Class of '50
October 2009

60-Year Reunion ― May 28-29, 2010


14090 Indian Beach Road

Spicer, MN  56288

Dear Classmates and Friends of 1950,

What would you do if someone with a bicycle helmet, yellow windbreaker and bright blue shorts showed up at your patio door and, in Swedish, introduced himself as the king of Sweden?  Same as I did―say, “I know you’re not.  Who are you?”  Then he said a date in Swedish but all I could understand was something plus hundred and fifty.  I should have been alert enough to guess it was “1950.”  Finally, he told me he was TOM JERDEE, a classmate of ours!  His wife and her sisters were attending a family reunion at the Green Lake Bible Camp, and Tom, an avid biker who’d already ridden once around the lake, decided to stop by to see me.  What a marvelous surprise!  It was so much fun to catch up on what he’s been doing and hear about the students we knew at Gustavus and what they’ve been doing the last 60 years.  He has a great sense of humor as evidenced by his noticing I had a paper shredder sitting near the table.  “Apparently you don’t use it,” he added, having also noticed that the table where I sit and read, etc. was stacked high with newspapers, letters, the Bible from which I’d read the next Sunday’s lessons, my Gustavus notes and folder―you get the general idea.  When I learned that one of the classes he taught at the University in Asheville, NC, was “Organizational Skills and Management,” it made a great deal of sense.

In our conversation, he mentioned he and his wife had been to Norway several times and spent time in Sweden as well.  He hadn’t even noticed he was wearing the colors of the Swedish flag.  Among the students he mentioned was DAVE DANIELSON, who married Joan (Squiers ’51), went into the ministry, and has written two books since retiring.  Another two were Dwight and Carol (Matson) Holcombe ’51 ’51, who lost their son, David, in a tragic snowmobile accident last February.  He also mentioned HARRY IVERSON who started with our class but left Gustavus―I can’t read the note I wrote about him.  Reminiscing about the professors we had was delightful!  Who at Gustavus now remembers George Hall, Doc Winfield, and Wendell Swenson?  Chester O. Johnson of the geology department is still around―in the Benedictine Care Center in St. Peter, as is his wife, Marian (Swanson ’41).  I think I mentioned before that Chet is 96 years old.  The widows of Floyd Martinson and Doniver Lund still live in Valley View.  Arne Langsjoen’s wife, Carol (Gaustad ’42), recently passed away.

Among other class notes is one from DOROTHY (SEDERBERG) OLSON of New Brighton, MN who was fortunate enough to take a Mexican Riviera Cruise with her family in April 2009.  The call didn’t make it clear whether her husband PAUL was a member of the cruise or if it was her family such as Tom Jerdee’s wife was observing.

Late last May, DALLAS YOUNG, made a few calls to classmates who hadn’t been reached.  BOB THORNE of Edina was recovering from a stroke―I hope the recovery has gone well for you, Bob.  HOWARD LUHMAN of Shakopee is still suffering ill health.  His wife appreciated Dallas’ call.

I saw YVONNE (ANDERSON) BELIN of Chaska at the annual Augustana Service at Normandale Lutheran Church in September.  RALPH has been dealing with health problems, too.  We discussed whether or not to include health problems in the class letter and, while I don’t need to go into detail, I think it’s good to know who might need an extra prayer or two.  We know we have some on dialysis and others who have memory loss.

I think I mentioned last March the passing of ROLAND SCHARMER.  I attended the wake and visited briefly with his wife, LORRAINE (SJOLINDER).  Roland was highly regarded as a teacher for 32 years, a crop insurance adjuster for 37 years and volunteer worker in Litchfield.  He will be missed.

Another passing I received notice of was DEAN S OLSON of Webster City, IA.  He attended Gustavus for one semester, went into the U. S. Marine Corps, and then attended Drake University College of Pharmacy, graduating in 1952.  He owned and operated Olson Pharmacy for 31 years before retiring in 1992.  After retirement he and his wife, Lucy, enjoyed winters at Holiday Island, AR.  He is survived by Lucy, 5 children, 12 grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.  Our sympathy to you all.

Only this morning (October 9) did I read of the passing of the wife of DICK SOMMERS of Long Prairie.  I immediately cut out the obituary from the Minneapolis Star Tribune―and promptly misplaced it.  (Only Tom knows how that could happen.)  I’ll find it and send it along to the Alumni Office.  In the meantime, Dick, know that you and your family have our heartfelt sympathy.

Dallas Young and I have had a couple phone calls about our upcoming 60th reunion this spring―does it seem possible?  At the class agents’ meeting in September (that’s how late this letter is) some reunion classes have had a committee that has met several times already, making plans for their 40th, 50th, whatever.  Any bright ideas you can offer are more than welcome.  Paying up our scholarship fund should be a priority.  I’m not the world’s best organizer, obviously, but I’ll certainly entertain any and all ideas―and if someone wants to share the responsibility, Dallas has already offered to help.

Take care of yourselves―let me know what you’ve been doing, even if it isn’t traveling to some exotic port.  Each person has his or her routine and those can also be interesting.

Yours faithfully,

Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Class Agent

P.S.   The Nobel Conference (Oct. 6-7) on H2O is over―I heard it was excellent.  On Saturday (Oct 10) was Homecoming and alumni and parents and students celebrated a big get-together with a post game party called the Fifth Quarter.  It included several student organizations including the Thetas.  I hope several of you were there.


Gustavus gets High Rankings

Gustavus Adolphus College is listed as the 33rd best liberal arts college in the country according to a new set of college rankings released on Thursday, September 3, by Washington Monthly magazine.  The publication states on its website that schools were ranked based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories:  social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D.s), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

Gustavus once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings.  Gustavus moved up eight places from last year’s rankings to 80th on the magazine’s “Best Liberal Arts College’s” list.  Gustavus is one of six Minnesota colleges that placed in the top 100 in this year’s rankings.  One of the measures used to capture the various dimensions of academic quality at each college is alumni giving percentage; therefore, participating in a giving program at Gustavus, regardless of amount given, is important to the College.

GLA Membership

All of us remember the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library.  It was a place for study and, depending on your era, finding a “coffee date.”  But, in the 21st century, it has become much more.  It is a technology-rich laboratory for learning and a storehouse of culture and recorded knowledge.  It must constantly be strengthened to ensure excellence in education.  The Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) provides financial support for the library and a program of events to its members.  Join this year and immediately make a difference.  Whatever membership gift level you choose, 100% goes directly to the library’s acquisition budget.  Join today at!!!

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.

Upcoming speakers:

President Jack R. Ohle – Oct. 21

Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80 – Nov. 18

Thomas Young ’88 – Dec. 16

Upcoming Events

  • Athletics Hall of Fame – October 17, 2009
  • Gustavus Library Associates – A Royal Affair – November 14, 2009
  • Farewell for Steve and Barb Wilkinson, Minneapolis Hyatt - December 12

royal affair