Class of '55
June 2002

Dear Classmates,

Dick DeRemee says it’s time for a guest editor, so let’s start from distant Gettysburg in the Far East!

Until Dick wrote me, I had forgotten that this is not my first class letter.  Back in the late ’50s, during seminary days, Cecil Eckhoff ’56 had pressed me into service as Class Agent.  The trip from Rock Island to St. Peter for the Class Agents’ meeting was a highlight of the year.

A few days after Dick sent his invitation, I was rummaging through the downstairs closet under the stairs when I came across a collection of old slides.  Among them were a number from a remarkable “deep sea” fishing trip on Lake Superior in the fall of 1955 (I think) with Cecil Eckhoff, Gene Sandvig ’57, Noel Bergman ’54, Carolyn Lund (later Sandvig,’58, Phil Eckman ’55 and my mother (presumably as chaperone).

We drove through dense fog to Duluth late one night after a Gustie football game in the Twin Cities.  Along the way Cecil and Noel were caught in a speed trap in the sleepy town of Carlton and had to face a magistrate who was roused from bed for the purpose.  Our luck wasn’t much better in the morning since a storm had passed over the Lake and the boat and guide we had reserved were cancelled.  But we found another, the old fashioned kind—small, crowded, with open sides, and barely seaworthy.

As a result of little sleep, heavy swells, and ample refreshments, the pictures show several members of the group on the bottom of the boat and noticeably ashen grey.  And the only fish we “caught” was floating on the surface.  Not an appetizing trophy, but a great memory and the last Gustie gathering for which I have a record on film until our 40th anniversary.

Speaking of our anniversary, I wonder what Dick (DeRemee), Randy Stuckey ’83, and staff are cooking up for our 50th?  Not too soon to plan!

My sister Claudia Christianson Nimrichter ’57 is visiting us this week.  One of our favorite get-togethers was some years ago when Cecil came up from a conference in D.C., and we wiled the night away listening to him tell the whereabouts of just about every Gustie from our era.  Kept us connected.

Speaking of connections, the Gustavus (and Minnesota) ties to Gettysburg are marked by numbers and by strength.  The state left a great many of her sons here on the Second Day of the Battle when the Minnesota Regiment stemmed a Confederate tide, earning the unenviable reputation for having the highest ratio of dead and wounded of any Federal unit in the Civil War.

Then, of course, there’s the statue of the venerable Albert Woolson from Duluth, the oldest surviving Union veteran.

Several Gusties have come to Gettysburg Seminary, including Steve Hogberg ’69.  In my early days President Frank Barth came to visit his son.  But we’ve not had other faculty members from Gustavus since the late Dan Sandstedt ’38, the recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award for his work in Pastoral Care.  Currently, however, we’re pleased to have Maria Erling, daughter of Bernard Erling ’43, who taught religion at Gustavus until his retirement not long ago.


George ’52 and Shirley (Lister) Wolfe, who live in Clearwater, write that they are “enjoying retirement in sunny Florida where we have lived since 1967.”

And I’m looking at a newspaper item with a very handsome picture of Marvin Mueller announcing that Marv was the guest speaker at the 125th anniversary of St. John Lutheran Church in Belle Plaine on January 13.  Marv was baptized, confirmed, and ordained at St. John, as well as a graduate of Belle Plaine High School before he attended Gustavus.  After seminary in Dubuque he served several parishes in Iowa.  Currently Marv is chaplain at the Sunrise Retirement Home in Ponca, Nebraska.


A monthly e-mail newsletter from the Alumni Association is now online.  To subscribe, contact:  Some campus news from that newsletter includes:

Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33, Director of the Food Service 1949-1981 celebrates her 90th birthday at an event at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church on July 25.  No cost.  All are welcome.  Please call (800-487-8437) or email the alumni office ( to reserve.

Gustavus graduates largest class.  On June 2, 609 students received Bachelor of Arts degrees making this the largest class to graduate in the school's 140-year history.  There were loud cheers during the Baccalaureate Service when it was announced that the Commencement ceremony would be held outside.  Unfortunately, an isolated and brief thunderstorm moved through St. Peter just as the graduates were to process onto Hollingsworth Field, causing the graduates to move into Lund Arena for a shortened ceremony while standing as family and friends watched on big-screen televisions around campus.  Max Hailperin, associate professor of mathematics and computer science won the Edgar Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching.

On-line Community called "Hello Walk" is up and running.  For the rest of June it's a discussion with Chris Gilbert, Associate Professor of Political Science, on such topics as:  third parties, urban vs. rural issues, redistricting, and, the Minnesota Hot Button subject, Will Jesse Ventura run for another term?

If you're up north.  On July 9 an alumni gathering will be held in Walker, MN, with naturalist (WCCO's own) Jim Gilbert ’62.  More details to come or contact the Alumni Office.

Thanks for the opportunity to say hello.  See you in 2005 if not before!

Jerry Christianson ’55

Guest Letter Writer