Class of '50
January 2000

Dear Friends and Classmates,

Exactly one month ago I wrote my personal Christmas letters, commenting on the first snowfall of the year. The lake froze completely overnight (first time I'd seen that happen in all these years), and the most unusual sighting I'd had was a gull successfully chasing an eagle away. It doesn't take much to entertain me.

I thank you for your response to the first class letter?those e-mails were an absolute delight, and the personal notes are always welcome. We have class notes to share with you and news of our 50th reunion coming up. Slippery roads and a -25? wind chill kept me from the committee meeting yesterday, but they made an excellent start on preparations. When you are called upon to help make the reunion a success, please respond positively—or simply, say "yes." We'd like to have a really good turnout—think how many years it's been since you've seen some of your classmates, and we want to encourage the spouses of our deceased classmates to attend, too.

I'll begin with the class notes that the Alumni Office sent me last week. At least two of you knew where missing classmates were. Any others you know of, please let us know.

Dennis A. Halvorson of Anoka, MN, had a total knee replacement October 5 and a month later was still moving rather slowly, but driving the car. As long as he'll be walking 18 holes of golf by spring, he isn't too concerned. Are the rules for knees the same as that for hips? No running, jumping, lifting anything over 20-25 pounds, and remembering that when maneuvering steps "The good foot goes to heaven, and the bad foot goes to hell." I did that for months—the latter that is, and still find myself repeating the sentence occasionally. I've heard that recovery and therapy from knee surgery is more difficult than that of hips, so I wish you well. Just don't slip on the ice and fall.

Charles R. Kiecker is semi-retired from Alliance Bank in New Ulm, MN. He's active in community affairs and very much involved in the work of his church. Good for you! You'll probably find you're busier in retirement than you were working full-time.

Mable Swedberg Larsen lives in Maplewood, MN. After attending Gustavus she went to the University of Minnesota, majoring in social work. Her husband, Elmer, is a shop superintendent for Hub Manufacturing Company. Some of you may see them at Our Redeemer Lutheran on Larpenteur Ave. in St. Paul.

Robert M. Johnson and June (Quam x51) celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Florida on April 11 last spring and in Willmar, MN, June 20th . Congratulations to you! Fill me in on the Willmar connection. That must have been about the time I took that Inland Passage trip.

Raymond and Joan (Anderson) Freeman of Lakeland, FL, observed their 50th wedding anniversary on June 11. I noticed that marriage date on their alumni form. Another congratulations to you! Joan received her RN degree at Polk Community College in 1982.

Betty Gulberg Bruner of Mitchell, SD, has had a sister, several nieces, and now a grandson, Adam Johnson ’01, attending Gustavus. Her husband died in November 1988. Our belated sympathy to you, Betty. I hope you'll join us at the reunion.

Richard C. Priest of Las Vegas, NV, had a signal honor recently. His family, colleagues and other former associates placed his name in nomination to have a school named in his honor. As he wrote, "Seventy people have written letters on my behalf. These letters are really of more importance to me than having a school named on my behalf. " He continues, "We still travel extensively and were in downtown Shanghai one week before their embassy was bombed." You cut it almost as close as I did on the Egypt trip. Are you joining us at the reunion? Hope so.

Ramona Anderson H’50 of Marinette, WI, sends the most interesting Christmas cards. As I've mentioned before, she uses photographs she has taken, but also includes a story about the scene that she is depicting. The bridge was fascinating, Ramona. I hope you'll join us at the reunion, too. Wasn't it five years ago that Evan, yours and Bill's son, had just graduated from college?

Before I continue with class notes, I have a question that I think one of our Langsjoen classmates can answer. My sister, Enid, receives the Illinois Alumni publication, and in the Sept./Oct. 1999 issue was this intriguing article about Britta Langsjoen, University of Illinois class of '91, who practices her trombone in the New York City subway stations because she can't play in her apartment late at night. Her summer schedule included "rollin' down the Mississippi River on a jazz cruise with the Artie Shaw Orchestra and a world tour with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. She also performed in concert with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in Philadelphia. She was preparing to join the New York Ragtime Orchestra's annual tour to Japan, a trip she's made every year since 1995. The entire article is fascinating, but we don't have time to go into it all here. I'll be glad to share it with anyone who is interested, though. Ralph or Gertrude ("Trudy"), can you help me out? Please don't assume the other will let me know. I'd rather hear from both of you if you know who she is. Of course, I forgot to ask Arnie and Carol when Enid and I visited with them at the Christmas in Christ Chapel concert in December.

I'm going to save the rest of the news for next time. With all these plans in the hopper, we want you to consider the reunion. Write to the friends you haven't seen for years—and those you do see often, and encourage them to come. The college will house and feed us, but they don't set aside extra money for other expenses, so keep your suggestions modest, unless you're willing to donate materials as well as time. Seeing each other is the most important part of a reunion anyway.

Campus News:

The Gustavus campus is in the midst of January term with over 20% of the student body away from campus this month participating in internships, study abroad programs, student teaching or studying at other domestic institutions. On campus there are many unique classes being offered such as Archeology and the Bible and Analyzing Japan in addition to numerous classes and programs around a J-Term 2000 theme - Focus on Women's Studies. Next year January Term will focus on environmental studies. Winter sports, fine arts and extra-curricular activities are also in full swing. Even though there is little snow at Gustavus the new Nordic Ski Team is preparing for competition. The band and choir are preparing for southern tour destinations—the band to Florida and the choir to Texas.

Construction on campus continues, as the new Campus Center will be finished in February with the completion of renovating the former dining service building. Many offices will then move to their new location in the Campus Center including Admission, Dean of Students, Student Activities and Residential Life. Construction of the new International House-Swedish House, a new residence hall/international center to replace Johnson Hall and the Swedish House that were destroyed in the March 1998 tornado, will begin this spring. Construction on an outdoor track and new soccer field stadium will begin this summer. If you have not been back to campus lately, you are encouraged to make a visit to see these exciting changes.

If you can not make it back to campus, but want to stay connected, check out the Internet site at The college is thrilled to recently have hired a web coordinator who has been busy updating the Gustavus home page. Look for more changes to alumni services on the web coming this spring.

You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming alumni events:

  • Naples gathering February 5 (Marco Island gathering cancelled)
  • Tucson Chapter gathering February 7
  • Phoenix Chapter gathering February 8
  • Sun City Chapter gathering February 9
  • Seattle G.I.V.E. project February 19 and Seattle Chapter gathering on March 2
  • Bay Chapter gathering March 4
  • Los Angeles Chapter gathering March 5
  • San Diego Chapter gathering March 6
  • Helen and Paul Baumgartner, Gustavus music faculty will perform two piano recitals in the Twin Cities on March 12, 1:30 p.m. at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church, Brooklyn Center and March 19, 7:00 p.m. at Wayzata Community Church

50th Anniversary Class and 50 Year Club reunions - May 26-27

A reminder that all other reunion classes (1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995) will have their reunions at Homecoming on September 29-30.

A new method of giving to the College is now available! Lutheran Brotherhood created a highly successful and popular program for Lutheran churches called Simply Giving and has just extended this opportunity to Gustavus and other Lutheran colleges. Simply Giving is an automatic bank draft program that allows you to make regular monthly gifts from a checking or savings account to the College. You do not need to be Lutheran to participate, there is no cost to you or the College for this service, and you can make changes at any time. For so many people, it is much easier to give $50 a month than to write a $600 check once a year. Please call Heather Nancarrow at (800) 726-6192 or (507) 933-7518, or e-mail her at to request more information.

Keep those letters and notes coming, along with your contribution to the Gustavus Fund. We should make this a banner year. Even classes that don't have the reputation we do for generous giving go all out for this special year. We can scarcely do less.

Oh, yes, for those in the Florida area, the Glen and Lavonne Johnson's get-together on Marco Island has been cancelled due to an unexpected surgery that Glen needed. The February 5 event will now be held at the Royal Poinciana Golf Club in Naples, hosted by Eileen Swanson. An announcement is being sent to all those who are living in the area, but the event is open to everyone.

Those of you in other areas, watch the bulletins for Gustavus Alumni gatherings. They're fun to attend and give one a chance to learn a little more about Gustavus as it is now.

Until next time,

Gloria Benson

1950 Co-Class AgentP.S. Anyone willing to write a letter encouraging others to attend the reunion is more than welcome to do so. That way we would reach even more classmates on a personal level.