Class of '60
Our 40th reunion is now history! In less than 10 years we will have had our 50th (spring of 2010) and if this reunion was any indication, our stories as individuals and as a class will be richer still! I was never prouder to be a member of the class of 1960 than I was last Saturday as I listened to Andy Noren Rogers, Paul Tidemann, Barb Nordstrom Hanson, and By Helgeson offer their reflections at our luncheon on campus. They were funny, inspirational and instructive, so good that I am sending reprints to all class members at the end of this letter.
110 members of the class of 1960 and their spouses attended the Friday night get-together at the Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington. It was a wonderful turnout. After initially trying to match up the photos on the nametag with the person wearing the tag, the old familiarity returned and the happy chatter could hardly be interrupted to launch a program. Emcees for the evening were Judy Oberbeck Johnson and David "I yust flu in from Sveden, ya" Wold. The two worked the crowd for anecdotes and humor and found classmates ready to respond. The stories were great and we do not tire of them no matter how many times we have heard them, although, amazingly, there are always new ones. I am also enclosing a listing of who attended (or at least who was registered—there were some last minute cancellations, ie. Ross Dickie and Dick Hostin.
- Jim & Diane (Hammargren ’63) Anderson
- Marilyn (Wicklund) & A. J. Anderson
- Mark & Roz (Johnson ’62) Anderson
- Neil D. Anderson
- Roger & Nita (Swanson ’61) Anderson
- Virginia (Nelson) & Raymond Anderson
- Karen (Olson) & John Brown
- Judy Sand Burmeister
- David & Karen (Westman ’61) Carlson
- Margo (Pinney) & Ernest Cotton
- Ruth Ann (Shervheim) & Charles Danger
- Karen Carlson Danielson
- Jim & Ann Donicht
- Marilyn Hansen Ehline
- Bob & Jean (Stenstrom ’61) Eidsvold
- Ruth Grandstrand Engdahl
- Linda (Pierson) & Paul ’59 Engebretson
- Bob & Lou (Eckman) Engstrom
- Duane & Annabelle Erickson
- Marlyn (Windedahl) & Kermit Franzen
- Marilyn Hallberg Gaffin
- Nancy Dege Gerhard
- Luther Granquist & Anita Schermer
- Rollie & Carolee Hanks
- Byron Helgeson
- LaVonne (Risty) & James Herbert
- Dana Knobel Hesser
- Sonja (Alvheim) & Tom ’64 Hirsch
- Charles & Jo (Johnson ’61) Johnson
- Dennis & Carol Johnson
- Helen (Hannover) & Stephen ’59 Johnson
- Judy Oberbeck Johnson
- Dick & Orpah (Juingclaus) Johnson
- Suzanne (Wasgatt) & Ben ’59 Johnson
- Robert & Sandra Krough
- Carolyn Anderson Kvam
- Karen Dahlberg Landro
- Craig & Alice Lawson
- Dick Loomer
- Nathan & Doreen Lundgren
- Sharon (Schultz) & Paul Magnuson
- Beverly Lingwall & David Mooney
- Dee Anne Nygren Najjar
- Lois & Dean ’59 Nelson
- Y. Marguerite (Stow) & David Nelson
- Palmer Norling
- Karen (Schendel) & Bob Nybo
- Ray & (Sheila ’59) Olson
- Barbara (Lundholm) & Clifford Peppers
- John & Mary (Linnerooth ’62) Petersen
- Marge (Day) & Gene Philipson
- Marna (Colliander) & Phil ’59 Colliander
- Fred & Andrea (Noren) Rogers
- Harlan & Judy (Fairbanks ’61) Sandberg
- Bill & Jean Shogren
- Lois Sundberg Smedstad
- Jean Hilding Stuart
- Mary (McCreery) & John Teppen
- Jerry & Doris Thrall
- Paul Tidemann
- Jo Jensen Tollefson
- Sue Appelquist Tucker
- Joel & Nancy (Anderson) Wiberg
- David Wold
- Muriel Woods
Consensus: the change to homecoming as a time for reunions rather than graduation weekend seems to be affirmed by all and Friday night in the cities and Saturday on campus seems also to work well.
Our Saturday gathering actually began at the Homecoming Alumni Memorial Service. The names of all Gusties who died in the previous year were read. Among those names were classmates: Larry Hoppe, Penny Jackewitz Lundgren, and Carolyn Johnson Norling ’63, spouse of Palmer Norling and sister of Arne Johnson. The name of faculty member Floyd Martinson was also read. As the names were read, a chime sounded for each, reminding us that someday our names will be read and the Gustavus community will remember us.
We also have to report the death of David Johnson, husband of Judy Oberbeck Johnson who died last spring.
Following the service, some of our alums who came early watched the "Homecoming parade" (not quite up to the standards of yesteryear), others attended the dedication and opening of the Hillstrom Museum. Several of our nurses, who trained at Bethesda Hospital where Hillstrom was chaplain, were amazed at what this "mild and quiet" chaplain accumulated over the years. "I had no idea" was a frequent comment. While the rest of the campus community went to the dedication of the International Center, our class gathered for our luncheon in the new Jackson Campus Center. Guest faculty from our era included: Chester and Marian (Swanson ’41) Johnson; Clair McRostie ’52; Clair Johnson; Milt ’49 and Elaine Brostrom; Ellery Peterson ’49, and "Prof K" Phil Knautz ’48. Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33 made a guest appearance as well and spoke briefly on Friday night and again on Saturday. Others seen on campus during the day: Vic Gustafson ’42, Mike Anderson ’54, Bob Esbjornson ’41 (who was speaking to the class of ’55) and Lloyd "Holly" Hollingsworth ’36 who was at the football game in his wheelchair, and Jean Larson ’54 who is also in a wheel chair, but as spirited and positive as ever. Rod Davis missed the luncheon because of a prior commitment to be at the luncheon honoring donors to the Art Museum, but sent his greetings. Art Glass ’43 would have liked to attend, but duck hunting was on his agenda.
Also absent from our class gatherings were Bob and Tucki (Lund) Bellig. Many of you asked about Tucki’s health. I am delighted to report she is nearly 100% recovered. For those not in the know, Tucki experienced two brain hemmorages early in June. She underwent surgery. Her condition was very grave and she was in a coma for several days. But from the moment she awakened she has made steady and amazing progress. Now, she is recovered and while thankful to be alive, is also frustrated that she is not permitted to drive a car for six months (it’s the law). So Bob is chauffeur and Tucki’s independence is somewhat compromised. Tucki had just retired and her illness prevented her attendance at her own retirement party. As for our reunion, well, Bob was in a big crisis: "Class reunion, duck hunting, class reunion, duck hunting, class reunion…Oh, what the heck, there’ll be another class reunion in 5 years…the ducks won (or lost, depending on how you look at it). Bob is back teaching for his final year before he retires, spring 2001. That leaves Joe Carlson as the only classmate still working at Gustavus.
Following the luncheon, some classmates stayed on to see the "tornado video" which describes the awful destruction and the more awesome recovery of the campus and then joined me in a walking tour of some of the newer parts of the campus. Others went walking with Jim Gilbert in the Arboretum, others went to the football game, some to the soccer game and some to the dedication of the new track and, yes, some did all of the above. The day concluded with a gala celebration (Gustavus 39-Concordia 22) following the game on the new Johns Courtyard (a gift of Ted ’61 and Marietta (Bittrich ’62) Johns). The weather was warm, but beautiful. What a day we had!!! Thanks to all of you for showing up and making it wonderful.
A couple of classmates unable to attend wrote letters. This from Tom Hedin: Tom has retired from private practice as a counselor, although he still sees a few people. He is, as he says, "terminally ill." He is battling cancer and has been for a time. His doctor’s are working on a cure, but one senses from the letter that Tom feels well, is enjoying life and very grateful for the everyday things that makes life worth living. T, our thoughts, prayers, good memories and wishes are all with you. Please keep in touch. He and his wife reside in Buellton, California.
And Marian Nelson McCollum emailed me with "regrets"—poor planning on her part, she says—but she was thinking of us as we gathered and she wished us well. Thanks Marian, we missed you. By the way, those of you who want to email class news to me, may do so at email@example.com Let me hear from you.
Next time I will get to the class news gleaned from phonorama which takes place this month. For now I will close with a remarkable piece of prophetic writing by Jim Anderson, back in 1991. Jim was then general chair of the Gustavus Fund. He wrote the following piece that was part of a brochure sent to all alumni. He found it as he was looking for memorabilia for our class reunion. What he had written then was a surprise to him:
A year ago this fall I experienced northern California's devastating earthquake, which measured 7.1 on the Richter scale. Earlier this fall, survivors of last year's Hurricane Hugo met in Charleston, Charlotte and other places to celebrate their survival and the rebuilding they had done. Colleges were not immune to the disasters, which hit both of our coasts. Stanford University had well over $100 million in damage and estimates of damage at The Citadel in Charleston ranged in the several millions. A third college, Mills College in Oakland, was plunged into a financial crisis last winter.
In all three cases, alumni of these colleges rallied. Through intense fund raising efforts, they pulled together resources beyond what was thought possible. They rose to the challenge in a time of need.
Could the same thing happen to Gustavus? We have come through an amazing decade in our history. There have been more major gifts, major construction and exciting breakthroughs than thought possible. Yet discerning people who love Gustavus say the 1990s will demand new challenges of commitment from students, faculty, church, alumni and friends.
Alumni can lead the way with a renewed major commitment to our college. Your financial support is not solicited as a plea for help to keep Gustavus alive. Let us instead recommit ourselves to a college that does a superior job of educating persons for lives of service, a college that has consistently been a national leader in alumni giving, a college whose graduates are helping build a better world.
This year friends of the Greater Gustavus Fund are issuing a challenge. They will match dollar for dollar increases over last year's gifts. Up to $100,000 in unrestricted giving will be matched. Your best gift will produce a record Alumni Fund and launch us on the way to year 2000. --James R. Anderson ’60, Chairman, 1991 Alumni Fund
Wow! Thanks, Jim, for finding that and sharing it. Alumni are the strength of a college. Gustavus does receive sizeable gifts from foundations and corporations, and their gifts are important. But the college’s "bread and butter" are the gifts from alumni that come every year. These gifts are the most important dollars received because they keep Gustavus accessible to students of all economic backgrounds and "provide the margin of excellence." So, when that student calls, or that classmate calls, or that gold envelope arrives, express your appreciation for your Gustavus experience by sending that generous gift immediately.
Finally, I have to express personal thanks to many of you for your generous comments about my years of service at Gustavus. Even more gratifying to me was the number of comments that expressed appreciation for the class letters. Those comments will keep me going for a while in this job. In the meantime, if you are willing to "guest" write a class letter, let me know. We want one "guest" written letter per year.
Well, one more "finally"—thanks to Dick Loomer and Mark Anderson for volunteering to be on the committee for our 45th reunion. They will recruit two women from the class to work with them. Our goal is for our 45th to be bigger and better than ever¾ paving the way for the gala 50th …in the meantime, friends, stay healthy—we want to all be together in five years!
1960 Class Agent!
Paul A. Tidemann
September 30, 2000
I am not a Swede. Why, then, Gustavus? I grew up in Albert Lea in a family with a combined Danish and German heritage and we were members of the United Lutheran Church. In that church body the Lutheran college of choice was Wittenberg University in Ohio.
But we moved to Illinois and I was confirmed in the Augustana Lutheran Church. While I applied to both Wittenberg and Gustavus, the strong influences of the Augustana Church won out and I went back home to Minnesota to go to college. On top of that, my high school girl friend enrolled at Carleton and I spent a lot of weekends in that first year trekking over to Northfield on the bus.
I have to say that I am a kind of shy person. If you know the Meyers Briggs Personality Inventory, I am an INFP-which includes being an introvert. Coming to Gustavus was not easy in that first year because it takes time for people like me to get to know the territory and where I can fit in and where I won't. I'm a clumsy sort, so participation in most sports does not work well for me. I was not considered for any frat, though I have to say now that I have many good friends who were Gammas and Eppies and in other frat groups.
The Independent Men's Club was something that a group of us started on the campus sometime in 1957, I believe. Many of us had not been considered for a fraternity. We operated on some both spoken and unspoken principles that no one had to measure up to join the Indies, we did not have initiation rites and we did not have a size limit. We had a good time through those years, including forming a pretty decent Indies Men's Chorus that sang on campus from time to time.
I say all of this not to blame the frats and sororities, but to say that these were some influences which were important for me. It had to do with being included, with not feeling outcast. As I look back over my life, those ideas of being there for the outcast and the forgotten have marked a lot of what I stand for in ministry and in society. I serve a congregation, now, that includes African American people, has worked with Hmong people, and includes many gay and lesbian people. All of those people, but perhaps especially gay and lesbian folk, are very much outcast in our society.
As I look back over my years at Gustavus I am very grateful for the care of many people on the faculty who influenced me very deeply. Esbj was one-a guy with a gentle spirit who opened up some horizons of spirituality and Scripture which I had seen rather narrowly before. There was Erazini Kohak, who taught existentialist philosophy, and challenged me to my roots about what was right and just and really true in the world. Oscar Winfield pushed some of my traditional ideas of reality with mystifying questions like: if a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, is there any sound? Or, can God make a rock so heavy that God can't lift it? Keith Beggs. Anybody remember him? He got me intrigued with psychology for the first time and probably opened me up to what suffering is like for people and how I could learn to walk with people who are having a hard time making it. J. Luke Creel, that self-styled southern gentleman, drew me to creativity in writing. First, Evan Anderson and then Bill Robertz ’51 honed some of my speaking skills and my ability for debate and Bill taught me some valuable things about logic and about how speeches, and, ultimately, sermons, can influence the hearts of people.
Gustavus would not be Gustavus for me without music¾ through the Gustavus Band and Myron Falck, who introduced us to really superb band music and Tom Atcherson, who was a fine French horn teacher for me as well as music theorist, whose techniques I still try to use today as I play in a community orchestra in the Twin Cities.
Extracurricularly-and I did a fair amount of that-I enjoyed working in my avocation of radio at KGAC. That was my family's business. I had become a radio engineer by age 15 and a disk jockey at 16, so becoming program director at KGAC was a lot of fun. We did a lot of crazy things at that station, including building our own radio transmitter and practically electrocuting ourselves.
I often saw campus events like Variety Shows and the like from afar because I worked for Oliver Hagglund and the Audio Visual Department setting up PA systems and running the huge fire-arc spotlight that was perched on the roof of the offices at the back of the Field House. That's where I could train the spotlight on Anne Shumate and Dave Christianson ’56 and Art Collins ’62 who sang and played for us. Being up there seemed like a good way for me to be because I did not see myself as a hail and hearty performer, but more of a support and facilitator for others- which is another value I learned and still appreciate.
There is just one other thing I want to say. Gustavus was the place where my mind, heart and spirit broke out of their overly-pious, parochial and somewhat narrow confines. I was mightily influenced by the international, global experiences in politics, national affairs, and issues of justice that I had as I attended public lectures and presentations beyond the classroom which were perhaps the forerunner of what are now the amazing Nobel Conferences.
Gustavus was a place where I found how to be more myself and to know that I did not have to measure up to someone else's standards in order to be loved. Thank you Gustavus, and thank all of you for ways in which you have influenced my life.
Andrea Noren Rogers
September 30, 2000
When I was an adolescent and the subject of my future college would come up there never seemed to be any debate. It was always, "Someday when you are at Gustavus, etc, etc". My father had graduated from Gustavus in 1931, various aunts and uncles were graduates and all four of my grandparents had attended Gustavus. This was, quite simply, our family school.
As I prepared for college I don't remember too much conversation about my future career. My father was from the school of thought that a young woman was best off married and his fondest hope was that I'd meet a nice young man, preferably one who was seminary bound. As luck would have it I met Fred. I remember J. Millard Ahlstrom ’34 coming up to me on campus one day and asking, quite seriously, if my father had any idea that his daughter was dating such a wild man. Maybe my dad, himself, had a secret wild streak because he and Fred got along famously and often shared the same sense of humor.
Along career lines, as I remember, women in the fifties had three choices: teaching, nursing or some sort of social work-all noble professions. But then, a career was only something you did until you were married and began to have children. The important thing was to have that ring on your finger by Valentine's Day of your senior year!! I didn't feel especially inspired by any of the above choices, but chose education because many of my dorm mates were all heading in that direction and teaching was "a good income for a woman." I did teach 4th grade in a Minneapolis suburb for four years until our first daughter was on the way and then I quit because heaven forbid a noticeably pregnant teacher in the classroom could instill a risqué message in tender minds.
By 1975, Fred and I had three young children and a real desire for some change in our lives. We loved to ski and decided to move to Steamboat Springs for a year. We loaded up a U-Haul and headed to our mountain paradise. One year turned into 12 glorious years of skiing downhill on the famous Colorado champagne powder, becoming seriously lost, more than once, while cross country skiing on forest trails, rafting through white water canyons, back packing in remote wilderness areas, kayaking on rippling streams and then when Fred said he was about to take up hang-gliding I said "not so fast." I wasn't ready for widowhood and we did have two daughters in college (one at Gustavus). Funds were getting a little low and maybe it was time to return to real life. It was in 1987 that we moved to Denver, Fred started a finance company that has grown and prospered and we're pleased that two of our children are now involved in our company.
When I think back to our college days I sometimes think about our academic life. We had a very interesting faculty of kind-hearted and sometimes quirky professors. I remember a cute; eccentric little English professor named J. Luke Creel who thrilled me when he printed one of my essays in a literary periodical. I remember Lorene Peterson dubbed "Prayer Peterson" because she opened each class with a prayer and was as concerned about our souls as she was our teaching skills. I remember Dr. Bernhard Erling ’43. I don't think I understood too many things that this learned, intellectual said in class, but one assignment really had me stumped. We were to compose our personal theology and the assignment wasn't due until the end of the semester. In those days the semester extended over Christmas vacation and I talked my dad into helping me delve into the depths of my theological comprehension. Actually we came up with quite a masterpiece. Shortly after receiving my paper back from Dr. Erling I noticed that it was missing. Several months later I found out that my paper had been stolen and that several football players, making minor changes, had all turned various renditions of my paper in to Dr. Erling the following semester. When I told my dad about this, he, the everlasting football fan, said look at the bright side; we maybe saved the team by keeping some big bruisers eligible!!
But it isn't the academic life that draws my thoughts most often to Gustavus since no one could ever charge me with being a serious student. I was having too much fun. But it's the people I met during those years. Little did my dear friend Marna Colliander and I know as we sat in one of those spacious Wahlstrom rooms, eating bean sandwiches, that in 1999 we'd rendezvous in Stockholm, Sweden and in 2001, a year way beyond our perception, we'd be cruising down the Yangtze River in China and climbing the 365 steps of the Potola Palace in Tibet with our future husbands. I'm sure as 18 year olds we thought that by the time we were in our sixties we'd be in a nursing home crocheting afghans.
Gustavus friends are a rare breed. They are the types of people who bring two phrases to mind: "Stable as the Rock of Gibraltar" and "salt of the Earth." They are the kind of people who have built their lives around strong family ties. They are the survivors who don't give up when the going gets tough. And they are the kind of people who are so much fun to be with that we can hardly wait to see them.
I am sure you'd agree that life has moved at a dizzying pace. We can scarcely believe that it has been 40 years since our graduation. I can scarcely believe that come December, I will have been married to Fred 40 years. I'm sure most of you would see this as quite a feat. I remember the shock of getting our first mailing from AARP-now we're getting reduced rates at the movies.
Classmates, we are the lucky ones who are a part of that rare breed that attended a tiny college in the ’50s in rural Minnesota and brought that happy existence into our adult lives. It may have been a "Father Knows Best" type of life, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. The values and coping skills that were instilled in us by approachable professors and diligent parents during a more simple time gave us direction for our lives.
And what about the future? We have every reason to be optimistic. We are the healthiest and most vigorous generation of senior citizens in history. Our choices are unlimited and exciting. We are somewhat computer literate¾ at least we know how to email. We have raised our children and are enjoying watching our grandchildren grow and develop. Our future is, indeed, bright. I wish you love dear classmates, the best of everything as you face your own endless possibilities.
What Gustavus Has Meant to Me
Barbara Nordstrom Hanson
September 30, 2000
What Gustavus Has Meant to Me:
Gustavus has given me CONNECTIIONS:
Connections with FRIENDS.
I can’t begin to tell you how important and precious these friendships have meant to me through the years. I truly made life-long friends while at GA. Some I see quite frequently, others not often enough, but the connections and friendship is still strong. The fact that we’re all here today is a tribute to these friendships.
Connections with my FAITH and along with that, VALUES.
Gustavus reaffirmed many of the values as well as the faith learned in my family.
Professors, friends and mentors with these attributers, as well as daily chapel (even though we didn’t realize the impact at the time) and relationships were a part of this. How do we measure the impact on our lives and who can forget such people as Edgar Carlson and the legacy he left, Dean Lind and Mrs. Young, Vic Gustafson, Rod Davis, Don Gregory, the Langsjoens, and the many professors who mentored and supported us as we struggled to figure out who we were and what we were gong to do with our lives. Someone who was there to listen to us and give us options and direction.
GA also gave me LIFE LONG SKILLS. I learned commitment through many ways. They came through music, singing in the Chapel Choir, through sports, WAA and Aquatic League, through my sorority; being involved with the Student Senate gave me confidence and leadership experience, and those chapel pranks as well as figuring out ways to bend the rules of dorm life certainly fostered our creative spirit.
Connections with ALUMNI.
Through the years I have made friends and worked alongside alumni from many different classes, most recently on the Association of Congregations (incidentally, if you have the opportunity to represent your congregation for this, it is a great way to support Gustavus as well as a good way to connect with friends!) and through the G.I.V.E. program (the volunteer day in our communities which was Saturday, October 7), through supporting the Chapel Endowment Fund. I know many of you have been involved with the alumni board. There are so many ways we can support Gustavus to make it a great place for our kids, grandkids, and youth in our communities. We are in a position at this stage in our lives to give back, whether as a mentor, a grandparent, or a volunteer, with our resources of time, money or experience.
I guess one of my favorite Gustie songs, REMEMBER, says it all, "For you belong to GA College and Gustavus belongs to you!"