Class of '54
February 2009

55-Year Reunion - May 29-30, 2009

Dear Class of ’54,

John Chell “in” your mailbox!!  I have visited in writing with you many times over our 55 years as Gustie alums.

Presently, I’m on the planning group arranging for our 55th Anniversary the weekend of May 29-30, 2009.

We hope you join us!  Come to enjoy the quiet visit.  Come also to celebrate what Gustavus has been and will be tomorrow.  Share your stories, if you wish, or...just come to see faces of friends, a little older now.  Some of you came to Gustavus, for maybe only a few months or a year, or so.  Some of us made all four and graduated from Gustavus.  What we have in common is that we experienced “GA College, built upon a hill.”  This campus of such beauty (rebuilt), awaits us May 29-30th, in the wonderful MINNESOTA SPRINGTIME!!

Helen and Woody have asked each of us who write these class letters, to tell something about ourselves.

Well…I’m from a long line of Lutheran pastors with roots in the Augustana Synod and who have served parishes in the United States and Canada.  My father and uncles grew up in the Fergus Falls-Battle Lake area of Minnesota and, I, along with a brother and cousins, received our education at Gustavus, at Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois, and Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.

The congregations I served have been Augsburg Lutheran near Valparaiso, Indiana, St. Andrews Lutheran near the Speedway Racetrack in Indianapolis, and as senior pastor of House of Prayer Lutheran Church in Richfield here in the Twin Cities for 24 years.

I was honored recently by ELCA for 50 years of ministry since ordination.  This included an invitation to return the weekend of September 26, 2008 to the first church which I served, Augsburg Lutheran, Porter Indiana, on their 150th Anniversary.  This was a most significant anniversary of events, in that I was their pastor at the time of their centennial.  So now it was 50 years later.  Rose Marie (from Chicago) and I were married at Augsburg in Indiana in 1959.

They honored my 50 years of ordination, our 49 years of marriage, made us their guests at Dunes Lodge for the weekend, as they invited me to be the speaker and guest preacher for their 150th Anniversary festivities.  A wonderful time with dear friends.

It was in 1987 that I became cofounder and now executive director, of the Mall Area Religious Council (MARC), an interfaith organization of 42 congregations and faith groups, based out of the Mall of America.

This position as volunteer executive director of MARC, keeps me daily in touch with congregations and faith groups of all Christian denominations and world religion faith organizations throughout the entire seven county Twin Cities Metropolitan area.

In this interfaith leadership position, I am networking, coordinating, conversing, planning, and developing vital relationship with the diversity of population in the Twin Cities area, which is listed as one of the five most diverse in the United States.  We advise Mall of America management on diversity issues, are consultants in the formation of a mall prayer space for the diversity of mall employees, and are leading efforts for an interfaith public mall chapel for daily use by people of all world religions who work, visit and shop at Mall of America.

We head interfaith events and exhibitions at the mall, where trained volunteers of all faiths become visible expressions of how to know and respect people of all religions, cultures and races at this international venue and places worldwide.  We believe, terror and lack of trust is less likely, when we see all peoples as God’s daughters and sons.

Rose Marie and I are now members of Central Lutheran (downtown Minneapolis) for the past 12 years.

We have our two married daughters, and four grandchildren, living in the Twin Cities.  They include graduates of Gustavus, Luther, and St. Olaf Colleges with graduate degrees from several Universities.

It’s a special life to be called grandpa and grandma and to gather often at our nearby cabin.

Our 55th Reunion Committee hopes to see you May 29-30th!

John M. Chell

1959 Guest Letter Writer

7200 York Avenue South, #416

Edina, MN 55435-4406

(H.) 952-831-0447  (cell) 952-220-9852


From classmate, Rollie Herbst, we received this message:

Dear Fellow Classmates of 1954,

I recently noticed that I haven’t sent in an update on how Donna and I are doing, so here goes.

We signed a purchase agreement in November 1999 for a two bedroom townhouse in Loretto, Minnesota.  We have been active members of the Highlands of Loretto Town house Association.  Donna as social chairman and I as vice president for two years and secretary for two years on the Association’s Board of Directors.

We recently have retired from the board to relax and enjoy our old age.  We really appreciate the efforts of our class agents, in heading our 55 year class reunion in May 29-30, 2009.


A few deaths to report:

Gerald “Doc” Schwarz, Fulda, MN died in November 2008.  He only attended one semester with us in 1950 then he enlisted in the service.  He served in combat in the field artillery in Korea.  Following discharge he married Gertrude Carlson and worked in the insurance business.  His interest in things mechanical led to many inventions in the hunting, fishing and archery fields.  One invention being the first folding tree stand.  Doc is survived by his wife, Gertrude, one daughter and her family.

Carl M. Towley, Pittsfield, MA died on January 14, 2009.  After graduating from Gustavus Carl attended Augustana Theological Seminary.  He served various parishes and served 22 years in the Army Chaplaincy, retiring as a full bird Colonel.  In 1976 he graduated from Princeton Seminary with a Th.M, and then graduated from the American Theological Seminary with his Ph.D.  The bulk of his professional life was spent in clinical education.  Carl is survived by his wife, Susan, and his six children, 19 grandchildren and 6 great-grand children; his sister; and 4 step-children.  Carl was preceded in death by his parents, Carl K. and Violet (Mattson) Towley ’28 ’28 and his sister, Mary Towley Swanson ’61.  One of Carl’s granddaughters, Emma Wilson ’12, is a freshman at Gustavus. 

Dwayne Verner Wise, Prior Lake, MN died on December 12, 2008.  Dwayne attended two years with us from 1950-52.  He then served in the Army for two years and upon return attended the University of Minnesota.  He worked for Thermo King, Warner Hardware and Mystic Lake Casino.  He retired in 2005.  He is survived by his wife, Donna, three children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Our sympathy to all their families.  Peace be to their memories!

Campus News

Haugen Named Head Football Coach

Peter Haugen was named the new head football coach in mid-December.  Haugen posted a 111-44 record in 15 years at Washburn High School.  He is the 17th head coach in the 93-year history of Gustavus football and started his new position the second week of January. 

President Ohle is on the Road!

Please join President Ohle, his wife Kris, and other Gustavus staff at a chapter dessert reception near you.  President Ohle will be visiting 11 cities around the country in the coming months and all alumni, parents, and friends of the College are invited to attend a reception.  Dates are listed below.

Mustaphi Named Michelle Obama’s Deputy Press Secretary

Semonti Mustaphi ’03 was recently named Deputy Press Secretary for First Lady Michelle Obama.  Mustaphi worked on the Obama campaign, and has also held communications positions for three senators.  Mustaphi graduated with a political science and communication studies double major, danced in the Gustavus Dance Company, and was an Anderson Scholar.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join us for the “Come on You Gustie” Breakfasts.  The breakfasts are held the third Wednesday of each month at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy 394 and Hwy 100).  The breakfast runs from 8-9:30 and is $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at (763) 533-9083.

Alumni Insurance Programs

Are you in need of short-term medical insurance and between jobs?  Meyers and Associates can help with temporary medical insurance as well as life insurance.  For information about life and short-term medical insurance, call 800-635-7801 or visit Meyer and Associates.  Want to save money on your car insurance?  As a Gustavus alumnus you qualify for special group discounts through Liberty Mutual.

Gustie Pages

Want to support Gustie professionals?  In need of a doctor, pastor, or financial adviser?  Look in the Gustie Pages, an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs, or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to become your customers.  Go to the Gustie Pages at the alumni website,


Mark your calendars now for Homecoming 2009!  The Gustavus football team will face off against Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Oct. 10.  Watch for more information about tons of fun events the weekend of Oct. 9 and 10.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Los Angeles Chapter Gathering - Feb. 28, Art Director's Guild, Studio City
  • Boston Chapter Gathering - March 14, Hyatt Regency Cambridge
  • New York Chapter Gathering - March 16, New York Marriott East Side
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Ken Westphal, vice president for finance - March 18
  • Seattle Chapter Gathering - March 21, Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland, WA
  • San Francisco Chapter Gathering - March 23, Hotel Vitale
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Steve Wilkinson, men's tennis coach - April 15

royal affair