Class of '58
December 2005

Dear ’58ers,

            It seems to take longer to write a letter, as I get older.  Thus, you are getting six months worth of news at one time!

            First, to get this one out of the way, I am officially retiring at the end of this school year.  Actually, I guess I am semi-retired now since I am on a 2/3 contract, whatever that means!  I have been lucky to have had such a great opportunity for so many years.  I stumbled into this wonderful career of working with young people that has kept me challenged for such a long time.  I used to say I would retire when I had three consecutive days of not wanting to go to work and, since it did not happen, I decided to get out before I reached 70.  Yes, for the non-veterans in our class, this is the "speed limit" birthday.

            Before I begin the news section, let me thank the classmates who responded to our appeals last spring for the Gustavus Fund.  An earlier letter last spring thanked the first group, but not the second.  Thanks to you all for your great support!

            BEVERLY DUNCAN ANDERSON, LEE ANDERSON, WESTEN ANDERSON, VAHAN ASSADOURIAN, BOB BAUGH, ELLEN MAUS BOLER, PAUL BORG, DICK BRATT, KAREN MATTSON BRUNING, DOROTHY PALM CHILKOTT, CHARLES CLEMENTS, BARRY COULTER, MARTHA BANKE CURTIS, HEATHER PETERSON DAVIS-PEABODY, LOREN ECKBERG, DON ELVESTROM, MARGO PETTERSEN FOHS, CAROL LUND GARONE, JANET OLSON GREEN, JERRY HESSER, ANDREA GRANT JANOUSEK, JIM JOHANSEN, LLOYD AND WANDA (HEUER) JOHNSON, MARGE LUND KINNEY, LINDA ECKBLAD KNOCHENMUS, KEN KOZEL, JOYCE STRAND MARVEL, CLAUDETTE ANDERSON MCCOLLAR, JIM MCPHERSON, RON MICHELSON, AARON MOEN, MARGARET STEENERSON MOONEY, MIRIAM ANDERSON OLSEN, JEANINE LUNDAHL OLSON, RICHARD OLSON, ROBERT ORTLOFF, ROGER ROETTGER, DONNA (ELVESTROM) AND ADE SPONBERG, JANICE (CARLSON) AND LYNN STRAND, JUDITH HANSON TURNLUND, CHARLENE BUKKILA WESTRUM AND MARY ELLEN YOUNG.

            Our class had an excellent record last year.  Our total for the unrestricted Alumni Fund was $21,215, about $1,000 less than the year before…but a respectable fourth in our decade. With the leadership of some power givers, our grand total was $318,610 more than any other class!  There were 10 classes that contributed more than $100,000.

            We had 121 donors out of 191 classmates for a donor percentage of 63.4%, fourth in our decade.  Thirteen more donors would bring us to 70% participation―a very worthy goal.  Let's do it!

            We all know there are many good causes at Gustavus that deserve our support.  Gifts to the unrestricted Gustavus Fund are used to meet the annual operating costs of the College, ranging from financial aid to academic equipment to electricity.  Your gifts can also be designated to scholarships, Christ Chapel or to a favorite academic program.  All in your choosing!

            And, now for some news, starting with the earliest.  AARON MOEN is enjoying retirement, traveling, doing some professional writing, and a "regular dose of playing the fiddle with a couple of bluegrass bands".  Way to go!  CHARLES CLEMENTS is proud to announce his marriage to Shirley Frederick on November 23, 2004.  Married before he was 69!  Congratulations!  RUSS and JOAN (KRANTZ ’56) BRAUN celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on February 12.  Congratulations!  WANDA (HEUER) and LLOYD JOHNSON met KEITH NORLIN when he was guiding an Elderhostel hike in the State Parks of Southern Utah.  Lloyd and Keith remembered they were in the same geology class, taught by Chester Johnson, in the fall of 1954.  By the way, I saw Chester today and he is going strong at 91.  In fact, he recited to me some bawdy limericks that he learned from Kyle Montague ’34 years ago.

            KENT PETERSON, MERYL NELSON JESSEN, KAREN MATTSON BRUNING, CAROLYN CLOGSTON ENGQUIST, SHIRLEY LUNDGREN KANNE and ED GUTZMANN all visited the Gustavus booth at the State Fair, as did BOB "UP" OLSON of the class of 1959.  Sorry I missed most of you, since I only worked one day at the fair this year.  Over 400 alumni signed the guestbook at the booth.  Another group was at the Royal Affair; among those I saw were JOHN JOHNSON, JOHN DAHL, JAN (NEIDT) and ANDERS BJORLING and BOB PETERSON.  I am sure I missed several classmates.  WESTEN ANDERSON was on campus last weekend for Christmas in Christ Chapel.  And, you may have noticed in the Quarterly the visit to the campus by ELLWOOD JOHNSON, HERB LUNDEEN, JOHN DAHL and our friend, John Moore, a Gustie by virtue of being a parent of several alumni children.

            Back to more vintage news.  MARTHA BANKE CURTIS reports 37, going on 38, years of monthly bridge gatherings with JAN (THOMAS) and DOUG PRITCHARD, NORI (HEINE) and JIM BECKER and RICHARD and PAT (MCLANE ’59) OLSON.  Wow!  Martha and Les welcomed their fifth grandchild in October 2004.  VAHAN ASSADOURIAN and Joyce continue to travel in retirement.  ROBERT CHRISTENSON has spent 40 years as a health care consultant and has been moderator of the Minnesota Health Care Roundtable since 1995, moderating 22 roundtables.  He is also president of the Fridley Historical Society.  PATRICIA MILLER PETERSON has reached the point where she spends more time in Arizona than Minnesota.  At -5° here this morning in sunny St Peter, I can't figure out why.

            HERBERT ANDERSON is now living in Berkeley, CA where Phyllis is president of Pacific Lutheran Seminary.  Jack Niemi ’68, former vice president of Church Relations at Gustavus recently joined the staff at Pacific Lutheran Seminary.  BEVERLY (DUNCAN) and J ROGER ’57 ANDERSON have made Arizona their home base too and are keeping very busy with Beverly tutoring, volunteering at the Lutheran Thrift Store and completing seven years on the Foundation Board of Mosaic.  Roger volunteers with the homeless program and enjoys hobbies of photography, model ship building and serving on the board of the Augustana Heritage Association.  They have five grandchildren in California.  I recently renewed my acquaintance with their son, Craig ’82 and his wife, Lauri (Eckblad ’82).  DONNA (ELVESTROM) and ADE SPONBERG are also back in Arizona for the winter.  There must be hundreds of Gusties there.  Hey, it's up to +2° here at 10:00 this morning!

            KAREN MATTSON BRUNING has retired from nursing and she and Art enjoy their fourteen (14) grandchildren.  ROBERT ORTLOFF sent a nice letter earlier this year outlining his activities since he graduated.  After buying and selling two banks in Wisconsin, he continues in the banking business, by serving as a bank consultant for Banner Banks while operating Stoddard Insurance Company and being the chief financial officer of a recreational land real estate company, Secluded Land Company.  Congratulations, Bob, on a very successful career!  ROLLIE and MARY HIRMAN divide their time between St James City, FL and Outing, MN, selling their home near Rochester.  MARY ELLEN YOUNG does not only play golf in Florida, but also has been vice president for education for the Symphony Guild, lectures on Eastern Thought and has collaborated with local pianists on programs on women composers of the 19th century.  Now, that is busy.

            MIRIAM ANDERSON OLSEN has become a Texan, living in Rockport (near Corpus Christi) and summering in Browerville, MN.  Husband, Don, died in 2003 and Mim decided that Texas needed her "enlightened voice and vote" more than Minnesota.  Friends will be happy to know that she is still out there giving her views to who ever will listen!  JANICE and LYNN (CARLSON) STRAND are enjoying life in Bozeman, MT.  JIM MCPHERSON has retired from teaching at Princeton, but continues to be busy writing, lecturing and fund-raising for various Civil War preservation activities.  Whenever I see Jim on the History Channel, I wonder:  (a) was he really only 14 years old when he was a student at Gustavus? or (b) what does he do to look so young?  I know he has a healthy and vigorous life; that must be it.

            RICHARD "RED" OLSON also sent me a nice letter last spring.  Of particular interest to me was his description of the annual summer meeting of former Gustie baseball players, DICK BRATT, OZZIE ANDERSON ’56 and DALE WESTPHAL ’56 and their wives.  They meet at interesting places around the country, not near ballparks, but near golf courses!  JOYCE STRAND MARVEL continues to teach two courses each semester, anatomy and physiology and microbiology, but is considering moving upon retirement―will it be Minnesota or Texas, or some of each?

            ROGER ROETTGER has been retired for several years, playing golf and loving the freedom.  He and Judy alternate their time between Florida and Michigan.  Roger had a big family party for #70, as we all hope to do.  Last I heard they were planning a trip to England in September.   JIM EDMAN also enjoys retirement, which includes hiking, bird watching and cooking.  Hey Jim, there is a birding club at Gustavus, which takes weekend trips around the area.  MARLENE GASTLER PETERSEN has twelve (12) grandchildren.  LENIDA JEPSON SANDAHL volunteers at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul and made sure that a Gustavus nursing uniform was on display there.  (For many years the Gustavus nursing program was based at Bethesda Hospital.)

            Cheers to BILL and MARLYS BINGER who have a grandson at Gustavus, Benjamin Musgjerd ’09, the first of their seven grandchildren to become third generation.  I hope they all come!  LOIS WALFRID JOHNSON was cited in Minneapolis-St Paul Magazine for her most recent endeavor, the “Viking Quest” series, set in tenth century Ireland and Norway.  Lois visited both to research her settings.  She has written more than thirty books.  Well done!  Please give your thoughts and prayers to DAVID WAGNER, who is being treated for cancer.  Greetings to all classmates from BOB PETERSON, who heads with Ranae to Destin, Florida at the end of the month.

            I hope many of you will join others in the class by sending a gift to the Gustavus Fund before the end of the month.

            This June will be the 48th year since our graduation.  Gifts from 75% of you will be better than we have ever done.

                                                           Merry Christmas!

                                                           Owen Sammelson

                                                           osammels@gustavus.edu

                                                           1958 Class Agent