Class of '50
March 2000

Dear Classmates and Friends of 1950,

With our big reunion coming up, it seemed logical to send out a couple more class letters than usual. I hope you are drumming up interest among yourselves as well, with those with whom you've kept in touch over the years. Of course, you could always surprise the daylights out of some classmate by looking him or her up in the directory and writing to someone who hasn't heard from you for 20-30-40-50 years. Those are ones that really delight me, and I appreciate each and every one of your notes.

Those who've read the recent Quarterly will have spotted Archie Harris' picture along with Vic Gustafson ’42 and other Gustie swimmers from the early '50s, attending a reunion last summer. You'll be pleased to know that Gustavus won its first MIAC men's swimming title since 1960 last weekend, outscoring second-place St. Olaf 839-786. The Oles had won the previous 20 league titles. Way to go, Gusties! Keep it up!

The Quarterly also contained the story of Glen Johnson's legacy to Gustavus. He and Lavonne have enriched Gustavus, as they have other beneficiaries, with their philanthropy. They had to forgo their annual hosting of Gustavus alumni at their Marco Island home when Glen needed surgery last month. We hope you're doing well and that taking it easy has not been too hard on you. I hope you've been able to recuperate on Marco Island. I had a welcome note from Harry Iverson in Raleigh, NC, who was still digging out from that tremendous snowstorm they had. After the two-foot snowfall, it took him two days to shovel to the road, but then it took a week for the snowplow to come by, so they could finally get out. We haven't had anything like that in Minnesota for several years now, but last week schools were cancelled for two days and started two-three hours late because the fog was too thick. Those 50-degree temperatures and the melting snow caused that problem. Canada geese and robins are back, tulips and daffodils are coming up. Naturally, by the time you receive this epistle, we could be buried under an old-fashioned spring snowstorm, but that's what February was like!

An interesting and informative call came from Rosemary Anderson in Marinette, WI. She had called Mavis McClure Langsjoen ’44 and learned that Britta, of whom we inquired last time, is a daughter of Ralph "Tonk" Langsjoen. You may recall that Bill Anderson and Tonk went to medical school together, right after graduation. I rather figured that was the case because I knew Britta had grown up in Illinois, so finding her in a University of Illinois alumni magazine seemed logical. Rosemary also reminded me that the reunion luncheon she attended with us was 10 years ago, not five as I had mentioned. Egad, it's hard keeping those reunions straight. Thank you again for the call and information, Rosemary. I hope you can make the reunion this year, too, although you mentioned you might have a conflict.

Now to some class notes, including information from your survey sheets. I found those fascinating reading. Mary Jo Nelson Carlson of Scottsdale, AZ, for instance, developed the Our Savior's Lutheran Church library (in Naperville, IL) to 3,000 volumes with a volunteer committee of seven "devoted" women. That was from 1973 to 1985. What a tremendous achievement, Mary Jo! Since moving to Arizona, she's been part of the Friends of the Scottsdale Public Library Board and the Scottsdale Historical Society. She also belongs to Questers, International―an antique study group, supporting scholarships in advanced study for architectural preservation. St. Peter had a Questers group, but I never heard about that portion of the program. What a worthwhile idea! Barbara Lunstead Wulf of Sacramento, CA, won't be able to attend our reunion. She and Don will be going to Virginia where their oldest grandson will be graduating from high school that weekend. He plans to go on to West Point. She adds, "We have eight grandchildren-all brilliant!!" Isn't it fun to feel that way? We'll miss you both.

Orville Iverson of Woodside, CA and Mary are busy with their 12 grandchildren, "keeping up with their various activities around the globe and in the neighborhood. We are happy to have two of our grandkids just around the corner so we can be involved in their school and sports activities." They add, "Orv has had over 5000 'hits' on his web site and has answered inquiries about WWII from over 1500 grandchildren of vets. Too many had no idea what grandpa did during WWII. Many comrades have been connected by the info Orv has provided." For those who might be interested it is: Ninth Air force Association, Inc.― or They added a P.S.: "It was Earthlink's winner in September." What an interesting dimension that must add to your life, Orv. Good to hear from you! I never did find out more information on Harold Gunderson. Eugene's widow, Janet, might have some insight into his service with the Ninth.

Lois Dickhart Skillrud of Atlanta, GA will be back for the reunion. Harold has agreed to give the invocation at our banquet. Lois has been a librarian in college, public, junior and senior high schools, and active in all-church activities, including long-time membership in the church hand-bell choir. I can't remember if I ever told you about the time that I tried hand-bell choir. My eye-hand coordination was so terrible, I never did succeed at it and I admire anyone who can do it adeptly. I think that's why I'm a poor typist, too―my mind is going ten times faster than my fingers. Thank goodness for computers with their easier ways of correcting typos! To get back to Lois and Harold, sorry for the digression there, they recently returned from Augsburg, Germany, where Harold was one of 12 representatives from the U.S. to the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Signing of the Joint Declaration on Justification. That sounds impressive, doesn't it? You really have traveled extensively.

Gale Skold of Benson, MN, mentions that his and Marlene's daughter, Mary, is an oral surgeon who lives in England. Their other daughter, Martha, is a meteorologist with KCAL-TV in Los Angeles, CA. For those of you in that area who might have seen her, her professional name is "Marti Skold," although she is married to Robert Jordan.

Too often we concentrate on the very active members of our class. Some of you who have health problems request that I not include those in these letters, and I respect that. Two have come to my attention, however, that are named in the surveys or on the phonorama call sheets. Eunice Bloomquist Johnson x49 of Butterfield, MN, writes that her husband, Floyd Johnson is currently living at Pleasant View Nursing Home in St. James. "He is in advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease…obviously he will not be aware of, or attending, the reunion." We are so sorry, Eunice. I understand it is extremely difficult for family members of those with Alzheimer's. I just finished reading John Bayley's Elegy for Iris, his tribute to his wife, Iris Murdoch's life and struggle with the disease.

Then we learned that Howard Felt of Waconia, MN had a stroke November 4 and was in the hospital for quite some time. He is now in a nursing home in Delano. You may recall he taught biology and history. We remember you, too, in our thoughts and hope your recovery enables you to do the things you like best, even if it is slow going.

We also have two deaths to report: Rock Lindlan of Urbandale, IA on February 14, 2000, and Tony Ranker of Minneapolis last August 13. I don't have more information on them, but will include it when it is available. Our sympathy to both families.

Still active are Bob and Dorothy (Anderson) Colburn of Minneapolis. Dorothy has agreed to be pianist for our reunion and Bob will represent our class at the alumni banquet Saturday night. Besides working with the reunion committee, capably chaired by Donna Benson Barnett, they've been on my mind since I read a review of John Updike's latest book on Gertrude and Claudius, telling the story of Hamlet through his mother's eyes. Remember Evelyn Anderson's ’28 production of Hamlet our senior year? Bob was Claudius and Shirley Swanson (now Dye) was Gertrude; Bill Johnson was Hamlet. It's Shirley's 70th birthday March 3, so friends are sending cards and letters to her in Mission, TX, where she and Dick spend the winter. Anyway, I sent her a copy of the review and reminded her of several scenes from the play. One was the line, "Amazement on thy mother sits." We thought there should be some little character named Amazement who'd sit on her! Oh, my-why should I remember that?

I want to save information for another class letter, too. Let us know if you're coming to Gustavus on Memorial Day weekend―yes, that's the reunion!

Stay well; become well; have strength, courage and faith if that isn't going to happen. We think of you always.

Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Co-class Agent