Class of '50
April 2004

Dear Friends and Classmates of 1950,

I missed the Ides of April by two days (that was the 13th day of the month on the Roman calendar―only in March, May, July and October were the Ides on the 15th―if your goal is to learn one new thing every day―that's it for today.  Now you can go and relax, read a book, watch TV, play a round of golf, whatever).  The days are still auspicious because Jim Peterson ’64 is being installed as the new president of Gustavus during this time.  We certainly wish him and Susan (Pepin ’65) success in their years back at their alma mater.  Susan is continuing as pastor of Gloria Dei in St. Paul, but I'm sure they'll do just fine.  I can remember when the president of Mankato State's (MN) husband continued to conduct his business and live in California.  As far as I know, they succeeded in a commuter marriage, too, and theirs was much more of a long-distance experience.

I received a welcome packet of class new notes some time ago, so I have no excuse for waiting until the last minute to write this letter.  I was told that therapy for my shoulder surgery would be a full-time job, and the therapist was right. I don't accomplish much more than that each day.  As I promised last time, we'll first include the ones I put off as that letter became so long.

Alpha Flaaten Hann of Twin Falls, ID mentions in her note that she and Ralph have two daughters who reside in Idaho with their families.  Alpha is involved in various church activities; at present she is chairman of their Altar Guild.  I'm sure some of you can relate to that.  Then she asks, "Would pulling weeds be a 'hobby'?"  I enjoy remarks like that to which many of us can also relate.

Pete Lokkesmoe of Elgin, IL celebrated his 80th birthday on September 9, 2003, at an observance that had 65 people attending.  A belated birthday greeting and more health-filled years ahead.  See update later.

Dorothy Larson Windland of Wayzata, MN has a grandson, Eric Butorac, who graduated from Gustavus last spring and is playing tennis in France.  Wow!  That's a different one―hope he's been doing well.  Our best to you, too.  Dorothy had two daughters who also graduated from Gustavus in 1975 and 1980.

Bill Domning ’51 of Phoenix, AZ wrote:  "Darrell "Nick" Wahlstrom passed away on September 4, 2003 in Salem, OR.  We grew up together in the very small town of Bruno and we were roommates for the two years I was at Gustavus.  Nick was a great guy and had many friends on the campus.  We all will miss him. " Bill became a chemical engineer.

Harry Iverson of Raleigh, NC also contacted Gustavus.  Please add some personal notes next time, will you, Harry?  I can't remember what line of work you went into.

Dennis Halvorson of Ham Lake, MN wrote this winter:  "Just a note to let everyone know that my health is good except for my legs, they tire out too fast.  I've had three major surgeries the past half year―lower back vertebra scraped, stent inserted in coronary artery and open heart surgery with a replaced aorta valve.  We have 15 grandchildren, all very bright and healthy and live within 25 miles of us…  I really enjoy [the newsletter]."  I hope you're continuing to do well, Dennis.  You've been such a faithful correspondent.  Our good wishes to you―may this springtime bring about renewed vigor and health.

When Robert Pierson of Brooklyn Park, MN wrote last winter, he was "waiting for the ice to freeze so I can go fishing.  My back doesn't allow me to walk very far (as before).  Marion (Peterson ’52) continues to go to the local dog shows with her Airedales and I usually tag along."  Then he included holiday greetings.  Guess many of us are slowing down these years.  Thanks for writing.

Elly Barnes Dahlstrom of Lake Oswego, OR sent me a delightful e-mail about a month ago, and I want to share most of it with you:

"It is 20 years since my husband died.  I am still mad at him for leaving me with the taxes to do, the yard work, the cars to fix.  But I guess anger is better than depression.  Actually I am doing just fine.

Went sailing down the Rhone in France a couple of years ago and last summer went to Scotland with a junior bagpipe band for a world competition.  Did you ever stay in a dorm with 25 bagpipers, ages 11 to 17, with 25 over-protective mothers?  I don't recommend it, however, did some traveling around the country, and actually had a great time.

I do some volunteering at a hospital, and visit my half, lame, sick and blind friends.  Sing in a chorus at a local adult center.  We are terrible, but it is fun.

My kids are fine, ages 50, 49 and 46.  None married, no grandchildren.  What did I do wrong???  One lives in Seattle and two live in Reno.

I often visit Minnesota and probably will again this summer."

You can see why I enjoy hearing from Elly―marvelous attitude, and you've packed more into your life than many people I know.  Thanks so very much for writing.

Dave Peterson and his wife Joan (Onkka ’52) of Front Royal, VA are enjoying retirement and their five grandchildren.  I hope the winter was kind to both of you.

Ruth Hanna Sutter and her husband, Harold Sutter ’48, live in Morris, IL.  He is a retired school superintendent; she is a homemaker.  They are in good health generally.  One of them had a physical the day before they were called on Phonorama last fall, and that was the case then.

Howie Felt of Waconia, MN wrote, " Had a heart warming time at the get-together for Holly's boys in September.  Glad we could be part of it.  Howie and Margie Felt."  Must have been a good time.


Doris Jacobson Speckeen of Singer Island, FL writes:  "We've become avid boaters in retirement.  In August of 2004 we are leasing a canal boat in England with another couple and will cruise the rivers for two weeks.  Then, hopefully a week in Sweden."  Happy traveling to you.  Have you read the old Emily Kimbrough books about the canal trips she took in Europe years ago?  You could probably write your own book on your return.

Text Box:

Orv Iverson, Woodside, CA sent a newsy note along with this wonderful picture of him and Mary: 

"I'm on the Messiah Lutheran Church Council in Redwood City, CA and 9th Air Force Association director.  I have a web site in conjuction with 9th Air Force telling about my WWII experiences including many photos I took during WWII.  For my 80th birthday, and my son, Thom's 50th, we went back to Omaha Beach, Normandy and also visited England.  A very emotional experience!  Mary and I love to golf on the nearby course.  I split lots of firewood, too.

On the back of his business card he adds:  P.S.  "One of the photos on my web site is a photo taken at GA at the temporary Veteran's housing―I am carrying a teakettle of water.  There was no indoor plumbing in those units."

John and Jan (Seibel) Almen wrote from Donna, TX:  "[We] spend six months in Texas (Oct‑May) golf, billiards, bridge and other card games.  Travel to Alaska, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Czech, Hungary, Germany, Italy, and England!  In winter volunteer at Runn School helping Hispanic elementary pupils with English.  In summer, when not traveling, spend time at lake cabin at Hill City, MN.  Have four children (3 GA grads.) and eight grandchildren.  Other daughter a Mankato State grad summa cum laude."  You really packed a great deal of information on that little yellow card, John.  Thanks ever so much for bringing us up-to-date.  Safe traveling home next month.  The ice went out on Green Lake April 3, except for a pile up of ice on the south shore.  It's 70 degrees today, so you shouldn't have too much of a shock when you return.

Eugene Dumdei of North Mankato, MN wrote:  "Retired for 15 years from self employment in home decorating field.  Wife, Jackie (Gilbert ’48), retired for 11 years from Immanuel-St. Joseph's Hospital, Mankato―after 40 plus years!!  Daughter, Paula, graduated in 1977 from Gustavus.  Grandson, Jeffrey, may be next 'Gustie' in fall of 2004."  Good to hear from you―and Gustavus will be glad to welcome Jeffrey.

Glen R. Johnson of Marco Island, FL writes that his hobbies are hunting and fishing.  He and LaVonne have six grandchildren, ages 9 to 24.  Their recent world trip took them to the Sanctuaries of the Ancient World.  I'd surely like to hear more about that trip, Glen.  He is still working, mostly government relations.  Gusties have enjoyed many years of alumni parties at their home and environs.  Among his vivid memories of Gustavus are "the freezing nights in the 'Ranch House' the winter of 1946."  One does not forget experiences such as that.  Thanks so very much for writing―and let me know about that trip―where you went, etc.

Ken Nelson of Shoreview, MN writes:  "We enjoy traveling, 18 Elderhostels so far, reading and walking, bowling in winter and golf in summer. We [deliver] Meals on Wheels and I give blood.  We enjoy good health although I got a pacemaker in July.  I have been an active Kiwanian since 1963."  Good for you―sounds as if you lead a rich, full life.

When we heard from Ralph and Yvonne (Anderson) Belin of Chaska in January, Ralph had been in the hospital for two weeks and another three weeks in a nursing home, recovering from a compression fracture of lumbar vertebrae.  Yvonne hoped he would be home in another week, with home therapy that will involve several weeks or months for recovery.  She thought their plans for a Florida retreat would be on hold for another year.  I hope recovery is progressing satisfactorily.  Your holiday season must have been vastly different from any you experienced before.  We wish you both well.

Here is the update on Pete Lokkesmoe.  He sent us an interesting timeline:

Sept. 1987       Retired

Aug. 1998        Gold Regional Senior Olympics

June 2000        Norway and Sweden

June 2002        Ireland

Sept. 2003       Octogenarian celebration

Hobbies:           Woodcarving, woodwork, stained glass

Activities:          Walking, swimming, biking, skiing, yoga

Active participation:      Church, Golden "K" Kiwanis club

That doesn't leave you much time for getting into mischief, does it, Pete?  Good for you!

Chuck and Faith Anderson from Norwood-Young America, MN sent us a copy of their Christmas letter, and I will glean some of their activities from that.  Faith won a trip to Branson, MO for the Christmas shows that were "fabulous."  A highlight of their fall was "a one hour hot air balloon flight that took two hours starting at the Scott County Fairgrounds and ended at the Mystic Lake Casino 15 miles away!"  Their first landing site "escaped" and they had to keep going until a soft landing spot could be found.

In between trips to hospitals in March [2003] and September to get two new stints and a repair job on another stint they were able to visit the kids and grandkids in South Carolina twice as well as those in Minnesota.  An intergenerational German Elderhostel camp enriched one weekend, and "Garrison Keillor improved [their] humor profiles last May."  They also supported a sister who ran in three marathons, including the New York City one.

They continue to volunteer as aides for 1st and 2nd grade students at St. Johns, and "Chuck manages a lot of substitute bus driving for the county and the school as well as taking Lycka to the hospital for pet therapy sessions for patients once a month."  There is more, including visits and stays from former YFU students and from Sweden, but you get the general idea.  They, too, are busy.  More power to you, Chuck and Faith.

As you can tell from the letters, we are all getting older.  Some have more physical problems than others; some are able to go about their retirement activities―or work―in spite of them.  Others have had to slow down.  Two more of our classmates have passed away:  Paul L Gustafson of White Bear Lake, MN and Robert Hoyer of Los Gatos, CA.  Both of them were such active alumni and faithful correspondents.  We shall miss them, and our sympathy goes to their families.  Paul was 84 years old; I'm not sure what age Robert reached.  Somehow, they were just ageless to me.

Phonorama will soon be underway again, so don't be surprised when a classmate or a student at the college gives you a call.  Remember that we have only until May 31 to send in our contributions to the Gustavus Alumni Fund.  Special funds such as the Old Main Restoration Fund, Gustavus Library Associates, etc. also exist.  Your contributions to any of them still count, of course, as an alumni donation.

Keep those letters and notes coming, and if I've forgotten anyone, please forgive me.


Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Class Agent

Campus News:

President Peterson to be inaugurated

Dr. James Peterson ’64 was inaugurated during a ceremony in Christ Chapel on Friday, April 16.  Other inaugural events scheduled April 15-18, included a symposium featuring Rev. Dr. Martin Marty, tree dedication, Gustavus Association of Congregations meeting, G.I.V.E. community service day in St. Peter, music concert, art exhibition, and an alumni reception preceding the Nobel Symphony Concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

50th Anniversary Alumni Fund Closes May 31

The 2004 Alumni Fund will close May 31 with a goal of 50 percent alumni participation. Thanks to everyone who has already participated with a gift.  If you haven’t given, please think about sending a gift along with your news in the enclosed gold envelope. Gustavus alumni have a long tradition of strong alumni participation.  Help maintain our national ranking by participating in the 50th anniversary year of the Alumni Fund.

Scholarships and financial assistance at Gustavus

Did you know that scholarships and financial assistance for Gustavus students totals $18M, almost 25 percent of Gustavus’ annual budget?  Alumni Fund gifts, including designated and unrestricted gifts, help enable students to receive a Gustavus education.  Gustavus offers two types of scholarships to students -- merit awards given to recognize academic achievement, and tuition grants are used to assist students with recognized financial need.  Endowed scholarships are an important part of the Gustavus grant program and currently nine percent of scholarship funds come from the endowment.

Winter sports summary

Women’s basketball finished third in the MIAC and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Men’s basketball won the MIAC regular season and playoff championship titles before losing to eventual national champion UW-Stevens Point in the NCAA national tournament. Men’s hockey posted a third-place finish in the regular season and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs. Women’s hockey finished second in regular-season MIAC play, but won the post-season tournament and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Men’s swimming won its third consecutive MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing ninth at the NCAA championships. Women’s swimming won the MIAC championship and completed their season by finishing 13th at the NCAA championships. Men’s Nordic skiing won its first-ever MIAC championship and finished fourth at the NCAA Central Region meet. Women’s Nordic skiing claimed their third consecutive MIAC title and completed their season with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Central Region meet. Gymnastics posted a 6–1 dual meet record and a second-place finish at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) West Regional. The women’s indoor track and field team finished second and the men fifth at the MIAC championships. 

Did you know …

●Nearly 80% of Gustavus students graduate in four years, compared with 56% of students from other Minnesota private colleges; the national average is 17%.

●There are seven choral ensembles and 23 instrumental ensembles, two jazz, four woodwind and three brass ensembles.

●And looking back -- during the college’s early years, students were awakened by a bell at 5:45 a.m. and all lights had to be out by 10:30 p.m.