Class of ’43
70-Year Reunion - May 31 – June 1, 2013
Dear Classmates of ’43:
You have very likely received the announcement, the Gustavus Reunion for Classes of 1968, 1958, 1953, 1948, 1943, 1938 and the 50 Year Club May 31-June 1. It is strange to think of our graduation from Gustavus seventy years ago. All of us who survive are now over 90 years of age. 123 members of our class are now listed as deceased. The Alumni Office lists 38 as the current count for our class, though there are a few others with whom we have lost touch over the years. Of the thirty-eight, twenty contributed a total of $3,500 this past year, giving us 61% participation. We have done somewhat better in previous years' percentage wise and there is still time until May 31 for you to give to this year’s Annual Fund. I did reach twenty of you by phone last fall and left messages in a few other cases where no one was at home. I will be sharing later in this letter some news that I gathered.
Four reunion classes are listed as having gathering places and dinners. We can meet at the 50 Year Club Lunch on Saturday. At 1:30 a photo will be taken of any of our class present. There will be an open house at our home at 1412 S. Washington Ave. after the Alumni Banquet on Saturday evening. If anyone is here on Friday at 2:30 p.m., you may be interested in hearing a reunion seminar by Dennis J. Johnson ʼ60 about the book he has written On His Watch: The Presidency of John Kendall ʼ49. The Saturday reunion seminars in Beck Hall at 9 a.m. and 10:30 are worth considering. Glen Kranking ʼ98 will discuss a recently written history of Gustavus. Anders Björling ’58, the son of Jussi Björling the famed tenor, is also a very skillful photographer.
There are the following news notes from last fall. Dean Engstrom (12334 Summerport Lane, Windermere, FL 34786) informed me that his wife, Kay, had died May 8, 2012. She had needed special care in their home for some time, which he and aides had provided. Warren and Ardene (Claude) Friest (2929 Sunnyside Drive, Unit 370D, Rockford, IL 61114-4500) are volunteers at the Swedish American Hospital in Rockford. Ardene was recently honored for making a quilt that is on permanent display in the hospital. Arthur Glass (1305 Marshall Street, Apt. 102, St. Peter, MN 56082) has four children who live in the St. Peter area. Anne Dahlberg Hatch (608 Fifth Ave., Seward, AK 99664) is a quilter. She has a son who fishes with nets for red and silver salmon. Eleanor Hedman (8900 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48214) told me that her father had attended Gustavus in the early 1900s. She operated a bookstore in Detroit 1944-2009 and continues to live in Detroit. Betty Hovde (1149 Brewley Lane, Vista, CA 92081) is the widow of Roger S. Hovde, who died 12/5/1982. She told me that she had an ancestor, who was a Civil War nurse. Her daughter, Becky L. Hovde-Baker ’76, coaches high school cross country and track. Elizabeth Lavin (222 E. Second St. #505, Duluth, MN 55805) worked in President O. J. Johnson’s home during her sophomore year at Gustavus. Theda Benson Olson (3590 Portage Ave. #602, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2J1, Canada) keeps in touch with Sylvia “Tup” Rule Sheldon in New Zealand. Theda said that in Canada Thanksgiving Day is in October. Ilo Funk Schwartz (137 West Hall Avenue, Buffalo Lake, MN 55314) still owns her 300 acre farm and has eleven great-grandchildren. Luverne Tengbom spent some time in the hospital and a care center last summer. He has the following new address (627 Leyden Lane, #201, Claremont, CA 91711).
I have spent some time recently reading about the Civil War. I received Team of Rivals, The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin for Christmas and have finally finished it. I have also read some books by James M. McPherson’58, who has taught at Princeton University. Among his more than twenty books about the Civil War are a brief biography Abraham Lincoln, 2009, and Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg, 2003, telling what transpired during the three days of the battle at Gettysburg July 1-3, 1863. The campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg was part of that battlefield and one of the seminary’s buildings is being restored to become the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum. Our daughter, Maria, teaches modern church history and missions at the seminary. We will be visiting her in May.
Today is April 24, the second day that I have been writing this letter. I have just returned from the Interpretive Center of the Gustavus Arboretum where we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the initial planting of trees that became the Arboretum. In our day, to the west of the gymnasium and the football field there were simply fields on which there were various crops from year to year. Now there are 125 acres on which there are trees, conifers to the north, deciduous trees, and tall prairie grass at the south end, which show the forests and terrain one finds in Minnesota. The campus has in this way been transformed. Much of its beauty is due to the fact that the buildings are now seen against a background of trees.
There are two deaths of class members to report. Robert L. Freeberg (Inver Grove Heights, MN) died March 4, 2013. After his graduation from Gustavus Robert received officers’ training at Northwestern University and was commissioned Ensign in the USNR May 10, 1944. After WWII he was employed by Farmers Union Central Exchange (CENEX), he was a part-time student in accounting at the University of Minnesota, and 1972-84 he was Manager/LP Supply, CENEX. Robert was married to his Gustavus classmate Carolyn (Ekelin), who died August 18, 1988. In 1990 he married Lorraine Severson. Robert had five children, Lenore ’68, Patricia, Robert, Thomas and Paul. He was active in the Y’s Men’s Club, Augustana Lutheran Church in St. Paul, and the MN LP Gas Assn., from which he received an Outstanding Service Award.
George E. Hulstrand (Willmar, MN) died February 19, 2013. George was born and spent his early years in the rural Spring Garden community near Cannon Falls. He did not go to high school, but later recognized he needed more education and got a high school diploma through correspondence courses. He joined our class in the fall of 1940 when he had already reached the age of twenty-one. George went on to complete his B.A. degree in three years and in his senior year was elected president of the Student Senate. (What follows will supplement slightly Lloyd Hollingsworth’s account in Gustavus Athletics, A Century of Building the Gustie Tradition 1880-1980, (1984), pp. 153-159 of President Walter Lunden’s attempt in the fall of 1942 to temporarily ban intercollegiate athletics at Gustavus.)
Both Gustavus graduates, President Lunden ʼ22 and Coach Hollingsworth ʼ36 came to their positions at Gustavus in the summer of 1942. Lunden had a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard and had taught at the University of Pittsburgh, where athletics had been de-emphasized. At the November ’42 meeting of the Board of Trustees, President Lunden made a recommendation, which was approved by the Board, to ban intercollegiate athletics for the duration of the war. When this was announced on Friday to the students there was an immediate protest. That day I was in Minneapolis with the debate team for a debate with the University of Minnesota. We read about the student protest at Gustavus at dinner that evening in the evening edition of the Minneapolis Tribune. Attempts by some of us on Saturday to meet and discuss the matter with President Lunden were unsuccessful. At the Monday chapel we sang in succession A Mighty Fortress, the National Anthem, and the Alma Mater. Lunden then went on to say that loyalty to God, country, and college required us to support the board’s decision.
George Hulstrand then presided over an impromptu meeting of the Student Senate. The three speakers were two debaters, George Lindbeck and I, and John “Chick” Oist, representing the athletes. We were sitting in the chapel balcony and received applause three times before we began to speak, when we stood up, as we came to the door to go down to the platform, and finally when we came out on the platform. We had a simple request. We wanted President Lunden to request a special meeting of the Board to reconsider the ban. The Rev. John Helmer Olson ʼ19, pastor at First Lutheran Church and a member of the Board, was present in the audience and said he thought the Board would be willing to hold such a meeting. President Lunden then agreed to call for the meeting, which led to student applause. Then, however, he proceeded to make closing remarks that completely reversed the tone of the meeting. He criticized the students for washing the college’s dirty linen on St. Peter’s curbstones and he said he was the captain of the ship and didn’t want interference from the scullery maids.
Among the students it had been suggested that if the president was uncompromising there would be a student strike signaled by the ringing of the bell in Old Main. Verl Westergard, on the track team, rushed to do this but found the tower door locked. Students then met in Commons Hall (the basement of the east wing of Uhler Hall), where I remember George Hulstrand standing on a chair and saying, “Either he leaves or I leave!” Debaters again took the lead. We got on the phone and contacted presidents, athletic directors, and coaches of the MIAC. We obtained statements from the Ninth Naval District and the commissioner of the Big Ten. We put all this together in a brief which showed that there was considerable support for continuing intercollegiate athletics during the war. I read the brief at the Board meeting held at the Minneapolis Athletic Club later that week. The Board decided to rescind their previous action but refused to accept President Lunden’s resignation. Lunden was active during the spring and secured a V-12 military unit for the college that sustained it during the war years. Some reconciliation between the students and Lunden had occurred and was expressed as before Christmas a group of us caroled at his home.
George Hulstrand received a medical deferment from the draft and went to the Yale University Law School. While in New Haven he met and married Mabel E. Ericson. With his LLB from Yale he returned to Minnesota and became an associate with Attorney Roy A. Hendrickson in Willmar. He continued to practice law in Willmar until quite recently. The Hulstrand’s had four children: George ’70, Brian ’72, Darlene ’75, and Jeanne. In addition to a long list of George’s activities in the Willmar community, he was a member of the Gustavus Board of Trustees 1957-66 and the Board’s chairman 1963-66.
1943 Class Agent
Other Campus News follows:
Upcoming Chapter Gatherings
National Chapter events for alumni, parents and friends have been taking place throughout the 2012-13 academic year and have focused on the College’s pillar of “Teaching and Learning.” Please save the date for the event in your area.
June 5 – St. Cloud – 6:00 p.m. - Le St. Germain Suite Hotel
June 6 – Willmar – 6:00 p.m. – The Oaks at Eagle Creek
July 9 – Duluth – 6:00 p.m. – Northland Country Club
July 10 – Grand Rapids – 6:00 p.m. – Sugar Lake Lodge
July 18 – Sioux Falls – 6:00 p.m. – Callaway’s
Aug. 19 – Rochester – 6:00 p.m. – Rochester Golf and Country Club
MAYDAY! Peace Conference
On May 2, Gustavus will host its 33rd annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference, titled “DECISION: Roe v. Wade.” Forty years after Roe v. Wade, Americans continue to debate the complexities of the decision and its legacy. Rather than frame the conversation around the pros and cons, this year’s conference will open with a series of 21 speaker-led teaching units; exploring the historical, religious, legal, medical, ethical, and social issues related to this monumental decision. Afternoon activities will include three concurrent panel discussions on the aforementioned issues and the final round of the MAYDAY! Oratory Contest.