Cover photo for Mary Ann Craig Link's Obituary
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1927 Mary Ann Link 2023

Mary Ann Craig Link

January 17, 1927 — October 20, 2023

Clinton

*** DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER THE SERVICE FOR MRS. MARY LINK WILL BE HELD AT THE CHANDLER-JACKSON FUNERAL HOME CHAPEL AT 208 SOUTH MAIN STREET, ABBEVILLE***

 

Clinton, South Carolina


  Mary Ann Craig Link, widow of the Reverend Robert Sumter Link, died Friday, October
20, 2023, at The Clinton Presbyterian Community where she had been a resident since 2020.
She was 96. A Christian educator and teacher, she served as Director of Christian Education at
Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church in Elkins, WV, at First Presbyterian Church in Clinton, and
briefly at Upper Long Cane Presbyterian Church in Abbeville, SC, and taught in public and
private schools in Brunswick County, NC, Cheraw, SC, and Floyd County, VA, until her
retirement in 1989. Together with her husband of 66 years, she served congregations in Moncks
Corner, SC, Chadbourn, NC, Chesterfield, SC, and Floyd, VA

.
  Born January 17, 1927, in Kashing, China, she was the daughter of Augustus Rochester
Craig of Sandy Springs, SC, and Mary Alberta Bellingrath Craig of Decatur, GA, who were
missionaries in China of the Presbyterian Church (US). Because she received a telegram in
Decatur on January 16 announcing the birth, her grandmother Bellingrath was never convinced
of her true birthday and made sure to date future birthday cards using January 16. Other than
one furlough year when she was five, she remained in China on the mission field with her
parents until the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1938, at which time they hastily evacuated
first to Shanghai and then to the United States, where her father became the pastor at Spruce Pine
Presbyterian Church in Spruce Pine, NC.


  Upon her graduation from Spruce Pine High School in 1943, she attended Agnes Scott
College in Decatur, receiving her BA degree in 1947, where she often entertained her classmates
with a Frank Sinatra impersonation (in bobby socks and fedora), and she went on to receive a
Master of Arts in Christian Education from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA, in
1949. Her vocation as a Christian educator led her to First Presbyterian Church in Clinton in
1951, where she served as the DCE under the leadership of the pastor, Dr. Redd Turner.
While relaxing on her friend Frances Winn’s porch on Stonewall Street in the fall of
1953, she became enamored of a young sailor and his brand-new Ford convertible that
“happened” to drive by, and in May of 1954 married him, beginning a life with Bobby Link that
lasted 66 years until his death in 2020. After settling into navy life in Norfolk, VA, she worked
for a time for what is now the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia to help “plant” what became Calvin
Presbyterian Church in Norfolk in 1955.


  After Bobby’s discharge from the Navy in October of 1954, they returned to Clinton,
where he finished his studies at Presbyterian College, and she then continued her life-long
service to the church, supporting him as he completed seminary, and then through their ministry
to churches not only in the Carolinas and Virgina, but also in interims in their retirement as far
away as Hallstead, PA. She was active in several presbyteries, serving as moderator of various
presbytery committees as well as being a noted lecturer on Christian education to churches and
conferences.


  A gifted teacher, she taught all grade levels, including one year of high school physical
education, but was most at home with fourth and fifth graders. Her patience and high
expectations influenced innumerable young children as they began a transition to more serious
schoolwork, and she would often receive “favorite teacher” recognition from them later in life.
For her two sons, seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren (with one on the way),
and six nieces and nephews, she created a warm and loving home where all were welcome, and she

instilled her love of learning, music, and service to others in all of them. No sacrifice was
too great if it enriched their lives and helped them become the best they could be. Christmas in
Floyd, where a tree would be fresh cut from the field behind the house, as well as Thanksgiving
in their retirement home at Holden Beach, NC, where all of the family would gather, were
always special occasions, and often concluded with rounds of scrabble, bridge, and a special
version of Oh Heck known to the family as “Oh Sheila.” Summer trips to the beach and playing
with “Bama” at the ocean are some of the fondest memories of all her grandchildren.
An avid reader her entire life, she owned and read hundreds of books, including all 81
Agatha Christie novels and story collections. She enjoyed traveling with Bobby all over the
United States, and, with her mother, was able to return to China on two occasions for visits. Her
stories of life in China and their escape from the Japanese were always captivating, and she
dreamed of visiting the Lake District in England to visit the house and garden of her favorite
poet, William Wordsworth. Perhaps now she can.
And although her beloved Atlanta Braves fell short this season, she remained loyal to the
end, watching almost every televised game this season, and she was disappointed when the
archrival Phillies prevailed in the playoffs. Her support for the Virginia Tech Hokies was
similarly unwavering even through their recent valley of mediocrity.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Mary Jane Link.
She is survived by her two sons, Robert Sumter Link, Jr (Amy) of Clinton, and Charles Craig
Link (Debbie) of Hurdle Mills, NC; grandsons Craig Carruth Link (Evelyn) of Washington, DC,
Robert Sumter Link, III (Elizabeth) of Columbia, SC, Jeremiah Franklin Link (Brianna) of
Sellersville, PA, and Charles Benjamin Link of Durham, NC; granddaughter Sara Caroline Link
Broadright (Royce) of Timberlake, NC; step-granddaughters Rachel Kelly Wade (John) of
Lawrence, KS, and Mary Katherine Kelly of Clinton; great-grandchildren Surrey Gray Link,
Knox Braddock Link, Sailor Joy Link, McMillan Sadler Link, Edward Mitchell Link, and Ivy
Louise Broadright, as well as numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins.
The family would like to recognize the staff at the Health Care unit of The Clinton
Presbyterian Community, as well as Hospice of Laurens County (VIA Health Partners), for the
outstanding and loving care she received during this last year.
Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, PO Box 29, Clinton, SC 29325,
designated to the Global Mission Fund.
A public service of remembrance and burial will be held on Saturday, November 11,
2023, at 11:00 am at the Long Cane Cemetery (Upper) in Abbeville, SC (just north of Upper
Long Cane Presbyterian Church, 194 SC-20, Abbeville, SC 29620). The family will be at the
home of Amy & Bob Link in Clinton following the service from 1:30 – 4:00 pm to gather with
family and friends.
Chandler-Jackson Funeral home in Abbeville is in charge of the arrangements. Anyone
coming to the service is welcome to stop at the funeral home before going to the cemetery – 208
S Main, Abbeville.
“Do your best to come before winter … The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

2 Timothy 4:21-22

 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Ann Craig Link, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home

208 South Main Street, Abbeville, SC 29620

Due to inclement weather the service for Mrs. Mary Link will be held at the Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home Chapel.

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