OBITUARY: Alfred Rudolph Sundberg Jr.

OBITUARY: Alfred Rudolph Sundberg Jr.

Alfred Rudolph Sundberg, Jr., (April 18, 1937 – August 3, 2018) Rudy was fiercely independent, blazing his own trail through the world. He was a man of St. Paul through and through. He attended Central High School where he met classmates from all walks of life.

After attending the University of Minnesota with his Chi Psi brothers, he met and married the love of his life, Carol Huch. When his brother-in-law died unexpectedly, he took the helm of The Aquinas Subscription Agency until his nephew was able to take over this family business.

Not content to work in the confines of the work-a-day world, he went searching for a business of his own, and in 1972 bought Wood’s Chocolate Shop. He and Carol took this small gem of a business and introduced it to the larger Twin Cities community by opening the candy making kitchens to the viewing public in Lowertown St. Paul, and opening shops in Butler Square, in downtown Minneapolis, and The Galleria in Edina. They also maintained a large mail order business, mailing their fine chocolates to clients all around the United States. Rudy and Carol were forward thinking in preserving and promoting the artisanal, local, hand made, delicious candy produced in their shop with the finest quality ingredients.

When Byerly’s came knocking in 1979, they sold the business in the hopes it would grow and reach an even broader audience. Rudy then turned his attention to Lowertown St. Paul, and later the Midway area; recognizing early the beauty and value of the old buildings. His vision was to replace the light manufacturing with a thriving community of artists and professionals, living and working together in a revitalized downtown.

That dream was a long time coming to St. Paul, but he filled his buildings with artists: the iconic Jax Building, and the Dow in the Midway; and it was the artists who led the eventual redevelopment of Lowertown, and are revitalizing the Midway in what is now called the Creative Enterprise Zone. When Rudy wasn’t working, he could always be found on his beloved St. Croix River, surrounded by family and friends. He loved to work hard, but then relax, whether on the great sandbar, floating around the “great circle route”, or cruising on his pontoon. Rudy loved the Minnesota summers, but he also loved the Florida winters.

He and Carol built a house in Boca Grande in 1984 where they lived for 26 years building a community of friends, hosting lively dinner parties. He could reliably be seen driving his 1937 Packard to Water Board Meetings, tennis, and golf. When he wasn’t behind the wheel of a car he loved to captain the “Red October” in the Gulf of Mexico. A voracious reader, he always found time for a steady stream of books.

In 2010 Rudy and Carol relocated to Sarasota to be closer to the vibrant art scene and their children and grandchildren, who had followed them to Florida.  Come summertime though, he was always back in Minnesota on the river. Alfred, Rudy, Dad, Papa … he had a sparkle in his eye, and a little mischief up his sleeve. He loved a good laugh. He will be dearly missed. He is survived by his wife Carol Huch Sundberg, children Alfred Rudolph Sundberg III (Adrienne), Dr Ann Bofferding Sundberg (Rolf Hanson), Amy Lorentzen Sundberg O’Brien (Michael John), grandchildren Katherine, Elisabeth, Alice, Lucy, Ava, Alfred Rudolph Sundberg IV, siblings Ruth Donhowe, Richard Sundberg (Jill), Susan Broadribb, and many nieces and nephews.