Class of '58
December 2003

Dear '58ers,

            A marvelous reunion!  In my biased view, a great time for the 50 classmates and almost 80 people who attended.

            Thanks again to the program participants - Vahan Assadourian, describing his arrival at Gustavus as an international student, Heather Peterson Davis-Peabody, extolling the virtues of Wahlstrom Hall, Noel Behne, exploring the classrooms and inhabitants of Commerce Hall and the business major, Mark Wiberg, leading us in prayers of thanksgiving, Martha Telleen Peterson and Beverly Duncan Anderson, remembering choir tours and leading us in "Remember," Ade Sponberg, cheering us through "Memories of Myrum Fieldhouse," Bob Peterson, mastering the ceremonies of the campus part of the reunion, Marlys Johnson Johnson, counting classmates unique contributions to community service, congregational/parish participation, and belief in volunteerism and, Phil Lindau, encouraging us to remember the gift of our Gustavus experience and exhorting us to return our gifts in order that others might have a similar experience.

            I provided some comparisons of then and now, the Gustavus of 1958 and of 2003.  The campus has changed dramatically - gone are South, North and Commerce Halls, the Classroom Annex (wonderful name) Art Barn, Ranchereno (another wonderful name), Myrum, Post Office and Book Store, and lasting until the 1998 tornado, Johnson Hall.  Six dormitories in 1958 are now 13 residence halls.  Here are some of the differences:





  944 (1954)

1,075 (1958)


First Year






Percent Graduating



Freshmen returning as Sophomores






Roman Catholic



Number of Majors



Graduated with Honors



Computers for Student Use



Musical Ensembles



Athletic Teams



Religious Organizations






Honor Societies



Special Interest Clubs



Tuition /Fees/Room & Board



Students Receiving Scholarships



Average Scholarship



Average Scholarship as Percent of Cost



            The top majors in our class were business, English, elementary education, biology and physical education.  Now, the top five are management (business), psychology, biology, communication studies and economics. 

            And for those of you dying to know, the deceased frats and sororities are Alpha Phi, Sigmas, Iota Beta, Chieftains, Kappa Sigs and Gammas.  As a former Gamma, they fought a valiant fight - after failing as a frat, they became a coed frat-sorority and then finally a sorority.  And then they expired. No comments please.


            Charles Thompson, once retired, continues to serve as the associate dean and director of the undergraduate programs at LaGrange College in Albany, GA and is very excited about the development of a new MA program in Educational Leadership, which is his baby.  He also serves as the interim pastor of the Lutheran Church in Plains, GA.  No, the Carters are not Lutherans.  Joyce Strand Marvel continues the battle back from the many complications of knee surgery; she was hospitalized for five months and is still in intensive physical therapy.  The positives - she is again starting to play the piano and is back to teaching two courses in anatomy and microbiology at Washington University in St Louis.  Dick Jameston, a football player at Gustavus, continues to swim competitively in Senior Olympics in Hot Springs Village, AR.  Don and Sue (Myers '60) Milton are retired in Nunica, MI and are assisting their son in raising their eight-year-old-granddaughter, plus gardening and carpentering.


Thanks to those who responded to some of our student callers during Phonorama by paying their pledge early - especially, Agnes Voss Bode, Ruth Lind Christenson, Jim Cone, Barbara Holslin Haag, Marlys Chelgren Hebaus, Dale Olson, Glen Peters, Shirley Larson Ward, and Joyce Bebensee Young.  Cheers to you!

            Helmut Schonauer wrote again reflecting on his experience at Gustavus and "a lot of happy memories."  After leaving Gustavus, Helmut earned a doctorate in economics and joined Philips Electrical in Vienna in 1960, ultimately becoming the export manager for seven factories in Austria, retiring in 1997.


            Dave Wagner continues with his stained glass artistry in retirement.  Examples of his art can be found in homes, churches and companies near Marshfield, WI.  Dave has had MS for many years.  I am delighted that he shares photos of his work with me.  Roy Johnson, husband of Lois Walfrid Johnson, was in a serious auto accident, which prevented them from attending the reunion.  Roy is recovering nicely.  Carol Lund Garone is retired in Andover, MA and is active in a campaign to raise funds for their sister city in England.  Bob Raven is semi-retired from Ryan Grove, bank consultants.  Carl Johnson, retired social studies teacher, had successful heart surgery this summer and is back to building up his walking miles.  Ginny and Don Olson winter in the Palm Springs area.

Charles Clements retired seven years ago after being with the Anderson Corporation in Bayport for 32 years.  Bob Robinson sent an email expressing his regrets on not being able to attend our reunion.  Robbie is still teaching and coaching at Mountain View High School in Mesa and proudly reports this is his 46th year!  I think that he plans to be the last person working in our class and, contrary to the rumors, I don't plan to challenge him.  Mountain View's football and track teams both won state championships.  Congratulations!

            Gloria and LeRoy Mueller celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this summer and also 40 years of medical practice in Hendricks, MN for LeRoy.  LeRoy has had Parkinsons for 10 years and has now begun to work part-time, but continues to run daily.  Three of the Muellers' four children attended Gustavus; Brian '87 is a research chemist, Lisa '88 is an oncology nurse and Laura '92 (one of my favorite basketball players) is completing her Ph.D. in Asian art history at UW-Madison.  They have seven grandchildren.

            Dick Eklund made his annual visit to the campus this fall.  Dick still works for JC Penney, but has moved from Rosedale to Ridgedale.  Elroy and Helen Magnuson Schulz are hoping to get back to their native Goodhue County in the fall.  Helen is encouraging me to attend our 50th high school reunion in Red Wing next fall.  (I have never gone to a high school reunion and am very nervous about it.)  Another high school and college classmate, Linda Eckblad Knochenmus, who does go to reunions, is retired in Baton Rouge.  Linda, Darwin and their daughter traveled to France to surprise their son on his 40th birthday.  Darlene Thompson Kriewell celebrated her 50th high school anniversary with her classmates from Frost, MN by making a trip to Branson!


            Judith Hanson Turnlund continues on the staff of the Human Nutrition Research Center, now located at UC Davis.  Her husband, Richard, is retired and into doing watercolors.  The Turnlunds have nine grandchildren.  Loren Herbst missed the reunion because of a three-week trip to the East Coast.  Loren, officially retired, is very active in SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives) that provides free counseling for entrepreneurs.  He is also active on the board of a charter school.  With another good excuse for missing the reunion, Wanda (Heuer) and Lloyd Johnson were traveling in Europe.  Wanda says it was like the trip she made years ago with Jody Springer Lange and Emily Hildebrandt Kulenkamp.  Reports have it that Marcia (Amundson) and Chet Janasz, when buying a new car, convinced the dealer to send a $100 contribution to Gustavus.  A whole new concept in fund-raising!

            I am sorry to report the passing of Roberta Anderson Gardner on October 26.  Roberta had battled cancer for over a year and had been hospitalized again in recent months.  Roberta was Supervisor of Life Science at Cambridge Scientific in MD and had a long career as a scientist and editor.  She was one of Gustavus' first decade winners, along with Jim McPherson, in 1968. The First Decade Award was institued by the Alumni Association in 1968 to recognize young graduates who had achieved significant attainment by the tenth anniversary of their graduation.  Our class was the first.  Roberta was a loyal supporter of Gustavus and a faithful contributor to the Annual Fund.


            Thanks to Marlys Johnson, Bob Peterson, Nancy Johnson Peterson and Dale Noyed for their assistance at Phonorama.  Dale still enjoys working with his insurance clients and spends summers at their Big Sandy home.  Bud Boberg is still working and enjoying his outreach work.  Ken Jorgensen retired last year and lives in San Antonio.  Marlene Gastler Petersen has been retired since 1999, is secretary of her church and has 12 grandchildren.  Deloris Peterson Overstad had a stroke a year ago and lives in Alexandria.  Carole Lambert Cameron promises she will come to our 50th reunion!  This year, she was in charge (I believe that!) of the Rocky Mountain Synod Women meeting at her church.  Roger Roettger is retired in Venice FL; he and Judith spend summers back in Michigan and traveled to Ireland last year.  Paul Borg is retired in Washington and visited St Peter this summer and sadly missed the reunion.

            Lee Anderson and his siblings maintain the family farm near Hager City, WI and enjoy weekends in the rural life.  Lee is retired, but his wife, Susan, continues to teach.  They were last on campus for the Garrison Keillor show in Lund Center last spring.  Liz and John Dahl were not only at the reunion, but also at the Royal Affair, as were Dorothy (Rylander '59) and John Johnson.  Stan Larson continues to design and build houses, but admits he may find going south in the winter more attractive one day.  Sonya (Harbo) and Duane Talus are retired in Spring, TX with a summer home near Virginia, MN.  They, and their children, will spend Christmas on the lake.  Duane is having a slow, but gradual, recovery from back surgery. 

Ramona and Jim Edman were in a horrendous auto accident last February near Cosmos, MN after visiting Jim's mom.  They are recovering from extensive injuries.

            Patricia (McLane '59) and Richard Olson were on campus again this fall as they encourage their very bright granddaughter to attend Gustavus.


            A special thanks to the early donors; some were mentioned earlier, but kudos to Lee Anderson, Bob Baugh, Noel Behne, Char Jonson Berndt, Bill Binger, Janet (Neidt) and Anders Bjorling, Bud Boberg, Chuck Busch, Alan Carlson, Martha Banke Curtis, Heather Peterson Davis-Peabody, Mary Brink Fowler, Loren Herbst, Stephen Hilding, Rollie Hirman, Karen Holmen Hubbard, Meryl Nelson Jessen, Barbara Anderson Johnson, Carl Johnson, John Johnson, Marlys Johnson Johnson, Shirley Lundgren Kanne, Ken Kozel, Emily Hildebrandt Kulenkamp, Phil Lindau, Jim McPherson, Barbara Johnson Morris, LeRoy Mueller, Dale Noyed, Nancy Johnson Peterson, Bob Peterson, Glenn Sampson, Carolyn Lund Sandvig, Renee Lindberg Smith, Dave Wagner and Mark Wiberg.

            Martha Banke Curtiss provided some written comments about our reunion time - "when you think of the short time (four or less years) that we were on campus compared to the rest of our lives, it really is amazing that those four years continue to play a significant part in our lives.  At least three thoughts come to mind:  1) At this "jumping into adulthood" time in our lives, we fell into a caring, even loving, atmosphere.  2) The deep friendships that we experienced are lasting a lifetime.  3) The philosophy of the College was in keeping with our Christian heritage."

            And so, another letter.  Did you find your name?  If not, you can be in the next!  Email me with news ( or phone (507-933-7685), or write your notes on the back of a check!

Merry Christmas!


Owen Sammelson

1958 Class Agent

Campus News:

College opens 142nd Academic Year - More than 700 new students, including transfer students and international students, joined the Gustavus community this fall, keeping the total student population around 2,515. The retention rate of students from the first to second year remains at 90 percent. These students will be taught by 198 full-time and 55 part-time faculty. Gustavus was again ranked in the top third of the 214 national liberal arts colleges by the U.S. News and World Report.

The Alumni Fund Turns 50 - On June 30, 1954, the first Alumni Fund officially closed with 1,204 donors (32 percent) and $26,013.  The Alumni Fund has had a strong tradition at Gustavus exceeding 50% participation for many years, making Gustavus a national leader recognized with 17 national awards.  Help return the Alumni Fund to reach over 50% participation by contributing before May 31, 2004.  Do your best to participate in the Alumni Fund to continue the Gustavus tradition of strong alumni support and return the College to national recognition.

Sculptor Paul Granlund '52 dies - Paul Granlund died on September 15, 2003.  He was sculptor-in-residence at Gustavus from 1971-1996.  His figurative bronze sculptures are found in private collections and public installations nationally and internationally, including 30 bronze works on the Gustavus campus.

Alumni Board members selected - Seven alumni have been selected to serve a three-year term on the Alumni Board.  They are Liesl Batz '90, Minneapolis, senior vice president and director of marketing, Lakeside Investment Partners; Jan Eiffert Hoomani '62, Raleigh, NC, Realtor, JB Realty; Jim Malmquist '53, Scandia, MN, retired athletics director, Gustavus; Jan Ledin Michaletz '74, Edina, volunteer/homemaker.  Incumbents to serve a second term include Vivian Foyou '02, Mankato, graduate student, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Jason Sawyer '93, Plymouth, vice president, Cronin & Co.; and Dan Currell '94, Alexandria, VA, director of corporate leadership council, Corporate Executive Board.

2003 Hall of Fame inductees -- Nine individuals were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame on September 27. Inductees are Val Flom Ashland '87 (volleyball), Wendy Ericksen Bachman '87 (soccer), Karen Ahlstrom Bishop '86 (gymnastics), Jay Coatta '87 (basketball and golf), Marv Gunderson '53 (football), Jim Hearn '81 (tennis), Dave Najarian '82 (football), Betty Wannarka Ringeisen '84 (basketball and track and field), and Larry Shelhamer '76 (soccer).

Gustavus Finishes sixth in Director's Cup - Gustavus finished sixth out of 395 Division III institutions for the 2002-03 Director's Cup announced recently by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. The only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics, the award honors four-year institutions with the best overall athletic programs.  Last year Gustavus placed 10th.

Chapel Program - The Gustavus Chapel program is one of the strongest in higher education averaging 350 students attending Daily Chapel.  In addition, there are many student-led programs including: Apprentice - students who are interested in being part of ministry and open to see where the Spirit might be leading; Christ Chapel Volunteers - assist in the ministry of Christ Chapel by ushering, carrying the cross and candles, reading lessons, writing and/or reading prayers, and serving as assisting ministers; Community Service Center Programs - one-time and on-going service programs; Fellowship of Christian Athletes - athlete or not, time for fellowship, worship, speakers, service projects and mission trips; Gustavus Youth Outreach - committed to sharing the Gospel and providing opportunities to serve by participating in off-campus youth ministry; Habitat For Humanity/Spring Break Work Trips - Habitat works locally and Spring Break Work Trip nationally to fundraise for and build affordable housing; Jewish Organization of Gustavus - for students, faculty and staff who were either Jewish or interested in the Jewish faith; Newman Center - dedicated to building a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith; Prepare - build a new generation of believers through mentors, mission trips, Bible study, prayer and worship; Proclaim - Bible-based contemporary worship and teaching; Taizé - a contemplative worship service of music, prayer, readings and silence; Wednesday Friends - visits St. Peter Regional Treatment Center residents weekly.

Upcoming Events - call the Alumni Office at 800/487-8437

Alumni Chapter Events:  Washington DC - February 6; Atlanta - February 26; Tampa Bay - February 27; Naples - February 28; Sun City - March 19; Phoenix  - March 20; Tucson - March 21.