after her sister's death.
"She was so loyal in her relationships," Mathis said. Many of her friends she'd had for 50-plus years. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she'd taken the time to call each of her friends to tell them the news and catch up.
"She was a social butterfly who had that ability to make anyone feel right at home," Mathis said.
Baines first met her husband of nearly 40 years when they were both working at Honeywell. As Harold Baines tells it, a buddy of his pulled him off the line, telling him he had to catch a glimpse of the beautiful woman working on a different floor. The couple were friends for a few years before drifting apart and starting separate careers and lives, Harold Baines said. They reconnected about a decade later and "just clicked" once again, he said. The couple enjoyed golfing, traveling and going to the movies together.
"When you find each other again, that means it was something special," said Harold Baines. "It was meant to be."
Linda Baines is also survived by her children, Tony Hill of Woodland Hills, Calif., Alexis Baines Love of Burnsville, and Jennifer Fields of Casa Grande, Ariz.; her siblings Barbara Matthews of Excelsior, Dennis Jones of Minneapolis, Rosalind White of Prior Lake, David Jones of Lancaster, Calif., Dorothy Roby of Eagan, and Victor Jones of Clinton, Md., as well as five grandchildren. Services have been held.