Class of '45
To: Gustavus Fellow Graduate in the Class of 1945
From: Elaine Paulsen Brant
2099 LaCrosse Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55119, (615) 731-0481, email@example.com
I was asked by Elder Jackson to write the first class letter of this year. I have decided to start with some of my own memories of the two years,1943-44 and 1944-45, that I attended Gustavus, then report some news I have been able to gather from a few of our fellow classmates, and end with an announcement.
Having come from a farm, a small town high school, and Luther Junior College in Nebraska, Gustavus seemed really big to me. When the brakeman helped me off the train at 5:00 a.m. with my one big suitcase and my portable typewriter, he said, “Your college is two miles up the hill.” The station was dark, no taxi in sight...‘twas a lonely moment. Then a jeep full of GIs pulled up and offered me a ride. That was my welcome to Gustavus!
Ruth Wick answered the doorbell at Rundstrom and let me come in, but in the morning I was to go to Daniels House Annex on Washington Avenue. The dozen girls at Daniels were all in upper classes so they already knew each other. I felt like an oddity, especially when they told me I had a funny accent. Eventually I learned to shorten the vowels in my speech and talk more Minnesotan.
During the second trimester after moving to Rundstrom, I may have dared to smile more often, but the braces on my teeth revealed me as still a green teenager. Further delaying my integration into the campus community, I stubbornly refused to join in the sorority society rush, even protesting in the Gustavus Weekly that “Independents” were more egalitarian/democratic. In retrospect, I see my defensiveness as also a “sour grapes” attack to cover my fear that I would not be accepted in any sorority anyhow.
What helped most was feeling at home in the weekly Prayer Circle meeting in Rundstrom Chapel, LSA, Spiritual Emphasis Week, Missionary Society. I joined small groups conducting services at the prison and delegations to churches as far away as Cloquet, MN and even Wakefield, Michigan. Future pastors and missionaries and members of the navy unit were involved, too. Beyond ’45 classmates were some from ’44 and ’46-48.
I remember two sisters, Pat ’47 and Penny Kato. They came from Japanese internment camps to be on campus one year. I recall Pat apologizing for calling me a Swede, thinking she had offended me as much as calling her a Jap would have offended her.
In my years on campus there were three different Prexies. Walter Lunden ’22 was on his way out when I entered. Edgar Carlson ’30 was in charge the last year we were there. Oscar A Winfield was acting president in the interim between them. I recall the last two best. One day in chapel after the Gustavus Weekly had just been distributed, looking over his almost faceless congregation President Carlson announced, “Any of you who would read the comics in your home church Sunday worship may continue to read the Gustavus Weekly in chapel.” The papers came down. I remember Dr. Winfield laughing heartily at one sentence I said during my Saturday chapel talk, “Let us live our faith so well that our children don’t have to change the hymn we just sang to “Faith of Our Grandfathers.” One day in his philosophy class he explained that the "A" in his name stood for Alenius, the surname which he rejected because he didn’t want to have any daughter of his to be called Miscellaneous!
Speaking of changing surnames, I recall when the pre-sems came back to campus from a trip to Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Marbury E. Anderson had been told to consider changing his name so that his surname Anderson would become the initial between Earl and Marbury. My roommate, Vi (Viola Hagberg Peterson, ’46) and I teased him how distinguished it would sound to be called the Earl o’ Marbury. I wonder if he remembers that. He told me he didn’t remember the picnic in February that we two thought he had planned. Warmer that winter than this!?
During those war years pre-sems were exempt from the draft. I counted 14 men of our class who became pastors: Marbury Anderson, George Benson, Mel Briere, Bob Engwall, Willis Erickson, Paul Abner Gustafson, Elder Jackson, Wilbert Johnson, Paul Olson, Douglas Pearson, Clarence Peterson, Homer Schnick, George Schwanenberg, and Phil Worthington. Three of these, Marb, Mel, and George, later earned doctorate degrees, as did Hal Hagen in education, Ken Kirby in chemistry, Carl Seemann in veterinarian medicine, and Lorraine Torkelson as doctor of medicine in obstetrics and gynecology. I never made it into that pastoral or doctoral league. But as a late bloomer, I wonder if I might be the most recent seminary graduate, Luther Seminary, May 1997 (my third M.A.), and together with a full year of CPE (clinical pastoral education), that qualified me to be rostered (not ordained) as a diaconal minister and to be currently serving as a chaplain.
I tried to figure out how many others of our class might not yet be fully retired…
First, in the 2003 Gustavus Alumni Directory. I found three. Still true for all three?
Dr. Ken Kirby, I see that you listed yourself as a consultant yet in Cedar Rapids, IA; Leonard Pikal, self-employed as an agriculture producer and manager, Brownton, MN; Dr. Carl Seemann, you are listed as a veterinarian at Animal Hospital in Bemidji, MN.
Next, I made phone calls and found two in the Twin Cities: Rev. Phil Worthington is still visitation pastor and Bible teacher at Calvary Lutheran Church, Golden Valley, MN; Marjorie (Dahl) Pinkham Hennessy, now Swenson, in her Hopkins studio, still paints pictures, and she has a new format, that is, four-panel room dividers!
Also, on up-to-date data sheets from the Alumni Office I found: Burton C. Johnson, of St. Peter, MN, although listed in the 2003 Directory as a retired vice president of First National Bank, is shown here as associated with the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation.
Then, there’s me, Elaine (Paulsen) Brant, part-time Lakeview Home Care chaplain with the St. Croix Chaplain's Association.
So, 3+2+1+1=7, did I miss any other classmates that are not yet retired? I count 51 survivors known and recorded for our Class of ’45. More than half, 32, still live in Minnesota, 3 live in Illinois, 3 in Texas; and 3 in Wisconsin; 2 live in Maryland; and 1 in each of these states: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, and North Carolina.
From the Alumni Office, by phoning and e-mail inquiries, I got the following bits of info:
First, two recent deaths:
Rev. Dr. George William Schwanenberg of San Antonio, Texas, died August 7, 2003, spouse Gloria (Piesold ’47) two children, five grandchildren. He had served parishes in three states: Washington, Massachusetts, and Texas. Afterward he was a chaplain for the FBI, San Antonio Police Department and the ATF. 1200+ attended his funeral.
Elaine June Pinks Anderson of Bloomington, MN, died October 6, 2003, spouse, Iver, for 57 years, member of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 4 children, 8 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren.
…..Other earlier deaths not noted in 2003 directory: Dr. Hal Hagen, Professor at Mankato State University; Vernon Anderson; Victor A. Dirks; Robert Fielder; Dale Magnuson.
Corrections. These two were incorrectly marked “+” in 2003 but are still living:
Robert K. Brocker lives at 1936 Manor Lane, Park Ridge, IL 60068, (847) 825-4247, e-mail 1523RKB@msn.com. He writes: “I completed the Navy two year program at the Harvard Graduate School. My last job before retiring was vice president and chief financial officer of Standard T. Chemical Co., a subsidiary of Montgomery Ward...It’s been a wonderful life. Certainly my time at Gustavus was a very important and happy part of it.”
Audrey Egerstrom Peterson, lives at 401 Sixth Street, Kerkhoven, MN, 56252-0167, (320) 264-2441. In the cooler half of the year she lives at 1402 South Border #754, Weslaco, Texas, 78596 (956) 9973-0553
Other News Notes and Memories:
Dorothy Boyer Adolphson, spouse, Karl, of class of ’42, with 3 sons Gustie grads, wrote on a postcard from Mankato, MN, “I have all the letters I wrote to my parents weekly while at Gustavus, 1941-45, with history and memories including Dr. Lunden’s controversial time during his presidency.”
Gen Quam Anderson, of St. Paul, MN, was at Gustavus only one year, but remembers being with the Gustavus Choir on tour including Chicago. She has been a medical lab technician. She has 5 children, 7 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
E. Kirk Badgley, Jr. moved from New Mexico to 14214 Pinta Bonaire Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78418.
Lavinia (Bloom) Blomquist, address: 1302 West Traverse Rd., St. Peter, 56082, (507) 931-5405.
Rev. Bob Engwall, of Crystal, MN, just retired from the Board of Managers of the Global Mission Institute at Luther Seminary. He was one of its founders 26 years ago.
Rev. Willis Erickson, Georgetown, TX, since retirement has served in contracted interim pastorates, as assistant to the Grand Canyon Synod bishop, as a global mission volunteer teaching in a seminary in Namibia, and continues in volunteer roles as regional volunteer associate and on the executive board of AOLA (Association of Lutheran Adults). He writes, “We returned to Texas to be near our younger daughter, a high school German teacher in Austin. Our other daughter is director of a foundation in Seattle which raises several hundred K$ each year for inner city projects. We’re rather proud of what our two daughters are contributing to worthy causes. I’m sure many of our classmates feel that way about their kids. Thanks for asking.”
Jean Swanson Hulstrand told me that her Cooperative Living situation in West St. Paul is a great place for a widow to be. She is proud of her son who is a pastor in North Dakota.
Lois Wold Jacobson of Apple Valley, MN, (952) 997-2352 has 3 children, 5 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild.
Rev. Wilbert Johnson’s wife, Amy, reports that he has Parkinson’s disease and lives at Willow Ridge in Amery, WI; 4 children, 11 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren.
Martin Larson, 500 West Jackson, #100, St, Peter, MN, writes: “ I am retired after over thirty years working in the state hospital system in connection with the physical plant, especially the buildings. Betty and I moved out of our house after fifty years and now live in a Realife cooperative living facility for senior citizens.”
Dorothy Hanson Lofgren, of Bella Vista, AR, (479) 855-7462, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marjorie Borgstrom Murray, of St. Paul, MN, 3 children, 2 grandchildren, recalled years at Gustavus were unique because they were war years, and with the trimester system she and others finished in three years.
Rev. Clarence Peterson, of Robbinsdale, MN is soon moving to Hastings, MN.
Doris Pearson Swedberg, spouse, Richard ’44, wrote from Rockford, Illinois, “This has been a year for recuperation! In June, a flukey fall left me with two broken arms. In July, our son, Joel ’77, barely survived an as yet unexplained small plane crash. We are both doing great...Joel’s son, Derek, is at Gustavus this year―basketball. He is our second grandchild to be a Gustie.” E-mail: Revdoree@aol.com.
Marjorie Dahl Pinkham Hennessy Swenson, of Hopkins, MN recalled fondly how Prof. Frances Gamelin ’38 read Bobby Burns with such feeling.
Rev. Phil Worthington, of Minneapolis, MN, recalled good experiences in his Navy years at Gustavus, the Prayer Circle, Greek class with Dr. George Hall, coming in second place in track for Minnesota after having been first place in North Dakota. Currently on his prayer list is Chaplain Homer Schnick and his family, knowing that his wife had been seriously ill for some time. He told me that Homer was a chaplain in the Marine/Navy Fleet for 20 years.
I’ve enjoyed sharing my memories and gathering these tidbits about the Class of ’45. Those of you who didn’t get mentioned, send your news into the Alumni Office so Elder will have it for the next class letter. Include how many grandchildren and great-grandchildren you have, and how many have been or are Gustavus students. It’s OK to brag a little, too.
Now to announce two big events at Gustavus in St. Peter in 2004. Mark your calendars!
May 30 and 31, 2004. Gustavus Alumni Weekend. Friday and Saturday. 50 Year Club!! That is, our class and all other classes from 1953 and earlier. Four reunion seminars, two receptions, dinner, banquet. Free meals and dormitory lodging. Don’t miss it! You can register when the flyer comes out in mid-April. See you there!!!
June 25-27, 2004. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Augustana Heritage Gathering!! Worship Augustana Style. Sing the old favorites. Review our common history in the Augustana Synod, our contribution to the ELCA in the past, and challenges in the future. This Augustana Heritage Gathering has met biennially: Jamestown, New York; Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois; Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas; and now this year at our own Gustavus Adolphus College campus. To register you can either call: 507/933-7169, email: email@example.com or write to: P.O. Box A-21, Gustavus Adolphus College, 800 West College Avenue, St. Peter, MN 56082. See you there!!!
The Alumni Office will add some other class news here:
Building a Greater Gustavus Reaches Target
Gustavus celebrates reaching the $100 million target for the Building a Greater Gustavus capital campaign. The campaign includes reconstruction projects following the 1998 tornados, the creation of the Center for Vocational Reflection, growth of the Christ Chapel Endowment, the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center, the Curtis and Arleen Carlson International Center, the Barbro Osher Svenska Huset (Swedish House), the new soccer and track complex, and more than 100 new scholarships. Efforts continue to raise funds for campaign projects, such as Old Main renovation, Gustavus Alumni Fund, and further endowment growth. Special thanks! goes to the volunteers and donors who contributed their resources to assist current and future Gusties.
The theme for this January Term is “Undergraduate Research and Creativity,” to promote course offerings and activities in all fields, not just natural sciences and fine arts. In addition about 375 students are on travel programs abroad in such places as Europe, Australia, Malaysia, Fiji, and Israel. Also, 180 students are participating in internships and career explorations, now so essential for many students in securing a job, no matter what career field.
New Gustavus Video
Have you been to campus lately? Can you remember your first time seeing Gustavus? The Admission Office has created a new video/DVD for prospective students to take a look at the College. Take a look online if you wish at <http://gustavus.edu/admission/tour/video/>.
The Gustavus Symphonic Orchestra will take a 16-day concert tour to China performing in such places as Beijing, the Great Wall, and Tianjin. The Gustavus Choir will take a 10-day concert tour to selected cities in North Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, and Minnesota, and will also present a concert in the Twin Cities on Friday evening, January 30, 2004, 7:30 p.m., at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, in St. Paul. The Gustavus Wind Orchestra, formerly the Gustavus Band, will tour during Spring Break.
Gustavus is among leaders in Academic All-Americans. The College Sports Information Directors of America have recently released a list of institutions with the highest number of Academic All-Americans over the past three years. Gustavus ranks 14th out of all programs competing at the NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, and NAIA levels.
Peter Krause ’87 returned to Gustavus in November to meet and conduct workshops with students. Krause has been nominated for Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Emmy awards for his role as Nate Fisher in the critically and commercially acclaimed HBO drama, “Six Feet Under.” With the hope that the day would focus more on the students than on his newfound fame, Krause spent the afternoon doing acting work with classes and theatre and dance majors.
In case you missed the note in the Fall 2003 issue of the Gustavus Quarterly, we are asking alumni to send in short reminiscences, tributes, and anecdotes about professors who made a difference in their education—“the teachers and mentors who have made a lasting impression, who have imparted life lessons, whom you remember for their wit, or their mastery, or their encouragement, or their exacting standards . . . or their idiosyncrasies.” We are planning to focus an upcoming issue of the Quarterly on “great teaching” and would like to hear from those who experienced the classes of those great professors. Send your paragraphs and stories to either Randall Stuckey ’83, director of alumni relations (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Steve Waldhauser ’70 (email@example.com), managing editor of the Quarterly, or in the mail to the College.
Upcoming Chapter Events
- Atlanta, Georgia, Gustavus gathering – February 26
- Tampa Bay, Florida, Gustavus gathering – February 27
- Naples, Florida, Gustavus gathering – February 28
- Vero Beach, Florida, Gustavus gathering – February 29
- Sun City, Arizona, Gustavus gathering – March 19
- Phoenix, Arizona, Gustavus gathering – March 20
- Tucson, Arizona, Gustavus gathering – March 21