Class of '41
January 2005

Dear ’41 Classy Mates,

“ …what I stay busy at in my 80s…,” he wrote 1-14-05.

On Phonorama Bob Burggren, Red Wing, MN, triggered my thoughts about the guest writer schedule set by the Alumni Office for January 2005.  “Two ways to go” entered my thoughts of possibilities:  1) letters, a letter about letters 2) writers (letters by and about) to tell what we stay busy at or think about in our 80s.

I do know something about these two categories.  I pick up interesting stuff on Phonorama and on personal correspondence.  And I’m a saver, keepsaker, filer, archiver, and history buff.  It’s in my genes.  I can’t help it.

I know Bob Burggren because I saved the first letter I wrote home after I arrived at Gustavus.  (Postmarked September 15, 1937 – 3-cent stamp).  My Mom, who reported Dunnell news for Sherburn Advance Standard, Fairmont Daily Sentinel, Estherville Daily News, noted on the back of the envelope:  “Heat stuff in dish in ice box.  Eat Jell-O, cake in ice box, tomato juice, and celery, clear table.”  My letter begins “Gustavus Adolphus September 14, 1937:

1937 Letter


1937 letter


Back to Bob Burggren’s letter about a new and refreshingly different way to think and talk about, in our 80s.

Dear Marian (Pinky)....

In response to our recent telecom ‑ The following is a suggested article on what I stay busy at in my 80's.

12 years ago I joined up with an inventor and his patented idea for a machine to remove and recycle deteriorated concrete highways.  We picked up a U.S. Department of Energy contract to do a feasibility study on the idea and hired an engineering company to do an independent investigation on a conceptual design of a machine to accomplish the purpose.  The study turned out positive and from then on in the next ten years of fund raising and proposing to the Federal Highway Department for grants to develop the machine for testing and demonstration.  This included convincing the Academy of Sciences and the Transportation Research Board that the machine would serve the rehabilitation program on the U.S. Interstate Highway System (now over 50 years old).

I wrote all of the proposals, which finally yielded $1.1 million in funding for building a prototype concrete Road Remover-Recycler model for testing and demonstration.  The long period to get to this point in time was dealing with the market to qualify the need.  The increased traffic and heavier truckloads shortened the life of asphalt over old concrete.  The demand for lower cost full replacement including the concrete became an obvious need both in cost and time.  The goal of the machine is to remove and recycle the concrete, in usable aggregate for new concrete and the steel reinforcement salable as scrap.  The machine would process one lane mile of concrete and load directly into trucks in 8 to 10 hours.  The Concrete Road Remover-Recycler employs the principle of shock impact from a bank of powered hammers acting on an anvil.  The project became a startup company called Road Processing Resources, Inc.  A full operating analysis and design has been completed and manufacturing the prototype scheduled to be in a test program in 2005.

I am enclosing a copy of a News Release which goes into more detail than needed in an alumni "who's doing what" letter.  You can add to the above any information you feel necessary.

Best Regards,

Bob Burggren


Travelers are aware that highways are deteriorating in the USA faster than they can be rehabilitated due to increasing traffic and axle loads.  Cold milling and asphalt overlaying is common practice but does not last beyond several years and has to be repeated.  Over time, costs of such rework accumulates such that consideration must be given to cold milling the asphalt and replacing the concrete to provide longer service life.  This can allow access to inadequate base conditions that become the causes of highway surfacing breakdown.  Base material replacement, compacting and drainage design can extend life of any surface to follow.  To date, the cost of this total replacement has been delayed or avoided.  The primary problems are costs of removal and disposal of steel reinforced concrete.

Up to now this has had to be accomplished by six operations to remove and clear the right of way of demolition debris―a costly process.  Now there will be a solution to this problem, the development firm of Road Processing Resources, Inc. (RPR) has the answer with a Concrete Road Remover-Recycler machine program.  The machine has a one‑step process for concrete road removal which can offer benefit of 1/4 the cost and time of present techniques.  Not only the removal is achieved but also the process produces salable byproducts of separated aggregate and steel.  Forty to sixty percent of the aggregate can be screened and directly added to new concrete.  The steel will be rid of concrete and thus accepted by scrap dealers.

The Concrete Remover-Recycler employs the principal of shock impact from a bank of powered hammers acting on a common anvil.  It will process one lane (12') into aggregate and separate the steel totally free of concrete.  The machine will operate continuously to process one lane width for a distance of one mile in eight hours.  The aggregate produced drops onto a conveyer system, which unloads into trucks.  The steel is cut to desired lengths and dropped into recycle containers, which are exchanged when fully loaded.  This clears the road site so preparations for replacement can start immediately.

The producing of recycled aggregate is timely as pit gravel is becoming limited and steel recovery offers an economic benefit directly to costs of machine operation.

The hammer-anvil principle has been under intensive testing in a mobile facility.  The first model (prototype) Concrete Road Remover-Recycler is now being built under a grant from The Federal Highway Department and Transportation Research Board.  Support from industry is being solicited to do extensive testing and further final development for production manufacturing.


This writing and reading of letters is what I stay busy at in my 80s.  What about you?  As a writer you tell what’s on your mind like:

Ellie (Swanson) and Ray Soderquist (Kearney, NE):  “At our age, we have some physical limitations, of course, and don’t reap as much from such trips as we once could, but have determined to do what we can while we are blessed with togetherness!”

1941 classmate

Luverne Johnson Sellstrom (Willmar, MN) has had cataract surgery and surgery on her middle finger, right hand, but can still do computer and church office work (sending us magnificent color photos of incredible Russian Ice Festival sculptures) and still plays the piano and organ.

Ruth Sealander Ruud (Detroit Lakes, MN):  “I made a sudden decision to move back to an apartment building where sister Marjorie ’38 lives.”  Moving with only two weeks notice after living in the same house in Moorhead for over 50 years, reminds me of the saying that was popular when we were at Gustavus:  ‘O ferda confusion!  O ferda maladjustment!’  Only hope we don’t have a fire inspection very soon.  So begins a whole new phase of my life.”

Margaret Lundstrom Riesenweber (Kennewick, WA):  “A broken hip and surgery has prompted several changes in my life.  I am now residing at Canyon Lake Restorative & Rehabilitation in Kennewick, just a half-mile from my home.  For being a ‘rest’ home, this facility has many activities to take part in so I don’t have to spend all my time in bed.  I have participated in many outings including a cruise on the Columbia River, exploring local museums, and interesting places for lunch on Fridays.  All these outings are made possible by our public transportation system, Dial-a-Ride van, which is a blessing to many in our community.  Mail sent to my old address (2913 South Huntington Court) still reaches me by next-day delivery.  My phone number remains the same as well 509-586-8929, but let it ring to give me time to reach it.  Thinking of you all brings me happiness and contentment.”

As always, Chuck and Bea Lusk (Borrego Springs, CA) are busy in his shop reading a box of books, both doing well after a traveling summer...

Bessie Hobart Chenault (Austin, TX):  “Living alone and being dependent on a wheel chair, I have been challenged to be able to take care of ordinary daily needs.  One pill at a time.  I have mastered things I had thought impossible.  I can cook, keep my kitchen clean, and do most other housekeeping chores.  Our daughter-in-law does my shopping, and my son helps me on Saturdays and takes me to church on Sundays.  They do my yard work, and I have a lawn and flowers to make my home beautiful.  God is so good!  I feel much younger than my years, still learning new things daily.”

1941 classmateJoyce Westrom Hilary (Minneapolis, MN); asks in her 1998 Christmas letter, “What changed all your tomorrows?”  Your list is as long as mine.  But forever to change my tomorrows.

A mother’s calm voice – and a promise.  My mother, Mame, knew her days left with family would be few.  She called and asked me to come to the rest home.  I sat by her bed, she took my hand and with her soft, calm voice:  ‘Joyce, I want you to make me a promise, that you will never bring your Ministry down to the street, but rather you bring the street up to your Ministry.  Promise me.’  Every Sunday before my prelude I remember the promise and I remember Mame:  When I saw her graceful pleasure as she fed hobos; when I watched her greet the farmers as they came to worship in our village church; when I watched her face when Fred and I played at the rest home; and when I made my promise I could never break my promise to such a beautiful lady―the lady who changed all my tomorrows.”

Blanche Isenberg Pergol (Saint Cloud, MN) left for Florida, January 7 “all better” after illness that prevented her planned August cruise in the Mediterranean.  Her Florida address:  3575 Bennington Drive, Laconia Court #48, Fort Myer, FL  33919.  She will return to Minnesota some time in April.

For Dorothy Benson Klotz (Hopkins, MN), “2004 has been a totally recuperated year.”  She can now walk on her own and drive her car.  “Thanks to a good Lord for all His blessings.”

1941 classmateCleo Scriven Zeidler and her husband, Ed, have been residents in Arizona a little over a year, not missing snow and mosquitoes, but missing family and friends in Minnesota.  Ed is now walking without a walker or cane, recovering from a spinal operation.

Our class prexy, Batch Johnson (White Bear Lake, MN) and his wife, Dee, sent us color photos of their seasonal environs, with a carol prayer.  “May the fire of your compassion kindle every land and race.”

            Louie and Ad Benson (Watertown, MN), greeted us with a poem about a boyhood memory:  “As one grows older, memories begin to smolder, just not vivid anymore.”  Yet reminds his Dad sitting in the Boston rocker reading from Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible with colored pictures “to his boys, Hal and me.”  Modern techniques with beautiful slides and other gadgets to show Bible history “did not challenge the memories from our roots in Parnell!”

heartsDon Anderson and wife, Lois (Edstrom ’49) (Eagan, MN) stay busy at traveling.  Last January to daughter, Barb, in Atlanta before and after attending a Christian Ashram in Bermuda with Canadian friends.  April, attending World Mission Prayer League Family Camp at Okoboji, Iowa, enjoyable, enriching time with friends and missionaries at home from several Mission fields; Colorado, Erickson Family reunion; August, St. John’s University, Minnesota Christian Ashram; and first Elderversity at Mount Carmel Camp near Alexandria, MN; September, Camp Wapogassett, near Amery, WI; October, annual Elderberries Retreat for retired pastors and spouses at Green Lake, near Spicer, MN.

Lucille “Sammy” Samuelson Agard and husband, Kenneth, Ames, IA.  Birthday celebrations fill their time:  Kenneth, 86; California daughter, 61; Oregon daughter, 49.  They celebrated their 63rd anniversary last week (January 18, 2005).  Sammy’s ear problem makes Christmas music disharmonic, tinny and screechy; but she is thankful she can follow closed-caption TV to enjoy the old standard Christmas plays.

After many painful months with locomotion difficulties, Bob Esbjornson (St. Peter, MN) had back surgery at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis on January 6.  He is living and recuperating with physical therapy at Grandview Good Samaritan, 830 Sunrise Drive, St. Peter, MN 56082.  Looking great, free of pain, he’s busy at 86 working hard and long with the green elastic exercise bands to strengthen his muscles.  His son, Carl Daniel, from Montana, and daughter, Louise ’68, from St. Peter are in daily attendance.  Bob does a lot of writing, you know.  He and Louise are members of the Night Writers Group at the Arts Center in St. Peter.

Another ill classmate is Paul Dacklin (Warner Robins, GA) whose current address is Cedar Medical Center, 1400 NW - 12th Avenue, Miami, FL  33136.  Hospitalized December 28 with respiratory illness, he turned 89 on January 18.  He can be reached via e-mail at:

The team that processes our ’41 memories, Phonorama reports and receipts $$$$ gifts to Gustavus are also very busy and encouragingly helpful―as is Old Gus

Alumni Relations Staff

Pictured here from left to right, front row:  Jim Isaak ’86, director of the Gustavus Fund; Joyce Welling-Prahm, administrative assistant for the Gustavus Fund; Barb Larson Taylor ’93, associate director of alumni relations; Philly Kauffmann, administrative assistant for alumni relations.

Back row:  Mik Gusenius ’03, assistant director of the Gustavus Fund; Ron Timmerman ’75, associate director of alumni operations; Randall Stuckey ’83, director of alumni relations.


News Notes from The Yellow Sheet 1-13-05

Staff in Old Main Moves On... The staff in Old Main has been busy packing up to make way for renovation. Following is a list of new and/or temporary locations for those who have been housed in Old Main.

Professors from the following departments have been moved to temporary locations as follows:

Classics -- library

Philosophy -- library

Political Science -- library

Religion -- Confer/Vickner, library, Olin, social science center

Chaplains -- library (temporary location, moving Monday, Jan. 17)

Education, including Sandi Francis -- will move during touring week to the newly constructed P.A. Mattson Hall, the building to the west of Prairie View

Nursing, including Linda Elvee -- same as education

All telephone extension numbers remain the same. It may be wise to call or e-mail anyone in this group instead of attempting to find them!

Upcoming Music Tours... The Gustavus Choir, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra (formerly the Gustavus Band), and the Gustavus String Orchestra will perform 37 concerts in 15 states between Jan. 20 and Feb. 13. A complete schedule that includes dates, times, and locations is available online at

In Elaine Brostrom’s monthly newsletter to Gustavus Retired Academic & Administrative Personnel (GRAAP) she wrote: 

Chet and Marian Johnson celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at their honeymoon hotel― the Lowell Inn in Stillwater with children and grandchildren joining them on November 4, 2004.  They sent a lovely family picture taken at the Prairie Overlook in Linnaeus Arboretum.  They also indicated a Valley View book signing which took place on November 26.  I knew they were doing a book on Valley View ― but I missed the book signing and I want to read the book!

60 Years


Valley View


The wreaths pictured on our Christmas card were made by Chet, who has been making 75+ gift wreaths for friends and neighbors for 75 years.  Photographed by Sharon Stevenson, our Valley View neighbor.  Sharon, Gustavus’ graphic design director also did the design for our 250-page Valley View history which covers 1949-2004 memorabilia from our family archives.

That’s about all folks.  Now it’s your turn to be the writer.  We’re looking forward to your letters with generous checks written to the Gustavus Fund.



Marian Swanson Johnson

1941 Class Agent