George W. Lund started his medical career by making house calls. He eventually made his mark as one of Minnesota’s first board-certified pediatric cardiologists and one of the founders of Park Nicollet Clinic.
At 6-foot-5, Lund towered over the small patients he treated during a career spanning more than 30 years. He was admired for his clinical wisdom, attentive listening and the care and compassion he exhibited.
“Kids were able to live as normal adults because of his technical skills,” said colleague Dr. David Abelson. “Patients and families revered him, because they sensed his calm and reassuring presence.”
Lund, of Edina, died April 24 at Friendship Village in Bloomington, where he had been living in recent years. He was 93.
From an early age, Lund knew he wanted to be a doctor, said his son, Colby Lund, of Edina. George’s father was a doctor in Cumberland, Wis., and he often accompanied him on house calls, holding a kerosene lantern so his father could see.
“He had a powerful experience about truly caring for people,” his son said. “That caring drew him to the profession, and he wanted to be like his dad.”
After graduating from Cumberland High School, Lund studied pre-medicine at Macalester College in St. Paul and finished medical school at the University of Minnesota in 1946.
He spent two years as a physician with the U.S. Army, then returned to Minnesota. In 1951, he joined 10 other doctors who used their World War II veterans benefits to form the St. Louis Park Medical Center, in a time when group practice was uncommon.
“He had the foresight to buck the trend, and that was remarkable,” Abelson said.
In the clinic’s infancy, he provided care to residents from St. Louis Park, Edina and Hopkins in their homes. He was also committed to the clinic itself, using his height to wash its highest windows.
As the practice grew, he specialized in pediatric cardiology and was a pioneer in the field. He became board-certified and also practiced at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital during its formative years.
“He was dealing with newborns with congenital heart disease,” Colby Lund said. “Diagnosing a condition and doing surgical repair was a challenge for him, and something he really loved. Being able to save somebody was very satisfying.”
Tamara Anderson Fredrickson is among the many who were thankful to have had Lund as their doctor.
“I was a baby back in 1967 when he performed my first open-heart surgery at the age of 2. He saved my life,” she wrote on an online tribute page. “I’ll always remember the tall doctor who was so kind and gentle.”
The St. Louis Park Medical Center was a driving force behind the creation of Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park and what eventually became Park Nicollet Clinic.
As a member of Park Nicollet’s original board, Lund mandated that clinicians dedicate one day a week to further developing their craft. He retired in 1984.
Outside of the clinic, he loved the outdoors and was a member of the Interlachen Country Club. He treasured family ski trips to Colorado and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, his son said.
Besides his son Colby, Lund is survived by another son, Todd, of Apple Valley, and three grandchildren. His wife, Jeanne, preceded him in death.
Services have been held.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768