Class of '52
Dear Snow Bunnies and Sunbathers,
As far as I’m concerned, this year you fall into these two distinct categories. Either you are struggling with snow drifts in the northern half of this fair land, or you have escaped to sunnier climes for at least part of the winter (perhaps you live in such places year round). Those of us in Minnesota may not believe that such places really exist, but hope springs eternal and in three more months we may even see green grass again. You’ve listened to the weather reports, and you know that in Minnesota at least we are experiencing one of the snowiest winters on record. Reminiscent of our years at Gustavus when, with heads bowed and determination in our souls, we forged our way up the hill and across the wind-swept campus to class. According to Garrison Keillor, those were the experiences that made us tough. I’m not so sure, yet I know we are hardy folk. And actually this isn’t all that bad. Our backyard looks like a picture postcard¾ tall, thick evergreens with snow-capped branches, pristine snowy landscape, a few cardinals splashing color and seeds at the feeder, several deer who wander through at times looking for a morsel, bright sunshine and blue sky¾ really quite lovely.
I’ve been waiting for above average snowfalls for many moons now because we love to cross-country ski, but each year we’ve been disappointed until this year. So guess what! I had knee replacement surgery 3 1/2 months ago, and I haven’t even contemplated the idea. Next year I’ll be ready though. Let me say a word about this surgery! Not fun! If you’re short on patience and your expectations are high, I’d suggest you skip it. I know that you who are blessed with new knees will tell me that it’s worth it, "no pain, no gain," and all that stuff. But let me tell you I have struggled, and I still am. My doctor’s assessment and several x-rays indicate that I’m moving in the right direction, but endurance, energy, and enthusiasm are hard to come by. Fortunately, I’ve had the best of all care and a wonderful caregiver, Bobby! I also keep reminding myself how fortunate I am that this surgery is available. You don’t have to feel too sorry for me, just a little.
If peace be in the heart the wildest winter storm is full of solemn beauty. C.F. Richardson
Time for bits of news from your classmates:
Dale Keck likes to garden and sells his produce at the farmers’ market in the fall. Instead of mystery and adventure novels, do you stack the seed catalogs on your bedside table for midnight reading, Dale? Tony Almen and Marilyn are active at All Saints Lutheran in Minnetonka. Marilyn Beschnett Tappan and husband, Vern, recently moved into a townhouse in LeSueur. I talked to Donna Swenson Smith for the first time in years. She still lives in River Falls, WI, but spends much of her winter in Scottsdale. Always good to reconnect. Anita Rylander attended the Association of Congregations meeting at Gustavus last spring, and like me, enjoyed the keynote speaker. Sorry I missed seeing you, Anita¾ I go each year. Anita spends her time volunteering at church. Ministering to a group that meets at a yacht club sounds like an interesting vocation. That’s what Wally Drotts is up to these days!
Elmer Sterner and Martha have both retired and are living in northeast Rochester. This city also claims another illustrious citizen, Denny Holt and Marjorie. According to Lois’s note (she called him), they were considering a trip to Sweden. Hope that’s part of your agenda this year. Marion Hier Frederickson is also recovering from knee surgery, and oh, how I sympathize, dear friend! Her husband Ken is also recovering, open heart surgery. What a year! It can only get better, I’m sure. Russ Peterson and his son traveled in Europe for three plus weeks. What a trip! I’m assuming Gladys kept the home fires burning. He’s serving two churches as visitation pastor.
In case you didn’t already know, Maynard Jacobson and Elaine travel to Sweden every year at least once and at times have spent up to three months there. Maynard has been involved in an exchange program for medical students for 15 years, setting up an endowment for two Gustavus students to attend Uppsala University where their medical school consists of a six-year program. A young man from Gustavus, Dan Carlstad, attended the University of Lindkopping. Students from Sweden also have an opportunity to attend Gustavus. This is an extremely interesting and creative venture, and Gustavus surely has benefited from Maynard’s generosity and devotion to the medical profession in this unique endeavor. When we talked, he shared a great deal of information about this program. Hopefully we’ll hear more about it when we gather in 2002. Twylah Lundquist Benson retired from Thiel College in Greenville, PA, five years ago, but she has returned to fill a position for a friend on sabbatical leave and is teaching sociology this year. I understand so well…’though retired I love to return to the classroom, too, as long as there is an end in sight!
Even as I write, Naomi Bengston Gutt and Tom may be in Mexico participating in a mission trip with their church in Oklahoma City where they are very active. It sounds like a worthy endeavor, especially in February. Marilyn Bodin Wahman writes that she has lunch on a regular basis with other ’52 women. When I called Rod Johnson from our class, he wasn’t there, but I had a wonderful visit with his wife, Anne Ekberg Johnson ’55. Anne is a water color painter, abstracts and landscapes. She also illustrates stories. I told her that Gustavus has a new art gallery, the Richard Hillstrom Gallery, in the newly built C. Charles Jackson Student Center that might be of interest for either viewing or exhibiting. Marilyn Brown, Dick Brown’s wife, is also an accomplished artist and there may be others. Perhaps you, too, might have an interest in the Hillstrom Gallery.
Renee Johnson Mohagen shared some interesting news items with me. She and her husband, Harold, have participated in Gustie gatherings at Lake Pomme de Terre over the years with Lindenbergs, Verner Gustafsons, Krantzes, Ericksons, Perkins, and Satters. Rehwaldts and Harlan Nelsons have joined them at times as well. Sounds like a real party, don’t you agree? Renee and Harold last year visited Sweden and Norway and spent Syttende Mai in their sister city, Flekkefjord. She also shared that she has been the organist at their church for 43 years. What a love gift, Renee! Bobby and I and Geva Lou (Rodelius) Severinson, ’50, visited Wick Olson and Pat this past week. We have been close friends for so long, Geva Lou ever since grade school in Willmar. Wick has a very severe case of Alzheimer’s disease, and it is heartbreaking. You will all remember him as a really likable, affable guy, played football at Gustavus and eventually became a very successful stockbroker in a Minneapolis firm. Please keep them in your prayers, especially Pat, that they both might have faith, strength, and courage to meet these difficult challenges. Wayne Farnberg continues to remain involved with the courts even though he has retired from the Bench, and he fills in for other judges when they go on vacation. That’s a great service. Ellwin Rakke has retired, but one of the ways he stays involved is to help with some adult education and alternative education. Great avocations. Emily Kemp Skunes and husband, Orrin, spend their winters in Casa Grande, AZ. Lucky you, especially this winter.
Gerald Potratz and his delightful wife, Shirley (often I talk to both of them), traveled to Washington, D.C. this summer and then to see their kids in California. Shirley continues to work as secretary of state for the VFW. We had a lively visit. Dick Pedersen and Bev from Le Sueur are in Sun City for the winter with lots of other Gusties, I think. Jim Nelson retired last March, but Sue continues to teach in the Pinellas school system in Florida. Open-heart surgery ruined Allen Hibbard’s and Clare’s plans to leave for Cancun, but most importantly he’s doing fine. Next year you’ll be ready. Allen had a good suggestion. He wants Gustavus to indicate what has happened (the whereabouts) to a spouse when an alum dies. I’m not sure what system could be used, but it’s worth a try if all of you are willing to cooperate and share that information when it happens. I’ll pass it on. Patricia Larson Lind and Jim just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary! Congratulations, kids! They continue to farm and ask, "Pray for rain for farmers!" Maybe all this snow will help in the spring.
And even as we speak, another couple, Dewey and Annette (Ahlstrom ’54) Porter, are celebrating their 50th in February. Wow! It’s wonderful! They’re living in St. Augustine, Florida, enjoying retirement and good health. I think that Ona Lee Wittman Iverson and Roger are, in February, enjoying Spain and Portugal. Perhaps it was last year, I’m not sure. In any event have a safe and satisfying journey. And I close with a news release from the St. Peter Herald, "Catching up with the Queens." Last October St. Peter High School honored past homecoming queens and kings, and Dodee Lofstrom Colberg was among them. She taught school, married her high school sweetheart, Chuck Colberg, and now weaves and hooks rugs when they’re not visiting their four children and eight grandchildren.
That was a lot of news, wasn’t it? And I have seven wonderful people to thank for this, Lee Jaenson Zopff, Lois (Carlson) and Ron Johnson, Ruth Lundvall Zahler, Lois Sletvold Rinquist, Paul Elofson, and Dick Brown. Their commitment and perseverance meant that we called every person, during Phonorama, although that may not mean they actually connected for some unknown reason. Three cheers, please! Are you aware that in 2002 we’ll be celebrating 50 years! Can that possibly be? I thought I just said hello to you on Hello Walk, or we had a coke in the canteen, or brainstormed for a test, or walked to class together. It really does seem like yesterday in so many ways! The 50-year reunion is a biggie and requires lots of planning. So we’ll need volunteers¾ please be ready and willing.
Sadness continues to visit us as well. Paul and Lois Johnson’s son, Mark, who lived with his family in Alaska, died last fall of cancer after a courageous battle. Jan (Baker) and Jiggs’ (’43) Westergaard lost a very special granddaughter in a tragic car accident this fall. She was a high school senior. There are possibly others, but I don’t know them unless you tell me. Hold these families in your hearts and prayers as well as all those who have loneliness in their lives. We offer deepest sympathy and caring.
In one sense there is no death. The life of a soul on earth lasts beyond his departure. You will always feel that life touching yours, that voice speaking to you, that spirit looking out of other eyes, talking to you in the familiar things touched, worked with, loved as familiar friends. That person lives on in your life and in the lives of all others that knew that person. …Angelo Patri
Ready for some campus news? Take it away, Alumni Office!
The Gustavus campus is now into spring semester after enjoying another busy and exciting January Term with 2300-plus students enrolled for credit! They were offered over 100 January Term courses, including 16 travel courses (plus 36 international courses through the UMAIE consortium). There were also 15 courses on the special Environmental Studies theme for J-Term 2001. Some of these courses included, Chemistry in the Environment, The Literature of Winter, Geographical Issues in the Third World, Global Environmental Change, Amazonia: An Eco-Historical Perspective, GIS in Environmental Analysis, The Changing Face of Agriculture, and Environmental Journalism. Next year (2002) the January Term theme will be "Global Village" and will feature both international and domestic diversity focused courses. After that J-Term themes are planned for "Service-Learning" (2003) and "Undergraduate Research" (2004).
50th Anniversary Class and 50 Year Club reunions will take place on campus, May 25-26 for the Class of 1951 and the 50 Year Club. Registration material will be mailed in April.
A reminder that all other reunion classes (1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991 and 1996) will have their reunions at Homecoming on September 21-22. Class gatherings will take place in the Twin Cities at the DoubleTree Hotel, Minneapolis Airport at the Mall, on Friday, September 21. Homecoming activities will take place on campus on Saturday, September 22.
Will you help Gustavus remain strongly church related? Encourage your ELCA congregation to join the Gustavus Adolphus College Association of Congregations. There is no cost. For more information, call the Office of Church Relations at 800-726-6194 or e-mail Craig Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I realize that you are all bombarded from all sides with mail that more than likely arrives each day asking for your financial support for bona fide, worthy organizations and charities. There is so much need in the world that it seems overwhelming much of the time, and new causes arise overnight, i.e. the earthquakes in El Salvador and India. I certainly cannot control your giving. We all have to set priorities and make choices. However, I plead with you to be as generous as you can to Gustavus. Our alma mater is making an enormous effort to educate young people for careers as well as to teach them how to be responsible citizens in their communities, their country and their world. Just to refresh your memory. . . .
"The purpose of a Gustavus education is to help students attain their full potential as persons, to develop in them a capacity and passion for learning, and to prepare them for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society."
Thus reads the last paragraph of the Gustavus Mission Statement. We can do no less, I believe, than to honor this, our heritage, with our support…financially, prayerfully, and openly. If you have pledged and sent a check thank you! If you have pledged and are intending to send your check may this serve as a reminder. If you have neither pledged nor thought about it please reconsider. After all, the college is training young people who will be making decisions for our lives, and they’d better be good ones!
In closing a quote from a favorite collection:
The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little stardust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched. …Henry David Thoreau, Walden
And A ship in the harbor is safe. But, that is not what ships are built for.
May spring come to your life soon so that you may rejoice in God’s creation.
Blessings throughout this new year!
Barb Eckman Krig
1952 Class Agent