Visalia’s retiring Mayor, Bob Link, leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of a lifetime of service to our city. He has been a member of the City Council for the last 21 years – including 3 terms as Mayor. Over the last 60 years he has donated countless hours to non-profit organizations, service clubs, religious organizations and youth groups.
Born and raised in Visalia, Bob was a member of Mt. Whitney’s first graduating class. After earning a degree in Business Administration from the University of Redlands in 1959, he returned to become co-owner of Links Mens and Womens Wear on east Main Street until he retired in 2013.
He previously served as president of the Chamber of Commerce, president of the West Visalia Kiwanis Club and is a Rotary member. Nationally, he was elected as a board member for the Menswear Retailers of America and was Chairman of their Financial Operations Group. The City Council website has a more a complete list of his leadership positions.
Mayor Link’s family has a long history of community service. His father was a member of the Visalia Unified School Board for 22 years. Bob’s wife of 61 years, Pam, and all 3 of their children, are school teachers. His brother and business partner, Tom Link, served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the State Parks and Recreation Commission and is currently Vice Chairman of the Tulare County Board of Education. Similarly, his wife of 56 years, Ordonna, and both of their children, are school teachers.
Mayor Bob and his brother both received “The Distinguished Citizens Award” from the Boy Scouts of America and were honored with the “Red Carpet Award” by Visalia Emergency Aid.
Long before joining the City Council, he began working to preserve our downtown area when large chain stores began moving to suburban shopping malls in the 1960’s. He later teamed up with Roger Franey and Don Estes to persuade downtown businesses to voluntarily raise their taxes to form a Property Business Improvement District. Currently led by Vice Mayor Steve Nelson, that now vibrant 72 block downtown district pays for additional services including a 24 hour bicycle patrol plus maintenance and graffiti removal.
Mayor Link has been part of a City Council that seems focused on our quality of life rather than their personal agendas. Thankfully, they volunteer to endure the occasional slings and arrows from dissenters as they make hard decisions about the future of our community.
Borrowing excerpts from President Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” speech in 1910 …. “ It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood…… his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Thank you, Mayor Bob, and the rest of the Link families, for your lifetime commitments in the arena of community service.