Class of ’58

April 2012

Dear ʼ58ers,

It is with great sadness that I write to you of the passing of BOB PETERSON on April 10 at age 81 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.  Bob was a Gustie through and through.  After graduation from Grantsburg High School in Wisconsin, a two-year stint with Dayton’s and four years in the U. S. Navy, Bob came to Gustavus in the fall of 1954.  He addressed his allegiance to our class in his essay written for our 50th Anniversary.

“Remember the green beanies that awaited our arrival as freshmen in 1954?  What nonsense!! A green beanie?  Not for me, I thought. I was six years at that point removed from high school.  I was also a graduate of four years in the U.S. Navy plus two years at Dayton’s.  My white sailor hats were in the bottom of my sea bag, tucked away in a distant locker.  Green beanie?  Wasn’t I beyond the kind of stuff a green beanie seems to imply?

Coming to Gustavus at that time – to this special college – this college of my church – was an answer to my prayers, the answer to dreams of long standing.  Had Korea not intervened, I might have been able to start earlier, but then I would have lost the privilege of having you as my classmates.

As I thought about things as an incoming student, I then finally said “yes” to the idea of wearing our beanie.  Why?  Because a sense of belonging, a sense of community, a sense of family have been important as long as I seem to remember having a bit of sensitivity.  My decision to wear the green beanie said I wanted to identify with you even though I was privately concerned that age differences might be limiting and that I should have chosen to attend a larger university with its wider ranges of age in the student body.

You did accept me readily into your circles of friendship, and here we are 54 years later and these thoughts cross my mind again.  What I’m really expressing now is my gratitude, my affection, my love for each of you who have touched my life so thoughtfully over the years.  What a godsend this class (my class) this college (my college), all of its people and its mission.”

Bob served as our class agent for over 30 years and my colleague at Gustavus for 36 years and an old friend of 57 years.  I will miss him greatly.

Bob’s accomplishments at Gustavus were many; during Bob’s tenure the College’s endowment experienced steady and significant growth and he also oversaw the successful completion of several capital campaigns.  Bob received the Greater Gustavus Award in 1979 and was presented with the Order of the Polar Star by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in 1996.

The family prefers memorials to the Ranae J. and Robert A Peterson Scholarship at Gustavus.  It is important to refer to the above name since there is another Robert A Peterson Scholarship at Gustavus.

STAN LARSON, ROLLIE HIRMAN and PAUL BORG all responded to my inquiries about their memories of Vic Gustafson ʼ42, the long-time swimming coach and physical education instructor who died on February 9 on his 95th birthday.  Stan attended the memorial service and sat with Dick Williams ’55 who now lives in the Seattle area.  “Dick was captain of the swimming team our freshman year and lived in Vic’s basement.  A lot of the swimmers not only rented from Vic, but also took part in his many excursions to the Lake of the Woods area for camping and canoeing.  He was legendary on how to survive on a limited budget as we learned on our many trips during the semester break to compete around the country against larger competitive programs.  Vic’s life enriched all of us who were part of his program and provided us with many lessons in living a quality, reasonable life.  I took a swimming class from Vic and received a C.  I mentioned this to Ron Zaniewski ʼ61 at the funeral and he said he received the same grade.  The two of us were the best swimmers in his class, but Vic wanted to make sure no favoritism was shown”.

ROLLIE HIRMAN remembers “joining the swimming team in the fall of 1955 with the encouragement of his roommate, BILL BINGER and being warmly welcomed by Vic.  He became a personal friend as well as a coach.  The team traveled to Georgia to swim in several meets against GA colleges.  Travel was in Vic’s 1949 Ford station wagon and meals on the road were at White Castle hamburger joints or the equivalent.  I think there were 8 or 9 of us in that vehicle−some rotating to laying on the luggage in the rear.  He had that unique knack of bringing out the best of his young team members.  It is said that every student can remember at least one teacher from their school days that made a difference in their lives.  Vic totally filled that bill in my life.”

“One final memory.  At out 50th Class Reunion, several of us “old” ’58 swimmers decided to hold a “meet” in the new pool.  There were five of us and we asked, of course, Vic to “coach” us.  When we had completed our laps of the pool, we asked Vic how we did.  His short and curt reply was “you weren’t very fast.  Then he left the pool.”

When thinking of faculty/staff important to their college experience, PAUL BORG thinks of Vic Gustafson, a diminutive figure with a huge, positive personality and a commitment to bring the best out of the latent potential of striving athletes.  Always operating out of a meager budget for swimming, he committed his resources to providing rich experiences through annual long-distance trips and innovative ventures to develop his charges.  Who can forget chasing the rabbit, a crude mechanism with pulleys and motor?  With wry sense of humor he would cajole and banter in the cause of improvement.  Vic was a committed coach and a warm friend and a real asset to Gustavus.  He is missed by all of us who knew him.”

MARLYS JOHNSON JOHNSON reminds us of the second annual “BOOKS IN BLOOM” celebration in the Bernadotte Library on campus the weekend of May 4-6.  Hosted by Gustavus Library Associates (GLA), Books in Bloom matches floral arrangements with books, films, journals and other media.  A number of classmates, encouraged by Marlys, the chair of the event, have chosen to sponsor one of the Books in Bloom.  These classmates are Joyce (Johnson ʼ59) and DON ELVESTROM, Stuart ʼ61 and MARLYS JOHNSON JOHNSON.  Dorothy (Rylander ʼ59) and JOHN JOHNSON, LOIS WALFRID JOHNSON, Gene ʼ57 and CAROLYN LUND SANDVIG and Jan (Swanson ʼ62) and OWEN SAMMELSON.  If you are in the area that weekend, the event is free and fun!

Thanks again to the many donors who sent a gift to Gustavus since the last class letter and up to April 15.

RUSSELL BRAUN, DON ELVESTROM, MARCIA (AMUNDSON)and CHET JANASZ, MARLYS JOHNSON JOHNSON, CAROL HADLICH MAGNUSON, NANCY JOHNSON PETERSON, HERBERT ANDERSON, JIM EDMAN, ROLLIE HIRMAN, JOHN JOHNSON, WANDA HEUER JOHNSON, BOB PETERSON, OWEN SAMMELSON, SONYA (HARBO) and DUANE TALUS, CHARLES BUSCH, ROBERT SHOGREN, CARL JOHNSON, ROBERT CHRISTENSON, MARGO PETTERSEN FOHS, JANET OLSON GREEN, SALLY CLAUSEN TAYLOR, ELLEN MAUS BOLER, PAUL BORG, BARRY COULTER, PEGGY GOTFREDSON DeLONG, MARLYS CHELGREN HEBAUS, and LOIS WALFRID JOHNSON.

Also, LARS LOFGREN, SUSAN ELAM O’CONNOR, DON OLSON, BARBARA JENSEN OLSON,

PATRICIA MILLER PETERSON, NOEL BEHNE, ROB ROBINSON, CAROLYN LUND SANDVIG, HELEN MAGNUSON SCHULZ, LYNN and JANICE (CARLSON) STRAND, MARLENE ISENSEE THOMAS, DONNA JONES KIEWATT, ANDERS BJORLING, KAREN JACOBSON CARLSON, BARBARA BENNETT CHRISTOPHERSON, MARTHA BANKE CURTIS, DENNIS ERICKSON, JODY SPRINGER LANGE, RICHARD OLSON, GLORIA ANDERSON and BIZ NELSON LEMPP.

Thanks very much! As I mentioned in the last class letter, 60% of you contribute to Gustavus every year.  This is a remarkable percentage and we greatly appreciate your generosity and loyalty.  Another 20% are more casual, but we have been pleased to hear from many of you this year.  The final 20% are in our “surprise us” group; and a special thanks to those of you who have made a contribution this year.  A triple thank you to you!

We are hoping to have a mini-class reunion at the Augustana Heritage Association meeting at Gustavus on June 21-24.  This is the eighth gathering of this group, and I believe, the last one.  I am assuming a number of you have registered since I believe PAUL BORG, ROGER and BEVERLY DUNCAN ANDERSON, Phyllis and HERBERT ANDERSON and Anne (Kilty ʼ60) and MARK WIBERG plus Arlene and STEVE HILDING have indicated they will be attending.  Registration forms may be obtained from Amy Pehrson in the Center for Servant Leadership at Gustavus.  (Phone: 507-933-7169).  The cost is $205 for the three-day event or $15 for a commuter registration which covers a worship service, luncheon and one Plenary Session on Saturday.

We do have some news.  Nancy Lindau and Karen and BUD BOBERG were on campus for the Lindau Symposium earlier this month.  Bud continues to be with Family Friends, Inc., serving youth and their families in the Minnetonka area.  We had a chance to visit with NANCY JOHNSON PETERSON, HERB LUNDEEN, DALE NOYED and STAN LARSON at Bob Peterson’s memorial service last week.

CHAR (BUKKILA) and ROD WESTRUM live in Park Rapids, MN and spend a few months in The Villages, FL.  SALLY CLAUSEN TAYLOR continues to live in the same house in Olympia, WA.  Her husband, Gib, plays the guitar at bluegrass music jams in the Pacific Northwest so they travel with their RV in the summer.  They also spent a month this winter at Port Arandas.  Roger ʼ57 and BEVERLY DUNCAN ANDERSON alternate summers between California and Minnesota (MN this summer) besides their home in Sun City West, AZ.

We were pleased to have dinner with Patricia (Rasche ʼ59) and JIM MC PHERSON last week when Jim was on campus to speak and meet with students and faculty as the Sesquicentennial Scholar.  His Chapel speech highlighted similarities in 1862 between the Dakotah uprising in Minnesota, that stage of the Civil War and the founding of Gustavus.

CAROLYN LUND SANDVIG had the great opportunity this spring to spend two plus weeks in France, beginning with the International Figure Skating Championships in Nice, plus being with friends in Marseilles and Paris and a chance to take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea.  A great trip!

Mark your calendar now for our 55th class reunion on May 31 and June 1, 2013.  I know it seems a long way off, but it is only 13 months, plus a few days.  MARLYS JOHNSON JOHNSON has agreed to chair the reunion committee and is inviting volunteers for the committee to contact her at 726 Lower Johnson Circle, St Peter, MN 56082, or 507-934-6135 or mcjcsfa@aol.com in the coming months.  We hope that between 50 to 60 classmates will attend and that we can develop a program with some new events.  These reunions usually include a dinner on Friday evening (May 31) and the 50-Year Club luncheon on Saturday, June 1.

But, our innovative class should be able to add some other interesting new events for our enjoyment.  Most of us will be 77-78 at that time, but the male veterans will be in their early eighties; a good time to share our memories and celebrate our longevity!  Look for more information in the summer class letter.

Best to all of you!

Carolyn Lund Sandvig

5901 Park Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55417

612-866-4845

Owen Sammelson

618 West Nassau

St. Peter, MN  56082

507-934-4790

swansam@hickorytech.net

Marlys Johnson Johnson

Campus News

2012 Alumni Association Awards Announced

The Gustavus Alumni Board of Directors has announced its 2012 award recipients:

Greater Gustavus Award – awarded to those “who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College”:

Jon and Anita Thomsen Young ’77 ’77, Eden Prairie, MN, for their volunteer leadership, service and philanthropy to the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations – recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement that brings unusual honor to the individual in his or her field of endeavor:

Scott Dee ’81, Farwell, MN, professor of veterinary population medicine, University of Minnesota, swine consultant, and international research veterinarian and director at Pipestone Veterinary Clinic;

Mark Elfstrom ’01, Anchorage, AK, middle school math and science teacher, recipient of a 2011 Milken Educator Award and finalist for the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching;

Kurt Elling ’89, New York, NY, Grammy Award-winning vocal jazz artist.

First Decade Awards – recognizing early professional achievement in the 10th anniversary class:

Amy Brown ’02, Pittsburgh, PA, neonatology fellow at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center;

Michael Bland ’02, St. Louis, MO, postdoctoral associate, earth and planetary sciences, Washington University.

The Alumni Association will present Faculty and Administrator Service and Retirement Awards at a dinner at Gustavus on May 16; honorees will be featured in the fall issue of The Gustavus Quarterly.

National Sesquicentennial Celebrations

Throughout the coming year, Gusties are gathering across the country to reflect on Gustavus’s past, celebrate 150 academic years, and engage for the future.  In conjunction with the celebrations on campus, the College invites all alumni, parents, and friends for a celebration in an area near them.  The president has gone to 14 different locations from New York to LA.  You can view them all and register for an event at gustavus.edu/150.

June 5, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Rochester (Somerby Golf Club, Byron MN)

June 18, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - St. Cloud (St. Cloud Civic Center, St. Cloud MN)

June 19, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Willmar (The Oaks at Eagle Creek, Willmar MN)

June 20, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Fargo/Moorhead (Stokers at Hotel Donaldson)

June 25, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Sioux Falls (Minerva’s Restaurant and Bar, Sioux Falls, SD)

June 26, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Omaha (Spezia Restaurant, Omaha NE)

June 27, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Des Moines (The Wakonda Club, Des Moines IA)

July 16, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Grand Rapids (Timberlake Lodge Hotel, Grand Rapids MN)

July 17, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Duluth (Clyde Park Restaurant, Duluth MN)

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  Speakers for May will feature former Gustavus president, Dennis Johnson ʼ60.  The St. Peter Breakfasts are held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month and the Twin Cities Breakfasts are held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail alumni@gustavus.edu.  Hope to see you bright and early!

MayDay! Conference

On Wednesday, May 2, Gustavus will host the 32nd annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference.  “Multicultural Sweden” is the topic of the 32nd annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference.  Dilsa Demirbag-Sten, Swedish journalist and media contributor on such topics as integration and amnesty, opens the daylong conference at 10 a.m. in Christ Chapel.  There are many other events scheduled for the remainder of the afternoon.  The conference, an event designed to educate the campus community and beyond about issues related to peace, human rights, and social justice, is open to public at no charge.