Class of '61
March 2006


Reunion dates ― October 6 & 7, 2006

Dear 45th Reunion Classmates,

October 6 and 7 are the dates to circle.  You are being invited to some great gatherings on those autumn days, which will, of course, be warm and displaying “the illuminated woods,” as naturalist Jim Gilbert ’62 always describes the leaf change.  It will be great to be together again.  Reunion events are being planned by some of our finest classmates!  The Friday evening gathering is a dinner at the Radisson-Plymouth.  It is an appealing, comfortable room.  The Saturday “noonish” gathering is part of Gustavus’ Homecoming; our special spot will be a banquet room in the campus center.  You will be receiving lots of additional information in class letters and from Gustavus.  Nita Swanson Anderson, Joanne Larson Karvonen, Judy Fairbanks Sandberg and Kathy Bunde Thorsell are working hard to make it a great reunion, and Bruce Warner has agreed to host the Friday dinner.

A number of classes have put together a Class Gift for the alma mater at reunion times during the past decade.  The amount of the gift has varied, but I remember that the Class of ’62 presenting over one million dollars a few years ago.  Included with this letter, you will find an Anniversary Class Gift card, which we can use to establish a scholarship for current Gustie Students, to keep qualified young people at Gustavus.  Above your regular gift to the Alumni Fund, I invite you to help start the “Class of 1961 Endowed Scholarship”.  The minimum amount to start this scholarship is $25,000, something many of us would not be able to do ourselves, but we can be a part of it together as the Class of 1961.  If you are unfamiliar with what an endowed scholarship is, see the article in the Fall 2005 Gustavus Quarterly.  Our money would be invested by the college and a percentage would be used from the market growth each year to provide scholarships.  The remaining market growth would be added back into our scholarship every year, increasing the size of the endowment and the amount awarded every year for life!  Please make a commitment with me to impact current and future scholars at Gustavus.  Your pledge and payments can be stretched out over a three-year period.

Alumni Fund calls are being made from home at this time.  Some of you may have been contacted by current students earlier on from what is called Gus Link.  Jim Knoble, FL, and Rev. Dr. Jim Wiberg, CO, are making contacts from their homes.  If you can help, please let me know at  May 31 is the end of the college fiscal year and our class gift for the reunion will extend until October 6.  Please make it a point to tell your caller if you can be matched by Thrivent Insurance or as a retiree of your company.  Such matches make a huge difference for Gustavus.

Did you hear about the Gustie basketball game that started about 3:00 a.m.?  It was an MIAC event planned before the H.H.H. Metrodome was needed to hold the memorial service for the Twins’ great, Kirby Puckett.  I never heard who won—the last man standing, no doubt!  Did any ’61ers attend?

Special Easter greetings to each one of you.  The saving message of Easter gives so much comfort and peace, even in a world that sometimes seems to be in a dizzy spin.  Of course, the candy in the Easter eggs is a wonderful benefit, too.  Enjoy!


Dr. Peter ’60 and Jan Gardner Strand, Deerwood, MN and Rio Verde, AZ, divide their year between a home on Bay Lake near Deerwood and another in Rio Verde.  They have both retired.  Peter tried a part-time schedule as an orthopedic specialist prior to retirement but he found that to be difficult for those who had to work out scheduling.  Jan owned a horticultural business called Midwest Horticultural in the Twin Cities.  They have five daughters, three of whom are Gusties.  Susan’s daughter (the Strand’s granddaughter) is now a Gustie in the Class of 2007.  Ned and Sue (Peterson ’63) Larson, Scottsdale, AZ have both retired.  The Larson’s fifth grandchild, a boy, was born to Mark and his wife on November 26, 2005.  The sympathy of your classmates is extended to Susan and Ned on the death of Susan’s mother in October 2005, in St. Paul.

Mary Beth Larson Wold, Fresno, CA your classmates extend sympathy on the passing of your daughter.  Kristin, who had attended Gustavus (class of ’88), had been a neo-natal nurse and had a long battle with lupus.  She leaves behind a husband and two young children.  When she retired, Mary Beth moved from the Bay area to Fresno to be near her daughter.  Jim and Judie Brown Mortenson, Bloomington, have returned to the Twin Cities after vacationing in Florida.  My sister, Jan Grack Eggersgluess ’62, and her husband, Gene, shared a dinner out with the Mortensons while both couples were in Bonita Springs this winter.  The Mortensons have a condo there.  Both Jim and Judie continue their regular employment:  Jim is in construction with PCL and Judie is church secretary at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington.  They have enjoyed happy travels this year.  Last summer they toured Italy and Switzerland with the Minnetonka Chorus for 16 days.  A business trip in November took them to Maui and Oahu in Hawaii.  They have a son and a daughter.

Dr. Carolyn Wedin, Frederic, WI is teaching a drama class this winter for the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College.  She is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  She has taught at the Swedish University at Gothenburg from 1985-86, and at the University of Lund from 2000-01.  Upon returning to the states, she taught an Internet course for the University of Lund for three years.  In 2004, she was invited back to serve as an outside faculty examiner for a public dissertation defense for a student whose work was on the Harlem Renaissance.  In Sweden the outside faculty examiner plays a key role in the process.  She has also held two Fulbright teaching appointments:  in Poland in 1991-92 and in Norway in 1996-97.  The latter appointment was as a “Roving Scholar” so she and her husband Tony Rolloff, traveled throughout the country doing workshops in American Literature and Culture.  Dr. Marv and Nancy Williams Rensink, Pleasanton, CA are doing more traveling now that Marv is semi-retired.  Nancy remains active with the AAUW in California.  Marv works three days a week and they care for their granddaughter on Thursdays and Fridays.   They returned to Minnesota a year ago to close Nancy’s mother’s house in Nevis, and they were able to sell it furnished so the furniture was not a problem.  They were aiming for a closing of her estate soon after the new year.  Their son-in-law has returned from his most recent tour of duty in Iraq and he is now a continuation teacher in high school.  He has completed two tours since 9/11 in Iraq.  Their oldest grandson is 14 and the youngest two are 4-years-old.

Bob ’60 and Jean Stenstrom Eidsvold, Edina and Sanibel Island, FL have sent in a new summer address.  They will be living in a condo.  Bob writes, “Please advise the president, Jim Peterson ’64 that you finally collected the 1958 semester unpaid invoice from me that was mentioned at the reunion—actually, we all enjoyed a good laugh and had a very good time.”  (The Class of ’60 must have had a wild time last fall.)  Sandy Allumbaugh Bolin, Garvin, writes that their lives revolve a great deal around their family, including their children and nine grandchildren, who range in age from two to fifteen years.  The young people live close enough so that they can attend most of their activities.  Sandy says, “Life is good!”

Rob ’58 and Kris Anderson Robinson, Mesa, AZ had a big event this year:  the birth of their first grandchild.  Mahrielle Faith Kaczmarek was born to their daughter Tara and Brad Kaczmarek.  Kris has retired but Rob continues to teach English and coach track and football.  Ken Nelson, Westminster CO, enjoys visits from Tom and Marlene Vartdahl Meyer, Mission Viejo, CA about every six months.  The Nelsons and Meyers both resided in southern California for many years and visits were much more frequent then.  Now Tom and Marlene come east to visit their daughter, Michele and Don Dennis and their three grandchildren who live in Colorado.

Mary Erickson Lindahl, Cannon Falls, was nominated by commissioner Richard Samuelson as a lay board member on the county’s Social Service’s Board according to a newspaper article in the Red Wing Republican Eagle.  Mary has more than 30 years of experience in public health/home health care nursing.  The Lindahls have nine grandchildren ranging in age from 4 to 27; eight are boys and there is one granddaughter.  Daughter, Holly ’93, will marry Ben Winget on July 15.  Holly teaches English and Spanish in Cannon Falls and she lives in Minnetonka.  Mary mentioned a Gustie connection:  she recently saw Ralph Swenson’s sister, Christine ’63.  Another news item, this one from the Minneapolis Tribune, reported on the departure of Gretchen Carlson from the “CBS Saturday Early Show” last June to join the Fox Channel News Network as an anchor.  Gretchen was Miss America in 1989, and she is the daughter of Lee ’56 and Karen Hyllengren Carlson, North Oaks, MN.  A number of you have mentioned following her on the Saturday show.

Dr. Milt and Lorna Jafvert Reed. Friendswood TX, are looking forward to a third grandchild in summer expected by Eric and Kason, who are now the parents of Jafvert Reed, 1 1/2.  Lorna has been a substitute teacher again during this year and Milt continues as a consultant for the space program.  Lorna is a member of the board that handles their church’s preschool and in December the board prepared for a Christmas Day dinner for needy families.  All went well until the freezer containing all of their prepared food quit.  Lorna was in charge of the food; you can imagine what the remainder of December was like!  The Reeds were in Minnesota in June to visit family and then they went on to the Canadian Rockies.  In August they returned for the birth of Grace Rebecca Newman on August 9 to their daughter, Sarah and Paul.  Dale and Barb Knutson Richter, Rochester, enjoyed wonderful trips this year to Denmark, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Ireland and England on a cruise and again in November when they went to Africa where they toured game preserves, South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.  Barb describes it as “truly an awesome experience.”  Dale’s mother is 99 and they moved her into an assisted living apartment from her independent place.  Barb is involved with the hospital auxiliary, Weight Watchers and the Red Hats.  Dale’s shoulder has been a problem so he switched to the other arm to play golf and racquetball!  They have three sons and four young grandsons.

Elsa Cornell, St. Peter, had a great time at the Gustavus Library Associates’ Christmas gala in late October.  Her four offspring and their spouses also attended the event.  During the Christmas season she flew to Boston to help celebrate the 93rd birthday of Myrtle Hollingsworth with Myrtle’s daughter, Kay (Hollingsworth ’67) Walsh and husband Don, plus the grandchildren and great grandchildren.  In August Elsa directed the play, “Winnie the Pooh.”  She attended her 50th high school class reunion in Belmont, MA, during the year, made her first visit to Door County, WI, with a friend and visited friends in Crete, NE.  She really enjoys living in a condo in the Pine Point area near campus.  Pushing shopping carts to get safe exercise is an activity doctor’s recommend for Sid right now, and on a couple of these trips we have encountered Harlan ’60 and Judy Fairbanks Sandberg, New Hope.  Judy was shopping at Byerly’s on one of our meetings, and they were both supervising a grandson in Office Depot another time. 

Peter and Julie Nelson Neyhart, Juneau, AK, report that their three sons and their families are all living in Juneau once again, but their daughter, Brook, remains in Atlanta.  Julie’s mother moved to Alaska near them in fall.  The Neyharts have five grandchildren.  Pete and Julie also went to Africa this year, specifically in Botswana, Nambia and Zimbabwe.  Elderhostel trips took them to Canyon de Shelly to learn about the Navaho people and to New York City to tour art museums and see Broadway shows.  A Forest Service reunion in Portland, OR, connected them with former co-workers of Pete’s and included a tour of Mt. St. Helens.  Julie enjoys spending time at their church tying comforters for Lutheran World Relief and they both volunteer at the cruise ship terminals in Juneau sometimes so you may see them if your ship comes to Juneau.  “If you’re ever planning a cruise or a trip to Juneau – let us know and we’ll show you around!”  Sandra Nordstrom, St. Paul, sends greetings to classmates.

Mary Strand Anderson, Springfield VA, is active in a volunteer effort headquartered at her church.  She writes, “I coordinate “Quilts and More” at our church.  We make lap robes for the local military hospitals and blankets and hug pillows for young Hurricane Katrina victims housed temporarily at the Washington, D.C. Armory, and quilts for international students at Roanoke and Gettysburg Colleges.  “All our items are made with love for those who need an extra hug.”  Dr. Paul and Alice Nelson Holm, Cloquet, have both retired and have moved from Crookston to Cloquet.

Rev. Roger ’60 and Nita Swanson Anderson, New Brighton, certainly selected the perfect week for a vacation in Mexico.  It was one of the cold times in an otherwise rather warm Minnesota winter.  Nita has agreed to help organize our reunion.  Joanne Larson Karvonen, St. Paul, is also graciously volunteering to work on arrangements for the events in October.  She and David are vacationing now in March when the Twin Cities is being buried in snow.  What smart classmates we have!  Kathy Bunde Thorsell, Golden Valley, has worked hard to secure a great site for our Friday evening event in the Twin Cities.  We will be at the Radisson-Plymouth in the western metro in a great room that is part of Scanticon Restaurant.  More details will be forthcoming, but Kathy gets the credit for a great choice and lots of extra effort.  Thanks so much, classmates.  We continue to need help for our 45th.  Can you work on reunion details or help with telephoning classmates?  Send me an e-mail at


The Alumni Board met on campus in February and made the final selection for the Alumni Awards:

Greater Gustavus Award:  Gustavus Library Associates, for providing financial resources for Folke Bernadotte Library, and engaging and introducing alumni and friends in the mission of the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations:  Karen Bossart Rusthoven ’66, St. Paul, MN, founder and principal of Community of Peace Academy, St. Paul; Susan Semple-Rowland ’77, Gainesville, FL, professor of neuroscience, University of Florida and director, Neuroscience IDP Graduate Program; and Magnus Ranstorp ’85, St. Andrews, Scotland, chief scientist at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies, Swedish National Defense College; and a Senior Honorary Research Associate and former Director of Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

First Decade Awards:  Rebecca Konrad ’96, Washington, DC, investment officer, global transaction team, The World Bank International Finance Corporation; and Milo Martin ’96, Philadelphia, PA, assistant professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. 

The awards will be presented on Commencement Weekend or Homecoming Weekend depending on the recipient’s schedule.

Gustavus Checks

Show your Gustavus pride every time your write a check.  You can now order checks with Old Main, Three Crowns, or the Gustavus football helmet at:

Gusties Helping Hurricane Victims

A group of 23 students spent three weeks during January in Mississippi aiding in the clean-up and rebuilding efforts of a town hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.  The group was student-led and sponsored by Men’s Christian Fellowship at Gustavus and coordinated through Lutheran Disaster Response.  While there the students provided many services, including clearing houses to the bare structure, rebuilding homes, working in kitchens, distributing supplies, and working in pastoral care, child care, and medical clinics.  The group was housed and fed in a “tent city” on the grounds of Christus Victor Lutheran Church.  This was one of the several vocation month experiences from which Gustavus students had the opportunity to choose.


Nordic Ski Team senior Erich Ziegler had a first-place finish among collegiate skiers in the15K freestyle at the NorAm SuperTour stop at Telemark Resort in Cable, Wisconsin.  Ziegler’s win was the first by a Gustavus skier in an NCAA/CCSA qualifier.  Men’s hockey continues to win, with a 7-1 record in the MIAC.  Men's swimming is 7-0 on the season and recently set two Lund Center pool record times.  Brad Hanson ’08 was victorious in the 1000 freestyle in a pool-record time of 9:51.46, and Matt Stewart ’09 posted a pool-record time of 1:44.49 to win the 200-freestyle. 

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • MAYDAY! Peace Conference on AIDS — April 19
  • Gustavus Association of Congregations Meeting — April 22
  • Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) Day of Community Service in Minneapolis — April 29

Happy Easter to each one of you!  Thank you, thank you to the almost 40 percent of you that have already responded to the Alumni Fund.  You are appreciated more than you can imagine for keeping Gustavus a great place for today’s and tomorrow’s young people.  In your Easter egg, I will stuff your favorite Ma Young dessert that you picked up, at least on Sundays, in the cafeteria.  We will have a subdued Easter since Sid still struggles to beat the nerve damage in his legs.  He completed therapy at Courage Center today; at least he completed all the therapy “for which he qualified according to January 1 Medicare rules.”  That is a great place.  He will move on to therapy at North Memorial.

Enjoy springtime,

Virgene Grack Sehlin

1961 Class Agent