Class of ’43

April 2012

Dear Classmates of ʼ43:

Greetings from Gustavus!  In the new system this the second of the two class letters that you’ll receive this academic year.  The Gustavus Reunion Weekend, May 25-26, is near at hand.  You have received the announcement of the schedule for the weekend.  There is complimentary housing in two campus dormitories.  On Saturday the lunch and banquet tickets will each cost $10.  Marilyn and I are planning to attend the graduation of one of our granddaughters at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, on May 20, but we expect to be back in time for the Gustavus Reunion Weekend.

This has been a very strange winter.  We had very little snow.  I used my snow thrower only twice.  The local hardware store, where my lawnmower was stored during the winter months, delivered it the last days of March.  I refused to mow my lawn already in March but did mow it last week.  Just now we need several inches of rain.  The drought has brought at least one benefit to some.  Virginia Opp Nyberg  (105 N. Third St., #202, Moorhead MN 56560) reports that those living along the Red River have no fear of flooding this year.  The situation can, however, be quite different elsewhere.  Anne Dahlberg Hatch (608 Fifth Ave., PO Box 452, Seward, AK  99664), whom I called recently, said that there had been six feet of snow in her back yard.  It is regrettable that the question whether what is happening is far reaching climate change has become politically polarized, making it difficult for us to agree about what should be done about this matter.

Since I skipped second grade in the elementary school at Sacred Heart, MN (despite its name a totally Lutheran small town, with four churches, three Norwegian and one Swedish), I have been among the younger members of our class.  Having been born on Easter Eve 1922, I am celebrating my 90th birthday next Sunday.  Pope Benedict, incidentally, was also born on Easter Eve, though not the same year.  We are having a birthday party Sunday afternoon at First Lutheran Church in St. Peter.  When I spoke by phone with Ilo Funk Schwartz (PO Box 361, Buffalo Lake, MN  55314), she told me about her 90th birthday party at her church last October.  They had planned for 200 hundred but 300 of her friends came.  Fortunately the woman in charge of the refreshments was able to cope with the situation.  In my case the Gustavus Dining Service is bringing what will be served.  I am sure their resources will prove adequate.

There is a saying I have been repeating of late, “Getting old is not for sissies!”  We are fortunate to have lived so long.  Some very blessed among us are still living with their spouses.  It is also very good to be able to live as long as possible in one’s own home.  Some of us are living in assisted living facilities.  In St. Peter several have been built during the past decade.  We have every reason to be grateful for developments that have occurred in medical care in recent years.  It is a privilege for those of us in Minnesota to live so near to the Mayo Clinic and other clinics and hospitals in the Twin Cities.  Comparable medical resources are available also in other parts of our country, for all of which we must be grateful to God.  Luverne Tengbom (789 N. Cambridge Ave., Claremont, CA  91711) states that he and his author wife, Mildred, have lived a total of 183 years and are now the oldest couple at Pilgrim Place retirement community where they reside.  Luverne thanks the Lord for his goodness.

Given the current circumstances it is not easy to send a gift to the Gustavus Annual Fund.  In calling Eleanor Hedman (8900 E. Jefferson Ave., #526, Detroit, MI  48214), I found that she had already given, having been called by a Gustavus student.  Eleanor closed her book store in August 2008 but continues to live in Detroit.  Despite some improvement in the automobile industry, the situation in Detroit is still bad.  Eleanor no longer has a car and is hesitant about doing much walking on the streets.  She has, however, made Detroit her home for many years and for the present has no plans to leave.  We send Eleanor and all who live in that great city our very best wishes!

As usual the College’s fiscal year ends May 31.  We are deeply grateful to all who have given this year or are planning to do so during the coming weeks.  If you are not in that group we hope to hear from you too.  I’m sorry that my efforts to reach some of you by phone proved unsuccessful.  The Class of ’43 has been a consistent supporter of the Annual Fund through the years.  You can help us maintain that good reputation this year also.  When you write, send along a news note as well.

There are two deaths to be reported:

Ruth Johnson Clexton (River Falls, WI) died December 8, 2011.  Ruth came to Gustavus from Center City, MN.  At Gustavus she was a member of the Svea Society and participated in the Swedish declamation contest.  She majored in English and biology.  She married Robert Clexton, who worked for the Whirlpool Corporation.  Ruth was a Homebound instructor for the White Bear Lake Senior High School in 1968 and she also taught at the Mounds Park Junior High School in St. Paul.  Ruth is survived by her husband, Robert Clexton.

Hildur Henrickson Kull (Rockville, MD) died February 3, 2012.  Hildur came to Gustavus from Clay Center, KS.  At Gustavus she was a member of the Svea Society and also the Theta Xi Gamma Sorority.  She took commercial courses, majored in English, and prepared for teaching in the business field.  On June 9, 1944 she married Donald C. Kull ’42.  She taught business in Wheaton, MN, Flint, MI, and Wadena, MN.  She also held a secretarial position with the TVA in Knoxville, TN.  She was active in Lutheran congregations in Knoxville, TN and Bethesda, MD.  With her husband, Donald, she traveled in Scandinavia, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia.  Hildur is survived by three children:  Kathryn, Robert and Stanley and their families.

Sincerely yours,

Bernie Erling

1943 Class Agent

Campus News

2012 Alumni Association Awards Announced

The Gustavus Alumni Board of Directors has announced its 2012 award recipients:

Greater Gustavus Award – awarded to those “who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College”:

Jon and Anita Thomsen Young ’77 ’77, Eden Prairie, MN, for their volunteer leadership, service and philanthropy to the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations – recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement that brings unusual honor to the individual in his or her field of endeavor:

Scott Dee ’81, Farwell, MN, professor of veterinary population medicine, University of Minnesota, swine consultant, and international research veterinarian and director at Pipestone Veterinary Clinic;

Mark Elfstrom ’01, Anchorage, AK, middle school math and science teacher, recipient of a 2011 Milken Educator Award and finalist for the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching;

Kurt Elling ’89, New York, NY, Grammy Award-winning vocal jazz artist.

First Decade Awards – recognizing early professional achievement in the 10th anniversary class:

Amy Brown ’02, Pittsburgh, PA, neonatology fellow at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center;

Michael Bland ’02, St. Louis, MO, postdoctoral associate, earth and planetary sciences, Washington University.

The Alumni Association will present Faculty and Administrator Service and Retirement Awards at a dinner at Gustavus on May 16; honorees will be featured in the fall issue of The Gustavus Quarterly.

National Sesquicentennial Celebrations

Throughout the coming year, Gusties are gathering across the country to reflect on Gustavus’s past, celebrate 150 academic years, and engage for the future.  In conjunction with the celebrations on campus, the College invites all alumni, parents, and friends for a celebration in an area near them.  The president has gone to 14 different locations from New York to LA.  There are still a few left.  You can view them all and register for an event at

Chicago – Thursday, April 26, 2012 – Gleacher Center with Allison Rosati ʼ85

Madison – Tuesday, April 24, 2012 – Harvest Restaurant

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  Speakers for April and May will feature former Gustavus presidents, Jim Peterson ʼ64 and Dennis Johnson ʼ60 (respectively).  The St. Peter Breakfasts are held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month and the Twin Cities Breakfasts are held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail  Hope to see you bright and early!

Lindau Symposium – Charles Krauthammer

Gustavus hosted the 2012 Lindau Symposium featuring Dr. Charles Krauthammer as the keynote speaker on April 12.  Dr. Krauthammer’s address was titled: “Politics in Washington.”  Dr. Krauthammer is an American Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, political commentator, and physician.  The Financial Times described Krauthammer as the most influential commentator in America.  Charles Krauthammer has been honored from every part of the political spectrum for his bold and original writing from the famously liberal People for the American Way (which presented him their First Amendment ward) to the staunchly conservative Bradley Foundation (which awarded him their first $250,000 Bradley Prize).

Celebration of Minnesota Poetry

On April 17 from 7:30-9:30 p.m., Gustavus will host “A Celebration of Minnesota Poetry in Honor of Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen.”  The renowned poet, and Professor of English at Gustavus, will read from her work, and she’ll be joined by six local Minnesota poets:  Candace Black, Rebecca Fremo, Matt Rasmussen, John Rezmerski, Richard Robbins, and Richard Terrill.  The event takes place in Alumni Hall and is free and open to the public.

McPherson Lecture

Gustavus alumnus, Civil War historian, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author James McPherson ’58 will return to his alma mater April 15-17 as a Sesquicentennial Scholar.  On Tuesday, April 17, McPherson will speak at Interlachen Country Club in Edina at an event that is also open to the public. McPherson’s lecture will be titled “Why the Civil War Still Matters” and will address the ways in which the war’s impact on America is still being felt today.  Those interested in attending this event, which will include a reception at 4:30 p.m., McPherson’s lecture at 5 p.m., and a book signing at 6 p.m., should RSVP by going online to, or by contacting the Gustavus Office of Alumni Relations at 507-933-7511.

Books in Bloom

Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) is preparing to host the second annual Books in Bloom event May 4-6 at the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.  Books in Bloom is a unique event that will highlight books, media, and other resource material within the library through floral arrangements and artistic expression.  More than 20 exhibits will be on display – each of them sponsored by an individual or family and created by professional florists and flower enthusiasts – that represent and illustrate a book or other holding within the library.