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In the Bleachers with Wheaties: A tribute to Chuck Sundeen

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I’ve been the sports writer for 40 years for the Echo Journal weekly newspaper for Pequot Lakes and Pine River.

I had the privilege of knowing Chuck Sundeen during his years of coaching our Pequot Lakes High School football team. Not only was he a good football coach, he loved his players and they loved him. He also got to know and love all the parents and fans who were faithfully on the sidelines of each game.

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He led the Pequot Lakes teams to two unbeaten seasons and No. 1 state rankings. His loyal Pequot fans followed his GFW teams as they went to state and could only think that he might have had a couple more state trips had that playoff system been in place while he was here.

My brother, Dale, who graduated in 1965, played on his first unbeaten team and they were, indeed, a great team. Not only was Chuck a great coach, but he was a wonderful teacher.

My sister, Betty Simenstad from the class of 1966, has always said that Chuck was her favorite teacher and she enjoyed many hours helping him correct tests from the lower grades.

In 1993, Pequot started an athletic Hall of Fame. Being a 1959 graduate myself and having played football, basketball and baseball, I was honored along with Chuck to be one of the charter members to be inducted.

Whenever Chuck was up in this area, he would try to get in touch with his Pequot Lakes’ fans. He was here a couple years ago in August for a class reunion and that was the last time most of us had the opportunity to see him.

Mr. Sundeen was truly a gentleman with a kind heart. We believe that our earthly loss is heaven’s gain. All of us who were touched by knowing him have a special spot in our hearts for him.

Rest in peace, our dear and special friend.

I did read this tribute at Mr. Sundeen’s memorial service on Saturday, April 19.

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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