Class of 1958

May 2011

Dear ʼ58ers,

If you are returning to Minnesota from the warmer climes, you came too early.  It snowed during the Twins game last week and it has been cold.  But, the sun will soon shine and May flowers will bloom and, occasionally, there will be good news in the morning newspaper.

Last week, BOB and Renae PETERSON and Jan (Swanson ʼ62) and I attended the LINDAU Symposium at Gustavus.  PHIL, shortly before he died, and Nancy endowed the LINDAU Symposium at Gustavus “to encourage dialogue and promote broad-based intellectual rigor and appreciation of all viewpoints in order to cultivate a respect for civil discourse for future generations.”  Phil, particularly, wanted to make sure that conservative views were discussed on the campus.  The speaker this year was Dinesh D’Souza, current president of King’s College in New York City, and a former policy analyst in the Reagan White House.  His lecture on “America:  Why America is Loved, Why America is Hated” was well received with many questions from the students in attendance.  Beside Nancy, also present were Karen Lindau Peikert ’86, her husband, Johann ’86 and Phil, Jr. and Sharon (Stevenson) Lindau Jr. ’84 ’84.  It was great for us to see all of the Lindaus again.

Classmates who check the Gustavus website probably read the interesting story about Laura Mueller ’92 and may not have realized she is the daughter of classmate LEROY and Gloria (Saffel ’63) MUELLER.  After graduating from Gustavus, Laura obtained an M.B.A. and an M.A. from Southern Methodist University and a Ph.D. in Japanese Art from the University of Wisconsin, also studying abroad at Gakushuin University in Japan.  While a doctoral student and a curatorial intern at Wisconsin, she organized a show of Japanese prints at the Brooklyn Museum, which was reviewed by the New York Times.  She has written three books on Japanese Art, the most recent; Adornment in Clay (2010) is about netsuke, small sculptural toggles that were traditionally worn by men on their outer garments.

Laura is a living example of the value of a liberal arts education; she majored in international management at Gustavus and became interested in art history during January Term class in that subject.  Several of you have endowed scholarships at Gustavus for students from rural areas; Laura graduated, as I recall, from high school in Hendricks, MN and is another great example of small town success.

And now some CLASS NEWS:

We are sorry to report the passing of two of our classmates. Duane Kriewall wrote that his wife, DARLENE THOMPSON KRIEWALL, died on July 2, 2010.  They had been married 54 years.  CHAR JONSON BERNDT died on February 2, 2011.  I mentioned in the last letter that she was in a long-term care facility for Lewy Body dementia.  We extend our sympathies to both families.

PATRICIA MILLER PETERSON discovered a poster of her father in the men’s chorus at Gustavus in 1926-28 and the archives department at Gustavus is interested in adding it to their collection.  So, as you look to reduce the “stuff” in your house, remember the Gustavus archives if you have historical items.

CHET and MARCI (AMUNDSON) JANASZ have five grandchildren in college, with one, Michael, a sophomore at Gustavus.  Chet is still involved in their Town Home Association, Minneapolis Coaches Association and other educational groups.  Marcia is busy with her tours and luncheons for the Osseo Retired Educators.  Seventeen years of travel and fun!  They also volunteer in the elementary school reading programs and are active in their church and cancer support groups.  Last December, they celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary.  Congratulations!

A note from JOANNE NELSON MCCARTHY in mid-February said “After four great weeks downhill skiing around the west, and ten days of cross-country an accident and a broken femur, a long slow recovery, hopefully hiking again sometime this summer and back to skiing next year.  Other than the above, life is good.”  Joanne is one of the members of our class with an endowed scholarship for rural students at Gustavus.

And while on that subject, NOEL BEHNE also has an endowed scholarship for students from southwestern Minnesota, preference, I think, for students from Jackson County.  Noel says he has slowed down somewhat, but he still serves on nine Community Boards.  “Some of the main ones include the Better Business Bureau. The Albuquerque Rescue Mission, the ARCA Foundation and Silver Horizons.  The last three deal with the homeless, the developmentally disadvantaged and the elderly, all of whom need help and according to the Scripture, we have been instructed to help!”

DON LOOMER has written and published a new book entitled “Hitting the Target.”  It is a book “that attempts to give definition to the word “disciple” in a way that gives clear definition and helps for enabling one’s self, someone you are working with, a small group, etc. to have a workable definition to work with along with practical ways for achieving it.”  You can check it out at “”  Thanks, Don.

After living most of their adult life in California, RON and Marilyn MICHELSON moved to Alaska last fall.  I invited Ron to comment.

“We sure are in Alaska.  Having purchased a condo in November, we are now permanent residents of Wasilla.  Our condo is only about five blocks from the downtown area, although the town is really spread out.  The winter is a little too long, but is not nearly as intense (cold) as some other places I have lived (like Minnesota).  Our first winter has been much easier than we had anticipated and spring is coming fast.  We have been pretty much involved with the community and have attended most of the Wasilla H.S. home basketball games, particularly the girls’ teams as they are one of the best in the state.

Although we have seen her at different events, we haven’t talked to Wasilla’s most prominent citizen, but we have had occasion to chat with both parents since we attend the same political gatherings.  Sunday, Marilyn and I were at the start of the Iditarod dogsled race.”  Ron sent me great photos.  If you want to know more about living in Alaska, Ron’s email is

A note from Sam.  When working at Gustavus, I recruited students from Alaska for ten years, starting in 1991.  While I have not seen much of Alaska, I have been in Juneau, Ketchikan and Fairbanks, as well as Anchorage.  I enjoyed the people I met in Alaska, particularly the students and still have contacts with some of those who became Gustavus alumni.  And Anchorage is generally warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than Minneapolis.  Now, Fairbanks, that is different!

JEANETTE WESTBERG JOHNSTON sent portions of her after-Christmas letter.  She and Cameron “Scooter” ʼ60 were back in Minnesota for his 50th anniversary at Gustavus last May.  They are very busy in Moscow, ID with five grandchildren near them and all in junior and senior high school with lots of activities in sports, music and drama.  Jeanette was diagnosed with MS 39 year ago and she claims it does slow her down a bit!  She recently fell and broke a bone in her foot, but some weeks of physical therapy have helped with that.  There is a power in positive thinking and Jeanette is a living example!  Cheers to you!

SKIP and SONYA (HARBO) TALUS will be leaving Houston and returning to Bass Lake as soon as the ice melts, which may be around the first of June.  They hope to celebrate their 75th birthdays with friends in late June.  Their grandson, Eric ʼ14 received a Presidential Scholarship at Gustavus and continues the tradition of academic excellence in the Talus family.  Sympathies to Sonya who lost her mother earlier this year.

EPPIES WIN!  BOB PETERSON asked me last fall if any one fraternity or sorority stood out in terms of participation in the Annual Fund.  Guessing the result, I tried to ignore his request for several months, but he pressed me and I did the necessary research.  Classmates who were (and are) Eppies participated in the 2010 Annual Fund at a phenomenal rate of 93%!  The class average was an excellent 69%.  Congratulations to the alums of Epsilon Phi Alpha!  I hope you can do it again this year!

JIM and Ramona EDMAN continue their active bird watching hobby.  They participated in Cornell’s Feederwatch program in the winter and in the official bird count this spring as volunteers in a 72-acre local park.  Most enjoyably, they saw bobolinks near their home in Ohio.  (As a bird watcher myself, I have not seen bobolinks for many years, so I am jealous.)  Jim also adopted a New Year’s resolution to write more letters to relatives and friends that he does not often see.  A great idea!  Emails are a good way to communicate, but there is something special about receiving a letter.

MARY ELLEN YOUNG (Jacksonville, FL), describes the following as “the ramblings of a demented member of the class of 1958.”

The Roman sage Publius Syrus said “I have often regretted my speech, never my silence” and I have tried to follow that since moving south.  It hasn’t worked too well, but I’m now engaged in lots of speech ever since a dowager queensteel magnolia type approached me following a report I made to the Board of Directors of the Jax Symphony by saying, “Huhneeee, we’ve just gotta teach you to tahhhlk suhthun.”  So that’s the mantra of the past decade.  It ain’t working!

Obviously the class newsletter is in dire condition when Sam and Carolyn strong-arm me to provide “something, anything” for the next publication.  After our 50th reunion, some members were interested in a copy of the remarks I made at the luncheon−those were pretty much ad lib, but were based on Mortimer Adler’s book Aristotle For Everybody.  The section on his celebrated theory of happiness formed the basis for my comments−ha, they were directly lifted.  Don’t ask me when I last had an original thought!

One item that might be of interest to class members living in and/or near a metropolitan area – The Metropolitan Opera (NYC) has been offering HDLive transmission of about 9-11 operas a year on Saturdays.  They are broadcast live and it is almost as good as being in the audience.  As a matter of fact, the close-ups we see in the theatre can’t be witnessed by most members of the live audience.  About five years ago the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at University of Northern Florida asked me to create a course (this is education for old people) and I had a flash− re an opera class.  It has been a howling success with about 50 people enrolled in at once and sometimes twice a year.  It is a lot of work, am working as much as if it was a paid position−all faculty members volunteer no matter how awful we are since we can’t be fired!  So on it goes−since I have trouble with English you can imagine what a great time I am having with three other languages.

Thought I would pass this information on to the class because it is such a good deal−the operas are transmitted live to theatres throughout the world and it costs about $20 to view them.  I am firmly convinced that it is a privilege to have this musical experience available to a global audience.  Since I’ve just been asked to chair the northeast Florida legal defense fund for Lindsay Lohan, I don’t have much time for further musings.  Will keep you posted on which mops work best in the LA morgue.

Cheers, Mary Ellen

Thanks to Mary Ellen, Ron and all those providing news!

An Update On Our Reunion Projects

The Chapel accessibility project, it appears to me, has become involved in a much larger project than we may have anticipated.  All we wanted was accessible bathrooms that could be reached by all people, no matter how challenged they are.  We will keep hoping!

The 1958 Endowed Scholarship was at $92,137 at the end of February and with gifts and a good market, we may be close to $95,000.  I am still hoping we might make $100,000 before the end of May.  Three to ten people could do it!  We would become the second class to pass the $100,000 mark.

Thanks to the following donors−all since the last class letter in January.


We need help!  Our current participation rate is 38%, a long way from the 69% of last year.  We need to hear from:

  • Those of you who contribute something every year
  • Those of you who like odd years or even years, this is one of them
  • Those of you who once were donors, but fell out of the habit
  • Those of you who have never experienced the fun of returning a gift to Gustavus
  • Those of you who would like to surprise us with an unexpected gift.

All amounts count−participation is our key!

You have many choices, the Annual Fund, 1958 Class Scholarship, Christ Chapel Accessibility Project, your own endowed scholarship, funds for lab equipment, athletic fields, the Christ Chapel programs, or a gift of your choosing.  Thanks for listening!

You will note below that we are no longer your class agents.  Not our decision, but the Alumni Association voted to change the name to Class Presidents and to designate a Communication Chair (Carolyn), an Annual Fund Chair (Sam) and a Reunion Chair to be selected this fall as we invite volunteers for our 55th reunion in May of 2013.

Is there someone in the class you would like to hear from or read about?  Guest writers are always welcome.  Let us know.

Best to all of you,

Co-Class Presidents,

Carolyn Lund Sandvig

5901 Park Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55417


Owen Sammelson

618 West Nassau

St Peter, MN 56082



Campus News

Alumni Association Awards Announced

The Greater Gustavus Award is the highest award given to those, who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College.  Walter Youngquist ’42, Eugene, OR, chair emeritus, Department of Geology, University of Oregon, and consulting geologist, was selected as the 2011 recipient of the Greater Gustavus Award.  Youngquist has established five different endowed funds at the College and is the recipient of a Gustavus Distinguished Alumni Citation in the field of geology in 2002.  Walter’s father, Walter Youngquist ’16, received the Greater Gustavus Award in 1953.

Distinguished Alumni Citations recognize outstanding and exceptional professional achievement, such as unusual honor accorded to the individual in his or her field of endeavor.  Named as 2011 recipients are John “Jack” Bergman ’69, St. Francisville, LA, lieutenant general, retired, United States Marine Corp., in the field of military service; Robert Brown ’83, Rochester, MN, John T. and Lillian Matthews Professor of Neuroscience, Chair of Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, in the field of medicine; and Mark Thomsen ’78, Henderson, NV, professional operatic tenor, in the field of music.

The First Decade Award recognizes early professional achievement to one female and one male in the 10th Anniversary Class.  Selected were Kirsten Cullen Sharma ’01, New York, NY, clinical assistant professor, New York University Child Study Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, and Jonathan Poole ’01, Washington, DC, special agent, violent crime branch, Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of State.  The Awards will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 28.

Sesquicentennial Award

In 2011–2012, Gustavus will celebrate its 150th academic year.  The Board of Trustees has established an award in honor of this Sesquicentennial anniversary to recognize individuals who have made a significant difference in the life of the College.  The award, called “The Sesquicentennial Award,” will acknowledge and pay tribute to living alumni, parents, friends, and retired faculty and staff who:

  • Through actions in their personal or professional lives, have advanced the status of Gustavus as a premier liberal arts college;
  • Have set a new precedent in the ways they supported and advanced the mission of the College as an institution dedicated to preparing students “for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society”; and/or
  • Have brought particular dignity or honor to the College.

Please submit nominations online at .  For more information about the Sesquicentennial Awards, visit .

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfasts

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie breakfasts.  The speaker for May will be Carolyn O’Grady, international education and for June it is Grady St. Dennis, director of church relations.  The Minneapolis breakfast is Wednesday, May 18, 8–9:30 a.m., at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd. Cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by e-mailing the Office of Alumni Relations at or by calling 800-487-8437.

The St. Peter breakfast will be Wednesday, May 11, 7:30–9 a.m. in a campus banquet room in the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center.  Cost is $8 per person, or $15 for two, payable at the door.  Reserve your spot by e-mailing or by calling 507-933-7512.

Summer Picnic Gatherings

This year President and Kris Ohle have traveled to many parts of the country and made 15 stops in various cities, in order to reach out to all of our alumni and bring them an update from the College.  Summer will bring another round of picnic gatherings – so please mark your calendar if you live near one of these locations:

Mankato, MN – May 31

Rochester, MN – June 1

Sioux Falls, SD – June 6

Fargo, ND/Moorhead, MN – June 7

St. Cloud, MN – June 8

Apple Valley, MN – July 12

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – July 13

Long Lake, MN – July 14

Duluth, MN – July 26

Grand Rapids, MN – July 27

Brainerd, MN - July 28