Cover photo for David Lundeen's Obituary
David Lundeen Profile Photo
1932 David 2020

David Lundeen

October 28, 1932 — February 26, 2020

David Franklin Lundeen, 87, an attorney and community leader, died on February 26, 2020 at Pioneer Care, Fergus Falls, Minnesota. He was born in Fergus Falls on October 28, 1932 to Victor G. Lundeen and Selma I. Rostad Lundeen.

Growing up on Lake Alice as the fourth of five children, he attended Lincoln School and Fergus Falls High School. In both his junior and senior years, he was Editor-in-Chief of “The Otter,” the school newspaper. For his superior journalism work, he was chosen for the Quill and Scroll, a national honor society. He graduated in 1950 as valedictorian and won a Bausch-Lomb Award for outstanding ability in science and mathematics. An all-around student, in his senior year, he was Vice President of the National Honor Society, lettered in football, sang in the choir, participated in Thespians, and competed on the debate team.

David entered Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he won the freshman Armstrong Prize for English composition. He was president of the Phi Alpha Psi fraternity; sang in the Choir, Glee Club, and Chamber Singers; and was president of the Philosophy Club. An English major, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1954, writing his senior thesis on “The Critics, the Poetry, and Robert Frost.” David was also named a John Woodruff Simpson Fellow in Law.

At Harvard Law School, David competed in the Hall and Magruder moot court clubs, and was a member of the Lincoln’s Inn Society. In 1956, David participated in the Experiment in International Living in Perigueux, France. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1957, and was admitted to the Minnesota Bar. He was later also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota; the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; the U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit; the U.S. Supreme Court; and the U.S. Tax Court.

After completing the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General's Corps training school in Charlotteville, Virginia, he was stationed at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts from 1957-1960, as a First Lieutenant in the Army Reserves. As a junior officer, he led two top-secret courier missions to Berlin. Upon completing his tour of duty, he remained in the Reserves in Minnesota for three years, achieving the rank of Captain. David was appointed a U.S. Government Appeal Agent for the Selective Service System’s Otter Tail County Local Board from 1967-1971.

In 1958, he married Mary Dorthea Watson in Ridgewood, New Jersey. After his Army discharge, he and Mary and their infant daughter moved to Fergus Falls, where they made their home on Lake Alice next door to David's parents and raised two more children.

He began his legal career in 1960, as an associate with the Field, Arveson, and Donoho law firm and became a partner about a year later, under the guidance of his respected mentor Cyrus A. Field. Over twenty years, the firm doubled in size, and David rose to the position of Senior Partner in 1984. In 1993, he began a solo practice, specializing in estate planning and tax law.

While at the Field law firm, David served as local counsel for Otter Tail Power Company for over thirty years and represented them in landmark cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the Federal Power Commission), and the U.S. Court of Appeals, with issues in the fields of antitrust, rates, and utility regulation.

During his 57-year legal career, he was president of the Otter Tail County Bar Association (1967-1971); Chairman of the Minnesota state Tax Law section (1968-1970) and a Senior Counselor of the Minnesota State Bar Association, 7th District; and a Fellow of the American Bar Association. He was a Continuing Legal Education Lecturer in the General Extension Division of the University of Minnesota through the Minnesota State Bar Association; was appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court to the American Arbitration Association’s Standing Committee for the 7th District; was recognized in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers; and received commendation for providing legal assistance to low income and elderly Minnesotans through Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota.

As part of his estate planning practice, he helped community members establish significant long-term funds for the benefit of local organizations, such as West Central Initiative, which assists our ten-county rural area.

In the 1960’s, David was a member of the Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce’s “Committee of 100,” who were instrumental in establishing the Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls and created the Fergus Area College Foundation (FACF). From 1986-2013, David served on the FACF Board of Directors, was Secretary for many years, and was a member of nearly every committee over his tenure. His board participation resulted in multiple endowments, including the Victor G. Lundeen Memorial Prize, the Selma I. Lundeen Memorial Music Scholarship, and the Cyrus A. and Mary K. Field scholarship.

From 2000-2014, David served as a founding board member of the Fergus Falls 544 Education Foundation, where he was a past president and led the foundation’s efforts to establish its investment policy, as a member of the finance committee.

He was elected a director of the Fergus Falls Industrial Development Corporation from 1968- 1974, and was legal advisor, a shareholder, and a director of the Industrial Park of Fergus Falls, Inc.

In 1976, David established and served as Chair of the Lundeen Foundation, to carry on the legacy of his father Victor and his brother Edward. Through that foundation, he advanced community support for local organizations, including Pioneer Care, the Fergus Falls Public Library, the Fergus Falls YMCA, the Center for the Arts, Minnesota Public Radio, Prairie Public Television, and many others.

David was a past president of the Noon Rotary Club, where he became its longest active member and received awards for his leadership and distinguished service. He was a lifelong member of the Federated Church, and served on its Board of Deacons and Elders. A Lake Alice resident most of his life, David was also an active member of the Lake Alice Preservation Committee, working to find solutions to some of the lake’s environmental problems.

From 1960 until his death, he served as company counsel to Victor Lundeen Company, the printing and retail business his father established in downtown Fergus Falls in 1914. From 1972 until his death, he was a shareholder, officer, and director of the company, serving on its board under the leadership of his father Victor, Sr., his brothers Edward and Victor, Jr. (Buzz), and nephew Paul.

David was also a partner with his brother Buzz in Concord Property Company, a commercial and residential rental building, the former Fergus Falls National Bank built in 1880 in downtown Fergus Falls.

He championed education, and maintained strong ties with friends from all of his alma maters, attending almost every reunion. He was a past-president (1992-1993) and member of the Harvard- Radcliffe Club of Minnesota, and interviewed student candidates for admission to Harvard University.

David saw his family as “the principal center” of all he did. As a father, David remained highly engaged with his children’s learning activities, including leading his son’s Cub Scout troop. He enjoyed small building projects, tweaking the baking recipe for the perfect chocolate chip oatmeal cookie, and growing his own herbs to season the perfect roast. David appreciated opera, classical music, poetry, art, architecture, and design. He embraced the outdoor life of Otter Tail County, including hiking, playing golf, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and hunting duck, pheasant, and grouse. He was a familiar figure around Lake Alice, commuting to and from work on his 1960’s Raleigh three-speed bicycle. For over eighty years, he fished, sailed, swam, and gardened at Otter Tail Lake, where he and his family owned cottages. With his wife Mary, David also traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America. For over fifty years, he often vacationed with his family on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida, the former home of his in-laws.

David was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Edward, his sisters Ruth and Helen, his nephews James Lundeen and John Whittemore, and his great-niece Amanda Lundeen.

He is survived by his wife Mary; his daughters Karen Lundeen of Brooklyn, New York and Emily Lundeen of Fergus Falls; and his son and daughter-in-law Eric Lundeen and Karen Hetland and two granddaughters Britta Lundeen-Hetland and Harper Lundeen-Hetland of Plymouth, Minnesota. He is also survived by his brother Victor (Buzz) Lundeen, Jr. and his wife Ann of Fergus Falls; his cousins Constance Rostad of Fergus Falls; Marion Araskog of Ottertail, Minnesota and Bonita Springs, Florida; George Rostad and his wife Alice of Zumbrota, Minnesota; and by the following nieces and nephews: Maxwell MacKenzie and his wife Rebecca Cross of Purcellville, Virginia; Catherine Whittemore of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Olivia Lundeen and her husband Donald Gault of St. Paul, Minnesota; Abigail MacKenzie and her husband Sam Rovit of Chicago, Illinois; Edward Whittemore III and his wife Christine Foster of Costa Mesa, California; E. Daniel Lundeen II and his wife Amy of Great Falls, Virginia; Susan Leo and her husband Jonathan of Harrogate, Tennessee; Julia Lundeen of Fergus Falls; Margaret Whittemore and her husband Mitchell Tartt of Kensington, Maryland; Paul Lundeen and his wife Mary Beth of Fergus Falls; and Kathryn Lundeen and her husband Christopher Connors of Los Angeles, California.

Memorials may be sent to the Fergus Falls 544 Education Foundation or to the Fergus Area College Foundation.

Visitation: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Thursday, August 26, 2021, at the Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls, with a Time of Sharing at 6:30 p.m.
Service: 11:00 a.m. Friday, August 27, 2021, at The Federated Church in Fergus Falls. The Laurie Strom string trio will perform 20 minutes prior to the start of the service. Everett Jacobson will also perform as part of the service.
Clergy: Rev. Dr. C. Ed Morgan
Military Participation: American Legion Post #30 and V. F. W. Post #612
Interment: Oak Grove Cemetery, Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Arrangements are provided by the Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.
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Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Time of Sharing

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Starts at 6:30 pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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