Pueblo mourns Lindberg
Philanthropist had impact on city
By JOHN NORTON
The Pueblo Chieftain
Jerry Lindberg, a longtime local business leader and philanthropist whose career ranged from CF&I Steel to managing the holdings of the Buell Development Co., died Friday afternoon.
Lindberg, who had two heart bypass operations in the 1980s, was believed to have suffered a heart attack as he joined friends for their usual Friday afternoon gathering at Gus', the same Bessemer neighborhood tavern where he and other community leaders 18 years ago wooed Sperry executives with Pueblo's blue-collar charm and helped to launch Pueblo's economic renaissance.
Lindberg was rushed to St. Mary-Corwin hospital, on whose board he served for 20 years, but emergency room efforts were unable to save him.
A native of Rothsay, Minn., Lindberg came to Pueblo in 1951 as an industrial engineer at CF&I Steel, and by 1973 had become a vice president at the plant.
When he and his wife, Helen, were inducted into the Pueblo Community College Hall of Fame, Lindberg was credited with leading the effort to stem air pollution from the steel mill and make it one of the cleanest mills in the nation at that time. He left CF&I in 1973 to serve as president of the Tennessee Forging Steel Corp., but within two years returned to Pueblo to run the local Pepsi-Cola bottling plant.
In 1983, he left Pepsi-Cola to start his own travel agency, which he sold in 1990.
Lindberg was 65 at the time but continued to stay busy.
He long was active in philanthropic activities and served as chairman of the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, which over the years has donated $2 million to local projects, including the University of Southern Colorado's television studios and the children's museum at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center.
Director Maggie Divelbiss called Lindberg a great friend of the arts center. "We've lost a real strong civic leader in our community," she said. "Jerry was responsible for the million dollars that we received from the Buell Foundation to build this new Buell Children's Museum. I can't imagine that that amount of money would have been available without him. Jerry's responsible for bringing a lot of foundation money to Pueblo.
As president of the Buell Development Co., Lindberg oversaw the operations of not only Pueblo's Midtown Shopping Center but the Cherry Creek Shopping Center as well.
Contractor Walt Bassett called Lindberg "an awful good friend of mine for an awful good time. It was a terrible loss to me."
Bassett, who also was a founding member of PEDCo., said Lindberg was part of the team that lured Sperry, leaving town on a recruiting trip without knowing where he was going or who he'd be meeting until they were on their way to Minneapolis.
"He was always a gentleman, even when things were not as good as they should be," said Bassett. "He was what you can call a real citizen of Pueblo, and Pueblo mattered to him an awful lot."
Gene Wilcoxson, who also served with Lindberg on the PEDCo board of directors, called news of his death "a real shock."
Wilcoxson said, "We lost a real leader. He was one of the original ones with us. He was chairman, he did his share with the chamber and PEDCo and a lot of other things.
"A lot of people will never know what he and Helen have really done for this town."
Arrangements are pending.