Merton Allan Lund, 77, succumbed to cancer at the Sherman Hospice House on the campus of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, surrounded by his family on Tuesday Jan. 15, 2013.
Funeral services are at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at First Lutheran Church in Brookings. Visitation is one hour prior to the service at the church. Rude’s Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Merton “Mert” Allan Lund was a lifelong South Dakota resident, born in Brandt on July 23, 1935, the son of Elmer and Edna (Bos) Lund. Mert graduated from Brookings High School in 1954 and went on to earn a bachelor of science degree from South Dakota State University in 1959. Mert began his career in 1960 as the owner/CEO of the Brookings County Credit Bureau, selling it a year later. He then partnered with his father, Elmer, to buy the Spring Valley Ranch in Estelline.
In 1961 Mert moved to Minneapolis where he worked as a loan officer at Minnesota Federal Savings and Loan. While working there he met his wife Karen, and they were married May 31, 1963. During their honeymoon Mert suffered a major stroke, and the newly married couple returned to Brookings for a year of rehabilitation. They welcomed their son George in June 1964. Later that year, Mert repurchased the Brookings County Credit Bureau.
In 1972, Mert purchased the Bank of Toronto in Toronto, which had assets of $4.5 million. Over the years the bank grew and added branches. In 1986, his son George joined him at the bank, and the name was changed to BANKFIRST in 1989. The bank grew to more than a $1 billion in assets before it was sold in 2005. In 2011 the Lund family re-entered the banking business by purchasing First Midwest Bank of Centerville, now rebranded as One American Bank and based in Sioux Falls.
Mert was also an entrepreneurial investor, taking an interest in a wide range of businesses. Of great importance to him, he continued the family tradition of investing in South Dakota farmland. From his father he grew up learning the importance of working longer, harder and planting straighter rows than the man in the next field over.
Later in life, when he focused his career on banking, these prairie lessons helped him succeed. To celebrate his contributions to South Dakota Governor William Janklow, declared Mert’s birthday, July 23, 2000, as M.A. Lund Day.
Mert and his wife Karen supported many South Dakota charitable organizations and established a number of scholarships for education. The Lund family also has a long philanthropic relationship with the Mayo Clinic, creating and funding the Lund Family Neurosurgery Suite at the clinic in Arizona, establishing and funding the chair of the Palliative Care Department and supporting Mayo’s post-graduate education program.
In addition, the Lund family has created a fellowship at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council of the United States.Mert was a loving father, husband, and friend to all.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Karen; a son George (Kristen) Lund, and many loving nieces, nephews and extended family.
He was preceded in death by sisters, Faith and Nancy.
Condolences may be sent to the family through www.rudesfuneralhome.com.