Class of '61
May 2009

Dear ’61 Classmates,

Campus is displaying all of its springtime glory now.  The blooming crabapple trees forming a walkway from the entrance of campus to Old Main are striking and give testimony that in time the 1998 tornado will actually enhance the Gustavus campus.

GREAT NEWS!  Our Class of 1961 Endowed Scholarship has reached its minimum funding level of $25,000.  That means that a scholarship can be awarded at this time when students really, really need help.  Thank you so much to each of you who contributed thus far and to anyone who adds to the endowment in the future.  The awards will allow your gift to go beyond you as future students continue to receive a portion of the endowment income as a scholarship.  Further information will be added to future letters.


The men’s hockey team rose to the top this season under the acclaimed coaching of Brett Petersen.  They skated to the NCAA Final (The Frozen Four) at Lake Placid, NY, for the first time since 1982.  The tournament was played in Herb Brooks Arena at the Olympic Center, where the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” took place against the Russian team in 1980.

The Forensics team won the state title once more and placed in the top twenty nationally at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament in New York.  At a meeting on campus Chloe Radcliffe, a freshman from Prior Lake, demonstrated why they were champions.  As a freshman team member, Chloe won three individual titles.

“Come on you Gusties” Breakfast

Join us for a cup of coffee, breakfast, and great conversation.  All Gusties are welcome and invited to the breakfasts which are held the third Wednesday of each month.  This month our featured presenter is Katherine Tunheim, professor of economics and management.  Tunheim will bring news about the department and speak about business ethics and how it is incorporated in the department today.  The date will be Wednesday, May 20, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by calling Don Swanson ‘55 at 763-533-9083. 

MAY 31 is the close of the 2009 Gustavus Annual Fund.  This year and next the donations will be prioritized for scholarship support.  This month only there is a $50,000 challenge fund in place to match any gifts.  Your gift is appreciated so much—thank you, each one!  Please check your records and if you have not yet remembered Gustavus, send a gift or pay online by going to

It is sad to note that three classmates have passed away during the last nine months.  Following is the information that is available at this time.  If you can share special memories about any of these friends, please send them with your gift or e-mail them to me at


Bill Olseen, Rochester, MN, passed away on August 27.  He came to Gustavus from Stromsberg, NE, and earned a B.A. with a major in English.  No further information or contact is available at this time.

William “Bill” Pell passed away on November 10, in St. Peter, where he was born, educated and lived throughout his life.  In 1963 he established Pell Insurance and Real Estate.  Bill was involved with numerous civic activities.  He served as chairman of the Board of First National Bank of Minnesota.  Baseball, golf, sporting events, reading and traveling were special favorites but little could compete with his interest in the Cubs baseball team.  He played a lot of baseball and, later, was a coach for Babe Ruth baseball.  From the Class of ’61, condolences are sent to Sandra “Sis,” one daughter and two sons.

Paul Johns, Mankato, MN passed away on March 27, following many years of battling multiple sclerosis.  During Phonorama contacts, Paul talked about his appreciation for life and the doctors at the Mayo Clinic who kept finding advanced methods to keep him going.  To Phyllis (Kamman) Johns, our classmate and Paul’s wife of almost fifty years, our class extends sympathy, both to you and to your three daughters and Paul’s sister.  One of the daughters lived in Hawaii for awhile and the Johns did manage to travel there for visits.  Paul came to Gustavus from Willmar to earn a degree in accounting and economics.  He worked with NW Bell, Playhouse Toy Co. and GTO Electronics.  His medical issues forced retirement from a vice presidential position at an early age.  He worked on the Weekly as business manager and there he often shared stories about experiences while he served in the armed forces.

Bob ’60 and Jean Stenstrom Eidsvold, Edina and Sanibel Island, FL enjoyed their first trip to Alaska in August on an extensive tour including a visit with Jean’s Gustavus roommate Julie Nelson Neyhart and Peter in Juneau, AK.  Jean writes, “The history and confluence of cultures:  American, Russian and Scandinavian, was most interesting, but the incredible array of wildlife and the scenery stole the show.”  Jean lists taking a glacial trek on the Mendenhall Ice Field as the tour’s most unforgettable experience.  James Lehman, Gainesville, FL was graduated with faculty honors from Faith Lutheran Seminary of St. James University in Sebring, FL.  He was ordained this past summer.  Now he is pursuing a master’s of divinity degree.  The stroke that he suffered about two years ago has left him with only one usable arm.

Peter and Julie Nelson Neyhart, Juneau, AK took a trip to China with Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) to Shanghai, Bejing, Xian, Lhasa in Tibet, Shengdu and Hong Kong.  Julie says, “OAT always provides an exceptional leader to teach and shepherd the group plus excellent additional guides in each community.”  Their three sons and one daughter are spread around the country, and they visited California and Las Vegas to be with their family during the year.  Julie’s mother Millie now lives with them.  Dr. Bruce and Judy Kobs, Excelsior, MN report that Bruce has now retired from his dental practice in the Twin Cities.

John and Judi Malmborg continue to reside in St. Peter where John operated a business until retirement.  John, your classmates send get well prayers to you as you battle cancer.  Although the disease is now survivable by more than 50% of those struck by it, the battle can be intense.  Jim and Marilynn Clark Tanner, Hot Springs Village, AR traveled extensively in the U.S. in 2008.  Their destinations included southern California; South Padre Island, TX; Florida; Charleston, SC; Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman, MT; Delaware; Virginia and Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Their schedule suggests that both of them enjoy retirement, great health and substantial energy.

Stu and Marlys (Johnson ’58) Johnson, St. Peter, attended the Gustavus Heritage Partnership luncheon on campus in May.  Stu shared news about taking their family to Disney World for Christmas; only one teenager declined―and then changed his mind after the deal was done!  Stu and Marlys and their good friends, Bruce and Sue Gray, St. Peter, spent two weeks away from winter at the Johnson condo on the island of Kauai.  Dr. Mary Nelson, Chicago, was among the group of Gusties who gathered in Chicago in September.  She is included in the picture on page 45 of the Spring ’09 Gustavus Quarterly.  Mary is retired from the position of president and CEO of Bethel New Life in the West Garfield Park area of Chicago.

Arnie and Gloria Eckberg Swenson, Plymouth, MN announce a new granddaughter, Ellery Jean Rebehn, who was born on April 27, in Minneapolis to Carolyn Swenson ’96 and Kent Rebehn.  John and Kristen Swenson, who live in Shelton, WA, also gave the Swensons a granddaughter two years ago in August.  She is named Yohanna.  Judith Lenzen, Sun City West, AZ has now retired from her career as a physical therapist in Tucson, AZ.  She enjoyed her work but driving there after she purchased the Sun City West home was a bit far.

David and Karen (Lacher) Dowd, Duluth, MN have slowed down a little, but David remains connected as a funeral director at Dougherty Chapel.  Karen has retired as a dog breeder and dog trainer with Otter River Kennels.  Dr. Milt and Lorna Jafvert Reed, Friendswood TX, were actually excited about snow that gave atmosphere to the Houston area in mid-December.  The Reeds were among evacuees when Hurricane Ike hit the Texas Gulf Coast.  After three days in San Antonio, they returned to roof, fence and tree damage that was not too severe.  Their travels during the year have been to be with family in Minnesota and Florida.  Lorna has now retired from substitute teaching but Milt is still attempting to retire from Boeing where he works on the space shuttle in Houston.

Look carefully in the summer 2009 Gustavus Quarterly which includes pictures of several classmates who look great and are sporting wonderful smiles.  Dick Dalton, Cannon Falls, MN joins other Gusties whom you may know on page 41, and they look terrific in Mexico wearing “I Love Gustavus” tee shirts.  Just above that picture is one from the annual golf tournament, “The Krough Invitational.”  Classmates Doug Perkins, Afton, MN and Jim Krough, Deephaven, MN, are among the group.  You will probably recognize other Gusties from classes that were on campus when we were there.  Kay Peterson Gutzmann, Falcon Heights, MN has retired from Barnes & Noble Books.

Virginia Gerdes, Waite Park, MN has devoted her life to teaching at a Christian school in the St. Cloud area and to assisting her extended family.  She continues to be very close to the activities of her nieces and nephews and their children.  At this year’s Christmas gathering, one-year-old Seren suddenly stopped breathing and was rushed to the hospital in Princeton and, on to Children’s Hospital in the Twin Cities.  She has returned home, but is being evaluated further by neurologists.  Ginny says that the little one is now the family’s Christmas angel.  Such times certainly do help us all to recognize our blessings.

We visited with Ralph and Marlys (Schneider ’63) Swenson of Hudson, WI and Green Valley, AZ at the President’s dinner following Christmas in Christ Chapel.  They attended the St. Olaf Christmas concert the following afternoon and then returned to Green Valley, AZ, on Monday.  The next weekend they left the west coast for Maui, Hawaii, for their family Christmas.  Their son, Paul, his wife and two grandsons aged 9 and 3 ½ were joining them from Shanghai.  Their daughter, Jodell, was coming from Milwaukee.  Jodell gave a presentation in Beijing last fall as part of her work with GE Medical Systems and, then, was able to add a visit with her brother and his family in Shanghai on the trip.  Dr. Arne and Miriam Lind Lagus, St. Croix Falls, WI also attended the Saturday afternoon concert.  Jerome Anderson, St. Paul, MN greets classmates and says that he has retired.  Their daughter, Amanda, was a recent Gustavus graduate, class of 2000.

Dale and Barb Knutson Richter, Rochester, MN remain busy in retirement.  Barb is president of the hospital auxiliary at the Mayo Clinic.  They enjoyed two great trips in 2008.  In February they experienced elephant riding, river rafting and an authentic Thai massage in Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam.  In August they cruised the British Isles, including England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and the American War Memorial and beaches of Normandy.  Al and Karin Erickson Gaskell, Georgetown, TX share the news that their daughter, Kathryn, married Dan in October in Minneapolis.  The young couple resides in Hopkins.  It is also very good news that Al is doing well following a second heart attack.

Elsa Cornell, St. Peter, MN sends greetings and delight about her newest grandson, Benjamin.  Elsa and Cec Eckhoff’s ’56 son, Peter ’87 married Nancy last August, setting the occasion for a great family gathering.  Jo Linnee, Winona, MN enjoyed a recent vacation in Sarasota, FL.  While there, she was also able to be with family members in the area.

Dr. Maury and Jan Sanftner Elvekrog, Birmingham, MI, announce a new granddaughter.  Reece Addison was born on June 1l, and will be having a first birthday party soon.  Jan has now retired from Oakland University where she was a dean.  Maury remains active at Seger-Elvekrog where he is a financial analyst and psychologist.  Sally Enstrom, St. Louis Park, MN wears many hats in retirement from the Minnetonka Schools.  While leading tours at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts recently, she visited briefly with Nan Dahl Carlson, White Bear Lake.  Sally traveled in Costa Rica during the winter.

A surprising Gustie connection took place in Huntsville, AL, during Lent when pastors were exchanging pulpits.  Drs. Bill and Reet (Lind ’62) Henze are members of the Huntsville congregation to which Rev. Mark Borseth came.  His wife, Betsy (’89 Gustie), was very excited to meet Reet, whose sister, Miriam Lind Lagus of St. Croix Falls, WI, is a classmate of Judy Fairbanks Sandberg.  Judy and Harlan Sandberg ’60 reside in New Hope, MN.  Rev. Mark is a mission developer of a new ELCA church in Harvest, AL, and also works part time at Messiah Lutheran Church in Madison, AL.

Another Gustie connection was a heart warmer in the winter when a group of classmates gathered for a monthly lunch at the Bachman’s facility on Lyndale Avenue including Gloria Eckberg Swenson, Carol Olson Heath, Miriam Lind Lagus, Sally Enstrom, Dori Bergstrom Macek and myself.  While enjoying the plant-filled atmosphere, we were surprised by Jim ’62 and Sandy Gilbert.  Jim is the well-known naturalist who has headed both the Linneas Arboretum at Gustavus and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, MN.  Wherever there are plants, it is especially fun to have Jim Gilbert and all of his observations nearby.  You will remember that he participated in one of our reunion luncheons that was still held in the cafeteria before the tornado destroyed that in 1998.

Thank you for the many ways in which you have supported Gustavus.  It is a very rare visit to campus when I do not see a classmate or a familiar face, even after all of these 48 years since we all took our final tests and marched off in those black gowns and gold hoods.  Our class is an especially faithful group of Gusties, and it is respected in that vein.  Keep those news items coming, even during the summer.  Sid and I are experiencing a relatively stable period with health issues and look forward to a refreshing summer.  Each one of you is wished a great season.  As Alumni Director, Randall Stuckey ’83 always says, “Go, Gusties!”

Virgene Grack Sehlin

1961 Class Agent

royal affair