MADISON, NJ - Former borough councilman Donald Links, 66, died over the weekend after a nearly two-and-a-half-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Links, a Republican, was elected to a three-year term on the borough council in 2009. He stepped down from his re-election campaign last September because of the disease, which was diagnosed in 2011.

There will be a viewing Friday at Dangler Funeral Home in Madison from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral will follow on Saturday at 10 a.m. from Grace Episcopal Church in Madison.

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"It is a very tough loss for his family and for the borough of Madison," Madison Mayor Robert Conley told on Monday morning. "Although he and I did not always agree on issues, we had great respect for each other, and I always knew where he was coming from."

Links sat on the council's Public Works and Engineering and Community Affairs committees. Links' signature issue was his successful push to get turf installed at Madison High School's athletic fields.

"His persistence (in fighting for the turf installation) is why the kids are playing on turf fields now," Conley said. "There is a plaque being worked on right now by Chris Holland and the Recreation Commission that will be placed at the athletic field in time for the fall sports season. In fact, their goal was to make a video of the unveiling of the plaque and to show it to Don when it was completed."

Links' impact reached beyond the borough of Madison and into at least one other nearby community.

As one of the leaders and original members of the Madison Athletic Foundation, Links provided New Providence Athletic Foundation with concepts for organizing financial resources and collaborating with the borough which New Providence mirrored to form the New Providence Partnership for Recreation, which helped enable the installation of lights at New Providence High School's Lieder Field, according to New Providence Councilman Jim Madden.
"Former Councilman Links was a great leader within Madison for many years," Madden said. "His passion for improving recreational facilities within Madison was well known, and he shared his ideas and concepts with surrounding communities facing similar challenges. Don shared his blueprint on creating a partnership with the recreation entities and borough government to organize the necessary financial resources to complete the Lieder Field Lights project."