March 13, 1861: Birth of Duluth physician John J. Eklund

On this day in 1861, John J. Eklund was born in Sweden and emigrated to the U.S. with his parents when he was five years old. he grew up on a farm in Chisago County, Minnesota, and later attended Gustavus Adolphus College and the Minnesota Hospital Medical College, now the University of Minnesota Medical School. In Duluth he was a member of St. Luke’s Hospital surgical staff, had a private practice, and was the president of the Duluth State Bank in the West End. He and his wife Annie had one son, William. Annie died in 1904 and Eklund never remarried. His son also became a physician and entered his father’s practice. Tragically, Eklund was gunned down by a patient in 1922. Shortly before his death, historian Walter Van Brunt wrote that Eklund had “not only gained definite prestige as one of the representative physicians and surgeons of northeastern Minnesota, but he is also known as one of the most loyal and progressive citizens of Duluth, where he controls a large professional business and makes a specialty of surgery, in which his skill and experience have given him high reputation…. Doctor Eklund is a representative of the best type of the fine Scandinavian element that has played a most important part in the development and upbuilding of the state of Minnesota.” Read more about Eklund and his murder here.

J. J. Eklund (Duluth Public Library)