I rode my bike in the rain by the river the other morning, and no one could see my tears. I had just replied to a local reporter who had emailed me asking for some thoughts following my friend’s death. She graciously included some of my words in an article she wrote about his death. I wanted to run my full comments here, just because that’s what bloggers do (here is another blogger’s tribute to Bob). I feel like Bob would want me, and all of us, to get on with it and find ways to do more good. And so I’m working on that.
I first met Bob Lundsten at city meetings when the City of Dunwoody just started. As the founder and chairperson of what was then called the Sustainability Commission, I found myself in the unfortunate place of being on the opposite side of an issue from him. I realized quickly, however, that he knew a whole lot more about something than I did, and I asked him if he would meet me for coffee. We met at Alon’s and didn’t get up from the table for three hours.
We were friends from that day on. We served on the Comprehensive Land Use Plan steering committee together, and went on (with the help of many other people) to start or revive numerous gardens here in Dunwoody and around metro Atlanta, often with a focus on growing for those in need (which in some way, shape, or form, is perhaps all of us). It was a magical time in our city where people from all walks of life and ideologies worked together in ways I had never seen before and haven’t seen to that degree since.
Bob had a powerful way of keeping things simple and getting things done. No matter what challenge we faced, he’d say, “Just tell me where you need me and what to bring.” We had to figure out a lot of things from scratch, and he never questioned the size of a project or the seeming impossibility of it. He would often return alone in the dark of night or early morning to finish or fix something, and was constantly making things better. Although he was not one for wasting time, he recognized when time was needed, especially when it involved children, and he would happily empower them to take the paint can or the hose or the hammer and go at their own pace. In fact, he loved those moments most. He’d also stop mid-drill or digging to tell beautiful stories about his family and friends. I hope they know how much he cherished every little moment with them.
It is hard to imagine a world without Bob in it, and I will miss the laughter most*. I offer my deepest condolences to his beautiful family, whom he loved with all his heart. If it is any comfort, please know that the seeds of good he planted will grow for years to come. He will, no doubt, make sure of that.