Class of '59
January 2005

Greetings to ’59ers!

It's an honor and a privilege to be the first "ghost" (I mean guest) writer for the new year 2005.  Many years have slipped by since I put words to paper for all of you Gusties.  I have many fond memories of late nights in the Weekly annex and motoring to LeSueur on Wednesday afternoons to proof the pages.  I was quite adept at reading type upside down and backwards.  If any of you have read the book by Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, you know what a "stickler" is and I am one, much to the dismay of my family and former colleagues.  My daughters can’t believe it when I use the red pencil on their emails.

My heartiest congratulations and appreciation go out to our reunion committee for the time and effort they expended on our behalf, assuring us a memorable evening.  I am especially grateful for the Martin Luther bobblehead doll.  And yes, Alan ’58 and I had a marvelous "walk through Lutherland" in October.

And so, on to the "noose" as we have collected it:

CLYDE RENSTED has been hunting with the same group of hunters for years.  They just finished their 47th Annual Big Game Hunt to Montana and Wyoming this fall.  Clyde's freezer is full, and his wife, Audrey, is researching cookbooks to try to find new ways to cook deer, elk and antelope.

JOHN EDMAN has retired from his professorship at the University of California, Davis and has decided to spend his retirement years in South Carolina.

PAUL YOUNGDAHL has decided to give up his position as head basketball coach at the Stillwater state prison and concentrate on growing Mt. Olivet where you come as a visitor and leave as a friend.  Paul and Nancy are spending a few days relaxing after the Christmas season someplace in Mexico.  (This is from Wilt Croonquist.  I'm not responsible, Paul.)

Hey, all you alumni in the Willmar area, don't miss this one!  Wilt promises lutefisk and all the fixings at a Gustavus Gathering on Tuesday, April 19 at 6:00 p.m. at Bethel Lutheran Church in downtown Willmar.  Watch your mailbox for details.

PAUL and Sharon (Schultz ’60) MAGNUSON report that Paul had a partial knee replacement recently and is recovering faster than expected.  He continues to add miles as he travels to other countries to assist in establishing Rule of Law and Independent Judiciaries.  This past year, this effort has taken him to Russia, Austria, Burundi, Kenya, Slovenia, Albania and Mexico.  Sometimes, sessions with foreign judges are held in this country as well.  In between trips, he still puts on the black robe and hears cases in the courtroom.  Sharon has continued to speak of God's grace and its real life impact.  On occasion, she has tagged along with Paul―to Albania, Montana, Washington and Florida!  Her best trip this past year, however, was to London and Paris with her 15-year-old granddaughter, Sharon.

TUSA (JOHNSON) and Dick ’56 BERGMAN have a grandson, Tim, who is a freshman at Gustavus.  Tusa is still fighting cancer and just finished her fourth series of chemo before Christmas.  We all hope the cancer can be arrested, and she can have a long vacation from chemo.  They now have a 26-foot trailer with all the comforts of home.  Even Benjamin (the cat) travels with them.  Tusa, that's the stuff of which famous novels are written!  I can see it now… Travels With Benjamin.

CAROL JOHNSON HEYL reports that their move went fairly well except they didn't have water the first day, and the workmen were still finishing up small jobs.  They closed on their new home two weeks after moving in―but most of the boxes were unpacked as of November 4, 2004.  However, in true Gustie style, they threw an election night party!  There's always time for a party, Carol, right?

This next one I love, as I am president of our county Habitat for Humanity chapter.

CLIFF JOHNSON writes in November: "I just came back from the most rewarding event of a lifetime.  That is the Jimmy Carter Work Project 2004 in Puebla, Mexico.  There were 4,000 volunteers from 35 countries, and we built 150 homes in five days.  These were modest homes of approximately 600 square feet with two bedrooms, kitchen, small bath and living room, constructed with cement-like blocks and metal roofs.  I have been working at the local level for about one year, but I had no idea how large the international HFH program is.  In Albuquerque, we built 10 new homes and remodeled four this year.  Jimmy and Rosalind Carter were there and worked very hard.  Then, they presented Spanish Bibles to the new homeowners.  The goal for HFH International for 2005 is 500 million dollars to build 200,000 homes in 100 countries to house one million people.  Top contributor was Whirlpool with 25 million dollars.  The one that surprised me the most was 12 million dollars from Lions International.

The volunteers pay their own way plus $500 for room and board for the week.  I took a few days afterward to tour part of Mexico to recuperate.  We worked hard.  The bus picked us up at our hotel at 6 a.m. and returned us by 6:30 p.m.  Breakfast was served on site at 6:30 a.m. and lunch at about noon.  The culinary school cooked and served all of the meals, and the food was excellent if you like Mexican cuisine.  Next year, the builds will take place in Benton Harbor and Detroit, Michigan.  Anyone interested?"

BARB ENDERSBE WALLIN writes:  "Thanks for sending the class letter so regularly!  It is always great to hear what classmates are doing!  The reunion was GREAT, and I truly did enjoy the whole evening!  Thanks for ALL of your work and planning for a great celebration!"  (Don't you love people who speak in caps and exclamation points?)

PAUL and KATHLEEN (COFFMAN) WESTGARD spent the month of August in Minnesota visiting friends and relatives.  (They live in Scottsdale.)  They had trips to Utah and Jackson Hole with Kathleen's fine arts group and continue to do some real estate transactions, Heard Museum, touring, hunting, fishing, time with their church group and petting Margaret Mary, the Wonder Dog.

SONIA and SANDIE ANDERSON had a major trip in January 2004 to Hawaii, visiting Maui, Kauai, Big Island Hawaii, and Oahu.  They drove most of each island.  Highlights included the winding road to Hana, the helicopter flight back over the caldera of Haleakala, and attending the fantastic Myth and Magic Theatre performance of Ulalena, plus much, much more.  During their trip to Florida last April, they visited the Chibuly Art Glass Exhibits in Orlando and St. Petersburg.  He is world renown and a magnificent artist.  They also visited many friends while staying at their timeshare.  They reported:  "Our days at Sand Lake are always very special.  The summer was cooler than usual, which we enjoyed.  We were glad that John Engstrom could complete the remodeling of the front deck and repair the logs on the front of the 100-year-old cabin.  We continue to enjoy doing a variety of crafts, such as beading, stamping to make cards, reading, hand and machine knitting.  Our annual knitting weekend at Camp Onamia was fun and productive.  In late September, while we were at Whitebirch, we had several friends and Gustavus classmates come up to visit and work on crafts.  It was great to catch up with so many classmates [at the reunion].  Our Mom attended her 60th reunion in 1995.  We hope we can reach that milestone as well."

NANCY OMAN WARD:  "I will be back at work after winter break, but I do love it and can't imagine not teaching.  Am I crazy or what!  I love your Gustavus newsletters...keep them coming."

JEANETTE WESTBERG JOHNSTON is a substitute teacher at Sheraton in Eagle River and surrounding communities, but she is sooooo happy when they don't call her.  She'd rather "cozy up" by the fire with a good book.  (Jeanette, that's also my favorite thing-to-do!  And isn't it great that we don't have to feel guilty doing it?)  She and Scooter ’60 still do some traveling, but mostly to Idaho to be with grandchildren.

LEONARD BROWN enjoys volunteering once a month at the food bank, boxing food for under-privileged families.  He's in Grand Rapids, MN.

CHARLES JOHNSON is an accountant and income tax preparer and lives in Cambridge, MN.  He had a message regarding voting in November―no fair politicking in this missive (even though I am of the same persuasion).

LYNDA JOHNSON MINNICK and her husband, Malcolm, traveled around New Zealand for the month of November.  She is a retired resource developer in Chicago.

SALLY NORDSTROM SARFF owns three homes―Florida, Plymouth, and Two Harbors.  (It was so fun to see that smiling face once again at the reunion!)

DONNA OLSON OLSON is retired from elementary education and shows her address as Lake Park, MN.  Her son is not in St. Peter (as reported in the last newsletter) but in Little Canada, MN.

LAVONNE KYRKLUND OLSEN vacationed last fall in the Smokey Mountains and the Ozarks.  She's retired and lives in Nicollet, MN.

PAUL and Linda (Pierson ’60) ENGEBRETSON:  Paul retired from active OB/GYN practice with the Alexandria Clinic in Alexandria, MN in June 2004.  He continues to be active with music and various sports, such as golf and fishing.  For six months last fall and this winter, he is on the OB/GYN staff at Royal Hobart Hospital in Tasmania, Australia.  Linda has retired from her work as a prevention and mentorship coordinator in the Alexandria schools and keeps busy with community and church activities.  As I write this, and we are freezing in Minnesota, Paul and Linda are enjoying summer in Australia.

DAN and Jane JOHNS:  "The best of times and the worst of times…is how Jane and I have experienced 2004.  The best includes wonderful events, highlighted by the birth of Michael James, son to Steve ’92 and Lori Melander...and little sister, Ellie, thinks her red-haired brother is just right!...wonderful visit to Gales Ferry, CT, to participate in the 40th anniversary of my first parish...Dan now being cancer free...Matt's business trip to Bangalore, India, gives him first-hand information on outsourcing...$42,000 raised by Mike's friends to provide a permanent scholarship at St. Thomas...and most thrilling is to watch the erection of our new church building, with 80% of labor being done by our parish volunteers, affectionately known as the 'Old Geezers' with average age of almost 70 doing most of the work.  A miracle unfolding!  We love these people!

And the worst includes beginning the year [2004] still grieving death of son, Mike, summer of 2003, Dan discovering prostate cancer with successful surgery in March...followed by cardiomyopathy and beta blockers...followed by Dan’s pneumonia which wouldn't go away for months...daughter, Mara, and husband, Adam, both broke their lower backs in a couple places each as the result of a freak deck collapsing accident in St. Louis.  This was enroute to their new home in Des Moines.  They are recovering well; Cora and Zeke who were being held by Mara and Adam didn't get hurt.

A busy year with lots of entertaining...Jane still loving her trumpet, book clubs, choirs, and the North Woods.  We really are doing well, skiing, to Hawaii [this month] and humbled by the prayer support and encouragement received continually by so many friends.  We are blessed!"

Whew!  Gustavians are still "holding up the world."  At our home in Willmar, we welcomed grandchild #8 (Francesca Jeanette) and buried my mother at Ft. Snelling Cemetery following a wonderful "celebration of life."  Alan spent this week ice fishing up north (with our classmate Duane Aldrich) while I cared for two grandsons.  Our #4 daughter is a Captain in the Army Reserve JAGs and is deployed to Camp McCoy in Wisconsin for a year.  She was attending JAG school in Virginia last week.  If I don’t play “Go Fish” or “Old Maid” again for a while, that would be okay with me.

Campus News:

Old Main has served the Gustavus campus since 1876 when it housed the entire campus.  To keep Old Main a functional part of campus, a complete renovation of the building will begin in February. Classrooms and offices will be reconfigured and updated to accommodate current teaching technology. Central climate control and an elevator will also be added.  Mattson Hall has been built west of Schaefer Fine Arts to house faculty and staff during the renovation. The new residence hall being built southwest of the football field is progressing and will be ready for fall semester

Did you know that the college has gone wireless?  Wireless computing, that is?  Many buildings support wireless connectivity and outdoor connectivity is being broadcast from several roofs.  Gustavus continues to increase the number of wireless locations on campus every month.

Gustavus music ensembles will tour soon.  The Gustavus Choir will take a 17-day East Coast tour (January 20-February 5), the Wind Orchestra (formerly the Gustavus Band) will tour nine days (January 28-February 5) in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana, and the String Orchestra will tour nine days (January 29-February 6) in Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado.  The Gustavus Choir, Wind Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Gustavus Music Showcase, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Eden Prairie, on March 20.

The Gustavus athletics website received the Pride of CASE V Gold Award at the District V Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Annual Conference in December.  The district includes educational institutions from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Announcing a new tool for all Alumni:  The Gustavus Gift Planning website is a resource for alums of all ages to learn more about planning for their financial future.  The site explores some basics like the need for a will and health care proxy.  It also provides information about planning for the transfer of assets to benefit you and your family, a gift calculator to see how to make a gift that pays you and also provides tax benefits, e-brochures for more information, and how to have a meaningful impact on a non-profit organization important to you.  Check it out today at gustavus.edu/giving.

The 2003-2004 Honor Roll of Donors is now available under the Gustavus Fund at gustavus.edu/giving.  The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2003 and May 31, 2004.  To find your name or check out your class results, just point and click from your home or office computer.  For those who do not have access to a computer, you may call toll-free 866-487-3863 to receive a copy in the mail (supplies are limited).

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Boston Chapter with Gustavus Choir– Jan. 24
  • New York Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 and Gustavus Choir – Jan. 26
  • Washington, D.C. Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Jan. 29
  • Tampa Bay Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Feb. 2
  • Marco Island Chapter Boat Cruise Luncheon – Feb. 5
  • Diversity Center Reunion/Building Bridges Conference – March 12
  • Tucson Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 18
  • Phoenix Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 19
  • Sun City Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 20
  • Twin Cities Gustavus Music Showcase – March 20
  • Seattle Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 1
  • Bay Area Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 2
  • Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) day of community service – April 30

Take care, and God bless!

Jeanette Reinke Carlson

1959 Guest Letter Writer