Bobby made life more interesting and enjoyable

 

August 5, 2023

Bob and Judy with their grandkids Teagan, Kilah, Payton and Brendan

You can pick all the favorites you want. I've lived long enough and lost enough friends to know how fleeting life is.

Now, Bobby has left us.

His family and friends knew him way better, longer, and had loved him.

I got a kick out of him.

I called him Bobby.

Bobby was a fun guy, quick with a quip, and always friendly.

Oh yes, he could be abrupt but that was Bobby, too.

I can't remember when I first bumped into him. Maybe at his furniture store where he was dubbed the Carpet King.

He could be brash, too.

I was there to buy something cheap. He might have said, "If you want something cheap, go to the Goodwill."

I paid a buck a piece for a couple of a 17x27 inch carpet rug samples for wiping our feet.

He had this banter that grew on you. So, when you bumped into him anywhere, he'd pimp you.

My kind of guy.

He could take some pimping, too.

"You didn't really play hockey, did you Bobby!"

Oh, he did!

I hadn't seen him in a couple months and now he's deceased.

I was walking to the LifeCare Emergency Room last Sunday morning when an ambulance arrived.

A chopper landed around the same time, and I'm thinking that whoever it is has a chance now.

Bobby didn't make it.

As I was leaving LifeCare, I stopped briefly and talked with his sons, Greg and Bill.

What can you say at a time like that. Death is always an interloper that breaks our hearts.

They were lucky to have their dad around until they were in their early fifties.

That's a blessing.

Bobby was colorful.

Especially as a business owner.

I probably did more features on Bob Lund than anyone else in the last 35 years.

Always, it was about senior amateur hockey.

And Bobby's teams!

With Byfuglien Trucking sponsoring them.

Maybe their beer, too.

Bobby was the greatest promoter around. He wasn't the biggest stud on those exceptional geriatric teams, but he made things happen.

More importantly, it was always about the other old geezers who played on his teams.

He was a diehard in getting them coverage each time they won consecutive senior amateur national championships down in Florida.

My memory might be failing, but I'm damn sure they won ten straight national titles.

He played in the majority of them, too. Even after open heart surgery. And he probably played his accordion at the old folks' homes between games down in Swampland.

He got the coverage all right.

"Dammit, Bobby, not again! Not every flipping year. I hate hockey."

He was undeterred.

"Bro, you're a good bullshitter. Write something funny and brag up the boys."

He never bragged himself up.

I'd call or stop by his shop to listen to his gift of gab. He and Casey Stengel were a lot like.

He was particularly fond of Bruce Gillie out of little Williams, Minnesota.

I tried calling Mr. Gillie, 85, several times last Sunday. Finally, I dialed Ken Gillie, his cousin, and after chatting, I can see why Bobby liked Mr. Bruce Gillie.

Bruce and Bobby played for the Warroad Lakers, according to his cousin.

The cousins were loggers during the winters years ago.

"On Mondays, he'd be all beat up, have a black eye, bruises and cuts around the face. I said, 'Gosh, you must be quite a scrapper.' He said, 'No, I'm just the right height so they give me the end of their stick or an elbow.' He's really short, but he held his own on the ice."

Then came quite the revelation from cuz Ken Gillie.

"He went to Harvard for a while on a hockey scholarship. Then, he came back home and cut pulp and farmed."

A guy out of Williams going to Harvard!

Well, Bruce Gillie could play hockey very well!

Why else would Harvard came knocking at his farmhouse, especially way up here in Williams with a population of 175.

Mr. Gillie was right up Bobby's alley.

Of course, Bobby made great copy himself.

He was a good bullshitter, too.

It was a pleasure interviewing him after those tournaments.

For Bobby, it was the equivalent of winning the Stanley Cup.

He loved the game, he loved the competition, he loved the guys, and he loved the coverage.

Last Sunday, there were no extra periods in his life. It was sudden death.

If you're going to die, Bobby did it the right way.

There was no long hospital stay.

As his son Greg said, "He's in a better place now."

Sure, but Heaven can wait.

He was Roseau, Minnesota!

And I like his wife. For years, I never could remember her name. She had to remind me constantly when we met at the grocery store or out at the shop.

"Think of Judy Garland," she said, and I've never had a problem since.

Even after his bypass heart surgery around 2007, Bobby rollerbladed to get back in shape. You'd spot him going down the tar towards Malung Hall.

"He played quite a bit after his bypass surgery," said his older son Greg.

"He coached us boys all the way up - Saturday morning league, Squirts but mainly Bantams and youth hockey. He had coached the Foss brothers."

Bob Lund had a long coaching career as well as a playing career.

How tough was he on you and Bill?

"He was tough (Laughs). When it came to hockey, he let us play the game. When it came to work, we were expected to work. When supper was over, we threw the dishes in the sink, and we were expected to go out to the shed and roll up carpet remnants, move mattresses and do whatever until 8 o'clock every night."

But in the winter during Open Hockey, Greg and Bill weren't rolling up carpets or swinging mattresses. They were at Memorial Arena with their dad's blessings.

Greg spoke appreciatively that their dad had instilled in them respect for hard work and finishing the job.

This past Monday, Terry "Gotzy" Gotziaman, the retired RHS principal and athletic director, recalled first working alongside Bob on the Arena Board in 1983 and that Bob was a real asset to the hockey community.

"My son Chris was on the same line as Billy with the Squirts, Peewees, Bantams, and the high school team."

Gotzy added that Bob Lund and Lew Erickson had coached that Bantam team to the state title.

"Bob was a very good strategist and a team motivator. The kids respected him and were always prepared to play. Two years later, they knocked off Grand Rapids to win the high school state hockey title."

Gotziaman called Bob a true blue Ram.

"He was kind of an ambassador for Roseau hockey. At many state hockey tournaments, he was in the hotel lobbies playing his accordion getting people pumped up as the parents were having a few lollipops."

They were some lollipops! Maybe 70 proof.

All I'm hoping is there's a hockey rink in Heaven.

Bobby will be organizing a bunch of ringers and calling them the "Holy Ghosts On Skates."

For sure, they'll be winners!

 

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