Class of '41
April 2004

Spring Thoughts

1941 classmatesThis is a wonderful time to be at Gustavus.  We know how lucky we are to still be part of its growth and favor.  Walking the campus, we glory in the marvelously developed south and north malls, and the well-kept buildings, old and new, clustered in the landscape with the incomparable view of the valley.  And our own 754 Valley View across the street from the all-seasons Linnaeus Arboretum, a superb nature preserve which has just rounded out its thirtieth year.

          The friendly students of today, diverse in their remarkable talents―in choirs, orchestras, sports, classes, art, theater, Chapel―often create a sense of awe by the scope and quality of their achievements.  They are service-oriented to campus and community.

          Chet and I have played several roles in these sixty years under seven presidents, all the time remembering our past and grateful for the many persons we have known and with whom we have worked.  This is a Greater Gustavus.  We cherish the simple joys of remembering its past.  ~MJ / CJ


Good Friday, April 9, 2004

Dear ’41 Classmates:

          How are you today?  We’ve just passed Maundy Thursday, our sins ever before us.  We’ve watched Condoleezza Rice attempting to explain 9/11 and the PDB.  We’ve compared the Atkins and Pritikin diets, fattening America.  We’ve been exposed to Twin Cities Public Television’s graphic Alzheimer’s experience, saving whales, chasing tornadoes.  Heavy stuff.  One way to lighten up is to read special e-mail messages.  Granddaughter, Lisa Feldman, graduate student in neurology at McGill University in Montreal, forwarded puns, e.g. “When two egotists meet, it’s an I for an I” and “You feel stuck with your debt when you can’t budge it.”

          Walter "Lew" Youngquist ’42, Chet’s first geology major, now living in Eugene, Oregon, after a distinguished career in teaching and oil exploration, sent us a paperback of quips and quotes and one-liners.  For example, bulletin bloopers:  “Next Sunday is Easter, and Mrs. Anderson will come forward and lay an egg on the altar.” and “Don’t let worry kill you.  Let the church help.”  And SERMON “The Light of the World."  Closing Hymn:  "Blest Be The Tie That Blinds.”

          We shared these with Bob Esbjornson (St. Peter, MN) on our screened porch, and we chuckled, distracting our neighbors.  Bob is now a writer, full-time.  He says that he writes, because he wishes to leave a record of who he was for his children and granddaughters, and because it gives him a sense of identity, and an opportunity for meditation.

          The greatest lift came with the delivery by Jim Isaak, Director of the Gustavus Fund:  the Phonorama cards for April 25-29 and the updated report of the Fund’s totals to April 1.  Oh, Joy!  Class of ’41 percentage of participation is 76.6%, top of the heap along with Bernie Erling and Elmer Anderson’s class of ’43 at 72.8%.  1941, you’re wonderful in response!  I’m so proud of you.  Remember to send your pledge or make a gift for our contribution to Old Main restoration.

spring          I struck a gold mine when the cards you sent to the Alumni Office arrived with the other reports.  I’m so glad to see your own handwriting.  So I report from many sources.

Cedonia Peterson Ahlstrand, Rockford, IL, is the president and owner of Ahlstrand and Associates, Inc. (real estate).  She is a member of the City of Rockford Traffic Commission, serving her 26th year.

Don Anderson and his wife, Lois (Edstrom ’49), Eagan, MN, love traveling.  Reviewing 2003, they were on a retreat in Bermuda at Willow Bank “Christian Discovery” in February.  In March on a tour with three groups from Florida, Texas, and Michigan to Spain and Portugal.  In July on another tour with a Minnesota group to Glacier Park and up the Columbia Ice Fields, Jasper, Edmonton, Banff, Lake Louise, to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Academy for the Sunset Ceremony and International Peace Garden.  In November to Los Angeles.  Wonderful scenery, making new friends.

Ray Erickson, Salem, OR.  His hobbies are travel, fishing, hiking, and photography.  He volunteers at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, enjoys retirement since 1980 after 33 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  He participates in Salemtowne Association adult retirement community where he lives with his wife, Grace.  They enjoy very good health and are about as active as they were twenty years ago, only a bit more slowly.


H. Gerald Floren, Rainbow City, AL and his wife, Gloria moved August 21, 2002 from her home town of Gadsden, AL to a new retirement center in the adjacent Rainbow City, where he now resides.  Gloria passed away on September 27, 2002.  His son, Jerry, his wife, Susan, and their children Reed (17) and Alexandra (12) live in St. Peter, MN.  His son, Owen, his wife, Mary, and their daughter, Melissa (12), live in Burnsville, MN.

Lucille Westerdahl Hope, Bellevue, WA, has had surgery so couldn’t get to Arizona until November 17.  Then she had the flu, but could get ready to go to Florida for Christmas with her family.

Mignon Carter Johnson, Lindstrom, MN, and her husband, Edsel ’42, are still able to golf (walking a lot) also dance (ballroom) often.  They do volunteer work at Gammelgarden Museum in Scandia and enjoy their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who live nearby.  They also have traveled to Utah, Colorado and New York in the past year.

Robert Johnson, Duluth, MN, has been in the hospital a few days but is back drinking coffee with friends.  He plays golf with T.C. Peterson, former pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Dunnell―my home church.

Beatrice Olson Lindsten, McLean, VA, is “still active―nothing new.”

          Harriet Stakke Noble, South Bend, IN, writes, “All is the same as before―a widow for five years the only difference.  Do have four granddaughters.  The oldest (20) and all doing well.  Emily at Indiana University, Bloomington, aiming at medicine with a 4.0 average.”  Harriet continues to volunteer.  “…keep in contact with my roommate Marge Swanson and Marian “Pinky” Johnson.”  Harriet is DAR chaplain.  Works with their church library.

Leland ’37 and Muriel (Puelston) Lindberg, Golden Valley, MN, still keep pretty active―lots of volunteer work at their church (Calvary Lutheran of Golden Valley) and also Park Nicollet Medical Center and Methodist Hospital.  They try to travel as much as they can and are enjoying their “golden years.”

DesertChuck Lusk, Borrego Springs, CA, sent a card (picture left) so we can see what the desert looks like in spring (March ’04).  Weather has been warm, broke an 85-year record with 105 degrees downtown, 101 degrees at the home of Chuck and his wife, Beatrice.

Jean Hagberg Seymour, Sewickley, PA, is busy volunteering – AARP and Bible study.  She talks about Westy, Muriel Puelston, Jean Johnson, Donna Olson, and Beverly Johnson.  The six of them lived above a boarding house in St. Peter.

Margaret Lundstrom Riesenweber, Kennewick, WA, says she can’t read the paper or write, but is interested in the Life Group (discussion) in Church of Christ.

Dennis Wicker, Canyon Lake, CA, can brag.  He is the great-grandfather of triplets―Rudy, Christopher, Alexander.

Florence Forsyth Torkelson, St. James, MN, says her granddaughter also visited Luther College, but liked Gustavus better.  Florence’s sons, Bruce E.,’70 and Paul M., ’74 attended Gustavus.

Paul Dacklin, Warner Robins, GA, likes new President Jim Peterson ’64 and “wants to meet him.”  I hope Paul plans to come here April 15-18 for the festive inauguration of our 14th president.

Louie Benson, Watertown, MN, is the horseradish up?  Louie has the recipe.  Mmm – Good!

Earl Carlson, Brainerd, MN.  We appreciate the scholarship endowment gift you and Gladys (Lundberg ’42), made to Gustavus.

Philip Hovander, Hopkins, MN.  No golf.  Shoulder hurts.  Cataract surgery in Minneapolis.

Clem Gruber, Anoka, MN, “Never thought I’d live this long.”  Turning 84.

Boyd R. Ingman, Spring Park, MN.  Doesn’t drive anymore.  Member of the Cec Eckhoff Society.  Coming here for the May reception?

Thorkil Jensen, Overland Park, KS.  Walks in shopping areas.  Delivers meals on wheels.

Luverne Johnson Sellstrom, Willmar, MN reports that there are 19 Willmar kids at Gustavus.  Luvvie went to her 67th class reunion in Stillwater in September.


Now for the events of April 15-18 – Presidental Inaugural

Refreshment and inspiration on a Water theme for the inauguration of Dr. James L. Peterson, ’64, “an entomologist and aquatic biologist by training, who has enjoyed the respite and mystery of rivers throughout his life.”

“Like drops of water, our individual gifts merge forming a river that flows from the community of learners out into a world of commitment, discovery, joy, and service.”

The Inauguration weekend festivities were as follows.

Thursday, April 15

6:30 p.m. - Inaugural Symposium:  “The Vocation of the Intellectual” by Dr. Martin Marty

9:40 p.m. - Symposium reception - hosted by the Student Senate.

Friday, April 16

10:00 a.m. - Daily celebration and Tenure Service in Christ Chapel

11:45 a.m. - Tree dedication - Presidents’ Oak Grove, Linnaeus Arboretum

  3:00 p.m. - Investiture of the President - Christ Chapel

  4:30 p.m. - Inaugural Reception

Saturday, April 17

  9:30 a.m. - Convention - Gustavus Association of Congregations, Christ Chapel

  1:30 p.m. - G.I.V.E. Day in St. Peter. Gusties and others perform community service projects

Sunday, April 18 

10:30 a.m. - Services in Christ Chapel

  1:30 p.m. - Twin Cities Reception hosted by the Gustavus Alumni Association, Hilton Hotel

  4:00 p.m. - Concert at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis VocalEssence and the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra performing

Alumnus composer Steve Heitzeg’s ’82 Nobel Symphony

That’s only the beginning of the end of the busiest school year ever.

  • Phonorama - April 25-29, Central Lutheran Church
  • Mayday Peace Conference – "The United Nations at the Crossroads" – April 28
  • Cec Eckhoff and Ren Anderson Societies Reception – May 1
  • Faculty/Administrator Service/Retirement Dinner – May 20
  • Class of 1954 and 50-Year Club Reunions – May 28 & 29
  • Commencement – May 30
  • Alumni Fund closes – May 31

May DayPlease send your contributions to the Gustavus Alumni fund before May 31, closing date for the current fund year. Our goal: 45 contributors.  Yes let’s!

Well, here we are, folks, all in the same boat.  We are nearly all in the same boat in the 80’s (except my beloved spouse who turned 91 in February).  We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear.  We think of each other often and wish each one well as the years go by.

And we hold dear our Gustavus years and the footprints we left on the Hill―and the heart-prints on those we knew and continue to cherish.  We will miss two generous classmates who have left us with good memories:  A. Harold Peterson, Chisago City, MN, on March 14, and Lorraine Falk Whittier, Chula Vista, CA, on March 1.  Obituaries follow at the end of this letter.



Marian Swanson Johnson

Class Agent ’41

Campus News

50th Anniversary Alumni Fund Closes May 31

The 2004 Alumni Fund will close May 31 with a goal of 50 percent alumni participation. Thanks to everyone who has already participated with a gift.  If you haven’t given, please think about sending a gift along with your news in the enclosed gold envelope. Gustavus alumni have a long tradition of strong alumni participation.  Help maintain our national ranking by participating in the 50th anniversary year of the Alumni Fund.

Scholarships and financial assistance at Gustavus

Did you know that scholarships and financial assistance for Gustavus students totals $18M, almost 25 percent of Gustavus’ annual budget?  Alumni Fund gifts, including designated and unrestricted gifts, help enable students to receive a Gustavus education.  Gustavus offers two types of scholarships to students -- merit awards given to recognize academic achievement, and tuition grants are used to assist students with recognized financial need.  Endowed scholarships are an important part of the Gustavus grant program and currently nine percent of scholarship funds come from the endowment.

Alumni survey

An alumni survey was sent to 2,000 members of reunion classes.  Approximately 600 have responded as of April 1.  Questions on the survey consist of how well Gustavus prepared them for employment and graduate education, activities involved in while at Gustavus, personal growth skills, alumni events and services, and overall satisfaction with the College.  Results of the survey will be included in the Fall Quarterly.

Winter sports summary

Women’s basketball finished third in the MIAC and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Men’s basketball won the MIAC regular season and playoff championship titles before losing to eventual national champion UW-Stevens Point in the NCAA national tournament. Men’s hockey posted a third-place finish in the regular season and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Women’s hockey finished second in regular-season MIAC play, but won the post-season tournament and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Men’s swimming won its third consecutive MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing ninth at the NCAA championships. Women’s swimming won the MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing 13th at the NCAA championships. Men’s Nordic skiing won its first-ever MIAC championship and finished fourth at the NCAA Central Region meet. Women’s Nordic skiing claimed their third consecutive MIAC title and completed their season with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Central Region meet. Gymnastics posted a 6–1 dual meet record and a second-place finish at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) West Regional. The women’s indoor track and field team finished second and the men fifth at the MIAC championships.

Did you know …

●Nearly 80% of Gustavus students graduate in four years, compared with 56% of students from other Minnesota private colleges; the national average is 17%.

●There are seven choral ensembles and 23 instrumental ensembles, two jazz, four woodwind and three brass ensembles.

●More than 40 percent of Gustavus students volunteer through the Gustavus community service center on a regular basis.

●And looking back -- during the college’s early years, students were awakened by a bell at 5:45 a.m. and all lights had to be out by 10:30 p.m.

A. Harold Peterson ’41

A. Harold Peterson, age 84, of Chisago City, MN died March 14, 2004.  Born April 4, 1919 to Albin and Albertina (Flod) Peterson, both immigrants from Sweden.  He graduated from West High School in Mpls in 1937 where he was a member of the State Champion Debate team.  From 1937-39 he attended Gustavus Adolphus College.  He served in the U. S. Navy from 1940-46 during World War II.  He attended Officers Candidate School at Northwestern University, the Naval War College in Newport, RI, and was the Executive Officer of two U. S. Submarines.  His last tour of duty was "Operation Crossroads" the atomic bomb test at Bikini.  After the war, he remained in the Naval Reserve and retired in 1972 with the rank of Captain after 32 years of service.  He graduated from William Mitchell College of Law in 1950 and was a member of the law firm of Hvass, Weisman & King.  He subsequently served as General Counsel of the National REA Telephone Assoc. for 22 years doing advocacy work before the Committees of Congress to bring modern telephone service to rural America.  Mr. Peterson's civic activities revolved around a firm belief in the development of rural America.  He was chairman of the Chisago Lakes Hospital for 44 years and was the first chairman of the Fairview Lakes Regional Hospital in Wyoming, MN and a member of the corporate board of the Fairview System.  In 1988 he was named Hospital Trustee of the Year for hospitals in the United States under 250 beds.  Other achievements during his lifetime include:  local school board 1947-56; charter member Lindstrom Lions Club; member Executive Board Minnesota Synod, Lutheran Church in America; Minnesota State Advisory Committee on School Reorganization; charter member Minnesota-Wisconsin Boundary Area Commission; served in MN State Legislature; President of the Gustavus Adolphus College Alumni Assoc.; active member of Zion Lutheran Church.  In 2002 he was named outstanding Senior Citizen of Chisago County.  Proceeded in death by his parents and brother, Kenneth Peterson.  He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Grace (Palmer ’38) Peterson; son, Jon ’66 (Claudia) Peterson of Seattle, WA; daughter, Martha ’69 (Bill) Bevan of Vail, CO and son, Kim (Laurie) Peterson of DelMar, CA; seven grandchildren and one brother.

Lorraine Falk Whittier

Lorraine was born in Mission Creek Township, Minnesota.  She graduated from Deer River High School in 1937 and attended Gustavus Adolphus College St. Peter, Minnesota, graduating in 1941.  World War II just broke out and she accepted a job at Wright Air Force Base.  After WWII, Lorraine took a job as Women's Personnel Director for Frigidaire of General Motors, in Dayton, Ohio.  It was there she met and married Robert Whittier, in Deer River, Minnesota, in 1949.  Lorraine, Robert and family lived in Ventura, California, Fairfax, Virginia and then permanently settled in the South Bay area of San Diego, California.  Between 1950 and 1962, Bob and Lorraine were blessed with four children:  Suzanne, Robert, Thomas and Carol.  Lorraine spent the formative years raising their children, involving herself in community and church service.  After raising her family, she devoted almost 30 years to tax preparation with HR Block. She is survived by her husband, Robert, 4 children, 1 brother and 6 grandchildren.