Class of '41
February 2007

Greetings ’41ers

Charlie Lusk has had a rough couple weeks.  Wednesday, the 24th of January I had a mild heart attack.  I had been chopping wood in the afternoon and felt a little ache in my left shoulder, but thought it was a pulled muscle.  On Thursday I took my wife, Bea, into the clinic and I thought I would have them check my chest just to make sure and in five minutes they had me in bed running more tests than Carter has pills.  Yup, they said, “you had a mild heart attack and we’re sending you to Sharp Hospital for some more tests.”  It was now 3:00 p.m. so I told Bea, “why don’t you go home to Borrego and I’ll keep you posted.”  Cell phones are a handy tool.

Saturday morning they told me they wanted to run a stress test to see where the problem was.  By 6:00 p.m. they said, “Well it’s just a mild one, we’re sending you home.”  I called a friend, Pat, who has a home in San Diego to see if he could pick me up.  He said, “Sure, just let me know when.”  The Doc said I could leave that night in about two hours so I called Pat back and said about 8:00 p.m. would be fine.  He said, “Okay, we’ll leave right away.”  “Whoa, aren’t you in San Diego?”  “NO, in Borrego.”

I was going to say I’d get some one in town but didn’t.  So, ten minutes before they were ready to get me dressed, Pat, and his wife were at the door.  I finished signing myself out and we headed for Borrego.  About an hour into the drive we went through Ramona and Pat says, “I’m thirsty, let’s get a drink.”  His wife went into a 7-11 and got us each a soda and we were on our way.  About a mile into town I took another sip.  I was feeling a little upset I thought, and up it all came―soda, last two meals and I think part of breakfast.  Did I mention we were in his new BMW?  Urph, all over the dash, the windshield, and the floor.  I got out and did a little more and then continued on to Borrego.  It turns out I had the flu and spent the next couple of days in bed.  Well, I’m doing fine and it looks like I’m going to be spending the next month not lifting any thing more than five pounds.  There goes the wood pile.

Well, back to the class letter and the news.  I received a couple of items from class members.  We have lost Joseph Louis Benson.  Louis died on May 29, 2006.  He is survived by his wife, Adeline, and four children and their families, including Donald ’63 and Susan ’68.  Our sympathy to their family.

We had heard rumor that Clem Gruber was gone, but I talked to him yesterday and he said he plans to stick around for another ten and is hoping his cat will too.

Bess Hobart Hardin Chenault sent a nice note and letter bringing us up-to-date on her activities.  If you haven’t read her book on their time in Africa, get it, it’s fascinating…  Here is her letter:

          For seven or eight years, I’ve been in a wheel-chair so my physical self has been hindered, but, thank God, I can still use my mind, read, study and speak.  I use email, write letters, enjoy having my own phone to keep in contact with friends here and in Africa.

          A copy of the book I wrote about our time in Africa, “Give One This Mountain,” is in Gustavus archives.  When we were small, time crept.  When we were young adults, time walked.  Now that we are old, time flies.  Born in the tiny town of Taylors Falls, MN, I was thirteen when the Great Depression of the early 1930’s became reality.  My father lost everything, sold our house for a paltry two thousand dollars and moved us to Willmar to start over again at age forty-four.  At the same time, central USA was devastated by drought of the famed Dust Bowl days.

          We were a Gustavus family.  My dad’s class ring bears the date of 1910, and he taught in the business school for a short time.  Six cousins and my brother, Claire, and I are graduates.

          As you 1941 grads know well, Pearl Harbor was attacked that December and our lives were forever changed.  I was teaching high school in Maynard, not far from Willmar.

          1943, I made a bold venture and enlisted in the WAC and served until the war ended.  While stationed in San Francisco, I met John Hardin.  We married in late 1944.  John remained in California and I was assigned to a post in Georgia.

          After the end of the war, we felt the urge to take the Gospel somewhere beyond our borders, so in 1949 we went to South Africa.  Except for furloughs, we spent most of thirty years there.  We grew to love the people, the work and the beautiful country.

          In 1978 we moved back to the USA.  John was 67 when he died suddenly of a heart attack.  I was 61.  In 1984, a widower and I, in our mid-sixties, married and my new name was Chenault.  We had nineteen good years together until Parkinson’s claimed his life in 2003.

          I lived alone until my health made it necessary to move into this beautiful assisted living facility in the hills of west Austin, TX.  Sons and grandchildren live in the area and I have wonderful new friends at church.  Blessings are many; I’ve had a wonderful life.  ~Bessie Hobart Hardin Chenault

The next ones to fill us in on your doings are:

1.     Eunice Nordin Gordon, San Diego, CA

2.     Clem Gruber, Anoka MN

3.     Shirley Robeck Hall, Burnsville MN

4.     Arthur R Heglund, Milwaukee, WI

5.     Lucille Westerdahl Hope, Bellevue, WA

6.     Philip Hovander, Hopkins, MN

7.     Ed Janovsky, Le Center, MN

8.     Thorkil Jensen, Overland Park, KS

A page or two on each of you, okay?  Longer, if you want.  You can send them to me at:  3865 Pecos Drive, P.O. Box 1311, Borrego Springs, CA  92004 or to the Alumni Office at Gustavus.

Well, class that does it for today, Bea just came in and said its 80 degrees outside.  YEAH Borrego!

As Always,

Charlie Lusk

1941 Class Agent


Alumni Starring in The Cherry Orchard

The Department of Theatre and Dance is celebrating 75 years of theatre at Gustavus this year with two featured events:  theatre reunion to be held May 11-12 and a gala performance of The Cherry Orchard followed by a cast party which was held on February 10.  This was Professor Rob Gardner’s final directing work before retirement.  A cast of professional theatre alumni will join the student actors for this very special production.  The alumni cast included:  Peter Breitmayer ’87, Karen Esbjornson ’80, Alisa Pritchett ’85, Kevin Kling ’79, Scott Novotny ’75, and Michael Glenn (Waldhauser) ’97.  A sold-out performance was given for this unique celebration.

Lindau Symposium brings Richard John Neuhaus to campus

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a well-known conservative Catholic intellectual, will address “Religion in American Public Life” at the inaugural Lindau Symposium at Gustavus on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall.  A gift to the College from Phil ’58 and Nancy Lindau, given prior to Phil’s death last April, established the symposium at Gustavus that bears his name.  Lindau, a commodities broker and executive who served Gustavus as a board member, campaign chair, and longtime volunteer leader, was passionate about the faith-life intersection and the church-relatedness of his alma mater.  The symposium, which the Lindau family and College officials anticipate will be an annual event, aims to provide a forum in which diverse intellectual voices and mainstream beliefs and values can be brought together in a liberal arts environment.

Give Every Year to Gustavus?

Do you give to Gustavus every year and plan to give every year in the future?  Then you should become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society.  Members of the Cec Eckhoff Society simply make the public commitment that they plan to give financially to Gustavus every year.  It does not matter how much you give and this is not a formal pledge for a certain amount of money.  Cec Eckhoff ’56 led the alumni office from 1963-1994.  Cec believed that part of being an alum of Gustavus was to give monetarily each year to the College.  To become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society, please call The Gustavus Fund office toll-free at 866/487-3863 or e-mail <>.  Thank you for your support of Gustavus!

Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students participated in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir and the Gustavus String Orchestra.  The Gustavus Choir toured Spain and Portugal January 11-30.  Performances were scheduled for Lisbon, Seville, Malaga, Grenada, and Madrid.  The Wind Orchestra toured Minnesota, Madison and Milwaukee, WI and Chicago.  The String Orchestra toured Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Naples/Marco Island Gustie Gathering – February 17
  • Tucson Gustie Gathering – March 16
  • Phoenix Gustie Gathering – March 17
  • Sun City Gustie Gathering – March 18
  • Celebrating 75 years of Theatre Reunion – May 11-12