Class of ’50

February 2012

Dear Classmates and friends of 1950,

Here I am again, writing the second class letter.  We have class news to relate−some of which I couldn’t find for the first letter.  Tom Jerdee of Black Mountain, NC can best visualize how three notes could get lost on my dining room table.  He saw it in full action a couple summers ago.  It hasn’t changed much.  Thank you, Tom, for the note you sent me this fall.  I appreciated your doing so.  I also had a call from Carol Ostgaard Esbjornson of Willmar at that time.  Thank you for your information.  She and John are still plugging away (my words, not Carol’s).  John celebrated his 90th birthday last summer.

Mary Harper Schultz of South Haven, MN is retired.  That’s the town that often takes me by surprise when I’m driving on Hwy. 55 to the Cities.  If I traveled it as often as I do Hwy. 12, I’d get used to it.  Now I’ll remember that’s where you live.

Harold and Lois (Dickhart) Skillrud in Bloomington, IL, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on June 8, 2011.  It was also the occasion of the meeting of the Round Robin group of 1950 grads, if I remember Carol’s visit correctly.  Harold writes, “We had our first date at Gustavus on December 8, 1950 [sic] and dated through college.  This was Gustavus’ best gift to us, in addition to a superb education and spiritual foundation.”  Congratulations, both of you!  Harold, I tried both email and calling to get the correct date, but the email came back and the call didn’t go through.  Sorry about that.

Richard Priest let us know that he still visits the elementary school named after him in Las Vegas.  That must make you feel very good.

Norman Jensen, St. Paul, sent us this note:  “I retired from being a business teacher and from farming.  I have a daughter, Becky Jensen Detert that graduated in 1972 from GA.  A grandson, Seth Detert, that graduated from GA in 2000.  A granddaughter, Kelsey Jensen ʼ13 is attending Gustavus now and is a junior.  I also had a sister, Genevieve Jensen Deggendorf x43 that attended GA in 1939-41 and a grandson, Chris Detert x03 that also attended GA.”Good to see your legacy continues, Norman.

Ken and Carol Nelson, Shoreview, MN celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on September 22.  Ken reports, “had two nice trips and we are feeling well.”

Willis Crosby, Carol Stream, IL is in a nursing home facility in Windsor Park and writes, “hopefully will be back home soon.”  We hope so too, Willis.

Betty Gulberg Bruner of Mitchell, SD writes, “Thanks for the Gustavus news.”  She adds that though she doesn’t know “most of them as I was there only our freshman year, but I do enjoy it.”  Thank you, Betty.

An article from the Golden Valley News, New Hope, last spring written by Jim Foster suggested that a new Little League field to be built on the Honeywell site be named after Dick Isaacson.  Dick spent the better part of 40 years devoting himself to the Golden Valley Little League program.  His philosophy that “nothing is given to you in this life; you have to work for it, and the sooner you learn this the better” earned him respect from young people and adults alike.  Dick passed away a year ago.

On November 8, 2011, the Star Tribune carried a special obituary of Bob Colburn of Edina.  I wish there were room to include the entire article that covered his career from teaching English and debate in Pipestone to his and Dorothy’s (Anderson) being known as Mr. and Mrs. Music on their daily radio show in Fairmont to his career in advertising.  He wrote ads for Polaris, Fritz Mondale’s first Senate campaign, for Old Dutch, McCarvey coffee and SuperAmerica, among many other products.  He competed nationally in a barbershop quartet called the Vigortones.  We won’t forget his music with the college quartet and his theatre experience either−with Antigone and Hamlet.  I am so glad he was able to be at the Gustavus theatre anniversary a few years ago and spoke to us then.  He and Dorothy were married for 61 years, marrying two days after our graduation.  He is also survived by four children and their families.  Our sympathy to you, Dorothy, and your family.

The last week in December, James Gault, of Carlsbad, CA passed away from lymphoma.  Born and raised in St. Peter and graduating in our class, he moved to California where he met his childhood neighbor, Pat Lenander, and they were married, having 52 years together.  (You may recall her father was one of the local doctors who took his turn at our infirmary.)  James’s career was in aerospace where he worked for Rockwell for 44 years, his work instrumental in the space shuttle program and the landing on the moon.  Besides that, he was a master bridge player and an avid gardener.

Dorothy Orn Olson’s husband, Ray, passed away in St. Peter on January 12 this year.  I was hoping to be at the funeral January 23, but poor weather deterred me.  I’d known Ray in St. Peter almost forever as they say; I knew his father and step-mother; his and Dorothy’s children were in the same classes as my children, etc.  Dorothy was organist at Trinity for a number of years, adeptly compensating for a few notes that used to stick on the organ.  Ray graduated from Mankato State as a business major.  He became a licensed public accountant and worked for many years with a firm in St. Peter.  Our sympathy to you, Dorothy, Paul and Kevin, and the extended family.

I’m going to save notes from the Christmas letters I received until next time, in the spring.  I finally figured out that if I don’t try writing the entire letter in one day, but a few paragraphs at a time, it goes better.  My crooked finger keeps typing “j” when I mean “h” or “n” when I want “h”−go figure.

Christmas in Christ Chapel was inspiring with its Swedish Christmas/history of Gustavus theme.  I still get goose bumps during that last verse of “O Come All Ye Faithful.” When all the choirs sing, the horns sound, the pipe organ goes on full volume, the full symphony band plays and everyone stands up to sing.  I’ve seen tears in people’s eyes at that moment.

The Alumni Office will add pertinent news notes from the college now.

Campus News

National Sesquicentennial Celebrations

Throughout the coming year, Gusties are gathering across the country to reflect on Gustavus’s past, celebrate 150 academic years, and engage for the future.  In conjunction with the celebrations on campus, the College invites all alumni, parents, and friends for a celebration in an area near them.  Here is a list of some upcoming chapter events.  You can view them all and register for an event at

Tampa - Thursday, February 9, 2012 - Malio’s Prime

San Francisco - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - Hs Lordship

Los Angeles - Sunday, February 19, 2012 – The Paley Center

Palm Springs - Monday, February 20, 2012 - Escena Golf Club

Sun City - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - Briarwood Country Club

Phoenix - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - Rita’s Kitchen

Tucson - Friday, February 24, 2012 - Warren and Donna Beck’s Residence

Seattle - Friday, March 16, 2012 - The Swedish Cultural Center

Denver - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - Three Tomatoes Steakhouse and Club at Fossil Trace

Gustavus Music Showcase in the Twin Cities

Tickets are now on sale for the Music Showcase!  The Music Showcase will be taking place on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 2 p.m. at Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis.  The Showcase will feature the Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Wind Orchestra and the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band.  This is a great opportunity to hear four major touring ensembles, showcasing the excellent music program at Gustavus.  Each ensemble will perform a piece commissioned for the concert and in honor of the College’s Sesquicentennial.  Tickets are $17.50 for general admission and $10 for students.  For more information or to order tickets visit:

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  February will feature JoNes Van Hecke ʼ88, Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students and speaker for March will be Jeff Owen ʼ92, Assistant Professor in Economics/Management and Environmental Studies.  The St. Peter Breakfasts are held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month and the Twin Cities Breakfasts are held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail  Hope to see you bright and early!

Join Gustavus Library Associates

“Whether you went to the college library to study, do research, meet a hot date, or create (or look for) a library prank, the library was an almost daily stop during our college years.  What better way to acknowledge that important relationship than by joining the Gustavus Library Associates (GLA)?  GLA's mission is to promote literature, learning, and the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library at Gustavus Adolphus College.  All of its membership dues go directly to the annual acquisitions budget of the Library; income from the Royal Affair, Books and Bloom, and other major fundraisers goes to the Library’s endowment.

With this in mind, I encourage you all to become GLA members.  You can find the application form on the web at:  You’ll find all the news about the organization’s events and the membership forms along with a list of membership options.

Take care.  Say prayers for those dealing with health issues at this time.  Even if you aren’t aware of individuals, please pray, “God, bless my classmates and friends who need your healing touch.  Give them strength and courage to go through this time of illness and treatment.  Thank you, God.”


Gloria Martell Benson

1950 Class Officer