Class of '50

October 2011

Email:  mdeyata@tds.net

14090 Indian Beach Road

Spicer, MN  56288

Dear Friends and Classmates of 1950,

“The best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley” as Robert Burns wrote years ago.  Aye, they still do.  Last fall I told you about a new system of class officers in place that was recommended by the Alumni Board.  My intention was that after Donna Seaberg Johnson so ably wrote the guest letter in the winter, I would thank her and write my last class letter in the spring, having somebody else take over.  After not feeling very perky all winter (I blamed it on the cold and ALL the snow that didn’t give any indication of ever stopping), I ended up at the Mayo Clinic in May, having cancer surgery.  A 10# abdominal sarcoma was successfully removed, but it took much of the summer to get my energy back.

This also explains why those of you with whom I exchange Christmas greetings didn’t hear from me.  Alpah Flaaten Hann of Twin Falls, ID, sent one of the first letters, informing me that her husband, Ralph passed away the previous summer.  I am so sorry it took me this long to acknowledge that and you have our sympathy in your loss. A lovely picture of Dale ʼ49 and Carol (Becker) Swenson, of Olympia, WA announced “Celebrating our 60th Christmas.”  I do appreciate hearing from you.

A letter from Delpho Peterson in Keokuk, IA mentioned he’d had 87 birthdays−must be 88 this year, obviously.  He’s living at River Hills Care Center, “a fancy name for an old folks’ home and it’s very nice.”  He adds the programs/activities are good and family photos surround him on the walls.  “The kids are good to keep in touch.” And he sees his daughter, Pam, who lives in Keokuk, “about every day.”

Text Box:  One of the most faithful classmates to keep in touch with me is Dallas Young.  He not only let me know how our class scholarship is doing, but informed me that he has moved from Baxter to Eden Prairie.  He says he is in “assisted living,” meaning that he lives with his son who assists him, and he assists his son.  I saw him at the Sesquicentennial Dinner on September 30, where two of his sons, Thomas ʼ88, (who is vice president in the Advancement Office at Gustavus) and John ʼ77 and his wife were recognized.  I appreciate your calls and encouragement, Dallas.

Speaking of that scholarship, I had a delightful letter from the student who received the second one.  Alecia Welscher ʼ12, a senior from Caledonia, MN (picture left) wrote last spring that she grew up on a farm.  Last year was “quite academically challenging” as she was taking “lots of upper level biology courses and PHYSICS!  Yikes!  But aside from studying all the time I’ve made a point to have fun.  This past January I took a J-term trip to Bolivia where I got to learn about the Bolivian culture and see what steps they are taking to try and be a more environmentally friendly country.  For spring break I went to South Carolina on the Habitat for Humanity trip.  It was amazing to see how much a community is willing to work together to help out families in need of a good home.”  This past summer she was studying for the MCAT, while she was working as a counselor at Camp Winnebago in her hometown.  Camp Winnebago is an adult disabilities camp and “I absolutely love it…  Thank you for your support.  Without you I wouldn’t be able to do all these things I love so much.”  What a worthy recipient she is!

At the dinner on September 30, I shared a table with Edna Spaeth Granlund, her family and the sculptor whom she had recommended to create a Sesquicentennial statue.  I sat next to Edna’s younger son, Jonathan ʼ81.  He could not believe the coincidences involved with people we were talking about.  His wife, Susan Taylor Granlund ʼ79, for example was the younger sister of my daughter, Julie’s ʼ76 roommate at Gustavus.  Jonathan knew my boys in high school.  The final tie-in was when the chairman of the Gustavus Board of Trustees rose to kick off the Sesquicentennial campaign, and I leaned over and said, “his[Mark Bernhardson’s ʼ71] father married my husband and me.”  Of course, my dad had read the vows, but Drell Bernhardson officiated as well.  Those Gustavus ties turn up so often.

The Alumni Office says most of the class news will now appear in the Quarterly, but there is still room for the class letter.  Where else could you learn, unless you lived in the area, that Jeanette Seibel Almen’s two granddaughters ran a Sweet Shop in Kerkhoven this summer?  I’m sorry the article has been misplaced, as has the newsy letter you wrote about yourself and John.  (One of the casualties of a topsy-turvy summer, I’m afraid.)  Their son, Ted ʼ80 now runs the newspaper that his father so ably published for so many years.

I received a most delightful surprise in September when Glen Johnson of Marco Island, FL sent me a copy of his new book, A Matter of Trust:  Taking a #2 Stock to $140,000−the Personal Memoirs of Glen R. Johnson.  I was intrigued by your story, Glen, although I bogged down a bit in the middle part−the deep financial story.  Your entrepreneurship was amazing, much of the personal story poignant.  The book is well-documented with pictures of many auspicious occasions.  My favorites are the ones of you and your family, and of you, on the trusted donkey, Cadillac.  You give worthy tribute to your beloved, LaVonne.  Thank you so very much; and thank you for all you two have done for Gustavus.

Now follow the obituaries the Alumni Office sent me.  Some of them you may have seen in the Quarterly, but I will mention them here as well.  First, in January, 2011, was Shirley Behrends Johnson, who was a member of the Bethesda nursing program.  She and her husband, Charles, lived in Mahtomedi and raised a family of nine children and began the Bellaire Sanitation business.  Her funeral was in White Bear Lake, MN.

Dean D. Hanson of Brainerd also passed in January, but I have no further information on him.

In February, Lorraine Sjolinder Scharmer of Litchfield passed away.  With Roland’s high school coaching and her children’s and their friends’ sports activities, she became a lover of sports.  Active in the community and church, she believed in looking at the positive side of things and used a dry sense of humor to convey that upbeat attitude.  Roland left us a few years ago.

In March, Dennis Halvorson, of Ham Lake passed away.  He was one of our more faithful correspondents.  He was a long time teacher and coach at the Spring Lake Park School Dist.

In April Arthur E. Wiggins of Westbrook was next to leave this earth.  After serving in the Philippines during WWII, he attended Gustavus and graduated with a degree in business administration and economics.  After marrying his high school sweetheart, Janice Johnson, in Westbrook , he farmed the Johnson family farm near Westbrook for 39 years.  Later moving into town.  An interesting sidelight of his youth is that after high school graduation, he and a buddy tried enlisting in the Merchant Marines.  Art did not pass his physical, at 109 pounds, he was 15 pounds underweight.  He did enter the army several months later and served honorably for three years.

Another passing in April as Howard Luhmann of Shakopee, where he’d worked for 38 years as a credit manager for Minnegasco.  Known as Lefty from his pitching days at Gustavus, he never lost his interest in sports, especially the Minnesota baseball and college sports teams, as well as professional sports.  His grandchildren’s similar activities captured his attention as well.

Eva Hedman Kreager of Golden Valley left us in April.  She attended Gustavus before graduating from the Lutheran Deaconess School of Nursing.  She and Shirley Behrends Johnson, mentioned before, did not graduate with our class.

Ruth Lenore Anderson Ahlcrona passed away almost a year ago in November 2010.  She lived in Excelsior and after her husband was killed in a tragic accident in 1972, she devoted her life to her children and music, serving as accompanist for the Excelsior School District, and pianist for the Mount Calvary Children’s choirs, a church organist, and piano teacher for 20 years.  She received the Minnetonka Skippers Award for her volunteer services.  Her quick wit, sense of style and warm, generous smile endeared her to many people.  She also attended Gustavus a year or so.

Dallas Young informed me that Robert A. Olson passed away, but I have no official notice about him.  ‘Tis sobering indeed to learn of these friends and acquaintances who are no longer with us.  At our age, it is to be expected, but no easier to accept.  Some of you suffer illnesses of various types.  We pray for your comfort and healing, if possible.

Neither Ralph nor Yvonne (Anderson) Belin attended commencement weekend or the 50 Year Club in May.  Yvonne had gone out east to attend her grandson’s special event, fell and broke several vertebrae in her back.  Only shortly before I saw her at the annual Augustana service at Normandale Lutheran, Edina, the end of September, was she able to drive her car again.  Please give Ralph our greetings.

I thank you all for your correspondence over these many years I served as class agent.  The friendships, I hope, will not cease.  If the Class of 1951 could fill all five officer position for their class, including a correspondent to write their letters, we should be able to do so.  Of course, they are younger than we are!  Please respond positively if you get a call to help.  Thank you.

Gloria Martell Benson

Class of 1950

P.S.  Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed October 1, Gustavus Adolphus College Day in the state of Minnesota, a single honor, recognizing the 150th anniversary of Gustavus’ founding.

Here is a list of our unlocated classmates.  If anyone knows the whereabouts of any of these folks, please let the Alumni Office know (alumni@gustavus.edu or 800-487-8437).


George K. Anonsen

Donald F. Benson

Lloyd E. Carlson

J. Adolph Danielson

Robert Ericson

Sylvester Fiebiger

Donald H. Firl

Burchard A. Hays

Wally H. Holm

Bruce A. Johnson

Ethel Olson Johnson

Paul Luck

Roger Peterson

Trudy Langsjoen Wolfsehr

Donald S. Severson

Donald Sjoquist

Phyllis Carlson Sucher

Shirley Juech Sundmark

John Zelgart


Campus News

Nobel Conference

The brain is such a mystery!  Well, this year’s Nobel Conference 47, “The Brain and Being Human”, held on October 4 & 5 helped us better understand what’s actually happening in and through this mysterious organ.  The conference brought together seven distinguished neuroscientists and a noted theologian who engaged in conversations about where this frontier of science may take us.  With eight presenters engaging audience members here are some highlights:

Larry Young, a professor from Emery University School of Medicine spoke on his study of prairie vole animals during the opening session.  His research may help reinforce bonding for those suffering with autism.  The autism-vole connection is ultimately an investigation into why and how creatures form bonds.

Vilyanur Ramachandran, a professor at the University of California in San Diego, spoke via teleconference on the big screens because of a family emergency he couldn’t be there in person.  One of his areas of study is the phantom limb pains which are well known phenomena of amputees reporting pain in a non-existent body part.  Sufferers of phantom limb pains have reported such things as non-existent hands which are clenched so hard that they can feel their fingernails digging into their palms.  The brains of such people do not know how to unclench non-existent hands that are not really there.  Ramachandran pioneered a treatment that used mirrors reflecting the other hand of patients that fooled the brain into releasing the terrible feeling of pain that is not there.

Once again there was featured a Nobel Conference Concert that was absolutely free with no ticket required.  Now Gustavus is looking ahead to the 48th Nobel Conference which will be entitled Our Global Ocean and will take place October 2-3, 2012.  Learn more about the schedule, topics, and the phenomenal speakers on the Nobel Conference website.

Campaign Gustavus Announcement

At the Sesquicentennial and Campaign Kickoff Dinner held on campus on Friday Sept. 30, Board of Trustees Chair Mark Bernhardson announced the official kickoff a comprehensive fundraising campaign, Campaign Gustavus.  The financial goal of the campaign is to raise $150 million by the end of 2015 to fund the strategic initiatives of Commission Gustavus 150.  The focus of Campaign Gustavus is to ensure the College has the resources to continue providing opportunities for teaching and learning in a caring community.  To find out more about Campaign Gustavus and how you can be involved, visit:  www.gustavus.edu/campaigngustavus.

2011 Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus inducted new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet on October 15.  Inductees for 2011 are Owen Sammelson ’58, benefactor; Amanda Murdock Diehl ’92, gymnastics; Jay Klagge ’92, basketball; Bryan Ripken ’94, swimming; Todd Anderson ’95, soccer; Tracy Erickson McMorrow ’95, tennis; Scott Moe ’95, golf; Laura LeVander Peters ’96, softball; and Colleen Barland Sherman ’96, soccer.  The Hall of Fame Moment is the 1991 Women’s Gymnastics National Championship, won with the final routine of the meet.  

Christmas in Christ Chapel

As the College’s Sesquicentennial Christmas in Christ Chapel, Julljus:  Light from the Old World, Light to the New brings us to the celebration of Christ’s light—to Sweden in the Middle Ages; to Minnesota in the 19th century; and to our fractured and darkened world today.  At the center of the 39th annual community celebration is Julotta, the traditional Christmas matins service brought by Swedish immigrants to the New World.  Tickets for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2011 go on sale online on October 17 at noon at gustavustickets.com.  If you do not have access to the Internet, please call 507-933-7520 after noon on October 17 to place your credit card order.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  November speaker will be Rob Gardner, interim artistic coordinator for Christmas in Christ Chapel.  The St. Peter Breakfast will be held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 9, and the Twin Cities Breakfast will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on Nov. 16.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail alumni@gustavus.edu. Hope to see you bright and early!