EDGERTON — Lloyd Zwart was a solid senior athlete at Edgerton High in 1960, when the Flying Dutchmen were expected to have a fine basketball team.
He couldn’t go out for the squad.
“I’d been on the team in ’59,” Lloyd says. “But my dad got in bad health, and I quit playing basketball and went to work after school to help us through. And that year we went to State.
“It was disappointing to me, but my family comes first.”
He still feels that way. And it’s not an exaggeration to say his family has for decades been expanded to include the entire community of Edgerton.
He’ll do it
“There’s two kinds of people in the world,” Lloyd said with a soft smile. “Talkers and workers. I’m more or less a worker. Not a talker. I have difficulty getting up in front of people. But if I’ve got something to do, I’ll do it.”
He’s been doing great things for his hometown community all his life. From cheering on the famous state championship basketball team 60 years ago, to raising a respected family in his hometown, to operating a successful construction company that to this day touches lives in this small community, Lloyd has been an Edgerton backer.
It’s always been that way.
Lloyd was born in Hardwick, moved with his family as a toddler and grew up on a farm a few miles from Edgerton. He’s never left the area. Nor did he ever want to.
“I’ve been here all my life,” he said. “Edgerton is my home.”
He’s 79, but there is no thought of retirement. On a recent day over lunch (cheeseburger and fries, hold the bun) he talked optimistically about his life, his work and the future of his town.
“The good Lord keeps me going, and I want to keep going,” Lloyd says. “I love to be with people and I love to work for people.”
Lloyd is nearing 60 years in the construction business in Edgerton, specializing in home and commercial building. He pretty much knows everyone in town. And his friends are many.
“I always say,” said Lloyd with bright eyes, “there’s only two ways you can become good friends with people. You either marry them or you work with them.”
He laughed softly.
“I’ve worked for a lot of them. There’s an awful lot of real good people in Edgerton.”
Lloyd is a builder, specializing in both structures and relationships. Neither task is especially easy.
“At times it’s been a roller coaster,” he says.
Going the extra mile
Indeed, Lloyd has known heartache. He lost his wife, Carole, a few years ago. She passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.
“It was the 18th of August,” Lloyd said softly.
They’d been high school sweethearts and had been together for nearly 60 years.
“It was a shock. Terrible,” he says.
His many friends in Edgerton provided comfort.
“People were so good, very good,” Lloyd said. “A lot of real good people live here. I thank the Lord for them every day.”
So, too, are many in this community thankful for Lloyd.
Mike Drooger is a lifelong Edgerton man and former business owner on Main Street who knows Lloyd well.
“He’s built or remodeled a high percentage of houses in town,” Mike said. “He built my grocery store back in ’93. He’s very good with our community. He wants to help Edgerton grow and help out in any way he can.”
Mike said Lloyd goes the extra mile.
“He wants everybody to prosper,” Mike said. “He doesn’t care what church they go to, what school they go to, he just wants everyone to do well.”
Mike paused a moment, then related a story.
“My Dad had Parkinson’s disease,” he said. “It severely limited what he could do around the house. There were times we’d call Lloyd to do some maintenance work, and Lloyd would be right there.”
Often, Mike said, Lloyd would not accept any money for these tasks. Neither would he boast about having helped a friend.
“He’s quiet,” Mike said. “He’s not a rah-rah kind of guy. Lloyd leads by example. He’s respected, very respected for who he is.”
The 1960 Edgerton basketball team is legendary in Minnesota history. The tall trophy won that weekend at Williams Arena sits majestically in the school’s trophy case, and though high school games are now played in an expanded newer gymnasium, the cramped court where the fantastic Flying Dutchmen won so often 60 years ago is still used today for P.E. Classes.
Lloyd said the memory of that squad lives on.
“It will never die,” he says.
And neither will Lloyd Zwart’s love of his hometown. His legacy looms in the beautiful buildings that adorn the town’s busy Main Street.
And in the hearts of all those he’s touched.