Class of '64
February 2009

45-Year Reunion ― May 29-39, 2009

Hi Gustie Classmates,

You see this and say, “What, another class letter?”  That is correct.  It is reunion time and letters and contacts will be more frequent.  Read on for information about the reunion and a catch-up on the lives of some friends from our youth.

In late January, Biz Johnson Ekholm, Dave Spong, Dick Swenson, Linda Leonardson Hallman and I (Joanna Carlson Swanson) drove to St. Peter to work on reunion plans with the contact person at Gustavus, Kathy Erlandsen.  We picked a 20 degree BELOW zero day to walk around campus, view the new football stadium, and decide on details and menus.  My recollection of college years were that we were a daring and hardy lot, going bareheaded in almost any gale.  This time we were again age appropriate:  more cautious, wearing caps, scarves, and boots.  We walked over ice and helped each other up snow covered steps to look at the President’s box and quickly determined that our classmates would love a reunion with a view!

Our reunion theme is to “RECONNECT for a Fun-filled, Memorable Weekend.”  The real Buzz from Biz will come in your March class letter.  For now, know that events will be both fun and interesting, settings new (to us) and intriguing, we’ll enjoy the company of those we don’t see often enough, and you’ll be glad you came!  Go to the Gustavus website, www.gustavus.edu/alumni to see who will be joining us.

Part of the prelude to reconnecting is reading about our classmates.  Special guest writers this month are Deanna Nelson and Tom Hirsh.  The similarities lie in all being influenced by their Gustavus experience.  Life led them into a wide variety of experiences.

From Deanna Nelson

Greetings to my fellow Gustavians from me and from my church, Christ the King Lutheran in Cary, NC!  I am responding to Joanna’s request.  Let me introduce two topics for conversation and then end with an update from me.

I have been considering what Gustavus gave me in light of the events in my life and my world.  By all means, I received an excellent education.  I am convinced, however, that I received a silent gift as well―one which I scarcely appreciated when I was on campus.  That gift is the leadership for Christian living that comes with matriculation.  It wafts in during visits to Christ Chapel; it sinks in during religion classes; it touches us lightly, but forcibly as we learn to make life’s decisions.  When I consider the Madoffs and Thains of the world, with their degrees from Harvard, the University of London, or Cambridge, and the manner in which they have treated their fellows, I conclude that Gustavus quietly provided each of us with a credo that allows us to reflect Christ in what we do.  Our experiences at Gustavus have enabled unique leadership in our homes, our communities, and our dealings with the world.  Both we and the world are the better for it.  (Further, it is our support that provides for a continuation of that unique Gustavus leadership experience.)

I am now a senior citizen―an older woman in North Carolina.  Those of you who have lived in the South understand the polite respect for elders that is drilled into Southerners as they grow up.  As a result, doors get opened for me with a smile, and baggers in the grocery store offer to help me get my bags into the car.  There is a flip side to this coin, and that is the treatment we get from some others.  I have enjoyed a lifetime of learning.  At my age, however, most of the offers for continuing education that I get are for (expensive) stays at resorts to participate in sedentary classes that offer little by way of learning.  Moreover, I am founder and owner of a small business that supports drug development.  However, both bankers and venture capitalists have commented to my face (illegally, I might add), “We can’t (lend to/invest in) your company because you might die tomorrow.  (They actually say “get hit by a Mack truck” but there’s no need to play with words.)  Well, duh!  Anyone might die tomorrow.  My point in all of this is that each of us is still very much alive, experiencing the newness of each day.  May God give you (and me) the opportunity to grow in that experience and show others how life should be lived (even at our age)!

I will close my contribution with an update.  I live in Raleigh, NC (I moved from Libertyville, IL, a year before my husband died with Alzheimer’s disease.)  Eight years ago I started my own business, what I envisioned would be a medical technology incubator.  In reality my business is a service company that does research and development for other drug and biotech companies.  For the past three years we have been able to reinvest earnings in drug reformulation, and the company now has a portfolio of almost a dozen reformulated drugs that will be used to treat chronic diseases such as anemia, diabetes, kidney disease, and osteoporosis.  This year I have the same concerns as most of you―where is this economy going to lead us?  Stay tuned.  In my spare time, I enjoy walking, swimming, and gardening.  I also am working my way through the several volumes of Thomas Cahill’s Hinges of History series.  Each volume has taught me, enriched my vocabulary, and challenged my thinking and beliefs.  The choir at Christ the King adds richness and fellowship to my life.  I hope to join you at the reunion in May and look forward to hearing from you and about you in future class letters.

From Tom Hirsch

Before I get into this, I wish to clear the air that I am NOT the Tom Hirsch embroiled in a legal mess in Arizona and who appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.  I am also NOT the Tom Hirsch who played hockey for the University of Minnesota, the Olympics, and North Stars.  I often mistakenly receive his sports card to autograph for admiring kids.

I arrived at Gustavus rather shy and studious.  My focus turned from mathematics to business administration.  I especially appreciated professors Ellery Peterson, Clair McRostie ’52, and Boomer Montague ’34, whom I had a propensity to occasionally attempt imitations.  Other favorite professors over the years included Prof George, Milt Brostrom ’49, and John Kendall ’49.  Some of the special students I met were only around one or two years, including the late Fred Olson whom many of you might recall, and also fellow business major, Bill Roadfeldt.  Early in my first year I met John Blomquist from St. Paul, and we became lifelong friends and business associates for the past 23 years.

My experience playing on the freshman basketball team certainly helped my self esteem, though we didn't win many games.  I enjoyed intramural fraternity sports the next three years.  Joining the Gammas in the spring of ’61 was significant, and put me in association with such interesting, quality people as John Johnson, Dan Johnson, Jack Jungas, Paul Tillquist ’63, Bill Holm ’65, Carl Franzen, Dick Swenson, Al Henderson’62, and Bill Kylander just to name a few.  To this day my tennis buddies include Dick, Al, Bill K., and Rick Hokanson ’65.

Some of the memories that stand out include frat banquets, visits to the Holiday House including the Edwardian Affair, the first "J" term, my Gamma presidency, and certainly the somber Chapel Service the afternoon of November 22, 1963.  Gustavus also taught me an appreciation for the arts where I still fall short.  Friends such as Gary Kenning, Doug Person, and Gary Dahlgren were all positive influences.  Best of all I met my wife of 40 years, Sonja (Alvheim ’60), Hoffman, MN, through Bill Kylander’s sister, Audrey Kylander Kramer ’62, about three years after graduation.

I’ve now been a Gustavus Board Trustee almost five years and find that very challenging.  I urge you all to enhance your financial efforts for Gustavus, as we celebrate our 45th reunion, and look forward to the Commission Gustavus 150 program and leading toward our 50th reunion.  Thanks for listening.

Reunion ’64 News From Nursing Graduates

The nurses in our class receive top honors for staying connected with each other and then sharing their news with us.  Special thanks to Karyl Krantz Blair who was the organizer of their information and sent it on to me.  Haven’t they led interesting lives and used their nursing skills in a wide range of ways and places?  Read on!

Char Olson Jerney

Char continues working as a nursing consultant after retiring some years ago from a lengthy career as a military nurse.  Earlier this year she was consulting in Clarksville, Tennessee, and “I am currently consulting on a surgical services project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin”  In between her consulting jobs, she travels to Italy, Germany, Portland, Sarasota, Costa Rica and Jackson Hole where Nordic and Alpine skiing are favorite activities.  “My home is in Verona, Wisconsin, and I am a member of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Middleton, Wisconsin.  My volunteer efforts are helping with a Madison-wide coalition of churches who have formed an Interfaith Network that provides shelter in churches for homeless families.”

Lois Hoernemann Banke

Last September I completed 25 years of employment at Asante Health System, Medford, Oregon.  My current title is director of professional and educational relationships.  As such I work on the legal relationships with colleges and universities such as contracts for clinical placements, setting up scholarships and such.  I am also involved with colleges in planning placement of the students in the various clinical areas.  My volunteer focus is as a Parish Nurse/Faith Community Nurse at Grace Lutheran Church in Ashland.  Ted and I have lived in Ashland since 1970.

Portia Benepe Rey

I am now retired but my last employment was as an office manager for an orthopaedic surgical group in Pittsburgh with five very good docs.  My last seven years of “free time” was the busiest ever with church activities including the baking of a wonderful wheat communion bread and helping serve a benefit community Christmas dinner on Christmas Day for over 700 folks who would otherwise have spent Christmas alone.  I am also involved with a service organization (People Who Care) giving varied types of help―grocery shopping, transportation to appointments, assistance with interpreting insurance forms, etc. for our “neighbors” who are handicapped in various ways.  Each week I spend from 5 to 12 hours on the tennis courts trying to stay agile with a correct BMI (Body Mass Index) and with as few anti-inflammatories as possible.  Life is very good (and warm) in Prescott, Arizona.

Joan Carlstrom Morehouse

“I am living in Waconia, MN and enjoying retirement after many years in public health nursing.  I keep busy with book club, traveling, weaving, knitting and adoring our eight grandchildren.”

Carla Johnson Stoneberg

Carla lives in McCordsville, Indiana.  She retired from hospice nursing the end of 2004 and is now nanny for three grandsons at various times each week while their parents work.  She helps the boys make puppets and salt-dough land forms for school projects; reads them boatloads of library books; and attends their school, chime choir, and taekwando performances.  Carla and husband, Ted ’62, also care for her 97-year-old mother, known as "GG" (great grandmother).  Church projects fill in the time cracks.  Carla and Ted are eagerly hoping to go with one of their daughters, her husband, and their 2 1/2-year-old son to Korea next fall or winter to bring home a fourth grandchild.  Carla’s sister and her husband will come to tend the Stoneberg home while they are gone.

Sharron Anderson Erickson

I retired from the Veteran’s Administration in 2002, just after my 60th birthday.  I’ve loved every minute of my occupational retirement.  This of course means I now have time to spend with my 86-year-old mother and with my four grandchildren.  They range in age from 13 to 5 years and to add excitement to that mix, the “twins” are the five year olds!

Stephen retired in 2000 and we’ve enjoyed many, many trips.  Our favorites are Sweden and Norway and because I am an amateur genealogist, we are planning a tour of both those countries once again, but exclusively from an ancestral point of view.  Steve and I have surprising similarities in our roots and we are waiting to find a common ancestor (within the last 300 years)!

In addition to mother and grand kids, we are thrilled to have our three sons and their families living within an hour of the home place―it gives us and hopefully them a strong sense of unity.  Since we live in the home we built almost 32 years ago, it has truly become the “home place.”

We have a wonderful community of friends, our health is good and we consider our lives blessed in every respect.

Delores Bade Alt

Current employment:  Basically half time as home health supervisor for a private duty home care company―Care Advantage Plus, in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia.  There is a lot of money in the Charlottesville, VA, area and many can afford to pay privately for home services.  In addition to the private pay, we carry a large load (about 160-170) of Medicaid cases.  So the job is never dull.  We cover five counties and see the entire social spectrum―from top to bottom.  Charlottesville is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and our coverage area frequently takes us up into the mountains.  This necessitates a good truck that sits high off the ground.

I did retire once.  I had been regional director for 22 years for the Visiting Nurse Association of Northern Virginia and retired in 2002.  We traveled for the next 14 months in Europe, New Zealand and the U.S. and then moved to the Charlottesville area.  After three months at home, I couldn’t take it any more and needed to be out with people so took this part time job.  It is perfect for me.  I share the position with another nurse and we cover for each other so I still can go to Europe or Minnesota for five weeks at a time.

We actually live about 15 miles north of Charlottesville, sort of in the country on a four acre lot with LOTS of trees.  Our county, Greene County, runs up the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Appalachian Trail.  We can see the many ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the main road―gorgeous!

I have been a CASA volunteer for two years.  This is a Court Appointed Special Advocate― appointed by the court to be an advocate for a child going through the court system.  A CASA volunteer stays with the child until that child is out of the court system―either returned safely to home, adopted or ages out.  My child was removed from the home 9/06 at the age of 7 and has been in a therapeutic foster home the entire time.  Parental rights have been terminated and the foster parents are making plans to adopt him so it appears as if my job with him is coming to an end.  A CASA volunteer must write a detailed report to the court before each hearing and we have our last hearing on 2/17/09.  My report just went in to my supervisor for review.  I will miss the little guy.  He is extremely damaged by his first 7 years of life but he is very intelligent and creative and we can only hope the adoptive parents can continue to make the difference in his life that he needs to come through successfully.

Since our sons are both in the Northern Virginia area, we are up there frequently so have not severed our ties with our church of 27 years there, Little River United Church of Christ.  We did find a very small, liberal church in Charlottesville full of some of the most wonderful people in the world, Park Street Christian Church, so we are doubly blessed.  We are active in both churches.

With four acres to play with, one of my passions is gardening and working/puttering outside.  I can always find another space to make another flower garden and it is truly a luxury to have all the space that I could ever wish for available.  I’d love to share something that hangs on my wall where I see it every day:

“There is peace within a garden, a peace so deep and calm,

That when your heart is troubled, it’s like a soothing balm.

So, ever tend your garden, its beauty to increase,

For in it you’ll find solace and in it you'll find peace.”

Carolyn Kruger

Carolyn works with maternal and child health at World Vision which keeps her traveling to places like Mozambique, the Amazon, and Sudan.  Her daughter, Laura, is in the Peace Corps in Botswana, and “we cross paths sometimes when I travel to Africa.”  She and husband, Wally, live on a farm near Purcellville, Virginia, as does her 93 year-old father.  She and Wally started an NGO called “GENESIS International” that supports two preschools for orphans and vulnerable children in Naotcha, Malawi and Chimwama, Zambia with over 160 children under age five.  They have worked to lower the malnutrition from 40% down to zero with their nutrition program.

Susan Hanson Rohloff

Susan and Dick ’65 live in Cohasset, MN, where Susan taught nursing in the Itasca Community College before retiring while Dick was a Thrivent representative.  They enjoyed their 27th annual fishing trip to Canada last summer with their three sons’ families and 7 of the 8 grandchildren.  They spend several winter months in McAllen, Texas, and went on a cruise through the Panama Canal last winter (2008).  Hockey continues to be a significant avocation for their family.

Neta Frykman Lamp

Neta and Ed Lamp live in Woodville, Ohio, where Neta has been in semi-retirement for over a year and works 10-12 days a month as a health care consultant.  Her challenge this year has been working with six federal prisons.  They spend some time at their cabin on Bois Blanc Island in Lake Huron.  They keep busy visiting and occasionally babysitting eleven grandchildren from Florida to California, as well as volunteering and church activities.  Last June they spent two weeks in Alaska with Ed’s sons-in-law for fishing and sight-seeing.

Diane Kvols Schweizer

Diane has been retired for 2½ years as a nurse practitioner with a specialty in diabetes.  She is returning to work part time as a geriatric nurse practitioner with AspenCare and as a consultant for nursing continuing education programs.  She and her husband, Louis, enjoy volunteering with “We Can Ride” a hippotherapy program at the Equestrian Center at the University of Minnesota.  She has been pursuing the learning of Spanish with an immersion program in Cusco, Peru and participation in the Concordia College Spanish Camp in Bemidji for one week in September.  She and husband, Louis, cruised along the coasts of Costa Rica (even a zip line) and Panama last winter and went thru the Panama Canal.  They have a cabin near Garrison, MN, where they spend many fun days with friends and family, including their four grandchildren who are learning to share Diane’s love for horses.  Diane went with friends to Egypt in October and wrote, “The most amazing part of the trip for me was being able to gallop a black Arabian stallion across the Sahara Desert at sunrise with the Pyramids in the background!”

Joyce Wallinder Johnson

Joyce welcomed a second granddaughter in Denver this past year.  She has enjoyed extensive travels which this year included Paris (expensive!) and Egypt, where she and John brought the ashes of their son, Kirk, on the one year anniversary of his death.  Joyce is predicting a “good news only” year despite the downturn in the economy and its implications for all of us.  She says that grandchildren have helped her discover the toy department in every store.

Barb Nelson Kroll

Barb and Gary have been living in New Richmond, WI, the past three years and have been planting wild flowers in some of their land, as well as a productive vegetable garden.  Barb works part-time as an entrepreneur in nursing teaching nursing workshops and some on-line classes.  She and Gary have done some traveling and spent a week volunteering at the Rock Point Navajo Lutheran Mission School in NE Arizona last winter.  Barb taught science classes and Gary worked with the teachers on classroom behavioral management and child abuse issues.  He also conducted seminars for the staff and the Navajo community.  They also did a variety of other needed projects.  Their two daughters and husbands along with five grandchildren live fairly close and they enjoy many activities together.

Carol Woods Blaeser

Carol lives in Eagan, MN, but travels to Madison, WI and Castle Rock, CO as well as a nearby suburb to visit her three daughters and two grandchildren.  She works part-time in a nursing job that does assessments for the placement of personal care attendants.  “I work as little or much as I want and have no quotas.  It is truly a perfect job.”  She also travels to Phoenix occasionally and visited Hilton Head and Savannah, GA last winter.

Linda Neumann Meyer

Linda lives in Alexandria, MN where she enjoys bridge, book club, Bunco, volunteering, gardening, lunch/dinner groups, church activities, and working out.  She also does some traveling.  She went with 43 members of her church to a retreat at Holden Village in Washington last September.  She plans to spend time with a friend in Arizona this February.

Jan Hetland Hernes

Jan and Sam have retired to Forest City, Iowa after Sam’s many years as an ELCA pastor.  They have three married children and five grandchildren, including a set of twins with many physical needs who have been blessed by very loving grandparents and parents.  Jan was a nurse in a nearby nursing home for several years before retiring.

Helen Hesli Jacobson

Helen and Jake live in Cambridge, but spend much of their time in an over-the-road truck hauling plants, vegetables, etc. from one point in the country to another.  They have a motor home in Apache Junction, AZ and work out of there some of the winter months.  While in Minnesota, Helen keeps busy visiting her three children, including one in Illinois, and several grandchildren.

Karyl Krantz Blair

Karyl and Ed Blair ’62 moved to Payson, AZ in 2002 and live among the ponderosa pines in the Arizona mountains at 5000 ft. elevation.  Karyl did some home care nursing initially in Arizona and became a certified healing touch practitioner in 2007.  This has resulted in a small business from her home and many opportunities for volunteering, including work with a retreat program for returning veterans which is held in Payson.  Ed is on the town council, so community and church activities fill many hours.  Grandparenting became a new activity on 10-10-08 when their first grandchild, Henry Nathan, was born in Denver.  Daughter, Carmen, lives in Fremont, CA “so we are about 800 miles from each of our children.”

Ruby Monson Englund

Ruby retired two years ago after teaching nursing at Seattle Pacific University for 39 years.  “Since retiring I have learned to use the computer program Quicken and have worked in our family business office a bit each day.  We live in Seattle.  Our son lives in Seattle and our daughter on the East coast.  I am currently working on a committee that is planning an exhibit at the Washington State History Museum featuring the history of nursing in the state of Washington during the last 100 years.  We traveled for six weeks in Eastern Europe last year to celebrate retirement and saw fabulous country, spectacular paintings in museums, met interesting people, and ate delicious food.”

Thanks to the Nurses for staying in touch!

You wouldn’t receive a class letter without at least a hint of a request for a gift.  So bear with me, here it is.  Before the economic nastiness of recent months, the reunion committee set an ambitious goal for a class gift.  Wisely, we decided to use a three-year cycle so that any of us could make pledges now and give over the next three years.  In spite of the remarkably dramatic reduction of retirement assets, you will want to mark the 45th anniversary of our graduation with a gift.  We hope, with the prospect of three years to complete that gift, you can dare to feel generous.

After 45 years, you also know that Gustavus wants to make giving easy.  Enclosed with this letter is an anniversary giving pledge card that can be returned or you can make your gift on line by going to www.gustavus.edu and following those directions.  Many of our callers will be asking for a gift.  You may wish to designate your gift to the ’64 Class Scholarship, the Gustavus Annual Fund, or any of the programs that you have previously supported.

Here is our THANK YOU in advance.

That’s all for now!

Joanna Carlson Swanson

1964 Co-class Agent