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Frundt humbly accepts honor

By Staff | Jan 14, 2014

Charles ‘Chuck’ Frundt is a very humble man.

Which is a bit of an unusual trait in an attorney, but not so much in one born and raised in a small Minnesota town like Blue Earth.

Frundt is so humble that when his friends Rich Belau and Ken Queensland came to his home last month, just as it was getting dark, they told him he had won an award from the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce and he didn’t want to accept it.

“Rich said I had won third place in the Chamber’s Christmas lighting contest,” Frundt recalls. “I told him this was a year I had put up very few lights and I didn’t deserve it.”

Belau and Queensland laughed and announced there wasn’t any Christmas lighting contest. They told Frundt he had actually been selected to receive this year’s Community Service Award at the Chamber’s Annual Banquet this Friday.

“I told them I didn’t deserve that award either,” Frundt laughs. “There are many other people who deserve it much more than I do, who contribute much more to the community.”

He says one of the great things about a small town is how so many people volunteer to do so many things for the community.

“I have always believed you need to give back to the town where you live,” Frundt says. “I have thought that since I was a kid. So, I do feel very honored to be chosen to receive this award.”

While Frundt is humble about his own service to the community, the list is actually quite long.

He has served as a director and officer of St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center board and for many years has been on the Southview Estates board and the St. Luke’s Foundation board. He has also served for many years as treasurer and a member of the board of directors of the Blue Earth Educational Assistance, Inc.

He has been a member of the Blue Earth Kiwanis Club since returning to Blue Earth in 1967 after law school and has served as an officer and member of the its board. He has been a member of the Faribault County Fitness Center since it began and has served on its board.

Recently he was appointed to be a member of the Blue Earth Foundation board.

Frundt is an Eagle Scout and has been involved at various times over the years in different scouting positions. Currently he is chairman of the North Star District, which covers approximately five counties in southern Minnesota, including the west half of Faribault County.

He is a member of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth and has served on various church boards over the years. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Frundt has also been active in volunteer work in his chosen profession.

He has served a term as president of the Faribault County Bar Association and of the 17th Judicial District Bar Association.

For over 15 years he has been a volunteer attorney for and a member of the board of directors of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services. It is a large nonprofit civil law firm which provides free legal services for those in need who reside in St. Paul or in outstate Southern Minnesota.

“We provide social justice for poor people,” Frundt says. “All are civil cases and most deal with housing, government benefits and labor issues.”

On Friday night, Jan. 17, at the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet, members of the Blue Earth community will have a chance to show this humble native son just how much his work in the community has meant.

Not only is Frundt a Blue Earth native son, he still lives in the same house he grew up in, a house his grandfather built.

After graduating from Blue Earth High School in 1960, Frundt went on to St. Thomas College and then graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1967. After passing the bar exam and receiving his license to practice law, he returned home to Blue Earth and joined his father, John Henry Frundt’s law firm.

The firm, now known as Frundt and Johnson, was started by Frundt’s grandfather, Henry John Frundt, who had moved to Blue Earth in 1907.

“There was another partner here when I came back to Blue Earth, Bob Hibbs,” Frundt recalls. “He left and went to the Twin Cities and we hired Mike Johnson, who became my partner.”

Johnson will do the introduction/roast of Frundt at Friday night’s chamber banquet.

Frundt spent his entire legal career at Frundt and Johnson, retiring just this past May, although he can still be found in his office some days.

“I am retired as far as I am concerned,” he explains. “I just come to the office to help with some files, do research and other things. I just can’t represent clients.”

Soon after retiring, he and his wife, Rita, went on a well-deserved long trip to Australia and New Zealand.

The Frundts were married shortly after Chuck’s return to practice law in Blue Earth.

“We moved into my father’s house, the house my grandfather had built,” Frundt says. “The house I had grown up in. My father simply built a new house for himself right next door.”

One of the Frundt’s children, David, and his family, live in that home now.

Chuck and Rita Frundt have three grown children and six grandchildren all boys.

Their daughter, Mary, is married to Alan Self and they have three sons and live in Chanhassen.

Next is David, who is married to Angie and they have three sons and live in Blue Earth. David has continued the family tradition by becoming a lawyer, working at Frundt and Johnson, naming one of his sons John Henry Frundt after his grandfather and living in the house his grandfather built.

The Frundt’s other son, Karl, is also a lawyer who works in the Broomfield, Colo., city attorney’s office.

Now that he is officially retired, Chuck Frundt plans to do many of the same things he has always enjoyed doing; golf, tennis, reading, fishing and travel. He will just do more of it.

He also likes spending time at the family cabin near Park Rapids.

But, his roots are deep in Blue Earth and he and Rita plan to continue living here, in the home where Chuck grew up in.

Of course, Frundt also plans to continue to serve the community in any way he can. And, to no one’s surprise, do it humbly.