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Linda Cavaille to retire from WUC catering after nearly 13 years

By Annie West | Freelancer
On May 23, 2012

This year marks the retirement of Linda J. Cavaille, the Catering Coordinator at Western, after nearly 13 years of service for the university.

Born in the Bay Area of California in July of 1949, Cavaille grew up the oldest of six, with three brothers and two sisters. She was the daughter of a forester, a job that would become a recurring position in her life through her brother, and later, her husband.

Cavaille graduated from Willows High School with the class of 1967, who will celebrate their 45 year reunion this year. In 1975, Cavaille moved to Salem, Ore. while working at the East Salem Veterinary Clinic with Dr. Larry Peetz. Three years later, she married her husband, Ed, a forester who would later become Marion County's Juvenile Department Supervisor for Alternative Programs in Salem, Ore. Together, Cavaille and her husband would have two children, born in 1979 and 1981.

Her son would later attend Western where he would meet his wife. Today, he is a history teacher at McNary High School in Keizer Ore., while his wife teaches special education classes.  

At 14 years of age, Cavaille entered the work force. She spent 16 hours a day teaching swimming lessons and life guarding for four consecutive summers. This would be the first of many jobs that she would come to hold over the years.

Following her time at the clinic with Dr. Peetz, Cavaille took some time off to be a stay-at-home mom while running occasional home businesses such as selling Tupperware. In November of 1983, Cavaille rejoined the work force, working at the Inn at Orchard Heights as a hostess of fine dining. It is here that she became a pastry chef and learned skills from Chef Hans D'Alessio.

After  her years working at Orchard Heights, Cavaille worked in customer Service at Roth's IGA, as well as The Hoop, a basketball athletics club, until 1999, when she joined Western's faculty. Cavaille started working at Western before the kitchen, found on the first floor of the Werner University Center, was built. At the time, the catering and dining staff were cooking out of the deli as well as Allegro.

When she first started, Cavaille's predecessor was not around to teach her the ins and outs of working here."I had to learn from the bottom up," she said. "I tried to get to know everyone and really tried to accommodate them."

Over her 13 years of service and through getting to know her co-workers on campus, Cavaille has been able to make and keep many friendships with students, staff and faculty, like Dr. John Minahan, the president of Western up until the 2011-2012 school year.

"There are probably 150 students that I still keep in touch with. They call me on birthdays and Mother's day," Cavaille said when talking about the friendships she has made with student workers from past years. Jenna Otto, the Catering Office Coordinator and one of Cavaille's coworkers describes her as very open and always talking to people.

"She is good with student workers, always trying to get to know them and what makes them work," Otto said, before adding, "she is good with training kitchen workers too." Otto describes her working relationship with Cavaille as a complimentary one where she takes care of the office business and Cavaille focuses on the more hands on situations.

"She is really good about making sure that everything gets set up right and on time," Otto said.
While discussing her plans for after retiring, Cavaille talked about all the things she wants to do with her time, including becoming a master gardener. "We have a vacation home in Redmond that I have not been able to get to in the past two months, and I want to road trip a lot," she said, "See things I have not seen before".

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