Robert “Bob” Gordon Lundsten, a former president of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, neighborhood activist and avid gardener, died on Jan. 16, 2019. He was 65.
A memorial service is set for Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. at All Saints Catholic Church, 2443 Mount Vernon Road. A reception will follow at noon at the Dunwoody Country Club, 1600 Dunwoody Club Drive.
City Councilmember Terry Nall, who noted Lundsten was also known as “Farmer Bob” and at one time wrote a blog under that name, praised Lundsten’s work on behalf of the residents of Dunwoody, especially his work in helping raise more than $70,000 to buy automated external defibrillators for every city police car after the city was incorporated a decade ago.
“As soon as [the] Dunwoody Police Department was formed, Bob initiated a community fundraising effort to equip every Dunwoody Police vehicle with an AED unit for heart attack calls, as Dunwoody Police was more likely to be first on the scene,” Nall said in a written statement. “Over the last 10 years, many ‘saves’ from these AED units have been reported.”
Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan also praised Lundsten’s work to outfit all city police cars with AEDs.
“The impact he has made on others will live on,” Grogan said.
Lundsten’s parents worked for the Salvation Army, Nall said, and Nall said he recalled him sharing fond memories of his childhood.
“I’m confident Bob heard kettle bells ringing when he was called home,” Nall said. “Our prayers are with Bob’s entire family for God’s comfort. Dunwoody is a better place because he came by our way. He will be missed, but not forgotten.”
Lundsten served on the DeKalb County Planning Commission before Dunwoody was incorporated and then served on the Dunwoody Zoning Board of Appeals. He served as DHA president in 1985 and 1987. In 2009, he received the DHA’s Community Service Award.
In 2010, Lundsten was appointed chief of staff to DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer, who represented north DeKalb for more than 20 years. Boyer pleaded guilty in 2014 to using her county credit card to pay for personal items and defrauding taxpayers. She served a year in federal prison.
In 2016, Lundsten was reprimanded by the DeKalb Ethics Board for using his county credit card for personal expenses.
Ken Wright, a leader in the Dunwoody cityhood movement who then became its first mayor, first met Lundsten about 20 years ago as a member of the DHA.
“Bob was a man truly larger than life. He had a voice, opinions and stature of a pro wrestler, but the soul of a southern gentleman,” Wright said in a written statement. “He fought very hard for the health and well-being of this community and spent many years fighting the fight, walking the walk, long before we became a city.”
Wright also recalled Lundsten’s efforts to raise the money to purchase AEDs and put them in the city’s police cars and also in school gyms after nearly losing his wife to a heart attack while watching his daughter play volleyball at Marist School.
“He was a man who dearly loved his family. He was a man who absolutely loved to walk on the Brook run trails,” Write said. “Dunwoody has lost one of its great ones.”
A sometimes-outspoken critic of city officials, Lundsten in recent years took on Mayor Denis Shortal and the City Council after they attempted to formally ban DHA members from serving on both the DHA executive board and on a city board, such as the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Commission. He also voiced strong opposition to the city’s recent move to loosen architectural restrictions in the Dunwoody Village Overlay district, an overlay he helped create as a member of the DHA.
For many years, Lundsten ran the popular “Dunwoody Farmer Bob” blog where he wrote about gardening and local politics.
Pattie Baker and Lundsten became friends shortly after Dunwoody incorporated when she was a member of what was then called the Sustainability Commission. They later served as members of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan steering committee. The two helped create the Brook Run Park community garden and started and revived other gardens in the city and metro Atlanta, she said, often with a focus on growing for those in need.
“It was a magical time in our city where people from all walks of life and ideologies worked together in ways I had never seen before and haven’t seen to that degree since,” Baker said in an email.
“It is hard to imagine a world without Bob in it, and I will miss the laughter most. I offer my deepest condolences to his beautiful family, whom he loved with all his heart. If it is any comfort, please know that the seeds of good he planted will grow for years to come. He will, no doubt, make sure of that,” she said.
His family includes his wife of 35 years, Kathleen; his three daughters, Caitlin, Kirsten and Kelsey; his son-in-law, Edens; and his grandson, Edens Jr. He is also survived by his mother, Evelyn, and brothers, William and Richard Lundsten.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to the Fugees Family, 1933 E Dublin Granville Road #117 Columbus, Ohio 43229, or donate directly at https://www.fugeesfamily.org.