SPENCER TOWNSHIP — A life cannot be defined by the way it ends.
To try to define the complexity of a single human life, all the years of one’s existence must be taken into account.
What did they give, what did they take, what did they leave behind?
The family of Danielle Scholten-Linderman is choosing to remember the best of their beloved 29-year-old “Dani,” who was killed Wednesday morning — allegedly by her boyfriend.
“She was a wonderful daughter, sister and mother,” Danielle’s own mother Brenda Taylor tearfully shared. “This just doesn’t seem real, just doesn’t seem true.”
“She was very special,” added Danielle’s stepfather, Bob Taylor. “She really was. She’s going to be missed by a lot of people.”
A 2002 graduate of Greenville High School, Danielle had a flair for creativity and interacting with people. She was a popular waitress at Greenville restaurants, including Huckleberry’s and Drake’s Place, where she was employed at the time of her death. While she enjoyed waitressing, she had also worked as a substitute teacher and secretary for EightCAP and was considering earning her own teaching degree, according to her mother.
More than anything, Danielle doted on her two children, Jadan, 9, and Ava, 7, and loved making arts and crafts projects with them, said Brenda Taylor.
Danielle had been dating Scott Hammer, 51, for more than two years, according to Brenda. The couple were living with family on Lincoln Lake Road in Spencer Township when the murder occurred.
According to police, a struggle ensued between Scott and Danielle that morning, resulting in Danielle’s death. Scott fled the Lincoln Lake Road residence and went to Wise Road in Sidney Township near Sheridan, where he and Danielle had been renovating an old house. He allegedly set fire to one house and attempted to set another house on fire, but was unsuccessful.
Scott was arrested a short time later in Sheridan without incident. He was arraigned and charged Thursday with open murder.
“They hadn’t been getting along the greatest lately, but they were working on getting a house together and they were getting ready to move into the house,” Brenda Taylor said.
“She didn’t deserve what happened,” she said. “She didn’t cause this or anything. She did not cause this.”
Jadan and Ava are currently staying with Danielle’s sister, their aunt. Brenda said she told Jadan the news about Danielle several hours after she died, before the little boy began hearing rumors at school about his mother’s death.
“I told him that her boyfriend killed your mother,” Brenda said. “He knew they had been fighting, so he accepted it. He handled it pretty good.”
Funeral services for Danielle will be 11 a.m. Monday at Greenville Community Church. Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Christiansen Cremation & Funeral Care in Greenville.
So what did Danielle give?
Her personality, her talents and skills as a teacher, waitress and friend, mother, daughter and sister. The jokes she played on her sisters and the gag gifts she gave her parents for Christmas. The food she made for every family event, never showing up empty-handed. Her soccer coaching and Girl Scout leading and volunteering at Greenville Community Church.
What did Danielle take?
Her own knowledge and memories of things no one else knew.
What did Danielle leave behind?
Her children, Jadan and Ava. Her parents, Brenda and Bob Taylor of Remus and Dean and Jan Scholten of Sheridan. Her sisters, Tabitha Scholten of Stanton and Melissa Wagner of Greenville. Her friends and more family.
“She knew a lot of people in Greenville and she had a lot of friends there,” said Bob Taylor of his stepdaughter. “She had a lot of friends.
“It’s a tragedy and it’s something that never should have happened, but it did and now we’ve all got to work our way through it,” he said.