Class of '59
January 2002


This is Wilt Croonquist, your first class agent, writing the 2002 winter class letter.  I have brought back the “Which Way” heading used for the five years during my tenure as class agent.

John Erickson asked me if I would be a guest writer and I agreed.  I emailed several of you to help me with some news for this edition.  Some of you were very helpful and for that I say thank you. 

So here goes…

Class President Paul Youngdahl and wife, Nancy, are proud new grandparents for the first time as son, Peter and wife, Heidi, of Denver presented them with twins, Luke and Olivia, on June 15th.  Other Youngdahl news, which is hot off the press, is that after 32 years of living one block from Mt. Olivet, Paul and Nancy are moving.  Where to is the question?   Rumor #1, will Paul be the newest Christianity professor at Gustavus?  Rumor #2, Leave Mt. Olivet and become head pastor at Svea Lutheran, a rural Minnesota parish?  Rumor #3, Become a fundraiser for Dan Johns’ new building program?  Rumor #4, Become a power forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves?  Anyway, stay tuned for the next class letter.

Lynner (the winner) Street Flato informs me that the latest “ladies” Russian River reunion (in sunny California) took place in September.  Gusties and "x" Gustie attendees were Linda Lund Anderson, Colleen Kerns Walter, Sandy Alvig Lyons, and Nancy Oman Ward.  Host Lynner showed them the sights of San Fran, Napa Valley wine country and the Pacific coastline.  Due to the terrorist attack on September 11 Linda, Colleen and Sandy traveled home by car.  All made it back to Minnesota except Linda who got off in Salt Lake City and joined the Mormon Tabernacle choir.   The scoop is that Linda has now made it to Vail, Colorado.

Student Senate President Judge Paul Magnuson is rumored by the St. Paul Pioneer Press to have retired and gone back to the family farm in Carthage, South Dakota to raise wheat.  Not true, but Paul has spent some time in the Soviet Union helping out with their judicial system.  He will continue as a federal judge but with a reduced caseload.

Donna Bjerkstrand Gray has moved to a high rise in Richfield and stays in touch with Bev Nelson Schumacher and Marion Johnson Sansted.  Donna still has her lake place near Park Rapids.  She worked for United Airlines for 36 year prior to retiring.

Joyce Johnson Elvestrom shared that there was a great Gustie turn out in Tucson last year with all ages attending.  Joyce says not everyone in Tucson is a blue hair.

Bill and Avis (Baldwin) Rill were in Minnesota last summer to attend a niece’s wedding so we had to have a mini Willmar/Gustie reunion while they were in the area.  We also celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. They are Arizona snowbirds and love waking up to sunshine and playing golf year around.  The Rills now have their own basketball team as they have five granddaughters. 

For all former off campus men and members of OCMC (Off Campus Men’s Club) you will be glad to know that Owen Sammelson, class of ’58, and I held a very important meeting one weekend this past summer at Sand Lake.  We appointed Paul Youngdahl and Bob Olson to co-chair the next event.  Wonder if Mt. Gus Ski is still operating?

Carol Miller Hammarberg still lives in Philadelphia.  She does some traveling, makes pottery, and is still working as corporate development manager for Ken-Crest Centers.

Reverend Dave Eckman has served as pastor at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Superior, Wisconsin for almost 20 years, but plans to retire in May of 2002.  Dave has several retirement options which are 1) quarterback coach for Superior State 2) golf pro for Sand Lake Country Club 3) choir director for the Sand Lake choir.

Sandy and Sonja Anderson have retired and split their time between the Anderson cabin at Moose Lake and their homes in the Minneapolis metro area.

Retired educator and coach Dean Brown is running a charm school for area Winona coaches (???).

Connie Collamore Johnson (my chapel partner at Gustavus) and husband, Donley, have discovered the joys of elderhostels.  Last year they were in Italy with plans for Savannah, Georgia, as their next destination.  Both Connie and Donley are retired.

Word has reached this writer that John Edman was an award winner in 2001 by the Entomological Society of America.  He was awarded the honorary membership degree at their annual meeting held in San Diego this past December.  Congrats to you, John.

With the merger of Pillsbury and General Mills the word on the street is that Recipe Queen, Deloris "Tusa" Johnson Bergman, will soon become the next Betty Crocker.

Don Tiegs, owner of Cash Town Service in Ortonville, has no plans to retire.  Don, by the way, is one of the most highly regarded horseshoe players in the upper Midwest.

Is Bill St. Clair still raising beef cattle in South Dakota?

James Vanasek, at last report, was very successful selling embroidered caps, sweaters and jackets in the San Diego area.

Social chair, Roxanne Rosendahl Steiner plans to host a huge social event in the metro area this summer.

Bob Olson states he and Nancy have purchased a winter home in Arizona (Sun City area) and plan to return to Stillwater only after the snow fences have been removed and the people in Minnesota have turned on their air conditioners.  Ole asked me not to mention any golf scores when he played this summer in the Spicer area against Duane Aldrich and Wilt Croonquist.

After a 35-year business career in the Minneapolis metro area, Duane Aldrich and his wife, Barb, have moved back to their hometown of Willmar.  The idea was to retire where the Minnesota lakes begin, where five golf courses are within 12 miles of each other, and rush hour traffic only lasts from 5:00 to 5:10 p.m. each day.  Duane works part-time selling long-term care insurance.  The Aldrich’s have a twin home adjacent to the 4th tee on the Willmar Eagle Creek Golf Course.

Iron Ranger, Reverend Dan Johns sends greetings from Lake Vermillion.  Dan is a pastor in Eveleth, Minnesota.  His church has just purchased land and will be starting a building program soon.  He could use some large gifts for this project.  With the rumor that Paul Youngdahl will be his fundraiser, one can consider this building project a done deal.

Kay Carlson Gritton designs beautiful hand made jewelry.

Marion Johnson Sansted reports that retirement is still wonderful.   She enjoyed a fall trip to Connecticut to see the grandchildren.

Big Red fans Stu Anderson and Jane Wells Behrhorst are still in mourning after Nebraska’s defeat to Miami in the Rose Bowl.

Diana Sroder Johnson and husband, Clifford, live in Alto, New Mexico.  They have a daughter living in New Jersey and a son who works for International Paper.  The Johnson’s are semi-retired.

Clyde Rensted, the retired 3M executive, found a way to lose weight without dieting.  He had major surgery, but is now close to full recovery.  Clyde and wife, Audrey, spend their time traveling or dividing their time between their lake place near Emily, Minnesota or their twin home in North Oaks.

Chuck "Buckshot" Johnson is a retired financial aid counselor from Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota.  He lives at his lake place near Evansville, Minnesota. 

Doctor Waldemar "Buzz" Johanson has retired from the medical profession.  He and his wife, Lisa, plan to spend time in Maui and at their Lake Placid cabin plus enjoy the grandchildren.  It should come as no surprise that former GAC hockey star, Johanson, is a big booster of the New Jersey Devils hockey team. 

Our hard working co-class agent, John Erickson was recently hospitalized to fight a pneumonia infection.  I understand that he is on the mend now and ready to write the next class letter.  Our other hard working co-class agent, Carol Johnson Heyl called me, plus other classmates, during the recent phonorama.  Also on the phone was another former class agent, Lois Madsen Allen.

Deone Nordquist Cartford is retired.  Her husband, Larry Cartford, will retire in 2002.  They will winter in Sun Lakes, AZ.  The Cartfords recently returned from a two-week trip to China.

What ever happened to Major Reuel Pietz?  Would like to hear from him.  He was a professor at St. Cloud State University the last I knew.

Jack Proeschel is retired in Tampa, Florida and recently had knee surgery, which was very successful.  During rehab, Jack would walk two miles a day.  I believe he is back on the golf course as I write this letter.  Jack and his wife, Connie, were also visitors to Minnesota this past fall.

Myrna Landmark Noyed is a nurse with the Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis.

Rev. Ronald Johnson is retired and living in Tennessee.  His daughter, Jamin, lives in the Willmar area.

As we head into 2002 and the annual fund drive, I would like you to remember that the Gustavus Fund provides the margin of excellence to ensure that students are prepared for lives of responsible leadership and service.  Keep Gustavus strong by providing financial support.

Jeanette Reinke Carlson and husband, Alan, are still resort owners by Spicer, MN.  The name of their family resort is Island View.  The Carlson’s moved to a new twin home on the golf course last year.  Last March they traveled to Bogota, Colombia to spend a week with their daughter, Kathy, and her husband, Tim, who were there to adopt their son.  Isaac is the Carlson’s sixth grandchild.  Jeanette works part-time for a Scandinavian shop in downtown Willmar.

How come no news from the former class agent and retired Daytons executive, John Bold?

Steve Johnson has retired from the 3M Company and I heard he has returned to Minnesota.

Wilt Croonquist and his wife, Betty spent two weeks traveling by train in Europe this past summer.  They visited friends in Berlin, toured Martin Luther historical sites in Wittenberg and ended up in Switzerland where their son and daughter-in-law were teaching at an American school located at Leysin, high in the Alps, 125 miles northeast of Geneva.

The Gustavus newsletter mentioned ‘Hello Walk’ and that the Alumni Association will be introducing it as a place where Gusties meet for anything from small talk, to debate, to caring conversations.  As members of the class of ’59, we all remember ‘Hello Walk’ as the friendliest sidewalk anywhere.  Years ago ‘Hello Walk’ was mentioned in many Gustavus publications.  Why even some ’59ers drove down ‘Hello Walk,’ which of course was a big no-no!  They had to be on the look-out for Tony, the night watchman.

I would have liked to have included more news about fellow classmates but lacked the necessary information.  Note that some of the information reported in this newsletter may vary between fact and fiction but is intended for the audience’s enjoyment!! 

I had hoped my first class letter typist of some 40+ years ago, Avis Baldwin Rill, would have joined me on this newsletter but offers of lutefisk and lefse couldn’t convince her to participate.

I would like to close with some quotes by the late Dr. Edgar Carlson ’30 from an article entitled, Teaching People to Give.  “If a college has not succeeded in persuading its students to give after four years of experience on its campus, after having been subjected to the whole educational program of the institution, it has failed in its mission.  If it trains people to get but fails to train them to give, it really has no good reason for existence. It must be the hallmark of the alumni of our kind of institution that they are giving people.  That applies to everything about them – their vocational service, their family life, their church activity, and their community relations.  But it should be evidenced also in their relation to the college that persuaded them – or at least helped to persuade them – to be that kind of people.  It is in teaching people to give – of themselves, their efforts, their devotion and their means – that colleges like ours really have their mission.”

I know the class of ’59 is a giving class and that our class agents can count on your gift in 2002.

Gustavianly yours,

Wilt Croonquist

931 County Road 8 SE

Kandiyohi, MN 56251



P.S.  Now for some news from campus:

Campus News

Hi!  My name is Tracey Hanson.  I’m a senior, double majoring in Communication Studies and Business Management.  I’ve worked in the Alumni Office all four years and can hardly believe that I’m in the middle of my last J-Term!  After a longer-than-usual Christmas break, it’s great to be back on campus.  Instead of taking a class (and doing homework) this J-Term, I’m spending my time slaving away in the Alumni Office.  It’s great to have the extra time to relax and do other activities that J-Term allows.  Having unlimited time at home each night has made for some great cooking!  And getting to watch “Friends” without worrying about the homework you should be doing instead is also a plus! 

The campus is full of life and excitement.  The theme for J-Term 2002 is "Our Global Village," and the month will be a celebration of cultural diversity as we grapple with social, political, economic and philosophical aspects of our ever-shrinking world neighborhood.  Faculty are offering 29 different classes that tie into this global theme, many of which are travel courses.  Examples include Islam and Culture, and Chinese Cooking and Culture.

Gustie music ensembles are also very busy.  The Gustavus Band will embark on an international tour this J-Term.  The band is touring Sweden and Norway, presenting “Music from America.”  The tour dates are January 16 through February 10.  The tour concludes with a homecoming performance at 4 p.m. Feb. 10 in Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Choir is busy preparing for their tour of the Midwest during Touring Week in February, concluding with their home concert Feb. 16 in Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Orchestra will tour Minnesota, the Dakotas, Colorado, Kansas and Iowa.

You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming alumni events:

  • February 2      Chicago Chapter event - 6:00 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m.

    Gustavus Choir Concert

                            Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 815 S. Washington St., Naperville, IL

  • February 16    Naples Chapter event - Naples Beach Club

                            851 Gulf Shore Boulevard, Naples, 11:30 a.m. social, 12:30 p.m. luncheon

  • February 17    Vero Beach Chapter event - Dawn (Ekstrom ’67) and Ted Michael residence

                            2506 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach, 12:30 p.m. social, 1:30 p.m. luncheon

  • March 7          San Diego Chapter event
  • March 8          Tucson Chapter gathering
  • March 9          Phoenix Chapter gathering
  • March 10        Sun City Chapter gathering

More information will be sent to alumni and friends in these chapter areas.

As I prepare to graduate in June, I find it increasingly hard to think about leaving this place.  It hardly seems possible that four years have flown by, and that in six months I, too, will be considered an alum.  I will always carry with me fond memories of my four years here.  GO GUSTIES!!!