Robert Stevens “Steve” Link

SOUTH PORTLAND – Devoted Husband, Father and Grandfather—-Robert Stevens “Steve” Link, 82, of 17 Mildred St., South Portland, passed away Jan. 1, 2021. Born in St. Louis, Mo., April 11, 1938, the second son of Emerson Blaine and Nancy (Smith) Link, both deceased of Tenants Harbor.

Steve was a twelfth generation descendent of Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower. He graduated from Webster High School in Webster Groves, Mo. in 1956. He lettered in wrestling and golf. He served in the U.S. Army for three years, graduating from postal operations school and serving two years in Japan. He graduated from Washington State Teachers College in Machias in 1963. He earned a Master of Science degree in Education from Gorham State College in 1968. He had earned over 60 hours beyond his master’s degree.

He retired after 36 years of teaching in July, 2000. He taught one year in Boothbay Harbor, served as principal and 7th and 8th grade teacher in East Machias for two years, and served one year as president of the Washington County Teachers Association before coming to South Portland for his final 33 years.

At Reynolds School, he taught grade 6 and coached basketball for two years before becoming principal/teacher for four more years when Reynolds was closed. He taught one year of grade 6 at Dyer, then became teacher of grade 5 and principal at Willard for one year. He became principal and teacher of grade 6 at Roosevelt until it closed seven years later.

He was a former president of the South Portland Elementary Principals Association. He had been on the negotiations and impact committees, a building representative, and the secretary for many years of the South Portland Teacher’s Association. He taught grade 6 at Brown School for one year and finished his career at Mahoney Middle School as a grade 6 teacher for 17 years. He started substitute teaching in South Portland in the five elementary and two middle schools as a 79-year-old.

He worked almost every summer including dish washing, linoleum mechanic, filling station attendant, summer camp counselor at Camp Powhatan in Raymond and YMCA Day Camp, and South Portland Parks Dept. grounds maintenance worker. He also worked three Christmas seasons as a postal worker and recently employed part time on the MET team at the South Portland Home Depot.

He joined the Maine Army National Guard at the age of 38, later transferring to the Maine Air Guard where he retired as a master sergeant in 1998 at the age of 60 with many decorations including two achievement medals and an Air Force Commendation Medal.

He was an insertion machine operator at UNUMProvident in Portland, Maine, since January, 2001 retiring on April 29, 2011 at the age of 73.

Singing religious music was very important to him. In Japan he was a member of a large church choir and the bass in a gospel quartet there and also took piano lessons locally. He sang in his college choir and ensemble group called The Hilltoppers and in the Machias United Methodist Church choir. He taught many piano students in Machias. In South Portland he was the bass of The Heightsmen, a barbershop and gospel quartet, and most recently he was the bass of The Messengers of Hope, a gospel trio that began singing in 2003 and became a quartet in 2011. They have performed in many areas of the state and New Hampshire and have sung over 200 times and were singing at the time of his passing with hopes of joining a heavenly choir.

They produced a CD entitled “The Messengers of Hope” and later a second CD entitled “The Messengers of Hope Quartet.” He was lay leader at the Machias Methodist Church and the Thornton Heights United Methodist Church. He was a member of the Elm Street United Methodist Church, singing in the choir, playing piano during hymns and substituting as organist when needed. He was a monthly evening volunteer at the Wayside Soup Kitchen and a VIP blood donor at the American Red Cross giving over 20 gallons inspired by his oldest son, Jeff, a super giver. He also volunteered at the Food Cupboard in South Portland two mornings a week and later once a week.

He was a member of the Kaler School P.T.A., an assistant Little League coach and later umpire, and member of the South Portland High School football, track, soccer and swimming booster clubs. He was a volunteer for the Quarterback Club selling refreshments at the home football and basketball games, track meets and soccer matches for many years.

He taught Mahoney students to golf in the spring several years which became an intramural sport until his retirement. An avid golfer since the age of 12, he was on his high school team for two years during an eight-year undefeated seasons. He won an unprecedented four South Portland City Employees Golf Championships. He has three holes-in-one and several other eagles.

Predeceasing him are his parents, father Emerson Blaine Link Sr. July 31, 1970, and mother, Nancy Smith Link Feb. 11, 1976; one brother, Emerson Blaine Link Jr. 1987.

Surviving are his wife, Virginia B. of 57 years; his sons, Dr. Jeffrey Stevens, Wheeling, W.Va., Gregory Nicholas, Long Meadow Mass., Dr. Timothy Emerson, Tinton Falls, N.J.; and Jeremy Richard, South Portland. He is also survived by four granddaughters, Rebecca Grace Link, Jessica Grace Link, Addison Haili Link, Molly Jean Link, and two grandsons, Liam Robert Link and Grady Edward Link. He is also survived by one brother, Joel Martin Link; and one aunt’ and many cousins.

A celebration of life service will be held at Thornton Heights United Methodist Church, South Portland in the spring. Burial will be in the Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Highland Ave., South Portland. Look for two little white marble crosses.

Arrangements entrusted Hobbs Funeral Home, South Portland. Online condolences may be expressed at http://www.hobbsfuneralhome.com.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to Thornton Heights Methodist Church or South Portland Food Cupboard.

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