Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
For more than two decades, Dietitian Linda Rippetoe has been an encouraging voice for Douglas County families who are likely experiencing stressful circumstances.
“People who are going through hard times and they are trying to raise a family,” Linda said. “They are still grateful for the services we can provide.”
Linda will retire on June 13 as a WIC dietitian, and she will miss those interactions with families and her co-workers. She joined the Health Department in 1997 after she earned a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from Kansas State University in 1997 and also began part-time at LMH Health.
Before completing her degree when she was in her 40s, Linda had worked at Kansas City area hospitals, including at Children’s Mercy Hospital, assisting dietitians. That work helped ignite her passion for working to advocate and educate about quality food nutrition.
“When you’e money is limited, a lot of times you’e going to resort to those not-as-healthy foods,” Linda said, “and it’s the dietitian’s responsibility to educate that family that there are things that they can do to eat healthy within the guidelines of their budget.”
She’s proud of the assistance WIC services in Douglas County have been able to provide to families over the years, including as operations have changed from paper-based services to more electronic-based services. In 2018 alone, WIC services included 5,080 appointments, and the Health Department distributed $788,096 in WIC vouchers to families for nutritious food.
Through all the changes, Linda has been a steady hand, her colleagues say.
“Linda is one of those quietly present people who focus on the job at hand. She is gentle and caring to both co-workers and her clients,” said Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Sue McDaneld, who along with Clinic Supervisor Kathy Colson has worked with Linda during her entire tenure at the Health Department. “She is a fount of wisdom and always happy to share her knowledge.”
“She has been such a champion in our WIC program and a well-respected role model in our community,” said Linda Craig, Director of Clinic Services.
One of Director Dan Partridge’s favorite staff photos hanging in the Health Department is of Linda talking with two boys about healthy foods.
“She is very quiet, very dedicated to her personal mission of taking care of kids and making sure they are healthy. I’ve always respected her for that,” he said.
He also called her the ultimate team person who did much work behind the scenes, including helping with the Department’s lunch room and in many other ways.
“I can’t ever recall a single instance where Linda made it be about her, and that is so hard to do,” Dan said. “We’re all human, and she just was great in that way.”
In 2014, Linda won the Kay Kent Excellence in Public Health Service Award ó the department’s highest honor for an employee. In retirement, Linda plans to help her husband, John, sell his business in Overland Park and also transition to retirement.
The couple lives in De Soto, and they hope to be able to travel more, including to their favorite Seagrove Beach in Florida.