Class of ’43
October 2010

Dear Classmates of ʼ43:

Ralf Runquist and I have a very special reason to thank many of you for the response you made to our Phonorama calls last fall.  Both of us received handsome Gustavus clocks, suitable to be hung on the wall.  On each clock above the large Gustavus seal is a small plaque on which is inscribed my name on my clock and Ralf’s on his and below our names “2010 Class Agent of the Year.”  I was present on September 11, the Volunteer Leadership Day, when these Class Agent of the Year awards were announced, though Ralf was not.  His clock had been sent to him.  There were class agents from two other classes also honored this year.  I was utterly dumbfounded when I heard that the Class of ’43 was on the honors list!  The main factor in our case was that 36 of the 52 on our current class list had contributed in 2009-10 giving us 69.2% participation.  Compared to other classes we had a modest figure of $15,547 received, which included a bequest from the estate of a class member who had recently died.  We hope many of our class will include Gustavus in their wills.  Thank you again very, very much for what you did this past year.  Ralf and I would like to maintain and even improve our percentage of participation this coming year.

I apologize for the fact that so much of last spring’s letter was news about my trip to Sweden May 25-June 4.  This is a brief report on what happened.  All went well.  Our daughter, Maria Erling, on sabbatical last semester from her teaching at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, went with us.  Maria was born in Lund and was baptized in the Lund Cathedral, where the Doctors’ Promotion was held.  The ceremony on May 28, which included cannon shots as candidates for promotion came forward, was all in Latin and lasted three hours.  Harry Aronson, the other jubilee doctor in the Theological Faculty who had survived these fifty years and I sat at the front of the raised chancel.  The only rest room in the cathedral was near the entrance at the back of the nave.  Fortunately we didn’t need to use it.  On May 31 I met Dr. Henning Melber at the office of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in Uppsala and had a very pleasant visit with him.  I had brought along the manuscript of my 300 page Reader’s Guide on a tiny DataStick, which I left with him.  He is presently engaged in conversations with Bonniers förlag, the publishers of Vägmärken (the original Swedish edition of Waymarks).  The goal is to publish in 2011, the 50th anniversary of Dag Hammarskjöld’s death.  I expect to hear from him as the project develops.

On September 11, when class agents were gathered, we heard Paul Batz ’85, who is a professional inspirational speaker.  He gave us seven rules for success:  l – Be sure to pray.  His practice is while swimming to pray the alphabet, praying about a person or a thing for each letter.  2 – Remember your family and come home for dinner each evening at 6 p.m.  3 – On Monday evening hold a family budget meeting.  4 – Exercise regularly, preferably with someone.  Batz mentioned two who switched shoes each time, so that they had to get together to exercise.  5 – Convive with a new couple once a month.  He told of a couple who were up to 39 and counting.  6 – Make room regularly for fun, for example, by playing scrabble rather than watching TV.  7 – Have hope for the future for oneself as well as for others.  We were also given these suggestions for how to lead the life we imagine.  Blending – putting many things together, home and work.  Together – nothing significant is done if one remains alone.  Grateful – in this way many negative things are excluded.  Giving – this helps you.  Make Your Life Count, Gustavus’ new watchword.  We were impressed by the class agent plans of the Class of 2010.  There are about 600 in the class.  They have chosen twelve class agents.  The class is divided so that 50 are assigned to each of the twelve class agents and each of them writes one letter, so that the class members receive a class letter each month.

Derek Walcott, 1992 Nobel Laureate in Literature, was on campus Sept. 20 to Oct. 9 as Rydell Professor.  I attended two poetry classes that he taught and was fascinated by his analysis of a poem by W. H. Auden.  A book read this fall was Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  The book is about the internment of Japanese Americans in the Seattle area during World War II.  Some of you may remember the effort the Gustavus Missionary Society made in 1942 to bring a Nisei student from one of those internment camps to Gustavus for the academic year 1942-43.  Though we had the funds necessary, the effort proved unsuccessful.  The new president, Walter Lunden, did not support it.  It was opposed by the College Board and the local American Legion.  We could perhaps have worked harder on that project the summer of 1942.  Nisei students were made welcome at several other campuses. 

The Nobel Conference, “Making Food Good”, Oct. 5-6 was attended by 5,000 with several stimulating lectures.  Again this year our daughter, Anne Erling, her husband, Dominic Colafati, and daughters Amelia and Ingrid, came from Albany, NY, spending that week with us.

Some of you may have been reading the trilogy, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson.  In translation by Reg Keeland all been #1 New York Times Bestsellers.  Larsson died shortly after writing them.  There is more crime, violence, and sex than I had expected to find in a narrative set in Sweden.  The heroine, Lisbeth Salander is mistreated both by Sweden’s systems of social service and justice.  She is amazingly resourceful and achieves revenge against those who have done her grievous harm.  If any of you have read these books and would like to share your reactions, I would be glad to hear from you.

A year ago I wrote about the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly’s action that led to admitting to our clergy roster gay and lesbian persons living together in committed relationships.  By now the reaction to this decision is such that many congregations are voting to leave the ELCA.  Bishop Jon Anderson of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod said recently that this is a time when we must lament.  Our church is saying that homosexuality is not a life style that is chosen but it is a condition in which some persons find themselves.  Despite certain few passages in the Bible that state that homosexual behavior is sinful, we are now saying that it is no more sinful than heterosexual behavior.  On what basis can we change Christian teaching?  Going back in time we did change Christian teaching about charging interest on loans, which is condemned in more Bible passages than is homosexual behavior.  We also do not condemn as harshly divorce as was once the case.  If we accept the fact that persons belonging to a good creation are homosexual, how do we love them?  Paul in Romans 13:8-10 teaches that loving one’s neighbor is the primary commandment in Christian ethics.

Paul is thinking of agape (the NT word for love) lovers.  There are two other ethical types, strivers and obeyers.  Strivers strive for individual goals they regard as good.  This striving fuels the American free enterprise system.  When it takes social forms it may mean striving as utilitarians do for the greatest good for the greatest number.  Each individual striver must define what she/he understands as good.  The third moral option is to be an obeyer.  Obeyers need to be taught.  The laws they obey are given to them by the society in which they live; they do not define them for themselves.  Obeyers in a religious community can become restive if teachers in that community begin to say that some laws that have been binding for as much as 2,000 years may now be changed.  Agape lovers, on the other hand, have a greater freedom.  Persons who in response to being forgiven and loved become agape lovers have in this way come to know God, for God is love, and they know what to do, for “the one who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:8).  Laws no matter how venerable cannot be permitted to keep us from loving the neighbor, whomever she/he may be.  In the ELCA we have come to a new understanding of what is required if we are to love those individuals in our midst who are homosexual.

Five members of our class have died during this past year.

Zola Zieske Blake (6056 Vista Campo Rd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109) died October 24, 2009.  She was married to Arthur W. Blake ’46, a special agent-in-charge for the U.S. Secret Service.  Zola was engaged in adult education in Albuquerque, NM, Washington, DC, and Minneapolis, MN.  She is survived by her two children, Linda and Frederic.

Cyrus Lindgren (260 Oakleaf Drive, Pine Knoll Shores, NC 28512) died April 23, 2010.  Cyrus served in the U.S. Army Air Force 1943-46.  After some graduate study he worked at Ivan Sorvall, Inc., a manufacturer of centrifuges 1947-73, and then was marketing manager at E.I. DuPont Biomedicad Div., Newtown, CT.  Cyrus was married to Lillian Claire Johnson.  Cyrus is survived by his wife, Lillian, and three children, Janet, John, and Robert.

Howard S. Olson (1925 Grand Cypress Lane, Sun City Center, FL 33573) died July 1, 2010.  He was married to A. Louise Anderson.  Howard continued his education at Augustana Theological Seminary, Rock Island, IL, and Hartford Seminary Foundation, where he earned the Ph.D.  Gustavus awarded Howard an honorary LLD in 1970.  Howard and Louise, spent their years of ministry in Tanzania.  Howard was professor of biblical studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Makumira, where he was also director of music research.  In the April 2009 class letter a number of Howard’s self-published writings were listed.  His chief legacy, however, is three African hymns which he translated, first sung by ELCA congregations in With One Voice and now published in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, “Christ Has Risen, Alleluia” #364, “Gracious Spirit, Heed our Pleading” #401, and “Listen, God is Calling” #513.  Howard is survived by his wife, Louise, and four children, Howard, Sharon, Timothy, and Linda.  A memorial fund for Howard has been formed at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, the interest from which will be used annually to support students, especially those studying music, at Makumira University in Tanzania.  The fund thus far contains $8,700 and it is hoped that it will grow.

Arlyne Kuehl Siehr (666 Moline Ave. #6, Long Beach, CA 90814) died December 17, 2009.  After some years of teaching and a year of graduate study, Arlynne spent much of her professional life first with the YWCA of Greater Milwaukee and thereafter with the Girl Scouts.  She also directed a Dispute Settlement Center in Racine, WI, and was a non-profit management consultant.  She was married to Eugene M. Siehr.  Arlynne is survived by her two children, Heidi Nye and Tim Siehr.

Robert Wettergren (Pheasant Ridge, 1807 Sunrise Dr., St. Peter, MN 56082) died February 19, 2010.  Robert attended Gustavus 1939-1941.  He then became plant manager at the Wettergren Dairy in St. Peter 1941-55.  1955-73 he was president/owner of the Wettergren Dairy.  Thereafter he was manager of the St. Peter Area Chamber of Commerce.  He was very active in St. Peter community affairs and became known as “Mr. St. Peter.”  Robert was married to M. Renee Terry.  Robert is survived by his five children, Wendy, Debbie, Jan, Robin, and Robert.  May there be peace to the memory of these class members!

In the coming weeks you can expect to be called either by me or by my Co-Class Agent, Ralf Runquist.  Your support of the Annual Fund this year will be much appreciated.  Please also give us some news notes that Ralf can use in writing the January letter.

Sincerely yours,

Bernie Erling

1943 Co-Class Agent

Campus News

150th Anniversary Commemorative Alumni Directory

The Gustavus Alumni Association is bringing together about 25,000 Gusties to celebrate the College’s 150th anniversary.  In partnership with Publishing Concepts, Inc. (PCI), Gustavus will produce the 150th Anniversary Commemorative Alumni Directory.  Over the next couple of months, PCI will be contacting Gustavus alumni via phone, mail, and e-mail to request that you update your information.  We know you don’t want to provide your information to just anyone, so we want you to be aware of this project and encourage your participation.  For more information, call the Office of Alumni Relations at 800-487-8437.

Nobel Conference

What is Good Food?  The Nobel Conference® 46, Making Food Good, was held October 5-6.  It explored the many levels of this question.  From our seven distinguished panelists we considered varied and various conceptions of goodness and the challenges involved with the way they intersect with each other.  Contemporary food issues like community food security; the local foods movement; food crops as fuel crops; school lunches; genetic modification of food plants and animals; molecular gastronomy; and protecting genetic diversity of plants and animals were considered.  You can hear the talks online at:

Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus inducted new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet on Saturday, October 9.  Inductees for 2010 are:  Evie Cieslar Erdman ’73, benefactor; Duke Paluch ’84, tennis; Erik Allen ’92, basketball; Peter Anderson ’92, golf; Leigh Stocker Berger ’92, volleyball; Angela White Vick ’92, track and field; Heidi Rostberg Carlson ’93, tennis; Erik Hendrikson ’94, hockey, football; Paige Tierney Sullivan ’95, soccer; and the Hall of Fame Moment−1990 Women’s Tennis National Championship.

Alumni Art Show

Over 60 alumni will participate in an Alumni Art Show in the Hillstrom Museum, November 22 through the end of the semester.  A reception will take place on Monday, November 22, 7 p.m.  This will be the first alumni art showing in the Hillstrom Museum.

Arboretum Fall Warmer

The arboretum is hosting a lunch/speaker event at its Fall Warmer on Sunday, November 7, 2010.  The speaker, Mr. Christian Gilbert ʼ98, is an 8th grade geography educator as well as being an avid mountain climber.  He is co-founder of “Go4theSummit”an online learning environment geared to serve learners of all ages in order to provide a deeper understanding of world places and culture.  Mr. Gilbert has climbed Mt. Aconcagua (South America, 2008), Mt. Kilimanjaro ((Africa, 2009) and Mt. Elbrus (Russia, 2010).  His next destination is Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia.  Tickets are $10 members and $12 non-members.  Register by November 2 at or call 507/933-6181.

“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 breakfasts include: Jeff Stocco, dean of students, on Nov. 17; Neal Hagberg ’81 and Leandra Peak ’83, musicians, on Dec. 15; and the winter sports coaches on Jan. 19.

Christmas in Christ Chapel Tickets

Tickets for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2010, “A Renaissance Nativity,” are available online.  Service dates are Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $17.50 each and available online via credit card at:  If you do not have access to the Internet, tickets are available by calling the Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520.