Class of '58
February 2009

Dear Classmates:

After promising SAM (doesn’t he deserve a little time off?) that I would write the winter class letter, I find the task of gathering new material a little challenging.

So, let’s first recap (details, thanks to SAM) our great 50th class reunion and our success in meeting its goals:

  • Our goal to make personal contact with every person on our mailing list (189) seemed impossible; yet we did speak to 185!  And the four we didn’t personally connect with each received at least five phone messages and three letters.  Well done!
  • Our goal for 60% attendance was probably a little excessive, but we did have 92 attend the reunion, approximately half of our class.  “Not too shabby” as the saying goes!
  • Our goal for 80% participation in our class gift was achieved on the last day of the fiscal year!  As Sam said in his follow-up to the Reunion Committee, “Who would ever have guessed that we would raise $2 million?  A combination of annual giving, pledges, bequests, and capital gifts totaled $2,439,684.”  Thanks to all of you for your generosity and loyalty to Gustavus!  Of course, if you didn’t give, it’s never too late!
  • Not a goal, but you will be interested to learn that CAROLYN CLOGSTON ENGQUIST’S and PAT TRENCH ROSENBERG’S suggestion for Christ Chapel accessibility in memory of BARB ANDREWS brought in over $40,000 in gifts and pledges and raised the issue of chapel accessibility with the College and other classes.  The project is part of the discussion in the Facilities Task Force of Commission 150.  College administrators “assure” us that our project is alive and well and that additional funding is being sought.  We have also raised over $90,000 in pledges and gifts for the 1958 endowed scholarship.  Keep those pledges up-to-date, please!

In addition to all of the wonderful conversations with each other during the various weekend events, two things stand out in my mind:  the memorial service organized by MARK WIBERG and the reflections that so many of you provided for our anniversary book.  Perhaps they stand out for me because I was privileged to participate in both.

As ADE SPONBERG and I read the names of our deceased classmates in the glorious cathedral known as Christ Chapel, I felt our collective spirits soar to the spires with warm thoughts and deep appreciation for their lives.

As for the reflections, let me quote from a note from MARK:  “I have been re-reading things that our classmates wrote.  It is a good way to go a little deeper into knowing each other.”  Did you feel the same way?  Our thanks pour out to all who contributed to this memorable collection.

I’m sure each of you took away from the reunion other moments that struck you in a meaningful way.  Won’t you share your reactions with us for the next newsletter?

One of the blessings of the reunion weekend was having LLOYD and WANDA (HEUER) JOHNSON stay with Stuart ’61 and me in St. Peter.  We sat on the porch with a glass of wine and talked of friends, family and Gustavus way into the evening.  (Their grandson and our granddaughter have lockers right next to each other at school and are in confirmation together at Minnetonka Lutheran.)  With a heavy heart I share with you that shortly after our time together, Lloyd was diagnosed with lung and liver cancer.  Despite a variety of interventions, Lloyd developed a severe lung infection in early November and passed away on Friday, November 28.

As you may remember (read his reflections in our anniversary book), prior to enrolling at Gustavus, he served in the U.S. Army in Japan from 1952-1954.  Prior to his retirement, he supervised social services for Beltrami County and taught social work courses at Bemidji State University.  Lloyd was a stalwart on our reunion committee, encouraging classmates to come to the reunion and to make a contribution to Gustavus.  He closed his July e-mail to Sam with these words, “seeing old friends at the reunion was such a meaningful time for us, and we feel we know all of you just a little bit more today than we did then.  It was such a great reunion….”

WANDA writes that she is “trying to be normal” although she has sad times.  Her friends are very helpful, and her children are attentive.  “Because Lloyd was such an avid cross country skier,” she says, “perhaps he told a heavenly angel to send a good amount of it.”  (The Bemidji area has been inundated with the powdery stuff.)

On to more news―

MARCIA (AMUNDSON) and CHET JANASZ celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on December 6.  Congratulations!  ROBERT CHRISTENSON has moved to 4304 West 28th Street, St. Louis Park, MN .55416-2921.  JIM EDMAN and his brother, John ’59, went birding together in Panama in September with the Sun City Hilton Head Bird Club.  Jim says “This was serious birding, but it also was an adventure which is what attracted me to the trip.  Among other things we stayed at the Canopy Tower Lodge which is considered one of the top ecologies in the world.  Now I’m sure it would be considered bragging if you listed the names of the 254 birds we saw in 12 days, but maybe it would be news to know that two brothers who haven’t roomed together since 1953 got along just fine.  John is one of the top medical entomologists in the world and traveled with a group this year to review a Gates Foundation grant application.”

One piece of good news from JIM MCPHERSON:  “My book, TRIED BY WAR; ABRAHAM LINCOLN AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF,” he wrote, “has won the 2009 Lincoln Prize awarded by the Gilder-Lehrman Foundation and Gettysburg College.  The award will be presented April 7.”  In a review of his book in the February 8, 2009 edition of the Star Tribune, Jim was described as “our greatest living Civil War historian.”  The book was described as “a clear-headed narrative.”  Congratulations to Jim from the Class of ’58!

With some prodding from Sam, LINDA ECKBLAD KNOCHENMUS reported “Gustaf was the worst storm to hit the Baton Rouge area.  High winds battered us for 10 hours.  More than 80% of the area was without electricity for many days as towers fell, substations sustained major damage and everywhere huge trees fell over power lines.  We were without electricity and telephone for over seven days, which at the time seemed very long.  A large oak tree uprooted and leaned on part of our house.  Fortunately, we were able to quickly locate an arborist with a bucket truck to remove the tree before it could do further damage.  There are perhaps 50 trees down in our woods.  On a more pleasant side, we traveled on separate trips to British Columbia and Newfoundland and spent a week at Chautauqua as we do every summer.  We made our yearly trip to Toulouse, France to see our son, Grant, and family.  Also, we traveled to Carson City, NV to visit our daughter, Lari ’83, and her husband and spent several days with them in Yosemite National Park.”

BOB PETERSON continues his therapy at the Benedictine Care Center in St PeterDuring a recent visit, he expressed pleasure over the election of Barack Obama.  “What a historic election!” he said. Bob is looking forward to better vision after his cataract surgery in mid-February.  MARTHA TELLEEN PETERSON is an independent travel consultant and can be contacted at

ELLWOOD JOHNSON now has two downtown Lowry reunions, one is Mesa, AZ and the big one in Lowry, MN in August.  Only a few in the most inner circle of our class know about Lowry and its distinctiveness. Ellwood is now six years from his last chemo following his surgery for neck cancer.  NOEL BEHNE says, “Just think, we were born as the great Depression ended, and we are now entering the worst economic decline since then.  We’ve witnessed a lot of events over our 70+ years.  I hope we can pass on the lessons learned to our kids and grandkids.”  Thanks for the reunion thoughts from ROLLIE HIRMAN, AARON MOEN and VAHAN ASSADOURIAN.

CAROLYN CLOGSTON ENGQUIST writes that she spent a day at the state (MN) legislature with the Joint Religions Legislative Coalition pleading with legislators to avoid having budget cuts that adversely affect the poor, disabled, children and other vulnerable people.  Over 800 people from Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths participated, along with many young people from parochial high schools.  She reports that it was an “inspiring day.”  In March she, and husband, Tom ’56, will travel to Lepzig, Germany to meet with the Peace Prayer Group at St. Niklolai Church.  “The peace group at our church in Prior Lake has been corresponding with them through e-mail for three years, and it will be wonderful to meet them face-to-face.”

ANDERS BJORLING is now in Tanzania with a group of photographers viewing the wild animals in Serengeti National Park.  As we recall, he went on a similar trip to Morocco last May.

Campus News

Haugen Named Head Football Coach

Peter Haugen was named the new head football coach in mid-December.  Haugen posted a 111-44 record in 15 years at Washburn High School.  He is the 17th head coach in the 93-year history of Gustavus football and started his new position the second week of January.  A Twin Cities reception to meet Coach Haugen will be held on Thursday, Feb. 12 at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Please reserve by calling the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437.

President Ohle is on the road!

Please join President Ohle, his wife Kris, and other Gustavus staff at a chapter dessert reception near you.  President Ohle will be visiting 11 cities around the country in the coming months and all alumni, parents, and friends of the College are invited to attend a reception.  Dates are listed below or check out the Alumni website to find out more details.

Mustaphi Named Michelle Obama’s Deputy Press Secretary

Semonti Mustaphi ’03 was recently named Deputy Press Secretary for First Lady Michelle Obama.  Mustaphi worked on the Obama campaign, and has also held communications positions for three senators.  Mustaphi graduated with a political science and communication studies double major, danced in the Gustavus Dance Company, and was an Anderson Scholar.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join us for the “Come on You Gustie” Breakfasts.  The breakfasts are held the third Wednesday of each month at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy 394 and Hwy 100).  The breakfast runs from 8-9:30 and is $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at (763) 533-9083.  February’s speaker will be Kris Kracht, communications; forensics head coach.

Alumni Insurance Programs

Are you in need of short-term medical insurance and between jobs?  Meyers and Associates can help with temporary medical insurance as well as life insurance.  For information about life and short-term medical insurance, call 800-635-7801 or visit Meyer and Associates.  Want to save money on your car insurance?  As a Gustavus alumnus you qualify for special group discounts through Liberty Mutual.

Gustie Pages

Want to support Gustie professionals?  In need of a doctor, pastor, or financial adviser?  Look in the Gustie Pages, an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs, or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to become your customers.  Go to the Gustie Pages at the alumni website,


Mark your calendars now for Homecoming 2009!  The Gustavus football team will face off against Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Oct. 10.  Watch for more information about tons of fun events the weekend of Oct. 9 and 10.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Kris Kracht, communications; forensics head coach - Feb. 18
  • Tucson Chapter Gathering - Feb. 19, Westward Look Resort
  • Phoenix Chapter Gathering - Feb. 20, Millennium Resort, Scottsdale
  • Los Angeles Chapter Gathering - Feb. 28, Art Director's Guild, Studio City
  • Boston Chapter Gathering - March 14, Hyatt Regency Cambridge
  • New York Chapter Gathering - March 16, New York Marriott East Side
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Ken Westphal, vice president for finance - March 18
  • Seattle Chapter Gathering - March 21, Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland, WA
  • San Francisco Chapter Gathering - March 23, Hotel Vitale
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Steve Wilkinson, retiring men's tennis coach - April 15

One realizes that fifty years have passed since we were freshmen when you read some of the suggestions for dress that were part of the 1954-’55 Gustavus Guide given to us as we arrived on campus!

She will wear (abbreviated list) . . .

A tailored suit for dates, church, travel, recitals―

Smooth dress, wool or silk, with heels, flats and hose for open house, dates, teas, church―

Hat, gloves, purse to complete the outfit for church and teas

Shorts, pedal pushers, slacks, jeans, plaid shirts, tennis shoes, bathing suits and cap to take care of such things as:  hikes, picnics, tennis, swimming, gym classes, and sun bathing.”

As for the “Joes,” “He will wear (abbreviated list):

Trousers, shirts, sweaters, loafers or saddles for class, lounging―

Sport coat, oxfords for coke dates, movies―

Dark suit, white shirt, tie for church banquets, dinner-dates―

Pajamas, robe, slippers for dorm bull sessions.”

OH, MY!  What would the Class of 2012 have to say about this dress code?

And finally, a “love-note” from SAM

“We had a great fund-raising effort last year, making our goal of 80% participation and with almost a third of the class making three-year pledges.  Sometime this spring, the Advancement Office at Gustavus will send reminders to the pledges.  Our goal this year is to continue our strong class history on participation, hoping to stay in the 67-70 percent range.  Thanks to all of the following who made gifts to the Annual Fund between November 15 and January 26.


THANKS AGAIN!  The next class letter in April will hopefully have many more names.”

Blessings to each of you and your families―

Marlys C. Johnson

1958 Guest Letter Writer

royal affair