Class of ’63

September 2012

50-Year Reunion ― May 31-June 1, 2013

Reunion Special−A Word from the Editor

As I worked on the fall 2012 class newsletter, I realized that the best title for it is “Reunion Special.”  As you will note, quite a number of the articles focus on a really BIG and really IMPORTANT and really FUN TIME that is coming our way in not too many months.  The dates are May 30-June 1 and the place, of course, is up on the hill in St. Peter at good old GAC!  Our theme is “Remember, Reflect, Renew.”

Below, then, are articles that highlight the reunion including beginning with an excellent editorial contribution by Dick Monson, our classmate and one of my seminary classmates who has some important things to say about remembering, reflecting and renewing.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition of the newsletter as much as I enjoyed putting it together as your Class Communication Chair.  And, remember, without your contributions, we don’t have as much to communicate.  So keep those cards and letters coming!

Gary F. Anderson

1963 Communications Chair

Common Patterns and Unique Experiences

by Dick Monson

Following graduation, along with a number of my Gustavus classmates I attended Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois, then already known as LSTC, The Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago since a merger was underway.  After seminary graduation, I spent an additional year in clinical pastoral education prior to beginning many years of parish ministry.  In May of 1968, I was ordained as were others in our class at Christ Chapel.  In 1978, I received a doctor of ministry degree from McCormick Seminary in Chicago.  That degree opened an opportunity for me to serve as a vice president for Lutheran Hospital, Moline, Illinois and later as director of chaplaincy and pastoral care at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.  Since retirement in 2005, I have had the occasion to teach religion and ethics at Bethany Lutheran College, Lindsborg, Kansas, as well as Kansas Wesleyan University and Kansas State University in Salina.

My wife, Janet, and I have been married forty-six years.  Janet received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Augustana College, Rock Island.  While in Houston, she worked at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Transfusion Service.  She is certified as a specialist in blood banking and her paper based on a research project is to be published this year in the journal “Transfusion.”

In 2005, we moved to McPherson, Kansas into a new home built on my wife’s family farm.  We have two adult children who are married with children—Lars who works in Houston, Texas for Gulf Coast Engineering and Karna who practices as a pediatric nurse in the Dallas area.  We enjoy keeping an eye on our two grandchildren and five step-grandchildren ages 10-22 as they grow and develop into fascinating and exciting adults.

Can you remember those first days at Gustavus some 53 years ago?  After the eventful time of high school graduation and an exciting summer getting ready to transcend into college, we found ourselves looking forward to a new journey.  At first the Gustavus campus did not look that familiar but “Freshman Week” enabled us to embrace the Gustavus spirit.  Soon the upperclassmen appeared and almost immediately we commenced our studies embarking on four years that were both challenging and remarkable.

As we plan on attending our 50th class reunion at the end of May 2013, I am reminded of quotes from three of the great minds that our professors introduced us to during our time at Gustavus.

The Danish theologian, Søren Kierkegaard speaks to our upcoming reunion when he wrote, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  Getting ready for our 50th get-together may give us an opportunity to do a number of things.  For instance, it may not only help us to understand our past existence but it may well put in order our remaining days.  Also, as we ponder our lives, we should heed the advice of Charles Dickens when he encouraged us to “Reflect upon our present blessings – of which there are many – not on our past misfortunes, of which there are some.”

In the past few years, most of us have entered a time known as retirement.  It is a valuable juncture of life that gives us an opportunity to look back at those years when we were consumed with working, collecting, amassing, and in many cases, raising a family.  Perhaps today our focus has changed somewhat and we are enjoying such things as a favorite hobby, traveling, volunteering, spending time with family and friends, or even embarking on a new career.

One of the things we learned while at Gustavus was that friendships were vital for our wellbeing.  Hopefully that wisdom has remained with us over the years.  The reward of friendship struck a chord with me earlier this summer when my wife Janet and I had an opportunity to spend an evening with a dozen fellow Gustavus students and spouses at the home of Steven Benson in Minneapolis.  This event reminded me that while our life’s work is of great consequence, it is not as important as our family and friends.

While serving as Director of Chaplaincy at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, I was often engaged in conversation with cancer patients.  No one ever told me how they regretted not working harder or spending more time in their career or even earning more money.  I did, however, speak with many who regretted not spending more time with their family and friends.  Our friends are often pillars of strength who give us support and comfort.  An occasion with a friend is often one of the greatest joys in life.  As the philosopher Aristotle said, “In the misfortunes of life, friends are a refuge.  They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort the old, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

As we come together next year, may the class of 1963 heed the words of the philosopher by comforting, inciting, and staying out of mischief.

Reminder of our "Cool"

by Claudia Hayden Schroeder

Those were the days!  Our days!  We were cool!  At our 50th Gustavus class reunion you will witness a show flaunting our fashions from those days.  We thought we were pretty cool, but then we never had a clue as to what "cool" would look like in the future.  Thank God!

So a fashion show complete with frat jackets, rush outfits, letterman's jackets, pj’s, study attire, date night, formals, etc. will be held as part of our reunion fun.  We need your help!  If you have any old stuff from "our days" we need to borrow them.  Now you know why you held onto all that stuff!  Also, ideas from you to help take us all back in our COOL,  are needed.  Please contact Claudia Hayden Schroeder or Sandy Brown Johnston with suggestions or donations.

“Remember the Times We Had Here…

Remember When You’re Away”

by Marietta Bittrich Johns

Bundled up on a snowy Saturday night we would trek downtown St. Peter to a small Gustie gathering place.  When we opened the door on that frosty night the room was cozy and warm−softly a-glow with candles on the tables, lights down low, "Scotch and Soda" in the background and the delicious fragrance from the ovens of a mixture of oregano, mozzarella, pastry and pepperoni.

The weather won't be frosty and cold and the restaurant has long been closed but WELCOME to the re-created venue (in Alumni Hall) for our Friday night gathering at our 50th reunion....THE PIZZA VILLA!  We will have a "grown-up" version of our college memory−an Italian theme with Italian cuisine−together with (yes, of course−pizza) but, also, a delectable selection of appetizers, salads, pastas and desserts−sure to be delicious.

We'll begin with a social hour around 5:30 (an actual schedule will be forthcoming) and throughout the evening of eating, re-acquainting and reminiscing we will sprinkle in some entertainment and music….who knows…maybe even a jitter-bug! “Benvenuto e buon appetito”

Class News

Sandy Brown Johnston and Mary Carlstrom Strand enjoyed lunch together recently.  Sandy is looking great and has made a great recovery from her stroke.  She agreed to let Mary drive her rental car…Mary's "maiden voyage" since knee surgery.

Sharon Shaver Pinney writes, “I am just finishing up this year as the Rotary Club of Le Sueur President.  It has been an honor to serve as president and an honor to serve needy people throughout the world with the efforts of Rotary International.

Deanna Dirks Boe wrote, “I have not been in communication in a while, I attended Gustavus for one year, our freshman year.  I then went on to graduate from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington in January of 1963.  I retired seven years ago from the teaching profession.  Most of my teaching was overseas:  Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Iran, Germany and Cuba.  I adopted two daughters while in Vietnam and have two other daughters born in Iran and Ohio.  I also have 9 grandchildren and 4 step-grandchildren.  I married my high school sweetheart in 1994, Larry Boe.  We retired to our hometown, Akron, Iowa....where another alumnus of GA also hails from−Dennis Johnson, 1960.  We are enjoying retirement in Arizona and I recently purchased a home in the Atlanta area so I can be closer to grandchildren part of the year.  Having survived cancer twice, I feel very fortunate.

Marcia Day Anderson writes from Kenya where she is a missionary saying, “who would have imagined that I would travel the globe one day as I sat on that rope swing on our farm in South Dakota in the ʼ40s?  Imagine with me the roar of Victoria Falls.  Higher and wider than Niagara Falls, the falls are exceeded only in tons of water going over the falls.  On either side are statues of the missionary Doctor Livingstone who told the world about this wonder and gave his name to the nearby town of Livingstone, Zambia where we stayed.  But to me, no less amazing was the privilege to teach 12 leaders of the Church of God in Africa – overseers, education directors, bible school directors, CIMS coordinators – they were an amazing group of students.

Neil R. Weberg '63, Tyndall, SD, died on December 30, 2011.

Paul and Ruth (Anderson) Tillquist enjoyed two weeks in Peru and Ecuador in late January, 2012.  Travel arrangements were through Overseas Adventure Travel which they highly recommend.

While the 50th Anniversary reunion of the Class of 1963 is nine months away, your classmates are already at work under the able direction of Ginny Larson Jones.  Joining Ginny in the planning effort at the Galleria in Edina some months ago were Paul Tillquist, Miriam Larson Stohl, Liz Stohl Baugh, and Gary F. Anderson.  Keep checking the Website to keep up-to-date on the reunion which will be on May 31, June 1 and 2 of 2013.

Don’t forget, you can always go to: to get class news including reunion news!

A Bit of Campus News

October 2-3 – Nobel Conference 48 examines, “Our Global Ocean” as a source of inspiration, danger, and knowledge.  Tickets for this year’s Nobel Conference are available at

Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden will visit Gustavus in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the College by Swedish immigrants in 1862.  The Royal Visit to Gustavus will be Friday, October 5, 2012.  For the full schedule of the day’s events, visit visit.  Many events require tickets.

October 12-14 – Homecoming 2012 will include the Sesquicentennial Closing Dinner, reunions, a football game, a performance by The Bend of the River Big Band, and more.  For information on reunion registration and the entire homecoming schedule, visit