A good friend of World Vision passed away today—radio and TV host Art Linkletter, 97. Over several decades, he publicly supported World Vision, traveling to some of the poorest countries in the world and lending his face and fame to the organization’s early TV specials, boosting fundraising efforts for children in need.
He was a man with a big heart for children, which came through on his programs such as “House Party” and “Children Say the Darndest Things” segments. He had been an orphan himself, abandoned by his Canadian family and adopted by an evangelist. And he experienced the heartache of losing his own children—a daughter to drug-related suicide and a son to a car accident. In interviews he spoke of how these tragedies made him realize it was “pay-back time,” and he certainly made good on that pledge.
Art’s name just came up today in our chapel service, when one of the early directors of World Vision’s office in Korea, Marlin Nelson, recalled Art visiting Seoul. Shortly after chapel, my colleague saw the news of his passing.
At World Vision, we will miss Art Linkletter, but we rejoice in his full and remarkable life … and his joyous homecoming in heaven.