Otto Paul Link
Link, Otto Paul resident of Palo Alto, California, formerly of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota died at his assisted living facility on Saturday, May 9, 2020 at the age of 91. After several months of declining health, Otto died peacefully at home with his loving and dedicated wife Jeanette and children by his side. Otto was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 12, 1928 to Otto Link and Julia Paulina (Pfeiffer) Link. Otto was the youngest of five children. Education was very important in the Link household and Otto continued his love for knowledge throughout his life and passed this love on to his children and grandson. Otto is survived by his loving family, his wife Jeanette Frances Link, son John Otto Link, daughter Barbra Frances Link, daughter-in-law Sophia Green, son-in-law Patrick Selmi and grandson Benjamin Link Selmi, his sister Jewel Ecklund and many other loving nieces, nephews and close friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Carl Link, sisters Catherine Hill and Ethel Louise Swandby. Otto played baseball at Humboldt High School in Saint Paul, was a pitcher and could bat right or left- handed and could hit anything thrown his direction. He played trumpet and performed in small dance groups and loved Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson and Louis Armstrong, and played reveille at midnight on many cold Minnesota New Year's eves as a yearly neighborhood ritual. Otto worked several jobs as a youth, carrying icebox ice at thirteen, working in a refrigerator factory, and at Swift's packing-house with his father. He put himself through college at the U of M by working full-time as a mail sorter in the Minneapolis Post Office where he met his lifelong friend Elmer Howard Zoff, both avid freethinkers. Otto graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in education and later a master's degree specializing in elementary reading and studied under noted early reading education Professor Theodor Clymer. At the U of M Otto met his future wife of 67 years, Jeanette Frances (Weiss) Link, and nothing kept them apart for more than a few days in those 67 years. Otto taught fourth and fifth grade in the Minneapolis Public School system, specialized in reading, and in summer school taught profoundly deaf children to read. He later held positions of Vice Principal and then Principal in the Minneapolis public schools. As a Vice Principal in the 1970s Otto was instrumental in the historic desegregation efforts integrating Hale and Field Schools. When meeting former students by chance, he could remember their full names 50 years after last seeing them - Otto had an astounding memory and a brilliant and inquisitive mind. Otto was forward thinking and humanistic educator, finding the positives in his students - he would say; "No test can capture what a student knows. Tests are poor representations of what a student understands. You need to talk to the student and get to know the student to get some understanding of their capabilities and potential." He retired from the Minneapolis Public School system after over 30 years of dedicated service, focusing on the importance of early literacy for children. He passed on the importance of education to his son John and daughter Barbra. Otto enjoyed boating, canoeing, motorcycle riding, reading, reading to his children, dinner parties with friends, working on his home in Brooklyn Center, family trips by car in the US and coaching baseball. Otto was a member of the ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation and the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis. He loved his family, reading and life-long learning. He was dedicated to his family, friends, and community. He enjoyed repairing almost anything, camping, current events, and debating with others. Otto was interested in the world around him and enjoyed everything from Fellini films to the Rockford Files. He passed this curiosity and love of knowledge onto his family as well. He will truly be missed by all. In retirement Otto and Jeanette enjoyed bus tours in Europe where they made new friends, to Hawaii, Mexico and to visit their children in the various places they lived: Boston, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Chicago, Syracuse, Columbia SC and Windsor, Ontario, Canada, detouring to visit US President's libraries whenever possible, and visiting Otto's sister Ethel in Maiden Rock WI. A lifelong learner and a history buff, Otto was intrigued by words and language and always had a dictionary nearby. After Jeanette broke her hip in 2017, she and Otto left their Brooklyn Center home of 63 years and moved to an assisted living facility in Palo Alto California nearby their son. Before Otto returned to his assisted living facility from a recent two-day hospital stay the nurse told us that there would be a slight delay because "about 30 of the hospital staff wanted to say goodbye to your father - they like him so much" - Otto made connections with people everywhere he went. With Jeanette, he made many new friends among the caregivers and residents at their assisted living facility. Otto was a freethinker, humanist, feminist, educator, civil rights advocate and lovingly dedicated to his family. A celebration of Otto's life will take place virtually. If interested in attending please send your full name, relationship to Otto and email address to email@example.com A weblink, phone call-in number and date will be emailed to you thereafter. People wishing to honor Otto's life-long commitment to social justice can make donations to the American Civil Liberties Union at aclu.org
Published on July 26, 2020
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