Class of '59
September 2005

Dear ’59 Gusties,

I have volunteered to write this class letter as Carol Johnson Heyl is in Seattle helping out her son who is going through chemotherapy.  Please keep the Heyl’s and their son in your prayers.

With most of us celebrating our 50th high school reunions, I’m reminded that a short 50 years ago we were entering our freshman year at Gustavus.  My mother and Nancy Oman’s mother drove the two of us to Gustavus in the fall of 1955.  It seems like yesterday.  Gustavus seemed like an extension of Willmar High School as 15 Willmar grads entered as freshman that year.  Twelve of us were 1955 high school grads and 3 were returning vets.  As one of my Gustie friends once said, “I thought Willmar must be a large town as everyone I met seemed to be from Willmar.”  Of the 15 who entered Gustavus as freshman, 9 graduated from Gustavus, 4 transferred to the University of Minnesota and 2 dropped out.

The 50th class reunions this year that I know of are:

High School

Gusties attending

Carthage, SD

Paul Magnuson

Duluth Central

Marilyn Gustafson Asp

Duluth East

Kathleen Coffman Westgard

Dave Eckman

Fergus Falls

Linda Lund Anderson


Kay Carlson Gritton

Minneapolis North

Bunny Anderson

Dagmar Kociscak Isaacson

Sally Nordstrom Sarff

Minneapolis Washburn

Carol Johnson Heyl

Minneapolis West

Dick Halverson

Minnehaha Academy

John Elstrom


Sandy Alvig Lyons

Duane Aldrich

Tusa Johnson Bergman

Barb Endersbe Wallin

Wilt Croonquist

Ann Hendrickson

Jack Proeschel

Clyde Rensted

Ralph Olson

Paul Westgard

We are saddened by the recent death of our classmates, Merlyn Bork and Chuck “Buckshot” Johnson.  Gustavus and your class agents had lost contact with Merlyn.  Buckshot, before his retirement, was the financial aid officer at Southwest State University in Marshall, prior to that he was a teacher and coach in Ada, MN.  Both Gustavus baseball catchers, Duane Aldrich and Bill Rill, commented how fast Buckshot could throw a baseball.

The Alumni Office has informed Carol and me that our last years Alumni Giving amounted to $31,570 with 125 donors which represents 57.6 % participation from the class of 1959.  A huge THANK YOU to all classmates who gave so generously to keep our great college growing and excelling.

The last class letter (April 2005) mentioned that Avis Baldwin Rill was being treated to save the sight in her left eye.  April 20th Avis was air lifted to Harbor View Hospital in Seattle where they discovered she had a tumor above her right eye.  Thanks to many prayers and her skilled neurosurgeon, her 16 hour surgery removed the benign tumor and her vision has been improving ever since.  She is back to driving locally, played bridge where she took second place plus, and is looking forward to a family trip to Disneyland and Mexico in October.  Quoting Avis, “I’m doing great from the neck up…from the neck down I’ve developed osteoarthritis…quite common for most of us old folks.”

In June I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Reuel Pietz and his wife, Mary, in their St. Cloud home.  At Gustavus he was Major Reuel Pietz and now he is Lieutenant Colonel Reuel Pietz, United States Marine Corps, retired.  Following graduation from Gustavus, Reuel went back to active service and served as a Marine aviator fighter pilot in Korea plus staff time in El Toro, CA.  He retired from the military in January, 1965, serving 23 years in the Marine Corps.  He was ready for a second career so he enrolled at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina and received a master’s degree in geography.  He taught at St. Cloud State University for 27 years, retiring as professor emeritus.  Reuel and his wife, Mary, have a lovely home located near the St. Cloud Country Club.  Mary Pietz is a retired nurse, a graduate of the University of Nebraska.  She met Reuel when they both were stationed in San Diego, CA.  They have two children who are Gustie grads.  Eric, class of 1970, is a sales manager in the Winter Park, Colorado Ski area.  Pamela, class of 1973, is a researcher (Ph.D.) with the Wildlife Biologist Division in Jamestown, ND.  Reuel turned 84 years young on June 19, 2005.  He brings greetings to all.  They still have a farm in Westbrook, MN.

This past June, Paul Youngdahl visited his doctor for hip pain.  An x-ray spotted a large aortic aneurysm that required immediate surgery.  Rev. Youngdahl headed for the Mayo Clinic.  Following a successful surgery, Paul spent almost two weeks in the hospital plus recuperation at home.  He has spent a month at Mt. Olivet’s church camp, Cathedral of the Pines and is now back preaching.  His restrictions are no golf or basketball this year.

Bob Holmen had a stress test at Mayo Clinic in early June and was hospitalized the same day.  He had quadruple bypass surgery two days later and is now progressing very nicely at home.  Bob had just returned from a ski trip prior to his stress test.

Betty and I had lunch this summer with Nancy Oman Ward and her father, Vernon Oman, also a Gustie, class of ’35.  Nancy is working full time at a local California Community College in the math department.  She loves her work and can’t imagine retiring.

I talked to Elizabeth Sandquist Brown this past spring and was informed that she had been elected to the Board of Directors for her town-home association in Henderson, NV.  She spent two weeks this summer at her daughter’s cabin near Spooner, WI.

Stu Anderson, are you still wearing the Big Red cowboy hat that you won at our 45th class reunion?  If so, keep on wearing it as the Cornhuskers are 3 – 0 so far this season.

Narese Dahl Dudley has traveled over 8,000 miles crossing Canada and the east coast of the USA.

A. John Pearson is enjoying retirement from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas.  He and his wife, Carol, enjoy traveling and spending time with their four grandchildren.

Sunnie and Sonia Anderson spent time in Florida and Arizona this past year.  They also hosted many parties at Sand Lake this summer.

What was Fritz Kilander doing in Mexico?  Rumor has it he was visiting his daughter and doing some painting.

Dean Hillman is still in New York where he has resided for the past 30 years.  He is still teaching and doing research.

Ted and Janet Sommers Chell continue to live in Canada where they have dual citizenship.  They proudly announce a new granddaughter, their fifth grandchild.  Ted has been retired for five years and is now on his fourth pastoral interim.

Dave Eckman and wife, Jan (Erickson ’70), continue to split time between Sand Lake and Lehigh Acres, FL.  Dave’s youngest son, Scott, is now in the military.  We extend our sympathy to Dave and Jan on the recent death of their brother-in-law, Bobby Krig ’53.

Richard ’58 and Pat McLane Olson have a granddaughter on the St. Olaf ski team plus a 14-year-old grandson who is a basketball player.

Marian Fickes Borg and husband, Paul ’58, toured Norway and Sweden this summer.  They love their home in Western Washington where it feels like vacation all the time.

Marie Munson Rutter has rafted on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.  She also has traveled to China, New England, the Canadian Maritimes, West Coast of Canada, Antarctica, Florida, Denver and the Caribbean.  Their two sons and grandchildren live close to them.

Larry and Deone Nordquist Cartford left in mid-June for a trip on the Danube.  They traveled from Bucharest to Budapest.

Ann Carlson Wendt of Raj Soin College of Business at Wright State University traveled with her daughter to Tortola, British Virgin Islands where she taught conflict management in a business course.  Ann says, “It’s a tough assignment but someone has to do it!”

Ben Johnson continues to serve his home congregation in Melby, MN.  He also teaches each summer at an ecumenical scripture workshop in West Virginia, plus he also has a role at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.  His wife, Suzanne (Wasgatt ’60), is involved in music and art in St. Cloud.  The Johnson children had a surprise 45th wedding anniversary party for Mom and Dad in May.

Lynda Johnson Minnick and husband continue to live in Chicago.  Flowers and gardening on their small Chicago lot has turned from a hobby to an obsession.

Another gardener is Marilyn Gustafson Asp.  She has a sister and brother-in-law in Sun City Grand in Surprise, AZ who she visits in the winter.  Marilyn, Sun City Grand is where Betty and I retreat to come January 1.  Let’s get together, our cell phone is:  320-295-1361.

Charles Lower from Madison, Georgia is proud of his eight grandchildren who he calls “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”  They range in age from 9 months to 9 years.

Jeanne Turnquist Lindstrom traveled to the Canary Islands to watch her daughter, Kris, play golf.  Kris was on the European Tour this summer.  Jeanne and husband have eleven grandchildren.

Pastor Paul Youngdahl received the Good Shepherd award given by Luther Seminary.  The award honors Youngdahl’s deep commitment to the vocations of young people.  The President of Luther Seminary said, “Paul Youngdahl is a leader among pastors and has worked hard to build a bond between young people and pastors.”

The newest building in Eveleth, MN in 40 years will not be a taconite or iron ore facility but the new home to United in Christ Lutheran Church, where Rev. Dan Johns is the pastor.  Betty and I had the opportunity to spend some time on the range this summer.  We had dinner with Dan and Jane Johns and Skip ’58 and Sonya (Harbo ’58) Talus, at the Country Club in Biwabik (where Skip and Sonya have a beautiful summer place.)  The next day Dan Johns gave us a tour of his new church.  The dream of this new church began several years ago when the congregations of Eveleth and Gilbert combined.  The reality began last Labor Day when volunteers broke ground for the new church.  For you Range natives, the site overlooks Highway 53 and is the former location of Von’s Drive In Theater.  The target date for the first service is October 15, 2005.  The average age of the volunteers working on the church project is 70-years young.  Five hundred thousand dollars was raised through a capital fund pledge drive.  The estimated cost will exceed one million dollars.  Slabs of taconite are being used to form the altar wall.  The wall is symbolic of the Range.  Dan says with this being the newest construction in 40 years, he calls it a “ministry for the 21st century.”  It is symbolic of the rejuvenation of the Range and a great sign of faith on the part of the members.  Our best to you and your great core of volunteers!

I recently had lunch with Dagmar Kociscak Isaacson and her husband, Bob.  Dagmar wanted to get on the ’59 mailing list.  She brought me up to date on other Minneapolis North grads.  She sees Bunny Anderson and Sally Nordstrom Sarff.  Dagmar gets some Gustie news from Gloria Swanson Lund, also a Minneapolis North grad.  Welcome Dagmar!

Sandy Alvig Lyons was also an attendee at the Willmar High School 50th class reunion.  Sandy has been missing on our Gustavus roster, but I am assured that she will be sending us some news for our next class letter.

Paul and Kathy Coffman Westgard had a busy summer traveling.  They have been back to Minnesota numerous times; a grandson’s high school graduation from Minnetonka, Paul’s mother’s memorial service, Kathy’s 50th high school class reunion at Duluth East, and Paul’s 50th reunion from Willmar High School.

I saw D. L. Smith at the recent memorial for George Mikan held at the Minneapolis Target Center.  He was in the VIP section so I did not get a chance to visit with him.  However I did receive a note from him assuring me that once all of his kids graduate from college he will become a huge donor to the class of ’59 Alumni Fund.

Jack Proeschel and his wife, Connie are anxiously awaiting the completion of their new town home/villa in a Tampa, FL suburb.  Both Jack and Connie were in Minnesota for the Willmar High School 50th class reunion and then for Connie’s annual nursing reunion.

I just received word that Paul ’58 and Marion Fickes Borg and Carol Johnson Heyl were recent dinner guests of Bill and Avis (Baldwin) Rill.

I have not heard from either Paul Magnuson or John Bold as requested in the last class letter.

Campus News

A New Year Begins

The 144th academic year began September 7 with 2,600 students and approximately 710 new students, the largest enrollment and new class in college history.  Some changes in the general education curriculum will also be implemented this year, including a foreign language requirement for graduation.

Class Reunions/Homecoming

Class Reunions and Homecoming Weekend will be October 7-8.  This is reunion time for the classes of 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, and 2000, but all alumni are invited to attend the events, even if it is not a reunion year.  There is a full schedule this year with athletic events; seminars on aging, Living CSI, and the Linnaeus Arboretum; dedications and tours of Mattson Hall and renovated Old Main; as well as performances by comedian Scott Novotny ’75, many Gustavus musical ensembles and the Rockin’ Hollywoods.  The schedule is designed to provide activities for alumni and families.

Wind Orchestra Tour

Join Gustavus alumni and parents on a companion tour with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra to Eastern Europe January 17-27, 2006.  The trip includes visits to the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria and will be hosted by Tom Emmert, professor of history, and Jon and Anita (Thomsen) Young ’77 ’77.

Nurses Reunion

All Gustavus nurses are invited to the 45th anniversary of the nursing program at Gustavus on Saturday, October 8.  Events will include the dedication and tour of Mattson Hall, the facility that houses the nursing and education departments, a luncheon with keynote speaker Dr. Donald Swenson on “Celebrating Our Roots,” and a slide show presentation of the history of the college's nursing program.

Announcing the Gustavus 2006 Alumni Fund Campaign

“When you get your invitation in the mail or receive a call from a Gustie student or classmate, commit to making your gift to the Alumni Fund this year,” encourages Jan Michaletz ’74, alumni board member, class agent, and 2006 Alumni Fund Chair.  The Michaletz family―Russ ’74, Mara ’02, Annie ’05, and John ’08―have agreed to chair this year’s alumni fund drive.  The 2006 Alumni Fund goals are to achieve 9,000 donors and $1,185,000 dollars in alumni giving.  The 2006 fiscal year began June 1, 2005 and ends May 31, 2006.  Gifts to the Alumni Fund will immediately support current Gusties in the classroom, in labs, on the playing field, in the library, and more.  Tuition does not cover the real cost of educating students today, nor did it when you were a student at Gustavus.  Since its inception in 1954, the goal of the Alumni Fund has been to help keep the Gustavus educational experience accessible for current students.  Give the gift of Gustavus to a current Gustie by making your Alumni Fund gift this year.

The 2004-2005 Honor Roll of Donors is now available online at:  The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who have made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2004 and May 31, 2005.  To find your name or to check out your class results, point and click from your home or office computer.  To have your name included in the 2005-2006 Honor Roll of Donors, go to to make a gift online.

Nobel Conference

The College’s 41st Nobel Conference, The Legacy of Einstein, will be held September 27-28.  The panel will consist of scientists in the areas of statistical physics, relativity, cosmology, and unified theories, who will discuss current work in the areas of Einstein’s greatest contributions.  In addition, a historian of science will explore the impact that Einstein’s discoveries and his social and political views have had on science and humanity.  Also, a play, Clockworks:  Einstein Time, will be premiered, the Physics Force group will perform, and a symphony orchestra concert will celebrate Einstein through music.

Alumni Directory

In partnership with Publishing Concepts (PCI), a comprehensive alumni directory is being produced and will be released in 2006.  PCI will be contacting alumni to get current information.

First Frost * A Royal Affair

Since 1977 Gustavus Library Associates has helped raise funds for the endowment of Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library located at Gustavus.  Over 1,000 guests will attend First Frost * A Royal Affair, the biennial gala dinner/auction benefit at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington on Saturday, October 29.  This year Evelyn Young ’33, a long-time GLA supporter, is being honored.  The program will feature tenor Mark Thomsen ’78 and will be hosted by former Miss America Gretchen Carlson and physician and Gustavus parent John Najarian.  Contact the Office of Public Relations at 800/726-6198.

Athletics Hall of Fame

On Saturday, September 24, Gustavus inducted the following people into the Athletics Hall of Fame:  Holly Brodmarkle Cervin ’87, track and field; Marc Illies ’85, baseball and football; Marc Iverson ’89, football; Gretchen Koehler, coach; Jay Rooker ’85, soccer; Rich Skanse ’84, tennis; Dick Walters ’75, hockey.  Mary Mansour ’85, softball, has also been selected but will be inducted Fall 2006.

Campus Progress

Whether it’s planning for brand new buildings or renovating old ones, the Gustavus campus is always changing.  A new web site has been designed to keep you updated on the changes taking place on campus.  Check it out at:

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Washington, D.C., Gustavus gathering — October 7
  • Class reunions for 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 — October 7-8
  • Nursing reunion — October 8
  • Homecoming — October 8
  • Family Weekend — October 7-8
  • Black Student Organization/Pan Afrikan Student Organization Reunion — October 14 – 15
  • Washington, D.C. Gustavus gathering — October 23
  • A Royal Affair * First Frost — October 29
  • Wind Orchestra Companion Tour to Eastern Europe — January 17-27

The Holiday season is drawing near and we are hopeful that you will remember to add Gustavus to your gift list.

Gustavianly yours,

Wilt Croonquist

1201 23rd Street SE

Willmar, MN  56201


Carol Johnson Heyl

152 Janet Marie Lane

Winona, MN  55987