Class of '62
I wish all the classmates of 1962 a wonderful New Year filled with happiness and blessed with peace. We make our own happiness, but there are some very special people ― people with the highest values and the greatest vision ― who are fighting to make peace possible in lands far from the one they know and love so well. One of those is Steve and Oronah Hanson's son-in-law, Lt. Matt Loverink, U.S. Navy, who just returned from his second deployment to Bahrain, where he flew H-3 helicopters, dodged bullets, and put his life on the line for us and for the people for whom democracy has been only a dream.
Linda Jones Lawrence and her husband are anxiously awaiting the return of another hero ― their son, who has been on duty in Baghdad, risking his life so that we can safely live ours. These brave men are in my prayers as are their parents, whose lives are also in peril until their sons are home again.
Heroes abound in the Class of ’62. Here are a few of them.
Fighting the good fight for thirty-six years, Gary Olson and his wife Carol served God and man in Uruguay and Peru as well as in their own backyard. Gary was the business administrator at Trinity Lutheran Church of Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota for 4 1/2 years and also worked at World Mission Prayer League for three years. In 1990 they began as the directors of Latin American Lutheran Mission in Laredo, Texas. They are now retired in Fentress, Texas, a town just large enough to boast a post office, a few houses and an RV park. Their official address is Lockhart, population 12,000, where all may enjoy the big city luxury of a McDonald's, a Pizza Hut, a Wal-Mart and a Dairy Queen. Their move from Minnesota to Texas was a difficult one in many ways, because Gary is now fighting more than man's sin and disbelief. He has been diagnosed with severe stenosis of his lumbar area as well as Parkinson's Disease. Keep fighting the good fight, Gary. Our prayers are with you.
Dick Hane retired two year ago after serving twenty years as pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Hermantown, MN and thirty-six years in the parish ministry. His wife, Judy, is still working part-time as an anesthesia assistant for an oral surgeons' group in Duluth, and is an insurance para-med and senior choir director at Salem Lutheran and director of the American Legion Chorus. Dick and Judy (Samuelson) enjoyed a wonderful retirement gift ― a January cruise through the Panama Canal, and in November a trip to Grand Bahama. Most people (me excluded) would much prefer taking a cruise to unwrapping a silver plated nut dish or a Home Depot gift card, so sail on for all of us grounded classmates.
Ed Blair and his wife Karyl (Krantz ’64) were in the Virgin Islands in July for a niece's wedding on the shore, with "Uncle Ed" officiating. I ask you, can you think of a more appropriate location for a blushing bride to say, "I do?"
On October 4, 2004, James T. Swanson retired as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Indiana after thirty years of ministering to his flock and perhaps watching some of them stray. But the strays must have been few because in September he received an award for community service from Joseph Kernan, Governor of Indiana.
As we all remember, Sandy Berge Bearson's son is working in the White House, where there are also many battles to be fought and won. Did your son manage to get you an invite to any of the Christmas parties, Sandy? If not, maybe he's saving his clout for the Inaugural Ball.
Susan Schreiber Kokal and her new husband relished the distinction of being the oldest couple to be listed under "Weddings" in our Alumni magazine. She married Dr. Harold Kear in October in Raleigh, North Carolina where Sue is tutoring and Harold is "dentisting" when they aren't traveling between Raleigh and Emerald Isle on the Outerbanks and to fun spots where friends and relatives will take them in. Take note Raleigh alumni (and you know who you are); perhaps a belated wedding shower is in order.
In May Karen Noren Talle traveled to Italy, Greece and Turkey with her sister, Andy, and husband Fred. They marveled at the ruins of Pompeii where 20,000 people lived and loved before the eruption of Vesuvius in 76 A.D. She found Athens and the Greek Islands to be fascinating and magical. In Kusadasi, Turkey they experienced Turkish baths and a tour of Ephesus, the second largest ancient city ever discovered. But the highlight of her year was the birth of Olivia Kim Talle. I know I promised to ixnay the abybay talk but Karen's waited a long time to become the G word, so we'll make an exception.
Mary Johns Miller is also one of the grateful G's. Baby-sitting Melody Faith brings her even more joy and happiness than her 2004 trip to twelve national parks, skiing, hiking, tennis, the symphony and all the other things that go into making her life full and bright.
Lou Ann (Eckberg) and Larrie Reese are officially retired as of this reading. Larrie made his last official business trip to Germany in November and Lou Ann retired as Incarnation Lutheran Church's organist at the end of 2004. That means almost 50 years of sitting on the bench. If she were pursuing a career in baseball that would not seem so laudable, but to "organize" for that many years deserves a standing O. Trouble is, she's not sure she'll know how to settle in next to Larrie in the church pew. They managed to log about 3,000 miles on their bikes, but she had enough reserved stamina to accompany Suzuki violinists at the International Suzuki Conference. In September they traveled to northern Spain for a three-week cycling adventure on the Camino de Santiago from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela. They followed a route established centuries ago commemorating the pilgrimage of St. James the Apostle's final resting place. They pedaled 550+ miles and climbed over 35,000 feet. Very heady stuff, Lou Ann!
Roz (Johnson) and Mark ’60 Anderson also do their share of traveling. In September their family gathered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for her brother Ralph's wedding, and on the same trip spent some time with her sister, Chellie, in Washington DC. Roz is a proud sis since Chellie is now president of Common Cause. They also traveled to Norway and Sweden with Ben and Ruthie (Johnson) Leadholm in August, traveling the roads that their grandparents had walked and meditating in the churches in which their ancestors had worshipped. It was so beautiful that they wondered how they could have pulled up stock and left for the unknown. The food, which reminded them of Christmas in Minnesota, was delicious, so I have to assume that lutefisk wasn't on the menu.
Ben and Ruth Ann (Johnson) Leadholm skied in Colorado in February and March, which has become a tradition. In May they were in Boston celebrating son Sam's graduation from law school. They also hiked and went sightseeing in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, almost getting close enough to pet the bison. I don't know what stopped them, except maybe the possibility of the bison wanting to reciprocate.
If you want a taste of the good life, Mike and Sharon (Hennek) Jerabek are still enjoying it on the north shore of Lake Superior at Lutsen, Minnesota; probably still taking to the slopes too. Happiness comes in all configurations, but I think I'll take my good life straight up with two olives, no ice, please.
Joan Rahm Roy is the Ellen Tracy of Deer Isle, Maine, where she dresses up the cast for every musical. She made all the costumes for the elementary school's production of Dickens' "Christmas Carol." The pictures I've seen of the costumed children are so incredible that one would think she has an army of elves in her employ, but she is pretty much a one-woman sewing machine.
Dale R. Johnson is staying alive in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, enjoying life and behaving himself. Is this a newly adopted attribute, Dale?
Jan Eiffert Hoomani is playing the piano and learning music theory and chord construction. She claims that taking lessons in piano and golf have not yet made her proficient in either, but she loves it ― and her husband, Hank, who stays the course with her. They each enjoy their new townhouse, which allows them to trade yard work and gardening for golf, travel and relaxation.
Charlotte Tesberg Stanley and her husband, Ron, are retired in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin and are learning to unwind and live at a more leisured pace. They took a trip to the Southwest and loved the "gypsy" feeling of not having to get to any particular point or return home before they were good and ready. Charlotte enjoyed revisiting the Gustavus campus for the Augustana Heritage Festival. During Holy week Ron got a call from the First Lutheran Church of Amery, Wisconsin when the pastor became ill and needed someone to assume the chancel responsibilities. Thanks to Master Builder Ron, who added a second deck and a new bathroom to their house, it is now more guest friendly. I hope you know what signal you are sending to Gustie travelers passing through, Charlotte.
I just received an update on Alexander Kestly's life and a heartfelt thank-you to us all, which follows:
Hello Gustavus Class of 1962
J-term got underway last week, and I am enjoying a more relaxed schedule. I am taking a course on interpreting Japan. What an interesting culture! My indoor track season also began last week with a young but exceptionally talented team. I have a bit more responsibility this year, as I am team captain. Beyond track and my class, I am conducting research for the Health and Exercise Science Department. Graduation is looming closer and closer, so I have been putting the finishing touches on my resume, as well as looking for an interim job before I apply for graduate school. Currently, I am considering either medical school or a graduate degree in kinesiology. I want to thank your class again for your generous contribution to my education; it truly makes a difference in my life.
The New Year has already seen Mother Nature behave in a most violent manner and wreak havoc that many attribute to God's indifference to man's well-being. This is a time when I am reminded of my Christianity classes at Gustavus, where we were encouraged to question and taught to think. Putting my mind to work and putting my faith to the test has been the rule ever since. Nothing ― not death or illness or hot flashes ― has shattered the faith those professors professed. After long and extensive questioning I cannot help but believe these truths to be self-evident: God is just, good men prevail, and my husband will be faithful to me until death do us part. Once again, thanks Gustavus Adolphus. I owe you a lot.
I also believe that Jan will have some new words of profound wisdom to dispense. Take it away, Jan!
Greetings from Raleigh, North Carolina! As I write I am listening to the rain―frozen rain! Our 8 a.m. flight to San Antonio to see my daughter has been cancelled so I am very annoyed with Raleigh weather. I enjoy living in Raleigh―most of the time. My ideal would be to live somewhere else in January (too much ice) and August (too hot and humid).
One of the things I miss, living far from "home," is seeing Gusties. And this brings me to the question I would like to ask of you. Would you like to have more Gustie gatherings? I am thinking of small, informal gatherings in out-state locations in Minnesota and, for us who live in "foreign" states and countries, in some common area of concentration. For me it is so much fun to spend a few hours with other Gusties―especially Class of ’62. What are your thoughts?
As your class agents, Judy and I will accept your replies and report on the returns. Since I am making this suggestion, maybe you should hit me with your comments. email@example.com or 919-556-6162 or 2537 Carriage Oaks Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614.
Last Wednesday I had a delightful three-hour lunch with someone I had not seen since 1962. Sue Schreiber Kokal Kear had e-mailed me to say that she is now living in Cary, which is next door to Raleigh. We set the date and place and had so much fun; the only reason it didn't go on longer was that I had an appointment. She's enjoying life and looking great. She and I agreed that we would enjoy rounding up "mates" in North Carolina, Virginia, maybe even South Carolina. What say you Gustie southerners?
The only other thing I want to mention is to encourage each of you to check into the various "painless giving" vehicles available to all of us. Hank isn't yet retired: when I think about retirement income, I get nervous―especially with the market volatility―and I find myself feeling very frugal (something totally contrary to my nature). However, I am totally comfortable committing to planned/future giving.
The older I get, the more I feel a desire, even a need, to create something that will live after me. My children and grandchildren will live after me. So will the Class of ’62 Scholarship. There will be many, many young men and women who will benefit enormously because of the Class of ’62 Scholarship. That makes me feel good and I hope it does you too. We must grow our scholarship with our gifts and each of us must participate.
Make your plans to make a planned/future gift.
Check your Quarterly.
Check the Gustavus web site: Go to www.gustavus.edu, click on alumni, click on giving, click on Contact Gift Office Staff. You will see names, familiar faces, phone numbers and you can even click on e-mail and the e-mail form comes to your screen. Isn't this Internet and e-mail stuff amazing?!!
Call Gustavus at 1-800-726-6192 and say, "I want to talk with someone about planned or future giving to Gustavus." Do it now. Find out how easy and painless it is.
Health and happiness to you now and always,
Jan Eiffert Hoomani
1962 Co-class Agent