Class of ’51
September 2013Dear Classmates, Spouses, and other readers:
I am sorry to report that Dorothy Johnson Lutz, our faithful Class agent, is not writing this class letter since she is dealing with a health issue and has asked for a sabbatical year. Hopefully she will be picking up as our letter writer next September 2014. I think we all realize that there isn’t any other class, I’m sure, that is better informed of campus activities and events! She has done marvelous work for our class for the past 41 years. We are very appreciative of all of her fine work and effort to make this possible.
I, Ray Lundquist, the writer of this letter, volunteered to write several letters in Dorothy’s absence, a primary reason was that since I am chair of our Annual Fund, I would want to keep you informed on how the fund is doing. In regard to the Annual Fund, I am pleased to report our total giving as of the end of August was $27,430. I am hoping, with the help of all of you, that we will again attain the special goal of $100,000 which we exceeded in the past year ending on May 31. I am also very aware that the goal of $100,000 will be more of a challenge in the future, due to our age and various health issues that come upon us. We also face the realistic factor that we are all terminal and in the past several months seven our classmates have passed on. Some of these classmates were listed in the fall Quarterly and to review their names, they were: Wallace Friday, Dennis E. Johnson, Miriam Pearson Johnston, and Paul Holmstrom.
Unfortunately, three more of classmates died during the month of August. Namely Dave W. Johnson, Bob E. Larson, and Stan Benson. Each of them were very loyal alumni and each of them was a good friend to many of us. I will write a brief paragraph on each of them and this will be in the order of the date of their death.
Dave Johnson died on August 7, after an extended illness. Dave and I were long term members of Calvary Lutheran in Golden Valley, and participated together in various activities. Dave and his wife, Delores, were also very faithful leaders and board members of the Gustavus Arboretum. There is nothing that Dave enjoyed more than plants and flowers as well as trees. The waterfall at the entrance to the Arboretum is a marvelous reminder of their benevolence, as they were directly responsible for it!
The next classmate to pass on was Bob Larson on August 10. Bob, too, had health issues in the last several years. When I think of Bob, I remember so well his beautiful singing voice. It was such a pleasure to hear him sing and for him to perform at Gustavus. By the way, at his funeral at Gethsemane Lutheran in Hopkins, his son, Bruce ’77, sang a beautiful anthem. It sounded so much like the singing of Bob. I also remember so well how faithful Bob and his wife, Ruth (Peterson ’52), were in attending alumni activities, and especially Gustavus concerts.
The third classmate to die this past month was Stan Benson, of leukemia, on August 15. When I think of Stan and his wife Marie (Schafer ’52), their great mission work in Tanzania stands out. He served as pastor, administrator, and was the assistant to the bishop, among his various responsibilities. Stan and Marie retired to St. Peter in 1992, where they were always very involved in the community, Gustavus, and First Lutheran Church. I would like to have attended Stan’s funeral, but it was on Sunday, August 18 and I had a commitment at my church which I felt I needed to follow through with!
I now attend Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park, where my wife, Lorraine, has been a long time member. The reason I mention this is that the senior pastor is Tania Haber ʼ78, the daughter of our classmate Sandy Anderson Haber. Tania is a lot like her mother in appearance, her talents, and is a fine pastor. She shared a cute story in a recent sermon regarding her daughter Ali. At Ali’s wedding on August 3, at which Tania officiated, she mentioned her greatest challenge concerning the wedding was to assign seats at the reception. When the task was complete, she relaxed a moment and suddenly realized she had not assigned a seat to her husband Bob and herself. It called for a reassignment of many seats. By the way, Ali and her husband left four days after the wedding to spend one year teaching English at an intermediate school in Quito, Ecuador. Sophie ʼ15, Tania’s youngest daughter is a junior at Gustavus and is a gifted violinist in the Symphony Orchestra.
As you learned in the fall Quarterly, our current college president, Jack Ohle, has announced his retirement effective next June 2014. A search committee has already been formed for a new president by the Board of Trustees. The chair of that committee is Warren Beck ’67, a great leader and benefactor of Gustavus, for whom the latest new education building is named as well as his wife, Donna (Gabbert ’66). If any of you have a possible candidate for the president, pass the name on to Warren. The alumni office could tell you how to best contact him. I have passed on to Warren the name of a well known male theologian of whom I have no idea if he would be interested or not in the presidency. If any of you think of a women candidate, please pass her name on. Hamline has a women president, as does St. Thomas; where a woman started this past fall as president. I have a couple of Tommy friends who were totally surprised, but after meeting her they said, “What a great selection!” Most of you may have known that he ELCA has just selected their first woman bishop to lead the church! Many people are saying “It is about time!”
In regard to the presidency of President Ohle, I will always be grateful for his great leadership in the celebration of our 150th anniversary. There were many special events that took place; a highlight for me was to have King Carl XVI and Queen Sylvia of Sweden visit the campus and have them participate in chapel and seminars. President Ohle and Tom Young ʼ88, vice president of advancement, were directly responsible for their appearance. I also appreciate his leadership of a comprehensive fund raising program and several major building initiatives including Warren and Donna Beck’s academic building.
At the time of this writing, we soon will approach the 49th Nobel Conference on October 1 and 2 with the subject being “The Universe At The Limits.” I marvel at how the committee is able to always obtain outstanding experts on the Nobel subject. This year, for example, the presenters are from the University of Liverpool; the University of California, Berkley; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It makes for such an outstanding experience for our student body and the many high school students that do attend! There will be much discussion about the origin of the universe but I will always feel God was the Creator. In regard to that, let me quote Psalm 115:15 “May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” I would also like to share a verse that expresses my feelings on the universe. “Woven in a perfect way a blanket of stars, covers the night sky. Each star set in its place, reflecting its perfect light. All the stars together make a grand display, glimmering and shimmering in a unique expression of praise to the Creator of them all.
This verse reminds me of my youth when after working hard doing summer farm work; I would lie out on the lawn and view the unpolluted sky. This was especially true on a hot summer night when my second floor bedroom was extremely warm and air conditioning was nonexistent.
On Saturday, September 14, Volunteer Leadership Day was held on the campus. Jack Norman, I and our wives Leanne and Lorraine represented our class. It was a full morning of meetings and then the football game of Gustavus versus Simpson College in the afternoon. I certainly enjoyed the meetings. The guest speaker at our luncheon was senior student, Elizabeth Johnson ʼ14, granddaughter of Wayne Ripley, she highlighted her experiences at Gustavus and her study abroad. President Ohle addressed our group twice. One word he emphasized was “engagement.” The thought was to always speak positively of Gustavus when the opportunity exists, such as to a young person who is undecided about which college.
In our situation, I was able to do that with our twelve grandchildren. The primary problem was that three of our families live out of state—Colorado, Missouri and Wisconsin. I did have one granddaughter, Sarah, graduate from Gustavus, class of 2011. I had another grandson, Jon, start at Gustavus in 2011. He was from Wisconsin; he had attended a soccer camp at Gustavus. He however fell in love in the summer before the Gustavus semester started, with a girl from his high school class, who came from a long-standing Mormon family. Jon completed his freshman year at Gustavus, but most weekends he went home working with the Mormon bishop. He became a baptized Mormon and joined his girlfriend at Brigham Young in Provo, Utah, where he is currently in his third year of engineering. Jon may be the only Gustie I know that made a transfer to Brigham Young. He admits however he misses his Gustie friends and there are at least three Gustie students with whom he keeps in close contact.
I thought the morning sessions were very special also in that each was led by a member of the Alumni Board. The president of the Board, Chris Rasmussen ʼ88, was the emcee at the opening session as well as the luncheon. I was on the Alumni Board for six years in the ʼ60s, working with Ren Anderson ʼ34 and Cec Eckhoff ʼ56 very closely, but the Board never had the responsibilities that the current Board has. I think the change is great.
An interesting handout was given at one of the sessions, giving the results of the gifts to the Annual Fund this past year as well as the present. It was broken down by decades putting us in the seventh decade (1950-59). I feel our class really held their own. We were second in total giving at $115,990.44 with the Class of 1955 giving $129,160.32. The next closest class was 1959 with a total of $43,830. We were third in percentage of giving at 64% with 1953 having 72% which was great and 1958 was second with 65%. If just one or two more in our class would have given, the result would have been different, probably second for us. The Class of 1967 had the best total dollars with $219, 639.55 and the Class of 1963 had the best percent of giving with 76%.
I had the people from other classes comment to me that our 1951 class has a great reputation of giving over the years. For this I give very much credit to Dorothy for the fine work she has done as our Class Agent/Officer. It would be great if every one of you would consider giving a gift. There is no question “every gift counts” which has become the theme of the Annual Fund. Another realistic factor is who knows how much longer we will have the opportunity to give. My good friend, classmate Don Wulf, native of Willmar and long-time resident of Sacramento, and I lived together for three years in Uhler Hall. Over the three years, we had four other roommates—four have died and of the four, only one Lloyd Mathews was older than us and the other three were younger. I frankly feel very fortunate to be alive, since my best friends in grade school, high school and at Gustavus, plus many other Gustie friends, as well as my three best friends in graduate school have died. The latest figure for life expectancy for both women and men is a shade under eighty, thus I really am feeling grateful for every day. Lorraine and I are also very aware of possible early age death of spouses since Georgia died at age 56 and Lorraine’s husband, Bob, at age 59. I also have to admit that the first section I look at when I received the Gustavus Quarterly is the “In Memoriam” and the obituary section in the Star Tribune.
Now let’s turn to a happier subject, a Gustavus football win over Simpson College of Indianola, Iowa, 28-21. Every win for the Gusties is special since the conference has become so competitive. St. Thomas is certainly the champion of the conference right now and is ranked second in the nation in Division III football. St. Thomas has 6,000 undergraduates and sometimes their players in graduate school at St. Thomas have transferred from Division I or II schools and have eligibility remaining. It doesn’t seem fair, but it is legal.
The Gustie vs. Simpson game was frustrating and exciting. The score was tied 7-7 at halftime. We had excellent chances to score more but fumbles, interceptions, unfortunate penalties took their toll, but in the second half we scored three touchdowns within five minutes due to a fumble and interception. We were then leading 28-7, but Simpson came on strong in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns with a final of 28-21 for us. The Gusties have a very unique quarterback, Mitch Hendricks ʼ17, a sophomore transfer student from St. John’s University which is probably a first. Mitch was quarterback for the Bemidji high school team who went to the state tournament a few years ago.
In recalling this game, it makes you remember and treasure the great teams we had when we were in college and how so many of our classmates contributed to the success. Go Gusties!
Another class letter is due next spring. At that time, I hope to include any news you have. Also, there are two more deadlines for class news in the Quarterly in December and February. Please send in some news, we want our class to be represented in the Quarterly. You can send it to the Alumni Office along with your gift or by emailing: email@example.com or calling 800-487-8437.
This is not a news item for the Quarterly, but I will pass it on to you since it has been the primary news item for our family. On Sept. 3, our granddaughter, Lexie, presented Lorraine and I with our first great-grandchild which is not that unusual since I know some of you have several or more. Lexie wanted to know the gender of the baby when an ultrasound could be used. The ultrasound indicated a boy. The father wanted the name George since that was the name of his favorite grandfather. Three showers were held for Lexie and since everything was taking place in Parker, Colorado we sent our gifts with relatives attending from the area. At the time of the birth, a baby girl appeared shocking everyone especially the technicians of the ultrasound who said in her several years as a technician, this had not happened before. Lexie was thrilled because her major in college was dance therapy and she does a lot of dance for young girls. The baby’s name is Isadora, named for a founder of modern dance, namely Isadora Duncan. The father, Gus, was of course was shocked, but he quickly became thrilled with the mistake. Due to our current technology age we have seen more pictures of this baby than all of the 12 grandchildren put together.
Here’s wishing you all the best, especially, as it pertains to your health. There is no guarantee, our bodies go through change as we age, but we attempt to do our best to preserve what we have.
Again, I want you to know that every gift will be much appreciated large or small. The actual giving is not important, but I quickly add, I’m still hoping we can reach the $100,000 level. You’re a great class and I feel we can do it with everyone’s help. Blessings to each of you.
Guest Writer and 1951 Annual Fund Chair
President Jack Ohle announced that the Reverend Siri C. Erickson and the Reverend Brian E. Konkol have accepted calls to become the new chaplains at the College.
Erickson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Carleton College where she majored in chemistry. In 2002, she received her master of divinity degree from the Claremont School of Theology.
Konkol is a graduate of Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis., where he majored in criminal justice. In 2005, he received his master of divinity degree from Luther Theological Seminary. While enrolled in seminary he served a one-year internship with the Ebenezer Lutheran Parish in Guyana, and shortly after his graduation he returned to Guyana to become pastor of the Emmanual Lutheran Parish where he served from 2005 to 2007.
Welcome Class of 2017
There are over 640 students in this year’s class of first-years, and 19 percent of the class are legacy students, meaning they have had a parent, grandparent or sibling attend Gustavus. We are so excited for all of our new students to start making their own Gustavus experiences in the weeks to come.
Nobel Conference XLIX
What is the universe made of? Where did it come from? Where is it going? At Nobel Conference 49, “The Universe at Its Limits,” on October 1 and 2, 2013, eight invited speakers and the audience will explore these questions in the light of recent discoveries and spend time contemplating both their scientific and philosophical implications. The conference will bring together distinguished presenters from the fields of physics, physical science, and philosophy. Tickets are still available online at gustavustickets.com.
Homecoming/Reunions – Friday-Sunday, September 27-29
Nobel Conference – Oct. 1-2, 2013
Networking Event – Westin Galleria, Edina – Oct. 23
Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet – November 2