Class of '61
May 2003

Dear ’61 Classmates,

Spring is in full bloom at Gustavus.  Sunday at the 125th anniversary alumni band concert, the weather was rainy and very windy, but the beauty of the surroundings was obvious through it all.  Our classmate Dr. Carolyn Wedin was the only one from our class to play in the alumni band concert.  Dr. Arne and Miriam Lind Lagus picked us up for the event.

May 31 is the end of the Gustavus Fund for this year, and we still are very short in dollars and participation levels compared to last year.  Please check your records and send in your pledge if that has not been done yet.  Spring Phono calls went out from the Radisson South Hotel in Bloomington during the final week of April, but I still have a few calling cards for classmates who could not be reached at that time.  We really need each of you, so please join the class even if you have not been contacted.

An article on the sports page of the Star Tribune on Monday, April 28, tells the story about Ryan Hoag ’03, the Gustavus football player about whom I alerted you in our last class letter.  He was drafted last in the NFL football draft.  The Oakland Raiders made him “Mr. Irrelevant.”  The article says, “As ‘Mr. Irrelevant,’―Hoag, along with Carson Palmer―will go to Newport Beach, CA, in June for the pageantry that goes along with the honor.  He’ll float up to the party in a big blue whale and get a number of gifts, including the ‘Lowsman’ Trophy.  Hoag can appreciate the humor, but it doesn’t detract from the mission.  ‘I plan on taking the ‘i-r’ out of irrelevant by the end of training camp,’ he said.  ‘I’m going to come in and make a difference.’”


Dr. James Peterson Named 14th Gustavus President

James Peterson ’64, president and CEO of the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, was selected as the next Gustavus president.  Peterson is married to Rev. M. Susan Pepin Peterson ’65, senior pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul.  They have two married children including Erika Peterson Eklund ’94.  Jim will start his official responsibilities at Gustavus in July 2003.

Alumni Fund Closes May 31 – 1000 new donors needed

The Alumni Fund closes May 31.  Gustavus alumni are trying to again be the best Lutheran college in percentage of alumni annual giving.  The goal is to reach 45% participation this year.  If you have already given, THANK YOU!  If you have given in the past and not yet this year, Gustavus students need your support again.  If you have missed giving, Gustavus needs only 1,000 new donors to reach the goal.  Give online at <> or call 800/487-8437.

Campus Focuses on Peace

Three annual conferences this spring discuss peace.  Conflict Resolution: International, National, and Local was the theme of the annual student-run “Building Bridges” Conference in March featuring Nobel Peace Laureate Oscar Arias Sanchez, former president of Costa Rica. The Association of Congregations Meeting featured Protestant leader Lyle Schaller talking about the future of the church and the changing role of laity and church staff.  And the annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference in April was titled, “World Religions: Waging War or Promoting Peace?” featuring keynote speaker Krister Stendahl, emeritus professor of divinity, Harvard University, and former bishop of Stockholm, Sweden.

Men’s Basketball Team National Runner-up

The men’s basketball team lost a heartbreaker in the NCAA Division III championship game 67-65 to Williams, on two game-winning free throws in the final seconds of play.  Gustavus was the first MIAC team to ever make it to the championship game.

Celebration of Community Service

The Community Service Center at Gustavus is ten years old.  Since its creation, students participating in community service and service learning in the classroom has dramatically increased.  Currently 60% of the student population participates in some sort of community service program while at Gustavus.  The annual G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors) day of community service this spring was a time for alumni and students in Minnesota to gather at Gustavus to celebrate and serve, while alumni in other cities also did service projects in their own communities.

Upcoming Events

  • 1953 and 50 Year Club Reunion – May 30 & 31
  • Alumni Fund Fiscal Year Closes – May 31
  • Commencement – June 1


Our classmate Allen Roalson passed away suddenly on March 11, 2002, from a brain aneurysm.  Allen lived in Sugar Land, TX, with his wife, Kathy, and he was employed as a territory manager for Carrier.  One son preceded him in death and Allen referred to him and to his surviving son often during Phonorama conversations.  There were two other surviving children: both their daughter Lori and their son Bradley live in Austin, TX.  Allen’s classmates send sympathy to you, Kathy, and to your family.

Michael and Sue Dahl Doe, Stillwater, are looking forward to the boating season on the St. Croix River.  Their home overlooks the river.  Sue has recovered well from a stroke that occurred shortly before our 40th reunion, keeping Sue and Dr. Mary Annexstad Francis from attending as they had planned to do.  Sue and Michael have three children and six grandchildren plus another one who is expected.  There are two older boys, but the other grandchildren range downward from four years of age.  David and Jo Larson Karvonen, St. Paul, both retired at the end of February, and, “are in a state of shock—still trying to figure it all out.”  Jo’s mother turned 90 on March 4.  This month David and Jo are planning to spend three weeks in Italy, and on their return trip they hope to stop to visit David ’65 and Mary Towley Swanson while they are in Paris.  The Swansons’ son lives in Paris so David and Mary spend extended periods visiting there.  The Karvonens’ older son works with Thrivent Financial and their younger son, Andy, is studying for a Ph.D. at the University of Texas in Austin on the combined subject of environmental studies and architecture.

Herb and Judy Carlson Olson, Mound, have been in the Czech Republic since mid-March when they left for Europe to get to Prague before the birth of a grandchild there.  Tom ’87 and Jennifer ’87 expect to be in Prague at least another year.  They have daughters who are 7 and 3, plus the new child.  David and Jean Linne, Edina announce that David, Jr., (a Gustie) will marry Tina Shirek from Wisconsin in May.  She is a graduate of St. Benedict’s College.  Dave and Jean are planning a driving trip to Austin, TX, to visit Jean’s sister.  Their lake home is on Gull Lake, and they stay there two or three times a winter.  Thanksgiving is often a family gathering time there because nearby Nisswa is fun for the family that weekend with sleigh rides, fireworks, hay rides and other activities that add to the festive format.  Dave now drives to Hastings to serve as the nanny for Karin.  Their grandson, Jorgen, 2 ½, is now in day care.  Dave was elected to the Board of Directors for the Credit Union.  Jean continues to teach in the medical school at the University of Minnesota, and the textbook she wrote is used by other medical schools as well.

Jim and Judie Brown Mortenson, Bloomington, both continue working.  Judie is especially busy at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church where a building project is underway to add classrooms, storage areas, choir rooms and such space.  At present each room in the building is used for about three purposes.  Judie’s 91-year-old mother (who flew to Palm Springs, CA, to visit Judie’s sister and family there recently) and Jim’s 93-year-old father live in the same elderly facility.  The Mortensons spent time in February in their Bonita Springs, FL, condominium.  Their daughter, Chris, and Don live in Mounds View and their son, Greg, who has their two grandchildren aged 14 and 9, lives in St. Michael.  Bruce and Deanna Warner, Plymouth, say their son met Rev. Dr. Paul D. Hanson at Harvard University.  Cameron is in his second year of a Ph.D. program in Tibetan studies at Harvard.  He is a graduate of the Divinity School there.  He translates a lot of Tibetan texts and has traveled in China, India and Tibet.  Their older son has begun a new position with Starkey Laboratories about a year ago.  Bruce and Deanna have moved into a townhouse in Plymouth.  Bruce joined Chuck Jerabek ’62 on a skiing trip in Vancouver, BC, during the winter, and Deanna joined him for a vacation in Vancouver.  They have also gotten together with Arlyn and Judy (Schlottman ’63) Kettner.

Sally Enstrom, Minnetonka, and Carol Olson Heath, Minneapolis, teamed up in March and April on a trip to parts of South America and to the Galapagos Islands.  There were about sixteen airplane flights and a million steps involved in hikes and stairs to see many great ruins and other sights.  They have many fabulous stories to relate, but they admit that toward the end of the trip they could no longer negotiate all of the steps.  Dr. Milt and Lorna Jafvert Reed, Friendswood TX, were in the Twin Cities the first weekend of May for Milt’s mother’s 101st birthday.  Lorna says that they also spent time helping Sarah with some wedding plans for her marriage in the summer.  Milt is functioning very well again following brain surgery and rehabilitation, and he is able to work again as a consultant in the space program.  Lorna is serving as a long-term substitute teacher to cover a maternity leave.  Their son, Eric, and his wife are searching for a home near Atlanta, GA.

Wayne and Sandra Otto, South St. Paul, had just returned from Florida when we got a hold of them on Phonorama.  They loved finding our class letter on their computer rather than in a pile of mail in a bag.  Any classmate who would like to receive our mail and other newsletters from Gustavus may request e-mail coverage by sending an e-mail address to the Alumni Office.  Wayne and Sandra were keeping a watch for spring and looking forward to going out-of-town to see a nephew play baseball.  Marshall and Marilyn Swanson Burke, Woodbury, had two sons married in April.  Eric Ottem married Kelly on April 12, and Hans Ottem married Lisa on April 18.  One couple will live in River Falls, WI, and the other couple will settle in North St. Paul.  Marilyn’s daughter now lives in Hudson, WI.  Marilyn has retired but she still works a little for Ramsey County in nursing positions vacated by medical personnel who are serving in Kuwait and Iraq.  Marilyn has gotten together with Joan Miller Hoffman who was her freshman roommate.

Dr. Maury and Jan Sanftner Elvekrog, Birmingham MI, were in Cancun in February; they enjoy hosting their children and families on vacations at least once a year.  Upon their return they went to babysit, Lauren (Julie and John’s daughter who is about 41/2 in the Chicago area), and in June they will babysit, Jack (2 ¾) and Husten (almost 1) in San Francisco for Jon and Allison.  Both young couples had weddings to attend.  Jan writes, “Grandparenting is grand fun.  Full-time careers get in the way now and again, but we still love our work.”  Kirsten (with a new MBA) works with Abbott Laboratories and manages “a brutal commute” in Chicago.  Eric is with Duff & Phelps in the Chicago loop.  Maury and Jan write, “We are cheered by Milt Reed’s (Lorna Jafvert Reed) swift recovery from his medical ordeal.”  Stanley and Hazelle Dahl Gordon, Minneapolis, are back on the farm for a while in Walnut Grove.  During the busy spring season, they work at the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum where many school tours take place in the spring.  “By the end of May we are usually very tired,” notes Hazelle.  Classmates who would enjoy visiting the historical facility will find it open everyday.  Stan is in the process of retiring, but still has one strong client to keep him busy.

Ray and Karen Rapp, Cannon Falls, announce a new grandson:  Adam Christopher was born to Christopher and Melissa in April of 2003.  He has a two-year-old sibling.  Ray was elected to a four-year term on the Hospital Board beginning January 1.  It should be a busy assignment since Cannon Falls hopes to build a new hospital.  He retired from the fire department (after 34 years and 9 as chief) four years ago.  Karen has had successful by-pass surgery that included a heart valve replacement.  Ray golfs on Wednesdays with Dick Dalton.  We hear that Dick really appreciates having Ray for a partner because Ray is the superior golfer!  When Phono reached Ray, he had just watched President Bush on the aircraft carrier.  It all reminded Ray of his 26 months aboard the FDR carrier serving as a ship photographer who recorded official take-off and landing pictures in case they would need to be studied.  Betty Estesen, Tucson AZ, sends greetings to classmates.  She is enjoying her new retirement but finds that life is busier than she had anticipated.  Her pet cats enjoy having her home more often though.

Rev. Ron ’59 and Lorene Johnson Johnson, Fairfield Glade, TN, sent in a gift during the holidays on which they extended greetings to both of their classmates.  They commented, “We were glad that Steve Hogberg ’69 (Gustavus Advancement Officer) called tonight.  We thought we had sent a gift to the Alumni Fund but discovered neither of us had sent the gift.  Giving to Gustavus is one of the best ways we can remember Cec Eckhoff ’56, Ross Blomquist ’46 and others who served Gustavus so well.”  Dan ’63 and Mary Beth Longe Malloy, Cedar Rapids, IA, have sold Malloy Custom Pianos to another musical dealer after 25 years in business.  Dan continues working as an employee in the business, which is still named as it was, but Mary Beth has retired to devote more time to the grandchildren (one of whom is already a teenager).  She also volunteers by accompanying in music in the local schools.  They enjoy First Lutheran, sing in the Adult Choir and play in the Bell Choir.

Dr. Jon and Elizabeth Fredlund, Anoka, have five grandsons who are all of school age.  Jon sends greetings to Rudy Gulstrand and remembers a lot about a canoe trip which those two and a neighbor took in 1958.  Rudy was the Eagle Scout who helped them survive the northern Minnesota adventure, which included having their packs ripped up by a bear or bears.  The week before Spring Phono, Jon shot a wild turkey in Nebraska, and he says that he saluted Gustavus when driving through St. Peter.  His 89-year-old mother (a former full professor at the University of Minnesota) entered a nursing home in December.  Jon’s brother works for a bioengineering company and had a personal ten-minute talk with Bill Gates, who is on the company’s Board of Directors.  Mr. Gates has a large foundation that supports health efforts in Third World countries in Africa.  Dr. Merwyn Larson, Mason City, IA, reports that they just had their 32nd wedding anniversary.  Both of their children now live in the Twin Cities area.  In the winter Merwyn and Beverly found three months in Arizona to be very pleasant and worthy of repeating.  They visited with Dave Lucas, and Merwyn remembered a motorcycle trip that Dave, Merwyn and John Karrow ’60 took for six weeks across the northern part of the country to New York and back when they were students.

Tom Meltesen, Lilburn, GA, has recently retired from owning a manufacturing business.  Their daughter, Jennifer Lynn, will marry on July 19, which is also the birthday of their son, Jeff.  Jeff works with the Nashville Song Writer’s Assn. and Hank Williams III sometimes jams with Jeff’s band.  Another son lives in Des Moines where he manages a Xerox company, and that family is expecting the first grandchild for the Meltesens in September.  Don and Janet Nelson, Fridley, say that Rev. Gerald Hoffman,’59 husband of Joan Miller Hoffman, has been their interim pastor for the church on Moore Lake.  Don is with the state’s Pollution Control Agency―13 years in that position.  The week before we called, Don gave a presentation to elementary students about protecting resources and marine life; he enjoys such assignments.  Janet writes for pleasure and volunteers at the art center near them.  They look forward to camping in the summer.

Rudy and Bonnie Gulstrand, Rocky River, OH, write that their youngest daughter Jennifer, a graduate from Miami University of Ohio, married Matthew Bengle, a graduate of Dennison University and Columbia University of New York on August 24, 2002.  She is with Hartford Insurance and he is a project manager who works on the same account as Jennifer, but with a different company.  The young couple will live in German Village in Columbus, OH.  Richard Skogg, Duluth, planned to do a track meet called Duluth Invite the day after his Spring Phonorama call, but he says, “Working anymore would interfere with my golf game.”  Richard and Barbara chaperoned a choir trip (Duluth East) to Europe (especially Austria, Czech Republic and Germany), shortly before his retirement.  In January he went on a golfing trip to Florida while Barbara visits Kentucky.  They have a new grandson: Jackson Skogg was born March 21, 2003, to Kevin and Keri in Minneapolis, who also have an older boy.  A granddaughter was born to Ryan and Kara who are in the process of moving to Eden Prairie.  Her name is Chole Skogg and she was born July 14, 2002, and welcomed by older sister, Annika, who was born July 21, 1999.

Dr. Carolyn Wedin, Frederic, WI, discussed her upcoming two-day trip to campus at Spring Phono.  She said that it felt strange to be one of the oldest participants in the 125th anniversary band concert.  She took her husband, Tony Rolloff’s father’s band hat along, and it was selected for special display!  The hat dated back to the 1930s.  Brendon will marry Jill Schnaiber in Seattle this August and their reception will be at the Nordic Museum.  Carolyn spent time in Seattle this winter to dog and cat sit.  She says that the Ballard area is very Scandinavian.  Doug and Carolyn Weber, Blue Earth, report that the youngest of their 14 grandchildren, Carter, will be two soon.  He lives in the Twin Cities with parents Tony and Andrea.  Doug reveals that the word, “retirement” is not in his vocabulary.  All of their children are independent; the oldest son, Scott, has already retired from the Air Force after twenty years of service.

Arlyn and Judy (Schlottman ’63) Kettner, Fort Collins CO, are happy that the church project will be completed in June; Arlyn has been in charge of that project for the congregation.  Now he has been hired as the church administrator.  Judy has retired recently.  They hope to be heading to Germany on a Reformation Tour in fall that will include the famous Martin Luther sites there.  If anyone would like to travel with the group, they will respond to e-mail requests with information about the venture.  (  The Kettners have six granddaughters aged 8 to 19 years (one is attending college).  Sally Johnson Audiss, Byron, had a hip replacement but is doing well.  A bone scan in January identified the problem.  She was hospitalized for some days close to Easter.  Sally says that retirement is good!

Donald Vodegel, Ashby, was busy planning a Coots Unlimited banquet for Friday of the week that he spoke with Phono.  He says that more than 400 people are expected to attend.  Donald and JoAnn enjoyed a recent vacation in Hong Kong and China for three weeks.  One of their children lives near them; the other is in the Twin Cities.  Robert and Elizabeth Huemoeller, Fairmont, say that their oldest daughter Lisa and Aaron were surprised by the early birth of Andrew Voight in mid-June, 2002.  Lisa had earned a double master’s degree at the University of Washington in Seattle, and she anticipated walking in the graduation exercises on January 14.  On March 29, 2003, Jeff and Dori, who had been married for 12 years, became the parents of twins:  Tate and Josef.  Bob was finishing a tax return-gone-wrong at Phono and then they planned to leave to visit the newborns.  Bob still works full time but enjoys fishing and playing in a concert band.  His mother passed away at 91, but she enjoyed good health until the final months.  Our sympathy goes out to you and your family.

Richard and Barbara Miller, Spring Lake Park, announce a new granddaughter.  Emily Jane Hagel was born February 21, 2003, to Robert and Deborah.  She was a bundle of cheer to the family, arriving just five days after Barbara’s father died.  The Class of ’61 extends sympathy to your family as well.  Richard says that a memorable aspect of the last year was the golfing trip to San Antonio for three weeks.  The family has purchased a new boat.  Dick has memories about playing ball against Dr. Paul Thompson when Dick was at Dassel and Paul was at Litchfield.  Jane Thompson Hixon, Burnsville, was hurried when her GAC call came through, but she sends greetings to classmates.  She says that neither of the children has married.  Jane enjoys retirement and is busier with volunteer work than she expected to be.

Don and Peggy McCollum, Oconomowoc, WI, have both retired.  Don volunteers at the local hospital in admitting and with hospice.  Ray and Sheila (Ice) Olson, both Class of ’60 visited them recently.  The McCollum’s oldest grandchild is a great student at the University of Oklahoma in her freshman year.  Orlin Billehus, Montevideo, has three grandchildren:  Naomi Ann Fedor was born to Jody ’85 and her husband in San Francisco in August, 2002, and Colleen Lani Spielman is almost 29 months old and lives in Brooklyn Park.  Vicki is her mother, and she has a sibling, Ryan.  Orlin enjoyed visiting in the winter with Rev. Ron and Darlene Koch in Arizona.

Wayne and Gert Kneeskern, Richland, IA, were entertaining guests when their Phono call came through.  They will be sending news after their sixth grandchild arrives during the third week of May.  Robert and Chris Olson Misewich, Cambridge, were in Steward, FL, for about three months in winter.  Chris says that she is retired but babysits often for the new grand babies.  Matthew Miller, son of Jill and Jon was born August 2, 2002, and lives in Stillwater.  Sophia was born August 19, 2002, to Nicky ’93 and Ken Brown.  On March 21, 2003, Annascina (an old Swedish name) was born to Krisanne and Scott Wessel.

Jerry Doebbert, Detroit Lakes, says that his calendar now reads,” Sunday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, etc.”  Their son and his wife expect their first grandchild about mid-July.  Jerry and Linda had planned another summer trip to Europe, especially Italy, but they have postponed that adventure and now are hoping to do some camping this summer in Utah and Colorado, and they traveled in Denver, New Mexico and Mexico during the winter.  He still officiates although he had angioplasty done on one leg.  He says that he stays away from basketball work now, but still enjoys football, volleyball and baseball.  He also drives buses for sporting events and charter situations.  Kay Peterson Gutzman, Falcon Heights, has been in business for herself for ten years doing historical research.  She is thinking about retirement.  At present she is also employed three days a week at Barnes and Noble.  Richard Skogg had remembered the automobile accident in our freshman year when weekenders Harlan Anderson ’60 and Kay were seriously injured in Paynesville.  Daily chapel prayers were made for the two students for a long time; Kay was fortunate to recover but Harlan lost an eye and had brain damage.  Kay says that she still cannot recall anything from the incident, and authorities speculated that carbon monoxide problems could have been involved.

Tom and Marlene Vartdal Meyer, Mission Viejo, CA, are planning to get to Minnesota again in the summer.  Marlene’s sister and her family now live in the long-held family cabin on Lake Sylvia near Annandale, and the Meyers join them for great family times.  Tom continues to teach mathematics at Saddleback Community College in California.  Their daughters are fine.  One in Colorado has three granddaughters for the Meyers; they are aged 2, 4 and 7.  Marlene plans to fly to Colorado soon and then drive to Minnesota from there later in the season.  Edward and Carol Burgess Juers, Inver Grove Heights, report some health issues but say that they are doing well once again.  Carol continues to work with the Afton Medical Group.

There must be other news notes because I remember other items.  Since we are getting close to the end of this Gustavus Fund year, however, the class letter will end here and other items will be included in the autumn.  Enjoy an especially relaxing and invigorating summer and then send in news about the great time you had.  There are still some classmates who have not been available when calls were made to them so I will be attempting at least once more to reach them in the upcoming weeks.  Remember May 31st!  I do not exaggerate; we have a small class for our decade and we need every one of you with us to be successful.  Gustavus is a cause that no one else is likely to support for us alums.

Your Class Agent,

Virgene Sehlin