NORMAN — A Norman woman presumed dead after a wildfire burned her home was an animal lover who was dedicated to organic farming and gardening, her brother said Tuesday.
Linda Zoldoske, 67, is thought to have died Aug. 4 when a wildfire destroyed her rural Norman home on Bridge Creek Drive, near 144th Avenue SE and Cedar Lane.
Family members held a memorial service Tuesday in Moore, although officials said they have yet to match the remains found at Zoldoske's home with her DNA. Norman Fire Chief James Fullingim said Zoldoske is the only person reported missing from the fire, and her family “seems satisfied” the remains found at her home belong to her.
Lannie Zoldoske, of Laverne, said his sister was with a friend as the fire approached. The friend offered to help with Zoldoske's four dogs and cat, but Zoldoske told her she already had them ready to leave.
“She was on her way out,” Lannie Zoldoske said. “She said they would be right behind. Somehow or another, she never got out.”
It was the only death in a rash of wildfires that burned more than 300 homes in the state.
Various birds and goldfish also were among the pets Linda Zoldoske kept. Her love for animals also extended to those she kept on her land for food. She raised chickens and goats.
“She was an environmentalist,” her brother said. “Organic farming was her passion. She believed in raising her food organically whether it be the meat she ate or the vegetables in the garden.”
Linda Zoldoske was a teacher with bachelor's and master's degrees from Oklahoma State University. She taught in numerous districts during her career, including Burns Flat.
Family members picked through the remains of Zoldoske's home Monday evening.
“She was our family photographer,” Lannie Zoldoske said. “She had all the photographs. She had all the history of our family. We just kind of left it like that. There was nothing to be salvaged except a few goldfish.”
Linda Zoldoske was a supporter of the Second Chance Animal Sanctuary in Norman, and family members encouraged well-wishers to donate to the group in her honor.