Class of '59
September 2009

Dear ’59 Classmates,

It seems like only yesterday when many of us gathered at Gustavus to celebrate the passing of fifty years since we graduated.  But summer has flown by, the leaves are changing, there’s coolness in the air, and I’ve just returned from Leadership Day at Gustavus.  And I can hardly contain my excitement—so I’ll report that first.  I was awarded the “Tom Wersell Class Agent of the Year Award” for the work all of us did for the reunion.  I wish I could share the beautiful clock with everyone because our reunion was truly a group effort.  (I think there’ll be a picture in the next Quarterly.)

Following our reunion, I received emails, phone calls and notes from so many saying how much they enjoyed the reunion.  Thank you for all the kind words.  I think Bob Moland in Canada summed it up best in his phone call to me.  He said, “When we were students at Gustavus, we ate together, lived together, studied together, and played together much like a family.  We didn’t run home on weekends, but really got to know each other.  So this reunion was more than a class reunion—it was like a family reunion and homecoming.”

Since the reunion, everyone received copies of all the talks given except for Evie Bonander’s acceptance speech on her Distinguished Alumni Citation.  I’m including it now as it was a real class speech.

“It was 50 years ago when I (and we―my classmates) were handed a piece of paper―the tangible evidence of successfully completing our years at Gustavus.  But that hardly tells the story.

As I reflected back on those years, I recalled so much for which I am grateful, including:

Challenging academics: so challenging that, for me, organic chemistry ended any possibility of a career in the sciences.

Valuable life learning:  often I have recalled the hours I spent listening to patients at St. Peter State Hospital as they shared with me their strange and frightening world― especially the woman whose bones were made of glass.  This was my introduction to issues of social justice.

Influencing mentors:  those professors who engaged my intellect; who helped me shape my questions; who inspired my spirit; who broadened my worldview―even the professor, who when I told him I had accepted a job as a social worker, told me I was making a big mistake.

But most of all I am grateful for the supportive community Gustavus provided me, and all of us, as together we met the ups and downs of growing up; of learning to be present to one another; of discovering the joys of friendship; testing our values; deepening our faith; sharing our disappointments; rejoicing in all the surprises.

A couple months ago when I received another piece of paper from Gustavus informing me of this award, it was the greatest surprise.  Throughout my career I have been called many names―some to my face and, no doubt, others behind my back, but I have never been called “distinguished” “distinguished alum.”

I am so proud to be a Gustie:  I am so humbled by and so grateful for this honor.  My heartfelt thanks!”

And we are so proud of Evie too!

Class News

News that has come to me since the reunion:

Sally Nordstrom Sarff writes that she maintains three seasonal homes—Plymouth, MN, Venice, FL and Grand Marais, MN.  I don’t know how she does it—keeping up one is enough for me!

Reuel Pietz’s (deceased) daughter wrote about her dad and also told how she and her sister were going to put a granite rock in the arboretum’s  “Coneflower Prairie” in honor of her dad.

A John Pearson is retired but still works part-time as sports information director for the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Jeanne Turnquist Lindstrom reports their youngest daughter, Kris, had a son, Maxson, which completes Jeanne and Ernie’s perfect dozen grandchildren―6 girls and 6 boys.  They are blessed!

Lynnette Street Flato was with us in spirit since she couldn’t be at the reunion.

Connie Ostrom Lund in Olympia, WA writes how she would have loved to see all her Wahlstrom girl friends but couldn’t come to the reunion either.  She and Roger ’57 have eight grandchildren from the Coast Guard Academy down to the first grade!  She and Roger have also been in ministry school this past year and by now have started their second year.

Lois, Elaine and Linda send greetings from Dave Eckman.  picture

They write, The last weekend in August we combined an overnight to continue our recent lunch conversation with an opportunity to spend an afternoon with Dave Eckman.  We had a delightful time visiting with him and he thoroughly enjoyed Carol’s reunion DVD that we shared with him.  His recognition of many of you triggered stories with insightful recollections so typical of Dave to tell.  He wasn’t able to be at our reunion but continues to appreciate his Gustavus connection with enthusiasm enjoying memories, friendships and news.  Dave’s address is: David Eckman, Bayshore Health Center, 1601 St. Lewis Ave., Duluth, MN 55802.

Warren Woods called soon after the reunion to let me know that his dear wife, Karen, had passed away.  She had battled multiple sclerosis for many years.  We’re so glad Warren was able to attend the reunion and contribute his creative writings.  I hope to use one or two in future letters.  Warren also said how he enjoyed the ’50s CD and that he used Frankie Laine’s “Believe” as part of his eulogy to Karen.

I had written Scott Griesman last fall hoping to encourage him to attend the reunion but never heard from him.  Just last week I received an email from him saying he had just relocated my note.  Scott lives in Texas, divorced in ’85, daughter in New Jersey who with her husband, lobbies for children with autism, son in Texas is with the Air National Guard.  Scott spends time with him diving and sailing.  Scott also sees Mark Bjorkman about three times a year—just recently in Florida fishing.

Don Tiegs called to let me know that he wasn’t at the reunion as he had a corneal transplant just about then.

Susan Hansen just emailed me that she’s moving the end of September from Cheboygan, MI to South Lyon, MI to be nearer her children—how nice!

I just ran across Jeanette Westberg Johnston’s letter sent after the reunion and just need to include at least a portion.  “About three weeks before our 50th reunion I said to myself, “I’m going.”  Before that time I had thought it not wise to venture out alone with all my paraphernalia.  So for the second year in a row off I went.  (I had been to the 50th reunion of the class of ’58 as I had spent two years with them.)  Without the help of friends, I could not have had such fun.  I laughed, I cried ‘til the tears ran down my legs!!  If Scooter and I are up to it next year we just might be at his 50th reunion.”

I want to say a special thank you to Avis (Baldwin) and Bill Rill who although they couldn’t be at reunion, were able to send out picture note cards to all the attendees.  Modern technology is wonderful what can be done from a distance.  Thank you very much!

Sadly, at this point I need to tell you that my former husband, Bruce Heyl passed away from lung cancer on August 22nd.  We visited him in July and he said how much he enjoyed receiving all the reunion material.  His memorial service was last Sunday—all three of our children were able to be there.

And now for a brief report of what I learned at Leadership Day.  Gustavus is the most beautiful campus I’ve ever been on.  It remains true to its core values of Faith, Service, Community, Excellence and Justice.  US News and World Report ranks it 80th in liberal arts colleges.  In athletics we’re ranked 8th for academics and all sports.  We’re also 8th in dining facilities.  Our Peer Education Program is recognized nationally.  We have one of the most fit student bodies.  The Forensics team is ranked 18th nationally.

Goals for the current year are to develop emergency preparedness, and comprehensive health and wellness programs.  We hope to continue updating facilities and begin construction of a new academic facility.

Gustavus met their enrollment goal of 660 new students—they actually beat it with 661! The ACT scores have risen to 27; out of state students are up 3% and students of color has risen from 11% to 14%.  Of the incoming freshmen, 580 have participated in the online alcohol education program, which is intended to inform and educate students about alcohol and consequences.

Meetings have been held about Commission 150 for the past year and will be unveiled on October 10th.  This will be the focus and direction for Gustavus to go forward.  I look forward to hearing the results and will forward them on to you in the next letter.

As I read what I’ve written, it occurs to me that I could easily reproduce the DVD for anyone who would like a copy.  It won’t have the music in the background but the rest would be there.  If you’d like a copy, write or email me your wish.  If I get a lot of requests, I may have to charge postage—but any proceeds will go toward the Annual Fund.

I also promised the West Coast group that I’d be visiting Dan in Seattle this fall and would definitely visit them too.  Well, with Bruce’s death, traveling wasn’t an option—but we do hope to get there sometime soon and I will call on you.  That’s all the news that’s fit to print. Stay well—no flu, etc.

Gustavianly yours,

Carol Johnson Heyl Stone

152 Janet Marie Lane

Winona, MN 55987


Campus News

GLA Membership

All of us remember the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library.  It was a place for study and, depending on your era, finding a “coffee date.”  But, in the 21st century, it has become much more.  It is a technology-rich laboratory for learning and a storehouse of culture and recorded knowledge.  It must constantly be strengthened to ensure excellence in education.  The Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) provides financial support for the library and a program of events to its members.  Join this year and immediately make a difference.  Whatever membership gift level you choose, 100% goes directly to the library’s acquisition budget.  Join today at!!!

Homecoming and Family Weekend – October 9 & 10, 2009

Join us for Homecoming and Family Weekend festivities this year!  Parents, alumni, and friends of the College are invited to return and reconnect on this great weekend.  Check out all the activities on the Gustavus alumni web site (

A Walk in the Arb

As part of Homecoming Weekend, the Linnaeus Arboretum will be hosting its annual Fall Fest on that Saturday, October 10.  Come enjoy a guided hike through the arboretum and browse its many beautiful flower gardens and tree collections.  Maple trees will be in their fall peak this weekend.  Master Gardeners and tree care experts will be available to address your questions and concerns, so bring a branch!  Bring your kids (accompanied by an adult) for a hayride through the arboretum.  Have a look at this year’s scarecrows around the Borgeson cabin!  Enjoy cookies and lemonade, purchase an arboretum t-shirt.  There will be books available for purchasing and signing by two local authors, Jan Dunlap (Birder Murder Mysteries) and Jim Gilbert (Minnesota Nature Notes).  Join Us!

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.

Upcoming speakers:

President Jack R. Ohle – Oct. 21

Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80 – Nov. 18

Thomas Young ’88 – Dec. 16

Upcoming Events

  • Nobel Conference:  H²0 Uncertain Resource – October 6-7, 2009
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 9-10, 2009
  • Athletics Hall of Fame – October 17, 2009
  • Gustavus Library Associates – A Royal Affair – November 14, 2009
  • Farewell for Steve and Barb Wilkinson, Minneapolis Hyatt - December 12

royal affair