Class of '44 & '45
June 2007

Dear Classmates of 1944 & 1945

Greetings from your Alma Mater!  We hope this letter finds you feeling well and enjoying these summer days.

It has been awhile since you have received a class letter from Gustavus as many of the golden-year Gusties are without a class agent for their class.  Rather than try to find an individual writer for each class, the Alumni Office has compiled the news from classmates of 1944 and 1945 to share with you.  We would encourage you to send us a short note or update on your activities that we can share in a future class letter.

Here is the news that we have received, some of it is more than a year old, but worthy of sharing just the same.


M. Elizabeth Hedman Becker ’44, St. Paul, MN, sent this note:  “I enjoyed my visit to the campus for my 60th Reunion (May 2004).  Marian Krenik Babcock and I were the only ones there―maybe 65th will bring a few more.  Retired and now widowed, living in St. Paul.”

When a Phonorama volunteer caught Margaret Anderson Brakel ’44 at home she shared that she has stopped playing the organ in 2002 and started traveling.  She went to Australia in April and to California for a wedding.  She also enjoys playing lots of chess.

Ruth Sponberg Cook ’44 is still living in Farmington, MN.  As a retired educator she enjoys her three married children and seven grand children.

Rev. Kenneth Ebb ’44 sent us this note:  “I teach the adult Bible class on Sunday mornings and conduct a communion service at the local prison once a month.  Occasionally do pulpit supply.  The rest of the time I devote to gardening, mainly flowers, but some vegetables.”

Lorraine Holmgren Jacobson ’44, Bricelyn, MN, is a retired teacher and volunteers in many community activities including the library, community play director and church synod.  She wrote, “I remember the war years with the ROTC on campus.”  Today, Lorraine is a widow and mother of five children and many grandchildren.  She proudly shares her Gustavus legacy with:

3 - Gustie daughters:  Donna Jacobson Peterson ’72, Lois Jacobson Anderson ’78 and Dianne             Jacobson Swanson ’80

1 - Daughter-in-law:  Beth Leland Jacobson ’77

3 - Grandchildren (2 currently attending):  Arja Peterson Cody ’01, Erik Anderson ’08,             Lindsay Peterson ’08

2 - Nephews:  Paul Holmgren ’79 and Richard Holmgren ’80

1 - Great Niece:  Amy Holmgren ’07

And one granddaughter as an incoming freshman next fall:  Caitlin Swanson

Elsinore Tressman Lampright ’44, St. Paul, MN, was going to travel to Alaska for her 85th birthday with her daughter.  That was in June of 2006.  Elsinore, you’ll have to write and tell us about the trip.

Odin and Mavis (McClure) Langsjoen ’44 ’44, Duluth, MN, also share a long legacy with Gustavus and now adds a fourth-generation Gustie to their list, granddaughter, Maria Langsjoen graduated in 2005.  Mia spent a spring semester at St. Andrews in Scotland and is now a law student in Michigan.

Evelyn Grupe Larson ’44, Sherburn, MN, who also attended the University of Alabama, is a retired media generalist for the Sherburn school district.  She sings in the choir at Grace Lutheran Church and has done a bit of traveling.

Richard ’42 and Marjorie (Lokensgard) Larson ’44, retired to Winter Haven, FL.  They are busy with their hobbies like playing golf year-round, woodworking, swimming, biking and dancing.  They send us this note:  “Still residing at 1086 Eagle Drive, Winter Haven, Florida.  Playing golf a couple of times a week plus other activities.  Still miss St. Peter and Gustavus!!  Drop in and see us if you are down here.  Gusties always welcome.”

H. Clifton Kroon ’44, a retired attorney, lives half the year in Bonita Springs, FL and half in Minneapolis.  He is a widower with four children and 11 grandchildren.  He writes, “Living the golden years!”

The Alumni Office received this message

            “Evodia (Larson ’44) and John ’39 Linner enjoy winters at their home in Rio Verde, AZ.  In June 2004, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Bariatric Surgery in San Diego, CA, John was honored by receiving the Foundation’s Outstanding Achievement Award for having performed the first recorded case of surgery for morbid obesity in the world in 1954.  John authored a book, Surgery for Morbid Obesity, published by Springer Verlag Co. in 1984.

            Evodia enjoys serving on the board of the Twin City Opera Guild and also attending functions of the Honorary Docents of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  They have five daughters and nine grandchildren.”

Wally ’43 and Betty (Lundquist ’44) Lornell, Delmar, NY, sent us this note, “In the fall of 2003 we took a river boat trip on the Danube and Rhine.  We left from Vienna and spent two weeks going to Amsterdam.  This winter (2004) we spent three weeks in South America.  We flew to Buenos Aires where we spent several days before boarding the Norwegian Crown where we spent two weeks cruising via Cape Horn and up to Santiago.  Great trip!”

Homer ’44 and Joyce (Anderson ’43) Mattson had this to share, “Within the last two years, my husband (Homer) with seven of the family spent a week (Mid-November 2002) at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, Manitoba, Canada, observing and photographing polar bear.  In addition to church activities we continue to volunteer at the Bellevue Friends of the Library Book Shop and at the election board.”  Also, on April 30, 2004 they welcomed their third great-granddaughter.  The granddaughter of Brian Mattson ’68.

Marlys Gjervik Meyer ’44, Blue Earth, MN, writes, “Retired―doing well in BE after 12 Florida years.  Very happy for any Gustavus events or communications!!”

Jeane Phillips Oslund ’44, Andover, MN, is a parish visitor for Grace Lutheran Church in Waseca.

Richard A. Swedberg ’44 passed away on April 7, 2004.  He is survived by his wife, Doris (Pearson) Swedberg ’45 and their seven children, including:  Mary ’70, Joel ’77 and Amy ’85.  We know that they were very proud of their family and of their Gustavus legacy as their last communication to the College told of a great grandson born to their grandson in the Netherlands and their youngest grandchild, Derek Swedberg, son of Joel ’77 and Marylou ’78, who graduated from Gustavus in May 2007.

Delbert Wichelman ’44, Oakland, CA, writes, “I have completed my circumnavigation of the globe this week.  I have kept an honest log of my running mileage since 1980 and according to encyclopedia the equatorial circumference is 24,901 mi.  Around the world at 80 years!”

In a newspaper column entitled, “Growing Up in Henderson,” there is an article, written by Don Osell ’51, who talks of local veterans.  As part of his article he mentions Robert J. Wiemann ’44.  It reads:

Robert J. Wiemann of Arlington, Minnesota, was a junior at Gustavus Adolphus College when he decided to see the world.  He had never boiled water before…but now as a cook Wiemann prepares food for 85 men in a small galley.”  Wiemann’s name, however, does not appear among those lost.  Presumably he was transferred off the Bullhead before its last fatal patrol.  Perhaps a reader can add to this story.”

Paul and Mary Ann (Peters) Anderson ’47 ’45 reside in Fergus Falls, MN.  In 2005 MaryAnn sent us two notes.  She wrote, “Paul and I were flattered to see our picture included in the class letter―oh, those trailer days!  Just had a new hip, March 4, am home and doing well―hope to be out and about by the time spring/summer arrives.  Looking forward to a visit by Swedish relatives in June-July!  Fergus is planning an all-school reunion in June, so Paul is busy “remembering,” finding pictures and generally involved.”

Later she wrote, “Paul and I spent two weeks in June/July escorting his Swedish relative around Minnesota―meeting family―seeing Minnesota.  Danced at Midsommerdag at Minnehaha Park!

In August 2006 she sent us this message:  “July 11-25―trip to Sweden with family― Larry Nord ’70, wife, Denise, children Heather and Michael, daughter and son-in-law, Karin Anderson ’80 and Erik Scheurle ’77.  Toured Stockholm, Öland, Småland, Göteborg and Västerås.  Met relatives of Paul―55 in number and of Denise’s―10―and enjoyed tours and family parties.  Paul and MaryAnn also spent five days in Hamburg visiting friends.  Upon their return to Fergus Falls they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with their children Karin ’80 and Erik ’77, Steve ’79 and Kris ’78 and Sally Anderson.

(Thanks MaryAnn for your wonderful messages, again we apologize for the lateness in sharing them in a class letter.)

Franklin Bens ’45, Birmingham, MI writes, “enjoying some super music played by Detroit Symphony winds and strings at King-in-the Hills a local Jewish Temple.  Also went to several plays at University of Michigan and locally.”

Elaine Paulson Brant ’45 tells us, “I have not retired!  I work 25% time as Lakeview Homecare Chaplain through the St. Croix Chaplain’s Association and Lakeview Hospital of Stillwater, MN.  This gives me time for grand mothering and volunteering with the Mental Health Disaster Response team of the American Red Cross.  I expect to take a short leave of absence in 2007 to teach a counseling course for a semester at Tumaini University in Iringa, Tanzania.  I am half way through training to be a spiritual director.  Life-long learner, Elaine.”  Good for you Elaine!

In 2006, Willis and Virgie (Piesold) Erickson ’45 ’49, Austin, TX, had this to share:  “We have moved, in consideration of Virgie’s persistent health problems, we decided that a life care facility is best for us at this time.  Sorry to miss my 60th this year.

Leonard Pikal ’45, Brownton, MN, writes, “It has been my fortune to be able to actively farm and be able to serve on some boards and organizations more than forty years; including conservation, cooperative boards, charitable organizations, etc. supporting hospitals and medical research.  The awards and knightings were humbling, but happy to receive.”  Congratulations Leonard on all your good works!

We are sorry to report the death of Marjorie Dahl Pinkham Swenson ’45 on February 20, 2005.  She was well-known for her artist paintings and author of narrative writings.  She is survived by her husband, Lowell, and four children including:  Kim ’71 and Jeffrey ’74 and six grandchildren.

Connie Nelson Walker ’45, Danvers, MA, sends this news, “After seventeen years in Eastern North Carolina, I have moved from the “original city of Washington” back to New England to live near my son, Jeffrey and family.  I regret that I will not be with the class of 1945 for our 60th anniversary―look forward to news, wish you all the best!  C.W.”

And finally, this word from Pastor J. Philip Worthington ’45, Minneapolis, MN:

“Dear friends, sorry, but we will not be able to attend the class reunion May 27 & 28 (2006).  We will be in Iowa to attend the graduation of one of our grandchildren.  Warm greetings to each member of the class of 1945!  Sincerely, Phil”


It’s June and summer has arrived to the campus.  The rains and warm weather have made the flower beds and trees burst into full bloom.  The campus is alive with many student camps and activities.  Right now we are hosting camps for basketball, swimming, soccer and football and new student registration has just been completed.

Summer Construction Update

Work on the new football stadium progresses at a quick pace.  Considerable progress has been evident in the past two weeks as the pre-cast bleacher sections were installed.  Most major elements of the stadium are now in place.  Efforts by the site contractor for the remainder of June will concentrate on preparing the field for the artificial turf installation, which is scheduled to begin in early July.  At the same time, the building contractor will shift focus from the bleachers to the support structure immediately behind the grandstand.  Work on the Lund Center parking lot was delayed when rains closed a narrow window for the stadium sanitary sewer line that crosses it.  Physical Plant crews are also busy constructing additional intramural and club sport fields west of the Swanson Tennis Center.  These fields will replace the fields that were previously on the stadium construction site.  These new fields also will be used for St. Peter Schools and the St. Peter Recreation Department activities in a collaborative arrangement with the college.  Smaller interior projects are also underway this summer in several buildings across campus.

Alumni Awards

Congratulations to the following 2007 Alumni Association Award recipients:  the Greater Gustavus Award to:  Russ and Jan (Ledin) Michaletz ’74 ’74, and Distinguished Alumni Citations to:  Margaret Anderson Kelliher ’90, Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, and Paul Peterson ’94, 2007 Minnesota Principal of the Year.  We also recognize the great work of leadership and service all Gusties provide in their communities – Gusties are doing great things!

Gusties Gather! – September 30

Gusties around the world are called to gather on Sunday, September 30.  The Alumni Board is designating this day as a way for Gusties to stay connected with each other.  In research among alumni, we know that Gusties already stay in contact with many alumni, and we know that Gusties have a strong interest in staying connected with other Gusties and with the College.  If there is a gathering in your area, we hope you consider attending.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Gusties Gather! – September 30
  • Nobel Conference – October 2 & 3
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 12-14
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel – November 30-December 2


Philly Kauffmann

Administrative Assistant, Alumni Relations