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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday May 19th 2024

Adella “Del” Bache Lundeen A Legacy of Service 1925 – 2015

1.10b v40#3 DelLundeenWoman of Extreme Measures

An “Operator” Par Excellence


From the many conversations  and stories shared at the Sunday memorial gathering for Del Lundeen, the consistent theme was that Del would always take extreme measures in devotion to family and in service to community.

On the other hand, her strong determination, focus of purpose, and resolute appreciation for her own life led her to request no extreme medical measures when her time came to die.

Pastor Louise Britt from Messiah Church, introduced the first of several speakers, Tom Lundeen, one of Del”'s three sons,  who began by saying their mother had been planning this event for 30 years and was adamant that “no extreme measures” be taken when her “time had come.”Â   

Using fond anecdotes and stories, Tom portrayed their mother”'s extreme zest for life, joy of travel, and commitment she learned from her parents for family, community and politics.

Other speakers continued with many fond memories and laments of what they will miss most.  These are excerpts from the one hour gathering at the  historic Thomson-Daugherty Funeral Home across the street from the  2615 Park Avenue residence where Del lived.

Bob Bache, brother ten years younger, for whom Del was always a big sister who provided an example of living with purpose even into adulthood.

Crystal Winschitl, Phillips West E. D., told of how Del, as Board Chair, was her boss and provided mentorship  in the early years, evolving into a mutually supportive, personal friendship.

Blaine Boyd, fellow resident at 2615 Park, lamented the loss of lengthy conversations  in their lobby about books and current events .

Robert Lilligren, former City Councilmember and CEO of Little Earth of United Tribes, said he was always amazed at her unusual,  in-depth knowledge of civic issues

Bob Munson, retired representative of Red Cross, said upon hearing of Del”'s series of recent illnesses,  was reminded of an old saying , “pneumonia is the old person”'s  best friend”.  He also told of her 40 years of volunteering for disaster relief work locally and once in Guam, teaching CPR, and mentoring new volunteers.   .

Jake Rock, fellow Phillips Board expressed appreciation for her strong but personal leadership.

Michael Sullivan, Mpls. Police Inspector, credited Del with mentoring him in a new assignment as police community liaison.

Del wrote her recollections of the many details of growing up in rural Minnesota with extreme hardships   in the twenties and thirties amidst the Depression.  Those conditions were at the extreme opposite with the amenities of life today at 2615 Park Avenue in Minneapolis where Del lived for her last 22 years.   To the contrary, however, it is clear from writings and stories that Del understood life and its hardships are still experienced by many today.  She was ever-present to do whatever she could even sometimes using extreme measure to lend assistance while always walking alongside as a worker, mentor, and teacher.

Del had a career of connecting people literally by plugging in wires at Northwestern Bell telephone company by connecting those in emergencies to first responders.  She carried that same expertise of connecting people coupled with a propensity for “taking extreme measures” daily in her family, career,  and volunteer life.

Coincidentally, Del lived on 18th Avenue early in her married life exactly where the new East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center and athletic fields have been recently built.  It is a dynamic place for connecting people of all ages, incomes and backgrounds including  new training in communications skills. Those communication skills have changed greatly since Del”'s childhood farm days where people had a party line and were able to  listen in on each other”'s calls. From there, she learned to be an Operator for Northwestern Bell Telephone, then became a Fire Dept. Dispatcher and, lastly, at the end of her working career, a 911 call operator.   She was a reluctant convert to 911 though eventually carried a cell phone good only for 911 calls given to her by Crystal Winschitl, perhaps anticipating the need for help herself or, more likely, neighbor.

She leaves a profound legacy of leadership, personal friendship, and fond memories done with extreme measure.

Quiet Del

by Donna Pususta Neste

Del was such a quiet presence,

Quiet and powerful all in one,

Like the quiet before the storm.

Only the storm doesn”'t come,

Del was in control.

Del”'s quiet and powerful presence,

Will truly be missed;

By all who loved her,

All who knew her,

And all who worked along side of her,

In this neighborhood of a million stories,

Told in a million different languages.

Let us all raise our voices to say,

In the million tongues of Phillips,

“Rest in Peace Sweet Del,

Until we meet again.”

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