Class of '75
December 2009

35-Year Reunion ― September 25, 2010

1975 GUSTIEGRAM

Greetings Gusties!

It’s about time your class agent actually wrote you a class letter.  Especially since we are coming up on our 35TH YEAR REUNION!  Yes, that’s right; in 2010 it will be 35 years since we graduated from Gustavus.  The reunion will be held on Homecoming Weekend, September 25, 2010, at Gustavus.  There will be an informal party before the football game, in a tent next to the new stadium.  There will be beer and wine available for purchase, as well as munchies.  After the game, we will have a barbeque at The Dive, which is located where the swimming pool used to be in the basement of the old Union Hall.

By way of foreshadowing, we would like to do something extra for the Annual Fund this coming year, beyond the normal giving level.  The committee is discussing a “Mellow Class of 1975 Endowed Scholarship” drive to raise at least $25,000.  With 382 classmates, we should be able to hit that goal if everyone gave $65.45 extra.  We’d also like to hit 40% participation for the regular Annual Fund, raise $200,000, and raise our average gift size to $166.  I am only too well aware that we are in a recession, but I think we can do this─especially if we can spread the extra gifts out over a three year period.  I realize that not everyone will be in a position to do this, so do what you can.  Some members of the committee even suggested that we auction off naming rights.  For example, now that tort reform is dead, I think we should hit up our plaintiff’s lawyers for some of that $100 billion in cost savings that they will now get to keep.  So when Bernie “the Ely Echo” Dusich wins his next contingency case, the 1/3 attorneys’ fee could be used to fund the Gustavus Rangers Association Scholarship Fund.  Perhaps Chuck Kelley could put us in touch with an underwriter who could help us sell 25--$1,000 denomination “Bobo Bonds,” in memory of our dearly departed spiritual leader, Lee “Bobo” Walker.  When those sell out, we could reissue another 25 “Benny Bonds,” in honor of Benny the Dog.  Or John Wirth could collect everyone’s “Bobo” or “Willard” stories and write them up into a book or screenplay that we could sell for donations.  If anyone has any embarrassing photos of our class’s sole Vietnam Vet, state Legislator and candidate for Governor, Dave “Why go Halfway?” Hann, we could put together a David Letterman style “contract” for Hann to sign.  The possibilities are endless.

Regarding logistics, the local St. Peter hotels are booked, so we will be reserving some spaces at various hotels in Mankato.  We can’t stay in the dorms because the students are still in school, and, besides, our all night conversations on 4th floor Sorenson following our ten year reunion resulted in so many complaints by the old folks that our class was permanently banned from staying in the dorms.  Geez, now WE are the same age as those old fogies who complained!  The thing is, we were not the least bit rowdy, but the sheer number and volume of conversation made the folks on second floor unhappy.  (Query:  Who was the planning genius that put the old folks in the same dorm as the recent grads?  I know it wasn’t the late Cec Eckhoff ’56 or his assistants Randall Stuckey ’83 and Ron Timmerman.  Those guys were only too well aware of our propensity for having fun.  Speaking of which, be sure to ask Ron Timmerman about the time Dave “Ole” Olson left the Flame Bar, walked into Ron’s house at 2:00 a.m., strolled into the kitchen, made a sandwich, drank a beer, then walked upstairs and discovered that no, this was not Claude Nelson’s ’78 house.  Thank God it was Ron and Jane (Stenehjem) Timmerman, and not some old guy with a shotgun.  After careful investigation, it was discovered that Ole was on the wrong street.  But I digress.)

In order to make this the best reunion yet, the following people have formed an ad hoc 1975 reunion committee:

Cynthia Durbahn Bowers, Barbara Day, Steve Griffith, Sue Busch Leaf, Betsy Bloomquist Lundgren, Terry Tesarek Narr, Kristin Peterson, Phil Richardson, Karen Sundal, Gail Matthius Wirth and me (Paul Heckt).

In order to generate even more interest, we are requesting that one representative of each fraternity and sorority take a leadership role in calling classmates from their respective organizations and encouraging them to attend the reunion.  So far, the following is a list of “volunteers”.  (Okay, some of them may not yet be aware that they have volunteered, but I’m sure they won’t want to let their classmates down by pimping out on us.)

A K Psi:  It has to be Marc Larson.  He spent his whole life studying to get into law school and now it is time for him to party hearty!  Then, once in law school, he and George Hicks spent so much time studying in these closet-like booths up in the stacks that they formed a basketball team called, “the Closet Gunners.”  Lars, if you don’t show up at the 35th, we are going to strip your team of that law school championship trophy you guys won.

ChieftansBob Hanson  (You owe me for moving in on Margaret Fagerholm before I could muster up the courage to ask her out on a date!)

DeltasJoanne Dahl Jokela (You don’t owe me, but you were president of the Deltas, so that makes you in charge of getting them to come to our reunion.)

EppiesGreg “El Vivo” Waldhauser, with Paul Nordberg as his local backup.  (I hope they can find those Eppie dance tapes.  In fact, I think we should just put the Eppies in charge of the whole darn reunion.  I remember how jealous I was of the Eppies when I was the OK president.  Those guys were so damn organized.  In contrast, OK frat meetings were so chaotic that it is amazing we got anything done.  Fortunately, I had Paul “Odin” Skoog as my vice president.  As you recall, Odin went into the Navy after graduation and flew on the EC-2 Hawkeye, an intelligence gathering plane.  Odin apparently felt that surrounding himself with bright people would fill a deep void in his life.  Let’s face it; the amount of intelligent conversation at an OK frat meeting could fit into the head of a thimble.  It wasn’t that we didn’t have intelligent people in attendance.  (I can think of at least one guy, Steve Griffith, who might qualify).  But the opportunity to get even with yours truly for various perceived slights in the weekly OK Hecktorgrams resulted in so many wise cracks that we rarely got anything done.  Of course, with names like Nibbler, Snake, R, Dead, Ashwipe, Scuba, Chumley, Clarissa, Buffy, Elly, Rat, TP, E, Gerbil, Odin, Woof, Mac, Knurse, Trey, Barndoor, Bobo, King S__T, Hack, and Griff, you really don’t have to wonder why Skoog was seeking a more intelligent crowd after graduation.  In fact, the only OK in the class of ’75 who didn’t have a nickname was Randy Rieke, an all-everything center for the Gustie football team who now manages a farm coop.  I’m sure the other football players had a nickname for him, but none of the OK’s dared cross him.  Maybe George “Chief” Hicks or Gary “Dude”Quist can tell us a few Rieke stories and help us christen the poor guy.

Fleas:  Sue Busch Leaf.  Sue and I have more in common than both being biology majors (until I found out you had to take two chemistry courses and promptly changed my major to business economics).  When Sue’s father died recently, I found out from the newspaper that he had commanded a landing craft at Okinawa in WWII, where my father fought with the U.S. Marines.  It’s possible that Sue’s dad gave my dad a lift, although I suspect my dad was more than happy to get out of his boat and onto the beach.  Those landing craft were floating coffins, with all the Kamikaze planes around.)  It would have been interesting to meet your dad before he died and talk to him about his war time experiences.  My dad, brother, Tom and I went back to Okinawa for the 50th Anniversary of that battle.  It was a fabulous trip which I will relate in a future Gustiegram. Sue, if you need help with recruiting the Fleas, try Lynn Pinske and Terry Shaw ReynoldsPinske either knew everyone on campus or everyone on campus knew her, or of her, and Shaw wrote at least half of or 1975 yearbook, so they ought to be able to call a few friends.

Kappa SigsGary “Kamikaze”Quist, so named for the way he played football on special teams, will soon be volunteering.  If they had the same rules about concussions back then that they do now, Gary’s football career would have been over after his freshman year.  We did have a lot of fun betting on whether he would get knocked out, or whether he would knock the other guy out.  Gary, I suggest you contact J. David Bowell to serve as a local backup.  I think he is retired now, and should have some time.  George Hicks, it wouldn’t hurt you to help out either.  Maybe you and Mary Dee (Johnson) can convert your usual reunion post-party into a pre-party on Friday night.  Jack Rendulich, I trust that you will bring your cameras down to record the reunion highlights.  Just don’t post them on your web page, okay?

Happy Hour (Gammas):  Ross Handahl and Dick Black.  You guys were some of the biggest wise guys during our OK meetings, at least until you obtained dual citizenship with the Happy Hour/Gamma frat, so you owe me.  Get those Happy Hour folks to our reunion.

Nu Epsilon Gamma (Greys):  Ron White, Otto “Otts” Naujokas.  (Otto, you’ll love this.  Guess who we are playing for Homecoming this year?  Yup.  St. Olaf!  You will have an opportunity to re-enact your 95 yard, last-play-of-the-game touchdown, where the only guy who was running faster than you was Coach Denny Raarup ’53, down the sidelines, yelling at you to run faster!  I still remember being up in the stands as we fans were yelling, “Run you SOB, run!”  You looked like a scared rabbit, but you won the game for us!  Fabulous effort!)  Ron White is now president of the Alumni Association Board, which is good because if anyone gets into trouble, we now have friends in high places.

Omega Kappa (OK’s):  Steve Griffith is now a college vice president at Simpson College in Iowa, an admittedly respectable position for the one time Gustavus Theatre Department Post Play Party Planner.

Tau Mu Tau (TM’s):  Deb Hanson McMurray.  I don’t care if you are living in Texas; you were president of the TMT’s, so I am appointing you as TMT Reunion Coordinator.  The Mueller Sisters, Anne and Melanie, would be great local contacts if you want to delegate some of those duties.  Okay, they aren’t really sisters, but they sure spent a lot of time together down at the Flame.  And Bev Gustavson Kreiss could make a few calls from the Windy City too.  Bev, you owe me one pretzle, one wrap-drop, one butterfly-flutterby, and one banana peel at the reunion.  (No, Rieke, those are not food items.  They are ’50s dance moves.)  And Melanie Mueller Jacobson, I hope your dance card will have a spot open for me when Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue” comes on.  Most people don’t think of math majors as being capable of much more than number crunching, but Melanie could really fly around the dance floor a few years back.  We’ll see if she can still keep up with me.  An irregular heartbeat was interfering with hockey and dancing, so I got a pacemaker installed a couple years ago.  Then I tore a labrum and had to get a fake hip.  My teammates on the Hennepin County Lawyers hockey team may refer to me as the “Bionic Barrister,” but I can still dance, so I will be looking for you!

Theta Xi Gamma (Thetas):  Diadra Stenberg Else

There were some fraternities and sororities that we couldn’t remember who took part.  Please step forward if you were involved in the following:

Alphs

Betas

Reds

Sigmas

Other organizations

Association of Women Students (AWS):  Marg Fagerholm and Mary Paula Neumann.  Geez, I didn’t even know we had one of these outfits back then.  You gals must have been on the cutting edge.

Basketball:  Tony Nelson and Dan Carlson, with help from our Lucky Lithuanian, Otto Naujokas (Geez, Otto, is there any sport you didn’t play?)

BSO:   Jeff Marshall (Thanks for helping me out on that Texas law question, by the way).

Choir and ChorusGreta Torresdal Ege

Concert Band and Stage BandsPaul Skoog and Neil Jeddeloh

Football:   OK, Hicks, this one is yours.

GymnasticsBecky Lehrer Mazorol.

GustavianAnne Mueller, Dorian Samskar Jordan and Hollywood writer, John “Juan” Wirth.  Speaking of Juan, whatever happened to Benny the Dog?  You guys remember Benny, the cute little illegal pet that John and Hollywood actress Gail Matthius Wirth would have a custody battle over every time they broke up at Gustavus.  I’m guessing that John and Gail must have hit 30 years of marital bliss by now.  Not bad for a couple that lives near Hollywood, CA.  Clearly, their fond memories of Bennie the Dog were the glue that held this marriage together.  That and the fact that Gail lets John have his own workshop, where no female interference is allowed.  Hey, we all need our own space.  I get the garage and my basement workshop, except during Christmas season, when all of Kathy’s Christmas boxes get piled up on my workbench.  She gets the rest of the house.  It seems to work.

HockeyBernie Dusich, another plaintiff’s lawyer who will have plenty of time, now that tort reform is dead.  Investment specialist Chas. Kelley and my old roommate, St. Paul surgeon, John Shearen, should be able to help you out.  I’m still mad at John for his failure to disclose certain material facts concerning our final zoology exam.  There I am with a hot comb, thawing out a dead frog, which I had stored on the roof of 4th floor Sorenson, along with our beer supply, and dissecting it to study for the final exam, which was the next day.  After I take the test, I find out that not only did John not have to take the final, because he was so far ahead of the rest of us, but that he actually wrote the final exam!  Nice guy.  I wouldn’t expect him to give me the answers, but a few hints along the way would have been nice, like maybe which chapters I ought to study more or something like that.  But no, this guy has to have integrity.  Then he puts us all to shame by graduating with a straight 4.0.  Usually, the brainiacs get tripped up by a gym class like archery or something like that, but no, he was actually a pretty good athlete too.  In fact, there was one year where these three hockey players and two others all got an “A” average, much to the delight of Coach Don Roberts ’56, who used it as a recruiting tool when meeting with parents who actually thought their kids should get an education and not just play hockey in college.

ISO:    Dynamic Denny Ellingson, Tom Leaf and Van “the Man” Hammarstedt, a helluva good defenseman on the JV hockey team before he ruined a promising hockey career by going to law school.  (By the way, Van, the Hecktor Hockey League is in its 32nd year of operation, so if you want to make a comeback, we’ll have a spot open for you, along with fellow defensemen Magic Mike Kemp and Monty “Woof” Reichert.  (One of these days, I am going to have to ask Monty how he got that nickname.)

Lutheran Youth Encounter (LYE):    Linda Mitchell Anderson

Mother Truckers (Recycling):             Marita Karlisch, whose name keeps popping up all over town.  I saw it again a month or two ago in an email, but can’t remember who it was from.  Marita, how about an update?  Any way, when Marita used to work at the Swedish Institute, she was kind enough not to disclose the truth about Hecktor’s various and sundry Gustavus misdeeds to his mother Dorothy, a/k/a “Dort” Heckt, who visited the Swedish Institute on a weekly basis.  Boy, do I ever owe you, Marita.

Orchestra: Mark Carls.  Just because you were a good student does not mean you can’t make a few calls, Mark.

Ski ClubAl Perry.  (You didn’t think I’d let you off the hook just because you are a client of mine, did you?  Say, I need a referral to a good oral surgeon for my daughter’s wisdom tooth, so call me ASAP.  She leaves for Australia January 2).

SoccerTom Nilsson and Tom Gross.  Unlike hockey players, these guys had to play the entire game without a rest.  And a misplaced kick can really be painful if you are on the receiving end, like that guy on YouTube last week.  Ouch!  You guys ought to think about adding some protective gear to your sport.

SwimmingTom Leaf.  Since you were the only classmate on the swim team, it won’t be too hard for you to get your assigned personnel to show up.

Women’s VolleyballTonya Mouw, Rochester, MN.  Although Rochester is best known for the Butorac tennis dynasty (Tim’s son is a world ranked tennis player), the town also has produced some fine volleyball players like Tonya and at least one Olympic Hockey Gold Medalist, Eric Strobel, so it can’t be all bad.

Again there were some organizations where we couldn’t remember who was involved, so please let us know if you’d help contact fellow members of:

Gustavus Weekly

Women’s Basketball

Women’s Swimming

WANTED:  PHOTOS OF MEMBERS OF THE CLASS OF 1975

Please scan any fun photos you have of you and/or our classmates and email them to me at  paulheckt@gmail.com, so that we can put together a running slide show for the reunion party.  If you don’t have a scanner, mail them to me at:  9001 E. Bloomington Freeway, Suite 131, Bloomington, MN  55420, and I will scan them and return them to you.  (Be sure to include a return address.)

In memoriam.  As most of you know we lost Lee “Bobo” Walker a few years ago, from a heart problem.  What a character.  I still remember him organizing the infamous “Boxer Short Open” golf tourney, which was played right on campus, by Gusties attired in, you guessed it, boxer shorts.  A military brat, Bobo went through puberty at about age ten and never looked back.  If there was a way to have fun, Bobo found it.

Then, just this past year, we lost Wayne “Willard” Dietz, who had a heart attack while out riding his bicycle.  He and the bike fell into a ravine.  By the time he was discovered, the damage was done.  Although he was still alive, he was too far gone and the family had to make the difficult decision to take him off of life support.  I attended the funeral in his home town of Gaylord, MN, which also produced Gary and Greg Quist ’73, Lynn Pinske, and a few other less colorful Gusties.  I saw Doug “Doggie” Reetz, Dan Doshan and a few other notables at the funeral, and also met Gary Quist’s mom.  (No, Gary, I didn’t tell her about our ongoing debate as to whether the bounce technique or the slide technique was a better way of navigating back to our rooms after one of Dickie Walters’ infamous “Skid Row” parties.  (Our custodian, Charlotte, used that term to refer to 4th Floor Sorenson.).  There was also a memorial service for Wayne at the Woodbury High School gymnasium.  The gym was absolutely packed, with hundreds of students and friends in attendance.  Steve Swanson gave a eulogy that had all of us laughing our guts out.  Wayne really lived life to its fullest, whether as a father, as a baseball coach, as a math teacher, or as a scratch golfer who could not resist a few side bets along the way.  When he was late to practice, which was almost every day, it was because he was helping a student with a math problem, or helping another teacher figure out how to get through to a kid.  I still can’t believe he is gone.  If even a tenth as many people show up at my funeral, I will be a happy man.

I’ll tell you one thing, Wayne Dietz is up in heaven and he is still watching out for us.  Of this, I am absolutely certain.  And I have proof.  As I was driving back from his funeral in Gaylord, I was already depressed about losing such a wonderful friend.  The Vikings game was on the radio, and they were getting their butts kicked, so that wasn’t helping matters.  I wasn’t watching the speedometer and sure enough, I look into the rear view mirror and notice the flashing lights of a cop car.  I thought to myself, “Well, this sure is a helluva day.”  When the officer asked if I knew how fast I was going, I replied, “No sir.”  Apparently, I was about 15-20 mph over the limit.  Enough to really cost me buka bucks.  He asked where I was coming from and where I was headed.  I told him that a good friend of mine from Gaylord had died, and that I was driving home to the cities from his funeral.  For the first time in my entire life, a cop actually gave me a warning instead of a ticket.  You can say what you want, but I know damn well that Willard was up there in heaven, watching over me, and telling this cop, “Hey, how about letting Hecktor off the hook, just this once?”    Thanks, Wayne.  I know it was you.

Our latest casualty, Jeannie Okerman Lyner, who died this fall of cancer.  Jeannie had lived in Stillwater, MN and worked as a group facilitator and school liaison for Children Are People, Inc.  Jeannie was a sweetheart and will be missed by her longtime husband, Mike Lyner and two sons, as well as the rest of us.

These sad occurrences are only going to become more frequent as we get older, folks, so I really hope you will make an effort to attend our reunions and keep in touch with your classmates.  I don’t think Willard ever missed a reunion, and I know from pictures that Jeannie had attended most of them, as did Bobo.

I have lots of other class news that I’m anxious to share with all of you, but since this letter is getting long, I’m going to save it for the January letter and sign off.

To each of you, a very Merry Christmas and joy in the New Year as we look forward to our reunion in 2010!

Paul “Hecktor” Heckt

1975 Class Agent

Campus News

Gustavus gets High Rankings

Gustavus Adolphus College is listed as the 33rd best liberal arts college in the country according to a new set of college rankings released on Thursday, September 3, by Washington Monthly magazine.  The publication states on its website that schools were ranked based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories:  social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D.s), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

Gustavus once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings.  Gustavus moved up eight places from last year’s rankings to 80th on the magazine’s “Best Liberal Arts College’s” list.  Gustavus is one of six Minnesota colleges that placed in the top 100 in this year’s rankings.  One of the measures used to capture the various dimensions of academic quality at each college is alumni giving percentage; therefore, participating in a giving program at Gustavus, regardless of amount given, is important to the College.

New “Make Your Life Count” Website and Facebook Page

Gustavus has created a new “Make Your Life Count” website that includes a variety of feature stories exemplifying the College’s new brand position launched last month.  The stories celebrate Gustavus students, alumni, faculty, staff, programs, events, and organizations.  The website may be accessed from the Gustavus homepage by clicking on the “Make Your Life Count” brandline (in the upper right hand corner) or by visiting makeyourlifecount.blog.gustavus.edu.  The “Make Your Life Count” stories are also posted on a new Facebook page.  Become a fan and share your own Gustavus story.  When new feature stories are published, they will be communicated on the Gustavus News Twitter, and you may also subscribe (on the Make Your Life Count website) to receive e-mail updates.  To submit a “Make Your Life Count” story suggestion, click on the “Submit your story” link or e-mail the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication at marketing@gustavus.edu.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Upcoming speaker:  Margaret Anderson Kelliher ’90, Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives – Jan. 20.

Upcoming Events

  • Jan 7 – San Diego Chapter Event
  • Jan 14 – Atlanta Chapter Event – Linda Bailey Keefe ’69 residence
  • Jan 20 – Twin Cities Breakfast, guest speaker - Margaret Anderson Kelliher ’90
  • Feb 19 – Tucson Chapter Event
  • Feb 20 – Phoenix Chapter Event