Class of '59
April 2005

Dear ’59 Gusties,

Here I sit in Winona, Minnesota, with a raging blizzard surrounding our town home while probably half of you are basking in Arizona, California, Texas, Florida sun!  “They” say that Spring is arriving on Monday, but I’ll believe it when I see it!  Enough grumbling about this latest weather problem―at least being forced to stay indoors is accomplishing getting this letter started.

I’ve just checked with the Alumni Office to see where we stand for donations so far this year.  We’re only at 35.8% compared to last year’s 45% at the same moment in time.  The good news is that some of you have given more and we’re up by $1,000 over last year.  So, if you’ve given already―THANK YOU.  If you’ve not given, expect a phone call from Wilt or me later in April.  Student callers are making phone calls for us too.  Have a friendly chat with them and find out how they’re doing at Gustavus and then GIVE.  We do want our class to remain on the Honor Roll of givers.

Wilt and I want to thank Jeannette Reinke Carlson for her superb job on the winter issue of this newsletter.  How would you like a permanent job?  (Just kidding!)  We do appreciate others’ input into our letter—otherwise you’d get bored with the same old routine.  So everyone start thinking about volunteering for next year’s “ghost writer” position.  Gustavus supplies you with the news material, and with email, you just type away and then send it to Gustavus right off your computer.

I really enjoyed the latest issue of the Gustavus Quarterly, especially Dr. Peterson’s article on diversity.  How different Gustavus must look today compared to when the only diversity we had was Shorty Patterson ’58 on the basketball team.  I remember as a freshman how astonished I was that there were all these interesting people on campus―and they hadn’t grown up in the Twin Cities!  Why all those small towns actually produced wonderful, educated, and creative new friends!  How much richer campus life must be today by being able to meet and get to know people from so many various backgrounds.

Now that we’ve celebrated our 45th reunion, most of us are getting ready for our 50th high school reunion!  Can you believe it?  My high school is doing a number of things that I thought we might consider when it comes time for our 50th college reunion.  An updated yearbook is being produced with a current picture and brief bios.  A group has made a quilt about our school and raffle tickets have been sold.  The winner can take it home or donate it to the school for their use.  They’re going to have a “silent auction” with items that classmates are donating.  And they’re also asking us to make a pledge to our high school foundation.  These projects are a bit ambitious, but we might consider doing one of them―50 years is only four years away!

And now for the news that’s come our way since the 45th.  Evie Bonander was at her first reunion and then the Nobel Conference.  She says now that she’s retired, she’ll be more involved.

Barbara Endersbe Wallin had a wonderful time at the reunion and is looking forward to the 50th!

Dorothy Rylander Johnson and husband, John ’58, spent the winter in Florida after they attended the reunion.

And that’s all the news to come down the pike since the reunion—I guess everyone did their visiting there and didn’t feel a need to send in information.  As for me, I’ve spent the winter getting settled in our new town home.  The day after Easter, we headed South to find sunshine, no snow and hopefully green grass and flowers blooming.  I’m sending this on to Wilt for his additions.  He no doubt has visited with the snowbirds and will have more news to add.

Carol Johnson Heyl

1959 Co-class Agent

April 15, 2005

Having just recently returned to Minnesota after three months in Sun City Grand located in Surprise, AZ (Phoenix area), I’m a little delinquent about continuing this class letter.  However after a few phone calls, here goes…  Most of my information is from phone calls or personal visits with fellow Gusties.

Stu Anderson had a quadruple heart bypass just before Christmas at the Nebraska Heart Institute in Lincoln.  He is doing well and recovering nicely.  Knee surgery is next on the list.

Following our 45th class reunion D. L. Smith  called and wants to speak at our 50th reunion but wants more time.  I assured him that for this to happen it would require 100% approval of the reunion committee.

Jack Westin had promised to show up at the class reunion as I had promised Buzz Flolid he would be in attendance.  Jack where were you??

Bob Koons reports that his wife, Lorrie, was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer last August after their return from a hiking trip in Norway.  After three chemo treatments and 20 radiation treatments, the tumor has disappeared for which they are grateful.  Lorrie’s stamina is improving each day and she is back hiking.  Bob enjoyed the reunion and wants to thank everyone who was involved in the planning and the program.  Carol and I appreciate the nice comments and continue to hear many kind remarks about our 45th  reunion.

Bill Rill is close to a scratch golfer and still has that trim athletic body that made him an All American at Gustavus. 

Bob Olson has retired as ‘head’ ranger at the Hillcrest Golf Course in Sun City West, AZ.  At his retirement party, attended by over 100 friends, he was presented with a life time golf pass at all Sun City West golf courses, lifetime membership in the Golf Rangers Association of America, free use of a golf cart for life at the Hillcrest course plus a new sleeve of golf balls each time he plays.  Congrats, Bob!

Lynne Street Flato decided to skip a vacation in the Valley of the Sun.  She and her husband, Ed, plan a summer trip to his native Germany.  All ball and jack enthusiasts missed Lynner. 

While in Sedona, AZ, I stopped at the Pink Jeep Mountain Tour headquarters to check on a Jeep rental.  All they could talk about was Linda Lund Anderson and what a daring driver she was last year.  They would like to hire her on a full-time basis.

Carol mentioned that many of our classmates will have their 50-year high school class reunions this year.  Let us know what your high school is doing.  Betty and I had the privilege of seeing the Minnesota Gopher women play Baylor University at Arizona State University campus.  We met a teacher who taught at Mound with Dick Halverson.  Dick will be the MC at the West High School 50th class reunion.  Halver, give us some info on the date and the program you and your fellow classmates have planned.

I found out that Carthage, South Dakota, will be welcoming back a favorite son, namely Paul Magnuson for a 50th class reunion.  I met a friend of Paul’s at our Sun City Grand, AZ church and he informed me that Paul would have made an excellent wheat farmer had he not chosen a law profession.  This friend’s father had a business in downtown Carthage.  Paul, for his name you will have to call me.  Have a great time at your 50th.  

Dave Eckman and other members of the Duluth East class of 1955 will hold their 50th reunion in July.  Thursday they will gather at the high school for a welcome speech by Dave, tour the high school, have a picnic and party at Pike Lake.  Friday they have a cruise of the Duluth harbor abroad the Vista Cruiser.  The finale will be a banquet on Saturday evening at the Northland Country Club.  Fellow classmate, Kathleen Coffman Westgard is also looking forward to this reunion.

Thank you Shirley Zaske Sweeney for sending me the photos taken at our 45th reunion.  The Sweeney’s have a beautiful home in Green Valley, AZ.

Avis Baldwin Rill needs our prayers.  Last year she was diagnosed with temporal arteritis, which resulted in the loss of sight in her right eye.  She is now being treated by the best medical doctors available, to try and save the sight in her left eye.

Paul and Kathleen (Coffman) Westgard hosted a Gustavus/Willmar party at their Boulders home in Carefree, AZ.  Gustie attendees were Barb and Duane Aldrich; Connie and Jack Proeschel; Nancy and Bob Olson and Betty and Wilt Croonquist

This past winter, Betty and I became volunteers at the Del E. Webb Hospital in Sun City West.  I was a courtesy cart driver, a six-passenger golf cart.  This meant giving patients, family and friends, or employees rides to and from the parking lot to the hospital or the women’s health center.  There were usually 3-5 drivers on each four-hour shift.  I only worked two months but feel I already could write a book on my experiences.  You are not only a cart driver but you are a car finder, emergency room locator, at times a counselor but it was much fun.  One woman I gave a ride to had retired from Dayton’s after 35 years.  She thought John Bold was a great boss.  John, like Mag, you will have to call me to find out her name.  Betty, being a retired nurse, volunteered in the surgery family lounge. 

I had a chance to visit with retired Reverend Herb Johnson.  He and his wife, Nancy (Lindstrom ’61), are leading the good life in Livermore, Colorado.  They were in Arizona visiting Roger ’57 and Bev (Duncan ’58) Anderson.

To all former seminarians in the class of 1959:  Greetings from retired Pastor Dan Olson, who we see regularly in Sun City Grand. 

Our associate pastor in Sun City Grand at Spirit of Grace Lutheran Church is Bud Eskritt, who appreciated me giving my lutefisk recipe to one of his former Bloomington church members, namely Lois Madsen Allen.  Now her husband doesn’t have to eat out every day.

I will save my Sun City Grand canasta class story for a later edition.

May 31 ends this year’s annual fund drive.  As of April 19, we have 94 donors for 43.3 percent participation and $21,815.  We are ahead in dollars, but behind in donors by 31.  I’m sure that you are aware that the great class of 1959 has always been a leader in percentage of donors.  And remember that it is the donor participation that foundations look at when they are deciding where to give their financial support.  Together lets keep up the good record of stewardship.  Please get your contributions in prior to May 31. 

Gustavianly yours,

Wilt Croonquist

1201 23rd Street SE

Willmar, MN 56201


P. S.  The Alumni Office will add some other campus news here:

Campus briefs

Gustavus has been known for its strong tradition of alumni participation in annual giving.  Gusties support their Alma Mater in many ways and show their pride with their gifts.  All alumni and current students have benefited from previous and current support.  Gustavus will be as strong as its alumni want it to be.  The 2005 Alumni Fund closes May 31.  Make sure you are included with many members of your class and other alumni that have chosen to keep Gustavus strong.  Three easy ways to give – send your check to the Alumni Office (by using the enclosed envelope), call 866-487-3863, or on-line at 

Alumni Awards

The Gustavus Alumni Association has announced 2005 award recipients.  The Greater Gustavus Award to George Torrey ’55 for his lifetime volunteer service and philanthropy to the College. Distinguished Alumni Citations to G. Barry Anderson ’76, Apple Valley, MN, associate justice, Minnesota Supreme Court; Deanna Nelson ’64, Cary, NC, president/founder, BioLink Life Sciences, Inc.; Rick Webb ’73, Edina, MN, owner of Ciao Bella, Zelo and Bacio Restaurants; and John Wirth ’75, Pacific Palisade, CA, writer/executive producer, Paramount Studios.  First Decade Awards to Joe Gaugler ’95, Lexington, KY, assistant professor, Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine; Debbie Lightly Mascaro ’95, Fargo, ND, research scientist, North Dakota State University Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering.


The Gustavus women’s hockey team finished third at the NCAA national championship after winning the MIAC title, the men’s basketball team won the MIAC regular season title and conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA national tournament, the men’s swimming and diving team won the MIAC title and placed seventh at the NCAA national tournament and had seven swimmers earn All-America honors and the women’s team had four swimmers earn All-America honors.

Extraordinary Students

Senior Rachel Batalden, a double major in mathematics and secondary education with a 3.898 grade point average and two-time MIAC All-Conference selection at setter for the women’s volleyball team, has been selected as one of 56 student-athletes from across the country to receive a $7,500 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Senior Paul Fraser, a music and computer science major has been selected as the winner of the second annual Caltech-Occidental Composition Contest for new music for concert band. The contest drew entries from all over the world, and as the winner, Paul will receive a cash award and a recording of the world premiere of the work at a concert by the Caltech-Occidental Concert Band in Pasadena, Calif., in May.

Bricks and mortar

Southwest Residence Hall is being constructed across the Campus Drive from the arboretum on the west side of the campus and is scheduled to be finished by June.  The L-shaped facility is configured with apartments for four and six and will accommodate nearly 200 students.  A hostel space for summer programs and confirmation retreat groups is included in the residence’s plans.

With the new Southwest Residence Hall coming on-line, the College will be taking down Wahlstrom Hall to make way for future residential construction.  Crews will start the dismantling process in July with asbestos abatement, and the Kasota-stone residence hall will be razed in August.  Alumni returning for reunion and commencement festivities on May 27–29 will be able to take a last tour through the building’s public areas, stairwells, and walk-through sections following a “decommissioning” ceremony to be held on Saturday morning, May 28.

Construction crews working on the renovation of Old Main discovered a cistern under the basement flooring in March.  Gutting the interior has provided evidence of layers upon layers of remodeling done over the years, including an old stairwell in the middle of the building and what appears to be an attempt to raise the third-floor ceiling.  The Old Main project, which includes the installation of an elevator in the northwest corner of the building, is scheduled to be completed in August.

The education and nursing departments have been relocated to the newly erected Mattson Hall, which is sited just west of the Schaefer Fine Arts Center and Prairie View Residence Hall, on the south side of the campus.  These departments will remain there until a new social science center is built at some point in the future.

Upcoming Events

  • G.I.V.E. Community Service Day – April 30
  • Class of 1955 and 50-Year Club Reunions – May 27 & 28
  • Commencement – May 29
  • Alumni Fund closes – May 31
  • Reunions on Homecoming – October 7 & 8
  • Nurses Reunion – October 8