Class of '51
February 2008

Dear Classmates and whoever is lucky enough to read this!

We welcome this delightful guest letter from Marilyn Street Turner and Marianne Ostrom Kjolhaug.  We hope it inspires more of you to return to Gustavus!  Did you see the photo of this “hilarious bunch” of Gustie alums in the last Quarterly?  They are a great group!!

I’ll insert classmate news after the guest letter and the College will add campus news at the end.

Dorothy Johnson Lutz

Dear Classmates:

Gustavus Adolphus, remember thy past…

Thrice hail, Alma Mater…our love we renew…

Sixty years ago, we learned to sing the Gustavus Alma Mater.  One week last August some of the lines took on new meaning for 14 of us:  LaVonne Teske Duerr, Lois Hesselroth Hovland Gerry Erickson Thompson, Armajean Albers Jannach, June Siem Wick, Bonnie Seaberg Bergman, Myrna Thorsell Wolf, Marlys Akerson Chase, Lois Quam Erickson, Marilyn Street Turner, Edna Spaeth Granlund ’50, Louise Borg Bergmann, Dorothy Johnson Lutz, Marianne Ostrom Kjolhaug.

For one week we took up residence on campus at the Retreat House.  About five years ago, some of the group had gathered at Marilyn Street Turner’s home in California and Edna Spaeth Granlund ’50 suggested the group gather again on campus.  She and LaVonne Teske Duerr organized a week’s worth of events for us.  Some of the highlights were:

A guided tour by Elaine Brostrom of Paul Granlund’s (’52) many sculptures on campus.  Her background information helped us gain a greater appreciation of Paul’s work.  (A lovely “2-seater” golf cart aided the cause of those finding the hills a bit steeper then they were 60 years ago!)

Tea at the newly redecorated and art-filled President’s house (they weren’t there!) was another highlight.  Steve Hogberg ’69, from the Office of Institutional Advancement brought us up to speed on the many changes in student population, curriculum, events and activities since 1947-51.

In June, Edna had mailed each of us copies of a book written by a North Shore neighbor/friend of hers, Scent of God, by Beryl Singleton Bissel.  We had all done our “homework,” and had read the book before we came, so it was very special to have the author join us one evening to discuss her book.

One afternoon, Dorothy Johnson Lutz (and her husband, Paul) invited all of us over for coffee at their “new” home in St. Peter.  A rousing game of life stories, more conversation and laughter, plus some tasty “goodies” made for a very pleasant afternoon.

Some of us took a self-guided tour of the Linnaeus Arboretum.  It’s an amazing place!  Some of our favorite features were:  a waterfall garden (given by our classmate Dave Johnson and his wife Delores; Paul Granlund’s bust of Linnaeus; Evelyn Young’s herb garden; geology professor, Chet Johnson and his wife, Marian Swanson Johnson’s (’41) boulder garden and prairie overlook and a pioneer cabin, complete with a garden of heirloom plants.  And did you know there is a presidential grove of oak trees, one for each president of Gustavus, and a lilac grove, with a tree for each of their wives?

One evening we watched two videos…one of Paul Granlund at work, (so impressive, many of us bought copies at the bookstore the next day) and one of the tornado, reminding us of the incredible destruction of trees and buildings.  However, today’s campus is landscaped with an amazing variety of trees (most of them labeled) and gardens, and is absolutely beautiful!

Listening to Myrna play familiar hymns in the chapel, eating the excellent (yes, I said excellent!) food in the cafeteria, interacting with the friendly staff and students (we even managed to cross paths with Bonnie’s granddaughter, Britta Bergman ’08 and Earl Leaf’s grandson), munching on apples Lois brought from “her” tree.  …who would have thought so many of us could spend a week together, on campus, 60 years from our freshman registration, and still enjoy sharing stories and laughing together!  Marlys brought a poem that pretty much sums it up:

OLD LADY GIRLS

We deny our stiffened knees

Crepey skin and faded hair

Cataracts and hearing aids

We laugh as we fall apart

Because we are not alone

We’ve arrived today

From a place we left together

With sparkle in our eyes

To meet life head on

Love and sorrow lay ahead

To be divided and shared

As friends we have borne it all

To be Old Lady Girls together.

Marilyn Street Turner

Marianne Ostrom Kjolhaug

1951 Guest Letter Writers

Now, back to Dorothy:

Our gymnasts made a colorful sign and put it up in the East Forum in Lund Center where the invitational meet was last week.  It read, “It’s Our Time to Shine.”  They did win the meet.  Let’s follow their idea this year and SHINE by pulling together as a class for the highest percentage of donors (before we get forgetful).

“It’s a wonderful school!” the mom of a swim team member told me today as she waited for the next swimming event to begin.  Her daughter is a sophomore, chemistry major, from Hastings.  “My daughter has many friends here besides the swim team.  The coaches are so nice and they encourage the kids to study.  Every girl on the team has at least a 3.0 grade point average.  We looked at other schools, but this was more like a family school.  We had a good feeling about it when we visited!”  Another mother was equally enthusiastic and liked the team’s attitude of co-operation.

Where is Gustavus in January term?  All over the world and the United States as well as in St. Peter.  The orchestra traveled in China and some students were on internships.  Gustavus alumni and friends carry Gustavus in their hearts everywhere.

In the Winter Quarterly, did you see news of “our” classmates on pages 26, 28 and 38?  Page 1-2 had a photo of unusual clouds over Christ Chapel.  I was walking in the Arboretum at that time, without a camera.  On page 25 is a special photo of Marian (Swanson ’41) and Prof. Chester Johnson (retired from the geology department).  They are still seen at concerts, etc.  He celebrated his 90th birthday recently.

Betty Reusch Anderson-Oussaren and husband, Bert, who live in Ontario, Canada sent this travel description:  “We did little traveling this year.  I (Betty) went to Venezuela with my son, Neil and his daughter, Katelyn for two weeks.  We toured the Orinoco delta―saw Cayman, porpoises, iguanas—one even dove into our boat―anacondas, many rare and exotic birds plus wonderful aromatic shrubs and flowers.  From the Orinoco we flew to Anima and in a dugout canoe, traveled up-river to the base of Angel Falls.  They are incredible!  Beautiful!  Powerful! and Dangerous!  The hike to the falls was challenging, the accommodation very basic, and the scenery magnificent.  They only problem we encountered was in Ciudad Bolivar where Neil and Kate were involved in a serious car crash.  Two people died.  Fortunately neither Neil or Kate were seriously injured.  Their medical care was excellent!

As an assignment for a communications class, students were instructed to interview a senior citizen and to write a report.  Two students, Emma and Scott wrote up my life and gave me a photo of the three of us at the end of their class.  Emma, who performed with the Lucia Singers for Christmas in Christ Chapel said, I’m sure I’ll be friends for life with people I’ve met my first year.  We’ll be there for each other.”  Scott is on the Student Senate, so he is helping to shape the future of Gustavus.  He is a leader in developing service opportunities on campus.  He and a friend started a new service fraternity and will help other frats and sororities to be more service oriented.  They both have that Gustie energy, enthusiasm and smile!  Stan and Marie (Schafer ’52) Benson were also interviewed for the same class.

Ray Lundquist wrote, “We had a real reunion of Gusties at Charlie Anderson’s funeral.  Dwight Holcombe gave a fine eulogy.  Other classmates included Earl Leaf, Bob Olson, Ray Larson, Bonnie Seaberg Bergman, and Bob Smith.”  Our sympathy to Charlie’s wife, Lois (Ledin ’56) and all of his family.  Charlie died on November 21, 2007.

Paul and Kiku Nakamura returned to Hawaii twice in 2007.  Paul’s brother, Ichiro passed away in August.  There are only two left out of the original eight brothers and one sister.

Marilyn Street Turner penned this note from Santa Rosa, CA.

“I had a wonderful time staying at the Retreat House on campus for one week last August.  Edna Granlund planned an activity for us each day.  Certainly didn’t seem like 60 years had gone by since we enrolled.  The campus looked beautiful.

            Visited Turkey in September.  Will have a hip replaced November 12.

            Give some money―get your name on the list.  If we can’t give the most money, let’s have the highest percentage of donors!!!”

Rosemary Schwartau Langsjoen writes from Tinley Park, IL, “I am in the process of emptying out my five bedroom house and moving into a small apartment.  It’s like going through a giant scrapbook of memories of the six kids.  I have been spending most of my week days up here babysitting for grandchildren 5, 10 and 11 years old.  The little one has cystic fibrosis so he needs a sitter who can do all the treatments.  She is in kindergarten and is doing well.  I am so grateful I can still manage all that.  They are so much fun.”

Louise Borg Bergmann sent this note from Oxnard, CA:  “I enjoyed being at our mini-reunion of some dorm classmates in August, hosted by Edna Granlund and held at the Retreat Center on the Gustavus campus.  Had two previous family reunions in Minnesota in July including a trip to the North Shore for four of us Bog siblings.”

Edith Peterson Vogt lives in Olivia, MN.  She writes, “We have a new granddaughter born to our son, Eric and his wife, Kim, who reside in Hong Kong, China.  She was born May 10, 2007.”

David and Delores Johnson’s July photo and newspaper article were sent to us.  It is fun to see the photo of them, in shorts, in their new home’s yard with their new waterfall, 270 red begonias and many impatiens plants.  They still have 3,000 plants and 25 rose bushes, etc.  David grew up on a farm.  The write-up was from a tour to help the Men’s Garden Club.

We were at the Open House to help Stan Benson celebrate his 80th birthday.  Their son, John ’80 and his family came from Moorhead, MN.  Son, Todd ’83 and his wife, Betsy, flew in from the Washington, DC area.  They are moving to Uganda where he will be working for the International Food Policy Research Institute.  Their son, Jeffrey, and his youngest daughter, Natalie, arrived unexpectedly from Seoul, Korea.  Stan answered the doorbell and there they stood much to his surprise!

Congratulations also to Stan and Marie (Schafer ’52) Benson for being named “Nicollet County Senior Citizens of the Year.”  Here is the article that appeared in the St. Peter Herald.

Bensons named Seniors of Year at Nicollet County Fair


St. Peter ― If the folks at Webster’s Dictionary are ever looking for a picture to put beside the entry for the word “volunteer,” they’d probably consider Stan and Marie Benson of St. Peter as ideal candidates for the subject of that photo.

   The Bensons, who retired from a long career as missionaries and returned to St. Peter in 1992, were honored for their sense of service and devotion to this area by being named the 2007 Nicollet County Senior Citizens of the Year.  The couple was honored at a special Senior Recognition program at Johnson Hall on Friday during part of the festivities for the Nicollet County Fair.

   “It truly is an honor to receive this distinction,” Marie said, shortly after the ceremony.

   This was just wonderful and I guess you could say kind of establishes us now truly as residents of St. Peter and Nicollet County.” Stan quipped.

   The award is given each year during the fair and the Bensons, who both are alums of Gustavus Adolphus College, received special plaques recognizing them for their achievements from Nicollet County Fair Board member Amy Pehrson.

   Stan Benson, who served for 40 years as a Lutheran pastor and missionary, mainly in the country of Tanzania, has maintained a very busy lifestyle since moving back to St. Peter about 15 years ago.  Marie has kept up a nearly identical pace in that time.

   The Bensons, who have been married for 51 years, both devote countless hours to the St. Peter chapter of Habitat for Humanity as well as with the local Meals on Wheels program, the St. Peter Area Food Shelf, Gustavus Adolphus College and the First Lutheran Church of St. Peter.

   Stan is also a member of the St. Peter chapter of Kiwanis International.

   “While both Stan and Marie have been extremely generous with their time and talent on behalf of the First Lutheran Church, their commitment of volunteer service has extended beyond the church to the community of St. Peter,” Paul Aasen stated in a nomination letter on Benson’s behalf.  “I personally am grateful for the dedicated service of both Stan and Marie.” 


Congratulations to Donn and Donna Larson on their daughter, Kristin, being appointed judge in the Tenth District.  Marilyn (Barnes) and Bill Robertz told me about the swearing in ceremony which was very impressive!

Marilyn Barnes Robertz is active with the Nicollet County Historical Society which runs the Cox House in St. Peter.  She helped to organize a beautiful display of bells and programs of music there during the Christmas season.

Fred Tidstrom is busy helping to establish the OREDOCKER Foundation to help co-curricular programs of the Ashland School District.

Joan Goodman Halberg, Murrells Inlet, SC wrote, “I’m still enjoying South Carolina and the many nice people I have met here.  Joan (Cravens) and Ed Benson stopped by on their way to Minnesota for the summer.  I am looking forward to moving to Florida when I sell my condo―to be close to my youngest daughter and her family.”

Harold and Verdyne Lindell live in Chandler, AZ.  He is with Arizona Foothills/Century 21.  (Note:  Next time I hope he sends news about his daughter, Gwen, who I heard sing in her important recital before she graduated from Gustavus in 1977.  Of course, her parents were there in Bjorling Hall!)

Jeanne Hanson Peter and Irvin of Cloquet, MN celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June 2007.

I asked Mark Anderson ’66, vice president for Admission, why team after team at Gustavus is tops.  He said, “I think it is because the coaches stress academics!  Studying comes first!  Gustavus is third in the nation in all divisions in the number of NCAA post-graduate scholarships in the last five years.  Stanford is number one, followed by Emory University at number two.”

One of the international students who is from Bolivia told me, “I’m enjoying the winter weather…  My major is business administration.”

A girl walked in Lund Center carrying a hockey stick.  A little later another co-ed approached with three hockey sticks.  They were returning early from J-term because the women’s hockey team played a game before classes started.  I wished them well and they said, “thanks!”  From our conversation, I could tell that they were team-oriented like the other teams.  They are a fantastic TEAM!!

Please send your NEWS soon.  We need some for the spring class letter!

Remember you are welcome to return for the 50-Year Club reunion every May.  This year it will be on Friday and Saturday, May 30-31, after Memorial Day!

Remember what Marilyn Street Turner wrote about having the highest percentage of donors!  Two classes are higher right now.  We used to always shine with top percentage.

Shine, Gusties, SHINE!

Dorothy Johnson Lutz

1951 Class Agent

P.S.  Watch all those fantastic Gustie sports teams!

Campus News

Greetings and salutations from on top of the hill!  My name is Adam Eckhardt and I am interning with the Alumni Relations Office over J-Term and through second semester!  I am a senior, double majoring in communication studies and business management.  I can hardly believe that J-Term has come to an end and, before we know it, the second semester will be upon us.  Over January I had the privilege of interning full-time with the Alumni Office, but coming this spring I will be on a part-time basis along with my classes.  This January was my third J-term on campus and it proved to be just as cold as I remembered it.  There were several mornings when I braved the trek across campus in the subzero blistering winds and the ice-coated parking lot that I wondered to myself, “Why do we live here?”  I suppose if it weren’t for the people this would be a pretty dismal place, but then I would get to work and see the people that make Gustavus happen every day and remembered why.

This year’s J-Term had a lot of opportunities to offer students.  There were over 26 different classes that went abroad to places such as Guatemala, Fiji, Tanzania, South Africa (my roommate went on this trip, I’m so jealous), India, and Australia.  Along with all of the classes the Orchestra toured in China for their international tour this year.  The tour started on January 18 and went through February 1.  If you look on the Gustavus web page you can see the orchestra doing the Gustie Rouser on the Great Wall of China!  I wonder how many times that has been done before?  The orchestra will conclude with a home concert in Christ Chapel on February 17 starting at 1:30 p.m. and the concert is free to the public.  Speaking of tours, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra will be touring to Florida over Spring Break this year.  The tour runs from March 22 to March 29 with a home concert on April 5 at 3:00 p.m.  The Gustavus Choir (I am a first tenor in this choir!!) will be postponing its tour this year due to Dr. Aune needing to leave for the remainder of the year for medical reasons.  We wish him a speedy recovery.

Gustie winter sports teams are having another great year, as all are near the top in the MIAC.

Other things that are happening in the following months of the semester include the 13th Annual Building Bridges conference.  This conference will focus on “Genocide Awareness:  How will history judge us?”  Paul Rusesabagina, whose life story was the basis of critically acclaimed movie Hotel Rwanda will speak at this year’s conference.  The Gustavus Music Showcase will be at Orchestra Hall on March 9 at 2 p.m.  The Gustavus Choir, the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and the Gustavus Wind Orchestra will all be featured at this event.  I encourage everyone to go since I will be singing in the Choir.  Tickets can be purchased at the Orchestra Hall box office and may be purchased at the door, online, and via fax or phone.  Go to www.gustavus.edu/musicshowcase to find out more.

I cannot believe that this J-Term has gone so fast and before I know it, I will be graduating and be an alumnus.  These four years have been great to me and I will cherish them forever.  I am proud to say that I am a Gustie and I hope you all are too!

GO GUSTIES!!!!

Adam Eckhardt ’08

Alumni Relations Intern