Class of '50
October 2003

Dear Classmates and Friends of 1950,

One of my former St. Peter neighbors who spends the summer at her lake returns in September to take in all the activities going on at Gustavus.  With the Gustavus Library Associates tea, the Heritage Partners luncheon, special speakers such as Tim O'Brien's appearing as part of the college and community reading program (a terrific idea), the Homecoming activities, inductions into the Gustavus Sports Hall of Fame, the Nobel Conference on The Story of Life, concerts and art shows, one could be busy for six weeks.  Besides being duly edified, one sees alumni and professors―past and current―and has the opportunity to participate in all those happenings.

One sad note, as you've no doubt learned, is the passing of Paul Granlund ’52, Edna Spaeth's husband, our friend and schoolmate, artist in residence.  His retrospective opened on September 15.  His legacy was well documented in the Twin Cities and local papers, with interviews having been made shortly before his death.  His modesty belied his world‑renowned talent; he was a rare individual.  Our sympathy to you, Edna, and your family.

When Phonorama takes place this fall, we'll miss the calls of Ralph and Yvonne (Anderson) Belin.  They retired as co-class agents this surnmer, and substitutes have not been named as yet.  I was going to resign myself, but I decided to carry on one more year.  Writing the letters isn't all that difficult; I just have trouble getting to them in time for the deadlines‑‑even when the Alumni Office sends me the packet of information ahead of time.  I feel as if I'm saying the same thing over and over again, and a fresh approach would be welcome.  Your words of encouragement are very much appreciated, believe me.

Now that I've said I have a packet of class notes, relating them is a good idea.  Remember that I cannot read your minds nor am otherwise psychic (not often enough anyway) so that I know what you're involved with.

Harold and Lois (Dickhart) Skillrud wrote,"We are scheduled to take a Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Venice in October.  Meanwhile Lois continues to volunteer in the church library, and Harold, since retiring as Synod Bishop in 1995, has been serving part-time with the Board of Pensions doing workshops, etc. from Maine to Florida.  We still live in Atlanta, but make frequent trips to Bloomington, IL, to visit three children and our nine grandchildren."  This should be a beautiful time of the year for that cruise―let us know how you enjoyed it.  I learned Sunday that Harold will be the speaker when the Augustana Heritage Society meets next June on the Gustavus campus.  Keep the dates June 24-27 in mind; the opportunity to return to Gustavus and participate in the Augustana Synod tradition is an excellent one.

Marjorie Johnson Knutson of Alexandria, VA attended the 50-year club at Gustavus during commencement this year.  It was her and her sister's (Dorothy Johnson Lutz ’51) turn to watch their brother, Wendell, attending his 50 year club for the first time.  As I didn't attend this year, I missed seeing all three of you. I hope you had a good summer, too, after that.

Another classmate attending a reunion was Dallas Young, who joined classmates of the graduating class of Augustana Seminary for their 50th anniversary festivities at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago on June 7 & 8.  His wife, Phyllis, was attending with him.  If I remember correctly, you have had some unique get-togethers.  The Youngs live in Baxter, MN.

Howard and Margie Felt of Waconia, MN, wrote:  "We enjoyed getting together with "Holly's Boys" last fall.  Had a great time seeing old friends.  Have a wonderful picture of Holly and Howie sitting at the football game in their wheelchairs."  Those times are so special―to use a very overused word, but how many ways are there of saying that!

Several other classmates traveled this summer:  Orville Iverson of Woodside, CA, wrote, "My son, Thom, and I are returning to WWII sites to commemorate my 80th birthday and Thom's 50th.  We won't attempt to visit all the WWII sites.  I was involved in ten campaigns, but we will visit Omaha Beach on Normandy and the Salisbury area in England.  We (left) May 31 and (returned) June 7."  I hope the trip was all you wanted it to be.  Visiting those sites must have been a moving experience for both of you.

Donna Benson Barnett let us know that, "Marlys Peterson and I [were] joining a tour to Bach and Luther country in eastern Germany May 26-June 9.  The tour is to be led by two Luther Seminary professors, Arland Hultgren and Paul Westermayer and their wives.  Highlight will be hearing Bach's B Minor Mass in the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig (Bach's church).  The tour also visits Dresden and Prague."  I probably shouldn't try to change the tenses of these notes that were written before the end of May last year, but some people plan their trips a year ahead, so I like to make clear when the traveling occurred.

Bob and June Quam ('51) Johnson let us know that Bob is still retired in Dunedin, FL, and they are enjoying the territory.  June is recovering from open-heart surgery and cancer treatment.  I hope you have continued to improve, June.

Bob and Dorothy (Anderson) Colburn of Edina, MN "are doing just fine."  They spent an afternoon on campus for GACAC and appreciated how "lovely everything looks there‑a truly beautiful place."  Those who haven't visited the campus for many years would be amazed by the landscaping with all the trees (yes, even after the tornado five years ago), shrubs and flowers that enrich the campus.  Of course, when we were there, a new building was being erected almost every year, and what we had were mounds of dirt and gaping holes.  Does anyone have pictures of OUR landscaping?  ’Twould be fun to compare.

Alpha Flaaten Hann has lived in Twin Falls, ID since graduation.  She and her husband, Ralph, are retired and as busy as ever with their family and volunteering and they are managing to stay well.  The latter is an achievement in itself when we consider health problems many of us have had.

Joan Anderson Freeman and Ray of Lakeland, FL are on their way to being a bionic couple.  Joan had a hip replacement and Ray has two new knees.  They are loving retirement and come back to Minnesota almost every year for reunions of friends and family.  They, too, have great memories of Gustavus.

Beverly Cromwell Chovik of San Bernardino, CA enjoys her retirement.  Up until this past March she made several trips back to Nebraska to visit her mother who lived to be "almost" 100 years old.  Good to touch base with you, Beverly.

Another traveler was Marjorie Swenson Gores of New Richland, MN, who last March went with a group, "Bibles for the World," for two weeks in India―Delhi, Calcutta, Province of Manipur and Assam in the northeast section of India.  We haven't had many classmates who have been to India or let us know about the trip, anyway.  We'd be interested in hearing your reaction, Marjorie.

A longer note from Dorothy Busness Dahl of Schaumburg, IL, follows:  I have been remiss in communicating with you.  Believe it or not, I think of all of you often.  I cherish my memories of Gustavus.  Thank you for all the newsletters; they are wonderful reading.  I especially enjoy the reference, Gloria, to the nature around you.  How I miss the country!"  [Oops, in this letter I omitted nature because we had more news! GB]

2003 did not start out well.  The Day Care where I have worked 17 years is closing June 6th.  It has been very heartbreaking.  The Baptist church decided they can't afford us, so the ministry to all those children will end.  There is a pastor who is working feverishly to move the school to another―with a new name.  Pray that he can work it out!  I won't be joining them, as far as I can see now, because I will be working in a friend's office.  How generous of her to offer it (a job) to me!

More uplifting news goes back to September, 2002.  My three sisters and I went on an Alaskan cruise‑a gift to all of us from our 16 children!  It was the first time we were all together in seven years!  The cruise was fabulous (one week).  Juneau was chilly and rainy―typical weather they (residents) told us.  But from then on we enjoyed sun and gorgeous scenery.  The sun came out as we entered  Glacier Bay and the place just lit up (snow and ice).  I saw a glacier calve.  Everywhere we docked after that (Skagway and Ketchikan and finally Vancouver) we were told what unusually warm and sunny weather we were encountering.  The sun shines only 2 or 3 days a month in those locations.  Perhaps more in Vancouver; only, one woman on our bus tour of the city (beautiful place) told us she had been to Vancouver 6 times and this was the first time it did not rain.  As we were sailing toward Canada on our return trip, my sister Jinny ’51 decided we had not seen enough wild life, so she prayed that we would.  God is so great‑he sent us dolphins―hundreds―diving and leaping through the waves off the bow of the ship (Carnival 'Spirit')!  It was awesome (and rare, according to the captain).  Great memories!  God bless all of you!  Love, Dorothy  What a fun letter―we could share the trip with you.

We have information also of the loss of two classmates. Walter Berglund's wife, Phyllis (Johnson ’49) in Stillwater, MN, let us know that he passed away last February 25.  JoAnn Broberg Borgfelt of Richfield, MN, passed away last May.  She had a long career in social work and was a 15-year volunteer with VEAP.  Our sympathy goes to their families and friends, too.

To all of you, whether you were traveling or staying at home, working or retired, healthy or coping with illness or injuries, remember that you are important to us.  Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.

The Alumni Office will add some news notes to let you know how Gustavus is doing this 142nd year, educating some 2,515 students being taught by 198 full-time teachers and 55 part-time faculty.  Again, Gustavus was ranked in the top third of the 214 national liberal arts colleges by the U.S. News and World Report.

The Alumni Fund turns 50 this year.  On June 30, 1954, the first Alumni Fund officially closed with 1,204 donors (32%) and $26,013, under the direction of the executive committee of Dr. Hobart Johnson ’21 (Marjorie Johnson Knutson's dad), Dr. Edgar Carlson ’30, The Rev. J. Millard Ahlstrom ’34, and Ren Anderson’34.  Dollars and donors continued to grow and, under the leadership of Cec Eckhoff ’56, made Gustavus a national leader, recognized with 17 national awards for alumni support.  Do your best to participate in this year's Alumni Fund to continue the Gustavus tradition.

Thank you‑take care‑and let us hear from you.


Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Class Agent

Campus News:

Sculptor Paul Granlund ’52 dies – Paul Granlund died on September 15, 2003, the same day his exhibit Retrospective opened as scheduled in the Hillstrom Museum of Art on the Gustavus campus.  He was sculptor-in-residence at Gustavus from 1971-1996.  His figurative bronze sculptures are found in private collections and public installations nationally and internationally, including 30 bronze works on the Gustavus campus.  Retrospective will be displayed until November 9.

Alumni Board members selected – Seven alumni have been selected to serve a three-year term on the Alumni Board.  They are Liesl Batz ’90, Minneapolis, senior vice president and director of marketing, Lakeside Investment Partners; Jan Eiffert Hoomani ’62, Raleigh, NC, Realtor, JB Realty; Jim Malmquist ’53, Scandia, MN, retired athletics director, Gustavus; Jan Ledin Michaletz ’74, Edina, volunteer/homemaker.  Incumbents to serve a second term include Vivian Foyou ’02, Mankato, graduate student, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Jason Sawyer ’93, Plymouth, vice president, Cronin & Co.; and Dan Currell ’94, Alexandria, VA, director of corporate leadership council, Corporate Executive Board.

2003 Hall of Fame inductees -- Nine individuals were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame on September 27. Inductees were Val Flom Ashland ’87 (volleyball), Wendy Ericksen Bachman ’87 (soccer), Karen Ahlstrom Bishop ’86 (gymnastics), Jay Coatta ’87 (basketball and golf), Marv Gunderson ’53 (football), Jim Hearn ’81 (tennis), Dave Najarian ’82 (football), Betty Wannarka Ringeisen ’84 (basketball and track and field), and Larry Shelhamer ’76 (soccer).

Gustavus Finishes sixth in Directors’ Cup – Gustavus finished sixth out of 395 Division III institutions for the 2002-03 Director’s Cup announced recently by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. The only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics, the award honors four-year institutions with the best overall athletic programs.  Last year Gustavus placed 10th.

Chapel Program – The Gustavus Chapel program is one of the strongest in higher education averaging 350 students attending Daily Chapel.  In addition, there are many student-led programs including: Apprentice - students who are interested in being part of ministry and open to see where the Spirit might be leading; Christ Chapel Volunteers - assist in the ministry of Christ Chapel by ushering, carrying the cross and candles, reading lessons, writing and/or reading prayers, and serving as assisting ministers; Community Service Center Programs - one-time and on-going service programs; Fellowship of Christian Athletes - athlete or not, time for fellowship, worship, speakers, service projects and mission trips; Gustavus Youth Outreach - committed to sharing the Gospel and providing opportunities to serve by participating in off-campus youth ministry; Habitat For Humanity/Spring Break Work Trips - Habitat works locally and Spring Break Work Trip nationally to fundraise for and build affordable housing; Jewish Organization of Gustavus - for students, faculty and staff who were either Jewish or interested in the Jewish faith; Newman Center - dedicated to building a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith; Prepare - build a new generation of believers through mentors, mission trips, Bible study, prayer and worship; Proclaim - Bible-based contemporary worship and teaching; Taizé - a contemplative worship service of music, prayer, readings and silence; Wednesday Friends – visits St. Peter Regional Treatment Center residents weekly.

Don't miss A Royal Affair . . . pa rum pum pum pum - Gustavus Library Associates is presenting their biennial benefit for our College's Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library on Saturday, November 15, at the Radisson Hotel South in Bloomington, Minnesota. If you have names for invitations (reservations are due by October 31), an auction item to donate (no later than October 15 please), volunteer time to offer, or if you wish to contribute financially to help defray expenses, we welcome your call today; Marty Penkhus, 507/388.5474 and Susan Wilcox, 952/944.5972, Co-Chairs.

Upcoming Events – call the Alumni Office at 800/487-8437

  • Charlotte, NC, Gustavus Gathering - October 18
  • Phonorama -- October 12-16 and 19-23, Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington
  • Our Story Conference, The Growing Gender Gap in the African American Community -- October 24-25, Campus
  • Reformation Festival featuring the Gustavus Choir, Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis -- October 25
  • JFK Assassination 40 Years Later, presented by David Jones ’83 and Political Science Professor Chris Gilbert at Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington-- November 4
  • A Royal Affair, benefit sponsored by Gustavus Library Associates in the Twin Cities -- November 15