OWAA past president Sheila Link died March 30, 2018

Sheila Link, OWAA’s first woman president, died March 30, just a few months short of her 95th birthday.
Sheila joined OWAA in May 1968. She served on the board of directors 1973-1976 and as president 1981-1982.
Sheila grew up in Southern California, but in a family that wasn’t outdoorsy. In a biography written for OWAA, Sheila describes how her parents refused to let her have a gun, but at 9, she ‘cadged shots’ from her playmate’s BB gun and .22 rifles and fell in love with the smell of gunpowder and the roar of discharge.
Despite her parents’ lack of interest in the outdoors or outdoor activities, she spent a lifetime shooting, camping, canoeing and hunting throughout North America, Africa and South America. She shared her passion for outdoor sports through her writing and teaching.
Sheila majored in music at the University of California and later played string bass with the San Francisco Civic Symphony. She married Frederic Link in 1945 and continued to play music while she raised her four children.
Her love of the outdoors, however, led to what became a long career in writing. She started with writing a weekly newspaper column on camping. She swiftly branched out and freelanced articles for major national publications such as Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, American Rifleman, American Hunter, Gun Week and Gun World. She also became a staff columnist for regional publications such as Metropolitan Camper and Del-Marva News.
She produced an award-winning radio program, “Outdoors Unlimited,” took first place in OWAA’s 1974 photograph contest for action-color and wrote two books: one on wilderness survival for the Hardy Boys series and “Women’s Guide to Outdoor Sports,” published by Winchester Press. By 1998, she was the new products editor and a columnist for Women & Guns magazine. 
She also taught outdoor skills such as backpacking, orienteering and wilderness survival at Brookdale College in New Jersey.
As a consultant to the National Rifle Association for nine years, she spoke on radio, TV and in personal appearances, on the right to bear arms and to hunt. She served three terms on the organizations hunting and conservation committee, taught week-long courses in wilderness survival at NRA’s Whittington Center, served as a deputy conservation officer in New Jersey and taught hunter education in New Jersey and California. She was an NRA-certified pistol, rifle and shotgun instructor and was certified by the California Department of Justice to teach the basic firearms safety course required for firearm purchases in that state.
“The outdoor world has lost a truly great advocate,” said Bill Hilts Sr., a fellow past president of OWAA. “I was fortunate to be able to have called Sheila a good friend and watched her as she carved a trail which left an indelible mark on this fine organization.  Sheila showed the way for ladies to become active members of the leadership of OWAA and what a great plus that has been for this group.”
Sheila’s family said anyone who wishes to acknowledge her is encouraged to make a donation in her name to organizations devoted to maintaining wilderness.

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