Class of '60
October 2003

Dear Classmates,

I am back after a year absence as "class agent."  One great benefit of the opportunity I had last year was that Jim Anderson and Judy Oberbeck Johnson were recruited to serve as co-class agents…Now, a year later, we three will serve together in this capacity! 

Let me begin by expressing my gratitude to all classmates who contributed gifts to honor my year as president of Gustavus.  Thanks for that encouragement and support.  Thanks to Jim and Judy who requested extra funds for the cause as an appropriate way to thank a classmate for the year of work.

I had a great year as president and am so grateful for the chance to provide transitional leadership for my alma mater.  Gustavus students are the best and they provided me with so much energy and challenge!  I am especially grateful for the selection of Jim Peterson '64 as the new president and am delighted to report the positive response of the campus community to his leadership in the past four months.

Phonorama is coming up and so I want to get some class news to you that has been collecting since last spring and before the avalanche of news that should follow the fall contact of classmates for gifts and news.

We begin with sobering realities as we report the deaths of Rev. Tom Delk and Rev. Dennis Holmberg.  At this point I have little official information on Tom's passing, other than that it was from a "fast growing" cancer.  Friends reported being with Eileen (Johnson) and Tom just this past summer at Holden Village.  Tom was serving as chaplain to an "elder-care" facility in Decorah, Iowa.  I always talked to Tom at Phonorama time and I will miss our annual conversations.  Tom and Eileen have always been faithful annual givers to Gustavus, and faithful attendees of reunions.  Our sympathy to Eileen, even as we celebrate the contributions of Tom to the Church, to Gustavus and to his family and community.

We received the news of Denny Holmberg's death from Paul Tidemann and I will reprint a portion of Paul's email:

"I received word yesterday from Barbara Holmberg that Dennis Holmberg died on October 3, 2003 of a heart attack.  A memorial service for Denny will be held on Saturday, October 25, 1:00 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church, 9147 S. Jeffery Ave., Chicago IL 60617-3755; phone 773/721-2393.

Denny's surviving son is Eric Holmberg, whose address is 5052 West Wilson Ave., Chicago, IL 60630.  Barbara Holmberg's address is: 3220 Lower Saucon Rd, Springtown, PA 18081 (email: blholmberg@aol.com).  Barb is married to Bill Weiser.

Some of us were closer to Denny than were others.  I knew Denny from Gustavus Adolphus College days where we were among the founders of the Independent Men's Club.  Denny was a person with deep compassion for people, willing to serve those who are left out of systems in society, yet he had a great sense of humor and wasn't above trying out a few practical jokes once in awhile.

Denny was ordained in 1964 and was called as associate pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on the west side of Detroit.  Denny was then called to serve Lutheran Church of the Cross on Detroit's east side where he served from about 1966-71.  I interned in Detroit and had my first call in Mason, Michigan.  During those years we would go to Detroit and get together with the Holmbergs.  The ministry that Denny did in that parish was really tough urban ministry.  He came to be a very street-wise guy and did some really creative work there.  The congregation is no longer in existence.

He was then called to serve Bethany Lutheran Church in Chicago where he served from about 1971-77.  Bethany had is multicultural aspects and Denny did a fine ministry there, but ultimately left ministry to go into other kinds of social service work.  He worked for some years for the City of Chicago Department of Human Resources and in various other jobs.

As many of us know, in 1983 Denny was living in Chicago with his son, Tim.  Persons broke into the residence and killed Tim and nearly killed Denny.  Denny teetered on the edge of life and death for some time and then pulled out of it, but the incident took its toll on him physically and in his ability to function as he had been.  At the time of his death he was living on the north side of Chicago.  His son, Eric, lived not too far away and checked on his Dad regularly.

When our seminary class of 1964 gathered for reunions we always spoke of Denny and wondered how he was.  Several of us tried to make contact and could not do so.  I carry good memories of friendship and collegiality with Denny, with Barb and also with Eric and Tim.  Denny was one of the unsung heroes of urban ministry.  He was someone who was willing to get down and struggle with compassion and for justice for people while getting precious little recognition himself for what he did."      ~Paul Tidemann.

Peace to the memories of Tom Delk and Dennis Holmberg.

Other news:

Jim Anderson has retired from ministry at Mount Olivet Church where he has been for the past five years.  Jim and Diane (Hammargren '63) are celebrating with a three week "road trip" to California.  They spent a good portion of the fall at their Minnewauska cabin.  Jim and family members are serving this year as chairs of the Gustavus Fund.  That is especially appropriate as Ren Anderson '34 founded the Gustavus Fund 50 years ago!  So, here is another opportunity to support the good effort being given by Jim to this cause.  Our classmates are nearly all at the point where $1,000 annual gifts to our alma mater should be the norm!  Think about it.  And do it!  I speak from even greater familiarity with the needs and the quality that is being supported.  However, I also want to stress the importance of every gift, large and small.

Roger Anderson is semi-retired, doing part-time work for Kairos, a company specializing in church capital funds projects.  Otherwise, "Louie's" passions are politics, spending as much time as possible at Sugar Lake near Grand Rapids and being with family.  He and Nita recently were on campus for the Nobel Conference.

Dean and Lois Anderson Nelson are among those fortunate persons to enjoy a lake home that they recently built near Alexandria.  I recently saw a sign that said, "If you are lucky enough to be at the lake, you are lucky enough!"

Jim Olson is living in Mendota Heights and is retired from the U.S. Bureaus of Mines Research Fund.

David Silseth and Ruth are living in Virginia Beach, Virginia while working for a four state region for Thrivent Financial.  David is a Lutheran community service specialist.  Thrivent, for those not in the know, is the new name for the merged AAL and Lutheran Brotherhood.

Rick and Carol (Ofelt '62) Duerr are living in Tucson, AZ where Rick is retired and Carol is music minister at their church.  Also retired is David R. "Swanny" Swanson from the University of Minnesota Human Resources.  Marion continues her art business, Marion Swanson Enterprises (Swanson Gallery).  They live in Richfield and celebrate a new grandson born last January.

Sheri (Swanson '62) and Paul Chell are both retired and traveled last fall for 22 days in Germany and Sweden.  They traced the steps of Martin Luther and found family history in Sweden.  A wonderful time as they celebrated 40 years of marriage.

Patricia Ohnsted Anderson and husband, Craig, live in Saint Charles, Illinois.  Patricia is currently painting botanical artwork and working as the art director at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Todd and Lois Swanson Johnson's Gustie son, Dan '92, was married last May.  Both Lois and Todd have retired.  They reside in Paynesville.  Marna Colliander Reilly and husband, Phil '59, report a grandson born a year ago.  The Reillys live in Eden Prairie.

Martha Larson Warehime's daughter, Fern, was married a year ago last April.  Fern and her husband, Terry Nesvig, are both "hearing impaired" so the ceremony was performed signed and spoken!...a wonderful celebration!  Martha and Ed live in Fremont, NE.

Gordie Larson retired last June (2002) after 42 years.  He finished his career as a high school math teacher and department chair in Michigan.  He and Marlene celebrated with a trip to Hawaii.  They live in Warren, Michigan.

Marjorie Lind Halvorson retired as a Saint Peter schoolteacher and last January went on a "mission-vacation" to Jamaica to work in an orphanage.

Norm and Norma Wold have retired and moved to Lake Havasu, AZ, where Norm enjoys "four-wheeling" in the desert.  Dr. Steve McCann continues practice as an OB/GYN physician in Manhattan Beach, California.  Steve attended the Gustie-Azusa Pacific football game a year ago.  He enjoyed seeing classmates and a past professor.

Ross Dickie writes, "I am trying to get in shape like my college track days.  Working out at the gym 2-3 times per week."  Good luck, Ross! He and Joan are still doing foster care with mentally handicapped adults.  Ross says they probably will never retire from that as the persons become part of the family.  "Life has been good," concludes Ross.  Amen.

Jackie McKenna Gimse, writing from Dundas, MN, "I had been retired for three years, but am now working 2-3 times as an R.N. in the Alzheimer's unit at Three Links Care Center in Northfield."  Last fall, Mac and Jackie led a three-week St. Olaf Life Long Educational tour to Thailand and Anchor Wat in Cambodia.  Their greatest joy is in having grandchildren nearby.  Jackie also challenges us all to get our alumni participation percentage back up where it belongs!!!  Jackie knows the importance of class giving and the importance of an approach where all gifts are appreciated, no matter how small or large!  Another Amen!

Donna Freeberg Mertens is celebrating the first year anniversary of the birth of twin grandchildren!  Marlyn Windedahl Franzen and spouse are both retired and splitting their time between Verona, Wisconsin and Tucson, AZ.

Nice note from Jim Krueger:  "My wife Ellen and I are retired and living in Eugene, Oregon.  Eugene's temperate climate, university atmosphere and proximity to both the mountains and the ocean makes for a wonderful setting and may be America's best kept secret.  We enjoy hiking, travel, volunteer work and, of course, having the grandchildren close at hand.  Not many Swedes out here but we are active in a nice Lutheran Church with a diverse membership."  He adds, "Go Ducks!"  Jim, you just destroyed the well-kept secret and real estate values will be going up and you will suffer from Californians and Midwesterners all scampering to Eugene.

Mark Anderson, Jerry Thrall and By Helgeson spent 10 days in Scotland, playing the best golf courses the Scots have to offer.  I am going to lobby for a pic of the trio, plus their St. Olaf friend Nymo with their Gustavus bags on Saint Andrew's by the North Sea.  By also shared with me news of his "prostate" cancer…very common among "aging" men.  Helge had a low PSA, but changing and decided to do a "seed implant."  The results have been excellent and when treated this way very early the cancer is almost always curable.  He shares this because he did so much research and talked to so many people that he is happy to consult with any of us who would like to call him for support or counsel.  Thanks, By, that is a great service to us all.

Many have asked about Mel Hammarberg and his health and we are thankful that we can report that Mel is in remission.  I learned that recently from Mel's sister.  Mel, keep it going!

Me?  Thanks for asking!  Carol and I are enjoying being back downtown Minneapolis living at Loring Green West.  Great place to live.  And, I am working at the Bishop's office three days a week.  I am doing special projects and helping with work "overload" for the staff.  I am a 10 minute walk from the office.  I also am serving as chair of the board of the American Swedish Institute.  The best job in the world, however, is that every Friday, Carol and I do "Lily-care" with our 13-month-old granddaughter.  Joy!

Phonorama is October 13-16 and 20-23.  Callers assemble at the Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington.  Classmates, please give an enthusiastic response to the person who calls you.  Let us all "Step up to the plate."

Dennis Johnson

1960 Co-class Agent

Campus News

College opens 142nd Academic Year -- More than 700 new students, including transfer students and international students, joined the Gustavus community this fall, keeping the total student population around 2,515. The retention rate of students from the first to second year remains at 90 percent. These students will be taught by 198 full-time and 55 part-time faculty. Gustavus was again ranked in the top third of the 214 national liberal arts colleges by the U.S. News and World Report.

Sculptor Paul Granlund '52 dies -- Paul Granlund died on September 15, 2003, the same day his exhibit Retrospective opened as scheduled in the Hillstrom Museum of Art on the Gustavus campus.  He was sculptor-in-residence at Gustavus from 1971-1996.  His figurative bronze sculptures are found in private collections and public installations nationally and internationally, including 30 bronze works on the Gustavus campus.  Retrospective will be displayed until November 9.

Alumni Board members selected -- Seven alumni have been selected to serve a three-year term on the Alumni Board.  They are Liesl Batz '90, Minneapolis, senior vice president and director of marketing, Lakeside Investment Partners; Jan Eiffert Hoomani '62, Raleigh, NC, Realtor, JB Realty; Jim Malmquist '53, Scandia, MN, retired athletics director, Gustavus; Jan Ledin Michaletz '74, Edina, volunteer/homemaker.  Incumbents to serve a second term include Vivian Foyou '02, Mankato, graduate student, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Jason Sawyer '93, Plymouth, vice president, Cronin & Co.; and Dan Currell '94, Alexandria, VA, director of corporate leadership council, Corporate Executive Board.

2003 Hall of Fame inductees -- Nine individuals were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame on September 27. Inductees were Val Flom Ashland '87 (volleyball), Wendy Ericksen Bachman '87 (soccer), Karen Ahlstrom Bishop '86 (gymnastics), Jay Coatta '87 (basketball and golf), Marv Gunderson '53 (football), Jim Hearn '81 (tennis), Dave Najarian '82 (football), Betty Wannarka Ringeisen '84 (basketball and track and field), and Larry Shelhamer '76 (soccer).

Chapel Program -- The Gustavus Chapel program is one of the strongest in higher education averaging 350 students attending Daily Chapel.  In addition, there are many student-led programs including: Apprentice - students who are interested in being part of ministry and open to see where the Spirit might be leading; Christ Chapel Volunteers - assist in the ministry of Christ Chapel by ushering, carrying the cross and candles, reading lessons, writing and/or reading prayers, and serving as assisting ministers; Community Service Center Programs - one-time and on-going service programs; Fellowship of Christian Athletes - athlete or not, time for fellowship, worship, speakers, service projects and mission trips; Gustavus Youth Outreach - committed to sharing the Gospel and providing opportunities to serve by participating in off-campus youth ministry; Habitat For Humanity/Spring Break Work Trips - Habitat works locally and Spring Break Work Trip nationally to fundraise for and build affordable housing; Jewish Organization of Gustavus - for students, faculty and staff who were either Jewish or interested in the Jewish faith; Newman Center - dedicated to building a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith; Prepare - build a new generation of believers through mentors, mission trips, Bible study, prayer and worship; Proclaim - Bible-based contemporary worship and teaching; Taizé - a contemplative worship service of music, prayer, readings and silence; Wednesday Friends -- visits St. Peter Regional Treatment Center residents weekly.

Don't miss A Royal Affair . . . pa rum pum pum pum - Gustavus Library Associates is presenting their biennial benefit for our College's Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library on Saturday, November 15, at the Radisson Hotel South in Bloomington, Minnesota. If you have names for invitations (reservations are due by October 31), an auction item to donate (no later than October 15 please), volunteer time to offer, or if you wish to contribute financially to help defray expenses, we welcome your call today; Marty Penkhus, 507/388.5474 and Susan Wilcox, 952/944.5972, Co-Chairs.

Upcoming Events -- call the Alumni Office at 800/487-8437

  • Charlotte, NC, Gustavus Gathering - October 18
  • Phonorama -- October 12-16 and 19-23, Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington
  • Our Story Conference, The Growing Gender Gap in the African American Community -- October 24-25, Campus
  • Reformation Festival featuring the Gustavus Choir, Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis -- October 25
  • JFK Assassination 40 Years Later, presented by David Jones '83 and Political Science Professor Chris Gilbert at Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington-- November 4
  • A Royal Affair, benefit sponsored by Gustavus Library Associates in the Twin Cities -- November 15