With the death of Ted Lundrigan at age 72 on Sunday, Aug. 30, the Pine River community was forced to say goodbye to someone many would likely consider an icon of the community.
Lundrigan was a veteran of the Vietnam War, an author of three books ("Hunting the Sun," "Grouse and Lesser Gods" and "A Bird in the Hand"), the 1993 Pine River Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award winner, Pine River's official city attorney for roughly 30 years and a founding member of the Deep Portage Conservation Reserve.
He's remembered fondly by those he worked alongside with the city.
"Ted provided knowledge," said Pine River Mayor Tamara Hansen. "He provided a calm sense of being and an uncanny sense of humor. His knowledge as city attorney and his mere presence were very comforting."
In the courtroom he was no less respected.
"Ted was a good friend," said attorney Steven Baker, of Baker Law Office. "I knew him for probably 50 years. Sometimes we were on the same side. Sometimes we were on opposite sides. He was always a gentleman and I think we shared a common goal of trying to reach the best solution for our clients."
Lundrigan's sense of humor, though subtle and dry, is something remembered by those who spent time with him.
"My fondest memories of Ted were his calm demeanor in the presence of conflict and his wonderful sense of humor," Hansen said. "He brought smiles and laughs to every meeting he attended."
He had a unique way with words.
"He had a very dry humor. I loved to listen to him speak in court," Baker said. "He had a slow, deliberate and concise delivery. Sometimes he could skewer people without them ever realizing."
He was an avid outdoorsman and an accomplished marksman in shooting sporting clays, trap and skeet with family and friends. He was an angler, and it was in angling that Baker and Lundrigan shared some of Baker's favorite memories.
"We were trout fishing one opening day many years ago on a designated trout lake," Baker said. "Ted caught about a 12-pound tiger muskie. He sat there in the front of the boat looking at this beautiful fish and we were in a quandary. We were two lawyers and it was illegal to return the fish to the water because it's a designated trout lake, but it was illegal to possess it because muskie season was not open."
Baker said Lundrigan took the fish to shore, placed it on the shore and pointed it toward a nearby nontrout lake and said good luck.
Lundrigan's death marks the end of an era started in 1936, when his father started the family law firm. His father, Don Lundrigan, served as city attorney before the younger Lundrigan took over that role. Now after 84 years, Lundrigan's death marks the end of a chapter for Pine River's history with the loss of a dedicated community member, a historical family business and larger than life personality.
"The city has lost a very kind soul," Hansen said. "A friend, a colleague and a person of much respect."
Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.