Lakeville’s John Enggren dies

Celebration of life to be held at Chart House on Thursday

Lakeville lost one of its most prominent lifelong community members and business leaders Saturday.

John Enggren
John Enggren

John Enggren, 84, died at his home on Crystal Lake from pneumonia he suffered recently after he injured his back about six weeks ago in a fall, according to his son Joel Enggren.

A celebration of John Enggren’s life for family and friends is set for Thursday, May 9, from 4-8 p.m. at the Chart House restaurant, 11287 Klamath Trail, Lakeville.

For generations, the Enggren family operated a grocery store and clothing shops in downtown Lakeville, later adding four Tom Thumb convenience stores in and around Lakeville, Joel Enggren said.

Enggren’s grocery store became a gathering place for residents and farmers to meet, exchange ideas and form friendships, eventually becoming the city’s largest supermarket, stocked with groceries and retail items, according to a 2012 Sun Thisweek article.

John and his brother Jerry joined their father John G. Enggren in the business in 1954.

Joel Enggren said the brothers were very close and worked well together.

“My dad was more of the people person, and Jerry was a more hands-on kind of guy,” Joel said.

The brothers made a point to donate food and clothing to local families in need and were very involved in community organizations.

“That’s one thing he taught me,” Joel said. “To always give back.”

After 100 years in business, the grocery store closed in 2006 amidst growing competition and significant changes in the retail industry.

In the early 1980s, Joel said his father bought the former Lakeville liquor store from the city and opened Babe’s Sports Bar and Grill, a popular downtown bar and restaurant now under different ownership.

John held his 60th birthday celebration at Babe’s right after he bought it, Joel said.

“Dad was a people person,” Joel said. “It was like he knew everybody. Wherever he went, he had to buy somebody a drink.”

John Enggren is survived by wife Lois, sons Joel (Lisa); Jay (Debbie) and Jeff (Jill),  grandchildren and his sister Shirlee Scott-Sandvick of Golden Valley.