Class of '63
April 2008

45th -Year Reunion

Reunion dates ― May 30-31, 2008

Volume 45, No. 7

Dear ’63ers,

Less than one month to go until we gather in the “Apostolic City” for our 45th anniversary since graduation.  I continue to hear from our classmates who are planning to make the trek to what Chaplain Elvee referred to as “our little community guarded by the clock tower on the hill.”  No Elvee around these days, but Old Main still stands.  For those of you who haven’t been to the campus since the renovation of Old Main, you have a real treat in store.  It has been beautifully restored.


MAYDAY!  Conference Focuses on Water

“Troubled Water” is the topic of Gustavus Adolphus College’s 28th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference to be held Wednesday, April 30 on campus.  Dr. Aaron Wolf, department of geosciences at Oregon State University and a leading expert on international water politics, opens the daylong conference and the afternoon keynote speaker is 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, is open to the public at no charge.

Arvonne Fraser to Speak at Spring Author Day

Gustavus Library Associates proudly presents Minnesota political activist Arvonne Fraser as this spring’s Author Day speaker at 10 a.m. on Wednesday May, 14 at the Edina County Club.  She will discuss her recently published, spirited memoir, She’s No Lady:  Politics, Family, and International Feminism.  Fraser was heavily involved in the growing movement of American women to gain political influence and secure rights for themselves.  She turned her skills to the international arena, as well, capping her dynamic career as U.S. ambassador to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.  Her story will inspire and encourage anyone―male or female―who seeks a full personal and professional life.  Reservations for the brunch and presentation at a cost of $20 can be made by calling the Gustavus Office of College Relations at 507-933-7520.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • MAYDAY!  Peace Conference focused on water - April 30
    Author Day with Arvonne Fraser - May 14
  • Gustie Breakfast - May 21, featuring Sports Information director, Tim Kennedy
  • Class Reunions for 50-Year Club, 1958, and 1963 - May 30 and 31

GUEST WRITER, Mark Gilderhus

Greetings to Gusties from the Class of ’63,

Although I have not maintained contact with many of you, in part because I have never lived where you are concentrated, I said “yes” when Tilly asked me to write a letter, because I have kept in touch with Gustavus.  I read the alumni publications, send in news blurbs, make annual donations, and, when my daughter, Kirsten was a student there during the years 1987-91, I visited the school at least twice a year.  But now I have been away for a long time.

Looking back at my own Gustavus experience, I am happy to say I have fond memories of the innocence of undergraduate life in those immediate post-Eisenhower days.  I cannot forget such things as the great panty raid one Sunday night when the City of St. Peter turned off the electricity for some kind of new thing, and the lads seized the occasion to break into the girls’ dorms; the “ban the gun” campaign, in which we registered our opposition to police brutality (or was it police incompetence?); the wonderful sentimentality when fraternity boys serenaded the women’s residence halls with romantic ballads; the annual talent shows featuring everything from renditions of “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” to impressions of Adolph Hitler to impersonations of the Smothers Brothers; and closing time in the dorms at midnight on weekends when the boys had to leave the girls and make the long, cold trek back to Uhler Hall.  We had no idea what lay ahead.  Kennedy was alive; we had no Vietnam War, no anti-war protests, no civil rights movement, no big city riots, no acts of war criminality by Lyndon Johnson (for whom I voted) and Richard Nixon (for whom I did not).  As a graduate student and a young professor, I later became involved with antiwar protest and some other stuff.  “Hey, Hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”  Ironically, I now have an academic title as the Lyndon B. Johnson Endowed Chair Holder in U.S. History at Texas Christian University.  I think Johnson would find it amusing.

I also like to recall the excellent professors who had an influence.  When I arrived at Gustavus as a freshman, I had no idea that my journey would turn me into an academic.  As a small town kid, I had never met a professor and had never heard of graduate school.  I did not know where Ph.D.’s came from or what they did.  Well, times change, and now I know.  I went from college to graduate school to a twenty-nine year stint at Colorado State and finally to Texas Christian University in Ft Worth.  With all due respect to the Grateful Dead, I need to say “what a long, strange trip it’s been.”

Becoming a historian is one of the smarter things I ever did.  I have lived in interesting places, done interesting things, traveled to interesting places, and met interesting people.  Ending up in Texas is not something I would have predicted.  As Texas liberal Molly Ivins liked to say, “Texas is Mississippi with roads.”  In a similar vein Bill Moyers has observed, “If you think our state legislators are bad, you should see their constituents.”  In many ways, Texas is a backward, retrograde place inhabited by lots of bigoted, ignorant people.  I would not choose to live in many Texas towns.  Happily, Ft Worth and TCU have turned out to be civil and decent places with lots of amenities, among them, fine Texas steakhouses and Mexican restaurants, the great Bass Concert Hall, the fabulous Kimball Art Museum, and good blues joints.  My wife, Nancy, whom I met in graduate school over forty years ago, and I both like it here.

When I go off to teach my students even in the present, I sometimes think of my classes at Gustavus and wonder how Rodney Davis and Doniver Lund would handle whatever topic I have scheduled for the day.  Davis scared me half to death early on in Western Civ.  I later came to regard him as a great iconoclast, and I learned many things from him, in spite of his intimidating style.  When I encountered Davis thirty years later during a visit to Gustavus around 1990, I found that in his presence I still felt as inadequate and insignificant as when I first met him in 1959.  Lund was a kind, gentle, accessible man but equally demanding in his own way.  He moved me along with subtlety and persuasion.  Together they share the responsibility for my decision to become a historian.  I have never regretted it and owe them big time.

In addition, I want to pay tribute to other professors who had an influence on the development of my thought processes and intellectual skills:  to Gerhard Alexis and J. Luke Creel, who instilled in me an appreciation for American and world lit.; to Bernard Erling and Emmer Engberg, who taught this unbeliever that the study of religion when mixed with reason and skepticism can take on importance; to my various French, Spanish, and German instructors, especially Sven Verner Langsjoen, who helped me learn some of the linguistic tools of my trade; to Floyd Martinson, from whom I was introduced to cultural relativism as understood by anthropologists; to Myron Falck, whose ear for good trumpet playing kept me on the alert and counting; and to Chester Johnson who could make the analysis of rocks very funny.  Who could forget the geology field trip to the St. Paul brick yard to look for fossils?  We found none.  Instead we uncovered a mother-load of used condoms, bras, and ladies’ underwear.  As embryo scientists, we had stumbled on to lovers’ lane.

My Gustavus experience established the intellectual basis for my trek through graduate school at the University of Nebraska, for my subsequent career at Colorado State in Ft Collins, where Nancy and I pursued our respective careers and raised two daughters, Kirsten and Lesley, and finally eleven years ago for our move to TCU.  When the job offer came through, we said, “What the hell!  Our kids are grown and on their own; nothing is keeping us here; let’s go to Texas.”  The decision has worked out wonderfully.

I want to wish everyone the best and hope the reunion will turn into a grand thing.

Mark T. Gilderhus

5112 Blue Sage Road

Ft Worth, TX 76132

(817) 263 2972


Sid Smart sent a correction to news I had in the last class letter.  I said that they were celebrating their first grandchild. . .actually it was a celebration of their first great grandchild.  They have 10 grandchildren!  Barb Berry Leonard will be attending the reunion!!!  We will all celebrate her being the recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Citation.  What is so special about this honor is that it recognizes, for the first time, the achievement of a nursing graduate.  Barb will be presented her award at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 31 with what I hope will be many of her classmates in attendance.  Susan Bentzinger Olson is considering coming to the reunion.  Jim Stephan may be making the trek to the campus to greet “old” classmates.  Jan Heaberlin lives in Shoreview and is enjoying her grandchildren.

Karen Hallberg Green has retired from her work in the Chisago Lakes school district office.  Al Eckloff has retired from 3M.  Al motored to the campus for homecoming and saw the Golden Gusties play in the new football stadium.  Otto Templin’s grandson is in his first year at Gustavus.  Yvonne Gabbert Laddusaw is semi-retired and has a two-year-old grandson for which she baby-sits as often as she can.  Karen Matsche Kelley lives in Circle Pines and is employed by PetSmart.

Tom Lindell has retired from his position at the University of Arizona.  Tom and Marilyn will be at the reunion as Tom is a featured speaker at one of the reunion seminars.  Kent Nakamaru still lives in Hawaii.  When Dave Arlander from the reunion committee called him he was getting ready to host a wedding for one of his daughters.  Nancy Beck Strom is a budding entrepreneur with a health care business selling Tahitian Noni Juice.  She invites classmates to check out the product at Lindborg Jonaitis reports that after a busy summer of travel, seven trips after Memorial Day, they have enjoyed staying home and welcoming relatives to Tucson that arrive when cold weather hits the North Country.  “We’re mentoring a new docent class at the desert park where we volunteer.  Also we are trying to get acquainted with three new step-grandchildren. . .instant family for our son.” 

Bill Lahti is wintering in Sun City West and will be attending the reunion.  Betty Ehrich Lappe and her husband are both retired.  Betty continues to teach private piano lessons.  They have three children and nine grandchildren.  Carol Peterson Hustuft is considering attending the reunion.  Barb Lundell Benson will not be attending the reunion since her daughter is moving to Seattle at the end of May and is also expecting a baby at the same time.  Barb will be going to Seattle to help with the move and a new grandchild.  Her son-in-law is in the military and recently returned from Iraq.  Orrin and Janis (Karli ’65) Tietz are living in Jordan and interested in attending the reunion.

Marlin Fried was at Gustavus for two years and lives in Chandler, AZ.  He transferred to the University of Minnesota and completed engineering school.  He worked in manufacturing and quality control until his retirement four years ago.  He and his wife, Beverly, have four children and ten grandchildren.  Lois Schultz Muehlstedt is enjoying semi-retirement in Oro Valley, AZ, after teaching at the technical college in St. Cloud.  She is still working part-time for an educational testing company and travels quite a lot.  Her two sons live in Minneapolis and her first grandchild was born last October.  David P. Nelson has been retired from Red Rock College for six years.  He is no longer involved in a commercial development project and enjoys his cabin in Shaffers Crossing, CO.  Harris Tofte is a full-time nanny for his grandson and even went to classes to become a certified nanny.  He says it is the best job he has ever had!!!!!  Mike Holm is enjoying his job and playing a lot of tennis and golf.  Robert Gores writes that his son is playing soccer in New Zealand.

And, a newsy letter from Mary Sundberg Larson.

            “I just received my March Class Letter.  I always enjoy reading about my classmates.  I want to thank you for being so faithful to keep us informed and connected over these past 45 years!

            Looking back on my years at Gustavus, as well as my time at Bethesda Hospital in the nursing program, I realize now how fortunate I was to have been able to attend a college that had a religious background.  This has given me a firm foundation for living my life.

            My husband, Dale, and I are both retired.  Dale taught in the Moundsview School District for 35 years.  I went to work at Bethesda Hospital after graduating and getting married.  After taking time off to raise our family, I returned to work at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church Preschool in St. Paul as an aide with the four year olds.  My last year, I was fortunate enough to work with Jan Hultberg Johnson.  It was fun to reconnect with her again.

            We belong to the Antique Advertising Association of America and enjoy collecting and traveling.  We have attended the AAAA annual July Conventions since 1984.  Dale has been the President for the last seven years.  This involves both of us in the Convention planning and activities.  The AAAA Board meets two times a year in Indianapolis, Indiana, at the Indy Antique Advertising Show.  We enjoy buying, selling and meeting with friends during the show.

            My other interests involve making Swedish Straw Ornaments.  They are made from rye straw which my father, Walter Sundberg, grew on my home farm.  I have been working on counted-cross stitch pictures for the last thirty years.  This has prompted me to in participate in boutiques in the Metro area, Two Harbors, and Osakis.

            We have a son, Erik, who lives in Superior, Wisconsin, with his wife Patti.  Our daughter, Carrie, lives in Roseville with her husband, John.  We have two grandchildren and enjoy every minute that we have together.

            I am looking forward to the reunion and I want to thank my classmates for being a part of my life.

May God Bless You!”


That’s all the news I have to report unless y’all write a few lines when you send your Gustavus Fund gift.  I will be doing one more letter in May so you have time to send me a little news either in writing or send an e-mail (

Some classmates, when contacted by the reunion committee, responded that they were undecided about coming.  If you would like to encourage a friend to come, go to the Gustavus Website and click on Alumnus/Alumna and on the left side of the page click on Class of 1963 Reunion.  Go to the bottom of the page where you will see “Send an e-card.  From that point on just follow the instructions.  You can pick out a picture from Gustavus and write your own message.  Send as many e-mails as you would like to classmates for whom you have e-mail addresses.  If you are coming to the reunion, encourage your friends to also come.

Be sure to check out the pictures that are on the Class of 1963 Reunion Page.  If you would like to send a picture, follow the directions at the bottom of the page.


Please sign up if you haven’t already.  A registration form was sent or you can register on-line.  To register on-line just go to, click on alumnus/alumna and then click on the Class of 1963.  There are two places where you can click on REGISTER and do so on-line with a credit card.


Please contact John Monson directly at  He will be creating the foursomes and making the arrangements at the Shoreland International Masters PGA Country Club in St. Peter.

Thanks for your continued friendship and support.  See you in May!

Paul Tillquist

1963 Class Agent

P.S.  If you haven’t yet made your annual gift to Gustavus―please go to to make your gift online today!  The fiscal year ends May 31, 2008!