Class of 1959

April 2014

55-Year Reunion ― May 30- 31, 2014

Dear Classmates,

April Showers (and Minnesota snow storms) bring May flowers and our 55th class reunion!  I believe this will be the last newsletter you’ll receive before then—so I’m urging all of you to make plans to be with us on May 30-31.  Reservation forms should be reaching you this month.

So here’s the news we’ve gathered since our last epistle.

Marilyn Espeseth Erickson, LeSueur, MN, will definitely be at the reunion.

Kay Carlson Gritton, St. Louis Park, MN, may not be able to be with us as she’s very busy with all her businesses.  She teaches water color painting, jewelry making, pottery and bead making at the Edina Art Center.  She teaches at a summer art camp and sells her jewelry at Nisswa in the summer.  This is in addition to having two antique booths in the Twin Cities area.

Betty Croonquist, Willmar, MN, spent a month in Arizona with her sister this winter.  Betty also reports that their daughter Pam’s leukemia is in remission and her last lab work was good and there were no enlarged lymph glands.  Betty will be at the reunion.

John Nelson’s wife, Mary, Estero, FL, wrote a nice note about how much John enjoyed his classmates at Gustavus and was proud to be a Gustavus graduate.  John passed away October 13, 2013 from non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Allen Peterson, White Bear Lake, MN, left our class to join the Air Force and became very involved with radar, radios and transmitters through their training.  From his Texas base he was sent to Crete for active duty.  Upon discharge, he toured through Europe and in Sweden he met up with his Gustavus roommate, Anders Bjorling (ʼ58) in 1960.  He then found work with Remington Rand which eventually became Unisys—retiring from them in 1991.  Then he worked for 3M another five years.  In retirement, he volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army emergency response team.  Always looking for a new challenge, Al in retirement worked for RPS, which became Fed Ex, and also for the Census Bureau.  Now he claims to be fully retired and in charge of the grandchildren.

Elizabeth Johnson Dahl and John, Apple Valley, MN, wrote from their three-month home in Florida.  They plan to be at the reunion.

Marion Johnson Sansted wrote that Donna Olson Olson passed away January 24, 2014.  Marion hopes to be at the reunion—health permitting.

Liz Sandquist Brown, Henderson, NV, was surprised to be awarded the “Retired Teacher of the Year Award” at Nevada’s teacher convention.  Liz has stayed very active in the teachers’ organization among other activities.

I had a delightful visit with Jean Hjert Richmond in her beautiful home overlooking Las Vegas and the mountains.  She retired from the San Diego school system as a physical education teacher and moved to Las Vegas to be near one of her daughters.  Her other daughter lives in Aurora, CO.  Jean is very active in the McGruff program in the elementary schools.

We have received a list of classmates who have given to the annual fund over the last few months.  We want to thank you for all your generosity.  Our endowed scholarship fund has finally reached the level where it can start to be awarded to deserving students, but we can continue to grow this fund for the future.

The big news at Gustavus is the hiring of our 17th president—Rebecca Bergman.  Rebecca has been on the Board of Trustees at Gustavus since 2007.  She has been employed at Medtronic for twenty-six years in the engineering area and has been a senior executive many years.  As I recall, our 50th reunion was when we met President Ohle as the new president, now at our 55th we have President-elect Bergman.  We probably won’t get to meet her though as she doesn’t take office until July 1.

Enjoy spring as it arrives and plan on being with us on May 30 and 31.

Carol Johnson Heyl  and Jerry Hoffman

1959 Co-class Officers

Campus News

Rebecca M. Bergman Named 17th President of Gustavus Adolphus College

The Board of Trustees of Gustavus Adolphus College has elected Rebecca M. Bergman to be the College’s 17th president.  Bergman is the first woman in the 152-year history of the College to be named president and will succeed Jack R. Ohle, who is retiring after serving as president of the College since July 2008.  Bergman will officially take office July 1, 2014.

Travel with Gustavus - Exploring Luther’s Reformation – Oct. 4-16

Journey on an educational tour focused on Luther’s Reformation with prominent Lutheran scholar, Gustavus professor emeritus of Religion Rev. Dr. Darrell Jodock.  Travel to Germany and Poland from October 4 to 16, 2014 to learn about the life and teachings of Martin Luther, along with the ongoing significance of his theology.  The trip is open to Gustavus alumni, parents, friends, and non-Gusties.  For more information, please visit or email Professor Jodock at  Registration deadline is May 31.

Upcoming Events

April 16 – Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast featuring Marcia Bunge, professor in religion

April 29 - Chicago Chapter Gathering

April 30 – 34th Annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference

May 30-31 – Reunion Weekend

June 1 - Commencement