Class of '54
March 2009

Dear Classmates,

I drove around the Gustavus campus the other day and it wasn’t there; Johnson Hall, that is.  The old habit of looking for the familiar dorm where many of us got to know each other was removed after the tornado and the steering wheel just wanted to head for the dorm’s parking lot.  I sat there for a few moments and reminisced about our life together for those short four years and I have to admit, it brought a tear to my eye.  Each floor was special and each was different in its own way.  Regardless of floor, burgers and sandwiches and cold milk were peddled by Maggy at 10:30 each evening and how about the birthday cakes provided by Mrs. Doniver Lund?  I’m not sure if we got the birthday dates correct, but it didn’t matter, Mrs. Lund always came through.  She was our college mom.

Wahlstrom Hall wasn’t there either.  How can we forget how Jim Ford lead the Omega Kappa Fraternity in Serenading the gals after 10:00 p.m. a few times each school year?  We generally sang best in the spring.  Individually, we couldn’t sing very well, but collectively, we didn’t sound too bad!

Surely the football field will still be there.  Holly ’36 would never let that revered place be changed; that’s hollowed ground.  I walked over to the new Hollingsworth Field and sure enough, it was a beauty!  I can’t believe the Gusties will ever lose a game on that turf.  I was only half right.

Where did the Aud., Myrum Memorial Field House, Art Barn and Ranchereno go?  How about North and South Hall?  Am I on the right campus?  Yes, they’re all gone too, but for all the right reasons.  They’ve been replaced with wonderful new and better facilities and we can all be proud of the college in providing a superior education and facilities.

I headed back to the Administration Building to see where I could sit and chat with several of our former Profs.  I wanted to tell Prof. George that I really knew the definition of a hanging participle and inform Kyle Montague ’34 that a contract was “an agreement between two or more people, dated, with consideration.”  They’re all gone now, too, but the memories will last forever.  In most cases they have been replaced with wonderful men and women who know their stuff.  I sat in wonder as they told me of their backgrounds and credentials and what Gustavus meant to them.  Very informative and enlightening.

Well, it’s soon time to attend the class of 1954’s 55th anniversary reunion planning meeting with Helen Forsgren Hokenson, Hank Ruggles, Jim Anderson, Woody Chaffee, John Chell, Rollie Herbst, Jean Kirkvold Emholtz, John Sandquist, David Johnson and Sharon Anthony Bower.  We’re making plans for the class reunion in May and I hope everyone from our class and their spouses can attend.  Special plans are under way and we want to see you there.

On another note, in December I attended the funeral for classmate, John Myers, who passed away on December 8, 2008 in New Hope, MN at the Good Samaritan Ambassador Nursing Home.  John is survived by his loving wife, Lois, of 57 years, and their four children, wives and husbands, and 10 grandchildren.  John graduated from Minneapolis Southwest High School in 1950 and from Gustavus in 1954 with a B.A. degree in physics.  A significant portion of his professional career was as a product manager with the semi-conductor division of Minneapolis Honeywell.  John was an avid golfer and youth leader and is greatly missed by his family and friends.

Another of our class passed in 2008.  E. Frederick “Fred” Sommer passed away peacefully on November 17, 2008 in Duluth, MN.  Fred was raised and graduated from Rush City High School and worked for many years at the Sommer Drug Store and Hallmark Shop.  He and his wife, Lois, made Apache Junction, AZ their home after retirement as he loved the year’ round warmth and sunshine.  Fred leaves behind his wife, Lois, three children and seven grandchildren.

Class Agents, Helen Forsgren Hokenson and Woody Chaffee also remind all authors in our class to bring their books and writing to the reunion.  Because at 10:30 Saturday morning they will have the opportunity to display and share their good work.  Sounds like a great idea!

The David C. Johnson Scholarship Fund is moving forward and I solicit your pledge for this very worthwhile project so that we can announce to the college and alumni that we have once again raised the bar.  We have over $40,000 pledged towards this worthwhile project with $14,000 received.  We need $25,000 in receipts to begin giving financial assistance to a student.  Many have pledged their gift over three (3) years to help during these troublesome economic times.  Make out your check to the David C. Johnson Scholarship Fund and send it to the Advancement Office at Gustavus.  Try not to forget this class project.  Thanks!

We know classmates love to hear from each other while enjoying and reminiscing about their college days.  Because this is an anniversary year, we invite each class member to submit a brief (50-200 words, approximately) essay/remembrance/reflection of your time after graduation/attendance from Gustavus.  These remembrances will be compiled and shared with everyone.  Some ideas could be:

  • Someone you know from your time at Gustavus that assisted you on your journey
  • What has been the greatest source of joy in your life?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • Was there a particular event or period of time you regard with wonder and joy?
  • Your thoughts and/or emotions fifty plus years ago

Send your written responses to:

Sharon Anthony Bower

750 Mayfield Avenue

Stanford, CA  94305


Roger Carlson

1954 Guest Letter Writer