Ulf Lundell Memorial – Love & Recognition

These are the comments I made at Ulf’s Memorial.  It was an easy topic to choose given the number of projects we did together and the projects I watched him do with others.

Love and recognition

“Love and recognition” That was what Ulf would ask for when he agreed to put in hundreds of hours on the various projects we all did on our houses or boats or cars.

“Ba, I’m retired. Sonja and I don’t need to make the money.  We do this work for love and recognition.”         And wine.  He also worked for wine — but then again wine can also drive love and recognition.

These weren’t small projects.  With Tom he rebuilt a broken down shed into a fully insulated and heated studio for Veronica.  With Christina he renovated her studio with new closets and granite counter tops.  With me there were lots of projects when we came back from London, but the biggest we did together was putting in a kitchen. An IKEA kitchen, of course which we did over a couple weeks with Sonja and Christina’s support.

It isn’t hard to understand why he did the projects – he loved building things.  Loved figuring out how to make it work.  He loved really getting to know the people he worked with because when you take on a big project — whether it is a kitchen or deciding to build a frame for a 34-foot Silverton cabin cruiser so you can ship it to Sweden — you really get to know the people you do it with.

But it was also pride.  Pride in starting and finishing.  The recognition from people that think you are insane when you talk about what you are doing and what you’ve done.  

When I left our old leaky wooden sailboat in Vasteras for the winter, he would check on it every trip back and sign off his emails as “Lundell Boat Service, Northern European Division, Vasteras Branch.” Thnk about that.  He wasn’t Ulf Lundell, the retired former President of Linden Alimak Cranes, he was Ulf Lundell, Service Manager of the boat yard.  He loved it.  He could go down and sit on the bench in front of the coffee place – he called it the liars bench – and tell them he was restoring a 1966 Storebro Havsornen II sailboat.  He could tell them how we would sail it across the archipelago, across the Baltic, across the Urals, across Sibaria and sail it all the way to Tokyo!  Why not?  They all knew it was the liar’s bench.

I think I’m quite lucky because I get to think about Ulf all of the time.  I get to think about him when I look at the mast he varnished.  When I barbque on the patio he built.  And of course every time I walk through our kitchen.

Love and recognition.  He really got and deserved both.

2 Replies to “Ulf Lundell Memorial – Love & Recognition”

  1. And here is Christina’s comments that she gave first at the Memorial:

    I thought giving Dad’s soth birthday speech was hard …I’m not sure how I am going to do this … but will try my best.

    Dad was really .. .. the best dad I could ever ask for. He was one of my best friends. He would find reasons to come over to the house almost every day and I was happy he did.

    Growing up he was a “hands on” dad. He taught me how to fish, build a fire & change a flat tire in the rain.

    But the biggest gift he gave me (or all of us) was the love of travel.

    It was instilled at a very early age & I am so grateful. We were so fortunate. Mom & Dad carted us around the world on crazy adventures starting as babies …. and it never stopped.

    Christmases in Argentina. Summers in Sweden. In high school we went on European vacations driving around like Chevy Chase. Later we went to Greece, Cambodia, Thailand … the list goes on.

    From all those years of traveling he had so many stories. And people loved to hear them.

    Growing up, our house was always filled with lots of love, BBQ’s and close friends. He was so charismatic and he got along with everybody.

    Mom and Dad were even invited to our parties as they were considered friends, not parents. It’s not often that you choose to hang out with your parents. We actually enjoyed hanging out with each other … and you can see that in all of the photos.

    He showed us what life is really about. He was so determined.

    He showed us if you work hard, you can accomplish anything …. and then be able to spend time with the people you love and do the things that you really love to do.

    His love for mom taught me what I needed to look for in finding my partner in life. He cherished mom and always called us his “bouquet of flowers.” They really had a true love story.

    Even in the last six month it was all about family and travel.
    Who gets on a cruise ship knowing you have very little time left?

    He organized nearly a month long cruise in the Mediterranean with Mom
    because he knows she loves it there. He took his family and grand
    children to Bermuda. He took Thomas to Alaska. And then he took his last cruise, only a month ago, with his sister Ankie and Sonja’s sister Eva to the Caribbean.

    He was so determined to live life until the very end. And he sure did.

    And I promise again to keep my promise to you Dad …
    We will continue to travel the world and bring Mom with us. He had a great life and was a lucky man and we were lucky to have him.

    I love you Dad, and we will never, ever forget you.

  2. And here is Linnea’s comments now that I’m at it.


    When I was little, I remembered my uncle Uffe as a box of chocolate, because that’s what he brought to us kids every time he came back to Sweden. When Uffe and Sonja came, there was always festivities. We went to restaurants, we went out boating and we had big barbecue parties. Anything and everything was celebrated.

    Once, when I was about five years old, he even brought real live lobsters. They crawled around on the floor of our living room with their all-black bodies and their well tied claws. How exotic! And I was so happy that I finally got some pets. (At least until it was time to cook them..).

    Uffe truly enjoyed dinners and parties, good food and great wines. He loved having both friends and family around and made sure that everyone felt welcome. Come to think of it, Uffe didn’t just like parties – he WAS the party itself! I’ve never known anyone who could tell stories like him. Regardless of the subject, he always had something to share. You could ask about historic events in Västerås, the latest scandal in US politics or the fuel efficiency of a Boeing and he would answer all of it.

    To me, Uffe was a perfect blend. He had the Swedish honesty, loyalty and down-to-earth manners. That mixed with American ambition and hospitality made him outstanding.

    My dad suggested I would say that it is such a shame when a young person like Ulf passes. He claims Uffe never grew older than 25. At first, I thought it was quite inappropriate to say (or, at least to include in a speech) but then I started to agree with him. Just think about some random 25-year-olds. They are not afraid of anything. They are travelling the world. They are eager to learn new things and they would NEVER turn down a chance to party.

    Kära vänner, let’s have a toast for Ulf! SKÅL!

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