Linda Ayer, 77, most recently of South China, left this world the same way she lived — straightforwardly and with no fuss on the evening of Sept. 6, after a very brief illness.

She was born Dec. 19, 1936, at home in Branch Mills, Palermo, to Manley L. and Barbara (Worthing) Nelson.

After graduating from Erskine Academy, she studied nursing at what is now Husson College in Bangor and became a registered nurse.

Early on she worked at U.S.V.A. Togus, then moved to California where she lived and worked in Burbank for several years. She and her former husband, Richard Ayer, left California in the 1960s to raise their children back home in Maine. Linda took a full-time position at what was then Kennebec Valley Medical Center in Augusta as a psychiatric nurse, and spent several years there providing her own brand of common-sense compassionate care. After the hospital, she took a job with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services in the Bureau of Licensing and Certification and worked there until she retired.

Once she retired, she surprised her family and friends by joining the Peace Corps at the age of 70. She served at a rural health clinic in South Africa for two and a half years. Following that, she did some traveling in Europe and around the United States. At home, she donated her time to Meals on Wheels and the Palermo Historical Society. In 2011, Erskine Academy awarded her their distinguished alumni award.

Linda is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Cheryl Ayer and Bob Rubin of Rockport, and her sister and brother-in-law, Mary Lou and Keith Noyes of Albion. She was predeceased by her son, Nelson, in 1987, and her brother, Douglas Nelson, in 1968, and her former husband, Richard Ayer, in 1996. She is also survived by several much-loved nieces and nephews, dear cousins and many extraordinarily loyal friends.

She loved the Red Sox, her flower garden, cribbage and her cat, Kit. She had so many wonderful friends and she loved being with them, especially if there was ice cream involved. So, instead of sending flowers or making donations, go buy yourself an ice cream and spend a few moments thinking about how fortunate we all were to have her in our lives. Linda was truly a quiet hero.

There will be a brief graveside service Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 11 a.m. at Branch Mills Cemetery, China. All are welcome, but bear in mind that the cemetery is small and you will need to walk a few hundred feet to the gravesite. After the service, friends are invited to join the family for a small gathering in the function room at the Palermo Christian Church at 322 Branch Mills Road in Palermo.

Arrangements are under the care of Plummer Funeral Home, 983 Ridge Road, Windsor, ME. Condolences, photos and memories may be shared at plummerfh.com.