Class of '52
October 1998

My friends,

I am prefacing my letter with an addendum to the content of the main letter. If you do not read this, nothing in the first part will make sense to you. Let me explain. I started writing to you on the above recorded date so what I have related to you thus far is connected to that time. For various reasons, most of them unimportant, this letter stayed in Claris Works on my computer until now. I had hoped at least to have my new e-mail address for you, but AT&T and I have been tangled in misinformation and confusion since I began my journey to connect to the NET and get e-mail. Hopefully that will be completed soon. Believe me, even the super support technicians are having difficulty hooking me up so it’s not just me. Now you will be able to read the letter with some measure of understanding, I hope. Even the verb tenses and dates may make sense to you.

First, let me assure you that Gustavus is alive and well! Yes, even more than that, Gustavus--is thriving. You all would be very proud of your college and well you should be. The tornado of spring, 1998, rather than a catastrophe has been a catalyst for change, a challenge, a call to commitment and courage. Yes, the campus looks a little different, a little naked perhaps, but not unlike my grandfather’s photos of Old Main at the turn of the century which showed a bare landscape and stark buildings. The strength of Gustavus does not lie in its trees and shrubs nor in its sidewalks and structures, but rather in its people, its program, its promise!

As proof positive let me relate a bit about Bobby’s and my recent visit to the campus, last Thursday to be exact. We drove down in the morning to attend the Daily Celebration in Christ Chapel followed by the installation of the new cross at the top of the steeple spire. Yes, it was awesome! The day was beautiful, probably as fine as it was terrible on the day of the tornado. The valley was still golden and crimson, a panorama of color, the sky a cerulean blue and cloudless, the mall still adorned with summer’s blooms; the spectators deeply moved and motionless as the crane lifted the basket to the top of the spire―185 feet in the air! There it placed the newly constructed cross high above the valley to mark the life of a college that has led its people for almost 150 years in the Christian tradition. It truly marked the end of a struggle to rebuild from the shambles of disaster to the beginning of a new era.

Lift high the cross,

The love of Christ proclaim,

Until all the world

Adore his sacred name.

Led on our way by this triumphant sign,

Bear on our brows the seal of him who died.

Chaplain Brian Johnson stood on the roof of the Chapel with arms outstretched leading us in a Litany for the Cross that began with the words of this familiar hymn ending with the words:

Praise to the Crucified for blessings we now see.

A sign of Resurrection,

A mark of Hope.

I really cannot do justice to that moment―I just wish you could have been there. Change is inevitable in all areas of life, and so it is at Gustavus! The Alumni Fund has a new name, The Gustavus Fund. Now that has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? G-1000 has disappeared from the scene, and some new levels of giving have been established. Other areas of change and innovation include a new focus in Phonorama calling. You may have already been contacted by a Gustie student who has been trained in this type of phone communication. For the present, only reunion classes will be urged to participate on scheduled Phonorama nights; however, all class agents have been invited to attend if they wish. And that’s just what I have chosen to do. Thankfully, other members of our class have decided to join me. I’m most grateful to Lee Jaenson Zopff, Red Rehwaldt, Gloria Anderson Samelian, Lois Sletvold Ringquist and Paul Ellofson for their help. We may not reach all of you. If we don’t call you personally, please understand and welcome the student caller with enthusiasm. Ask some questions; they may be better able to answer than anyone else. I have set a new goal for this year, a goal of 75% participation. We’ve been close several times but never quite there, and if we can go past that better yet. We did set the record for unrestricted dollars, way above the other classes. I was so proud of ’52 when they announced that award at the Class Agents’ meeting in September. Now can we get busy and increase participation.

January 18, 1999

This arrived in a Christmas letter from a friend. I think it is worth sharing.

To realize the value of one year:

Ask a student who has failed a final exam.

To realize the value of one month:

Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of one week:

Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of one hour:

Ask two lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of one minute:

Ask the person who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To realize the value of one second:

Ask a person who has survived an accident.

To realize the value of on millisecond:

Ask a person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.

Time waits for no one. Treasure every moment you have.


A special thank you to Ruth Gustafson Jette, Las Vegas, who writes wonderful letters to me. Thanks for your Christmas greeting! We’ve become good friends through Phonorama. What a blessing!…Herman and LaVonne (Christenson) Talle wrote last spring that they were leaving for Hilton Head, SC, to get in shape for the past summer golf season. Did it work? Their other full time occupation is to enjoy their five grandchildren and all their activities. That’s the best!…Bob Mikelson ’50 is still coordinating the North Naples, FL, sites of volunteer income tax assistance for the elderly, and Mitzi (Walker) coordinates the bridge lessons and open bridge playing for the Pelican Bay Women’s League of Naples, FL….Russ Peterson, retired clergy, does visitation for Zion, Chisago City and Chisago Lake, and Center City, MN. How wonderful to be using your gifts in this way. That’s a place close to my heart as well. My father and his four siblings were born there when my grandfather, F. M. Eckman, was the pastor at that Chisago Lake Church on the hill in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Bob Ek is serving Zion Lutheran Church, International Falls, part-time just when he thought he had retired! He preaches once a month and visits the elderly and infirm in hospitals, nursing homes, and private homes and he loves it! Are you riding a dog sled through all the snow this winter, Bob? This is his first parish that he has served in the USA in 42 years…Paul Johnson and Lois have, by now, finished their training in the Stephen Ministry program in Monroe, NC. I’ve been involved in that too and know that it’s a wonderful caring experience whether you give or receive. You’ll be terrific, you two! They also stay busy with Hospice and Habitat…Dexter Linman reminded me in a note that in October, 1951, the wind knocked over part of the old auditorium. I’d forgotten that, had you? We’ll never forget the wind on the hill though it was just a part of life! Thanks for the memory, Dexter…Some members of our class choose to remain part of the business world and one of them is Dick Brown. Doesn’t surprise me! He does some part time management consulting. Hope Marilyn continues to feel good and keeps on painting…"We keep busy being Grandma and Grandpa, visiting our children, and having them visit us." writes Delpho ’50 and Phyllis (Swedberg) Peterson. Sounds familiar. They also wrote, "Gustavus is dear to us." Music to my ears. Much of what I’m writing may be old news, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared it so bear with me. At this age it’s always good to hear it a second time anyway!

Marv Granath stays busy in the legal area and maintains a law office in St. Louis Park with his son. Marv is the new counsel for Elder Learning Institute, University of Minnesota and I had the privilege of writing a news article about him…Received a nice note from Vance Ekstrom. He and Clarice (Thorwald x49) continue to reside in Lindsborg, KS, and remain very connected to Bethany College…Ona Lee Whitman Iverson is pleased to have her two college professor children a little closer after they moved from Minneapolis to take positions at the University of Michigan and Iowa State. Another son is a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Vancouver…Preaching every other Sunday at a church near Santa Rosa, CA, keeps Wally Drotts busy…Dave Schramm sent greetings and gift from Glenwood, MN, where he taught and coached. Am I right Dave?

From Crooks, SD, there was news from Gerry Potratz about his wife, Shirley. She has been the state secretary for the VFW for 35 years. I could tell he was proud of her…Naomi Bengtson Gutt and her husband, Tom, are members of the First Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, OK, the church that was damaged in the bombing of the Federal Building several years ago. They have been active in that rebuilding and by now they should be worshipping in their new sanctuary, we hope. Naomi and Tom have also worked in their church missions in London and Haiti…From Manhattan, KS, Milt Olson writes that he is working for ELCA, helping churches with building campaigns and debt reductions. Important stuff, Milt―keep up the good work!…Emily Kemp Skunes and husband, Orrin, winter in Casa Grande, AZ. There must be lots of other Gusties right there with you…Lavaune Lindquist Putzier and husband, Bob, live there, too, in the winter. Maybe you’ll meet at the meat counter in the local grocery store! Enjoy!!!

Even though they love traveling in their motor home to visit their grandchildren, Lloyd Shervheim and Ruth still miss Minnesota. This year you won’t, although I love the white stuff when it’s fresh and fluffy, and I don’t have to shovel. Vern Johnson plays lots of golf! (I miss your greetings from Salty Slyce, Vern, now that you’re both retired―personal note.)…Bill Erickson is really involved in interesting endeavors. He builds planes for EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and flies one he built. Wow! I think that’s impressive! Must be that Duluth background, Bill. We share that…They say that Norway is not quite the same since Howie Madsen and Jean visited last year, better in fact. I’m sure it was a wonderful trip. Speaking of travelers Ginny Lunstead Ahlstrom cruised in the Tahiti area last year. She’s been living in Green Valley, AZ, for five years.

Betty Halverson Agar has been traveling too―spent time in Hawaii about a year ago. Betty’s husband passed away before that, and I’m not sure we ever offered our sympathy and concern, Betty. That brings me to our last item which is also a sad note…Wick and Pat Olson’s daughter, Julie, died of complications after several surgeries late last summer. She was a beautiful young woman whom Bobby and I had the privilege to know since she was a baby. She is deeply missed by her parents, her sister, Ginny Lynn, other family and countless friends. Our hearts are heavy for them as they walk their grief journey, and I know you join with me in extending deepest sympathy.

We have a long, long way to go. So let us hasten along the road, the road of human tenderness and generosity. Groping, we may find one another’s hands in the dark.

―Emily Greene Balch

A few jottings―about Gustavus, life, friends, whatever.

Students and staff are in the midst of January Term, many taking advantage of offered opportunities with 127 in internships, 308 on study abroad programs, and 86 students studying at other domestic institutions. Despite the cold weather and snow this winter, progress continues on the new Campus Center which should open in the fall of 1999. It looks awesome! The Gustavus Choir is at this moment touring South Africa in concert. The Gustavus Band at this moment is preparing to leave on their concert tour, traveling through the states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and Iowa. Perhaps some of you will have an opportunity to attend a concert. The football team had an outstanding season losing the conference title to St. John’s in the last game. That’s happened before, but there’s always next year. Over Christmas break the men’s hockey played in Italy, the swim team competed in Bermuda, and the men’s basketball team won a tournament in California. Things have changed a little in some areas since the 40’s and 50’s, but aren’t you proud of our school and their accomplishments in all areas. Hear ye! Hear ye! Gustavus ranked 15th in the nation leading small colleges providing active Peace Corps volunteers. We ranked 15th in the listing of top 20 bachelor’s institutions that sent the most students overseas for international study during the l996-97 academic year. Gustavus is ranked 18th of national liberal arts colleges in the number of National Merits with 17 students, and Mark Anderson, Dean of Admission, reports that applications for the fall of 1999 are running 20 per cent ahead of last year. Alumni, let me remind you again of the Alumni Scholarship Program ($10,000 over 4 years for children and grandchildren of alumni). Call the Admission Office at 1-800 GUSTAVU(S) for applications.

Last fall Gustavus welcomed to campus 70 new entering students who are children of alumni and 67 legacy students were awarded and Alumni Scholarship. Be proud of your college! In a world that is violent, troubled and often confusing, but also wonderful and challenging, Gustavus provides a solid ground for preparation in the vocation of life, preparing its young people academically and spiritually to be servants in a place so desperately in need, just as it did us. Believe in it―I do with all my heart. Then let your gifts reflect that belief.

I visited Lorraine Telander ’36 two weeks ago at Mt. Olivet’s Careview Home where she is recovering from a severe heart attack shortly before Christmas. I’m sure you remember her, Dean of Women when we were there. What a remarkable woman―still filled with vision and enthusiasm for life, hopeful about recovery but accepting of God’s plan for her life. She loves to talk about the time when we were there and still recalls many of you with great joy.

Here’s a suggestion! Recycle your Quarterly! Bring the magazine to your place of business or worship and share it with others. Spread the good news of Gustavus!

Last September a unique reunion happened at our cabin at Sand Lake. Eight Gustie women from Section 205, Wahlstrom, freshman roommates, shared two days and nights together in the most beautiful fall weather you can imagine. Some of us had had no contact for 49 years, but it was instant friendship from the beginning. We laughed a lot, cried some, and remembered and remembered and remembered. It was wonderful! Watch for our picture in the next Quarterly. You’ll see: Lee Jaenson Nelson Zopff, Bev Luckemeyer Whitney, Nancy Sanzenbach Newman, Barb Ringstrom Corley, Marilyn Cuddy Hammond, Nancy Messman Yde, Gloria Anderson Samelian, Barb Eckman Krig. A little word of explanation: Gloria did not live in our section, but she spent so much time there that we claimed her as a roommate. We were very disappointed that Marcia Magnuson Haug couldn’t join us due to some travel plans that couldn’t be changed. She was really the initiator of all this. We missed her a lot. Next time, Marcia, hopefully in five years.

Keep the faith and keep the dollars flowing to Gustavus! Best in 1999!

Love you all,

Barb Eckman Krig

1952 Class Agent