Class of '62
May 1999

Dear ’62 Classmates,

Procrastination must stop, and I must write this letter today. I believe I am getting into the age and stage of wanting to do only what I want to do when I want to do it, and deadlines that others impose upon me don’t always match my moods, but now I’m finally ready to carry out my commitment; so here goes…

Where are the autobiographies? Where are the lengthy notes of who, what, why, where, and when? I must soon resort to fabricating some interesting bits to keep the letters going. I appreciate every word that’s sent, but many of you don’t send anything. Reconsider your actions for my plight of epistle authorship when I have little or no news, please! Send money too! Remember May is the end of this fund year!

Our Minnesota winter was particularly mild this year, so we feel we have already been in spring weather for months. The famed first anniversary of the St. Peter tornado has passed with many thankful hearts for the generosity of help in many forms to right the wrongs of those wild winds. The strength of sunshine and budding young trees should remind us all of our many blessings and the wonderful gifts of renewal—a good time to look inward and remind ourselves of what really is important in life and an excellent time to renew our dedication to all that is worthwhile. . .and Gustavus was and is worthwhile!

We have some sad news to report. Don Hixon passed away earlier this year. Bill Nordstrom kept his friendship with him through the years, so I asked Bill if he would eulogize him for us. These are Bill’s words:

Don Hixon was a warm friend and I think of him as a brother who is gone. I always told him that he was one of the lucky ones. All of the time I grew up, I palled around with jocks or friends of jocks, and they always had chicks who were smarter than they were to guide them through life. Don had Jane, and he was very fortunate. He loved her and she loved him, and they spent nearly 40 years of their life together. They were a wonderful partnership. Donny died on February 14 from a quick-acting, raging cancer.

Donny was married to Jane Ann Thompson Hixon for 39 years, and they have been one of the dearest couples I have known.

In 1958 when I enrolled at Gustavus, Don and Darryl Erickson and a couple other fellows were like older brothers to me. Through the years, Don worked for IBM, then retired, and in the 90’s he and I and Rick Joseph, Norm Anderson, Pete Wold, John Kerry, Jimmy Kersten, and others would get together periodically for breakfast on Saturdays, Christmas reunions or a golf game.

Don was a good person and a good man, and many of us thought so highly of him. We will miss him.

Jane appreciates all the support that she’s gotten from Jim Donicht ’60 and from other friends and classmates and would no doubt enjoy a phone call from her friends and friends of Don’s.

Our sincere sympathy to Karen Noren Talle whose father recently died. He was a well-known individual with many wonderful credits to his name.

Sandra Springer Smith writes that she is still enjoying Fountain Hills, AZ after seven years there. Time passes quickly!

From Greensboro, NC, Joan Boyum Tavares, Ph. D. writes: "I had a wonderful sabbatical in September. Pedro and I went to Brittany, my favorite part of the world to visit. We had a week in Paris on the way. (I’d like to think retirement was going to be like this…) Then back to work, with terrific memories!" Joan works for the Center in Creative Leadership in Greensboro.

Richard and Judith (Samuelson) Hane write of a wonderful vacation during the holidays in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, relaxing in the sun. Dick is pastor at Salem Lutheran, Hermantown, MN. Judy is senior choir director at Salem and also works for oral surgeons in Duluth. They are the proud parents of three children and grandparents of one, Justin Logan Grant.

Joan Eckberg traveled with her daughter for a month in Turkey recently. She said the greatest gift was to spend that time with her. "Getting to know each other as adult people without the roles of mother and child was a month of wonderment!"

Joan Henes, who was only with us for one year before transferring to the U, has recently lost her mother and has been diagnosed with uterine cancer. She’s had surgery and the doctor seems to think it was early enough to get it all, so Joan hasn’t had to have further treatments. We extend our sympathy and wish her the best for good health!

Sharon Peterson Silcocks of St. Ignatius, Montana is a real estate agent for Stelling Ranch and Land.

Peter and Liz (Proeschel ’64) Wold are proud of their son, Peter, and his new son, Harrison Branford, Pete and Liz’s first grandchild. Peter ’92 is doing his residency in radiology at the Mayo Clinic. Their daughter, Molly ’94, is working for United Health Care in Minnetonka. She works with their training manuals and presents information all around the country for them.

Carol Briese Nyenhuis of Bayport works part-time at Trinity Church in Stillwater as a receptionist. Her husband is involved with a real estate group in Stillwater and surrounding area. Carol was with us and the nursing group until she left Gustavus for her marriage.

Suzanne Schmoeckel Olson of Stillwater is eagerly awaiting her role as a grandma. Her daughter, Kirsten, will deliver in August. Her son, Peter, will be married in November. She is a childhood friend of Mary Anne Kern Northcott of Comstock Park, MI. Sue says Mary Anne is hoping to retire soon from county nursing there and that husband, John, seems to be doing well healthwise.

Visiting Minnesota in March for a seminar was Jan Eiffert Hoomani. She is returning again from her North Carolina residence to attend a wedding in August. She plans on her daughter-in-law accompanying her for her first visit to Minnesota. Jan has given her a tape entitled "How to Speak Minnesotan", suggesting that she practice daily. Jan wants her to see Gustavus so she can be familiar with the place where her yet unborn children will go to college. Jan also again mentions Carolyn Johnson Mulvihill who is a ray of sunshine in spite of her many treatments for lung cancer. Carolyn has recently moved to be close to her son. If anyone would like to drop Carolyn a note, her new address is: 340 Campbell St. Apt. 8, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701.

Another classmate who has recently heard the dreaded C word is Maggie Swenson Miller of Lakewood, CO. She has had surgery and is now in her chemo treatments. She lost 25 pounds and some hair, but is fighting back with a marvelous attitude. She claims she’s weak and wobbly, but had taken a three-mile bike trip the day I talked to her, so it sounds like she’s doing better than some of the rest of us! Her daughter blessed Myron and Maggie with their first grandchild in January, and their son will give them their second in August.

Ramona Ulrich Swenson is holding her teaching position for a couple more years in Red Oak, IA until she can benefit from the maximum teacher retirement pay. Her husband, Pastor John, recently retired from his church in Red Oak, but is now serving as an interim pastor in Shelby, IA.

A biographical sketch of John Lundblad was published last November. Following are clips from that profile. (If you won’t write an autobiography, we’ll plagiarize one!)

John went to grade school and high school in Barnum, MN. After graduating from Gustavus with a major in business administration, he attended the U of M Law School, graduating in 1965. John began law practice with a partner in Jackson where they grew the firm to nine attorneys. Elected Jackson County Attorney, he served the county several years while still maintaining his private practice. Moving to Northfield 17 years ago, John ran his own general practice for several years and then formed a partnership with a friend to have a general law practice and mediation service. He now spends about a third of his time with mediation. His wife, Ellie, often is involved in his mediation, for she is a trained and qualified "neutral" under Minnesota law. They both are on the roster of the state bar association continuing education faculty for training mediators. John also serves on the charter commission in Northfield and is a long-time member of the hospital board of trustees.

Along with his duck and goose hunting, downhill skiing and summer softball, John recently developed an interest in Spanish. For the past six years he has taken classes here and in Costa Rica, speaks with Latino friends, reads Spanish on a regular basis, and now feels fully conversational in the language.

John and Ellie have five children between them. Jennifer, 32, works for a health care consulting firm; Andrew, 30, works for Dart Transportation out of the Twin Cities; Chip, 30, began flight school in South Carolina at the end of last year; Trig, 28, lives in Mesa, AZ and works with America West; and Signe, 26, is a student at the U of Oregon in Eugene.

From Sandy Gilbert (because Jim won’t talk about himself, only nature’s critters:) Jim is the director of the Linnaeus Arboretum and is an instructor in environmental studies on the Gustavus campus. He retired from his Hopkins High School science teaching job in 1998 after more than 30 years there. He and Sandy own the Wild Bird Store in Waconia. Jim is on WCCO weekly, giving the latest happenings in nature. He writes a weekly article for the Star Tribune as well as some smaller papers and is co-author of WCCO’s yearly weather guide calendar. He is a naturalist and a phenologist and has authored two books—the first was Jim Gilbert’s Nature Notebook, which is sold out, and his more recent book, which is still available, entitled Through Minnesota Seasons with Jim Gilbert. Jim and Sandy have three sons, all Gustavus material. Two have graduated, the second is back for a fifth year to pick up another major and a teaching certificate, and the youngest is a Gustie frosh.

My news: We’ve visited our Wisconsin lake property a couple times even before the ice was completely gone. The sinking foundation of our best cabin is now crumbling, so we have our summer work cut out for us, pronto. Our son will be a paramedic by the end of May. I think he will be the only paramedic in the world with a studio art major from Gustavus. Our daughter is still attending the U of M while being a nanny in Woodbury. I’ve been sewing up a storm, making quilt tops for our church-quilting group. I just finished my 26th one this year, and yes, I do have a lot of scraps! I have also started a wonderful program of walking with my next door neighbor, and am I proud to announce that since we have started walking that hour per day, I have only put on five pounds! Life isn’t always fair.

The news of the world is often horrific. It is wonderful to have safe havens from the worst of it. Connecting with good friends soothes the soul. The atmosphere of Gustavus is comforting. Let’s remember our past, keep our friendships growing, and continue to support that comfort zone in which lots of good people grow. Does everyone remember that I pledged on my faith that at least 65% of our class would give before the end of May? We are far from that goal. Please think again as to what you can do. I want to keep the faith!

Jan Swanberg Mousel

1962 Class Agent