Rhoda “Rho Rho” Denaburg Link, the matriarch of Birmingham, Ala.–based Levy’s Fine Jewelry and star of its radio commercials, died on Aug. 19. She was 86.
“Rho Rho was the epitome of a strong independent woman well before it was considered normal,” the store wrote on Instagram. “Raising five children on her own, she emphasized the importance of hard work, education, and accountability. Most of all, she taught us the importance of family, and that it isn’t always blood that makes someone family.”
Rhoda Denaburg was born in Birmingham. At 16, she moved to Chicago, where she attended the University of Illinois.
“In 1975, I found a love for Native American jewelry and began to sell it from my home and local fairs,” she wrote on the store’s site. “I would travel to Albuquerque and Santa Fe to buy directly from artisans and bring it back to the Windy City. Eventually the business grew into a freestanding storefront that sold fine accessories, clothing, and estate jewelry.”
In 1982, Denaburg moved back to Birmingham to help run Levy’s, the family jewelry store—which turns 100 this year—alongside mother Ethel and brother Charles.
In 1987, Denaburg married Marvin Link, who had just retired from his family diamond business, A. Link. He moved to Birmingham and gave the store “a more jewelry-focused business model,” according to its website.
She became the store’s face, or at least its voice, dishing out gift-giving advice in its radio commercials every holiday. Son Jared Nadler once described his mother as “a mix of Phyllis Diller and Lucille Ball,” but in the ads, one can hear a bit of her native Birmingham as well, as she uttered tongue-twisters like “we debunk the junk and will return your hunk with a sparkling chunk.”
In a 2014 interview with JCK, Link, then in her late seventies, said that she still “cleans the toilets when we don’t have anyone to do it. Doesn’t an owner do everything?”
Link “would always say that every single person who walks through our door deserves to be treated like family,” the store wrote on Instagram.
“As tiny as she was, everything about her seemed larger than life. She will continue to live on in our hearts, and her memory will forever guide us when something seems impossible.”
Rhoda Denaburg Link is survived by her brother, Charles Denaburg; children Nan, Keith, Jimmy, Tracy, Jared, and April; 11 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by grandson Brett Nadler and her husband, Marvin.
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