Allen Lund’s death Saturday reverberated throughout the business community, near and far, with hundreds of letters and notes of support and admiration pouring in from employees, customers, even competitors.
“It’s overwhelming,” son Kenny Lund said. “I knew a lot of what he was doing and involved with, but I don’t think anybody really knew how much of an effect he had on people — I don’t think he realized it.”
Allen Lund, founder of the La Cañada Flintridge-based truck brokerage firm Allen Lund Company, died Saturday after a brief battle with cancer. He was at his Pasadena home, surrounded by some 30 family members and serenaded by a small choir of Carmelite Nuns. He was 77.
He’s being remembered for his philanthropy, his work ethic and for building up both his company and the people he worked with.
“Mr. Lund was the patriarch of his family and our business community,” Pat Anderson, the CEO/president of the LCF Chamber of Commerce, wrote in an email. “He was a highly respected leader in the educational community and he was passionate in his support of the Chamber and our community.”
The Memorial Weekend fireworks held each of the past 16 years at Memorial Park were made possible by Lund, Anderson said.
He received the 2006 Achievement Award and the 2009 Business Person of the Year in LCF, served as the Fiesta Days Parade grand marshal in 2013. He established the Lund Family Scholarship, which benefits students from St. Francis High School and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy who attend the University of Portland, and he served as the chairman of the Board of Directors at St. Francis — among many charitable endeavors.
“He didn’t just join a group to be on their board, it was really to have an impact, to roll up his sleeves and get to work,” Kenny Lund said. “The work he did at St. Francis on their board for many years, he knew and talked to the maintenance guys and made them feel special.”
That personability paid off in business.
“Everything was a relationship, everything was personal,” said Kenny Lund, who noted his father was never entirely comfortable with his company being named for himself, but he did so because he wanted people to know that he was putting his reputation — his name — on the line.
“He started the company with no money and six kids to feed and his mom cried for a week when he told her he was doing it,” Kenny Lund said. “He finally calmed her down when he told her, ‘If I book four truckloads a week, the kids will eat. And I know I can do that.’”
His first month in business in 1976, he booked 100 truckloads, Kenny Lund said.
The company now is a leader in the transportation and logistics industries, with offices in 34 cities with 450 employees arranging 300,000 truckloads of dry, refrigerated and flatbed freights per year.
Instead of a party to commemorate its 40th anniversary in 2016, managers at the company opted to do 40 community service projects. They completed 71, painting shelters, working on Habitat for Humanity projects and a range of other activities.
“Everybody really enjoyed it, it was such a team-building thing, my dad talked about that all the time,” said Kenny Lund, adding that last year, the company completed another 70-plus community service projects, with plans for just as many this year. “They got it, as much as is given to you, you’ve got to give back.”
The large volume of correspondence over the past few days indicates people appreciated that perspective.
One competitor emailed Monday, Kenny said, saying he’d always looked at the Allen Lund Company with great admiration and considered it “best in class, with a strong moral compass.”
Another note came from a man who’d crossed paths with Allen Lund 38 years ago, and who’d been inspired by that encounter: “I always admired your father and tried to be a father like him.”
Wrote Anderson: “He was my close and dear friend, I will miss him greatly. [He was] a man of deep faith; a gentle giant among us all.”
Allen Lund is survived by his wife of 57 years, Kathie Lund, as well as their children, David, Kenneth, Edward, Natalie, Anna and Christina, their spouses, 22 grandchildren, two great grandchildren and his sisters Katie Atkin and Judy Holtkamp.