John E. Linton died Friday, February 12th, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri, of  complications from a stroke he suffered January 10th. His wife Helen was by his side  when he passed peacefully. John was a true Renaissance man, not just possessing  facts and information about a diverse range of topics, which he did. He also was a man who had genuine competence and understanding in multiple different fields that complemented one another that made him a more talented and productive person.  

John applied most of his formidable skills and talents to designing, developing, and delivering banking software systems. His systems provided small and mid-sized community banks with easy access, functionality and customer information integration  much better than what the large national banks were experiencing with their legacy software systems. From the 1970’s through the early 2000’s he delivered four different banking software systems on four different evolving computer hardware platforms. All four systems under John’s directions were completed on time and on budget, which was unprecedented in that era.  

During that time John was also building a wonderful life with the woman who would become his wife, Helen Hefner. First in a long-distance relationship when they were both bankers in West Virginia. Then they moved to Monett, Missouri, where John  developed a software system for Jack Henry & Associates. They also developed a group of friends, mostly “expatriates” (drawn to Monett to work for Jack Henry), some of whom remained life-long friends. John and Helen further expanded their group of  friends when they moved to Kansas City in 1989, where they lived until John died.  

Never an “All work, No play” person, John did better than most of us in completely shutting off communication from the business worlds we left behind during our vacations. Our travels nearly always involved wineries and wine tastings. At home in Kansas City John’s Renaissance man came out. He and Helen attended a wide spectrum of performances throughout the city. And they arranged spectacular events for  friends—going to an observatory, taking an architectural tour of the city, viewing the solar eclipse. After retirement John and Helen ventured even further afield—circling Scandinavia on a ferry to see the northern lights and visiting Antarctica. In all, they traveled to all seven continents. John also was a lifelong learner at home; he took dozens of The Great Courses while on his treadmill.  

John Linton was born April 12, 1942 in Summit, Arkansas. He joined the US Air Force  out of high school, serving on the Distance Early Warning line in Alaska during the Cold War. Then John attended the University of Arkansas, graduating with a degree in  physics.  

John began his business career in Arkansas at the Bank of Yellville where he learned banking and got his first introduction to the rudimentary banking software system, and promptly began figuring out ways to improve it. One of John’s most memorable banking  accomplishments was helping Forrest L. Wood of Flippin, Arkansas obtain a bank loan to rebuild his Ranger Boat factory that had been destroyed by a fire. The loan decision hinged on value of the collateral; John was quite “generous” in assigning value to the fiberglass molds that survived the fire out back of the facility—probably significantly changing or at least accelerating the bass fishing industry.  

John married Helen Hefner on November 1, 1991. John is survived by Helen, grandson Ronan Brown and son-in-law Jeff Strobl. He was preceded in death by his parents, Earl Linton and Vivian Cheever, one brother, Robert Linton and two daughters, Robin Strobl and Deborah Springer, whom he adopted from a previous marriage.  

John Linton was the smartest man I have had the pleasure of knowing, and what a pleasure it was.


In accordance with John’s wishes, there will be no services.


  1. Jane SligR on December 29, 2021 at 9:47 am

    I still think of John often remembering the numerous trips and time spent together. Helen and John thanks for the memories!

  2. Alan Winston and Zee Hayley on March 26, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    Sometimes it is difficult to write a note. This is one of those time. There is an emptiness in all of us because of John’s untimely passing. It is a hole that will be difficult to fill. That void is a result of John being such an amazing individual who touched us all in his own unique way. The love and friendship that we developed with John individually and together with Helen was and continues to be forever special. We couldn’t agree more with all the adjectives used in other notes remembering John. Witty, superior intellect, quips so perfectly timed they would leave you laughing so hard it hurt. Another would be his compassion. If a friend’s family member became ill, John was always there in person or a phone call to console you and let you know you would not be alone in the journey. That was an amazing side of John that showed his humanity and selflessness. The hole in our hearts will be filled by celebrating the wonderful memories we have of John. The trips to NYC, France, California, Arkansas, etc. were, as Karen put it, legendary! Taking a break on the porch outside of Rombaurer’s wine tasting room in Napa was a classic. Another was at Gastons in Arkansas. Well into an evening of indulging in chatter and consuming lots of John’s infamous “Cosmopolitans” on the porch of John and Helen’s cabin, John was explaining quantum physics and string theory to Zee. It was hysterical; a moment that could have been part of a TV sitcom. Zee and I laugh about often.

    John, hands down, the smartest person we knew and will ever know. The strongest evidence of that is he married Helen.

    We miss John, and will celebrate his memory often.

  3. Mark and Barb Thompson on March 12, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    John and Helen instantly welcomed us into the community of friends on Morningside Drive and nearby streets when we moved there in 2015. Although we did not know him long, he treated us like life long friends and was generous with his hospitality. He was humble, a good story teller and opened the world to us with tales of the places he and Helen traveled to and in. We are especially thankful to be included in the outing to see the solar eclipse and to Table for Eight. Thank you John. You will be missed. Thank you Helen. We look forward to seeing you!

  4. Tresia and John Franklin on March 10, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    We will miss John’s amazing wit and intellect. We hold dear the fond memories of our many gatherings as well as trips to places like NY, Napa, etc. Perhaps the most memorable was a wonderful visit to Yellville with John and Helen and the fun opportunity to see reminders of John’s early life.
    I smile as I recall the Dogwood tree John planted in our yard when our dog died several years ago. He said it was an Arkansas tradition. With Spring around the corner, those blossoms will have a special place in our heart this year and in the years to come. Thanks you John!

  5. Linda Nilsen on March 9, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    John brought joy and laughter to all with his kind, genuine, big heart and bright, infectious smile. Visits with John and Helen were always fun and an adventure. Although we haven’t seen each other in more years than I’d like to count, I’ll miss him terribly.

  6. Donna Osborn on March 9, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    John leaves the world a smarter and better place albeit too soon. My late husband Bill worked with John from West Virginia to Missouri to Asia and considered John the best of the best. They each belly laughed through the time when condiment packets went wild at a Monett eatery and supported each other’s endless pursuit of the elusive software bug. Bill’s life was full and John helped it so. Even though Bill died nearly 11 years ago, the tales of Bill and John’s big adventures live on in my mind. Bill loved John, I loved John and will miss him dearly but not so much as Helen who completed the man John was destined to become.

  7. Ronan Brown on March 9, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    Time spent with my Grandpa John was always very enlightening, whether he was cracking a witty joke or talking about something he learned that week. I favored the holidays where I got to spend time at John and Helen’s house, as I got to hear about what they were up to and where they had been traveling. He was a very intelligent, generous, and thoughtful man. I miss him a lot.

  8. Scott & Cindy on March 9, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    John was indeed a man of intelligence and wit.
    You could always count on him to let fly a funny comment at just the right time. He was quietly benevolent and he and Helen treated us to wonderful dinners and shows. We are so greatful for his and Helens generocity to us, and Ronan, who affectionately called him, “Grandpa John”.

  9. Karen Daugherty on March 9, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    John was truly a unique individual and someone I was honored to call my friend. He was witty and funny in addition to being one of the smartest people I know. Our New York trips are legendary! He will be greatly missed by all of us!

  10. Marsha & Bret on March 8, 2021 at 10:52 am

    Our lives are so much richer for having known John Linton. We shared many incredible travels, fine wines and wonderful times with Helen & John. We miss him greatly.

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