Linda Dirks was practically born into music.
“Both of my families were involved in music, so music came naturally to me,” says Linda, who works for INB’s Mt. Pulaski branch. “My grandfather played cello in the Decatur Symphony Orchestra; my grandmother played piano for church. Everyone was always in church choirs.”
She and her five siblings all played instruments throughout their grade school and high school years. Linda was introduced to the clarinet in 5th grade and continued to play in her grade school and high school band. She also took piano lessons.
“I took about two years of piano in grade school; my piano lesson fee each week was a quarter, and she always gave back a nickel!” she recalls.
Over her life, Linda has been immersed in the musical scene of the local community – whether it’s the choir, band or as a director – balancing her long-time career in banking with her love of music.
As a senior in high school, Linda began working on Saturdays for First National Bank of Mt. Pulaski. She continued her role at the bank while she attended Universal Career College in Springfield for a year, and then accepted a full-time position in July 1970, where she worked for 12 years.
Linda stepped away from the bank when her children were young, but when they were in school, she took a job at Champion Federal Savings and Loan in Lincoln. In 1992, her banking career took her back to First National Bank, which became Illinois National Bank in 2008.
“I plan to retire in September, just shy of 40 years in banking,” she says.
Linda’s financial and musical skills have certainly cross paths over the years.
“Currently, I am a member of the Mt Pulaski Community Band playing my clarinet and also treasurer of the organization,” she says.
“Mt. Pulaski Community Band plays about seven concerts a year, including Christmas, Fourth of July, our fall festival and two or three more times at our gazebo on the square. We have also played in Elkhart during Memorial Day weekend. Our group is 20 to 30 members – all volunteers from the area.”
Linda’s years in the banking industry have also positioned her to offer her talents to the community in other ways; over the years, she has served as treasurer of the Chestnut Aetna Township United Way, Wo-He-Lo 4-H club, her church’s Fellowship Club and her church’s Missionary League.
Those 20-cent piano lessons paid off too. Linda began playing the organ for Zion Lutheran Church in Chestnut in 1965 while she was in 8th grade and continues to this day, including weddings and funerals. She also directs the children and adult choirs.
“It’s fun to be with groups that love to share their joy of music and know that the audiences are having fun, too,” Linda says. “It fills a void in people’s lives when they can give back to their community and to others using the talents they have been given.”
As if that’s not enough to keep one person busy, Linda also enjoys sewing, cross stitch, embroidery and bowling. She and her husband, a retired train dispatcher from the Illinois Midland Railroad, are janitors at the Mt. Pulaski Library. The couple’s son lives in Heyworth, and they enjoy visiting their daughter’s family in Wisconsin, including two grandsons.
Linda is grateful for the unique opportunities in her life.
“God has blessed me with many talents,” Linda says. “It is a blessing to be able to give back to the Lord and my community. Everyone has their own unique talents to share with their community and others; I am only a small part of that.”