Class of '61
November 2003

Dear Classmates of 1961,

My, oh my!  The turkey is thawing, and a class letter has not been sent!  It is seriously high time to thank everyone in this great class for their very generous and faithful support of Gustavus.  Thank you very much, each classmate.

In the 2003 Gustavus Fund our participation percentage was 73.2%, with 153 classmates contributing $56,503.61.  Those figures represent one classmate less than one year ago.  Your generosity is appreciated greatly.

Phonorama calls reached some of you, but many classmates remain to be called.  If you want to use your gift as a tax deduction from taxes this year, please send a check during December as you usually do, and then either include news notes or wait for a call sometime before May.  Students are calling as part of the Gus Link program, but I have the cards for our class at this time.  Should your record card be with another class (usually true if your spouse is in another class), student callers may be contacting you.  The gift you pledge to them will go to the Gustavus Fund just as if you pledged to a classmate.  There are now more than 21,000 active alumni, and Phonorama calls cannot reach everyone.

Sad news about staff members when we were students may have reached you already.  (Classmates with e-mail connections may submit an e-mail address to the Alumni Office.  Gustavus then sends periodic reports about campus news and news flashes about special events.)  Sculptor-in-residence Paul Granlund '52 died Sept. 15, "of respiratory failure and other complications of long-term exposure to the chemicals and dust involved in sculpting bronze," as noted in a Minneapolis Star Tribune article printed on September 17.  "He was Minnesota's best-known sculptor and he created 650 mostly bronze sculptures:" 100 are in Minnesota, including at the State Capital and the governor's residence, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, and the campuses or Gustavus Adolphus, St. Olaf and St. Thomas Colleges.  Internationally works are in Sweden, England, France, Italy, India, Hong Kong and Japan.  The article also shares some of his final words:  "When the hospital chaplain said during a bedside visit how much he admired Granlund's sculptures, especially the religious ones, Granlund struggled to lift his oxygen mask, then whispered, 'They're all religious.'"

Dr. Rodney Davis passed away at the Apple Valley Health Care Center in Apple Valley on October 27.  The Gustavus e-mail memo said, "A professor at Gustavus from 1953-1990, Dr. Davis received his B.A. from Trinity College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University.  Davis was interested in teaching the disadvantaged, and he developed a text and method for teaching history.  He also co-authored Power, Public Opinion, and Diplomacy (1959) and wrote numerous articles.  He taught history, political science, and peace education courses.  He was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, American History Association, the Medieval Academy, and AAUP."  Dr. Davis challenged many of us who were not history majors in Western Civilization classes.

There is no additional news beyond the initial announcement, but Elmer Suderman, St. Peter, died on August 30.  He was Professor of English from 1960-1986, and he taught part-time from 1989-1998.  At the class agents' meetings, my visit with Dr. Bernie Erling '43, professor of Christianity, brought out the news that his daughter died this year.  She left a young family and a very sad father.

Class Agents' Day on September 13, was fall-colored and warm on campus where the landscape plan remains exceptional.  The almost-tropical-looking plants in a display near the chapel's front doors were attracting thousands of butterflies (which may have been in the migratory process).  That day the chapel displayed large hanging paintings of the apostles.

The Gustavus Library Associate's Royal Affair to benefit the library attracted a large crowd to the Radisson South Hotel in Bloomington with colors, lights and drums in the décor and a good showing of '61ers in attendance:  Dr. Fred '62 and Lorraine Sandvig Carlson, Bruce and Sue Gray, Jim and Patti Maedl Krough, Dr. Arne and Miriam Lind Lagus, and probably others. 

Now Christmas in Christ Chapel is only a week away, with its theme: "Some Children See Him."  We will be attending the Saturday afternoon service and hoping to see some of you.

The Nobel Conference, "The Story of Life" was very well attended; in fact Jan Huntington Nelson, Minneapolis, and her daughter Lonnie (also a Gustie who now lives in California) came to St. Peter but could not secure a ticket.  I was unable to attend this year, but another classmate at Phono mentioned having seen classmates.  Without notes, I recall that David and Jean Linne, Edina; and Ron and Nancy Langness, Hudson, WI; were on the list.  In another letter further attendees can be named.

During the fall Sid and I attended a Medicare/ Medica meeting in Brooklyn Center.  We were barely seated when Harlan '60 and Judy Fairbanks Sandberg, New Hope came in also.  It was a good opportunity to visit, except that Harlan was in the early recovery stage following heart bypass surgery.  Isn't all of this Part A and Part B and "respond between four months before or four months after your 65th birthday" stuff a lot of fun?  Can you believe that it is already time for this?

This year's 2003-2004 Alumni Fund is being chaired by the Ren '34 and Sylvia (Benzon '36) Anderson family.  Beginning Phonorama was Ren Anderson's idea, and the first calls went out to alumni in 1958 when we were on campus.  Both of the Anderson sons, James '60 and Thomas '62 were on campus with us.  Jim's son, Scott Anderson '89, spoke to class agents as representative of the family and announced the goals this year, including 50% participation, 10,000 donors and $1 million dollars.  Participation is a special problem now because it is very important measure of how outside foundations and sources of funds perceive Gustavus and because it becomes ever more difficult to reach alumni when each graduating class has 600 to 700 new alumni.


College opens 142nd Academic Year - More than 700 new students, including transfer students and international students, joined the Gustavus community this fall, keeping the total student population around 2,515. The retention rate of students from the first to second year remains at 90 percent. These students will be taught by 198 full-time and 55 part-time faculty. Gustavus was again ranked in the top third of the 214 national liberal arts colleges by the U.S. News and World Report.

The Alumni Fund Turns 50 - On June 30, 1954, the first Alumni Fund officially closed with 1,204 donors (32 percent) and $26,013.  The Alumni Fund has had a strong tradition at Gustavus exceeding 50% participation for many years, making Gustavus a national leader recognized with 17 national awards.  Help return the Alumni Fund to reach over 50% participation by contributing before May 31, 2004.  Do your best to participate in the Alumni Fund to continue the Gustavus tradition of strong alumni support and return the College to national recognition.

Alumni Board members selected - Seven alumni have been selected to serve a three-year term on the Alumni Board.  They are Liesl Batz '90, Minneapolis, senior vice president and director of marketing, Lakeside Investment Partners; Jan Eiffert Hoomani '62, Raleigh, NC, Realtor, JB Realty; Jim Malmquist '53, Scandia, MN, retired athletics director, Gustavus; Jan Ledin Michaletz '74, Edina, volunteer/homemaker.  Incumbents to serve a second term include Vivian Foyou '02, Mankato, graduate student, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Jason Sawyer '93, Plymouth, vice president, Cronin & Co.; and Dan Currell '94, Alexandria, VA, director of corporate leadership council, Corporate Executive Board.

2003 Hall of Fame inductees -- Nine individuals were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame on September 27. Inductees are Val Flom Ashland '87 (volleyball), Wendy Ericksen Bachman '87 (soccer), Karen Ahlstrom Bishop '86 (gymnastics), Jay Coatta '87 (basketball and golf), Marv Gunderson '53 (football), Jim Hearn '81 (tennis), Dave Najarian '82 (football), Betty Wannarka Ringeisen '84 (basketball and track and field), and Larry Shelhamer '76 (soccer).

Gustavus Finishes sixth in Director's Cup - Gustavus finished sixth out of 395 Division III institutions for the 2002-03 Director's Cup announced recently by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. The only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics, the award honors four-year institutions with the best overall athletic programs.  Last year Gustavus placed 10th.

Chapel Program - The Gustavus Chapel program is one of the strongest in higher education averaging 350 students attending Daily Chapel.  In addition, there are many student-led programs including: Apprentice - students who are interested in being part of ministry and open to see where the Spirit might be leading; Christ Chapel Volunteers - assist in the ministry of Christ Chapel by ushering, carrying the cross and candles, reading lessons, writing and/or reading prayers, and serving as assisting ministers; Community Service Center Programs - one-time and on-going service programs; Fellowship of Christian Athletes - athlete or not, time for fellowship, worship, speakers, service projects and mission trips; Gustavus Youth Outreach - committed to sharing the Gospel and providing opportunities to serve by participating in off-campus youth ministry; Habitat For Humanity/Spring Break Work Trips - Habitat works locally and Spring Break Work Trip nationally to fundraise for and build affordable housing; Jewish Organization of Gustavus - for students, faculty and staff who were either Jewish or interested in the Jewish faith; Newman Center - dedicated to building a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith; Prepare - build a new generation of believers through mentors, mission trips, Bible study, prayer and worship; Proclaim - Bible-based contemporary worship and teaching; Taizé - a contemplative worship service of music, prayer, readings and silence; Wednesday Friends - visits St. Peter Regional Treatment Center residents weekly.

Upcoming Events - call the Alumni Office at 800/487-8437

Alumni Chapter Events:  Washington DC - February 6; Atlanta - February 26; Tampa Bay - February 27; Naples - February 28; Sun City - March 19; Phoenix  - March 20; Tucson - March 21


Rev. Dr. Paul and Kay (Johnson '63) Hanson, Bratislava, Slovakia, sent an e-mail in which they observed, "The Gustavus Fund goes to great lengths to pick up gifts."  Chris Swenson Wilmot from Kay's Class of '63 stopped by and picked it up personally when she and Tom were on their way through Bratislava on a Danube cruise.  Paul and Kay have been in Slovakia for six years.  They love teaching religion at the Lutheran parochial school, which is kind of an advanced placement, bi-lingual (Slovak and English) school, and Paul also serves as pastor at the church.  They expect to retire from this assignment after this year.  Marie Charlotte af Ugglas-Leire, Hyhamnslage, Sweden, and her husband are retiring from their family estate, and have built a new home on the ore sund, north of Helsingborg.  (Denmark can be seen across the water.)  Their four children live quite near, as do Marie's parents-in-law who are 94 and 91 years old.

The River Hills Mall's (Mankato) resident Santa Claus is Eric Lehman, son of Jim and Danielle Lehman, Gainsville FL.  Eric is the sixth generation of the Lehman family to have represented Santa since his "Scandinavian forebears first adopted the persona in the mid-1800s."  According to the newspaper article, Eric was thrust into the family tradition five years ago, "when quadruple bypass surgery cut short the elder Lehman's (Jim) Santa-ing days."  Eric says, "the hardest thing about being Santa is that I can't bring a loved one back and I can't bring a mommy and daddy back together again."  Jim and Danielle Lehman have moved recently to Florida from Newport News, VA.  At Phonorama Jim said that he was confirmed at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Minneapolis where Gustavus' new first lady, Susan (Pepin '65) Peterson, is now senior pastor.  Joanne Linnee, Winona, says that she "wants a recount on this age thing."  Jo is now a cancer survivor and she continues to enjoy life in Winona where she can have lunch now and then with her son and be near her only grandchild - a granddaughter.  Jo, your classmates send continued good health wishes to you.  Jo is very, very happy to own a Granlund sculpture: a woman with upraised arms - a free spirit.  She purchased it at a gallery in the Galleria in Edina when she was employed at another retail establishment there.

Dr. Milt and Marilyn Heier Gustafson, Fort Washington MD, have battled health issues, but they remain busy and Milt continues to work.  Marilyn has recovered about 98% from Achilles tendon surgery done a few years ago and she is able to play tennis.  Milt is battling multiple myeloma, with the usual complications with medicines.  Both of their sons are now married and one son has given them three grandchildren.  Ralph and Marlys (Schneider '63) Swenson, Hudson WI, left for Green Valley, AZ, in October during Phonorama.  They built a winter home there last year.  With their children they are going to Kahana, Maui, (in the Kannapeli Beach area) for Christmas.  Robert and JoAnn Schwartz, Chanhassen, have a new granddaughter named Madison, born March 28, to Kris and Matt, who also have Hannah who is a two-year-old.  Bob has been retired from Green Giant/Pillsbury for several years.  JoAnn retired as an office manager this past year.

Marcee Muller, Tecumseh NE, wonders if she is busier now than when she was teaching.  She has been helping process state bowling tournament entries and spending several weekends helping with the tournament.  She is the state's president for the bowling organization.  She attended the WIBC National Annual meeting in Reno as Nebraska's delegate.  In June her team will return to participate in the national tournament.  Marcee has worked hard with bowling activities in her state for many years.  Mary Beth Larson Wold, Fresno CA, is enjoying her second year of retirement and being able now to live in Fresno close to her grandchildren.  Michael is almost 12 and Sara is 9.  Both are the children of Tim and Kristin (Wold '88) Collins.  Her son, Erik, lives an hour away from Fresno in Visalia.

Jim and Patti Maedl Krough, Deephaven, both continue to be very involved with jobs.  Patti manages Lonna Mossow's Pilates Center and Fitness Center, both in Eden Prairie.  Jim sells medical products to hospitals and home care agencies in the five-state area.  They feel blessed that Patti's parents are both living active lives in Fayetteville, AR.  Her mother is 89 (Alfhild Peterson Maedl '35) and her father Carl is 93.  Jim and Patti's three children and four grandchildren live in the Twin Cities area.  Wayne and Gert Kneeskern, Richland IA, welcomed their sixth grandchild on May 21.  Sarah is the daughter of Michelle Kneeskern and Jamie Snyder.  The Snyders also have Ben, 7, and Nicole, 3.  Their son Scott '90 and Jill (Davis '90) have three children: Ellen, 7; Noah, 4; and Abbi, 1.

Three Gustie '61ers:  Jean Stenstrom Eidsvold, Bloomington; Sally Enstrom, St. Louis Park; and Dori Bergstrom Macek, Minneapolis; traveled together to Yellowstone National Park, the Tetons and the Black Hills of South Dakota in early September.  Their photographs give evidence of majestic sights and their laughter speaks about high adventures.  Ray and Karen Rapp, Cannon Falls, are celebrating two huge family events, a birth and a wedding.  A new grandson, Adam Rapp, was born to Christopher and Melissa, who are also parents to Connor.  Ray and Karen's youngest son, Kyle, married Colleen on September 12 in Cannon Falls.  She is an RN who works in Northfield.

My Phono call to southern California to reach Rev. Noel and Gretchen (Bittrich '62) Estergren in San Diego hit the jackpot!  There were three Gustie couples at that address enjoying a dinner party, and each one spoke with me.  Rev. Jim '60 and Diane (Hammergren '63) Anderson had driven there from Minnesota on their "retirement" trip.  (Jim recently retired as pastor at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.)  Rev. Ted and Marietta (Bittrich '62) Johns, San Diego, were visiting the Estergrens.  It was the first time that a Phonorama call of mine ever reached out and touched so many 60-something someones!  Noel said that these three couples plus Rev. Dennis '60 and Carol Johnson, Gustavus' interim president last year, had joined in a Mexican trip to Cabo San Lucas.

James and Sally Johnson Audiss, Byron, have all of their grandchildren living in the quaint town of Kasson.  At times they have been active with babysitting them, but the children are growing older and Sally has battled orthopedic problems.  Last March she had hip surgery and this month she is scheduled for shoulder surgery.  She thought that she would be unable to drive for three months and be involved in extended therapy.  David and Jo Larson Karvonen, St. Paul, had just returned from out West at Phonorama time.  They enjoyed lunch with Ed and Karen Halvorson Carlson in Albuquerque, NM.  They also met Jo's sister in Yosemite National Park and her brother in the Santa Fe, NM, area, where they also enjoyed viewing the quaking aspen trees changing into their autumn colors.  Jo's mother became 90 last year in St. Peter, and she is a class agent for the class of 1933.  Jo also said that Kathy Bunde Thorsell, Golden Valley, is recovering from rotator cup surgery this fall.  Her other rotator cup surgery was in April 2003.  Your classmates send love and healing wishes, Kathy.

It is obvious that Arne Johnson ('60) was probably a pretty sharp principal.  He misses very little.  A dull Cub grocery store trip recently turned into a great visit for me with Arne and Carol Weisbrod Johnson, New Hope.  They also have places on Deer Lake near St. Croix Falls, WI, and in the Fort Myers, FL, area.  Doriann Fredrickson Thompson, Greeley CO, comments that she misses Paul, who was, "a great husband and father and he loved Gustavus," but in August she was offered a teaching adjunct position in cultural anthropology at the University of Northern Colorado and she loves working with the students.  In mid-December she will be headed to an archeological site in southern Mexico.  Their children, grandchildren and Paul's mother are doing well.  Paul had two brothers, and one of them is pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis.

Dick and Kathy (Walden '63) Dalton, Cannon Falls, attended an October reunion of Gusties at the home of Ron and Nancy Langness in Hudson, WI.  Some of the others present were Lyle Nelson (who was in town from Oregon), Bill Ekenstedt, John Lundblad '62, Larrie Rennerfeldt '64 and Duke Rudquist '63 (all younger than we are).  Dick also still fits into his Red's jacket and he wore it for a Red's picnic in St. Peter that was part of homecoming festivities.  Ray Rapp and Al Eckloff '63 attended that event with Dick.  Next year will be the Red's 100th anniversary so plans are being made for a special observance.  Maralyn Magnuson Anderson, Lancaster PA, reveals that she has not been working in real estate for years, even though that information found its way into the Quarterly recently.  Warren and Maralyn own a used bookstore, which they enjoy operating together.  They have an open shop and also sell on the Internet.  It is called Chestnut Street Books, and they handle used, rare and out-of-print books.  Their first grandchild, Sophia Grace Anderson, was born on July 22 in Baltimore.  On November 15, their first-born was scheduled to be married in Los Angeles, CA.  Maralyn's father, Hugo Magnuson, died May 20, and was buried on his 103rd birthday.  He lived most of his life in Grand Forks, ND, where Maralyn grew up and had attended Gustavus.  The Class of '61 sends sympathy to you and your family, Maralyn.

Robert and Elizabeth Huemoeller, Fairmont, announce new twin grandchildren in Brooklyn Park:  Kate and Josef were born at the end of March and are doing well.  The Huemoellers' son is the father, and he and his wife had been married for twelve years prior to this blessed event.  Needless to say, their lives have changed.  The Huemoellers also have a 15-month-old grandson, son of their oldest daughter Lisa, in Seattle.  The grandparents especially enjoyed an Amtrak trip out there three years ago.  Last year they drove to the West coast, with sightseeing stops in Yellowstone National Park and Portland, OR.  Bob is the chairman for the Dollars for Scholars program in his community as well as managing a business as a CPA.  Dr. Carolyn Wedin, Frederic WI, we all saw you looking very young in the Quarterly on the picture of the concert that observed the 125th anniversary of the Gustavus band.  Great going!

Many notes from Phonorama remain to be shared and those will be included in class letters in January and in the spring.  It truly is invigorating to visit with you classmates of 1961―this has to be Gustavus' greatest class, don't you think?  My letter is late this fall because I did not sit on my hands at the right time.  Do not volunteer to put together a church history without giving it a lot of thought!  My family scanned about 180 items into the computer.  In fact, our son had to build us a new computer with much additional memory for the project.  We struggled with what information could be proven to be true history.  (How can they verify truth in those 1,000-page history books?)  We agonized over the computer changes that just appeared when we transferred materials from one computer's programs to another computer system.  Finally, the 48-page booklet is done.  Now the holidays are here.  May you and yours find inspiration and peace as you journey again to the manger.

With thanks and warmest wishes,

Virgene Grack Sehlin

1961 Class Agent