By Starrla Cray
DELANO, WATERTOWN, MN Huns and Judy Vanderlinde always seem to have energy in their voices and laughter on their lips.
Although they have 10 grandchildren, the Delano couple is nowhere near retirement, continuing to immerse themselves in a satisfying mix of work, community involvement, and family life.
“I have no intentions of retiring,” said Huns, who is a material handler at MTS in Eden Prairie.
Judy sells real estate at Vanderlinde Group in Delano. She started the company in 1989, and her son, Jeff, now owns the family business.
The other three Vanderlinde children include Janice, Janeen, and Jill.
“We’re all Js,” said Huns, whose real name is John.
“Huns is German for John,” he explained. “I’ve been Huns since the day I was born. No one calls me John.”
Judy, who grew up on a dairy farm in Cologne, also has German roots.
“I have a rose bush that’s been in the family for more than 100 years,” she said. “I think it came from Germany.”
The “Seven Sisters” rose bush was started by Judy’s great-grandmother, and is an heirloom that has been passed on through the generations.
A love of gardening runs in Judy’s family, and her grandmother, mother, and now, her grandchildren have all shown flowers and vegetables at local county fairs.
“I have at least 10 grand champion ribbons,” Judy said.
Huns and Judy have lived on their 10-acre property since 1974, which means Judy has plenty of space for gardening during the summer months.
The land is also great for snowmobiling and four wheeling with the grandchildren, Huns added.
Years ago, the Vanderlinde family raised sheep, rabbits, horses, dogs, and other animals.
Huns, who spent 25 years as a meat cutter, said they used to butcher the rabbits for food.
“My kids could tell you many stories about that,” he laughed.
The Vanderlinde home is located halfway between Delano and Watertown.
“We feel like we should be active in both communities,” Judy said.
Huns spent nine years on the Franklin Township board, and 35 years in the Watertown Lions Club. He is also involved in the church council at the Church of St. Mary of Czestochowa in Delano.
Judy is involved in the Big Woods Garden Club, General Federated Women’s Club, and Watertown Chamber of Commerce.
She also sings in the choir at the Church of St. Mary of Czestochowa. In 2004, Judy went with the Delano Catholic Community choir on a trip to Rome.
“We sang at the Vatican,” she said. “It was a real honor.”
Throughout the years, the Vanderlindes have had numerous travel opportunities.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” Huns said.
They’ve spent 22 days in Europe, and they’ve also traveled to Florida with WCCO meteorologist Mike Lynch for Minnesota Twins spring training.
“You go down there and watch ball games,” Huns said.
As for their favorite places to go, Huns said that he likes Jamaica, while Judy prefers the Grand Canyon.
“Now, we vacation in Waverly,” Judy laughed, explaining that they have a lake home there.
The close-to-home getaway is perfect for family gatherings, Huns said.
“We do like to entertain,” he said.
Every Father’s Day, Huns’ parents, along with the rest of the family, come to the lake home to celebrate.
Huns, who grew up on a dairy farm near St. Bonifacius, is the oldest of nine children.
“A lot of them live in Delano, too,” Judy said, adding that more than 50 people come to the family gatherings.
The Vanderlindes’ family network extends to the younger generation, as well.
“Every fall before school starts, we take all 10 grandchildren to the Peppermint Twist in Delano,” Judy said.
The picnic is a way for Huns and Judy to spend time with all the grandchildren at the same time.
Five of them, Jordan, 13; Haley, 8; Leo, 6; Lucy, 4; and Holton, 2, live in Delano.
Chase, 10; Tanna, 6; and Bryce, 3, are from Greenfield, while Kale, 7, and Ethan, 4, live in Grand Rapids.