Class 0f '61
May 2008

Dear Classmates of 1961,

Incomparable May is sliding by and it is time to review financial records to determine if you have remembered Gustavus during the Alumni Fund that ends MAY 31.  Our class is one of the smaller groups in the decade so we really, really need help from each classmate to fare well in the effort.  This year we still need a boost.  If you send a donation between May 1 and 25, members of the Board of Trustees will double the gifts up to $50,000 of those who contribute first.

Big “black and gold” thanks to everyone who has sent a gift; your kindness means very much to Gustavus in these demanding educational times.

Our Class Scholarship is accumulating well past the halfway mark, but it still needs help, too.  All special gifts that you send for the scholarship must be designated for the 1961 Class Scholarship.  It is essential that we amass $25,000 before a current student can be awarded a stipend from us.  Contrary to my understanding shared in the last class letter, our gifts will remain in that fund as a permanent endowment of invested funds that earn interest.  I misunderstood when I indicated that these funds would revert to undesignated funds after three years.  Individual classmates or families may also establish such a scholarship.

There’s a new president—for Gustavus that is!  On April 25, Jack R. Ohle (pronounced OH-lee) was elected by the Board of Trustees to be Gustavus’ 15th president.  He is currently president of Wartburg College in Waverly, IA.  He is expected to assume the position on July 1.  The college has posted further information on the website:

On March 29 this spring St. Peter hosted a party around the theme, “Tremendous Twister,” to remember the tornado that hit ten years ago and to convey appreciation to all of the individuals and groups that helped with the recovery.  Deb Johnson ‘90, wife of Gustavus men’s basketball coach Mark Hanson ’83, was one of the organizers of the event.  Three days after the storm, the couple had the first post-tornado baby, Annika, who is now a fourth grader.  Nick Coleman, a Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist, writes about Gustavus’ experiences:  “Eighty percent of the windows at the college on the hill-top on the west side of St. Peter, were broken, and college parking lots looked like battlefields, with every car shattered by flying shrapnel, including two-by-fours that impaled windshields and car doors.  The college, which sustained $50 million in damages, was closed for spring break and the students were gone; if they had been on campus, the toll of dead and injured would have been much higher….A lot of people wondered whether St, Peter would ever be the same.  For the first year, it was hard going.  But a decade later, St. Peter has a population approaching 11,000, which means it has grown about 10 percent since the tornado.  The college has a new Campus Center and is receiving record numbers of applicants.”


Dr. Milton Odell Gustafson, Fort Washington, MD lost the battle with multiple myeloma on April 12, 2008.  A memorial service will be held on May 17 at the Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church, Camp Springs, MD.  Marilyn Heier Gustafson, your classmates join me in sending love and sympathy at this sad time.  The Gustafsons had two sons:  Eric (Kathryn) and Adam, two granddaughters and three grandsons.  Milt came to Gustavus from Hopkins High School and earned a history major plus playing baseball, writing and editing for the Weekly, serving on the Student Senate and Interfraternity Senate, and joining the “Reds” fraternity.  In the Weekly office, we sometimes teased him about which phone booth he had reserved for the Democratic Club’s meeting that month since he was the president and the party was not large in those days.  Milt was also our senior class president and he and his family prepared a video greeting for classmates, which was shown at the Friday evening gathering, of our 45th reunion. 

From his obituary in the Star Tribune:  “…a National Archives specialist in Diplomatic records and an expert on the history of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution…worked for the National Archives and Records Administration from 1967 to 2004.  From 1971 to 1995, he was the Archives’ Supervisor for State Department records.  In 2003, he received a NARA Lifetime Achievement Award for distinguished work with US diplomatic records.”  He volunteered at the Archives after his retirement and he was an active baseball umpire for Little League, high school and college games.

Rev. Jerry ’59 and Joan Miller Hoffman, New Brighton, MN happened to be visiting care facilities in Tringa, Tanzania, when Gustavus nursing chair Paula Swiggum took students from Gustavus and St. Olaf there.  See their picture in the latest Quarterly on page 34.  On page 35 of the same Quarterly there are Doug Perkins, Afton, MN (awarded “most mulligans”) and Jim Krough, Deephaven, MN (awarded “most out-of-bounds”) playing in the infamous golf tournament!  How many years have you met to hold the competition?

You will also recognize a number of other Gusties of our vintage on that picture.  Allan ’60 and Carol Anne Magnuson Moberg, Tampa, FL have owned the Moberg Studio in Tampa for more than 40 years.  One of the more famous subjects they photograph is the George Steinbrenner family (owners of the New York Yankees).  Al has done official Yankees’ photographs often.  The Moberg’s son Mark ’86 assists with wedding photography and large-group assignments.  Al took many of our graduation portraits for Lorhammer’s Studio in St. Peter, Sid’s and my wedding pictures and many, many shots for the Weekly while he was on campus.

Bob ’60 and Jean Stenstrom Eidsvold, Edina and Sanibel Island FL, began 2007 with excursions to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with good friends from their Wisconsin boat club.  In autumn they returned to Florida in time for the United/Mayflower Int’l Convention where Barrett Storage and Moving won a number of awards.  Two of their drivers were especially honored.  Dr. Carolyn Wedin, Frederic WI, is busy writing and teaching.  A feature about some of her work can be found on page 36 of this month’s Quarterly.  She has researched and written about 25 entries for the “forthcoming, multi-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of African-American History.”  Carolyn and husband, Tony Rolloff, also spent time in Sweden in the autumn to work on a book there.  She continues to teach an evening course in her area that covers drama and literature.

Bob and JoAnn Schwartz, Chanhassen, braved the blizzard to attend Christmas in Christ Chapel on Saturday, December 1.  Many name tags remained unused for the dinner that followed because of the conditions set by the first snowfall in the area.  The Schwartz’s daughter, Kris, who also attended Gustavus, and her husband, Matt, have two daughters:  Hannah, 6 ½, and Madison, 4 ½.  Bob says that he “worked on” Admission’s Director, Mark Anderson ’66 that evening in an effort to secure admission, when the time is right, for the two little granddaughters to become Gusties.  Dr. Bruce and Judy Kobs, Excelsior, MN note that Bruce has joined the ranks of the retired classmates.  He has owned a dental practice in the Twin Cities.

We attended the 3:30 service of “The Word Becomes Flesh” on that snowy, slippery December Friday afternoon and saw other classmates including Stu and Marlys (Johnson ’58) Johnson, St. Peter, who showed their very generous hospitality by offering us lodging in the nasty weather.  They had just returned from a week-long vacation in the San Diego area, with lots of rest, golf and sightseeing.  Dr. Arne and Miriam Lind Lagus, St. Croix Falls WI, also braved making the long drive for that concert.  Dr. Chester (geology professor when we were there) and Marian Swanson Johnson ’41 (freshman English professor for some of us) attended that beautiful service as did Dr. Bernard Erling (Christianity professor who was a new professor at Gustavus about that time and who was a Gustie Class of ’43 member who remains class agent for that class.)  He was one of the faculty members who attended our 45th reunion luncheon on campus.  What a beginning of Advent the service was.  The suspended stars that gradually illuminated the chapel provided a simple and moving setting for the strong, young voices, musicians, dancers, readers, and bell ringers.

Rev. Dr. James and Luray Wiberg, Silverthorne CO, announce a new grandson, Micah James Durocher, who was born to their daughter Kymm ’96 and Scott in St. Paul about a year ago.  Jim has completed his term at Lord of the Mountains, and since then they have “been on the move” traveling throughout the country and Europe.  At Thanksgiving they were in Florida with daughter, Dawn, and her family.  Then the route led them to Vienna, Austria, to be with Dave ’93, Hana and little Alexi for Christmas and New Year’s.  From there they went to Lisbon, Portugal, to tour and visit friends.  Jim and Luray speak in a most enthusiastic manner about the area of Colorado where they now live and they invite guests.  Sam Dahlquist’s newest address is in Ft. Collins, CO, but he and Anita lived in Maine during their working years.  Sam attended gatherings in Maine when the chapter group met there.  Maine is a favorite retreat for retiring Gustavus President James Peterson ’64.

Peter and Julie Nelson Neyhart, Juneau, AK enjoyed an adventure in Costa Rica last January.  They relished the “expertise of their guide, tropical vegetation, spectacular birds and other animals, interaction with locals and…varied transportation including kayak, raft, horseback and local bus.”  They also joined some of their grandchildren Sam, 11 and Lily, 9, at an intergenerational Elderhostel on horses in northern Georgia.  In Juneau, Julie serves on the church council and participates in a weekly breakfast Bible study and day of quilting.  Al and Karin Erickson Gaskell, Georgetown, TX note that Al is recovering from quadruple by-pass surgery.  The Class of ’61 sends speedy get well wishes, Al.

Elsa Cornell, St. Peter, announces a new grandson, Benjamin Philip Lang, who was born March 9, 2007, to daughter, Elisabeth and Philip Lang.  Elsa and Cec Eckhoff ’56 had only one daughter and at present the next generation includes one granddaughter, Sara, and six grandsons.  Last June and July the entire family gathered at a home on the outer banks of North Carolina.  Recently Elsa was the recipient of the St. Peter Women Celebrating Women 2008 award.  This year’s theme was Women’s Vision:  Expressing Life through Art.  Elsa was recognized for her contributions to the local fine arts.  Over the years, Elsa has directed and performed in numerous plays and was instrumental in starting the local Arts and Heritage Center.  Elsa continues to teach to prepare people for the GED and the NSL.  Congratulations Elsa!

Roger and Kitty Fletcher, Blue Earth, have now retired.  Roger was a realtor/broker and Kitty was also in that field with Olson Realty.Barb Knutson Richter, Rochester, assumed the presidency of the Rochester Methodist Hospital Auxiliary in January.  Within the organization she volunteers with the Shopping Cart, Caring Hands and in the Senior Center in the computer labs.  She has retired from Weight Watchers after 27 years of work with them.  Dale serves on the Foundation Board of the Samaritan Bethany Homes Inc.  His mother was 101 years-old when she passed away in June, 2007.  In July, 2007, they enjoyed a Baltic cruise.  Barb’s 50th reunion from Minneapolis Washburn High School took place in August.

Carol Olson Heath, Minneapolis, attended a 50th wedding anniversary celebration at St. Mark’s Cathedral and was surprised to meet Dr. David ’60 and Karen Westman Carlson, Edina.  It turned out that, as a young physician, David worked with the physician who was being honored by the event.  Carol is entering her 30th year of volunteer work with Meals on Wheels.  She began as a part-time volunteer when her son entered school and is now the scheduler for the activities on Wednesdays and a member of the Board of Directors.

James and Marilynn Clark Tanner, Hot Springs Village AR, enjoyed a great time in Norway, especially in Bergen (the land of the midnight sun), Oslo, and cruising in the fjords.  Marilynn’s mother turned 95, Jim observed his 50th reunion from college and Marilynn attended her 50th reunion from high school during the year.  The year also included a Princess cruise from New Orleans to Rio de Janeiro, a Christmas lights trip to Natchitoches, LA, and junkets to Destin, Savannah, Kentucky bluegrass country, Nashville and G.H.W. Bush and L.B. Johnson Presidential libraries in College Station and Austin TX.  They also enjoy opportunities to see Texas hill country and to return to Southern California, (they were in California for New Year’s) where they once lived, to visit friends.

Dr. Maury and Jan Sanftner Elvekrog, Birmingham, MI sailed off on a cruise to St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, Stockholm and Norway (near Oslo) where Maury’s ancestors and current relatives reside.  They observed July 4th and the queen’s birthday with an Elvekrog lunch that included more than 30 relatives.  Maury continues to work with his management firm and Jan writes, “he announces often that he will be there forever and we believe him!”  Jan remains a dean with Oakland University, which is turning 50 and is adding a medical school this year.  The four Elvekrog children are now married with families, and they reside in Chicago and Boston, so trips to those areas keep Jan and Maury connected.  The six grandchildren range in age from 9 downward.  Arnie and Gloria Eckberg Swenson, Plymouth, have a new granddaughter who lives in the state of Washington.  The new miss is Yohanna, born in August 2007, to John and Kristen in Shelton, WA.

Dr. Milt and Lorna Jafvert Reed, Friendswood, TX announce a fourth grandchild, Luke William, born to Paul and Sarah Newman on May 16, 2007, in the Twin Cities.  The Reed’s son Eric, Kason, Jafvert and Nathan live in Tallahassee so the trip from Texas to Florida is a frequent one for Lorna and Milt.  On their homeward drive last July they wagered $1 at the new casino in Biloxi, MS; visited New Iberia, LA, on the site of Longfellow’s poem, “Evangeline”; and stopped at Avery Island where Tabasco sauce is made.  Milt still consults on the space shuttle about two days per week.  Lorna says that she now is beginning to turn down some substitute teaching jobs!  An added note:  Lorna writes that she has heard about another woman who broke her leg badly while doing altar circle work at church.  Lorna says, “I have concluded that I’m smarter sticking with Sunday school, VBS and kitchen activities at church!”

Miriam Lind Lagus, St. Croix Falls WI, has been inspired by joining a painting group trip to Tuscany, Italy, about a year ago.  She returned from Europe with eleven 8 x 11 landscape paintings featuring Tuscany scenes and now she is continuing to paint with a teacher in Stillwater about once a week.  She also received an award last month for 7,000 hours of volunteer service at the St. Croix Valley Memorial Hospital.  Her husband, Arne, skied his 30th consecutive Birkebeiner Cross Country Race in Cable, Wisconsin, this winter and he plans to ski another race in August and early September in Australia.  He has skied about 21 Worldloppet races in Europe and North America including events in Norway, the Czech Republic, Italy, Estonia, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Finland, France and Canada.  He has qualified as a Worldloppet Master twice over.  Part of a Gustie Club group in the Twin Cities:  Sally Enstrom, Carol Olson Heath, Mim Lind Lagus, Gloria Eckberg Swenson and Virgene Grack Sehlin drove from the Twin Cities to St. Peter to enjoy the Rodin Exhibit in the Hillstrom Museum in April.  (The special exhibit closed on April 22.)  It was an inspirational day although the campus remained in a windy, winter mode at that time yet this year.

Sid and I are on the mend again after a challenging winter.  Shingles attacked the same upper leg area where Sid’s nerve damage began.  The shingles gave him some miserable times but he seems back in reasonable control.  My cataract surgery went well; what a miracle it is to see clearly again after all of that muted color and “fog.”

Each of you is thanked again for your loyalty and donations to the alma mater.  Remember that May 31, is almost upon us and that your gift can be matched by those generous trustees until May 25.  Many of you are due for sharing a news item―please!  Your comments are crucial for class letters that are fun to read.  You may send a message via e-mail, too.  Ours can be addressed to

Happy summer!

Virgene Grack Sehlin

1961 Class Agent

Campus News

MAYDAY! Conference Focused on Water

“Troubled Water” was the topic of Gustavus Adolphus College’s 28th annual MAYDAY!  Peace Conference held Wednesday, April 30 on campus.  Dr. Aaron Wolf, department of geosciences at Oregon State University and a leading expert on international water politics, opened the daylong conference and the afternoon keynote speaker was Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, a consumer advocacy organization in Washington, D.C.  The conference, an annual event designed to educate the campus community and beyond about issues related to peace, human rights, and social justice.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100) $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083.  Next date:  May 21 - featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy ’82

Alumni Awards Announced

The Alumni Association announces the following 2008 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Greater Gustavus Award - Given to those who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:

Jim and Susan (Pepin) Peterson ’64 ’65

Distinguished Alumni Citations - Recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement:

Craig Johnson ’69, bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Talmadge King ’70, chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Barbara Berry Leonard ’63, nursing professor, University of Minnesota.

First Decade Awards - Recognizing early professional achievement:

Miho Ihara, senior consultant, CPCS Transcom Limited.

Jason Smerdon, Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 31 and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 4.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Gustie Breakfast - May 21, featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy
  • Class Reunions - for 50-Year Club, 1958, and 1963 - May 30 and 31