Class of '58
March 2008

50-Year Reunion

Reunion dates ― May 30 & 31, 2008

Dear ’58ers,

Yes, these letters come one after another, since you are supplying me with plenty of news.  Today’s weather report is three to five inches of snow.  Hey, it’s only the 21st of March and somewhere the sun is shining and the birds are singing.

Reunion update:  May 30 and 31.  The registration materials will be sent to you by mid-April.  There are currently 95 classmates planning on attending and the April class letter will have an updated list.  Forty-four classmates are in the “undecided” column and we hope many of those will choose to attend the party.

The Golden Anniversary booklet will also be mailed in April.  It will contain the names of all classmates along with whatever biographical information you have submitted.  If you have not sent in the bio form (gold in color), do so ASAP or call the Alumni Office 800-487-8437 if you need another copy.

This booklet will contain all sorts of information about our class, some newspaper clips from the past, and thirty “reflections” submitted by classmates.  The booklet also has a list of all of you who are parents of Gusties (an impressive 30%), a list of deceased classmates, and various awards and honors.

News in bits and pieces…

World traveler Carolyn Lund Sandvig, who just returned from the World Speed Skating Championships in Japan, is now in Sweden attending the World Figure Skating Championships.  She will be in St. Peter on May 30 and 31, even though the ice will be out in Lund Arena.  Barry Coulter who lives near Lake Superior in Ontario, winters in St. Peter.  I like that!  Dr Leroy Mueller retired on January 1, but still serves as the Hospice director at Hendricks Hospital.  His wife, Gloria (Saffel ’63), works part-time as an R.N. at the nursing home.  Bill and Marlys Binger enjoy the Nobel Conferences, especially since they can visit their grandson at Gustavus.  They also volunteer at the Minnesota Arboretum and Orchestra Hall, and find time for watercolor and poetry.  Busy!  Doug Moe’s son, Scott, is the men’s and women’s golf coach at Gustavus.  The men won the MIAC championship last fall and the women were second.  Carol Lund Garone’s grandson attends Calvin College in Michigan.  Donna Jones Kiewatt just returned from a month of traveling.

Loren Herbst retired ten years ago from Wells Fargo and is now very active (former chapter chair in Minneapolis) in SCORE, a group of retired executives.  There are seven chapters in Minnesota and he is now assistant director in Minnesota.  They do workshops, fund-raising and technology upgrades for businesses.  Robert Christenson is still working (see last class letter) with over 45 years in consulting, policy work on health care, consulting on strategic plans in real estate for health-care companies and has no plans to retire!  He is also president of the Fridley Historical Society.  Jim Johanson tried retirement, gave it up, and went back to work!  Jim has been involved in transportation (buses) most of his life; at one point he owned 1,500 buses, but he is dealing with a reduced amount now.  He knows more about buses than anyone I ever have met and has been involved with all aspects including ownership, management and, I am sure, driving!  Robbie Robinson plans to retire in May after 50 years of teaching and coaching in Rochester, MN and Mesa, AZ.  But, he will likely continue to coach part-time.  Glen Peters may not be able to come to the reunion (encourage him) and is another retired teacher/coach who also continues coaching part-time.  Patricia Miller Peterson is undecided about the reunion, but may come if Margo Pettersen Fohs comes!  A key to the reunion―ask your friends to come!


What are my thoughts 50 years post GA?  The years went too fast? –of course; they were too busy? – That too; they were great?  Yes―thought challenging and with numerous changes.  Here are a few examples from Borderland (International Falls, MN):

  • Years back we could cross the border into Canada and return to the U.S. with the border officials only asking a few questions.  It was almost a cordial visit.  Now we are received at the Canadian side by officers in bullet proof vests including an array of canisters strapped on, and at the U.S. side, by border officers carrying a side arm and dressed in heavy duty uniforms, including combat boots.  Each officer has a well-trained commanding voice and a no-nonsense sequence of questioning.  If all is in order, the officer gives a calculated command to proceed.
  • Fifty years ago, most church denominations were, for the most part, unto themselves.  Now, in International Falls, five churches, two Lutheran, United Church, Episcopal and Catholic, join in Lenten services each week in a different church, and the pastor/priest conducts the service in a church other than his/her own.  This has been well received and will continue.
  • Our trees―on the Janousek tree farm.  The oldest were planted only 38 years ago, though they are rapidly becoming forest.  We expect the plantings to benefit the environment as well as being the source of building materials and paper products.  Trees are a renewable resource and should be utilized wisely, replanted carefully and managed well.
  • Automation in our paper mill has allowed much higher tonnage with fewer employees.
  • Voyageur’s National Park commands about two-thirds of the U.S. shoreline of Rainy Lake, nearly 30 miles.
  • Fishing limits now include the size of the fish as well as the number.
  • Despite continued evidence of global warming, our Chamber of Commerce still sponsors Ice Box Days each January, with numerous events including the well publicized 10K “Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run.”  This year the race-time temperature was minus 20º with chills of 40º below zero.
  • Without realizing it, we have become senior citizens, joining the only growing age group in our area.

All my best wishes to each of you.


Having greeted every student I ever met on “Hello Walk” paid off years later when, at a Synod meeting of the Church, I was elected as a “clergy representative” to the Gustavus Board of Trustees.

Of course, I felt honored.  Returning to the campus for meetings, however, brought forth some unresolved issues from college days.  The “you’re not good enough” demons had not completely disappeared; I reverted to the silence that had characterized my presence in the classroom.  Keeping my mouth shut at Board meetings was rewarded.  I was soon appointed to the Executive Committee.  A dear friend explained the promotion, telling me, “They needed someone to be chaplain.”

With this assignment, I could no longer remain silent.  President Ed Lindell asked me at the start of each meeting to offer a prayer.  Then as the agenda turned to high finance issues, my memory is that I said very little.  Looking back on the Board experience gives some perspective.  Yes, I have learned (or am learning) to form opinions and express them.  More important is the awareness of the mystical POWER OF THOSE PRAYERS that the President kept requesting.  Gustavus has flourished.  Young people on our campus are still “overcoming demons” and “finding their own voices.”  Gustavus students continue to take their places as productive members of Church and society.  For this, we praise God…and write our checks for the Annual Fund!


After college I worked as an electrical engineer designing and working with radio antenna systems.  A roommate’s suicide made me face myself in a way that I never had before.  A friend took me to hear Billy Graham and it was during the crusade that I was brought face to face with my sin and a result invited Jesus Christ to be the Lord of my life.  I continued to work as an engineer, but realized that I wanted to give my life for something more significant and so after praying and talking with my pastor I decided I wanted to invest my life in getting the Word of God into the souls of people as they are both eternal.

I went back to the seminary and in my third year I started pastoring a series of five churches over the course of 40 years.  It was a wonderfully fulfilling and satisfying experience and God rewarded me in ways that I never could have imagined at the outset.

I delayed my retirement for a year as my wife wanted to continue teaching in an elementary school.  A man who had worked as my administrative pastor, after calling a few days before to congratulate me on my retirement, called again and asked if I would be willing to come and serve the church where he was because they were going through some difficulties after another pastor had been replaced.  After praying about it, we sensed God’s hand in all of it and we agreed to start as an interim position with the firm understanding that we would remain there only until they could find and call their new pastor.

After we had been there for a year and a half, they still could not find someone to give them the leadership they needed and asked me to stay on, which I did for another three and a half years.  We again sensed God’s hand in all of this.  So as of this past August 15, we have been retired.

God taught me two very significant lessons during this time.  1) He is able to give us the strength to do what we are otherwise totally incapable of doing.  God seemed to be saying to me as He did to Moses, “Don, it’s not about you, it’s about me.  Since I am the One calling you to this task, I will be responsible for giving you the strength to carry it out.”  I found that to be true.

2)  Thinking we are in control of our lives is a foolish assumption.  When I gave my life to Jesus way back in 1958, I gave him my life.  While I continued to live under the partial illusion that I am in control, God used this reentry into ministry as a means of showing me that I am not in control, He is.  I found again that when we let him sit in the driver’s seat He will take us on a ride that causes everything else to seem inconsequential.

It has been a wonderful journey and I am not certain that it is over.  He said “Every one to whom much is given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:28) and since He has given me so much I am certain there are still some unexpected surprises in the future.


My husband Chuck Busch (now suffering from Alzheimer’s) and I lived in a two-room prefab next to the stadium for a year (1956-7).  There were 10 such dwellings south of the stadium plus a few trailer homes nearby.  These garage-sized prefabs were rented to married students for $35 a month, including heat, lights and cold running water.  In winter, the kitchen drains often froze and it was necessary to have a pail under the sink!  We were in a unique location, being nearest to the bathroom and laundry facilities under the stadium.  We were thankful to have hot water nearby for showers and laundry.  Actually, the laundry was quite large with wringer washers and coin operated dryers.  When the Gusties had home football games, we watched from our kitchen windows and often had footballs bounce off our roof!


Audrey and Bob Ortloff were next door to the Busch’s and there were likely other classmates who lived there as well.  Everyone was in the same boat and had many happy times there.  A person who may have also lived there was Jack Nygaard.  He was married in his sophomore year and remembers working summers at Burch’s shoe store in lovely downtown St. Peter.  Jack spent his career with Walgreen’s, mostly in Indianapolis, and still works once a week, when not golfing or bowling.  Widowed in 1991, Jack remarried in 1994 and has a total of nine grandchildren.  Emily Hildebrandt Kulenkamp and her husband sold their business and are enjoying retirement.  One of our nursing majors, Meryl Nelson Jessen, lives near St. Peter and is active in the Bethesda alumni group.  She took a two-week cruise to Australia and New Zealand this winter.

Yes, and some just keep working…Dale Noyed continues with his risk management firm, Advanced Risk Managers, and is having fun.  They took a Canadian Rockies train trip last summer spending time in Banff, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria.  He is active in the Roseville Rotary.  Another continued worker, Ron Michelson, has been working as an environmental consultant, cleaning up environmental sites for the last 25 years.  He had his own company, but now sub-contracts most of the fieldwork.  Ron says “retirement is not his program.”  And still another one, Wayne Panning, works as a radiologist for hospitals in southwestern Minnesota, including St. Peter.  He and his wife live near Belle Plaine and raise Southdown sheep and show them throughout the country.  I phoned during lambing season so I know they are very busy!  Wayne shared his educational history with me.  He started college at Concordia, St. Paul, when it was a two-year college (now a university) and transferred to the University of Minnesota when he decided to study medicine.  After attending Arne Langsjoen’s (’42) summer physical chemistry course, he transferred to Gustavus for his senior year and said he had a great time!

And Charles Thompson continues to teach at LaGrange College in Georgia.  Like Jim Johanson, his retirement eight years ago lasted two months and he is now Associate Dean at the Albany campus, which primarily serves non-traditional students who are in bachelor or master’s degree programs.  Plus, Charles is a part-time temporary pastor at the Lutheran church in Plains, GA.  Yes, that Plains.  And they relax at their mountain home in Pine Mountain, GA.  Earl Boven lives in Edina and may hold a record for our class in that he has competed in 44 marathons, AND, he did not start until he was 50!  I can’t believe anyone can top that.  Earl says he may not be recognized at the reunion because he weighs 60 lbs. less than when he was in college.

Remember if you would like to play golf during the reunion, contact Stuart Johnson ’61 at:

The most recent to announce they are coming to the reunion:  Barry Coulter and Alex Nadesan.  By my count, we have ten classmates who have not been contacted about the reunion.  We will reach out for those as soon as we can find them!

Thanks to the most recent group of donors:  Beverly Duncan Anderson, Russ Braun, Bill Binger, Don Elvestrom, Jack Nygaard, Aljean Van Winkle Loving, Donna (Elvestrom) and Ade Sponberg, Richard Olson, Marlys Chelgren Hebaus, Andrea Grant Janousek, Gerald Youngquist, Leroy Mueller, Robbie Robinson, Marge Lund Kinney, and Carole Lambert Cameron.  Thank you all!

Our goal is 80% class participation in our anniversary fund; we are at about 50% and the rest of the pledge requests will reach you next week.  We hope to hear from you!

As a former Admissions person, I have always been interested in the hometowns of Gustavus students.  I think our class, and those immediately behind us, were at the end of the rural population of Gustavus.

For example, using the 1958 yearbook as the source, 62% of our class came from greater Minnesota, primarily rural Minnesota, with the exception of Duluth and Rochester.  Another 21% were from the Twin Cities, 14% from other states and 2% from abroad.  The current Gustavus enrollment is 45% from the Twin Cities, 37% from greater Minnesota, 17% from other states and 2% international.

Gone are the days of students from Amboy, Carlton, Lake Benton, Alpha, Hallock, Kennedy, Sunburg, Pennock, Harris, Walnut Grove, Mountain Lake, Gibbon, Stewart, Kensington, Cosmos, Herman, Grand Meadow, Hadley, Biwabik, Vasa, New Auburn, New Richland, and Bird Island, to name a few.  Does Gustavus suffer a bit from this loss of diversity?  I think so.  But then, my admissions friends point out that most of those small towns don’t have high schools anymore.

Preparing for the reunion by getting your history in order―“I’ve always held our lives are like a

L  O  N  G  ride on a Greyhound bus and our obligation is not to tell precisely true stories to our seatmates, but rather interesting, colorful and excitingly and freely enhanced stories”  ~Mim Anderson Olsen

Preparing for the reunion is seeing your friends―“We have a milestone gift to share with each other on May 30 and 31, ―the gift of our time.”  ~Aaron Moen

Preparing for the reunion is remembering Gustavus―“May we now have the joy to reminisce with each other and the generosity to give back to Gustavus during this reunion time?  This is ‘our time’ and ‘our year.’”  ~Noel Behne


Owen Sammelson

1958 Class Agent