Now, I know I haven’t been very good at posting as often as I want. It’s a new year and I expect 2013 to be a great year for the Twin Cities and for me, which means it will be a great year for MSP365 as well!
Today would have been Dad’s 68th birthday but unfortunately he passed away from colon cancer eight days before his 64th birthday. Rather than focus on his far too early death, let me tell you a little bit about his life.
Dad was born, raised, and educated in Minneapolis. He loved our lakes, our culture, our food, and most of all – our people. He took advantage of living and working in the city at every opportunity, even keeping his skates in the trunk of his car so he could stop at Lake of the Isles on his way home from work.
My Dad also helped the city become what it is today. He started as a history teacher but moved in to real estate in the late seventies. While he started in suburban homes, he quickly became involved in several real estate projects that changed our city.
He worked on the marketing of the first high rise condominium building in Minneapolis, Lakepoint, near Lake Calhoun. From there he went to Northeast Minneapolis to work on LaRive, another high rise attached to historic Riverplace. This was before the beautiful Hennepin Avenue bridge was built in 1991 and the bustling shopping community we love today had emerged.
On the other side of the river, he helped convince people that the ruins of a blanket mill could become luxury homes. Without his passion and those early “settlers,” the Mill District might not today be home to great restaurants, the new Guthrie Theater, and Gold Medal Park.
Now I’m not saying he was the only person responsible for any of this. He wasn’t the developer, the investor, or the architect. But he was on these sites, meeting people, and selling our city. Living downtown was still a new idea. There were no grocery stores, no downtown schools, no light rail. But his background in education combined with his charisma, charm, and grace helped sell a dream. And that dream is still rippling through our city.
There will be no statues of my Dad. He won’t have a park named after him. But he does have monuments and memorials spread all over Minneapolis.
So the next time you’re buying wine at Surdyk’s, shopping at one of the downtown Lund’s stores, taking in a show at the Guthrie, or walking across the beautifully lit Stone Arch Bridge – stop for a moment, look around and realize how much of what you see didn’t exist ten, twenty, or thirty years ago, and remember a man who loved this city enough to dedicate his life to helping others love it enough to live it every day.
He was my Dad. My love for this city IS my love for him.