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Family and friends of Bob Kinlund create memorial

Joe Bowen/FOCUS Jeff Williams, Lori Strand, Susie Kinlund, Austin Andreen, Dale Wright and Larry Hunt, left to right, stand at the spot where they planted trees in memory of Bob Kinlund. They hope to get permission from the city to add a bench in the future.

Last Friday, a handful of people gathered in Krauss Park, shovels in hand, to create a memorial for their friend, father and grandfather – one that they hope will last for generations to come.

Three retired members of the Perham Police Reserves – Larry Hunt, Dale Wright, and Jeff Williams – planted two Pinnacle Birch trees for their former colleague Bob Kinlund, who recently passed away. With them were Kinlund’s widow, Susie, daughter Lori Strang, and grandson Austin Andrean.

“Bob was a Reserve. He was respected by everybody in Perham, as far as I’m concerned,” said Wright, while Williams and Hunt dug holes for the trees.

The group plans to put a bench between the trees, complete with a plaque honoring Kinlund, but needs city approval first.

At first, the planters joked with each other and Kinlund’s family as they worked, ribbing one another over the speed of their work.

“Jeff’s gonna come over there and embarrass ya!” Wright joked as Williams finished planting his tree ahead of Hunt.

However, the mood grew reflective as they finished planting.

“He was pretty special… pretty special,” said Kinlund, as she watched her husband’s friends put the finishing touches on the newly-planted trees.

“Bob always loved to work with police, and it was always something he took a lot of pride in,” she said, noting that the couple used to live near Krauss Park.

Each of the Kinlunds’ four daughters planted a tree in Bob’s honor, in various locations. Strand planted a weeping willow in her backyard.

Susie said the farthest tree is in Sheridan, Wyo.

“It’s a lot better than flowers,” Williams said with a smile. “Bob was special to us, too.”

Kinlund worked for several businesses in town, including Barrel O’ Fun, and he founded a restaurant known as Some Place Else. He was also extensively involved with the Perham Police Department, and founded the Reserves in the 1970s.

Additionally, he organized parades in Perham for years, and founded the Perham Chippettes, a precision scooter team that performed throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, but especially at parades in Perham. After that experience, he got involved in Perham gymnastics, turning it into an award-winning program.