On Resurrection Sunday, 2018, Calvin “Cal” Lindburg entered heaven’s gates in his home, surrounded by his adoring family.
One could use many words to describe Cal. When he received the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia Award for Pharmacist of the Year, the announcer called him “Ronan’s Favorite Son”. His grandchildren call him “a legend”. Customers in the drug store called him a “generous friend”. The community called him their “volunteer”. The church called him a “Servant of God”. But his children had the distinct pleasure of calling him “Dad”, and firmly believe he was the best Dad any child could have. Truly, all would call him extraordinary.
Calvin Joseph Lindburg was born on October 28, 1926 in Wagner, SD to Kenzie and Lela (Wilhelm) Lindburg. Growing up on a farm, where it was a struggle to provide an income, Cal learned work ethic by necessity. He took this virtue to all he did.
He served as a medic in the Korean War, and was once awarded “Soldier of the Month”.
On April 8, 1951, on leave from the army, he married the woman who finally said “yes” after 3+ proposals. Their love grew and blossomed through 67 years of marriage.
To this union, Cal and Alice added Jonathan, Merri Lee and Robin. He was intentional about knowing each child’s strengths and investing in ways to develop their interests. Clothed in love, he would send notes, cards, and gifts. From science projects to 4-H, to high school basketball games, he cheered each of his children on with vision.
Calvin graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Pharmacy. He purchased Hurt’s Pharmacy in Ronan and launched Lindburg Drug on Main Street, which was in business from 1961 to 2000. His was passionate about his community and he supported any organization that asked. His customers became his friends, and he thought nothing of interrupting Thanksgiving or Christmas to provide a refill or even diapers for a customer in need. He ran his store until he was 73 wishing he would never have to retire.
Calvin Lindburg was a community man. In 1983 the Chamber of Commerce awarded Cal the Community Service Award for Outstanding Citizen . A short list of his service to Ronan and the area was 12 years as chairman of the hospital board, leading the campaign for improving Hwy 93, many commerce-boosting projects like “Talk Turkey”, parades and fund-raisers. However, his favorite was most likely the Garden of the Rockies Museum . Cal was president and project visionary for many years. Under his leadership the barn between Ronan and Pablo was restored, and is now the most photographed barn in Montana. He had great vision for preserving local history, and developing the museum grounds. He was an influencer in having the following historic buildings moved to the museum grounds: the original Catholic Church, the original Stage Coach Stop, and the Round Butte Gym. Cal personally collected many of the items in the museum himself, with a heart to preserve and remember local history.
Cal also had a small ranch with Black Angus, horses, mules, and his beloved miniature donkey. He farmed grain and raised hay. He loved restoring old cars and antiques, and collecting “junk” from days gone by.
Cal was not just a family man, pharmacist, and community servant. His relationship with Jesus was the catalyst for all he did and how he lived his life. As a teen he recognized that Christ died on the cross to provide forgiveness of sins and that he needed to accept him as his Savior. He went on to be instrumental in starting C&MA churches in Wagoner, SD; Missoula, MT; and Ronan. He filled about every role or need in the church you can think of, from janitor to elder. Inspiring many church projects his goal was always to create events that invited people to come to church and learn of Jesus. For years he wrote a weekly devotional newsletter. Even at 91, Cal and Alice have a Bible study in their home. Among his final words were prayers to Jesus.
Calvin is survived by his immediate family: his wife, Alice (Elfers), and children: Jonathan (Shirley) Lindburg, Merri Lee (Jeff) Valentine and Robin (Herb) Wilcox. Cal’s loving grandchildren are David, MerriLee and Steven Lindburg; Jerilyn, Victoria (John Callahan) and Olivia Valentine; Ken (Kaity) and Peter Wilcox and one great grandchild; Bradley Wilcox.
Also surviving are his brothers; Donald, Paul and John Lindburg, and sister, Carol Cain. He was preceded in death by his parents Kenzie and Lela Lindburg, and sisters Lorraine Talmage, Ruth Palmquist and Aleta Laughlin.
A celebration of life was held at Terrace Lake Community Church in Ronan on April 7, 2018.