Roderick W. Link, age 97, passed away peacefully at home in Poughkeepsie, NY September 9, 2020 with family by his side. Son of Milton P. Link and Margaret W. Link, Rod was predeceased by his wife, Ruth H. Link, with whom he shared 65 years of marriage. Rod grew up in Glen Rock and Ridgewood, NJ, and spent some of his summers on his extended family’s farm in Pleasant Plains, Dutchess County, NY.
Graduating from Lehigh University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Rod was a member of Tau Beta Pi and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa with a GPA just shy of 4.0. He was also a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the leadership honor society and played on the soccer, wrestling and lacrosse teams. Rushed through, like many, in accelerated academic and military training, Rod returned to campus after WWII to complete one remaining semester of coursework.
During WWII, Rod served at Camp Earle, Attu, Alaska, the farthest of the Aleutian Islands, and retired with the rank of Captain in the 3062nd Ordnance Service Company, Alaskan Department. While he continued to serve in the Reserves, he was released from active duty in November 1946.
Rod married Ruth, his high school sweetheart, in 1946, ultimately raising six children in the home he designed and they built together in 1950. They explored the U.S. by car and camper, viewing these experiences as a valuable learning opportunity about history and other cultures. They continued this legacy of learning after retirement, many times including their grandchildren.
Rod joined IBM in 1947, often seeing Thomas Watson, Sr. and his son, working alongside employees who left a bold mark on the world of computers and technology at the beginning of a new dawn. Rod stayed with the company his entire 36 year career, retiring in 1983.
In addition to many volunteer roles he shared with his wife, Rod was a Lifetime member and served as Treasurer with the Dutchess County Genealogical Society. He was an Eagle Scout and served as a volunteer leader with the Boy Scouts of America for several decades in various roles including Troop 23 Scout Master. He also served as unofficial engineer and seamstress, building racks for bicycle transport and creating unique tenting, tarping and durable water-proof saddle bags for scouts he would accompany down the 188-mile C&O Canal into Washington, D.C. for the Bi-Centennial. Rod also engaged scouts in high adventure canoe treks through the Adirondacks and service projects including Appalachian and Knox Trail preservation.
A patient teacher, he always had time to explain how things worked and to teach mathematical and physical principles, resulting in a future generation adept in car mechanics and washing machine repairs. Many toasters and lawn mowers saw extended service in the Link household thanks to his tinkering and MacGyver-like fixes!
Rod was a Mason in the Shekomeko Lodge for 35 years, a New Hackensack Dutch Reformed Church Sunday School Superintendent and Consistory member, a Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardner, Red Cross Blood Bank donor and longtime member of both the Dutchess and Columbia County Historical Societies.
Throughout their entire lives, Rod and Ruth invested a great deal of their personal time in the mission of multiple non-profits, sharing knowledge, passion, support and wisdom along the way. Both Ruth and Rod possessed a keen interest in education. In addition to being dedicated supporters of their own alma maters, they were part of a team which created a new junior high school in their town. As with so many of their avocations, Rod and Ruth formed a faithful decades-long partnership with Meals on Wheels, delivering meals and companionship to those in need.
With boundless curiosity for nature and other cultures, their travels later in life took them across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, through the Panama Canal, throughout the Caribbean, and down the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, among other destinations.
Rod was predeceased by his brother Milton P. Link, Jr. and his wife Elizabeth C. Link, and their children, Douglas, Christopher and Anthony Link, and brother-in-law Richard Illingworth. Rod is survived by six children: Roderick W. Link, Jr. of Poughkeepsie, NY, Margaret L. Ormston and her husband Anthony of Winchester, United Kingdom, Bruce H. Link and his wife Gere of Hobart, NY, Carolyn E. Link of Poughkeepsie, NY, Lawrence J. Link and his wife Cindy Albert Link of Belmont, MA, and Stephen P. Link of Washington, DC, and Rod’s sister-in-law Dorothy Illingworth of VA. In addition, Rod is survived by an abundance of grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, other dear family members, Atty. Douglas F. Wicks, Kathleen H. Link and Matthew J. Tinkcom, and beloved friends.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Interment will be in Union Cemetery in Ghent, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer memorial contributions be made to the Hudson Valley Community Foundation, Dutchess County Genealogical Society, Meals on Wheels, or a charity of your choice. Arrangements are under the direction of the Wm. G. Miller & Son FH, Inc., 371 Hooker Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12603. If you wish to send an online condolence please visit our website at www.wmgmillerfuneralhome.com