- Associated Press - Monday, September 28, 2015

ALEXANDER, N.D. (AP) - There is an empty room in Alexander set aside to honor the legacy of a beloved son.

After a memorable political career as legislator, U.S. congressman and two-term governor, Art Link died in 2010 at the age of 96. He chose to be buried in Alexander, the hometown he’d left in body, but never in spirit, decades before.

The room that awaits his legacy is on the second floor of the town’s museum, the former schoolhouse now home to pioneer artifacts and local family memorabilia.

Grace Link, his wife of 71 years, stopped by the museum on a recent Saturday while the town held its annual Old Settler’s celebration.

She said she’s slowly going through her late husband’s belongings stored in their Bismarck home, keeping the museum in mind while she does the sorting.

“I have to be careful about what I give here. We have a big family,” she told The Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1jemJGD ).

Some documents and items already have been donated to the State Historical Society, she said.

Grace Link is 97, so her energy and ability to take on the task is not endless, though she said she tries to get to it about once a week.

Link’s 1970s-era leisure suits, a hallmark fashion look at the height of his political career, have since been donated to the Sleepy Hollow theater in Bismarck and one recently was worn on stage, she said.

His famous fiddle, something in the range of 120 years old, may or may not go to the museum.

“I’m not sure the family wants to part with that,” she said.

A son, Rod Link, who lives in Illinois, brought his mother to the museum and said the family feels honored to have the Art Link legacy be part of the area’s heritage.

“Hopefully, it would be a diverse display that covers the full and rich life that Dad had: his community life, his political life and his farming life,” Rod Link said. “If it’s here, it could be seen by many people and shared with the community.”

Joyce Brown, curator of the Lewis and Clark Trail Museum, said the empty and future Art Link room needs repairs and patching up. The only personal item in the room is the chair Link occupied during his 24 years as a member of the House of Representatives in Bismarck.

“When we open again in the spring, I’d like to have the work done and waiting” for the family’s donations, she said.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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