Class of '56
November 1999


Many years ago, when I was in Uncle Sam’s Military, the prevailing wisdom was to never volunteer for anything. Through most of my life I have followed that philosophy with the exception of church ushering, Cub Scouts or being an Indian guide leader or similar other situations. Then came a class letter last spring, where in the writer, began complaining about having to write class letters periodically. I can't stand to see a grown man whine so after waiting a couple of weeks, I gave him a call, thinking someone else must surely have come to his rescue by that time. Not so. What was I to do? Volunteer, of course, and here I am some six months later attempting to be a sit-in for my good friend, Erdy. A packet arrived at my door a couple of weeks ago and in it was not much of anything. Supposedly it contained material for this epistle, but I was disappointed.

It seems the class of ’56 doesn't have a life, or if they do, they don't want to share it with classmates via the class letter. Frankly I think most of the disinterest is because about the only time most people think to send info to Gustavus is when Gustavus has been successful, in putting the arm us for a contribution. It seems to me, that now that most of us are at least partially retired, we could mark the calendar accordingly and every couple of months send really hot gossip to Erdy or directly to the college. You may think no one is interested in your life, but if you are like me, you read every word and I have gotten to know some of you, rather vicariously thru the class letter. Most of the class of ’56 was born in 1934, which makes us, some 65 years of age. Do you know what your life expectancy is??? Because of "hello walk," most of us at least spoke to one another while on campus. It seems to me that the least we can do, as we ride into the sunset, is let others know if we prefer an urn or a wooden box.


An article in the Star Tribune lets us know that a retired pastor from Minneapolis, Rev. Dick Erickson, apparently made enuff money during his career to buy a place on Pelican Lake. The article states that Rev. Dick is on the board of Camp Knutson on the Whitefish chain of lakes. Apparently he is lending his expertise in the attempt to save the camp from extinction and many others are lending a hand and a wallet to make it happen. One of my summers during college was spent counseling at a summer camp and it was probably the best of all summers, a regular heaven on earth. Keep up the good work, Dick!

Even though he was in the class of ’57, most of us know Gary Gustafson. If for no other reason, the guys knew him as he dated and married the beautiful Donna (Reinhardt ’57). She left us shortly after graduation. Anyhow, Gus was inducted into the Gustavus Hall of Fame in October for his outstanding contribution in the football and track field. Many congrats, Gus.

Sidney Puppe actually sent in a contribution and on the envelope, he scribbled, "I am feeling much better after having had heart surgery and other surgeries. 1998 was a tough year. I am looking forward to spending quality time at our lake place this summer on Big Sandy by McGregor, MN." I hope you are feeling much better by now, Sid, and because of the detailed address, you probably need to expect company.

Melva Johnson Gevik writes that husband (Deano ’53) has published a book, How's The Weather Out There? Nursing Home Patients Make Connections.

Alan Westberg writes that he is enjoying retirement. He lives on Ten Mile Lake south of Fergus Falls and spends the winter months in St. Augustine, FL. He does volunteer work, including teaching 55 Alive classes.

The last time I talked with Erdy, he had just had lunch with C. Harvey Davis. They apparently had a good time and Harvey hasn't lost his sense of humor. Write something that can be printed to Erdy, Harvey so he can include it in the next letter.

A couple of months ago, I kept seeing and hearing about Goldsborough, NC. News articles both in the papers and on TV were repeating the plight of the good citizens of that community concerning hurricanes. How many of us are familiar with Goldsborough? Not many I would think. But I had heard of it as my friends, Whitey ’57 and Wanda (Ahl) Hixon, had moved there a few years ago for big bucks. So I called and Whitey answered, said he couldn't talk long as he was up to his you know what installing a sump pump. He did have enuff time to tell me that they had had it with having gone through five hurricanes and were moving back to Green Lake and Spicer. I trust that by now they are settled-in and awaiting company.

A fellow board member here in town had a daughter attending Gustavus. She keeps me pretty well informed of on campus stuff. I have chosen not to revisit the campus since the tornado, preferring to remember it as I last saw it. She told me the new Campus Center food service building was absolutely fabulous with very high windows overlooking the beautiful river valley. As we all know by now, the food service is named in honor of Evelyn Young ’33, the most fantastic lady I have ever known. She is so very deserving of this wonderful honor. We are all blessed to know her.


There are 2490 students enrolled this fall. Gustavus rated among the best liberal arts colleges by U. S. News and World Report magazine. It is also included in Kiplinger’s Report of the top 100 great values. Eighty percent of all students receive some form of financial aid. The comprehensive fee for this year is $20-21,000.

Reunion/Commencement Weekend is May 26 and 27 but starting next year, all class reunions, except for the 50-Year Club and the 50th Anniversary Class will be held in the fall at Homecoming, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, September 29 & 30, 2000. Classes celebrating reunions at Homecoming will include ’55, ’60, ’65, ’70, ’75, ’80, ’85, ’90 & ’95.

Christmas in Christ Chapel is 3-5. All five performances are presently sold out.

Now about money…no matter the amount, Gustavus needs your help. All of us with some few exceptions, I'm sure, can do better. The ’56 list of donors is down 19 from last year. We are going in the wrong direction. Your help is and will be greatly appreciated.

Moon Mullin

1956 Guest Letter Writer