Class of '56
October 1998

To our Classmates of ’56 and ’57,

Here we are again and this time it isn't a "sun soaked afternoon," far more conducive to sitting down to this dratted computer. Bob has done the gut work regarding our fiscal report. You'll find the 1957 figures in parentheses.

Notes of interest: (Well, some interest.)

We alumni, last fiscal year ’97 - ’98, contributed $703, 377.94 in unrestricted dollars to the Gustavus Fund. The total percentage of alumni who made a gift was 44.8% or 8,448 individuals. Total unrestricted dollars were $1,335,583.99 contributed to the Gustavus Fund from all sources, alumni parents, friends, corporations, foundations, and others. This year Gustavus' goal is set at $1,560,000. Our portion of that, not as a class, all alumni (at this late stage of our lives we don't need shocks of any kind!) is $950,587. That seems reasonable doesn't it?!

So…we, as the class of 1956, didn't make any one of the 1998 Decade Citation Awards. (And, surprise! Neither did 1957.) There are four categories: Number of Donors, Percentage of Participation, Highest Unrestricted Dollars, and Highest Overall Dollars Given. Sorry, but must explain just a little bit more here. The ten classes from 1949-58 are known as the Fifth Decade. I suspect all this information is really snapping your sox about now! To continue, we are one of the smallest classes in that decade, only 2 are smaller. (1957 is the 4th largest after ’50, ’51 and ’58, at 197 members.) We have 172 possible givers, 117 gave (129 for ’57) which gives our class 68% (65.5% for ’57) -- $125,956.91. ($45,718.62 -- don't you love it how these frugal "Swedes" count every penny! I can identify. JLE) NO AWARDS! This may call for an investigation! We did extremely well!! We should at least get the Done Better Award. (Remember, this is Bob talking. I'm not quite so satisfied!)

Important Dates:

  • Phonorama - October 19-21, October 27-79. Anybody want to come out and call your most scintillating and wondrous classmates? It's truly a good time!
  • Hall of Fame Banquet - October 24
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel - December 4, 5 & 6
  • Close of the Fund Year - May 28, 1999

Fact Sheet About Tornadoes: That's plural, really! People are guessing maybe as many as 4-6.

On March 29, 1998 tornadoes struck the Gustavus Adolphus College campus and the city of St. Peter. No students were injured. Only about 50 students were on campus since it was Spring Break.

The total insurable storm damage is estimated at $45-50 million. Non-insurable storm-related costs to the college are estimated at $5-7 million.

80 percent of all windows on campus were broken, but have been replaced. 90 percent of (or about 2,000) campus trees were lost. More than 400 mature trees were planted last spring and 400 more will be planted this fall. And, incidentally, "a birdy told Erdy" that Jim Gilbert ’62 of WCCO fame has signed a 5-year contract with Gustavus to oversee all this activity!

The ending of the storm-damaged repairs will occur in mid-October when the spire is replaced on Christ Chapel. On October 22 there will be a brief chapel service concluding with a processional to observe the cross raising. This will serve as the symbolic conclusion to the "Rebuilding A Greater Gustavus" phase at Gustavus and will mark our complete recovery from the physical effects of the tornadoes.

News of Classmates - 1957:

I talked with John Livingston in church not long ago - we both belong to Central Lutheran - and he informed me that he and his wife, "Princess Margaret Rose," had been to Scotland. I'll leave you to wonder about the story behind the title.

Paul and Sharon Eddy write: "What a great spring!…It's good to be home (Dassel, MN) after spending the winter in AZ." No wonder! Paul spends his time fishing right off the dock and golfing. They are adding another Gustie graduate, Mike Johnson, to their clan.

Shirley Christopher Ackerman is still working at Ely Bloomenson Hospital and Nursing Home. She and her husband, John, live on Cedar Lake near Ely. Aren't we Minnesotans a lucky sort!

Rod and Char Bukkila '58 Westrum live on a lake, too --address, Park Rapids. We saw them at Central as well. They have a condo right near by for when they are in the city.

Gustavus sent me a news article highlighting news of Gene Sandvig. It came from a hometown newspaper where Gene's sister lives and told of their niece who had skated in the Nagano Olympics. Not only did that bit of news come through the tornadoes intact, but it reminded me of my brother-in-law's very active life. Since retirement a year ago last July he has had an operation for a benign brain tumor, by-pass surgery after a couple of close calls, and traveled to Nagano, Moscow, Stockholm, and just last week to Finland. Most travel has been done as a member of the International Skating Union.

Mary Schulke Downes writes: "What a year!" She has been to Holland to see the tulips which she offers "are unbelievable," is expecting her first grandchild, and loves retirement. Her daughter works for United and she loves the benefits. I should say!

Bruce Johnson is still running his own business, Service Associates, in Prunedale, CA, "working between all our El Niño rain storms."

Bernadette Anderson Galvin has retired to Red Wing, MN, and is looking forward to fixing up an old Victorian house and becoming more active in Gustavus activities. Call me, Bernie, about calling at Phonorama in a few weeks (651/488-8442)!

Gaylene Carlson Drew and husband, Bill, are now retired and "looking for a place to be 'Our Golden Pond' around Edgerton, WI. Bill fishes and Gay cooks, sews, shops and volunteers. We love it! Beats the old 8-5 routine. Where have all those years gone?"

Arne Walker writes that he "led his 12th annual spiritual retreat for court-related youth to Myrtle Beach" this past August. He continues to chair the Christian Ministry in the National Park Committee and most recently led a hike to court-related youth to Grandfather Mountain in rain and 50 mph winds - "unforgettable."

And that brings me to the get-together that Bev Bloomquist Todaro, Marcy Rhyne Herr, Marlys Mattson Nelson, Nancy Reiter Grimes, Vada Peterson Carlson, and I had in August. The Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, the Biltmore in Asheville, tennis for some, bridge for others, and the Carl Sandburg farm in Flat Rock, NC (my favorite spot) were all on the agenda. I recommend traveling with your classmates. It's a grand idea!

John (Bud) Peterson and I worked with G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), last Saturday. We painted a living room and stained a deck for Our Saviour's Housing, a shelter for homeless, all in the space of a few hours. It was a great experience and I highly recommend that as well. G.I.V.E. was active in nine cities around the country this year, their 2nd Annual. Put it on your calendar for next year. It will be held October 9, 1999.

Classmate News 1956:

Dick ’55 and JoAnn Johnson Lundborg are both fully retired, enjoying their family members, their children and spouses, and six grandchildren. Six grandchildren! -- I don't think you can be fully retired, but it's a lot more fun than working. Congratulations, you two!

Eldon ’58 and June Satter are great grandparents to Tyler who romps in Thornton, CO. June and Eldon are retired and living in Brainerd on a lake. Hey, Tyler, looks like good days ahead!

Donna Lindquist Chommie is in the real estate business in Bismarck, ND. She spent a month in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, visiting her son and his wife. Her traveling companions were Bev and Don Gustafson. Had to be an interesting and fun trip with those two!

In the last news letter I wrote about Larry and Sharon Wolff ’59 Baker and their gift shop in Nisswa. Well, Judy and I stopped to say hello. Larry and Sharon were away for the moment and son, Clint, was tending the store. No question about it we were in the right place. Clint looks just like his dad. He gave us a box of their most delicious candy saying that mom and dad would want him to do that.

Two Golden Gusties - both coaches - both in the Hall of Fame!

Nancy Adolphson Baker - As a gymnastics coach there is none better. Her record is absolutely sensational. Nancy is a great teacher in the classroom, too! A civic leader in St. Peter, she serves on the school board. Nancy, you are a special Gustie, might I even say a special saint as a St. Peterite? Or is that stretching it a bit?

Don Roberts - Not only one of the most winning hockey coaches in the country, loved and respected by all his players and fellow coaches, but a living legend! The old Gustavus Hockey Rink is now named the Don Roberts Ice Rink. What a well-deserved honor!

Thanks to both of these ’56ers for serving Gustavus so well for so long.

In closing, an Irish Toast! (My Mother's Mother was a Cassidy.)

Here's to you and yours and to mine and ours.

And if mine and ours ever came across you and yours,

I hope you and yours will do as much for mine and ours,

As mine and ours would do for you and yours!?

Judy and I look forward to talking to some of you at the upcoming Phonorama. But you can write! We need all of you in order to write this letter.

So long for now.

1956 an 1957 Class Agents

Bob and Judy Erdman