John Lundgren

On June 18, 2019, John Archer Lundgren (“Johnny” to family and “Jack” to his recent friends) died at age 87 from Myelodysplastic Syndrome. He was born Trenton, MO, and grew up in Chicago, IL. He was the son of a Swedish immigrant father and mother of mixed Welsh, Irish and Scottish ancestry. Perhaps it was his Viking and Highlands heritage that sent him on his adventurous life. He met his wife, Leonella Beatrice de Baca-Baros, a Native American of Apache, Navajo, Spanish and Portuguese lineage when he was living in Delia, New Mexico.  He attended college and ROTC in Pueblo, Colorado. He earned a Doctorate of Letters in Paris, France, and a black belt in Judo in Wambrechies, France.

John served over 30 years in US Army (Reserve) and was assigned in his active duty military career to a phantom intelligence unit in France in the late 1950s, responsible for intelligence gathering duties.  He retired from theArmy as a bird Colonel, missing promotion to General because he had not had a major command post being a solo operator for most of his career.

John served over 30 years with USAID with assignments to Ecuador, Guatemala, Senegal, Togo, Chad and Djibouti. One close friend said:  “[John] was an astute, multi-lingual and dedicated Foreign Service Officer with a talent for connecting with Africans at all levels, whether it be the country President or a poor farmer.

After retirement from USAID, John succeeded as a theatre and film actor, even performing in commercials. John had a strong one-of-a-kind personality that was characterized by his integrity, a wonderful sense of humor, and a strong sense of fairness and racial equality. Unconventional and a non-conformist, he was a controller of conversations and enjoyed being center stage and the main act.   One friend commented that he was “an alien on earth – funny, wise, thoughtful and thought provoking, a great story teller.” Another said that “he was a maverick, and more.” He was a mentor to many. He was passionate and compassionate despite his antics. He adopted stray cats and lived among them for several years. His favorite topics of conversation were movies, trivia or the doom of man under the guise of religion. His favorite quote was from Voltaire’s Candide that explained that everything in life happens for the best in the best of all possible worlds.  John published a book/screenplay “The Rape of Lucrece” a rework of William Shakespeare’s poem.   John was an avid actor and performer and his credits can be viewed on IMBD.  Memorials in his name can be sent to any the following organizations: 1. Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential at; 2. Health Education Assessment & Leadership at; and 3. Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends

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