Allen Lund Company's D. Allen Lund: In Memoriam
- by Jordan Okumura
In light of the passing of D. Allen Lund, Founder of Allen Lund Company (ALC), we would like to look back at the life that touched so many, both in the produce industry and outside of it. Allen Lund passed following a brief battle with cancer at 77 years of age, surrounded by his large family and a small choir of Carmelite Sisters at his bedside.
For just a brief look at an example of Allen’s spirit, in the hours before his death, he was asked by a grandchild how he was; his response: “Wonderful.” Allen’s tremendous life and peaceful death were exactly that, wonderful by any measure. His was a life rich in family, faith, and successes.
He leaves behind his adored wife of 57 years, Kathleen “Kathie” Lund. The couple had six children: David Lund, Kenneth Lund, Edward Lund, Natalie (Lund) Peterson, Anna (Lund) Clapp, and Christina (Lund) Doerfler, as well as their spouses. Allen was also blessed with 22 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He is survived by his two sisters: Katie Atkin (Salt Lake City, UT) and Judy Holtkamp (Gold Beach, OR). But if you added up the names who saw Allen as a relative, the list of those he is survived by would be innumerably longer.
Allen was born September 3, 1940 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He took on life with an incredible work ethic and would see the American Dream play out as a result. After graduating from Davis County High School, Allen met Kathie while working as a ride operator at the Lagoon Amusement Park, and they then began the ride of a lifetime when they were married July 16, 1960. Allen then started work in heavy equipment operations while also serving in the U.S. Army Reserve. Then, shifting gears, he began working for a produce and truck brokerage company in Salt Lake City. Employment opportunities led he and Kathie to transfer to Glendale, California, in 1969.
Allen was inspired to work for himself and set out on his own—a matter of his character that was not proud, but doubtlessly capable. In 1976, he would found the Allen Lund Company, a truck brokerage firm. At the time, there was a shaky $1,000 in his bank account and his goal was a simple one: to feed his family. Now, headquartered in La Canada Flintridge, California, the Allen Lund Company has offices in 34 cities, with 450 employees, brokering 300,000 truckloads annually. As business thrived, Allen would come to be recognized as a leader in the transportation industry. His leagues of employees attest to working with Allen, not for him.
Honors and awards included the prestigious Transportation Intermediaries Association Heritage Award from his peers in 1999. Allen received the 2006 Achievement Award and the 2009 Business Person of the Year for the city of La Canada Flintridge. Allen’s expertise in his field was acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1993, when he was tapped to travel to Moscow to assist the former Soviet Union’s new government in forming a more orderly distribution of food to the citizenry. In business, Allen had one regret: naming the company after himself. His concern was this would be taken as conceit, a chance to see his name on a building. However, his name is on that building to show that his word is his bond. His very name was on the line each time he entered a commitment to provide excellence in service. Allen was at no point in his life slow to return what he could to his community; he built a reputation around understated generosity. He was giving with all of his resources—be it time, talent, or his natural inclinations toward clear, rational thinking and genuine grit.
As a staunch proponent of Catholic education, Allen served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors at St. Francis High School, President of the Board of Regents at the University of Portland, and as Trustee on the Board for the Catholic Education Foundation of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The Lund Family Scholarship, established by Allen, benefits students from St. Francis HS and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy who attend the University of Portland. Contributions to the University of Portland also include the campus bell tower, the St. John’s Bible, housed in the University’s Clark Library, and the Lund Family Residence Hall. Allen practiced his faith through commitment of self, serving as the Chairman of the Board for the Magis Institute, an organization created to design special programs to address the need for spirituality in public life. He also served on the Finance Council for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Board of Directors of St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, and on the Board of Directors of Homeboy Industries Inc., an organization committed to rehabilitating former gang members through the dignity of work.
Allen’s belief in the power of prayer was so strong that, together with his wife and close friends, he launched the annual Los Angeles Catholic Prayer Breakfast in 2005. Every September, The Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels now hosts a Tuesday morning Rosary, Mass, and inspirational speaker for the Los Angeles community. It is now the largest Catholic prayer breakfast in the country. Allen’s honors for his philanthropic contributions included the designation of a Knight in Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and receiving the Papal Honor of Knight Commander in the Order of the Knights of St. Gregory in recognition to his committed service to Christ and to the Church.
Outside of his public life, Allen’s greatest role was as his family patriarch. He was happiest when with them all, entertaining at his Pasadena home or riding ATVs at his Long Canyon Ranch in Utah. Despite the size of his family, each child and grandchild attests to an individual relationship with their grandfather. Every girl was given a kiss when she walked to his chair in his study and each boy an honest handshake. As Allen’s health failed, emails and letters flooded in from friends and those even of brief acquaintance. All said much of the same: Allen Lund was a giant of a man who gave and gave wholly. His was a life aiming for heaven, and he did everything he could to make it possible here first. The life he led was one at which to wonder. Or as the man himself put it, it was wonderful.
A Rosary will be held at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Pasadena on Friday, April 13 at 7 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels Saturday, April 14 at 5 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Carmelite Sisters at Carmel of St. Teresa, 215 East Alhambra Road, Alhambra, CA 91801, or at www.carmelteresa.org.