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Robert (Bob) F. Lundberg

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Robert (Bob) F. Lundberg, was born to William and Hulda Lundberg on March 26, 1918, at the family farm in Poplar, Wis. He was the seventh child in a family of five boys and five girls.

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Robert attended the Poplar School from first grade through the eleventh grade. In 1936, he moved to Ironwood, Mich. to live with his oldest brother Willard. It was here he attended and graduated from Luther L. Wright High School. He worked part time for his brother in the local hardware store while in Ironwood. At Luther L. Wright High School he was inducted into the National Honor Society and played trumpet in the band.

Upon graduation Robert returned to Poplar and worked on the family farm for one year. Later, at the time of the REA Program, he spent many hours with his brother John, wiring rural homes and farm buildings. John went on to work for Dahlberg Light & Power Company.

With the exception of a leave for military service, he continued to work for Poplar Hardware. In the early 1960's, he and partner Rudy Smith, purchased the ownership of Lincoln Stores, Inc. which owned Poplar Hardware, Daugherty Hardware and other appliance and hardware stores in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. His pride and joy was to have developed the new Daugherty Hardware and Appliance Store in Duluth that opened in 1976. The only store still active is in Poplar, Wis.

In 1938, Robert was one of the very earliest propane dealers in the area with Skelgas. He became an independent dealer forming his own company known as Polar Gas which had extended services in Solon Springs, Barnes, Mason, Iron River and Poplar.

For many years Robert served on the Wisconsin Retail Hardware Association Board (WRHA). In 1977 and 1978, he was President of the WRHA. He also gave many years of service on the United Hardware Board (Hardware Hank) in Minneapolis.

The Poplar State Bank was purchased from C.R. Olson by partners Phil Zastro and Robert Lundberg. Together they developed the bank in Solon Springs. Both banks were sold to the National Bank of Commerce (NBC), Superior, Wis. Robert served on the NBC bank board for many years.

Robert served on the CESA Board in Ashland. Many long hours were spent working for peaceful negotiations in the consolidation of high schools in the Bayfield and Douglas County areas.

He was also on the Board of the Superior Memorial Hospital and was a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Wisconsin-Superior Foundation, Inc.

Robert was a member of the former Bethany Lutheran Church at Poplar and served on its church board for several years. He was instrumental in the building of the present day Peace Lutheran Church. He, along with many faithful volunteers gave a tremendous amount of time towards the construction of this church.

In more recent years Robert retired to his lake property in the Town of Barnes, Wis. Here he became active in a Bible Study group and on Sunday mornings they met for worship in the Barnes Town Hall. He donated land where the present day Barnes Community Church stands today. Once again he volunteered in the construction of another church. He served on the Board of the non-denominational Barnes Community Church.

Robert served as a volunteer at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center and supported the Center with his time and resources.

Robert was one of the founders of the Barnes Retirement Living Center which was established to provide affordable senior housing for the community. Recently the ownership of the Center has been transferred to the Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency, Inc.

It was in the early sixties that Lundberg volunteered as Scout Master of Troop 212 in Poplar, Wisconsin. He enjoyed his time with the Troop's young scouts and adult leaders. He often said, "There will not be a soft merit badge given under my leadership. Each scout should have the pride and honor of knowing his badges were well earned!" The Troop made several trips to the Quetico, they travelled around Lake Superior and later to Hudson Bay. Several in the Troop made Eagles Scout and some attended both National or International Jamborees.

Robert Lundberg had two favorite sports, baseball and hockey! On the baseball field, he held the position of catcher. As with all his activities in business and sports, he entered into it with energetic enthusiasm. He finally retired from the position of catcher only to become the Poplar team's Manager. One of his team mates was Richard I. Bong who went on to become America's Ace of Aces. Robert brought the same enthusiasm to the game of hockey as he played center for the Poplar Hockey team. Poplar challenged various teams in the area and even travelled as far as Two Harbors for games - (Remember this was in the 1930's).

Many hours were spent in the Quetico with family and friends. His ideal fishing vacation was a backpacking trip into this canoe country. He enjoyed pheasant hunting in South Dakota, elk hunting In Wyoming, Lake Superior trout fishing and the Wisconsin deer hunting season. A family favorite was ice fishing on Upper Eau Clairenothing like a cup of hot chocolate and a sandwich to make those tip ups pop up!

Robert enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942. He received Basic Training at Camp Crowder, Mo. From there he was sent to Radio & Radar School in Washington, D.C. A select group of six was chosen to be sent to San Antonio, Texas to join up with the 1085th Signal Corps. This hot outfit was being readied to ship to New York and overseas. He landed in Casablanca, Morocco, North Africa where base was set up just outside the city. This unit was attached to the Army Air Corps with the mission to service all planes. Planes worked on there were both fighters and bombers. The aircraft supported the North African and European military campaigns. Robert frequently flew on bombers as a radio operator testing radio equipment. As radio man on a B25, he went to Rome and was able to contact his brother Dick, in a military hospital there. After two and a half years in Casablanca and the end of the war, Staff Sergeant Lundberg returned to the United States that fall.

In 1947, he built a house in the Village of Poplar and married Irene Johnson. They had three sons - Terry, John and Scott. John lost his life while canoeing the Poplar River. Later the Poplar house was sold to son Scott when he married.

Robert and Irene spent time travelling to the Scandinavian countries and visiting relatives there. On their 50th wedding anniversary, they made a trip travelling around the world.

In 1991, he built a winter home in Mesa, Arizona where the couple stayed approximately five months out of every year.

He was preceded in death by his parents, son John, sisters Gertrude and Lorraine, and brothers Willard, Norman, John and Richard.

Survivors include his wife Irene, sons Terry (Sue) Lundberg and Scott (Holly) Lundberg, grandchildren Britt Lundberg, Eric Lundberg, Alycen Lundberg, Matt Lundberg and Anna (Danny) Haskins. He is survived by sisters Marion, Elsie and Ruth, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 28, and will continue until the 12 Noon Funeral Service at the Barnes Community Church with Rev. John Hartman, officiating.

Burial will be in the Poplar Cemetery with Military Honors accorded by the Richard I. Bong American Legion Post 435 Honor Guard.

Memorials may be made to the Barnes Community Church or the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center.

Lenroot-Maetzold Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Send a condolence of sign the on-line guest book at www.lenroot-maetzold.com.

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