Linda Brown Colbert, former executive director of Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas, passed away Sept. 19 after a lengthy illness.  She was 60.

Colbert was named the first executive director of Southeast Texas Workforce Development Board when it was formed in 1996.  She remained dedicated to its mission of building a world-class competitive workforce for Southeast Texas until her retirement in 2008.

“We were blessed to have worked under Linda’s leadership and vision for the many years she was part of Workforce,” said Marilyn Smith, who succeeded Colbert as executive director.  “She was a passionate advocate for individuals seeking to overcome obstacles and become self-sufficient and a driving force in development of economic opportunities for Southeast Texas.  More important, Linda was a loving and faithful friend who we will dearly miss.  Her smile and joyful spirit will forever be remembered by those who were fortunate enough to know her.”

During Colbert’s tenure as executive director, she successfully led workforce development efforts that garnered attention on the state and national levels.  Her passion for improving economic opportunities for Southeast Texas included serving with numerous civic, community and business organizations with like-minded goals.

Colbert served as President of the Texas Workforce Association, the House of Refuge Board, Chair of the State Policy Committee, Welfare-to-Work Policy Advisory Committee to the Governor, the Red Cross Board of America, Advisory Member of POST (Partnership of Southeast Texas) and Beaumont ISD Vocation Advisory Council.  She was also honored as Woman of the Year – Top Ladies of Distinction and as Director of the Year – State of Texas.

She began her professional career in 1976 with Programs for Human Services where she served as Program Supervisor.   In 1984, she joined the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission as a Special Programs Coordinator and soon after became the Director of Employment and Training until her appointment to the Workforce Development Board as executive director in 1996.

Services celebrating Colbert’s life and achievements were held September 29 at Starlight Church of God in Christ in Orange, Texas.