Allyn Lindstrom, whose landscaping business helped shape Canterbury Park and the grounds outside the Metrodome, died Sunday of complications from a fall in August and Alzheimer's disease. He was 81.
Lindstrom grew up on a family farm in Oak Park, Minn., which helped groom his passion for landscaping. He dropped out of high school at age 16 to help his injured father tend the farm but returned to complete school several years later, said his son David, of Bloomington.
Lindstrom married Gladys Johnson in 1948, and they had three children. To support his young family, he moved to the Twin Cities and worked two jobs at Ford Motor Co. and Quaker Hill selling nursery stock. To pursue his dream, he left the security of his Ford job and started his own landscaping company, Minnesota Valley Landscape in 1961, David Lindstrom said. Several years later he bought a farm near Bush Lake in Bloomington, where they raised trees and did commercial landscaping.
The current business and garden center relocated in 1991 to Louisville Township on more than 200 acres of land. The family also owns a tree-growing business in Illinois.
Lindstrom landscaped highways throughout Minnesota, but his signature projects include Canterbury Park in Shakopee, the Metrodome in Minneapolis and the park at Centennial Lakes in Edina.
"He took a big chance leaving Ford, which provided health care and pension, to start a landscaping business," his son said. "He had a drive for getting things done."
Lindstrom bought and sold many farms, and a street was named in his honor near his farm in Bloomington. He gave a lot of people their first job in the industry, his son said. Lindstrom was one of the early innovators who used Bobcats and skid steers in their work, his son said.
Even when Lindstrom was afflicted by Alzheimer's disease, David said he drove his father to work every day. David and his sister Susan Lindstrom are active in the business.
"He was happy we were involved," his son said. "It was a privilege to work with him and see him every day."
Lindstrom was active in the Minnesota Nursery and Landscaping Association. He and his brother were lifelong Minnesota Viking season ticket holders. When he recently attended Vikings or Twins games, he walked with a cane made out of a Louisville baseball bat, his son said.
Besides his son and daughter, Lindstrom is survived by his wife of 62 years, Gladys; another daughter, Cheryl Zilka, of Bloomington; brothers Jerry, of Shakopee, and Jim, of Lakeville; three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Washburn-McReavy Funeral Chapel at 9940 Bush Lake Road, Bloomington. He will be buried at Dawn Valley cemetery, where his business planted most of the trees.
David Chanen • 612-673-4465