Whether she was working side by side with her husband at their Elgin insurance agency, raising her three children or following the Chicago Cubs, Alice Lundstrom of Dundee Township stayed busy all of her life.
In fact, Lundstrom, who passed away April 23 at the age of 106, said keeping busy was one of her secrets to longevity — that and eating sardines once a month, joked her daughter, Jill Lundstrom.
Alice Lundstrom was born Aug. 15, 1906 in Chicago to Norwegian parents. She quit school after the eighth grade to join the workforce. She later became a bank teller and also did office work at Montgomery Ward in Chicago.
After about five years of courting, she and E. John Lundstrom, who met at a Chicago church, married on Feb. 23, 1930.
Carl Lundstrom, her middle child, said the Great Depression and World War II were two events she would discuss throughout her life.
“As kids, she would be very encouraging (and) we would have paper drives and tin can drives and, go around the neighborhood and get all that stuff and take it to school and also put it in containers for the war effort,” he said.
By 1956, she and her husband had co-founded the Lundstrom Insurance Agency in Elgin in the 600 block of Dundee Avenue.
Alice Lundstrom was responsible for all of the secretarial work. The office was open six days a week, including 12 hours on Monday, and she never had a problem with working hard.
“She was there most of that time,” Jill Lundstrom said. “There was a lot of work to it because there weren’t computers back then. She was always very hardworking.”
The insurance company remains in the family and has since moved to Randall Road.
Alice Lundstrom stopped working for the insurance agency when she was 79 in order to nurse her husband, who died in 1987.
She lived alone in her Dundee Township home near Algonquin until she was 94, but after she had a stroke, the family hired a caregiver to look after her. She recovered from the stroke, but her family didn’t want her to drive because of today’s traffic.
“She really hated to give up her driving when she was 94,” her daughter said. “She wasn’t a little gray-haired old lady when she drove — she drove fast.”
Her stroke also forced her to change churches, since she could no longer drive. She had been a longtime member of the First Baptist Church in Elgin, but after her daughter and son-in-law moved in with her, she went to church with them at the First Presbyterian Church, also in Elgin.
She found a calling in volunteerism and was a longtime member of the Friends of Judson College, the school’s fundraising arm. Her husband was one of the school’s original trustees and her nephew, Brett Lundstrom, sits on the board of trustees today.
Alice Lundstrom didn’t smoke, drink or eat to excess. She did like to garden and said that her one vice was that she “had a hard time passing up the nursery in the spring,” her daughter said.
And she couldn’t get enough of the Chicago Cubs.
She spent her 106th birthday at Wrigley Field and got to meet the Ricketts family, the team’s owners. The team also furnished her with an autographed baseball and a Cubs jersey with her last name and the number 106 on the back.
The Cubs were always a frequent topic of conversation in the home. Even when Alice was unable to watch TV near the end of her life, she still asked about the team.
“If she didn’t ask in the evening, she’d ask the next morning if the Cubs had played and if they had won,” her daughter said. “She was still asking to her very last days.”
Alice Lundstrom is survived by three children, six grandchildren, two step grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren. Services have been held.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.