Class of '59
April 2009

50-Year Reunion ― May 29 & 30, 2009

Dear Classmates,

Our reunion is less than 60 days away!  One of my roommates, freshman year, was Connie Collamore Johnson.  She is one of the many volunteers on our reunion committee and has given me this letter to publish and to stir up memories.

Memories!  This is indeed the year for us to reminisce.  At the age of fifteen my church (First Lutheran in St. Paul) sent me to spend a week at Gustavus.  Thus began my love affair with Gustavus that has continued to this day.

My first day on campus as a college student was September 9, 1955.  Some of you came earlier and some of you joined us later.  We brought many things with us―our excitement, our enthusiasm, talents, abilities, dreams, and, maybe, a little trepidation plus, of course, our belongings.  That last item was a challenge to fit into our dorm rooms ―some of us, including me, spent two years in a section in Wahlstrom sharing one of those small rooms.  Second year was luck of the draw.  Wahlstrom is no longer but my nephew provided me with a piece of it when it was demolished.  This, plus a picture of Wahlstrom, sits on a shelf in my living room.

From the fall of ’55 through the spring of ’59 our life was full with classes, dorm life for most of us, football and basketball games (big spectator sports) plus many other sports.  Many shared their talents in choirs, bands, and drama, to name just a few.

Those were great years for us and for the campus.  We saw a few changes, for instance, we moved from no dances on campus to dancing in the old gym.  The years since have seen many other changes.

We had a great football team that won the MIAC championship our freshman year.  Sororities and fraternities were a part of the social fabric of the school along with many other organizations.  There was something for everyone.  Now we come together to celebrate those years on the weekend of May 29-30.

Together we celebrate the friendly atmosphere of the Gustavus campus, our professors who had a real influence on our lives, the friendships that were formed, and the years we have lived since leaving the Gustavus campus.  Remember:  Sunday afternoon, June 7, 1959, 3:00 p.m. at Myrum Memorial Fieldhouse.  That was our day, the 97th Commencement Class.”

That last sentence really stirred up a vivid memory.  Not only did I graduate, but also we had a nine-month-old son.  From there we headed out to Laramie, Wyoming.

Be sure to attend the reunion and share memories and life experiences with one another.

And now for the latest news gathered through phone, email and Gustavus.

I’ve been trying for months to reach Roy Harley only to discover I had the wrong number.  We finally connected.  He lives in Red Wing—just 60 miles from Winona and was actually in town one day to review a Home and Community Options home.  He’s planning on attending the reunion.

Len Brown and Phyllis just returned from a two-week trip to Switzerland and Austria after visiting their daughter in London.

Marilyn Espeseth Erickson living in LeSeuer with Darrell runs a thrift shop called Treasures in Town.  Maybe we could check that out over our reunion weekend.

Chuck Lower writes that they have added two more grandchildren for a total of nine!  “It’s exhausting, but oh, so satisfying.  Almost nothing keeps us from babysitting opportunities.”

Lynda Johnson Minnick continues to work on global programs both in her congregation and related to ELCA.  In 2008, she led a three-week trip to Jordan, Israel/Palestine and Egypt.

Dan Johns (a former class agent) writes that he and Jane have lived in Tower, MN the last 11 years.  They consider their location to be a 12-month vacation home where they enjoy winter skiing, snowmobiling, and boating in the appropriate seasons.  But then he goes on to say that they do spend a month each winter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with other annual trips to Palm Springs, CA and Destin, FL.  They are also involved in their four grandchildren’s lives—two in DesMoines, IA and two in Minnetonka.

Ted and Janet (Sommers) Chell plan to be at the reunion and for that we’re thankful!  Ted underwent 35 cancer treatments with good results and Janet had open-heart surgery in late February.  She recovered remarkably after only 12 days in the hospital.

Ralph Akermark retired in 2001 after teaching history at Grand View College since 1964.  He is busy now studying economics and remodeling an old house.

Dave Eckman’s wife, Jan (Erickson ’70) reports that Dave retired in 2002 and they have three children.  Dave is challenged with dementia but has excellent memory of past events—especially Gustavus football games.

Reuel Pietz’s daughter wrote to Gustavus to let them know of Reuel’s passing.  He was officially a member of the class of 1943, but interrupted his studies to serve in the Marine Corps during WWII.  He then returned for his senior year with us.

Now if there’s any more news, you’ll just have to share it with each other at the reunion.

In this letter you will find a complete outline of events for reunion weekend and a registration form.  You may register in this form or go online at to register.  From our active class of 219, 92% have been contacted in some form or another—mostly by phone.  114 classmates have indicated they plan to attend—what a turnout!  And 113 have already made a pledge to the Anniversary Gift.  Thank you.

If you are still considering a gift, please give this a thought.  Few things bring more joy than making meaningful contributions to one’s favorite charitable organizations.  Yet many of us are unable to do so right now as we need to access all of our assets or the income they generate for present needs.  But a gift through your estate can be an ideal way to realize your larger charitable objective.  And you can designate how you want us to use your gift.  What are your favorite causes or projects at Gustavus?

The Truly Golden Gustie List

We’ve added a few!

  • Bob Adolphson
  • Ralph Akermark
  • Duane Aldrich
  • Lois Madsen Allen
  • Dennis Anderson
  • Anita Lien Anderson
  • Linda Lund Anderson
  • Roger Anderson
  • Sandie Anderson
  • Sonia Anderson
  • Stu Anderson
  • Hope Pluto Annexstad
  • Marilyn Gustafson Asp
  • Sharon Wolff Baker
  • Jane Wells Behrhorst
  • Tusa Johnson Bergman
  • Joyce Miller Biagini
  • John Bold
  • Evie Bonander
  • Marian Fickes Borg
  • Joanne Belanger Broten
  • Dean Brown
  • Len Brown
  • Mary Ann Swanberg Bue
  • Bruce Carlson
  • Jeanette Reinke Carlson
  • Deone Nordquist Cartford
  • Larry Cartford
  • Janet Sommers Chell
  • Ted Chell
  • Betty Croonquist
  • Elizabeth Johnson Dahl
  • Joyce Johnson Elvestrom
  • Paul Engebretson
  • Marilyn Espeseth Erickson
  • Lou Everett
  • Buzz Flolid
  • Donna Bjerkstrand Gray
  • Kay Carlson Gritton
  • Carol Nelson Groseth
  • Nancy Anderson Guber
  • Carol Miller Hammarberg
  • Susan Hansen
  • Ron Hawkinson
  • Bruce Heyl
  • Carol Johnson Heyl
  • Dean Hillman
  • Jerry Hoffman
  • Elaine Torrey Holmen
  • Earl Jackson
  • Weldon Jacobson
  • Paul Jeske
  • Carol Hansen Johns
  • Dan Johns
  • Brad Johnson
  • Ben Johnson
  • Bill Johnson
  • Charles Johnson
  • Cliff Johnson
  • Diana Sroder Johnson
  • Connie Collamore Johnson
  • David Johnson
  • Dorothy Rylander Johnson
  • Rod Johnson
  • Steve Johnson
  • Stanley Jurgenson
  • Fritz Kilander
  • Bob Koons
  • Carol Anderson Kvam-Hansman
  • Dick Lindholm
  • Jeanne Turnquist Lindstrom
  • Chuck Lower
  • Morris Lundgren
  • Donna Seaberg Madden
  • Paul Magnuson
  • David Matson
  • Lynda Johnson Minnick
  • Bob Moland
  • Dean Nelson
  • Evie Peterson Nelson
  • Vonnie Kyrklund Olsen
  • Allegra Nelson Olson
  • David Olson
  • Donna Olson Olson
  • Ione Hultander Olson
  • Bob Olson
  • John Pearson
  • Bob Proshek
  • Marlo Putz
  • Phil Reilly
  • Radford Reither
  • Ken RockVam
  • Richard Royle
  • Marie Munson Rutter
  • Bob Sandberg
  • Marion Johnson Sansted
  • Sally Nordstrom Sarff
  • Marilyn Ekberg Scherer
  • LeRoy Schwen
  • D. L. Smith
  • Warren Sonday
  • Peter Spell
  • Roxanne Rosendahl Steiner
  • Pat Sweeney
  • Shirley Zaske Sweeney
  • Bob Swenson
  • Mark Thorsell
  • Don Tiegs
  • Floie Vane
  • Barbara Endersbe Wallin
  • Marcia Hedberg Wallin
  • Kathleen Coffman Westgard
  • Paul Westgard
  • Jack Westin
  • Warren Woods
  • Paul Youngdahl

Now for the Maybes

If you know anyone in this group, encourage them to come!

  • Joyce Ford Anderson
  • Jack Arthur
  • Ray Austin
  • Greg Bergeron
  • Louis Bittrich
  • Narese Dahl Dudley
  • John Edman
  • Darrell Erickson
  • Dick Faye
  • Lynette Street Flato
  • Beatrice Meyers Frazee
  • Muriel Doherty Haegele
  • Dick Halvarson
  • Lorraine Hanson
  • Ann Hendrickson
  • Dagmar Kociscak Isaacson
  • Barbara Flueger Jackson
  • Joanne Swenson Iverson
  • Jeanette Westberg Johnston
  • Norma Beyers Koos
  • Bootsie Anderson Lauridsen
  • Bob Linder
  • Gloria Swanson Lund
  • Sandie Alvig Lyons
  • K. Allan Nelson
  • Pat McLane Olson
  • Sheila Ice Olson
  • Jocelyn Neufeld Palmer
  • Carol Sammelson Perkins
  • Allen Peterson
  • John Peterson
  • Lynda Hedbom Peterson
  • Betty Watson Peterson
  • Ralph Peterson
  • Jack Proeschel
  • Judy Omtvedt Rapinac
  • Avis Baldwin Rill
  • Bill Rill
  • John Scherer
  • Karen Hanson Shogren
  • Loren Shoquist
  • Bill St. Clair
  • Jim Stockdale
  • Karen Walden Taylor
  • Jim Vanasek
  • Sharon Booth Warmuth
  • Colleen Kerns Walter
  • Karen Anderson Willhite

And with this, I’ll sign off until we see each other on May 29th!

Gustavianly yours,

Carol Johnson Heyl

1959 Class Agent

152 Janet Marie Lane

Winona, MN 55987