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Life Story / Obituary
Loving, selfless, and strong, Allen Jay Link lived a life firmly centered in his faith and serving others. With an undauntable spirit and quick wit, Allen possessed a calm that comforted others while always focusing on the positives. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Allen cherished every moment he was given, especially those he spent with his family. A Man of Steel to those who knew him best, Allen was an inspiration for all who were blessed to know him.
Born on August 31, 1957, in Grand Rapids, MI, Allen grew up in the comforts of a hardworking and loving family. While his father, Benjamin, worked as a drywaller, his mother took on the responsibilities of running the home and raising Allen and his three siblings, Peggy, Bryan, and Yvonne.
Growing up in Kalamazoo, Allen enjoyed a youth filled with football, lifting weights, cars, family, and friends. His teen years were also rich in the music of the times. Popular songs of the times including George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone,” Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine,” Don McLean’s “American Pie” and everything by the Eagles proved powerful influences and were Allen’s favorites throughout his entire life.
After graduating from Kalamazoo Christian High School, Allen worked in a variety of jobs over the years. With great skills and a willingness to learn, Allen worked in drywall, landscaping, and for Pfizer. He retired as a service coordinator for the Andy Egan Company.
In the late 70s, Allen was at Wayside West and met Michelle Marie Turner while she was celebrating the completion of the first half of nursing school. Soon the pair were dating and planning their July 18, 1980, wedding. After the couple exchanged their vows in Plainwell, MI they honeymooned in San Francisco, California, and Allen’s customary greeting of “Hey Chelle” began shortly thereafter.
Allen and Michelle soon welcomed two daughters into their home, Nicole and Desiree. Allen was a proud father who relished raising his daughters. Not only did Allen enjoy the day to day goings on with his girls, he especially enjoyed getting to coach the girls’ sports teams, and sharing his passions for golf, photography, and watching sports. The family also enjoyed vacations to Disney World, Mackinac Island, New York, Boston, and he and Michelle had a memorable trip to the Grand Canyon and over parts of route 66. Allen was proud that he’d been to every state east of the Mississippi, earning the nickname “Al Link, tour guide.”
Without a doubt, Allen’s best days were those spent in the good company of his family. He treasured the holidays, his wedding anniversary, and family weddings. The births of his daughters, who he “loved to pieces,” ranked at the top of his greatest days alongside the birth of his granddaughter Lily in 2011. Nothing lit up Allen’s eyes more than being Pop Pop to Lily, often telling her that he “loved her to the moon and back.”
A man of deep and devoted faith, Allen was very introspective. Though generally quiet, he possessed an incredibly quick wit and was profoundly funny. Not one to be easily thrown into a panic, Allen often provided a calm center for those around him. He was naturally called to provide and care for others and would unhesitatingly sacrifice himself for the good of others. He was the underdog’s hero, and his strength was both reassuring and inspiring. Even in the face of life’s greatest challenges, Allen proved a steadfast source of selflessness and optimism.
For entertainment Allen enjoyed watching shows like Longmire, The Big Bang Theory, and NCIS. He also enjoyed movies like Braveheart and the Bourne series. Allen could often be found cheering on the University of Michigan football team and the Detroit Tigers.
Clearly, life feels far less certain in the absence of Allen’s steadfast love, strength, and goodness. May it afford deep comfort to know that the gifts of his love and loyalty continue to grow in each of our hearts. With each putt we sink, U of M game we cheer, family gatherings we partake in, and day we say “yes” to, we celebrate Allen’s legacy in our own lives. In so doing, we assure that his spirit will continue to inspire others for many years to come.
Allen Jay Link, age 60, of Mattawan, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 13, 2018, surrounded by family following an extended battle with cancer. Al was born on August 31, 1957, in Grand Rapids to Ben and Tina Link and he married Michelle Turner on July 18, 1980, in Plainwell. Surviving members of his family are his parents Ben and Tina, his wife Michelle, his daughters Nicole (Pat) Suyak and Desiree Link. Other members of his family include his granddaughter Lily Suyak, his brother Bryan and his sisters Peggy Link and Yvonne (Robert) Williams, and many nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends on Tuesday from 5-7pm at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Funeral services for Allen will be private. Please visit Al’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.