Class of '61
December 2004

December 2004

Holiday Greetings, Dear Classmates,

Most importantly, if it were possible, this letter would be permeated with the special Christmas spirit that was created by “Seasons of Promise,” the Christmas in Christ Chapel services given on the first weekend of December.  With about 6,000 people in attendance, the services used art, music and dance to portray the Advent, Nativity and Epiphany elements of the Christmas story.  Of course, there was the final rendition of “O Come All Ye Faithful” done by the herald trumpets, choirs, bell choir, orchestra and worshippers, which is so moving.  Although others were undoubtedly present, we saw Rev. Jerry ’59 and Joan Miller Hoffman, New Brighton; Robert and JoAnn Schwartz, Chanhassen; Ralph and Marlys (Schneider ’63) Swenson, Hudson, WI and Dr. Arne and Miriam Lind Lagus, St. Croix Falls, WI.

Before 2004 closes, you deserve huge thanks for the way you supported Gustavus.  While many other classes were working hard to reach a participation level of 50%, the Class of 1961 registered gifts for the college at the rate of 75%!  Your generosity and support for current students is appreciated very, very much.

Fall Phonorama, with pledges being taken for the Fund Year that will close May 31, 2005, took place the final two weeks of September, a bit earlier than in previous years.  The calls went out from Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis, and we reached many but not all of you on those evenings.  Some of you should have found messages on your answering machines.  Students have made some calls since September; please give your pledge and some news note to them if you receive such a call, I have names of classmates to call, but if you like to send your gift before the year-end (maybe for consistency in your tax records or for the best use of a Thrivent or employer’s matching fund), please just mail it in along with some news item for our letter or the Quarterly.  You may also use the Internet to send a gift.

Many of you encountered Dr. Lloyd Hollingsworth during your time on campus.  He passed away on August 9, in St. Peter at the age of 92 years.  He graduated from Gustavus in 1936, and he returned to coach football from 1942 to 1961.  During those years his teams compiled a record of 94-33-5 and were part of 8 MIAC championships.  After coaching, he stayed as athletic director until 1974.

“The Science of Aging” was the topic of the 40th Nobel Conference in October.  It registered one of the largest attendances ever, and the topic seemed almost too pertinent for our class.  Classmates noted included Roger ’59 and Nita Swanson Anderson, New Brighton; Sally Enstrom, St. Louis Park; Dr. Arne and Miriam Lind Lagus, St. Croix Falls, WI and David and Jean Linne, Edina.


New Residence Hall

Work crews have been busy this summer and fall constructing a new residence hall on campus.  The goal is to have the building enclosed before winter.  The building, located southwest of the football field will house 200 students in suites and apartments and is scheduled to open for fall 2005.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, realtor, and much more?  Make it a Gustie!  The Gustie Pages is an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to be your customers.

Athletics Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has chosen eight individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2004 inductees include Lori Allen ’88 (golf), Jim Chalin ’76 (basketball), Bruce Edwards ’77 (ice hockey), Barb Jaeger ’88 (soccer), Dean Kraus ’89 (football), Pachi Lopez ’71 (soccer), Greg Peterson ’88 (golf), and Gary Reinholtz (long-time athletic trainer, benefactor).  This group was honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which was Saturday, October 16.

Extraordinary Place

Gustavus is once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings.  Gustavus is one of five Minnesota colleges in the top 100 national liberal arts colleges for overall quality (Carleton, Macalester, St. Olaf, Gustavus, St. John’s).  The ranking groups schools into categories based on a national educational classification that includes national liberal arts colleges, national doctoral universities (University of Minnesota, St. Thomas), regional master's degree-granting universities (Hamline, St. Catherine’s, Bethel, Augsburg), and comprehensive regional colleges (Concordia-St Paul).

Upcoming Events

  • Boston Chapter Event -- Jan. 25
  • New York Chapter Event -- Jan. 26
  • Washington, D.C. Chapter Event -- Jan. 28
  • Tampa Bay Chapter Event -- Feb. 2
  • Vero Beach Chapter Event -- Feb. 4
  • Marco Island Chapter Event -- Feb. 5
  • Tucson Chapter Event -- March 18
  • Phoenix Chapter Event -- March 19
  • Sun City Chapter Event -- March 20
  • Seattle Chapter Event -- April 1
  • Bay Area Chapter Event -- April 2
  • Class of 1954 and 50-Year Club Reunion – May 27-28
  • Class Reunions for 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 – October 7-9, 2005


Three members of our class have lost their lives in the past several months.  I do not have complete information about any one of them, but available details will be included here and the research will go on.  Please share memories and information about deceased classmates if you can, also.  To each of these spouses and the classmates’ families, I express sympathy on behalf of the Class of 1961.  We will miss them.

Sally Johnson Audiss, Byron, passed away on August 7.  Sally taught English and speech at Byron High School until her recent retirement.  She was a champion of restoration activities in Mantorville.  From Phonorama conversations I remember discussions about Sally directing dramatic presentations during summers in Mantorville.  She is survived by her husband, James, two daughters and one son.  There may be grandchildren as well.  I remember her years on campus because as freshmen Sally and I were the only girls in the journalism class.  She was a cheerleader and also played roles in plays; for example she had a role in “Our Town” in her freshman year.

Dr. Mary Towley Swanson lost her four-year battle with ovarian cancer on Sept. 11, in Minneapolis.  Mary was professor emeritus of the art history department at the University of St. Thomas.  She was very active in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and, with some other Gusties, I attended a lecture that she gave there.  She was instrumental in Scandinavian art history displays, such as the Viking Exhibit which was featured at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts about a decade ago.  On campus she could often be found in the Rancherino working on the yearbook when I was there working on the Weekly.  She was very creative, and notes she left for you were covered with sketches.  Mary spoke with many of you over the years as a Phonorama volunteer, and she was a member of several boards of directors around the country in the area of Scandinavian studies; one of our conversations was about her trip to the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois the morning after Phonorama for board meetings.  Mary is survived by her husband David ’64; son, Phillip, of Paris, France; and daughter, Gillian, of Texas.  There are two grandsons; each of her children has one son.

Rev. Ron Koch, Becker, died on November 12, in Plymouth.  According to the Alumni Office, he was at his son, Paul’s, home in Plymouth when early morning discomfort sent him to a downstairs room for rest.  A massive heart attack seems to be the cause of death.  Ron was born in Litchfield and graduated from Cosmos High School.  He was a baseball player at Gustavus, and he and Darlene married in 1960.  Ron was one of the true “black and gold” loyal Gusties, serving on the Board of Trustees for ten years until 2003, serving as MC for many of our reunions and battling for Gustavus’ welfare in any way that he could.  At the time of his death, he was coordinating Pastor-to-Pastor, a pastoral support program co-sponsored by Gustavus and the ELCA Southwestern Minnesota Synod.  Ron attended Northwestern Seminary and was ordained into the ministry of the American Lutheran Church in 1965.  He served congregations in Brownton, Willmar, Menahga, Hermantown and St. Cloud, and was the assistant to the bishop of the Southwestern Minnesota District of the ALC.  After retiring in 2002, he served as interim pastor at churches in Redwood Falls, St. Paul, Elk River and Buffalo.  Ron is survived by his wife, Darlene, two sons Joel ’85 of Becker, and Paul ’87 of Plymouth and one daughter, Jane, of Minneapolis, as well as four grandsons; each of his sons had two sons.

Dr. Carolyn Wedin, Frederic, WI was designated as an outside faculty examiner (opponent) for a Lund University, Sweden, dissertation defense on June 5.  The dissertation was on writers of the Harlem renaissance, black American literature of the 1920s.  Carolyn says that the dissertation defense at Swedish universities is a big, public event.  With her expense-paid trip to Sweden, Carolyn stayed for midsummer, too.  Rev. Dr. Paul and Kay (Johnson ’63) Hanson, Billings, MT completed two-years of missionary service in Slovakia in July and have returned to the states.

Jo Swenson Lippert, San Clemente, CA traveled to Prague, Czechoslovakia, to visit her daughter, Suzanne, who teaches English at Charles University.  In California, Jo works with Wells Fargo Bank in San Clemente.  Rev. Theodore and Marietta (Bittrich ’62) Johns, San Diego, CA, have moved downtown across from the convention center and Seaport Village.  They enjoyed attending the wedding of Rev. Dennis ’60 (former Gustavus interim president two years ago) and Carol Johnson’s son, Andy, in Cody, WY in June.  Ted and Marietta continue their global travels on behalf of Opportunity International, a non-profit organization that sets up business loans to the poorest of the poor in third-world countries.  The organization has a partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

Arnie and Gloria Eckberg Swenson, Plymouth, are sad to share the news that their daughter, Janice, lost her battle with cancer in Washington on August 16.  She is survived by her husband, Michael, and five children, aged 3 to 13.  Gloria and Arnie, the sympathy of your classmates goes out to all of your family.  Their daughter, Carolyn ’96, was married in Plymouth on October 10, and the newlyweds will live in the Twin Cities. 

Mary Ann Swanson Strand, Centreville, VA said at Phonorama that her oldest grandson was married on Labor Day and a granddaughter is engaged.  Her youngest granddaughter is studying at Wagner College on Staten Island, NY, this year.  Mary Ann continues to teach, “Because I love what I am doing!”  She also works with Master’s Knitting, a national knitting guild.

Quite a number of new addresses are coming in, often for condominiums.  Dan ’63 and Mary Beth Longe Malloy, Hiawatha, IA moved two miles in spring, but giving up a big house was a change.  The new address is in suburban Cedar Rapids.  They enjoyed their large home very much but neither the upkeep nor the yard work.  Mary Beth has been doing most of the work involved with The Yellow House, a B & B that she and her daughter operate.  The problem is that her daughter has been ill.  Dan continues to restore and rebuild pianos but he wants to sell the commercial property.  Their grandson has inherited musical talent and is first chair on the French horn.  At Phonorama they had just enjoyed an autumn trip to the Hayward, WI area and to Duluth.

Marcee Muller, Tecumseh, NE talked at Phonorama about her first European trip, a 16-day tour of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, etc. with her sister and brother-in-law and a friend from Orlando, FL.  This year Marcee was named to the Nebraska Bowling Hall of Fame for meritorious service in offices held and committee work accomplished.  Bowling activities and bridge make retirement fun!  Robert and Dorothy Lenz Wells, Oscoda, MI found it difficult to move out of Alaska because they enjoyed life there a great deal.  Dorothy is a trustee of the Alaska Pension Board, which administers a fund of about $15 billion, and she returns to Alaska six times a year for business relating to that responsibility.  This year she gathered with Jo Larson Karvonen, St. Paul; Nita Swanson Anderson, New Brighton; and Mary Towley Swanson, Minneapolis.

Elsa Cornell, St. Peter, sold the Cec Eckhoff ’56 home on Minnesota Avenue. and moved to a condominium south of the Gustavus campus.  The needs of the house and yard were becoming overwhelming for her.  She continues to teach English as a second language and GED classes in the St. Peter area.  At Phonorama she talked about so many projects that I got lost in my own notes.  In June she directed an Augustana heritage “thing” with help from Rev. Susan (Pepin ’65) Peterson, (Gustavus’ new first lady) and Lenny Vretholm, New York City.  She mentioned doing the first Chautauqua “thing” in St. Peter and some St. Peter history.  Did you know that William B. Dodd started the St. Peter Company in a place then named “Rocksbend?”  He was killed later in the New Ulm uprising.  She also mentioned a Thanksgiving cruise with children and family that reminded her of one that she took with Cec.  Paul Nesvold, Maple Plain, has two grandsons who will be graduated from South Dakota State.  One is training to become a pilot and the other is preparing for coaching.  Paul and Joan have five other grandchildren, aged 13, 10, 7, 3 ½ and 2.  In addition to attending grandsons’ football games, they enjoy traveling.  Especially memorable trips were a cruise in South America and through the Panama Canal and an Alaskan tour.

Lyle Nelson, La Grande, OR said at Phonorama that his 96-year-old mother “just gave out” and passed away in Chisago Lake, MN.  Lyle continues to work about two thirds time, but he was in Minnesota a few months before his mother’s death and he also attended the 2003 Nobel Conference at Gustavus during that visit.  At that time he also gathered with Dick Dalton, Cannon Falls; John Lundblad ’62; Ron Langness, Hudson, WI; Larry Wennerfeld (younger than we were); and Duke Rudquist ’63.  Lyle and Suzanne’s oldest daughter is in graduate school in Boise, ID studying social work.  Tom and Barb Jeske Norquist, Modesto, CA were in Minnesota in August for a surprise birthday party at the Southview Country Club that included Donald and Jean Linnerooth Scherfenberg, Mendota Heights; Mary (Linnerooth ’62) and John ’60 Petersen; Wayne and Sandy Otto, South St. Paul; Jim and Susan Davis, Oakdale; Kay Johnson Palmquist; Paul Jeske ’59 and others.  The September evening that Phonorama reached him, Tom said that Barb was suffering from a back problem.  That evening people in California also were quite concerned about an earthquake that had struck in the San Luis Obispo area.  Tom continues to be president of T. A. Norquist, Inc.

Donald and Mary Erickson Lindahl, Cannon Falls, have traveled, since retiring, to Alaska, Florida, Pennsylvania and California.  They have four children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.  Mary retired from public health homecare nursing in 1999.  Walter Wright, Mantorville, reports that they had their first summer up at the lake at a cabin that they share with his sister.  His mother is an active 94 years old.  He attended his 50th high school reunion this summer; Walter was a Gustavus three-year graduate who had been in the armed forces and was attending Gustavus on the GI bill.  Phyllis works with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester clearing chromosome analyses although she is retired technically.  Walter arranges music and sings with the Rochester Male Chorus.  He said at Phonorama that he is very active at the fitness center.  Walter, some of us could use some inspiration in that area!

Betty Estesen, Tucson, AZ was in St. Peter in early September.  Her sister, Kay (Estesen ’62) and Dale Mowbray have retired and moved from Watertown, SD to St. Peter.  Betty’s brother and his wife from Ohio also came to St. Peter for this special family time.  Betty mentioned eating with an aunt and uncle at Whiskey River, seeing Bruce and Sue Gray, meeting President Jim Peterson ’64, Paul Tillquist ’63, and Ade Sponberg ’58 while she was there.  At Phonorama, I passed off my cell phone to Rev. Dennis Johnson ’60 when visiting with Dale Gustafson, Manchester, CT who shared a lot of experiences in Rock Island, IL, during seminary days.  Dale noted that Dennis probably had been acquainted with Dale’s future wife, Patricia (she was a nurse in the hospital there), before Dale knew her.  I heard Dennis singing the Gamma song, but it is not clear whether Dale chimed in at the other end of the line!  Dale and Pat are devoting a lot of their time and energy to battling Pat’s cancer.  She has completed many rounds of radiation at the Yale Hospitals.  Dale was looking forward to fall colors arriving in their area and he mentioned a large IKEA store in their area that keeps them in touch with Scandinavian ideas.

At Phonorama, Dr. Daniel and Janice Collin, Barrington IL, had just returned from a cruise and tour of areas following the Apostle Paul’s journey through the Greek Islands, Turkey and Athens.  They were originally scheduled to take the trip two days after the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City.  They use their condominium on the island of Oahu, which they purchased in the 1970s when Dan was a physician in Hawaii, during winter months.  They also visit a granddaughter in Texas regularly.  Dr. Jeanne Dahlen Lewis, Boulder, CO your classmates are very sorry to hear that your husband Brian has passed away.  He died of stomach cancer just two months after his retirement.  Please remember that your classmates’ sympathy is with you.  Jeanne has retired from her medical practice, but it sounds as if she is busier than ever with volunteer projects.  Jeanne works with Habitat for Humanity, was going on a medical mission to Mexico just a few months after Phonorama with a hospital group to give aid in family medicine, and by working with a health ministry in which she gives talks about what a doctor would like you to know.  She was in Minnesota briefly in June for an all-school reunion in Thief River Falls.  Jeanne’s son is married and lives only ten miles from her.  He is a graduate of Duke University and is a biomedical-electrical engineer.

Dr. Doug and Victoria Holmen, White Bear Lake, report that two of their children attended Gustavus, and now their oldest granddaughter is in college.  Andy is married and has one young child.  The other is a pilot who lives in Anchorage, AK, and the Holmens get there about once a year to visit.  Andy, Kristin and Tiffany all live in Telluride, CO.  Another daughter lives in California and works in the wine industry.  Along with 10 other classmates, I went to celebrate the 65th birthday at Lutsen on the North Shore of Minnesota in August.  The organizers of the event were in the Gustie Club, which has met and “dragged food all over town” for over 40 years.  Some former club members came from other states:  Karin Erickson Gaskell, Georgetown, TX; Julie Nelson Neyhart, Juneau, AK; Lorna Jafvert Reed, Friendswood, TX; and Marilynn Clark Tanner, Hot Springs Village, AR.  Current club members included Sally Enstrom, St. Louis Park; Jean Stenstrom Eidsvold, Bloomington; Carol Olson Heath and Dori Bergstrom Macek, Minneapolis; Miriam Lind Lagus, St. Croix Falls, WI; and Gloria Eckberg Swenson, Plymouth.

There is much other news to write about, but you must have Christmas letters also coming at this time.  I will put together another letter in January, unless one of you classmates can write that one.  Give me a call or an e-mail if you are interested.  Thank you for your prayers that included my vision problems.  It is a continuing battle.  A laser procedure in September improved the eye on which cataract removal took place last February and several laser surgeries have taken place since.  Please overlook proofreading errors.  Carol Olson Heath has volunteered to proof our letters, but I need to allow enough time for that.  For now, enjoy Christmas and the wonderful gift that we all have received.  Each of you is wished a Happy, Happy 2005.  Thank you for the gifts that you give Gustavus.


Virgene Grack Sehlin

1961 Class Agent