Linda Blowers (nee Ranson) passed away on 13 April 2021, aged 54, after a short but courageous battle with cancer.
Linda didn’t commence her working life in the law, and by her own admissions, it was not always her dream to become a lawyer.
She grew up on the family farm in Clovass, New South Wales, before her parents and two sisters moved to Hervey Bay. After achieving dux of Hervey Bay State High School in 1984, she became a private music teacher, teaching many children in Maryborough and Hervey Bay.
The skills and patience she learnt during this time, in addition to her kind and happy nature, would place Linda in good stead later in her legal career where she would mentor a number of early career lawyers.
In 1987 Linda embarked on six years of external study through the Queensland University of Technology to obtain her law degree. She chose law because she felt that she could help people, in some way, as a lawyer.
In 1988, Linda joined Neilson Stanton & Parkinson, Gympie, as a Trainee Solicitor/Articled Clerk. She completed her law degree and graduated with honours in 1993, and later that year was admitted to practice as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland.
In the same year, Linda took up pistol shooting (IPSC) as a hobby. It began as a release from the stresses and pressures of work as a lawyer – but it would become her passion. After a couple of years, she became a competitive pistol shooter in the discipline of IPSC and went on to become a world-class, practical pistol shooter.
By 1999 she had achieved the Australian Open Ladies Title in IPSC (a title she would win again in 2000, 2003 and 2007), and also achieved ninth Open Lady in the World in the World Championships (and again 20 years later).
She competed at the World Championships every three years and in 2005 achieved third Open Lady in the World. She travelled with her husband, Alain, and stepdaughter Karla (who are also involved in the sport) all over Australia and the world to compete in IPSC competitions. Her greatest achievement in her sport was her win at the Ladies Open Match at the United States National Titles in 2003, despite not being able to hold the title because she was not a US resident.
Linda’s early desire to help people via the law came to fruition through her practice of family law, with a significant portion of her workload being Legal Aid Queensland files. In 2001 she became a QLS Accredited Specialist in Family Law. While family law was Linda’s predominant area of specialisation, she was also an experienced property and commercial lawyer. In 2006 she became partner of Neilson Stanton & Parkinson.
Linda worked hard to balance the pressures of working as a lawyer with the rigors of being involved in and training for a competitive sport at an international level. She kept fit and healthy, completing a weekly Parkrun and running her first half marathon less than nine months prior to her passing.
She was a talented lawyer – thorough, hardworking, empathetic, generous with her time, and calm under pressure. While some of the wisdom she lent to young practitioners under her mentorship was overt (“never eat lunch at your desk, it’s a bad habit to get into”), other messages she imparted were more subtle. Indeed, achieving partner as a female practitioner early in her career is a particularly powerful one. Her passing is again another lesson that life is simply too short.
Linda’s legacy continues through the young lawyers and professionals she guided. Her passing is deeply felt amongst the Gympie legal community and beyond, her colleagues, friends, and family. Vale Linda Blowers, you are missed.
Rachel Tierney is an Associate at Gilshenan and Luton. She was a Solicitor at Neilson Stanton and Parkinson from 2015 to 2017.