Class of '40
October 2009

70-Year Reunion ― May 28-29, 2009

Dear Classmates,

We have a special treat this time for our class letter.  I’ve been asking for class news and Enid Martell Olson has taken me up on it.  She has written a wonderful letter to share with us.  I hope that as you enjoy this letter that you think about sending us an update on your life.

All the best,

Evelyn Strom Pearson

1940 Class Agent


To Fellow Survivors in the Class of 1940:

In the years since graduation I have heard many people question if there is Life After making changes in employment, moving, and lifestyle.  I have had many fortunate “Life After” experiences.

Lawrence W. Olson ’31 and I were married in early 1942 before he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve while I was teaching in Warren, MN.  When we were together in some of his assignments, we lived at 13 different addresses!

Is there Life After the military?  Early in 1946 Lawrence resigned from the Navy and joined the speech communications faculty at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.  While we lived in veteran’s housing, I earned my master’s of arts in the teaching of English.

We bought a home in Urbana where our two daughters grew up.  When they were both in grade school, I taught English at Urbana High School, then joined the headquarters staff at the National Council Teachers of English located in Champaign-Urbana.  Both Lawrence and I retired in 1971.

Is there Life After productive and rewarding careers?  Yes!  We moved back to Minnesota, bought a home on Green Lake near Spicer and enjoyed lakeshore activities (and work!), reunited with relatives, hosted grandchildren from Ft. Worth and Ft. Wayne on their summer vacations, and traveled to such places as the Middle East, the two Germanys, Scandinavia, The United Kingdom, Canada and China.

In Beijing, Lawrence met a Gustavus classmate, Professor Charles H. Wang ’31.  After graduation from Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Wang had returned to become a Lutheran pastor in southern China, a professor at the Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong, and a teacher (now retired) at Beijing Language and Cultural University.  I declare that as soon as the two men met they resumed a conversation they’d had in the men’s dorm 52 years before!

Lawrence died in 1994.  Can there be Life After a happy retirement?  Fortunately yes.  I stayed at Green Lake for eight more years, and then moved 20 miles north to Paynesville when I moved into an independent living apartment owned by the Paynesville Area Health Care system.  The beauty of this place is that it is all under the same huge roof as the nursing home, the hospital and well-staffed clinic, served by specialty services who come on a regular schedule from St. Cloud to treat patients here.  (No more worries about making appointments in winter weather!)

An added bonus is the program of the Paynesville Senior Center which has a pool of more that 100 volunteer drivers who are matched up with senior riders who need to go downtown or get to places like Willmar, St. Cloud, the Twin Cities or the Minneapolis airport.  A state grant supports the program; ridership is what keeps it going.

Even when my active retirement became less active because of legal blindness, there is still a Life After blessing.  I have exchanged my passion for reading with the pleasure of listening to multitudes of books from the State Services for the Blind.  These books broaden my knowledge of our planet and the human race living on it.

During our marriage Lawrence and I belonged to several Lutheran Synods:  Augustana, ULCA, LCA, ALC, and ELCA.  Though I am now unable to attend the church where I have my membership, we are privileged to have the members of the Paynesville Area Ministerium come weekly to conduct Catholic and Protestant chapel services here in the building.  Also, two ELCA pastors bring monthly ecumenical communion services to our Fireside Room.  It won’t be the fault of that dedicated clergy if I’m not prepared for the life in the Hereafter.

Enid Martell Olson

1940 Guest Letter Writer

701 Stearns Ave. Apt 708

Paynesville, MN 56362

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.

GLA Membership

All of us remember the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library.  It was a place for study and, depending on your era, finding a “coffee date.”  But, in the 21st century, it has become much more.  It is a technology-rich laboratory for learning and a storehouse of culture and recorded knowledge.  It must constantly be strengthened to ensure excellence in education.  The Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) provides financial support for the library and a program of events to its members.  Join this year and immediately make a difference.  Whatever membership gift level you choose, 100% goes directly to the library’s acquisition budget.  Join today at!!!

“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 speakers:

President Jack R. Ohle – Oct. 21

Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80 – Nov. 18

Thomas Young ’88 – Dec. 16

Upcoming Events

  • Athletics Hall of Fame – October 17, 2009
  • Gustavus Library Associates – A Royal Affair – November 14, 2009
  • Farewell for Steve and Barb Wilkinson, Minneapolis Hyatt - December 12

royal affair