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A Final Farewell to Don Links from the Madison Council

Bonnie L. Cramer

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 • 12:00am

MADISON, NJ - At last night’s council meeting Mayor Robert Conley requested a moment of silence in remembrance of Don Links, former borough councilman, who died just recently over a two-and-a-half-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  Links, a Republican, was elected to a three-year term on the borough council in 2009. He stepped down from his re-election campaign last September because of the disease, which was diagnosed in 2011.  Links was well known throughout the community for his contributions to athletics, town council and more.  He died at the age of 66 on July 27, 2013.

Those council members who were present last night each spoke of Don Links with great admiration.  Mayor Conley said, "Although he and I did not always agree on issues, we had great respect for each other, and I always knew where he was coming from.  His time was cut short due to ALS, but nothing was going to stop Don from serving his community.”  The mayor indicated that even when Links had to use his computer to speak, he was still there for council.

Robert Catalanello said, “It’s hard to say more because so many wonderful things have already been said about Don. He was passionate and enthusiastic.  He was my friend. I would not be sitting here right now if not for Don.”  Catalanello passed on a lesson he learned from Links and that was “Always do what you think is right.”

Carmela Vitale said, “We have to remember he was a father, a husband, a brother, a veteran of war.  He was so proud of his service to his country. That’s how I’m going to remember him for a long time.”

“Madison has lost a devoted, enthusiastic person,” said Astri Baillie. “He cared deeply about Madison,” she said. 

“I only met him briefly, and I’m sorry I didn’t get to know him better,” said Benjamin Wolkowitz. “When I first came to council, what I’ll always remember is that Don gave me a big smile, a tremendous handshake and said, ‘You’ll do great.’"

Jeannie Tsukomoto and Robert Landrigan were unable to attend last night's meeting, but Conley indicated their thoughts were certainly in keeping with the entire council. 

The  mayor then gave a proclamation honoring Links as a man who gave of his time, provided leadership and demonstrated passion for improving recreational facilities within Madison and even beyond the borough.

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