Class of ’50
December 2010


14090 Indian Beach Road

Spicer, MN  56288


Dear Classmates and Friends of 1950,

In this month of Thanksgiving, we might well give thanks for several blessings.  First of all, we had a successful 60th reunion in May, 2010.  Although having more of you present would have been terrific, we are grateful for those who came.  The Round Robin group of classmates, who’ve kept the 60 year correspondence writing and yearly getting-together, formed a strong nucleus.  Eight of the twelve are still with us, Carol Jean Ostgaard Esbjornson, Marie Norberg Bergstrom, Marjorie Swenson Gores, Lois Dickhart Skillrud, Donna Benson Barnett, Marlys Peterson, Joyce Anderson, and Joyce Pauley Gardner.  The two husbands who are still with us, also classmates, are John Esbjornson and Harold Skillrud.  They gathered for dinner as well for more visiting on Friday night.

Among the rest of us were Dallas Young and Phyllis, Donna Seaberg Johnson and Richard, and “me, myself and I,” Gloria Martell Benson.  Please refer to the picture in the Fall Quarterly for others; such as Eugene Dumdei, Oreland and Arlene Johnson Johnson and Bob Pierson.

Second−gratitude (maybe should have been the first) encompasses the years we spent at Gustavus, the people who encouraged us to come to this particular college; the professors we had−George Hall, Doc Winfield, Floyd Martinson, Arne Langsjoen ʼ42, Margaret Ermarth, George Anderson, George Forell−the list could go on and on; our classmates and college mates; the lessons learned and experienced; our graduation with Ralph Bunche as the speaker and the Countess Folke Bernadotte, dedicating the new library.

Third−we are grateful that 60 years after we graduated, Gustavus is still a thriving college, firm in faith, educating young people not only to succeed for themselves, but to be of service to others−the good stewardship of time and talents we hear about at church and in our communities.  As we approach the 150th anniversary of the founding of Gustavus, we not only “remember thy past,” but look forward to a vibrant future.


Now on to some class news.  Many of these notes arrived in May, before our reunion.  We are grateful for your communications.

Calvin J. Anderson of Wellfleet, MA wrote:  “Would like to be able to attend this our 60th reunion.  However, my wife and I make a biannual trip to Minnesota to visit family and friends, and our visit was in 2009.  Usually we do visit the Gustavus campus on our visits.  Best to all classmates.  It was a memorable part of my life−the four years at GA.  We were a group of veterans−temp housing−ranch house−cold and Spartan.  Excellent professors−good education− daily chapel, a lasting benefit.”  Thank you for writing, Calvin, even though you waited several months to see your note passed on to your classmates.

Lloyd O. Bergman wrote:  “June 2009 was my 50th year of graduating from William Mitchell School of Law.  (Bonnie and I) have one son and two grandchildren−graduated from Gustavus.  We are still in our home in Wayzata, MN and still able to do some traveling.”  Thank you, Lloyd−does anyone still call you “Ole?”  I enjoy seeing you and Bonnie whenever you’re on campus.

Marie Norberg Bergstrom of Minneapolis, MN wrote:  “Our class of (’50) was right after WWII−Gustavus was starting to grow.  Many of the men on campus were veterans of military service.  Vern was president of the class of ’51.  We were married the summer of ’50 and lived on campus−in trailer camp, along with many other married classmates−during Vern’s senior year.  I was a “student’s wife” for 7 years (1 at Gustavus, 2 grad school U of M, 4 years St. Paul College of Law).  We lived in New Jersey (Vern officed in New York City−director of Lutheran Immigration Services.)  Minneapolis where he farmed [did I read that right, Marie? GB] and was director of Hennepin County League of Municipalities and later on staff as a Hennepin County attorney.  We also lived in Idaho when Vern was director of the branches of the Idaho State Supreme Court.  Being an “at home mom” was full time for 6 children and now 13 grandchildren all of whom I’ve been able to watch grow up (class work, sporting events, music, volunteer work, and social lives).  They all live near-by now.  I’m privileged to also be with all my grandchildren as they grow up.  Now they are my helpers since I can no longer see clearly enough to drive due to macular degeneration.  We’ll probably never get used to “life without Vern.”  Thank you, Marie, for that update to your life now and with Vern.

I mentioned that Dallas Young and his wife, Phyllis, of Baxter, MN were at the reunion.  It is with sadness that I report that Phyllis passed away rather suddenly since then.  We extend our sympathy to you, Dallas, and continue to hold you in our prayers.  Dallas keeps busy as a part time visitation pastor at First Lutheran Church in Brainerd, MN.  Take care of yourself, Dallas.

Ed Wetherill of St. Peter sent a note in May that he is still on the city council with a year and a half to go.  He added, “we’ll be out of town so will miss the reunion.”  You would have enjoyed it, Ed.  It’s always good to see you when I’m back in town.

A note from Donald S. Wulf ʼ51of Sacramento, CA tells us:  “We (Barbara Lunstead Wulf) and I are celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary this September with our four children and nine grandchildren (two of whom have served in Afghanistan).  We continue to be grateful to all of the faculty, staff, and friends at Gustavus−especially to my outstanding roommates, Lloyd Mathews ʼ51, Ray Lundquist ʼ51, and the late Don Andrews ʼ52.”  I hope your anniversary observance was all you’d hoped it would be−especially with the two grandchildren who’d be far away−and those whom you love dearly.

Service and entrepreneurship is alive and well in the class of 1950.  I asked Carol Ostgaard Esbjornson to write about the endeavors of one of their group, Marjorie Swenson Gores, and include it with this class letter.  It actually deserves a place in the Quarterly, and we’ll see if Randall Stuckey can find a place for it there, also.  The story of the 1950 Gustavus Round Robin group deserves a story of its own.

At lunch with a 1950 Gustavus Round Robin group, we learned of a great enterprise created by Marjorie Swenson Gores and her sister, Virginnia Swenson ʼ54.  Living once again on their childhood family farm, they decided they needed to get reacquainted with people in the area.  They had grown or knew several kinds of fruit that they didn’t want to see wasted.  So, making jams and jellies seemed to be a natural project.  Now they have expanded to 32 varieties, and also include some baked goods.  They go to nearby farm markets once or sometimes twice a week.  New Richland and Waseca are very supportive markets, but they have also marketed in Albert Lea and Burnsville.

Their home community is Vista, a small Swedish settlement near their farm.  So they decided to cleverly include a childhood picture with the caption, “The Vista Sisters.”  They label their fruits and grace the plate with seven different and delicious bread spreads.

The greatest aspect of their project began in 2008, when they determined that all proceeds would go to missions.  Bibles for the World was their first.  The Swenson sisters made three trips to India.  The last trip was during the first year of a three-year famine near the border of Burma.

A second charity was Mission Aviation Fellowship which flies into some remote areas in all parts of the world.  Its mission is to supply medicine, foods, and supplies of all kinds.  In 2009 the MAF spent a day with Marjorie and Virginnia as well as 250 other visitors in Waseca.  The mission group displayed their new plane, a Kodiak 100 which uses jet fuel.

The third mission is a Christian radio station in Nome, Alaska.  Radio KICY serves a huge area, even reaching into Russia.  Virginnia had visited Nome when it began its mission in 1959.

Since the days when Marjorie and Virginnia began focusing on these missionary endeavors, their sales have more than doubled for the Vista Sisters.

Amazing what one comes across in the local (Willmar, MN) newspaper and the shopping Reminder.  I don’t often read the ads or auction notices, but the following caught my eye the other day:  “Large Farm Auction.  Folks, the Glen Johnson family has owned and operated their farm west of Lake Lillian, MN for the past 138 years.  Most of the equipment has been purchased new and always shedded.  From late model farm machinery to old family antiques− don’t miss this auction…”  It goes on to list the items to be sold, and at the bottom of the ad the owners, Glen and LaVonne Johnson.  Yes, gentleman and ladies, the owners are our own Glen and LaVonne Johnson, now of Marco Island, Florida, and frequent hosts to Gustie alumni get-togethers during the winter at that locale.  Are you still keeping the farm itself, Glen?  The auction is scheduled for Saturday November 13 at 10:00 a.m., but you probably won’t get this letter in time for that.  We thank you, Glen and LaVonne, for all you are doing for Gustavus.

Part of the reason this class letter is so late, is that I went to Spain for most of the first two weeks in October, traveling with the Adventure! Club as I did for several years.  Jim Klobuchar still puts together a good tour.  Ever since my husband and I attended a wedding in Madrid/Mostoles 19 years ago, I’ve wanted to see the south of Spain, especially the Alhambra in Granada and the Gaudi works in Barcelona.  The Cathedral of the Holy Family has been under construction for 120 years and is still unfinished, but the Pope just arrived in Spain to bless it anyway.  Not long after my return I had cataract surgery−it went smoothly, but the results aren’t as dramatic as I thought they’d be.  Talking by phone with Dallas Young yesterday, he told me about Phyllis’s marvelous results when she had the same type of surgery and said I should be “patiently impatient”−it’ll take a while.  Interesting−that’s what the doctor implied as well.

The Alumni Office will no doubt let you know what’s going on on campus.  Christmas in Christ Chapel, (2010), A Renaissance Christmas, will be here in less than a month.

Keep your notes and letters coming.  Donna Seaberg Johnson offered to write the January class letter−bless her heart.  Remember Gustavus with your calendar year-end gifts.  One has several categories from which to choose−any and all gifts are welcome, as you well know.


Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Class Agent

Campus News

150th Anniversary Commemorative Alumni Directory

The Gustavus Alumni Association is bringing together about 25,000 Gusties to celebrate the College’s 150th anniversary.  In partnership with Publishing Concepts, Inc. (PCI), Gustavus will produce the 150th Anniversary Commemorative Alumni Directory.  Over the next couple of months, PCI will be contacting Gustavus alumni via phone, mail, and e-mail to request that you update your information.  We know you don’t want to provide your information to just anyone, so we want you to be aware of this project and encourage your participation.  For more information, call the Office of Alumni Relations at 800-487-8437.

Nobel Conference

What is Good Food?  The Nobel Conference® 46, Making Food Good, was held October 5-6.  It explored the many levels of this question.  From our seven distinguished panelists we considered varied and various conceptions of goodness and the challenges involved with the way they intersect with each other.  Contemporary food issues like community food security; the local foods movement; food crops as fuel crops; school lunches; genetic modification of food plants and animals; molecular gastronomy; and protecting genetic diversity of plants and animals were considered.  You can hear the talks online at:

Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus inducted new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet on Saturday, October 9.  Inductees for 2010 are:  Evie Cieslar Erdman ’73, benefactor; Duke Paluch ’84, tennis; Erik Allen ’92, basketball; Peter Anderson ’92, golf; Leigh Stocker Berger ’92, volleyball; Angela White Vick ’92, track and field; Heidi Rostberg Carlson ’93, tennis; Erik Hendrikson ’94, hockey, football; Paige Tierney Sullivan ’95, soccer; and the Hall of Fame Moment−1990 Women’s Tennis National Championship.

Alumni Art Show

Over 60 alumni will participate in an Alumni Art Show in the Hillstrom Museum, November 22 through the end of the semester.  A reception will take place on Monday, November 22, 7 p.m.  This will be the first alumni art showing in the Hillstrom Museum.

“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 breakfasts include: Jeff Stocco, dean of students, on Nov. 17; Neal Hagberg ’81 and Leandra Peak ’83, musicians, on Dec. 15; and the winter sports coaches on Jan. 19.

Christmas in Christ Chapel Tickets

Tickets for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2010, “A Renaissance Nativity,” are available online.  Service dates are Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $17.50 each and available online via credit card at:  If you do not have access to the Internet, tickets are available by calling the Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520.