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Requiem for Madison's Don Links Draws Host of Friends, Family, and Colleagues

Liz Keill

Saturday, August 3, 2013 • 2:18pm

MADISON, NJ – Donald Links, well known throughout the community for his contributions to athletics, town council and more, was honored at a Requiem Eucharist on Saturday, Aug. 3, at Grace Episcopal Church in Madison.

Links died at the age of 66 on July 27, 2013, following a lengthy bout with ALS. He was born on Oct.  4, 1946,  in Teaneck, NJ.   In addition to a remembrance by colleague Mimi Brooks, military honors were given at the end of the service, with Taps, followed by the presentation of the American flag to his wife, Joanne. Links served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War from 19767 to 1970.

In her remembrance, Brooks said, “Don would be amazed and humbled that so many friends, colleagues and students came to his service or viewing.”  She described how Links captivated friends and colleagues at business meetings and parties with his sense of play. “He was bigger than life,” she said, “with colorful language and fabricated words.” She said Links was a colleague for 18 years and head of the company softball team. “Don found his professional and personal groove. He had good common sense, strong opinions and got things done.  We relied on him. It’s unimaginable to go on without him.”  Links was corporate service manager for Logical Design Solutions in Florham Park. She spoke of his marriage to Joanne, his family, achievements and milestones and, ultimately, “the heartbreaking tragedy” of his illness.  “He lived life out loud,” she said. “There was no pretense, no limits on what he would do for friends.”

Don and his wife were competitive athletes and his love of the game led him to coaching, she said. “He loved the kids and he made a difference.” Links coached football, baseball and softball. Serving on borough council from 2010 to 2012 provided a way to give back to the community.  He was tireless in helping to develop the Madison Recreation Complex with its two lighted, artificial turf fields, “through his endless energy and tenacity. He would not give up. He lived life on his own terms and made his mark.”

The Rev. Lauren Ackland said, “This is an occasion for grief, and tears are okay.” She added “Jesus wept.” She described the service as a finale. “But it’s also an occasion for joy. We’re happy that Don no longer suffers from that terrible disease. He was brave. He kept doing what he could do.” She said that “he has gone to prepare a place for us, to another reality. He is free from suffering.”  Ackland said that “you don’t have to be a religious person to know that Don will live on, in stories, through his family and children, through everyone who knew him, his legacy to Madison and young athletes.  Cry by all means. The family has lost a father, a husband, a brother, an uncle. We give thanks for Don’s life and the promise of life everlasting.”

Pall bearers included Joseph Links, Adam Links, Christopher Brooks, Neil Burkinshaw, Martin Barbato and Trevor Wilson. The readers were Devin Links and Denis Gay. Ushers were Jim Hughes, Jim Farrell, Bill Keefauver and Bruce Bensley. The service was followed by a reception in Grace Church Parish Hall.  

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