Stephen Link Christin, age 67, died of natural causes (non-Covid-related) on April 15, 2020, at his residence in Reading, Pennsylvania. Link was born on February 23, 1953, in Columbus, Ohio. “The Linkster” was the oldest and funniest (and smartest, if you asked him) of Jack and Alyce Christin’s five kids.
He graduated from Pomona College in 1975 with a degree in English literature, and like many good English-lit majors, he proceeded to law school and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1979. He was a public defender in Pittsburgh for several years before a five-year stint in Wichita, Kansas, at the firm of Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch. Link returned to Pittsburgh in 1989 and worked for several years at Cindrich &Titus/Titus & McConomy. After a stellar career as a civil litigator, he returned to his public defender roots and directed the Sante Fe, New Mexico, Office of the Public Defender in 2004. He also worked from 2005 to 2011 in the continuing legal education field in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was an Adjunct Professor of Law at William Mitchell Law School.
Link went into recovery for alcoholism in late 2004 and devoted much of the rest of his life to helping people with addiction challenges, particularly those from the legal profession, a profession he loved very much. He obtained his Masters in Addiction Counseling from Hazelden Graduate School and then created a Legal Professionals Program at Hazelden, the first of its kind in the country. In 2016 he joined Caron Addiction Center in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, and created and directed the Legal Professionals Program there, where he was working at the time of his death. Just this past week he was putting the finishing touches on a book that law firms and other legal offices will be able to use to ensure that legal professionals battling addiction get the help they need.
Apart from his career, Link had many passions, including art, film, television, books, politics, stand-up comedy, live music, and sports. He played tennis his entire life and was an accomplished tennis instructor in his high school and college years. He loved the Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers and took immeasurable joy in the multiple championships racked up by his teams over the last 40 years. The Penguins were his favorite, and the exploits of Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby and their teammates provided much entertainment and inspiration to Link over the years.
Link also loved Bruce Springsteen passionately. It was an inside family joke that he would always exaggerate the number of Bruce shows he had seen. Sometimes it was 36. At other times it was 50. The actual number was, maybe, 20--- significantly less than his younger brother, Jack. And on one purely unforgettable night in August of 2018, Link got to see Bruce on Broadway with his sister Cathy.
Link cherished family and was never happier than when spending holidays, reunions and other special occasions with his immediate and extended families. In recent years he travelled the country to spend time with his siblings and their families, from San Jose to Bozeman to Columbus to Charlottesville to the coast of Maine.
He also valued his friends and colleagues greatly and, as it turns out, had even more friends than his siblings realized---a testament to Link being Link. He was completely hilarious, totally devoted to those he loved, a bit of a pain in the ass and a true advocate for and supporter of anyone who needed his help and guidance.
Link was preceded in death by his mother Alyce and his father Jack. He is survived by his siblings, Cathy Palombi (Tom), Cindy Christin (Bob Buzzas), Tracy Parrill (Keith Parrill), and Jack Christin (Nancy DellaMattera), his stepmother Ethel Christin, and his beloved nieces and nephews, Caitlin, Abby, and Megan Buzzas; Erin Palombi (Jay Berget); Connor and Ben Parrill; and Angelina, Rosie, Joslynn, and Zachary DellaMattera-Christin. Link is also survived by former spouses Penny LeGate and Jackie Hall.
He was adored by family, friends, colleagues and clients, and we will all carry him in our hearts forever.
A celebration of Link’s colorful life will be held at a later date.
Cole Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Robesonia is handling arrangements.
Anyone wishing to make a donation in Link’s memory can offer support to the Mario Lemieux Foundation (https://mariolemieux.org) or Caron Treatment Centers (https://www.caron.org/give-to-caron/donate-to-caron).
Online condolences may be made at www.ColeFH.com
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