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Don Lund

Don Lund, long-time sports reporter for the Solon Economist, passed away quietly at home April 11.
Don was born on April 5, 1954, to Wayne and Marge Lund, who farmed near Rolfe, Ia.
Almost everything was normal and routine about Marge’s pregnancy and Don’s birth. She kept the recommended appointments with a physician and no abnormalities were detected. The delivery was quick and routine. Total labor time was two hours. “Color good cries well,” was the opening remark on the hospital’s Newborn Record form.
But there was one thing that was startling not normal or routine: Don was born without hands or feet, a quadruple congenital amputee.
The young parents, however, had an abiding faith that God’s will had been done and accepted Don without question or regret. And to everyone’s delight, Don turned out to be a “normal” infant.  He rolled over at ten weeks, sat up at six months, began speaking and standing up at ten months, and talked in complete sentences shortly before turning two.
At the age of two, he was fitted with a peg on his right leg to make it even with his left. Already crawling, Don quickly figured out the crude prosthetic device and became as mobile and rambunctious as any “terrible two.”
At the age of three, Don was taken to the Mary Free Bed Hospital in Grand Rapids for a five week stay to be fitted with more advanced prosthetics including hooks to replace his hands. The family would make the trip to Michigan many times during Don’s childhood to have everything refitted as he grew. During one two-year period of his life, he made the long trip by train ten times.
It was during one of those trips that it was noted that Don might be a good candidate for a Kruckenberg, a procedure developed during WWII to treat returning vets that lost hands. The surgeon cut between the two bones of the forearm, the radius and ulnae, and then sews everything back together with more than 100 stitches leaving two “fingers” that could be pinched together.
The operation was a success and Don could grasp objects. He became even more independent. 
In grade school, Don’s independence and affable nature soon earned the respect of classmates. Instead of teasing, they adjusted to make Don feel like just one more boy in the crowd at Woodbury Elementary in Moville, Ia. The boys in the class played pickup football games, for example, and everyone had to run on their knees.
Like other preteens, he began to have sleepovers with friends. One family, the Neustroms, introduced him to the world of sports. It was on these occasions that Don became aware of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, and he became an ardent fan for life.
Besides pick-up games in the back yard, Don participated in organized sports including baseball and football as the team manager or stat keeper.  He proved to be especially good at wrestling and competed like any other athlete.
He also proved to be industrious. He wrote sports for the Moville Record, baled hay, did a paper route.
After graduating from high school, Don attended Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville, Ia. He made the wrestling team, competing at 155 pounds.
In 1974 he transferred to the University of Iowa, where he landed a part-time job with the football team. At first, he was happy, but somewhere along the way he spiraled into depression and drug use. He dropped out of college.

In 1980 Don moved to North Liberty, Ia. and resumed classes at the University, graduating with a degree in Communications Arts. He became a successful representative for Amway household products. 
Sometime in the late 1980s, Don was hired to cover Hawkeye sports for the Solon Economist Newspaper. He became well know by the players, coaches, and other reporters. The last story he filed was the week before his passing.
Don is survived by brothers Rob and Arnie, of Montana, and extended family members in Michigan, Missouri and Montana. Don will be greatly missed by a multitude of friends in the Iowa City area and all of Hawkeye Nation.
Friends and family of Don plan to hold a Memorial for him at a future date but no details are currently available.

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