Class of '50
April 2008

Dear Classmates and Friends of 1950,

And a Merry Christmas to you, too!  After the 6-7” snowfall on April 11-12, about a foot in other sections of Minnesota, what else can one say?  The ground, for the most part, had been bare, except for 4' drifts between houses (we had a lot of wind this winter).

At least I had some new birds in the yard―a marsh hawk sat in my maple tree, and robins, a mourning dove and a squirrel refreshed themselves at the bird bath (drinking, not bathing), and this morning a wild turkey ran ahead of me on the road to town.  For those wondering if the lake has opened up yet, no, it hasn’t and will most likely be later than usual.  And here I heard that in Phoenix yesterday it was supposed to be 98 degrees.  Oh, well―maybe by the time most snowbirds return it will be warm.

I’m still receiving a dearth of news from the Alumni Office.  Several classmates have donated to the Alumni Fund or Gustavus Fund, as it’s called, but no news notes were passed on to me.

One interesting newspaper article was sent to me:  “Small-town doctor witnessed changes; Chuck Pelzl once made house calls as Pine River Clinic doctor.”  From his long practice (41 years) in Pine River to his change-of-pace upon retirement as a physician on cruise ships and a nine-month stint as a small-town doctor in Australia, Chuck saw the near eradication of illnesses, such as polio and rheumatic fever, but also the increase of drug-resistant illnesses.  He used to enjoy delivering babies at home, but as technology changed, more mothers were encouraged to use hospitals where life-saving equipment was readily at hand.  During his nine years of retirement, Chuck has kept busy with various activities and community service commitments.  Congratulations, Chuck―you’ve led a good and busy life!

Thank you, John and Carol (Ostgaard) Esbjornson, for guest-writing the last class letter.  I had the opportunity to visit with them at lunch following Eugene Kamholz’s ’49 memorial service in Willmar.  Many of us remember him.  He was the brother of Ken Kamholz in our class.  He and Yvonne had moved to California to be near their children, but friends arranged for the memorial service in the town he’d lived in for so many years.  It was then I learned that John had had a radio program, classical music every Sunday night for years.  Guess I wasn’t living here then.

Carol called me today to let me know there will be memorial service in Christ Chapel on Saturday, April 19, for John’s brother, Robert Esbjornson ’41, long-time religion professor and ethicist at Gustavus―and a neighbor of ours on Valley View Road in St. Peter.  Rev. Dennis Johnson ’60, who wrote a book, in collaboration with Bob, will be the speaker.  I attended his funeral service shortly after Bob passed away, but I shall try to attend this one, too.

Two other classmates, Ralph Langsjoen and Trudy Langsjoen Wolfsehr, mourn the loss of their brother, Odin Langsjoen ’44, who was a dentist in Duluth and had taught at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.  Odie was 85 years old, and an extended obituary appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  Our deep sympathy goes to both of you and to his family.  I remember so well when your dad would write my dad; he was so proud of all of you.

Those who are familiar with the Swedish Kontur shop in St. Peter were saddened to hear of the death of Janet Neidt Bjorling ’58.  The Gustavus family reaches far.

One happy note―I had greetings through Pastor Simon and Nancy Fensom of Faith Lutheran, Spicer, from Ken Nelson of Shoreview, MN.  Thank you―was it concerning the trip the Fensom’s are leading to England and Scotland this week?

The Alumni Office will add the college news now.  So many activities are going on all year and especially in the spring, I can scarcely keep up with them all.

Campus News

MAYDAY! Conference Focuses on Water

“Troubled Water” is the topic of Gustavus Adolphus College’s 28th annual MAYDAY!  Peace Conference to be held Wednesday, April 30 on campus.  Dr. Aaron Wolf, department of geosciences at Oregon State University and a leading expert on international water politics, opens the daylong conference and the afternoon keynote speaker is Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, a consumer advocacy organization in Washington, D.C.  The conference, an annual event designed to educate the campus community and beyond about issues related to peace, human rights, and social justice, is open to the public at no charge.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100) $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083.  Next date:  May 21 - featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy ’82

Alumni Awards Announced

The Alumni Association announces the following 2008 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Greater Gustavus Award - Given to those who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:

Jim and Susan (Pepin) Peterson ’64 ’65

Distinguished Alumni Citations - Recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement:

Craig Johnson ’69, bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Talmadge King ’70, chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Barbara Berry Leonard ’63, nursing professor, University of Minnesota.

First Decade Awards - Recognizing early professional achievement:

Miho Ihara, senior consultant, CPCS Transcom Limited.

Jason Smerdon, Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 31 and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 4.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • MAYDAY! Peace Conference focused on water - April 30
  • Author Day with Arvonne Fraser - May 14
  • Gustie Breakfast - May 21, featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy
  • Class Reunions - for 50-Year Club, 1958, and 1963 - May 30 and 31

The Alumni Fund closes May 31, so please send in your contributions―AND news notes now―even though it is right after you paid your income tax.  Maybe that’s what we should do with our refunds or government incentive checks this year.  Wouldn’t that be great?

Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Class Agent