Class of '51
October 2002

Dear Classmates and spouses,

So many wonderful Gustie events have taken place since April that it’s difficult to write much about each one.  Anytime you attend an event and would like to write it up, we’ll include it in a class letter.

It was good to be back for our 51st reunion as part of the 50 Year Club.  The best part was seeing classmates again!

Bob Larson said he has finished 61 years of singing and conducting choirs.

Jim Gilbert ’62, who gave the seminar on global warming at our 50th reunion, told me, “After I gave the seminar last year, I cried.”

At the Alumni Banquet, then president, Axel Steuer said, “We will always be Gusties in our hearts.”

Before that he had presented one of the Greater Gustavus Awards to his wife, Loreli saying, “She has won the hearts of thousands of Gusties.”  Loreli accepted the award by saying “Each of you is part of my heart…it has been a labor of love…if there is a more wonderful place on earth than Gustavus, I don’t know where it is…my heart is so full.  I love you!”

The other Greater Gustavus Award was given to Chester and Marian (Swanson ’41) Johnson.  He has served the college for 61 years.  He will also be remembered for his Ole and Lena jokes.

Kevin Kling ’79 had recovered enough from being hit on his motorcycle to accept the Distinguished Alumni Award.  He was thankful to professors, Chaplain Elvee and to Bruce Gray ’61 for helping him as a student.  He said, “I wanted to be like (Prof.) Rob Gardner!…I work with good people (in Minnesota) I know this is home every time I land here…I wanted to make the world better.”  When Kevin Kling survived the accident, Bill Holm ’65 said, “It took more than a Lincoln Continental to take out a Gustie!”

Our classmates are more special and wonderful each year!  One of them “skipped chapel” (vespers) but was sorry when I said the Gustavus choir had sung so fantastically.  I heard the story that one of our classmates had opened up his diploma when we graduated and it was blank with a note he owed one dollar in library fines.  Since he didn’t have the money, he borrowed it from his future wife, Dorothy Conrad, and paid it back with 7% interest on their 50th wedding anniversary!

One of our classmates enjoys staying in the dorms at reunions since he lived at home while in college.

Prof. and Mrs. George Forell were delighted to be back again.

Ours was the last class at Gustavus without TV.

Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80 said, “Today is a good-bye to President Axel and Lori Steuer.  We will not forget that when we were wind-swept and tree-torn, you helped…”

Thanks to David and Delores Johnson for being on the Garden Summer Tour sponsored by Friends of the Linnaeus Arboretum.  David’s photo was in their newsletter, Twinflower; as head of the garden committee, planting daffodil bulbs on campus one chilly Saturday in early October, 2002.

The last Quarterly listed Ken Quist and Elmer Luke as being picked by Coaches Hollingsworth and Vic Gustafson!  Did you see David Lindberg on a group photo from a Swedish tour?

The 50th anniversary class of 1952 had photos of spouses from our class.  The article on Kevin Kling ’79 on page 66 is worth a re-read and so is “A Gustie With All Her Heart” (Loreli Steuer).

“How come you never seem bored?” our son asked me as I was writing this.  My answer was, “who can be bored as a Class Agent?”  First of all, there is the Class Agents’ Meeting every September.

Evelyn Young ’33 re-named us “Gustavus Class Ambassadors of good will…there are 671 eager, brilliant freshmen…you are the link…this is the 49th year of the annual fund.  We have enthusiasm!  I love you!”  She hugged me and others who were recognized as outstanding class agents.

Our goal for last year was 78.5% participation, but we only achieved 73.4%.  The closest we got was in 1993-94 with 77.9%!  Our goal for this year is 78.8%.  Every gift counts!  Right now we are one of the older classes with a poor record of participation compared with last year.

Thanks to all of the volunteers at Phonorama!  They’ll turn that poor performance into a good one.

I expect our class to aim at 100% participation in the Gustavus Fund.  Adding to that please join the Cec Eckhoff Society!  It’s really easy!  Soon, you’ll receive a golden brochure explaining the three new societies.  I’ll explain the one that honors Cec Eckhoff ’56.  You can join with either a five-year pledge or a life-long pledge of giving to the Gustavus Alumni Fund each year.  Many of you are already Honorary Members (see brochure).  You can also join one of the other societies the same year.

I’ll see you at the President’s reception!  Let’s see lots of ’51ers then!

Evelyn Sponberg Young’s 90th birthday party was a smashing event last July.  Florentine (Peterson) and Don Anderson, Dorothy (Conrad) and Art Gaard, and Marion (Myrland) Johnson were all there.  I met Marion’s husband, who enjoys reading the class letters, and their daughter, Nancy Johnson ’86.

Evelyn’s latest title is “Goodwill Ambassador” for Gustavus.  Several speakers called her an angel.  “She always says grace before a meal and she believes God is her inspiration and should be for thanks.”  Evelyn hugged each of us.  At the podium Evelyn said, “I’m thrilled!”  The video of Evelyn’s life was a real treat!  A speaker said, “A friend is someone who befriends someone in need.  Evelyn has many friends.  She has been the great encourager!”  She still makes many loaves of her famous rye bread and thousands of cookies for fund raising events and for children.

I was amazed by the sound of 500 people singing three songs:  “Remember,” “Come on You Gusties,” and the “Alma Mater.”  We received gifts of recipes and a loaf of rye bread!  It was an exciting, friendly, wonderful evening! 

Stan and Marie (Schafer ’52) Benson sent an article about Don Osell.  There was a great write up in The Free Press (Mankato) on Don’s new book, Growing up in Henderson (MN).  Quote, “Now living in Grand Rapids, Osell and his wife recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary after his return from the 70th parallel, 500 miles north of the Artic Circle.”

Our sympathy to Eugene Lindgren, Le Sueur, on the passing of his wife, Betty, last November.

Thanks, Fred Tidstrom for all this information.  Hope you are enjoying retirement and your nine grandchildren!

Did you see the Tidstrom brothers and Jack Joern on the Reunion Weekend Brochure?  Fred wrote, “This photo brought back wonderful memories of our journey…to Gustavus where we received a wonderful liberal arts education and much life-long friendships…I attended Reunion Weekend 2001 (our 50th) and the programs and hospitality were outstanding.”  He goes on about his late brother, Ken; who worked at the Bureau of Standards for 30 years.  Ken did pioneer research in wing design that led to the stealth bomber.  Ken was a physics student who was once invited to teach at Gustavus.  Thank, Fred!

Fred also wrote that he was fishing with his three sons last Memorial Day weekend.  He attended the grand opening of a new dental school in Milwaukee in September.  He wrote, “Doing well, hope to get to a Gustie football game.”

Weldon Burchill wrote from Mason, Michigan, “Hard to believe almost a year has gone by since our 50th.  Enjoyed the pictures―since one is worth a thousand words, three leave me speechless.  Thus, my message is short.”

Gordon Sandbaken, Golden Valley, writes, “Saw many Gusties at the April Phonorama including Ray Lundquist, Lois Hesselroth Hovland, Pat Pool Hasse.  We also spoke with many classmates regarding pledge money.”

Russell Paulson, Foresthill, California, wrote this note, “It was so enjoyable seeing so many at the 50th anniversary celebration last year.

I am still living in woods in the mountains at Foresthill, California and preaching at Bethel Lutheran Church in Sacramento.

One adopted teenage daughter, Stefany, is living with me and plans to attend high school in Sweden next year.  The other daughter, Jennifer, is a student at Trinity Lutheran College in Issaquah, Washington.  I hope she finishes college next year.

The joys of parenting at the age of 72!” 

Bernice (Johnson ’52) and Grant Peterson moved to Mankato after 31 years in Austin, MN.  That puts them nearer to Gustavus!

Lloyd and Marjorie (Becken ’50) Mathews wrote, “The 2001 year for us was a big one.  We took a trip around the world, sold our house in Elk River and moved to a townhouse about six miles away and also celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.”

Lois Quam Erickson wrote from Evansville, MN, “We are healthy enough to go places and do things and enjoy our five grandchildren.”

Beverly Johnson Kindschuh and Kink ’52, Warren, OR, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2001.

Betty (Barnes ’52) and Al Swanson, Sacramento, CA write, “Al is still running his own business and is doing well.”

Please send more news for the class letter!

I had visited with John Goodpaster ’95 when he was a student musician at Gustavus so I was excited to see him quoted in the Gustavus brochure for prospective students.  Part of his quote:  “One summer I worked for the FBI…in their Honors Internship Program.  Out of a pool of 2,000 applications, only 75 made it through.  I know my Gustavus research experience helped, and so did the academics.”

Ask for a brochure and give it to a high school student who needs Gustavus.  Many students come because they know a Gustie!  Spread the good word!

To Elaine LaMirande Anderson:  Thanks for clearing that up.  Congratulations on having a granddaughter (Kristi) at Gustavus!  I did call the Alumni Office to check it out.

Betty Correll wrote from Black Mountain, NC, “Really enjoyed our 50th Reunion last year.  The committee did a terrific job.”

Joan (Goodman) and Dale Halberg wrote from South Carolina, “We did make a trip to Atlanta for Thanksgiving and Connecticut for Christmas.  Good thing.  Besides his pulmonary problem, he has had two surgical operations:  Detached retina and hip replacement from which he is still recovering.  On a happy note, we had a new great-grandson born in October.  Our children (4), grandchildren (10) and great grandchildren (2) are all doing very well.”

Editor’s Note:  Dale Halberg passed away on August 7, 2002.

Our sympathy to his family and friends and to the families and friends of these other three classmates who have died:

Jeannine Hanson Elbins who died in Texas on March 26, 2002.

Chester “Chet” Johnson who died in Wisconsin on June 4, 2002.

Donald C. Johnson from Fremont, OH, who died on September 23, 2002.

I gave up canoeing for a few days to attend the Nobel Conference at Gustavus on October 1 and 2.  The Nature of Nurture was the topic.  This topic sparked quite an interest as they had the biggest attendance ever, over 7,000 tickets sold.  I was so happy that I could go!

Here are some quotes from those two days:

President Dennis Johnson said, “to me, the speakers are also such wonderful human beings.  It is special just to have lunch with them”

Dr. Kagan announced, “What a precious community (Gustavus) you have here!  For a fragmented world, you are very lucky!”

The director of the conference, Prof. Tim Robinson ’65 said, “We are trying to accommodate the large number in six or more places with larger TVs.  This is not a scientific conference.  This is a “rock” concert!  (Referring to the 7,000 people who attended.)

Denny Lofstrom and Paula were at the Nobel Conference.  They had served in Guatemala this past year.  Now they had just returned from Tanzania where they did a survey of mission and government hospitals.  The natives prefer the mission hospitals because the people are more compassionate even though the government hospitals are cheaper.

Marilyn (Barnes) and Bill Robertz celebrated their Birthday!  They share October 3, as their birth date.  Marilyn attained the venerable age of 75.  They are flying to their daughter’s and are being treated to the Broadway musical, “In the Woods.”

Jean Schendel Sorensen, Bloomington, MN, one of my frosh roommates in Rundstrom, came down the stairs from the balcony!  What a pleasant surprise!  We had a good visit over lunch.  I’m sure there were other classmates there I didn’t see.  It was a fabulous conference.  There was a standing ovation at the end of the second afternoon’s events.

Paul Granlund ’52 has two family sculptures in the art show.  Next year the art at Nobel will all be Paul Granlund’s.  Edna (Spaeth ’50) said, she was just back from California where she saw her grandchild (Tim’s child) and was at Marilyn Street Turner’s home for a reunion of nine gals who are ’51ers.  I hope someone writes it up.  All I heard was that there was lots of laughter and that Bonnie was a mystery guest.

I’ve gotten only to the B’s in our Golden Anniversary Book.  Under Dean Berg add class of ’77 to his daughter, Deanne.

Blaine Barker is a member of Gideons International.

If anyone notices something to be corrected, please write the Alumni Office.  I walked around campus last September and I realized that I’d never been on a campus where people smiled, laughed and said “hi” as much as at Gustavus.  Everyone seemed so happy.

The 30th Christmas in Christ Chapel will be on December 6 – 8.  The theme this year will be songs, stories and legends from Scandinavia (Julbön).  Look for me on Saturday afternoon.

On October 31, Old Main will be 125 years old.  No wonder it needs some help.  What a building it is!

Six hundred, seventy-one first year students and 45 transfers started in September.  There are 28 international students from 21 countries.  The new International House serves them well.  Thanks, Randy (Stuckey ’83, Director of Alumni Relations) for the statistics in your letter, which ended with:  “Now, more than ever, our communities need Gustavus graduates who understand the need to live a life of leadership and service to others.  Our commitment to the exploration for our students to discover and develop a sense of vocation or calling will benefit our society as a whole in the near future.  You are appreciated for your commitment to keeping Gustavus among the top liberal arts colleges in the nation.”

Reunions and Homecoming next year will be September 26 and 27.  My brother, Wendell Johnson’s ’53, son, David Johnson ’84 was elected to the Alumni Board so you’ll see him at homecoming and other events.  The Board members usually wear a name badge of some kind.  David’s sister, Julie Johnson Eiden ’82 is on the Board for the Gustavus Adolphus College Association of Congregations (GACAC).  Look for her at the next convention on Saturday, April 26, 2003.

Remember those matching gifts!

Retired Vice President for Development, Bob Peterson ’58 and his family are the chairs of the Gustavus Fund so he wrote the class agents, “The Gustavus of today that we all treasure is the product of giving over long periods of time by alumni and other friends.  The college’s strength has also come from foundations and corporations whose boards have been motivated to invest in Gustavus.  For example, I can tell you without qualification that Olin Hall is on our campus because alumni support was highly influential in that board’s decision.”

The last three years Gustie tennis players, from Duluth, on the men’s team have been chosen by the MIAC for the Arthur Ashe Award.  The award is for scholastic, athletic and humanitarian accomplishments.

At the convention of the Gustavus Association of Congregations in 2001, Barb Eckman Krig ’52 accepted an award, “ I love Gustavus with a passion!  It is never a chore, but a privilege, and a joy!  The plaque on Eckman Mall says, ‘Five generations.  A family, its church, its college.’  That’s been our covenant with Gustavus.”

Many of you feel the same way about Gustavus.  Our class is an outstanding class in the loyalty category.  Please join the Cec Eckhoff Society!

Remember the large photo of Ray Lundquist reminding us to name Gustavus in our will.

You are all welcome next May 30 and 31 to join the 50-Year Club again for our 52nd reunion.

I’d better finish putting the finishing touches n this letter because we are rolling into St. Peter.  (I’m not the driver!)  Thanks to all of you for everything!

Come on you Gusties

Give on, Give on


Dorothy Johnson Lutz

1951 Class Agent

Campus News:

Gustavus named a “Best Buy”

The Fiske Guide has again named Gustavus one of forty-three “Best Buys” in the country.  This is based on an exceptional investment of tuition money for an exceptional education.

Hello Walk Online Community is featuring several discussions this fall including Nobel Conference Director Tim Robinson discussing nature vs. nurture, and Political Science Professor Don Ostrom discussing the upcoming elections.  Join the conversation by going to <>

Gustie students start new community service initiative called the AMIGOS program.  The 65 Spanish speaking volunteers serve the growing Chicano-Latino population in St. Peter by providing after-school tutoring, teaching ESL classes to adults and serve as big partners.  This program is in addition to the other on-going and one-time service opportunities that 75% of students participate in while at Gustavus.

Building a Great Gustavus Campaign was launched to the public on Saturday, September 7.  Since the tornadoes of 1998, the campaign has raised $77 million toward a $100 million goal.  The focus of the remainder of the campaign is on funding renovations in Old Main, growing endowment, and increasing gifts and participation in the Gustavus Alumni Fund.  Your personal financial support  and your leadership are needed and greatly appreciated.

Minnesota Legislature Cuts Financial Aid

Due to cuts with the Minnesota State Legislature, Gustavus lost $400,000 in money for student employment.  The college continues to work hard to meet financial needs of students since nearly 80% of Gustavus students receive financial assistance.  This includes $14 million from the college’s own budget.  Your support of the annual fund goes directly to help these students and is especially needed to help make up the financial gap for these current students.