LOCAL NEWS

Utah’s ‘Grandma Bear’ delivers hundreds of repaired, stuffed animals to sick children

Sep 11, 2022, 11:18 AM | Updated: 11:47 am

SALT LAKE CITY — In downtown Salt Lake, there is an apartment that is bursting at the seams with new family members.

There are the quadruplets: Tom, Bill, Henry, and Zephaniahs. And next to the piano is Giavanni, a concert pianist. There is Bonita, Sally, Aquavelda, Wanda, Dixie, and many, many more. Enough to fill every piece of furniture!

At the head of the family is Linda, better known as Grandma Bear. And what makes her family unique is they are actually all teddy bears.

“I had no idea I would lose my name, Linda Rae, to Grandma Bear, but so be it. It happened!” Linda explained, laughing.

Over the past two years, she has made over 2,500 personalized teddy bears. Each one has its own story and personality to go with its hand-tailored outfit and custom-designed quilt, all crafted by Grandma Bear.

“These are my children,” she lovingly said.

Linda takes them in, no matter their state. Tenderly picking one up, she noted, “this little moose has to have back surgery”.

Most of these teddy bears and animals are found in second-hand or discount stores. Grandma Bear takes them home and then, “I put them in the washing machine, dry them and brush them out, then sit them on my counter, and then I just stare at them, ‘What are you? What are you?'”

It’s as if the bears speak to her.

“This is Attikus. He decided that he wanted to go into space, and he picked out a vest, so we sewed on some spaceships.”

It’s a labor of love made bittersweet because these bears are only going to be living here for a short time.

“I will deliver them by the end of the week over at Ronald McDonald [House] and Primary Children’s [Hospital].”

They are destined to be adopted by boys and girls who need them most.

“And that’s hard and I miss them, and then I start all over again.”

Two years ago, it was actually Linda who needed these bears the most.

“Sometimes there isn’t a whole lot to smile about.”

She was having heart troubles, and her doctor told her she would be physically limited in what she could do.

“I couldn’t get off of the couch for two solid weeks. And I realized I was terribly depressed. And, at 83, I thought, I have no life at all.”

So Linda did what she had done her whole life in times of trouble, she turned to God.

“I rolled off the couch, got on my knees, said, ‘I need some inspiration. If you just want to give me one word, that would be fine.’ Well, the next day, he did – just ‘bears’, so then I recanted and I said, ‘how about a paragraph?’”

But then it came to her, she knew what she had to do and got to work.

“Creating something that will hopefully bring a smile to a little child’s face.”

After she drops off the bears, she isn’t able to see them given to the children, but she hears stories and knows they are making a difference. Because they aren’t bears you will find in a store, they are made with love; grandma’s special love.

“I’ve just found something that I can do with the health conditions that I have. I can still reach out and touch other people’s lives.”

Grandma Bear funds this all out of her own pocket and with the help of donations and nonprofits such as The Oliver Fund. If you would like to donate, you can visit their website.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Follow @KSL_AlexCabrero...
Alex Cabrero

Forest Ranger quashes rumors of Pineview Reservoir in town meeting

After rumors about Pineview Reservoir circulated, a ranger clarified, "we're not closing Pineview."
11 hours ago
(Utah Highway Patrol)...
Josh Ellis

One killed in RV vs. semi-truck crash in Grand County

A 67-year-old man died following a crash on U.S. Highway 191 south of Moab on Wednesday.
11 hours ago
Bry Hansen visits his son's grave in South Jordan. (Tanner Siegworth/KSL TV)...
Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

The number of Utah kids and teens dying by gunfire hit a record high in 2020

The state hit a devastating milestone in 2020, recording the highest-ever number of shooting deaths among Utahns 18 and younger.
11 hours ago
FILE PHOTO (Hurricane Police Department/Facebook)...
Josh Ellis

Teen on e-bike dies after being hit by truck in Hurricane

A 15-year-old boy was killed in a crash between a bike and pickup truck in Hurricane.
11 hours ago
Scaffolding from an apartment construction site sits along 1300 South on Sept. 29, 2022. (Shelby Lo...
Josh Ellis

TRAX station, 1300 South reopen after scaffolding collapses during storm

Cleanup crews have cleared 1300 South and the TRAX Ballpark Station after scaffolding from a construction site collapsed during a storm Thursday night.
11 hours ago
Harmoni Memmott went through seven months of chemotherapy at Primary Children's Hospital to beat a ...
Ayanna Likens

Tooele 2-year-old beats cancer after receiving care at Primary Children’s

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and one Tooele 2-year-old battled cancer and beat it after treatment at Primary Children's Hospital.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
Utah’s ‘Grandma Bear’ delivers hundreds of repaired, stuffed animals to sick children