Marion Clayton grew up in Ilion, New York, and received a B.S. degree in journalism from Syracuse University. After graduation she moved to Binghamton, New York, where she worked as a reporter for the Binghamton Press. Here she interviewed Edwin A. Link, and in 1931 "married her best story." From then until the birth of their first son in 1938 she helped develop Link Aviation, Inc.
After World War II the Links' interests turned to diving and underwater excavation. From their converted shrimp trawler they explored shipwrecks in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, Haiti and the reefs south of Jamaica. The record of these experiences became her book Sea Diver, published to wide acclaim in 1959.
She contributed to scholarly and scientific study, writing archaeological research reports for National Geographic and Smithsonian Institution expeditions and publishing numerous articles. She received the George Arents Pioneer medal for excellence in archaeology in 1961. Marion and Ed Link together published A New Theory on Columbus's Voyage Through the Bahamas, which appeared in 1958 as volume 135, number 4 of the Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. Marion wrote two more books: Windows in the Sea, published in 1973, and From Sky to Sea, written with Susan van Hoek, using excerpts from Marion's personal diaries and journals, and published in 1993.
From 1954 on, she contributed to both endowments and programs at Binghamton University. She received the Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award in 1974 and, with her husband Ed, was honored for Distinguished Citizenship by the Harpur Forum Committee of the Binghamton University Foundation in 1978 and 1980. In the Fall of 1993 the Marion Clayton Link Endowment in Creative Writing at Binghamton University was established by the family in her honor.