Class of '60
September 2007

Autumn!  Is there any better season anywhere?  I love it.  On more than one occasion in writing the fall letter I have resorted to quoting Keats’ Ode to Autumn.  Now I have found a new one to use.  It is from George Eliot:  “Delicious Autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”  Well, had she lived today, she may have said, “if I had enough frequent flyer miles I would fly about the earth…”

Here are some emails from classmates which I received last spring and summer.

Hi Denny,

            Thanks for your continuing work on the class letter―it is always great to read them and catch up on friends!

            We have recently traveled to Morocco, Portugal and Spain and enjoyed a fascinating trip!  Mac Gimse (Jackie McKenna Gimse’s husband) was our tour guide for Spain and Jackie joined us for a few days of the trip.  Now we are headed next week to Norway and Finland, a coastal voyage from above the Arctic Circle down the Norwegian coast as well as time in Helsinki and also the Sami people in northern Finland.  Then it will be relaxing time at Sand Lake and the Gusties in that area for the summer.  Stop by and see us at the lake!  Hope all is well with you, Barb Nordstrom Hanson.


Hello Denny:

            Our class letter caught up to me today and I thought I’d give you a news note right away before I forget to get around to it.  (Thought for the day:  The sooner you fall behind, the sooner you can begin to catch up!)

            Anyway, as it was with so many of our classmates, we celebrated 50 years out of high school with our Edina Class of ’56 last September.  Those who attended, of course besides me, included Fred Rogers, Bill Shogren, Bob Engstrom, and Steve Lundgren.  We managed to get Engstrom to come out of retirement long enough to conduct a fine “Celebration of Life” service in a local park memorializing the several classmates who have passed away.  Thanks to Lou Eckman Engstrom, we had fine music accompaniment.

            As we began to track down everybody’s whereabouts, we discovered quite a few classmates who reside, at least in the winter, here in Southwest Florida, and we managed to hold a committee meeting a year ago with about 15 in attendance.  Our class was fortunate in having a couple people who did a great job of tracking the missing classmates.  One of our resources was a classmate whose career included several years with the CIA.  Even so, we could not find about a dozen of them.  (I’d bet there are a number of Gustie class of ’60 who winter here in the Naples/Ft Myers area in the winter, too)

            Jean and I managed to get in a trip to the Galapagos Islands back in February, along with three other very good friend couples.  Those islands, about 600 miles due west of Ecuador, inspired the research of Charles Darwin that resulted in his “Origin of Species.”  Of course, it was a learning experience and a very fun trip with good friends.  (I had always hoped to be able to see a Blue Foot Booby, a bird commonly seen in the islands and all kinds of other animals and creatures unique to the islands were observed, as well).  We have heard the ice is out of the lake, so will return to Minnesota this coming Thursday.  Have a fine summer, Byron Helgeson.

When the Star/Tribune did a feature article on living with unusual names, they mentioned Orpah Jungclaus JohnsonPaul Tidemann saw it and sent her a copy.  Here is the response from Orpah to Paul:

            Thanks for sending the Star/Tribune article.  It was fun.  I wish, however, that they would have included the “50 words or less” that I wrote.  THAT was the good part.  You might be interested to read it:

            I like my name.  It is "almost famous."  Whenever I write a check or use a credit card I can see the clerk looking closely at my name.  The bolder ones will say, "Did you know that was supposed to be Oprah's name?”  I smile and reply, "So, I’ve heard.”

            Imagine my embarrassment as a college freshman.  The professor would be reading the role for the first time and suddenly there would be this long pause.  I KNEW he was struggling over my name.

            I had an older brother named Orlin.  He died at the age of one year from tonsillitis.  (there were not antibiotics available to the public at that time.)  A year later I was born and named Orpah, a Biblical name.  Perhaps my parents named me to remember the little boy who had died.

Orpah continues, “Both of us (Dick and Orpah) retired from teaching in 1997.  A year later we moved to Northfield.  It is a great town with both Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges―IF we can put up with those Oles!!!!  I got high speed internet and my e-mail changed.

Thanks for thinking of me.”

From Linda Pierson Engebretson:

            Paul ’59 retired as OB-GYN physician at the Alexandria Clinic in summer of 2004 (I had retired several years before from my mentorship coordination position).  For six months over the winter of 2004-05, we lived in Tasmania, the island state of Australia.  Paul was OB-GYN consultant at the Royal Hobart Hospital in the Global Medical Health program.  Great experience for him, and we spent much time sight-seeing in all of Tasmania, mainland Australia including the Barrier Reef, and New Zealand.

            Winter of 2005-06 we rented a duplex in Sun City West, Arizona, and bought a small house this winter, where we lived for two months.  For two weeks in January and February this year, we were mission workers at Camp Penuel, a camp for disadvantaged children, in Costa Rica.  We physically worked hard and then spent a week touring the country, which is very beautiful.

            Meanwhile, we still live on the lake in Alexandria; enjoy that and our children and grandchildren in the summer months.  Paul’s dance band, ‘Doc’s All Stars,’ is playing numerous gigs around the area.  Anyone wanting to book a big band can contact him at

            DJ:  Did you see the picture of Linda, Paul and her two sisters in the last Quarterly?  They were doing a mission trip in Costa Rica.  While there they met a 2007 graduate of Gustavus.  Also, our nurses are pictured on the same page as they were holding their biennial reunion.  Check it out.  Page 53.

Paul Tidemann is a great connector with Gusties.  After the shooting in Moscow, Idaho, Paul contacted classmate, Cameron Johnston for his response.  Though the incident has been pushed off the news pages by other events, nevertheless, you will be interested in Scooter’s response:

Hi, Janet and Teed;

            It was 11:30 PM on Saturday.  I was compiling baseball statistics for my grandsons’ baseball team when I heard, what I thought was, gunfire.  However, there were so many shots, and they continued for more than a half hour, so I determined that what I heard must be firecrackers.

            On Sunday morning, there it was on CNN, an ambush in Moscow, Idaho.  A local T.V. station had coverage for most of the morning on Sunday.  A gunman fired shots from an automatic weapon from the parking lot of City Hall into the dispatch center of the police station in order to lure policemen out of the building.  When they came out, two policemen were gunned down.  One died, the other is in serious condition.  A neighbor came out of his house to see what was happening, and he was shot.  The neighbor is in stable condition.  The gunman then retreated to a Presbyterian church across the street, and continued firing for more than a half hour.  Our grandson attended pre-school in this church a couple of years ago.  The shooting then stopped.  Police never fired a shot because they could not determine where the shots were coming from, and they didn’t want to endanger other neighbors.  Attempts to contact the shooter failed.  SWAT teams from surrounding areas came to assist.  At the break of daylight three SWAT teams stormed the church and found two bodies.  One body was that of the caretaker of the church who lived at the church.  The other body is that of the gunman who committed suicide.  The officer who died is the first fatality of an officer on the Moscow police force in the 110 year history of the force.  Later, on Sunday morning, the wife of the shooter was found dead in their home.  Four people dead and two people wounded.  Such a senseless tragedy!  Things like this are not supposed to happen in safe, isolated, semi-rural America…and it’s all too close for comfort.

            I agree with your anti-gun observations.  Many residents of Idaho are gun-obsessed.  Angry misfits, Ruby Ridge, anti-government types, American Nazis, Tim McVey, Mark Fuhrman, live and hide out in the Idaho mountains.  The shooter was a convicted felon who was prohibited from possessing a firearm.  He bought an arsenal of weapons over the internet.

            Thanks for your inquiry.  Jeanette [Westberg ’59] and I keep plugging along, and are very involved in the care of our five grandchildren.  Jeanette enjoys her new hip.  Jim ’61 and Luray Wiberg are planning to stop here in July on their way to Holden Village.  Keep in touch,  Jeanette and Scooter

Doecaricatures anyone remember this caricature that appeared in the Student Union in 1958 at the time of the election of Pope John XXIII?  Vic Gustafson ’42 took it down because he thought Esbj (Robert Esbjornson ’41) would be embarrassed by it.  Au contraire, Esbj loved it and has kept it all these years.  Of course, this gives me an opportunity to plug a book that I have written in collaboration with the great man.  It is titled, “Esbj! The Heart and Mind of a Professor.”  The college is including information in the college news section of this letter.  Who is the artist?  Buy the book to find out!  Or a prize to the first person who emails me with the answer.  The winner cannot be the artist.

Esbj now resides in the Benedictine Center adjacent to the new Saint Peter Hospital.  His mind is sharp.  His body gives him trouble.

Jan Jensen Eilers writes from Belview, Minnesota, “Retirement is grand, but my greatest pleasure is spending time with my first grandchild, Jacqueline Olivia.”

classmateLorna Chumley Berlin has been elected to signature membership status in the American Watercolor Society.  Her painting “Waterlily Mosaic” is one of 96 works selected from 1313 paintings.  It was on display at the 140th show at the Salmagundi Club Gallery in New York City this spring.  This election entitles Lorna to add AWS to her signature and in all publicity.  The purpose of the society is to promote the art of watercolor painting and exhibit works from the BEST contemporary watercolorists.  Congratulations, Lorna!

Martha Jonson Miller had a good year of travel.  Included were a cruise to the Greek Isles in November, a 10-day stay in St. Thomas in December and a Caribbean Cruise in March….and in July she took a 12-day cruise to the Arctic Circle to watch polar bears.  All four of Martha’s grandchildren live in Minnesota.  Martha, I trust you take a few cruises to Minnesota!!

OK, through the years we have reported about lots of grandchildren, now we are at an age when some classmates are becoming great-grandparents.  Judy Sand Burmeister (naw, she’s too young) announces her first great grandson, born in Burnsville.  “What a gift!” says Judy.

Classmate David Carlson will chair the newly formed Presidential Search Committee at Gustavus.  David is a trustee at the College and was elected by his colleagues for this important task.  Bring us someone who has Carlsonian qualities!

Campus News

Gustavus has traditionally been ranked by U.S. News and World Report in their feature called “America’s Best Colleges.”  If any of you see this annual ranking, for the year 2008 Gustavus was listed as “Unranked.”  This is because of confusion over how Gustavus uses test scores as part of its admission process.  No need to worry, Gustavus is doing well and more than 3,000 students applied for admission, admitting that they are more interested in the school’s academic excellence and reputation rather than these rankings.

Athletics Hall of Fame ― Gustavus will induct new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet on November 3.  They are:  Tim DeJarlais ’91, golf; John Erickson ’81, hockey; Dave Hultgren ’92, baseball; Craig Miller ’91, cross country; Mindy Mayerchak Oosten ’88, softball, soccer; Mike Schumacher ’91, football; Ann Sommerness Simms ’92, swimming; and Ryan Skanse ’92, tennis.

Esbj!  The Heart and Mind of a Professor  Rev. Robert Esbjornson ’41 has collaborated with Dennis Johnson ’60 in writing a book.  It’s part biography, part memoir and includes a sample of Esbj's writings.  Former students of Esbj will find this a rare opportunity to revisit all the excitement of encounters and conversations with this beloved professor.  Johnson and Esbjornson will be on campus during homecoming for a book signing from 10:30-12:00 in the Campus Center.  After that day, the book will be available in the Book Mark.  Proceeds will benefit the Esbjornson Fund within the Chapel Endowment.

Dr. Mary Morton, Gustavus’ new provost and vice president for academic affairs, assumed her position on Monday, July 2.  In this role as chief academic officer, she oversees academic programs and strategic planning at Gustavus.

Gusties Gather! – September 30

Gusties around the world are called to gather on Sunday, September 30.  The Alumni Board is designating this day as a way for Gusties to stay connected with each other.  In research among alumni, we know that Gusties already stay in contact with many alumni, and we know that Gusties have a strong interest in staying connected with other Gusties and with the College.  If there is a gathering in your area, we hope you will consider attending.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Gusties Gather! – September 30
  • Nobel Conference – Heating Up:  The Energy Debate - October 2 & 3
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 12-14
  • A Royal Affair – Razzle Dazzle, October 27
  • Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet – November 3
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel – November 30-December 2

That’s all for now―let’s keep up the good work on the annual fund:  145 (65 %) of us gave to the fund…down by 8 from the year before, but up in dollars from $22,027 to $23,222.

I just got my invitation to attend the Ren Anderson Society Reception at Gustavus on October 13, homecoming.  I have many memories of Ren ’34, including his frequent visits to the campus during his retirement.  Ren would stop in to see Cec ’56 when he was on the hill or even call the office to check the annual fund figures.  He started the fund and he was its greatest cheerleader.  I also remember him poring over the donor directory as he sat in his kitchen―sometimes wondering why he didn’t see this name or that name as a donor.  It puzzled him that someone would miss the opportunity to support Gustavus.  I got my first annual fund “thank you” note from Ren.  It was one word:  Tremendous!  I felt good about that.  It is tremendous to give to a school that does so much for students.  It is tremendous to be part of the Ren Anderson Society.  Yes, I am a proud Gustie―even now that the school doesn’t pay me to say it anymore.

Hoping your name will be on the list this year and every year.

1960 Class Agent