Lundsgaard’s vision incomparable
We won’t let the recent passing of Cherokee icon E. Joe Lundsgaard fade into memory without publicly recognizing his unrivaled impact on this community.
One of our contributing “giants,” Joe Lundsgaard was a man’s man, determined to put in the work to be successful, while caring deeply for, and faithfully shepherding, his family, friends, and adopted home town to be the very best they could be.
Joe had a vision early on in his life and sought to find and purchase a farm on the edge of an Iowa county seat. “Little did I know I would find that in Cherokee,” said Joe.
With such foresight and a zeal to improve life for his family and his community, Joe followed his head, heart, and soul and worked hand-in-hand with his loving, supportive wife Janice toward achieving those goals every day of his life.
Because of Joe’s vision and work ethic, most of Cherokee’s northside commercial and residential development occured. We recall a City Councol meeting in the early 1970s when Joe proposed selling for $1 a parcel of land on a bluff north of town for a new City water tower. After research and checking the recommended tower capacity for a town this size, the City focused on a 400,000 gallon tower.
“It should be a million,” said Joe without batting an eye, for he, too had done his research and saw the potential. To its credit, the City heeded Joe’s advice and that million-gallon tower and the infrastructure it triggered today serves the entire north sector in its commercial and residential splendor, plus a “new” middle school and Western Iowa Tech Community College Joe and fellow visionary Joan Ballantyne conceived and commandered to Cherokee.
There’s no time or space enough to get into the countless visits to our office by Joe through the years to talk sports - mainly Cherokee Braves, Cyclones, Hawkeyes, and his beloved USD Coyotes where the Wilson High basketball and football all-stater excelled at college ball.
As part of his community commitment, Joe steadfastly performed his civic and spiritual duties by faithfully serving on many governing boards, including school, church, bank, and County Supervisors.
Joe Lundsgaard’s passing leaves a hole in the heart of this community and he will be missed immensely. All you have to do is drive north up the hill to see his vision that sprouted from his fertile mind and ground.
A faithful friend, a devoted family man, and a humble farmer, who kept his hands on his community and his eyes on the horizon, all designed to help make us better.
Rest in peace, decorated U.S. Navy veteran. Mission accomplished.
(Paul Struck - Editor)