Obituary of Donald W. Lund
Don Lund, a man with a zest for life, and an infectious laugh that could brighten up even the dullest days, passed away on April 11, 2023.
Don was an avid sports writer for the Iowa Hawkeyes, and his obituary would be incomplete without mentioning his incredible achievements in the field of sports. But let's not forget the fact that he was born without hands or feet, which only made him more special.
Don's parents, Wayne and Marjorie Lund, raised him with unconditional love, and Don never let his disability hold him back. In fact, he was so mobile that he was just as rambunctious as any other toddler. He was fitted with peg legs and hooks, and he soon mastered the prosthetic devices.
Don's spirit and independence were evident from a young age. He refused to let his disability define him and became an inspiration to many. He even had a Kruckenberg procedure, which gave him two "fingers" that he could pinch together, which made him even more self-sufficient.
Don's love for sports began at a young age, and he quickly became an integral part of the Neustrom family. He was introduced to his greatest passion - the Iowa Hawkeyes - by the family. Don was involved in organized sports, including baseball, football, and wrestling, where he competed among other athletes.
Don was a college wrestler at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville, IA, before transferring to the University of Iowa, where he landed a part-time job with the football team. Unfortunately, Don struggled with depression, but he persevered and went back to college, graduating with a degree in Communications and Arts.
Don worked for Amway, and every Christmas, his nieces and nephew received trial toothpaste and bars of soap. In the late 1980s, Don was hired by the Solon Economist Newspaper to cover the Iowa Hawkeyes - his dream job. Although there was no budget to pay him, he was happy to cover the Hawkeyes for a few bucks and a press pass. His last story was filed the week before his death.
Don’s passion helped give his voice arms and legs when it came for speaking and fighting for what was right. He volunteered and held the role as President of the Golfview Resident’s Association, fighting to keep fair prices and affordable housing for all. Don was a longtime friend of Club 76 The Lodge and The American Legion Post 1976.
Don will be remembered for his infectious personality, his love for sports, and his ability to inspire others. He is survived by his two brothers, Robert and Arne Lund, his nieces and nephews, Robyn Lund of Nevada, Kasey Lund (Rachel) of Michigan, Kym Corwin (Ryan) of Montana, Sophia, Zelda, Ophelia, and Kenni and grand-nieces.
A celebration of life to remember and honor Don will be held at the Gay and Ciha Funeral Home in Iowa City on June 2 from 10 a.m. to Noon. Also, friends of Don plan to hold a Memorial for him at the North Liberty American Legion on May 20, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Rest in peace, Don.
Following obituary written by long time friend and journalist, Brian Fleck:
Don Lund, long-time Iowa Hawkeyes sports reporter for the Solon Economist, passed away quietly at home April 11.
Don was born on April 5, 1954, to Wayne and Marge Lund, who farmed near Rolfe, Ia.
Almost everything was normal and routine about Marge’s pregnancy and Don’s birth. She kept the recommended appointments with a physician and no abnormalities were detected. The delivery was quick and routine. Total labor time was two hours. “Color good cries well,” was the opening remark on the hospital’s Newborn Record form.
But there was one thing that was startling not normal or routine: Don was born without hands or feet, a quadruple congenital amputee.
The young parents, however, had an abiding faith that God’s will had been done and accepted Don without question or regret. And to everyone’s delight, Don turned out to be a “normal” infant. He rolled over at ten weeks, sat up at six months, began speaking and standing up at ten months, and talked in complete sentences shortly before turning two.
At the age of two, he was fitted with a peg on his right leg to make it even with his left. Already crawling, Don quickly figured out the crude prosthetic device and became as mobile and rambunctious as any “terrible two.”
At the age of three, Don was taken to the Mary Free Bed Hospital in Grand Rapids for a five week stay to be fitted with more advanced prosthetics including hooks to replace his hands. The family would make the trip to Michigan many times during Don’s childhood to have everything refitted as he grew. During one two-year period of his life, he made the long trip by train ten times.
It was during one of those trips that it was noted that Don might be a good candidate for a Kruckenberg, a procedure developed during WWII to treat returning vets that lost hands. The surgeon cut between the two bones of the forearm, the radius and ulnae, and then sews everything back together with more than 100 stitches leaving two “fingers” that could be pinched together.
The operation was a success and Don could grasp objects.
Don led an industrious life.
In high school he wrote sports for the Moville Record newspaper, baled hay, and did a paper route.
After graduating, Don attended Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville, Ia. He made the wrestling team, competing at 155 pounds.
In 1980 Don moved to North Liberty, Ia. and resumed classes at the University, graduating with a degree in Communications Arts. He became a successful representative for Amway household products.
In the late 1980s, Don was hired to cover Hawkeye sports for the Solon Economist newspaper. He became well known by the players, coaches, and other reporters. The last story he filed was the week before his passing.
Over the following decades Don became active in the Son’s of the American Legion, North Liberty chapter.
In 2019, Don help organize residents and became the president of the Golfview Trailer Park Association to fight a large increase in lot rent that was implemented after an investment company bought the property. He traveled to the state capitol to lobby representatives, and even caught the attention of at least two U.S. Senators, Elizabeth Warren of Mass. and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. His efforts help reduce the amount of the rent hike, raised awareness for the need for a affordable housing and caused state legislation to give residents more rights.
Don is survived by brothers Rob and Arnie, of Montana, and extended family members in Michigan, Missouri and Montana. Don will be greatly missed by a multitude of friends in the Iowa City area and all of Hawkeye Nation.