Greenbelt resident James R. (Jim) Link passed away on December 23, 2019. He was a beloved teacher, neighbor, and poetry lover whose generous heart and wide-ranging intellect touched many people in our community. Jim was born August 31, 1941, in Washington, DC, to John C. Link and Melita Haardt Link. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, he was a lifelong follower of Fighting Irish football, though he would admit they were over-exposed and sometimes over-rated. Jim served in the Army Reserves in the 1960s and was a frequent visitor to the American Legion in Greenbelt, where he shared his love of football and good conversation. Jim’s long career as an English teacher began at Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland, where he taught for ten years. He then went on to Prince George’s Community College teaching English and other subjects full-time from 1988-2007. He woke up every morning full of eager anticipation to meet his students and pass on his joyous passion for poetry and great literature. His ever-curious, unpretentious, non-judgmental personality inspired many of his students, some of whom stayed in touch with Jim well beyond their classroom years.
Jim relished reading, and his greatest delight was discussing books and poetry with people who shared his love of writers and writing. Even in his final weeks of life, he was ordering new books and stacking them within easy reach of his hospital bed. He hosted boisterous book clubs and poetry readings that went on for hours and were marked by laughter, pizza deliveries, and empty wine bottles in his recycling bin the next day. He also enjoyed dissecting movies – from the classics to cult favorites -- and held viewings at his home (again, fueled by pizza and beverages). For years, he wrote movie and theater reviews for the Greenbelt News Review. His reviews of local theater productions were always positive, gingerly pointing out flaws while cheering the efforts of the participants. From 2007 to 2019, Jim took his teaching skills and love of literature to the Greenbelt Recreation Center, Riderwood and other retirement communities to lead classes for the SAGE program (Seasoned Adults Growing Educationally). Jim’s was a familiar face around Greenbelt, and he seemed to know almost every resident. He gleefully took part in neighborhood gatherings – appearing as Charlie Brown, Superman, and an aging hippie in Halloween festivities in recent years – and was especially happy when he went home with leftovers tucked under his arm. Those who knew him will remember Jim for his warmth, his generosity, and his irrepressible spirit.
Jim is survived by his sister Melita Link of Gatineau, Quebec, nephew Mathieu Link-Arseneau, nieces Catherine Link-Arseneau and Patricia Jo Link, and a host of family and friends. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother Joseph Link.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 16, 2020, at 10:00am at St. Hugh’s Catholic Church, 135 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, Maryland. Following the funeral, a reception will be held at the American Legion Greenbelt Post 136, 6900 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, Maryland.
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