“Mr. Centennial

Henry Lundgren, dubbed Mr. Centennial of 1971

Faces of the past: Henry Lundgren, family man, union activist and community supporter

The second person to receive the Lake Cowichan Citizen of the Year award (1971) was Henry Lundgren, who was honoured at an annual Chamber installation dinner as noted in the February 2, 1972 issue of Lake News.

“Lundgren met the criteria as a recipient of the award which honoured a person, who has, during the year, made a significant contribution to the community, sacrificing countless hours of personal time.”

Award presenter Sister Jean of the local Catholic Church thanked Lundgren on behalf of the citizens of  Lake Cowichan for all he had done for the community, adding  “You are certainly an inspiration to us all.”

For much of his life from the time of his arrival here in 1947, Lundgren was no stranger to hard work, and later community involvement.

A son of hard working Swedish stock, Lundgren worked in various B. C. logging camps from 1929 becoming a charter member of the Industrial Woodworkers of America local union in 1937. Prior to that he served as the union business agent and associated editor of the Lumber Workers Industrial Union’s newspaper, the  B.C. Lumber Workers.  He was a union activist for many years and spent much of his working life as a faller, as did his son Allen in later years.

The Lundgren family, which included Henry’s wife Ann, daughter Louise (Jutras) and son Allen, spent three years in Youbou before building a home in Lake Cowichan in 1950.

Henry and Ann were actively involved in the local Scandinavian Club with Henry taking on the additional position of chairman of the United Organizations. For 10 years he chaired the organization which “filled a very important need for the community for over 22 years.”

The unique organization was responsible for all Labour Day activities, free swimming lessons, Lady of the Lake events, community parks and countless charity drives. (Source:  Allan Lundgren, 1940.)

It was originally founded in 1942 by Lake Cowichan’s high school’s first principal John Saywell and delegates of the local Women’s Auxiliary of the IWA Local 1-80.

In 1958 Lundgren became treasurer of the Centennial Celebration Committee. Their project was to complete the ball field as well as overseeing the festivities.

He also took on the role of chairman for the 1966 Centennial Committee. They ventured to build a new community hall — named Centennial Hall.

The 1971 Centennial Celebration was also chaired by Lundgren. Along with the committee he and volunteers throughout the community undertook the building of Lake Cowiwchan’s first ice arena and curling complex.

The legacies of Lundgren  and countless local volunteers are many and still benefit the community today.

Seven years after winning the 1971 Citizen of the Year award, Lundgren, who was one of our greatest citizens, died at age 65.

 

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